Here’s What Movie Theater Popcorn Butter Is Really Made Of

Updated: Nov. 14, 2017

We can't believe it's not butter!

PopcornGoncharov Artem/ShutterstockMovies and buttery popcorn have gone hand-in-hand for as long as we can remember—although, back in the day popcorn was actually banned from theaters. Unfortunately, that tasty butter isn’t doing much good for our bodies. In fact, that “butter” isn’t actually butter at all.

You might want to sit down for this one. Movie theater popcorn butter isn’t actually butter, but a combination of chemicals that give off a buttery taste. According to Extra Crispy, that buttery taste is created by Flavacol, “the yellow powder that gets added during popping to give your popcorn that yellow buttery color,” and other chemicals.

“Your movie theater butter has no butter in it, but it does have partially hydrogenated soybean oil (a.k.a. trans fats), beta carotene (a coloring, makes carrots orange), tertiary Butylhydroquinone or TBHQ (synthetic preservative that keeps the color and texture from changing as the product sits), polydimethylsiloxane (silicone based chemical that prevents foaming), and, wait for it, buttery flavoring,” says Extra Crispy. Yes, you read that right. “Buttery flavoring.” What the heck is buttery flavoring? We need answers.

Just when we thought that was the end of the bad news, there’s more. Apparently, this faux butter has 20 more calories per tablespoon than our real, beloved butter. Not only are we being conned out of the real deal, but we’re also consuming more calories.

But, there’s hope if you just can’t quit your movie popcorn fix. If your theater allows you to bring in outside food, you can make your own homemade popcorn. And if it’s not drenched in chemicals, popcorn can actually be good for you. So go ahead and pop away.

[Source: Extra Crispy]