There’s nothing quite like a big bowl of buttery popcorn to snack on during a movie.
However, when it comes to making your own butter popcorn, adding normal butter to your popcorn can actually result in a soggy snack, and ruin your whole eating experience.
The secret to popcorn that remains crispy throughout your entire movie and beyond is to use clarified butter or ghee. If you’re looking for the best popcorn butter, I’ve got you covered! Below is my guide to the best popcorn butter.
OUR TOP PICK
OUR TOP PICK
The Pure Indian Foods Grassfed Organic Original Ghee is made from non-homogenized cow’s milk.
Handcrafted by The Agarwal Family that has been in the ghee business for 5-generations, this ghee is the perfect option for making butter popcorn!
This Pure Indian Foods is perfect for a variety of diets, including paleo, gluten-free, ayurveda, fodmap, and was the first ghee brand to receive the Whole30 Approved seal in 2011.
When testing this product, I enjoyed the rich, buttery taste of this ghee on my popcorn.
- USDA Certified Organic – The Pure Indian Foods ghee is made in the USA, and is USDA certified organic.
- Gourmet quality – This ghee is made from 100% non-homogenized grass fed cow’s milk from springtime through the fall.
- Years of experience – The Argarwal Family have been producing this ghee since 1889, meaning their experience and expertise in the industry is something you can trust.
- Slow delivery – One customer noted that this ghee took longer than they were expecting to arrive in the mail.
Also available to purchase at: Pure Indian Foods
The Ancient Organics Ghee is made from the unique dairy from grass fed and pastured cows in Northern California.
Diet friendly! Ancient Organics Ghee is gluten free, kosher certified, and contains very low trace amounts of lactose and casein, making it a good choice for those lactose or casein intolerant.
This ghee is 100% organic! So you needn’t worry about any hidden additives or nasties.
When testing this product, I enjoyed the fact that a little product goes a long way. This means that although this product is on the pricier side, it means it will last you a long time.
- Versatile – This ghee can be used in a variety of different recipes, including delicious, buttery popcorn!
- Packed with omega-3 fatty acids – This ghee contains omega-3 and omega 9 essential fatty acids, as well as being a good source of vitamins A, D, E and K.
- High quality – Ancient Organics are committed to producing ghee of uncompromising quality, handcrafted in small batches for a delicious caramel flavor.
- Pricy – One customer noted that this ghee was pricier than other alternatives.
Also available to purchase at: Ancient Organics
The 4th & Heart Himalayan Pink Salt Grass-Fed Ghee Butter is a lactose-free ghee.
This light and creamy whipped texture with the perfect hint of fine-ground, mineral rich himalayan salt pink salt.
The 4th & Heart ghee comes from grass-fed, pasture-raised, antibiotic and hormone free New Zealand cows.
When testing this product, I found that because it has a higher smoke point, you can use it in a lot of applications where you would not be able to use butter.
- Shelf stable – This ghee is shelf-stable, meaning that no refrigeration is required.
- Diet friendly – This ghee is suitable for keto, paleo, gluten free, ayurvedic, whole 30, and FODMAP diets.
- Lactose-free – As this ghee is lactose free, it’s a great alternative for sufferers of lactose intolerance that still want to enjoy the taste of delicious buttery popcorn.
- Runny – One customer noted that this ghee arrived in a pourable consistency, but it later solidified.
Also available to purchase at: Fourth and Heart
The Trader Joe’s Clarified Butter has a high smoking point, making it perfect for cooking a variety of different foods.
This Trader Joe’s clarified butter has a buttery taste that adds a deep richness to any dish that calls for butter.
This clarified butter is great for a variety of different diets, including the paleo, ketogenic and whole 30 diet.
When testing this product, I found that this clarified butter has a rich aroma and taste while still being a great addition for those on stricter diets.
- Highly versatile – This clarified butter is great for a variety of different applications, from baking to cooking both savory and sweet recipes, including melting over popcorn!
- Good value for money – When using this clarified butter, a little goes a long way, making it good value for money.
- Shelf stable – No need to worry about refrigerating this clarified butter, as it’s shelf stable and will last for a significant amount of time just in the pantry.
- Spilled in the mail – One customer noted that this particular clarified butter had spilled in the mail due to the package becoming damaged in transit.
Also available to purchase at: Trader Joe’s
The Nanak Pure Desi Ghee is an extremely shelf-stable alternative to butter.
The Nanak ghee has an incredibly high smoke point of 482°F, meaning that you can add a buttery taste to a variety of different recipes that butter would otherwise burn in.
From your morning coffee, to pancakes, to being melted over your popcorn, this ghee is great for both savory and sweet recipes.
When testing this product, I found that this ghee had the tendency to melt on hotter days and resolidify, but this didn’t affect the taste of it.
- Lactose free – This ghee is casein and lactose free, making it a great option for an individual that struggles with lactose intolerance.
- Packed with vitamins – This ghee is a good source of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K.
- High smoke point – Whether you’re cooking sweet or savory foods, the high smoke point makes it a great addition to any kitchen.
- Has the tendency to separate – One customer noted that the ghee arrived separated.
Also available to purchase at: Nanak Foods
Best Popcorn Butter Buying Guide
There are a few factors to consider when it comes to buying popcorn butter, but it mainly comes down to the quality, taste, and the type of butter.
Luckily for you, I’ve put together a helpful buyer’s guide on what you should consider before purchasing butter for popcorn.
Let’s get into it.
Type of Butter
One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing butter for popcorn is the type of the butter that you use. While you might think that you can choose any butter to melt over your popcorn, you’d actually be wrong in thinking so.
In fact, using normal butter as a topping for your popcorn could quickly ruin your beautiful bowl of hot popcorn, and turn movie night into a nightmare!
When it comes to making buttery popcorn, you need to choose either clarified butter, or ghee. Both these products are widely available online and in store, and are incredibly similar so can be used interchangeably when it comes to melting it over your popcorn for that deliciously buttery flavor.
The reason normal butter isn’t the best option for butter popcorn is that it contains water and milk solids, which renders your crunchy and crispy popcorn kernels soggy after a very short amount of time.
A great thing about using clarified butter or ghee over regular butter for your popcorn is that they are both shelf stable, meaning that you don’t have to refrigerate them in order for them to not go off.
As a result, unlike a block of butter that will go bad eventually even when kept in the refrigerator, you can store ghee or clarified butter in a cool place and enjoy it in a variety of different dishes for a much more significant period of time.
When you’re choosing butter to make popcorn, you will also need to consider the quality. As the star of the show in butter popcorn, you really want to choose a butter that allows you to celebrate it as an ingredient.
In general, the better quality the butter is, the better it will taste. In addition to this, what the dairy cows are fed can considerably impact the quality of the butter. As the health benefits can vary significantly depending on the food that the cows consume, you will want to consider whether the butter is from grass fed cows.
Another factor that you should consider is whether the butter in question is a good source of vitamins. Although the vitamin content isn’t necessarily the first thing that springs to mind when you think of butter popcorn, it’s better to opt for a butter that has a good nutritional profile in terms of vitamins.
Typically speaking, grass-fed cows also produce butter that is rich in omega-3 and omega 9 essential fatty acids, as well as being a good source of vitamins A, D, E and K, iodine, selenium and beta-carotenes.
Butter that has been produced by cows that are able to graze as they normally do is not only more golden in color, but also tastes different, as this enhances the flavor. Butter made with milk from grass fed cows tends to have a richer, nuttier flavor.
One of the most important factors to bear in mind when choosing butter for your popcorn is the taste! After all, your hot popcorn kernels are just going to act like a sponge and soak up all of that buttery goodness, so you want to make sure that your butter tastes good.
While you might deem it impossible to find out the taste of a product without buying it, there are ways in which you can gain a better idea of the product without taking the plunge. Namely, the product reviews section.
In this section, customers can leave their feedback, whether good or bad, that gives you a better indication of whether the product is worth buying. If you’re looking for assurance of whether a ghee or clarified butter tastes good or not, you will likely find out in the product reviews section.
If the resounding consensus is that the product has a rich, buttery taste, then it’s likely that it’s what you’re looking for to top your popcorn with. That being said, you should also remain conscious that taste is subjective to the person.
Another factor you will want to consider before choosing a butter for your popcorn is whether the butter is suitable for your diet. Certain diets can restrict certain foods, meaning that not everyone can enjoy the delicious taste of butter.
That being said, a great thing about many clarified butters and ghees is that many of them make a great addition to any diet, including keto, paleo, gluten free, ayurvedic, whole 30, and FODMAP diets. This means as ingredients, both clarified butter and ghee can be much more inclusive than regular butter, and often make a great alternative.
As clarified butter contains negligible amounts of lactose and casein, it can therefore be considered suitable for people who suffer with a lactose intolerance or casein allergy. This makes it a great substitute for people still wanting to experience that buttery flavor who are often limited by their diet or allergy.
That being said, if you follow one of these diets or suffer from any allergies, it’s your responsibility to check whether the ghee or clarified butter in question is suitable for you to use as a topping for your popcorn.
Salted or Unsalted
Another factor you will need to consider is whether you opt for salted or unsalted clarified butter or ghee.
While many people like to add additional seasonings to their popcorn, you might not feel the need to when you’ve already topped it with salted butter. It’s also important to note that salted butter, by nature, is higher in sodium.
Ghee in its purest form doesn’t contain any type of salt. That being said, a lot of companies have followed the growing trend of adding a variety of different types of salts to their ghee.
This is something to consider, as if you’d rather plain ghee to add to your popcorn, you will need to make sure that you opt for one that is free from salt.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Butter for Popcorn?
Clarified butter or ghee is the best option for coating your crunchy popcorn kernels.
This comes down to the fact that regular butter contains water and milk solids, which rapidly lead to your popcorn absorbing too much moisture and becoming soggy as it sits in the bowl.
As a result, clarified butter or ghee is the best option as neither product contains milk solids, allowing your popcorn to remain fresh and crunchy for a longer period of time.
What is Clarified Butter?
In short, clarified butter is butter that has been cooked until the water evaporates and the milk solids can be separated from it.
When this process has been carried out, a clear yellow fat that has a higher smoking point is the result. This means that it can be heated to a higher temperature than regular butter before it starts to burn.
What is the Difference between Ghee and Clarified Butter?
Although clarified butter and ghee are very similar in that they are both cooked until the water evaporates and the milk solids separate, there are a few significant differences that you should be aware of.
Ghee is highly popular in Asian culture, particularly India where it was created to prevent the butter from spoiling and going bad during the hot season and spells of particularly hot weather.
While clarified butter is only cooked to the point where the water evaporates and the milk solids separate (and sink), ghee is cooked until the milk solids begin to caramelize. This gives ghee a darker, more amber color, whereas clarified butter is yellow in color.
In addition to this, the additional cooking time for ghee means that it has a slightly nuttier, more caramel flavor when compared to its milder counterpart, clarified butter.
That being said, despite these subtle differences, both ghee and clarified butter are used interchangeably. They are both widely available, and both work great as a popcorn topping when melted, as they allow your popcorn to retain its crunchy texture and don’t turn your popcorn kernels into a soggy mass.
So, there you have it! Clarified butter or ghee is the best option when it comes to choosing popcorn butter. This comes down to the fact that regular butter contains water and milk solids that soak into your crunchy popcorn, therefore resulting in a soggy mess that’s not tasty or appealing to eat.
You can experiment with both clarified butter and ghee to create your ideal popcorn topping. While there are salted variations, there are plenty of plain options if you prefer to season your popcorn yourself or keep it plain.
To ensure that you get the best out of your popcorn kernels, make sure that you opt for a high quality clarified butter or ghee for your popcorn butter topping!