How Much Oil Should You Use for a Movie Theater Popcorn Maker?

The Kernel
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If you’re a popcorn fiend like us and can’t get enough of this fluffy, crispy snack, it’s a great idea to invest in a popcorn machine that’s easy-to-use and budget-friendly. That way, it’ll be a huge convenience for your party and movie nights, and it’ll make you a favorite among your popcorn lovin’ friends!

You may think that a popcorn machine  would be too large and take up too much space, but nowadays, there are tons of ‘home theater popcorn machines’ that are not as big as the ones movie theaters use. So, what are you waiting for? Go get one, you’ll thank us on your next movie night!

If you already have a Movie Theater Popcorn Machine, and are wondering how to use it and how much oil you need for a batch, it’s your lucky day because we’ve covered all the information you need to use a nostalgia popcorn machine!

How to Use a Popcorn Machine?

First things first, you need to learn about how a popcorn machine works. Thankfully, it’s pretty straightforward and easy. Our easy-to-follow and step-by-step explanation is all you need to get poppin’!

  • Heat the kettle for around 5 to 8 minutes
  • Pour the oil in, heat it up and toss a few kernels into the kettle and wait for them to start popping – this means that the oil temperature is ideal for popping
  • Add the remaining kernels into the kettle, close the lid, and it’ll soon start popping
  • Wait for the popping sound to die down and dump the kettle
  • Transfer the popcorn into a serving vessel and add salt or other seasonings of your choice (can be a link to What is the Secret Ingredient in Movie Theater Popcorn?), and enjoy!

It’s that easy! Now, you’re ready to devour a bowl of warm, salty, and fluffy popcorn while you watch your favorite blockbuster with your family or friends.

What is the Best Type of Oil for the Popcorn Machine?

The type of oil you use can result in a popcorn that is heavenly and delicious, or soggy and BLECH!  This is because every type of oil has a different smoke point, meaning that they burn at different temperatures. So, it’s pretty important to choose your oil wisely. You can read our guide to choose the type of oil that best suits your taste and popcorn machine.

Coconut Oil

If you ask any popcorn machine geek, they’ll most likely tell you that the best and most popular choice of oil for popping popcorn is coconut oil. This is because it has a high smoke point of 350°F, and a neutral but slight coconut flavor, which results in a very flavorful final product.

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is the second best option to get poppin’, and it’s the go-to oil for health nuts because it’s nutritious and very healthy compared to other types of oils. It’s rich in healthy fats such as oleic acid and unsaturated fats, it’s good for heart health, and it’s rich in antioxidants. On top of these health benefits, it has a very high smoke point of 520°F and a mild and delicate flavor – and none if you use refined avocado oil – which makes it a viable option to use in a popcorn machine.

Canola Oil

If you want to go a more familiar route, you can use canola oil for your popcorn machine. It has a high smoke point of 430°F and a neutral flavor. It’s also relatively healthier compared to vegetable oils because it’s low in saturated fats and high in monounsaturated fats. So, it’s a budget-friendly and widely available option if you so choose.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is also a viable option as it has a high smoke point of 420°F, a neutral flavor as well as an affordable price tag. Not as healthy, and a bit heavier than the above oils.

Avoid Oils with Low Smoke Point

You shouldn’t use oils that have a low smoke point like butter (300°F), unrefined canola oil (225°F), unrefined flaxseed oil (225°F), and extra virgin olive oil (320°F) because they’ll burn at higher temperatures. This will not only impart a burnt flavor to the popcorn, but it’s also a fire hazard because the oil may overheat and potentially cause a grease fire.

But… but Butter?

If you’re thinking “it’s not popcorn if it doesn’t have butter!”, you’re in luck. You can use butter in the form of clarified butter (ghee) because it has a high smoke point (480°F), or you can simply drizzle some melted butter over the popped popcorn.

In the end, it’s all up to personal taste and preference, you can use your favorite oil if you like as long as you’re paying attention to its smoke point and flavor.

Corn/Oil/Machine Size Ratios

Now that you’re in the know about the do’s and don’ts of a popcorn machine, you can get poppin’! But first, it’s best to learn about the correct corn, oil, and machine size ratios to achieve the best possible result. It’s very easy to follow and remember, and it’ll help you a lot no matter what type and size machine you have.

  • You’ll need ¼ cup of oil and ½ cup of corn kernels for a 4 oz popcorn machine, which will yield 14 cups of popcorn, 4 servings
  • You’ll need ¼ cup of oil and ¾ cup of corn kernels for a 6 oz popcorn machine, which will yield 21 cups of popcorn, 6 servings
  • You’ll need ⅓ cup of oil and 1 cup of corn kernels for an 8 oz popcorn machine, which will yield 28 cups of popcorn, 8 servings
  • You’ll need ½ cup of oil and 1 ½ cups of corn kernels for a 12 oz popcorn machine, which will yield 42 cups of popcorn, 12 servings
  • You’ll need ½ cup of oil and 1¾ cups of corn kernels for a 14 oz popcorn machine, which will yield 49 cups of popcorn, 14 servings
  • You’ll need ⅔ cup of oil and 2 cups of corn kernels for a 16 oz popcorn machine, which will yield 56 cups of popcorn, 16 servings

There you have it! That should be all you need to know to get the most out of your Movie Theater Popcorn Machine!

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