Even before I learned that the "butter" in movie theater popcorn isn't actually butter (sorry to be the bearer of bad news), I've been stashing my own snacks in the depths of my tote bag for movie munching. (I know this is technically frowned upon, so please don't @ me!) My go-to store for stocking up: Trader Joe's, of course. See, TJ's is the king of irresistibly quirky snacks for every occasion — and that includes catching a flick and cooling off in an air conditioned movie theater.
The following list includes snacks I've gotten (and loved!) in the past, plus some nominations from other Kitchn staffers. (I'm not the only one sneaking snacks into the theater!)
- Movie Theater Popcorn, $2 for five ounces: If you're a snacker who always goes for the classics, this blockbuster hit is for you. It's a fraction of the price at the theater, plus this crunchy popcorn gets a generous coating of clarified butter.
- Kettle Corn, $2.30 for seven ounces: Struggle when picking between sweet and salty? Why choose when you can have both! A bag of this stuff gives you the best of both worlds, and you're not gonna find it at the theater.
- Spicy Cheese Crunchies, $2 for 6.5 ounces: There's a good chance you might devour this whole bag before the previews are over. And I can't blame you — they're big on cheese, with a little bit of a kick. And thanks to buttermilk powder, they have a tang that keeps you coming back for more. Don't forget the napkins.
- Gochujang Flavored Almonds, $5 for 12 ounces: If you believe movies are not complete without crunchy, salty snacks, here's how to branch out from popcorn and totally satisfy your cravings. This bag of salty, spiced almonds is also proof that munching on nuts is anything but boring.
- Oven-Baked Cheese Bites, $2.50 for 2 ounces: Toting a block of cheese into the theater doesn't quite work, but that's okay because these crunchy and tangy bite-sized snacks are basically the same thing — in manageable snack form.
- Peanut Butter-Filled Pretzels, $2 for 16 ounces: Movie snacks need to stand the test of time, and boy does this bag deliver. Whether you go for the salted version (that's me!) or one with no salt, this is a snack you can munch on for a couple of hours.
- Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds, $4.80 for 10 ounces: These almonds are one of my favorite TJ's snacks, and a must for movies, as they're the ultimate trifecta of crunchy, salty, and sweet.
Got anything else to add to this list?