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How to get Maximum Butter on Your Popcorn (with Minimal Sogginess)

updated Jun 30, 2021
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Hot. Buttery. Popcorn. Just typing it out makes me want some. In real life, it rarely goes as planned. Pouring hot melted butter on freshly-popped popcorn causes it to get soggy and a bit chewy. Not only that, the popcorn on top gets super buttery and the rest stays dry. Plus, your fingers get all greasy.

Luckily, though, I found the solution. It’s a hack I’ve perfected over the years and now I’m sharing it with you so you, too, can have perfect, buttery, not-soggy popcorn whenever you want it. (Like, right now.)

Credit: Julissa Roberts

Sprayable Butter Is the Secret to Perfect, Buttery Popcorn

Back in the day, a well-known brand of “buttery spread” that vociferously claims not to be butter came out with a spray version of their product. It was especially brilliant for getting a perfectly even layer of butter flavor on popcorn. But, as I got older, I decided that I would rather have actual butter on my popcorn. 

Unfortunately, trying to spray melted butter doesn’t work. When I tried it, the spritz bottle would almost immediately clog up. So I started playing around and discovered mixing in a little neutral oil made a big difference.

I also found that the type of spritz bottle you use makes a difference. You want one that is food grade (BPA-free) and has a mister instead of a stream spray. It also helps if it has a little bit of a wider internal straw. Most oil misters will work, but I prefer the smaller spray bottles. These are my go-to favorites:

How to Make Sprayable Butter

To make sprayable butter, you want to start out with unsalted butter. This lets you control your salt later. Melt about 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and let cool until warm. Whisk in 2 teaspoons of any neutral flavored oil. I prefer grapeseed or avocado, but anything you have on hand will do. Pour it into a food-safe spritzer bottle and spritz away. This should just about cover 4 to 5 cups of popcorn or about 1 bag of microwave popcorn.

Troubleshooting Tip: If your spritzer was misting, but then decided to spray in a stream, your butter may be hardening. To soften it up again, dip the bottle in a mug of hot water for a minute or two.

You can also flavor your butter by adding a smashed clove of garlic or some herb sprigs while it’s melting on the stove. Just make sure to remove them before pouring the liquid into the spritzer. 

I usually pour about a third of my popcorn into a bowl, spray liberally, salt, and toss. Then I repeat with the remaining two thirds of the popcorn, butter, and salt. This guarantees full coverage and maximum flavor.

Feeling a little lazy? Don’t want to get a bowl dirty? Spritz the top layer as you eat. You can even do this at the movies. Yes, I have been known to bring my spritzer with me when I go to the movies. Did you expect anything less from someone who spent this much time buttering her popcorn? 

Do you have a secret for making perfect, buttery popcorn at home? Share with us in the comments!