What Is Flavacol For Popcorn?

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Popcorn at the movies always tastes better, doesn’t it? It’s perfectly salty and just the right amount of buttery, but no matter how much you try, you can never seem to recreate the flavor at home.

Have you ever wondered why that is? Do they have a secret ingredient that they add to make their popcorn taste 100 times better? As a matter of fact, they do!

It all comes down to one ingredient called Flavacol. Chances are that you’ve never heard of it since only movie theatres use it, but it is the one thing that takes popcorn to the ultimate next level.

So, what is Flavacol for popcorn? Flavacol is a bright orange butter-flavored salt that is added to popcorn to give it a nice flavor and signature yellow color.

Read on to find out what Flavacol is made of, what it tastes like, how to use it, how much is required for a bag of popcorn, and much more!

What Is Flavacol Made Of?

Flavacol (which you can buy online here) is made up of a couple of basic ingredients such as salt and artificial butter seasoning. It also includes artificial yellow coloring to give the popcorn a nice color.

The color bit is a visual tactic used by movie theatres to lure in hungry customers.

Salt is the main ingredient used in Flavacol, which is ground much finer than regular table salt. The reason for this is to prevent the salt from falling off and make it stick to the popcorn. 

Next, we have grainy artificial butter seasoning which is the same size as the salt, making the two work perfectly together. It also brings out the signature buttery taste everyone loves on their popcorn.

Lastly, the two artificial food colors, yellow #5 lake and yellow #6 lake, are added to Flavacol to boost the popcorn’s appearance.

The combination of a bright and shiny yellow mixed with a dull yellow undertone removes the actual dull off-white appearance of the popcorn and gives it a nice pop of color.

What Does Flavacol Taste Like?

Flavacol tastes like a mixture of salt and butter since they are two of its main ingredients. You may think that simply adding salt and butter to your popcorn would give you similar results, but that is not the case.

Regular salt and butter do not stick to the popcorn as well as Flavacol, which is finely ground to let the popcorn soak in all of its flavor.

You don’t have to worry about the popcorn turning soggy or losing flavor as you would when using actual butter and salt.

The yellow food dyes used to give the popcorn a nice color do not affect its flavor and are simply there to add a unique and appealing look to the best movie time snack.

How To Use Flavacol

Getting the same taste as movie popcorn at home has never been easier. All you need is a few popcorn kernels, a bit of good-quality Flavacol seasoning, and the right technique to make them pop, pop, pop!

Following are two of the best ways of using Flavacol for popcorn to get the most flavor out of it:

  1. Place your bag of popcorn in the microwave and let it pop. Once it is done popping, carefully and partially open the bag and sprinkle ½ teaspoon of Flavacol on the popcorn. Shake the bag for around 30 seconds, making sure to rotate it frequently. Open the bag and enjoy your perfect movie theatre popcorn at home.
  2. After adding the popcorn kernels into a popcorn machine, add ½ teaspoon of Flavacol into it and pop the kernels until they are all ready. Give the pot a nice stir and enjoy your delicious buttery popcorn.

Regardless of the method you choose to incorporate Flavacol into your popcorn, you are sure to love the final result.

Flavacol is perfectly safe and delicious, made with just a handful of ingredients, and once you start using it, there is no going back. You can take our word for it.

How Much Flavacol To Use

Flavacol is a flavorful seasoning with a potent and concentrated flavor, which is why you don’t have to use too much of it. A little will go a long way.

½ a teaspoon of Flavacol is enough for approximately ½ cup (4 oz.) of popcorn kernels, which means that you only need ½ a teaspoon of the seasoning to coat 16 cups of popped popcorn.

That being said, if you ever purchase a carton of Flavacol to keep in your pantry, you may never have to purchase it again since it will likely last you a lifetime!

You may refer to these quantities when making Flavacol popcorn at home:

Popcorn KernelsFlavacol
4 oz.½ tsp
6 oz.½ tbsp
8 to 12 oz.1 tbsp
14 to 16 oz.1 ½ tbsp
20 to 24 oz.2 tbsp
28 oz.2 ½ tbsp
32 oz.3 tbsp
36 oz.3 ½ tbsp

How To Make Flavacol Popcorn On Your Stovetop

To make high-quality popcorn at home on the stovetop, here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon Flavacol


  • Start by warming up the coconut oil to 400°F in a heavy-bottom pot or pan on medium heat.
  • Test the temperature of the oil by adding one or two kernels into it and wait until they pop.
  • When they pop, the oil has reached the right temperature and is ready to be used.
  • Put the rest of the popcorn kernels into the pot, making sure they are evenly spread out.
  • Add the Flavacol and mix it properly with the oil so that the kernels are perfectly coated.
  • Keep mixing the kernels until you hear the first ones pop.
  • Partially cover the pot using a lid, making sure to leave a bit open to allow the steam to escape.
  • Keep shaking the pot every few seconds to help the kernels pop.
  • Once the popping stops, remove the pot from the heat and serve the hot popcorn immediately.
  • Add extra toppings according to your preference.

Related Questions

Now that you know all about Flavacol, what it tastes like, and how to use it, here are a few additional questions we thought you might have!

Is Flavacol gluten-free?

All Flavacol seasoning produced by Gold Medal Products, the most popular Flavacol brand in the US, is gluten-free. The popcorn kernels are also, of course, gluten-free, and so is the oil used to pop them.

What are the best ways to season popcorn?

Salt and butter are the real deals when it comes to seasoning popcorn. There are, however, other great options that you can try as well. 

You may use garlic powder or garlic salt, dried parsley, grated parmesan, taco seasoning, nutritional yeast, melted mozzarella, or truffle oil.

For a sweeter option, you may go for caramel, peanut butter, dark chocolate, cinnamon and sugar, maple syrup, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, and honey!

Does popcorn seasoning expire?

Dry popcorn seasonings don’t usually go bad and you can use them for a long time unless they are exposed to moisture, in which case they can start to grow mold.

Regardless, for the best quality and maximum flavor, it is recommended to refer to the best-before date on the packaging to make sure the taste isn’t compromised.

How long does microwave popcorn last?

Microwave popcorn usually comes with a best-by date and lasts for around 6-8 months. However, once the kernels are popped, they don’t last long since they usually have product on them.

Microwaveable popcorn usually contains oils, which do not stand the test of time and start to lose their flavor.

How to tell if popcorn has gone bad?

The best way to tell whether a bag of popcorn has gone bad is by checking the way it looks and smells.

Popcorn tends to go stale after some time, and unless you are okay with eating stale popcorn, we suggest you discard the bag immediately.

Also, bad odors emitting from your popcorn usually indicate the presence of mold and time to throw it out.

If you’d like a video on how to use Flavacol in popcorn, here’s a great one on the subject!

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