Coconut oil for popcorn

Hi Folks,

Popcorn… snack food of the gods. Not that over-greased styro-crap you stick in the microwave, but the finessed fluffy goodness you make yourself on the stove. Heavy pot, touch of oil, butter melted and waiting to be gingerly sprinkled on said delight- all ingredients to a fine theatrical evening at home. Except one thing seems to be missing.

I’ve relied on vegetable oil for my popping, but have always had the notion that there was something better- coconut oil. IIRC, this is what movie theaters of old used to use, 'till health conscious movie-goers brought about a switch. They did the same thing to McDonald’s fries, I think. The result has been the same. Tasty still, but not as.

So, my fellow popmeisters (are you certified? Go to and get your credentials!) here are my questions:

Is it coconut oil or nostalgia for days gone by that has me drooling for ‘movie theater’ taste?

If it is the oil that makes a difference (and I’m inclined to believe so- wouldn’t think of using olive oil to pop with) where can I find some? Safeway doesn’t have it. Neither do the smattering of gourmet shops I’ve checked. The only oil I’ve found on the net is for cosmetic purposes. Even if it is the same basic product, I’m a bit leery of eating something from a non food-specific container/ manufacture.

If it is the oil I am missing, why is it so hard to find? That is, am I committing myself to an early grave if I start making my popcorn with c. oil? Is it a tremendous fire hazard? What gives?

Thanks for your thoughts!


Theaters still use it, since it costs the least and tastes the best. You should be able to find it at a store that caters to small businesses and bulk buyers (such as Smart & Final). I was not able to get the same taste at home with it, though…not sure why. Be sure to also pick up some butter flavored salt, which is a superfine grain that sticks to the corn much better than table salt. The butter flavor topping we used at our theater was called (not kidding) “Butter Flavored Topping” and was in fact just Soybean oil. Bleah…people seemed to like it though.

here’s what I think:
Coconut oil was blasted by consumers (or the media but that’s another discussion) so movies stopped using it. THe would advertize healthier popcorn. then sales started slipping which is a large portion of their profeit so some brought it back but didn’t tell anyone. I think the bigger chains still use the ‘healthy’ stuff.

As for where to get it, I wish I knew

I do use olive oil for popcorn–tastes great, and good for you too! And heavy pot? Nah–go for the “whirley-pop”, or some other gizmo. They work fantastically, leaving no kernel unpopped.

You are correct–snack of the gods…

Coconut oil melts at 80-90 F, so it’s likely to coat the insides of your arteries with nasty deposits. That said, it is frequently sold in 2 pint screw cap jars resembling those mayo is found in. Usually it can be found near the popcorn or “ethnic” food aisles. If you don’t see it there you could try an asian/chinese grocery.

Another reason you may be missing it at the grocery store is that coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so it comes in jars, not plastic bottles like other vegetable oils. Look for the Hain brand in ethnic food sections. As others have said, I would hope you make this only an occasional treat.

body’s at 97.8F (or is that 98.7F - doesn’t really matter for this point) so it should stay liquid inside the body since it melts at anything higher then 90F.

Yes, k2dave, except that coconut oil is one of the vegetable oils (I think palm is the other) that contain saturated fat, which contributes to arterial plaque.

This is not the primary belief in low carb circles particularly Atkins. Basically all (natural) fats are good and needed by the body. [low carb view] Transfats are manufactured and do not occure naturally and should be avoided. refined sugars and starches are the cause of arterial plaque. [/low carb view]

The 80-90F melting point is a property of the bulk oil, not of all of its individual components. Paraffin (candle wax) can be dissolved in olive oil at room temperature, yet it is not something that would be healthy to put on salads.

You also might try looking for coconut oil if there’s a soapmaking/candlemaking supply store nearby. I believe that most places that cater to massage therapists also sell it. I make soap at home and buy the stuff in bulk from the local soap supply place. There are also several places you can find coconut oil online. If you want some resources, drop me a line. Er, on preview I see that you’ve already mentioned the “cosmetic sources”. I can attest that it is the exact same stuff that you would buy at the grocery store; it’s just packaged in bulk because most soapmakers don’t want to buy coconut oil in anything less than one-gallon containers.

(And yes, coconut oil is highly saturated, as is palm oil and I believe any other fat that is solid at room temperature; the other ones I’m familiar with off the top of my head are palm kernel oil and cocoa butter.)

Most of the Atkins dieters I see with their “low carb views” have a hazy high school understanding of human physiology. The fact that the diet works, and it does in a lot of people, is not a validation of the many crock theories expressed for reasons that are transparently commercial. I’m sure you’ll continue to believe what you want to believe despite the best available evidence.

Although I’m wasting my time, here is a quote from Principles of Internal Medicine, 14th edition, pp.1114-1115.

“In epidemiological studies, no population habitually subsisting on a diet low in saturated fat and cjholesterol has an appreciable amount of IHD. These populations also tend to have lower plasms lipid concentrations. There is no question that the plasma cholesterol and LDL levels are sensitive to the amount of saturaterd fat and cholesterol in the diet. In experimental animals, added cholesterol and fat are essential for the production of atherrosclerosis. Typical American diets fed to nonhuman primates produce coronary and aortic atherosclerosis which is reversible when a cholesterol-free diet is fed. Controlled metabolic studies in humans show a direct relation between dietary and plasma cholesterol below intakes of 600 mg/d.”