The Unlikely Ingredient That Will Make Your Popcorn Taste Better Than You Ever Knew

IMAGE Stocksy

Bad popcorn sucks. We've all had it. Straight from the bag, with that microwave setting that never seems to produce the same result twice. It's too burnt, too greasy, and half the pieces are caked with some kind of faux-buttery chemical slop, while the other half have no flavor at all. (Don't even get me started on that plastic flavored pre-popped garbage.)

In an age when you've got more quality streaming options than ever—especially if you're one of the people applying to binge watch Netflix for a living—you can't take a risk on subpar "buttery" snacks. Buy your popcorn plain, or save some money and pop the seeds yourself. Here's why.

The key to making your popcorn pop in a way that Newman and Redenbacher never could is that glorious, umami nectar of the gods: soy sauce.

It's so easy, I'm gonna give you the recipe now. Just heat a few tablespoons of butter in a pan, and then splash in some soy sauce. Then a little more soy sauce. Okay, a littlemore. Perfect. Something like three parts butter and one part soy is what you're going for here, but you be the judge. Drizzle it over fresh-popped kernels, give the bowl a good shake, and you'll never go back to "Movie Theater Butter" again.

(From there, feel free to get crazy. Garlic powder. Sesame seeds. If you like it hot, throw in a splash of Cholula. The world is yours; it's just better now.)

And while it makes a great popcorn topper, soy sauce and butter tastes great on just about everything else, too. Don't say we didn't warn you.


This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Nate Erickson
Senior Lifestyle Editor
Nate Erickson is the senior lifestyle editor for He covers food, drink, travel, technology, and all other lifestyle topics.
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