What is the best popcorn butter?

Popcorn with butter is a taste that most people remember from trips to the movie theater.  Our family loves popcorn with butter drizzled on it.

Clarified butter is the best popcorn butter.  You can also use Ghee, which most people use interchangeably with clarified butter.  Clarified butter can be made at home or you can purchase Ghee at the store or online.

Putting butter on your popcorn without the popcorn getting soggy will result in the best experience.  Let me show you how to make buttered popcorn you will enjoy every time.

What is Clarified Butter?

Butter has three components, water, fat, and milk solids. Milk solids are where the milk proteins are found.  When butter is heated, the water evaporates and the milk solids break down and can burn.

Clarified butter is butter with all the milk proteins and water removed.  This leaves almost 100% butterfat.  Clarified butter can be used to cook at a higher heat when making popcorn.

You can use clarified butter to cook your popcorn kernels instead of using oil or you can still cook your popcorn in oil and then drizzle the popcorn with clarified butter. For those that like it extra buttery, you can cook your popcorn kernels in the clarified butter and then also drizzle the popcorn with the clarified butter. This sounds divine as someone that loves a ton of butter on my popcorn.

What is Ghee?

Ghee is fat used in Indian cooking.  Ghee follows the same process as clarified butter by removing the water and milk solids but needs to be cooked a bit longer.  After the water evaporates, the next step is to continue cooking until the solids turn brown and settle to the bottom of the pan.  Finally, strain out the liquid, and the nutty, toasty mix that is left is the ghee.

Clarified Butter and Ghee – Are They the Same?

Most people use clarified butter and ghee interchangeably but there are a few differences between them.

Cooking:  As stated above, ghee is cooked longer than clarified butter.

Taste:  Ghee has a nutty, toasty flavor that occurs due to the extra cooking time.

Availability:  Ghee is easy to find online and in local markets.  You will find many packaging labels that say “Ghee Clarified Butter”.  Clarified butter is easy to make at home while ghee takes longer and has more steps.

Location:  Ghee is mostly used in India while clarified butter is mainly used in France.

What do Clarified Butter and Ghee Have in Common?

Both clarified butter and ghee have many similarities that make them a perfect partner for popcorn.

Shelf Life:  They will not spoil at room temperature and can be stored for 6 months.  Make sure no water gets into the container or bacteria will grow and your clarified butter or ghee will be ruined.

Smoke Point:  Both have a higher smoke point than normal butter or oil, so they are both perfect for popping popcorn.

Benefits:  People that are lactose-intolerant can use both.  They are both good for people following the Keto, Paleo, and Whole 30 diets.  Both are gluten-free.  You can replace your regular oil or butter with them.

How Do You Make Clarified Butter?

Ingredients:  1 cup of unsalted butter

  • Put on low heat and melt the butter until the solids separate from the fat – no stirring.
  • Skim off the foam with a spoon.
  • Pour off the liquid – on the bottom of the pan will be the milk solids.
  • Place the clarified butter (liquid) in a small container with a lid.

How Do You Make Ghee?

Ingredients:  1 cup of unsalted butter

  • Put on low heat and melt the butter until you see the butter start to froth.
  • Stir and then reduce the flame.
  • The froth will evaporate and the butter will begin to bubble.
  • The milk solids will fall to the bottom of the pan.
  • When the milk solids turn a light brown, remove the pan from the stove.
  • Place a small strainer over a glass jar and pour the contents into the strainer.
  • Let the ghee cool down, cover with an airtight lid, and put in the pantry.

How Do You Store Clarified Butter and Ghee?

Unopened & Store Purchased: Both clarified butter and ghee that are prepacked can be stored in the refrigerator or in a cupboard/pantry. If unopened it can last for 1-2 years.  Once opened, it will remain fresh for about 4-6 months. 

Opened & Store Purchased: You can store opened prepackaged items in the refrigerator for up to a year.  Just remember to not allow any water in the containers or it will spoil.

Homemade: Homemade clarified butter or ghee can be stored for a few months.  Many folks keep it longer.

TypeIn the FridgeRoom Temperature
Homemade, stored in air-tight container12 months3-4 months
Prepackaged – opened12 months3-4 months
Prepackaged – unopened24 months24 months

If you store in the pantry or on the countertop, it allows for ease of use while cooking.  At room temperature, you can easily get what you need with a spoon in its semi-solid state.  If you store it in the fridge, you will need to let it sit out at room temperature to be able to get the portion you would like to use.

How to Butter Popcorn?

  • Make your stovetop popcorn and place the popcorn in a large bowl with a lid.
  • Put 2 tablespoons of ghee or clarified butter in the still-hot pan to let it melt.
  • Drizzle a teaspoon of the ghee over the popcorn and put the lid back on the bowl and shake.
  • Repeat the drizzle and shake step two more times until the ghee or clarified butter is used up.
  • Remove the lid.
  • Season per your preference:
    • There is prepacked ghee that is already seasoned with Himalayan Pink Salt.
    • For some tang, you can add some grated parmesan cheese and a little salt.
    • For something a little sweeter, you can mix sugar and cinnamon and add them to the popcorn.
    • Or add any other seasoning of your choice.
  • Enjoy!

Tip: Honestly, the best thing you can do it try each one and see what you like the best. Some members of our family don’t like the ghee while others rave about it.

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