Why Alton Brown Never Recommends Butter For Popping Popcorn

If anyone knows how to make snacks you can't put down, it's Alton Brown. He's a regular on food television, appearing in shows like "Good Eats," "Iron Chef America," and "Cutthroat Kitchen." With recipes like baked macaroni and cheese and meatloaf, Brown makes great-tasting food accessible for even the most novice cooks. He's adamantly against "unitaskers," those fancy-looking kitchen gadgets meant for one specific task (per The Daily Dot). 

So when Brown insisted that anybody can make perfectly popped popcorn, we were all ears. Brown made popcorn professionally at a movie theater in the '80s, he wrote on his blog. And in his opinion, homemade popcorn is both more fun and better tasting than anything you can buy at the local theater. (On that note, he's also very against pre-packaged microwave popcorn.) Pause your current favorite streaming series and pay attention — your next batch of popcorn is going to be just as binge-worthy.

Make professionally popped popcorn at home

Alton Brown breaks down the popcorn process into an approachable recipe that comprises a heavy-bottomed bowl, salt, and a little bit of fat to add to your popcorn kernels. Here's where it gets interesting. While the rest of us might have been popping our popcorn in butter, Brown advises using ghee (a kind of clarified butter) for a more flavorful result. According to Brown, ghee won't burn in the bottom of the bowl, but butter will. If ghee isn't your thing, choose another oil with a high smoke point, like peanut oil.

Regarding salt, which is usually sprinkled on after the popcorn is made, Brown recommends adding it to the mix before popping in order to ensure that its flavor is evenly distributed throughout the popcorn. When your kernels are fully popped, you can decide how you'd like to flavor your snack; some of Brown's favorites include nutritional yeast, furikake, and cheese powder. Happy snacking!