I love the perfect salty and buttery, but always crispy and never soggy popcorn you can get at good movie theaters and theme parks. I finally figured it out.
I tried microwave popcorn. I tried making my own microwave popcorn in paper bags, and glass bowls, adding butter before, adding butter after. I tried an air popper. All of these were fine but did not achieve that awesome level of pro-made popcorn. The microwave stuff always gets a bit soggy as soon as it cools, and lacks the texture I was looking for, the air popper never got even enough coatings of butter and salt that some pieces were salt bombs, and some were just soggy with butter.
After a lot of experimentation, I found 3 things in addition to popcorn to be the secret.
I am making my popcorn on the stovetop in a Whirley Pop. The made-for-popping corn pan lets the steam escape as the popcorn is popped as it evenly pops all the popcorn perfectly without burning. I start with 1/2 cup of popcorn and I use a heaping tablespoon of butter-flavored coconut oil in the pan, and it gives every piece exactly the butter flavoring I am looking for. When the popping is done, which is easy to determine with the Whirley Pop, I sprinkle the popped corn with the evil sounding, but quite excellent Flavacol.
Flavacol is a sodium salt and butter flavoring with some yellow dyes in it. I use about ½ tsp sprinkled over and shaken into the popcorn.
That is it. I used to add nutritional yeast and still enjoy it but rarely add it as my daughter hates it.
Whirley Pop in red with metal gear via Amazon
Flavacol via Amazon