Popcorn Butter Dispenser – Tips for Alternatives to the Theater Model

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If you love popcorn, then most likely you’ll want to find the perfect popcorn butter dispenser.

Commercial butter dispensers are expensive and can take up a lot of space. Is there an alternative to the butter dispensers you find at the theater?

Your Popcorn Butter Dispenser – Theater Model or Make Do at Home?

When you buy popcorn at the movie theater, the salesperson will most likely ask you if you want butter on it.

The theater may provide real melted butter, or they may have some sort of melted butter-flavored liquid stuff (often called “buttery topping”) that they will squirt on the popcorn from a box with a large dispenser pump on top.

Either way, the popcorn is delicious!

Is this the type of popcorn you want to enjoy at home? Many people do.

So you have a choice. You can opt for the real thing, a commercial popcorn butter dispenser that keeps the butter melted and ready to pour on your popped treat, or you can make do with an alternative dispenser.

Theater Popcorn Butter Dispensers Can Be Very Expensive

The butter dispensers you find at the theater are commercial models, and while they do a good job at keeping the butter melted at just the right temperature, they are very expensive.

On the other hand, melting butter on your stove is a bit of a haphazard thing. If you keep the butter on the stove with the burner lit under it, the butter stays melted but it may also burn. It’s not fun to pour burned butter on your popcorn treat. Yuck.

Commercial popcorn butter dispensers do a great job at keeping the butter melted at just the right temperature.

These models have a stainless steel tub inside the dispenser that is surrounded by hot water. The dispenser has a warmer in it that keeps the water at just the right temperature to maintain the butter at melting point. When the day is over, the stainless steel tub of butter is removed and placed in the fridge and the dispenser is unplugged. No waste, no hassle.

However, prices for these theater popcorn butter dispensers typically start at about $150 and go up to as much as $400. There are even some models that run more than $1000.

For most people, spending that kind of money on a peripheral item is ridiculous!

Try These Alternative Popcorn Butter Dispensers at Home

Finding an alternative to the theater popcorn butter dispensers is actually a common thread on forums.

Many people balk at the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on something they may use sporadically.

Instead, others have suggested using a ceramic fondue pot as an alternative popcorn butter dispenser.

The fondue pot generally uses a small lit votive candle or Sterno can to melt the contents of the pot. It can work well to keep the butter melted at just the right temperature without burning.

Picture using this type of pot and candle to keep butter melted for lobster. It works!

One drawback to the fondue pot idea is that it can be difficult to pour the butter onto the popcorn without making a small mess.

A second suggestion is to shop eBay periodically. Sometimes you can find a commercial popcorn butter dispenser for sale when someone sells their concession or theater equipment. Be aware, though, that most likely you’ll be spending close to $100 for the dispenser, even though it may be used.

Several people commented that they will put some butter in a squeeze bottle and place it in the microwave for a few moments. There is a concern, however, that the bottle itself may melt, which could make a mess and/or cause burns. If you try this, be very careful.

Try the Presto Hot Topper

One idea that many people have found helpful is to look for the Presto Hot Topper. This is a dispenser that is specially designed to melt butter so you can spray it on popcorn, corn-on-the-cob, pancakes or waffles, baste a turkey, and so on.

Reviews for using this as a popcorn butter dispenser have been quite positive, with many people stating they really like it. One woman wrote that her kids call the Hot Topper the “Butter Gun.” It is easy to use and easy to clean.

One drawback is that the Hot Topper doesn’t seem to be made any more by Presto. The good news is that it can be found fairly regularly on eBay, at a price of somewhere between $5 and $20.

You may opt to buy a commercial popcorn butter dispenser, but if not, the Presto Hot Topper may be your best solution for enjoying melted butter on your popcorn.


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