There are few things better than movie night. What other event involves PJs, blankets, endless sweet and salty snacks, your closest friends, and the magic of escapism (besides going to Trader Joe’s at 8 p.m. in your PJs with a blanket wrapped around you)? And now that it’s officially cozy season, here are our top ten picks for the best at-home movie night snacks—the perfect pairings for anything from The Lion King to Kingsman.
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- Sprouts Organic Popcorn Lightly Buttered
People pooh-pooh pre-popped popcorn. Not only is that a fantastic tongue twister, it’s also just a fact. But pre-popped bagged popcorn is the best. It’s easy, it’s convenient, and it’s not going to burn and stink up your whole apartment. And this lightly buttered popcorn from Sprouts is a game changer, as it is “salty, rich, and delicious,” according to Sporked managing editor Gwynedd Stuart. This popcorn is still very salty but has significantly less of that chemically “more butter flavor than actual butter” quality to it, so depending on what you like, this may be your new best movie night friend.
- Pop Secret Movie Theater Butter
Now some of us (hi, it’s me, I love chemicals) cannot resist that “more butter flavor than actual butter,” aggressively yellow and salty and umami popcorn that emulates the movie theater stuff as closely as possible. If that’s you too, this Pop Secret Movie Theater Butter microwave popcorn is your new go-to. Sporked staff writer Danny Palumbo says this one “mimics the alchemy of delicious movie theater popcorn so incredibly well,” and I have to agree with him. I taste tested through a bunch of different microwave popcorn brands in college and came to the same conclusion: Pop Secret Movie Theater Butter is the GOAT.
- Quaker Butter Popcorn Rice Cakes
If you want some of that popcorn flavor and texture but are looking for something slightly healthier to mindlessly munch, then Quaker Butter Popcorn Rice Cakes are your gal. They have the same Styrofoam-y character popcorn has, and this variety has some of the buttery flavor and salt as well. Gwynedd pointed out that due to the already somewhat “popcorn-y” nature of rice cakes, the “butter flavor here works quite nicely, perhaps unsurprisingly.”
- Popcorn Indiana Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn
It wouldn’t be a complete list of movie night snacks without a solid kettle corn on the list, and if you haven’t tried Popcorn Indiana Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn then hoooooooo boy are you in for a treat. Get out your favorite Western movie, or maybe the Harry Potter movies (two genres that for some reason have the same energy as kettle corn in my strange, strange mind), and pop open a bag of popcorn Indiana, which, as staff writer Jordan Myrick pointed out, has the “perfect—and I mean perfect—balance of sweet and salty.”
- Flipz Milk Chocolate Covered Pretzels
Can’t decide between a sweet and salty snack to complement your viewing of Fortune Feimster’s comedy special Sweet & Salty? Well, it turns out you can have it all (it’s not called sweet or salty, now is it?)! These chocolate-covered pretzels are a convenience store staple and yet they are truly the best. Jordan said “the ratio of chocolate to pretzel is perfect” in these pretzels, plus, “there’s a great balance of salt and sweet.”
- Fresh Finds Cheese Puffs
Are you a texture gal? Do you, like Sporked Editorial Assistant Naajia Shukri, need a good crunch to break up the suspense in your horror/thriller-watching parties and bring you back to reality? These Fresh Finds Cheese Puffs will be that, repetitive, predictable, comforting crunch you seek. Plus they taste fantastic. These are saltier, fattier, and cheesier than a Cheeto puff, they are violently orange throughout (not just in the coating), and Danny concluded in his ranking of the best cheese puffs that “the salt, fat, and powerful cheesiness of the Fresh Finds Cheese Puff was too decadent to be beat.”
- Pocky Butter Chocolate
If you are a chocolate fiend but also can’t watch a movie without at least a liiiiitle bit of butter flavor, then this Pocky flavor is about to blow your mind even more than the plot twist in Frozen did. (No? Just me? I fully believed Hans was genuine.) Danny called these the “Pocky to end all Pocky,” and for good reason. He wrote, “The chocolate does in fact taste lusciously buttery, and when paired with the sugary biscuit, it almost tastes like a homemade pie crust.” MmmmmMMM.
- Nicos Green Tea Seaweed Snacks
Watching The Little Mermaid? Or that one scene in Madagascar where they eat seaweed on a stick? Want to follow along and really connect with the material on a culinary level while still eating something salty, umami, and delicious? Give seaweed a try. Nicos Green Tea Seaweed snacks have a “green tea taste [that] is aromatic and lovely, and there is a pronounced, savory flavor too,” according to Danny, who also described it as “salty and smoky.” This is a multi-layered, complex, flavor bomb, and if you are a seaweed kind of person (which I certainly am), you should give this brand a try!
- Haribo Goldbears
And now for the sweet snacks. When it comes to gummy bears, you can’t beat Haribo. Whether you’re watching Wreck-It Ralph, Shrek, or Willy Wonka (all movies with some good gummy screen time), you need some sweet chewy candies to occupy your jaw while you turn off your brain and relax. Plus, as Sporked editor-in-chief Justine Sterling pointed out, “These require time to chew but you’re rewarded with long-lasting flavor,” so you’ll have a snack that lasts throughout the entire movie.
- Peanut M&M’s
For you chocolate lovers out there, these are the movie snack for you. They are crunchy, the peanut offers an interactive, multi-step eating experience, and they won’t melt in the warmth of the blanket on the couch. Plus the peanut M&M dude just seems like a nice guy. Gwynedd called these “as close as you can get to a perfect candy” and “the ideal marriage of chocolate and legume,” and I really don’t know what else I can tell you beyond that. Peanut M&M’s are wonderful and deserve a place at your movie-watching snack table.