Is Popcorn Vegan? [The Answer Might Surprise You]

Wondering if popcorn is vegan?

You've come to the right place.

In this article, we'll explore...

  • Whether or not popcorn is usually vegan.
  • What kinds of popcorn might not be vegan.
  • The vegan status of movie theater popcorn.
  • Vegan popcorn brands you can make on the cheap.
is popcorn vegan

Is Popcorn Vegan?

ANSWER: Yes! Plain popcorn (just the kernels by themselves) are vegan since they only have one ingredient, corn.

However, some brands season their popcorn with butter or other products that are derived from animals. While it is impossible to explore every popcorn brand under the sun, you'll want to check the label for dairy products (such as butter) as they are the most common.

Scroll to the to the Vegan Brands of popcorn section to learn how to make vegan popcorn on the cheap.

What is Popcorn Exactly?

As the name might suggest, popcorn is actually a species of corn. When the kernel has heat applied to it, it expands out and puffs up creating the familiar crunchy and fluffy snack that gets stuck in our teeth. It can be cooked in any sort of enclosed area which includes a microwavable bag or sealable pot or pan.

What Kind of Popcorn Might Not Be Vegan?

Any sort of cheesy popcorn such as white cheddar is definitely not going to be vegan. Most of these products boast about being made with “real cheddar cheese” and are seasoning with a dried powdered version of whichever type of cheese that they use. Make sure to rule these out.

Due to recent health concerns with much of the artificial butter flavoring used in popcorn, many popcorn brands have opted to use real butter in their products, making them not vegan even if they were at one point. These products should be clearly marked as containing dairy.

What About Movie Theater Popcorn?

Even though we found a PETA article talking about how some movie theater popcorn may be vegan we have some concerns that it would be best to check with whatever theater you’re going to at the time you’re going.

Here’s why: In 2015 the FDA removed Partially Hydrogenated Oil from their GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list. A compliance period of three years was set so that all products with Partially Hydrogenated Oil were no longer being produced. That being said, ingredient statements have most likely changed since then so it is better to check with your local theatre.

Vegan Popcorn Brands to Make on The Cheap

As stated earlier, you always have the option of buying your own plain popcorn kernels and popping them yourself.

With modern kitchen appliances such as these silicone microwave popcorn poppers – it’s super easy to buy popcorn in bulk, cook it in one of these, and then season it however you like.

Nutritional yeast is a great option for making vegan popcorn cheesy!

This bowl by Salbree is a great one to use.

If you’re insistent on microwave popcorn, Quinn Just Popcorn has a simple popcorn product that only has two ingredients: popcorn and salt. This is a convenient solution for someone who needs a quick fix or doesn’t eat enough popcorn to justify adding another tool to their kitchen.

Other Vegan Snack Foods

If you love popcorn then odds are you're interested in other vegan snack foods.  Being vegan doesn't mean that you need to give up your favorite snacks - odds are that you'll likely discover more that you never knew you liked!

To learn more check out our articles on: vegan gum, vegan Doritos, vegan Takis, and vegan chocolate!​

Final Word On Popcorn

There’s lots of great popcorn options and the ones that aren’t vegan are really easy to spot. If you decide to make your own from just the kernels, be sure to experiment with some cheesy vegan popcorn recipes! You’re sure to impress your friends and might even make them think about whether they really need animal products!

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