Is Popcorn Vegan?

  • Author: Sue Dorrens
  • Published: September 2, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.

If you or someone you know is vegan, you’ll appreciate that mealtimes require much more thought and research compared to omnivores.

There are many health benefits to switching to meat- and dairy-free foods, such as a reduced risk of heart disease and cancers. Fortunately, the food industry is introducing more plant-based alternatives, enabling everyone to satisfy their cravings.

Let’s explore if vegans can consume popcorn and some ingredients to keep an eye out for when chomping on this delicious snack.

Can Vegans Eat Popcorn?

Popcorn is made from popcorn kernels, which are vegan. It’s the toppings, added flavors, and ingredients the kernels are cooked with that determine if the result is suitable for vegans. Fortunately, many brands have launched popcorn that’s free from animal derivatives and dairy, making it suitable for vegans.

Here are some ingredients that vegans should avoid when buying popcorn:

Butter or Animal-Derived Oil

While popcorn kernels are popularly flavored with butter for a salty taste and a pop, there’s no reason to do this for a satisfying taste overall. Make sure to check the ingredient list to check that the popcorn is free from butter or oil rendered from animal tissues.

Animal Products

The popcorn market is extensive, so there’s a range of flavors to choose from, including toffee, caramel, and chocolate. Check that the popcorn doesn’t contain dairy for the toppings. Options for vegans most commonly include sweet and salty or plain popcorn.

Palm Oil

Although palm oil is technically vegan, many vegans tend to avoid consuming palm oil because it destroys and damages animals’ habitats. Some brands use “sustainable palm oil,” which, apparently, creates the lowest possible environmental effect when obtained.

Popcorn Toppings for Vegans

vegan popcorn with no additives

Here are some suggestions for homemade plant-based toppings to add to plain popcorn or some flavors to look out for:

  • Peanut butter
  • Sea salted
  • Maple syrup and cinnamon
  • Dark chocolate
  • Rosemary truffle
  • Smoked paprika and salt
  • Nutritional yeast and garlic powder
  • Smoky barbecue
  • Onion and dill
  • Cinnamon and sugar
  • Vegan cheese
  • Ginger, cinnamon, and sugar
  • Matcha powder, salt, and sugar

Vegan Popcorn Recipes

Discover a tasty new world with these plant-based popcorn methods:

Nutritional Yeast

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup popcorn kernels
  • ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Method:

  • Combine the nutritional yeast and sea salt in a bowl, and mix
  • Heat the oil in a pan over a medium-high heat. Add a couple of popcorn kernels into the pan. When they pop, add in the rest, ensuring that they are in a single layer
  • Cover the pan with a lid and shake so tall the kernels are coated in oil
  • Once the kernels have popped, add the nutritional yeast mixture and shake

Dorito-Inspired

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup popcorn kernels
  • 3 tbsps coconut oil
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsps salt

Method:

  • Combine all the spices in a bowl and shake. You can also blend them in a blender for a fine powder
  • Add oil to a pan and prepare the popcorn
  • Sprinkle the seasoning over the popcorn and toss to coat thoroughly

Mint Chocolate Chip

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups popcorn
  • 3 tbsps agave nectar
  • 2 tbsps coconut oil
  • ⅛ tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp mint extract
  • 1 tbsp chocolate chips

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F
  • Combine the honey and coconut oil over a low heat until the texture is smooth
  • Remove from the heat and mix in the vanilla and mint flavoring
  • Prepare the popcorn kernels on the hob
  • Once the kernels have cooked, spread the popcorn onto a baking tray and add the mint mixture
  • Bake for five minutes and remove from the oven. Allow to cool and top with the chocolate pieces.

Is Popcorn Healthy for Vegans?

Popcorn makes a tasty, healthy snack, as it’s high in fiber and polyphenols antioxidants. It’s also low in calories, making it a healthier alternative to potato chips and chocolate while you watch a movie or to munch on in between meals.

One of the biggest concerns vegans have is ensuring that they consume enough protein. It’s completely possible to have a healthy, balanced diet by only eating plant-based foods.

Generally speaking, for every one-ounce serving, popcorn offers four grams of protein and four grams of fiber.

Is Movie Popcorn Vegan?

It’s always best to check with a member of staff or the movie theater’s website to confirm if their popcorn is suitable for vegans.

However, while some outlets cook their popcorn without any animal-derived ingredients, some chains use butter during the initial cooking process and add dairy ingredients, such as caramel and toffee, to the toppings.

The Top Vegan Popcorn Brands

Here are some of the tastiest brands to try if you’re dedicated to a plant-based lifestyle:

  • Pop’s Secret
  • Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop
  • Orville Redenbacher
  • Smartfood
  • Newman’s Own Popcorn
  • Skinny Pop

Sources

https://www.veganfriendly.org.uk/is-it-vegan/popcorn/
https://vegnews.com/2018/1/14-ways-to-step-up-your-vegan-popcorn-game
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/popcorn-nutrition-and-health#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5
https://www.kathysvegankitchen.com/vegan-popcorn-brands/
https://www.chesterzoo.org/what-you-can-do/our-campaigns/sustainable-palm-oil/
https://tastythriftytimely.com/easy-vegan-popcorn-seasoning-4-ways/
https://cleangreensimple.com/article/vegan-popcorn/
https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/best-butter-free-popcorn-nooch-popcorn/#tasty-recipes-59777
https://cupcakesandkalechips.com/mint-chocolate-chip-glazed-popcorn/

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