Skip to content

Can You Eat Popcorn On A Vegan Diet?

  • Amy 

Is Popcorn Vegan Friendly?

Finding vegan-friendly snacks is not as easy as it seems, some hidden ingredients can easily make what seems a vegan food non-vegan, so on your next cinema trip or movie night in, you might be wondering if popcorn is vegan? 

Popcorn is a vegan-friendly plant-based snack, but you should be careful about certain flavourings and toppings such as butter which can have dairy, always check the ingredients beforehand.

Down below in our guide, we will discuss if popcorn is good for you, which types of popcorn are not vegan, some vegan-friendly popcorn recipes as well as some other healthy vegan snack ideas. 

Is Popcorn Good For You? 

Popcorn is simply popped maize making it a great vegan snack choice and an excellent source of fibre, with the average serving of around 14g of fibre helping to keep you full.

This whole-grain snack also has lots of other nutrients and health benefits which we will list below. 

  • It’s high in polyphenol – Polyphenol is an antioxidant which is heavily linked to better blood circulation and easier digestion.
  • High in fibre – Plain popcorn is super high in fibre as we mentioned above, air-popped popcorn up to 100g can have up to 15g of fibre which can in turn help you feel full for longer.
  • Can help with weight loss – Popcorn is very high in carbohydrates, having 20 grams of carbs for a 30g serving, but it is also very low in calories, having just around 120 calories for a 30g serving, making it one of the lowest calories vegan snacks out there.

It should be noted that the best type of popcorn is plain popcorn which is air-popped popcorn, as soon as you start to add in butter and other flavourings, popcorn can become very unhealthy depending on the toppings you choose.

Which Type Of Popcorn Isn’t Vegan? 

Figuring out which type of popcorn isn’t vegan is not always easy if you’re buying pre-packaged versions. Some brands of popcorn will have it listed on the front of their packet stating if it contains butter, while others you might have to dig. 

Typically, you’ll be able to see if any milk is in the popcorn by looking at the back of the packet on the allergens section which will highlight if the product contains milk, we would also suggest scanning the ingredients just to make sure all the flavourings are vegan. 

Some major popcorn brands in the UK offer vegan popcorn such as Tyrells, Joe & Seph’s and propercorn. 

To be sure your popcorn is vegan, make sure your air-popped popcorn doesn’t contain the following ingredients. 

  • Cooking in butter or animal oil – Many air-popped popcorn types can be popped in butter or oil for flavouring, use a vegan friendly alternative instead. 
  • Toppings – From cheese to drizzled chocolate and butter toffee, most of the time this is what the kinds of popcorn have which makes them non-vegan, especially popcorn at fairs which is often caramel popcorn. 

Is Cinema Popcorn Vegan?

Homemade popcorn is easy to keep vegan since you have control over the ingredients and you can simply check the label of microwave popcorn/shop brought popcorn to see if it contains non-vegan ingredients. 

But what about cinema popcorn, how are you meant to know if it’s vegan

Well, contrary to what most think, the majority of cinema popcorn is vegan, the yellow colouring is mostly from the oil used in the fresh popcorn and certain flavourings, and most cinemas use canola oil to pop their popcorn kernels. 

We would suggest double checking if it’s 100% vegan popcorn according to individual cinemas, however.

Vegan Friendly Popcorn Recipes 

One of the best ways to enjoy 100% vegan popcorn is by making your homemade popcorn at home. 

We’ve listed a couple of vegan popcorn recipes for you to try out at home below when you are in the mood for satisfying snacks. 

Vegan Caramel Popcorn 

Ingredients 

  • 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels.
  • One tablespoon of coconut oil. 
  • 3/4 cup of almonds sliced. 
  • Three tablespoons of nut butter could be peanut butter, almond butter or cashew. 
  • Drop of vanilla extract. 
  • Teaspoon of cinnamon. 
  • Pinch of salt.
  • 0.5 cup of maple syrup (100% maple).
  • 6.5 cups of popped popcorn kernels.

Method 

  1. Start by heating your oven to gas mark 4 then lining a baking sheet. 
  2. Pop your popcorn by heating your oven in a heavy-based pan, add two kernels, cover, wait till they pop then add in the rest. While your fresh popcorn is popping, roast the almond slices in the oven for around 10 minutes.
  3. Shake the popcorn a few times to make sure all the kernels are popping, when the popping times reduce to 1 a second, empty it into a large bowl taking care not to pour any unpopped corn in by accident. 
  4. Now, in another pan, start to make your caramel sauce. Begin by bringing your syrup up to a boil for around two minutes on medium heat then take off the heat. Add in your vanilla extract, salt, nut butter and cinnamon. 
  5. Toss in the almonds to your popcorn and shake to combine, pour your maple caramel mixture over the popcorn and stir till every corn is coated. 
  6. Bake the popcorn in the oven on a baking sheet for 8 minutes, turning once halfway and allowing it to cool.

Nutritional Yeast Popcorn

Ingredients 

  • Large pinch of salt. 
  • 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast. 
  • Two tablespoons of coconut oil.
  • Half a cup of kernels. 

Method 

  1. Combine your yeast and salt in a bowl then heat your coconut oil in a heavy-based pan on the stove. 
  2. As your oil heats, add in two kernels of the plain popcorn and wait for them to pop then toss in the rest once popped in a single layer. 
  3. Shake a few times to encourage the kernels of corn to pop evenly, when the corn kernels start popping slower, remove them from the pan and combine with your nutritional yeast to make a delicious snack.

Other Vegan Healthy Snacks Ideas

Most people assume that a vegan diet can be restrictive when it comes to snacks, but the reality is far from it, with most snacks still being vegan friendly like popcorn as a healthy snack. 

We’ve listed some other healthy vegan snack ideas down below. 

  • Fruit and nut butter – Fruits, in general, are great for healthy snack ideas but combined with nut butter this makes them even tastier and more filling. Some ideas are apple and cashew butter or bananas and peanut butter for a gourmet snack.
  • Guacamole and crackers – Guacamole is a popular snack which is 100% vegan, paired with wholegrain crackers making a healthy snack combination.
  • Chickpeas roasted – Try roasting some chickpeas in some olive oil and spices for around 40 minutes, this makes an excellent snack with protein up to 14 grams for 150g of chickpeas.
  • Trail mix – Make your trail mix by combining your favourite seeds, nuts and dried fruits, this ensures it’s vegan and also avoids any added sugar in your snacks which can contribute to extra calories.
  • Root vegetable crisps – Most root veggie crisps are vegan, but you can also make your own with some thinly sliced raw vegetables and vegetable oil. 
  • Hummus and veggies – Creamy hummus and veggies are an excellent snack for vegans, homemade or store-bought hummus is vegan.
  • Spiced nuts – For some bite-size snacks, try roasting some of your favourite nuts in some mixed spice or cinnamon for a holiday-inspired snack.
  • Energy balls – Energy balls are one of the best snacks to choose as a vegan if you’re looking for a quick healthy bite, simply combine some oats, your favourite nut butter, maple syrup and some seeds.

Frequently Asked Questions About Popcorn & Vegan Diets

Is toffee popcorn vegan? 

Most toffee popcorn is unfortunately not vegan since it contains butter and milk to make the coating, you might find vegan popcorn which is made with maple syrup. 

How much is a serving of popcorn? 

A traditional serving of popcorn is around 30g which provides 120-150 calories, making it a good snack for keeping calorie intake low.

Is brown rice syrup vegan?

Yes, brown rice is vegan and can be used for making homemade sweet popcorn.

Is microwave popcorn vegan? 

A lot of microwave popcorn is not vegan due to the addition of butter, you will have to double-check the ingredients to make sure it’s entirely vegan.

Also, be cautious of microwave popcorn, many studies have regarded them as unhealthy due to the chemicals which can leak from the packaging when microwaved. 

Final Words

To conclude, popcorn is fine to eat on a vegan diet and is vegan friendly as long as it does not include any non-vegan toppings or butter in its mix. One way to make sure your popcorn is vegan is by making it at home with some nutritional yeast or maple syrup.

Always double check pre-packaged ingredients just in case and ask specifically at cinemas rather than assume their popcorn is vegan to be on the safe side.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

nv-author-image

Amy Toliver

Hey'all I'm Amy, a born foodie and diagnosed with celiac disease 7 years ago. I refused to cave into tasteless, boring gulten free food and create my own! On my blog you'll find info & cool facts along with recipes, all on gluten free foods!