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Is Popcorn Vegan? – And The Best Vegan Popcorns

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Often these simple snacks are taken for granted. And, in a world where people are constantly looking for healthy and even vegan options, they are overlooked completely. But, would it surprise you to learn that popcorn is actually vegan?

Is popcorn vegan? Yes folks, today we yet again will blow your minds! Popcorn is a completely underrated vegan snack. It is made from only plant-based ingredients and often is gluten-free, dairy-free, and even non-GMO. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention that popcorn is an extremely healthy snack!

Today, we will have a look at when and which popcorn products are completely vegan.

We will also have a look at exactly how to choose the best popcorn product for you and finally, what the best vegan popcorn products are that are available online!

What Is Popcorn Made From?

Everybody loves popcorn! But have you ever stopped and thought about exactly what it is, or where it comes from? Well, it comes from corn!

Believe it or not, but popcorn is an ancient snack. It is believed that it dates back to almost 4700 BC. In Peru, there is some fossil evidence that suggests corn kernels were originally popped there. Fascinating, right?

Since then this delicious snack kept growing in popularity. Today, you will find it at carnivals, farmers’ markets, grocery stores, movie theatres, and from street vendors. It is everywhere, and for good reasons!

How Does Popcorn Pop?

So, what exactly is popcorn? This snack comes from popped dried corn kernels. These kernels contain oil and moisture. When the moisture and oil are heated (in a pot or pan), naturally the moisture is converted into steam.

Simultaneously, the starch that the kernel contains starts gelatinizing and becomes soft and pliable.

More steam forms as the kernel continue to heat and eventually the outer hull bursts open. The kernels all start popping and create the unique sound that we have all come to love.

Finally, the soft and pliable gelatinized starch eventually cools and forms a crisper outer white layer with cloud-like shapes.

Different Kinds of Popcorn

There aren’t all too many different types of popcorn available. You can easily find butterfly popcorn, which is also commonly referred to as snowflake popcorn. Or, you can find mushroom popcorn.

Butterfly Popcorn

Butterfly popcorn is arguably the most common varietal that is commercially produced. These kernels have many protruding wings which gives each popped kernel the appearance of butterfly wings or a snowflake shape.

Many people also argue that butterfly popcorn kernels have a better mouthfeel are much more tender and contain a lot less hulls (the hard outside bits that always get stuck in your teeth).

But, they are much more fragile too because of their thin extensions.

Mushroom Popcorn

Mushroom popcorn on the other hand has a shockingly close appearance to a round mushroom. These popped kernels are ball-shaped and have tiny (if any) wings. They sometimes only have a textured surface.

Their shape definitely makes them less fragile and they are great for making kettle corn or caramel corn.

Is Popcorn Vegan?

We will have a closer look at exactly how to make popcorn a little bit later. But, we can confidently say that popcorn is almost always vegan.

The popcorn kernels, when raw, are completely vegan as they don’t come from any animal product.

Then, even during the popping process, all that you need is some oil and salt. This means that your popped popcorn will also still be vegan.

Are There Any Exceptions?

Now, unfortunately, you can make your popcorn non-vegan when popping it with lard, bacon fat, or butter. These are all animal-derived products.

While they do add incredible flavors, they aren’t vegan-friendly. So, rather stick to the plain vegetable oil. 

Furthermore, always check your pre-popped popcorns’ ingredient list. Sometimes manufacturers include certain chemicals like preservatives or stabilizers that aren’t vegan.

Even if you buy microwave-popcorn bags, make sure they don’t contain any non-vegan additives.

Common Non-Vegan Popcorn Additives

Here are some of the most common non-vegan additives that could be added to popcorn products.

Palm oil is technically a plant product. But, unfortunately, because of how most palm oil is derived, often strict vegans don’t consider it as being vegan.

Palm oil is commonly obtained through devastating processes that leave the environment in a disaster.

This goes against strict vegan beliefs, even if there isn’t a physical animal product in the oil itself.

So, if you want to ensure you use eco-friendly palm oil, make sure to choose products that are open and honest about where and how they obtained their palm oil.

Next is some artificial colors. This is mostly for spiced popcorns, especially those with red colors. Often these colorants are obtained through animals or insects, like beetles.

Are Popcorn Spices Vegan?

Popcorn spices and flavorings should also for the most part be completely vegan. Essentially they are made from dried ground spices or powdered flavoring extracts. However, as always, there are a few exceptions.

For example, if you are using a butter popcorn spice that has been made from real butter, it is obviously not vegan. The same goes for cheesy flavors or meaty flavors.

But again, always check the ingredients list and product description. Often these flavors are made using a combination of vegan products and not the actual animal product itself.

The Ultimate Vegan Popcorn Buyer’s Guide

Now that you can rest assured that most popcorn products are completely vegan, let’s have a look at choosing the best option for you!

Popcorn Product

The next consideration you have to make is the type of product you want to buy. Think about whether you want popcorn kernels, microwave popcorn bags, or pre-popped and seasoned popcorn.

All of these have their own pros and cons and none of them are better than the other. It comes down to personal preference.

Popcorn kernels will have to be popped in a pot or popcorn machine. This does naturally take a bit of effort and time.

The kernels are also unflavoured so you will need to buy salt or popcorn spice. But, they produce uber-fresh and additive-free vegan popcorn.

Then, you get microwave popcorn. These are almost always flavored bags. They are very easy to use and can be completely popped in under 3 minutes.

However, their biggest downside is all of the additives they contain, which isn’t necessarily healthy, or vegan for that matter!

And finally, you can also buy pre-popped and seasoned popcorn. These are the easiest to buy and you don’t have to do any work. Simply open the bag and enjoy.

But, the downside again is that they often contain preservatives and stabilizers to make them last longer. They are also on the more costly side of things.

Popcorn Type

So, the first thing to look at is the type of popcorn kernel used. As we have mentioned above, you can choose from butterfly or mushroom popcorn.

They both do look different and have different mouth feels. But, when it comes to flavor, they are pretty much the same.

Butterfly popcorn is more tender and light. Mushroom popcorn is tougher and has a chewier mouthfeel

Both of these are equally easy to find and when it comes down to their price tags, there is no difference. So, you can enjoy one or the other without worrying about breaking the bank.

Popcorn Flavor

Of course, you have to consider popcorn flavor! Why would you buy a flavor that you don’t like? The flavor is arguably the first thing people look at before buying popcorn of any sort.

Now, you can choose from a wide variety of flavors for microwave popcorn and pre-popped popcorn products.

Again, just make sure that they are completely vegan and that the spice itself doesn’t contain any animal-derived or tested products.


Now, quality is such a relative term. To some, quality is simply a product that is good and flavorful. But to others, quality may mean that the product has to adhere to certain requirements.

Many people also often search for organic popcorn, GMO-free popcorn, Halaal popcorn, gluten-free popcorn, and of course, vegan popcorn.

So, make sure that the product you want to buy does tick all of your boxes. And trust us, even if it may seem like a silly requirement, we all but guarantee you will be able to find a product for you!

Size And Quantity

Last. But certainly not least, you have to choose the correct size per item and quantity of an item.

Now, buying bulk will always work out cheaper in the long run. But, many people still seem to forget that it does cost a pretty penny at the time of purchasing.

And, the other consideration is how much space you have available to store all the items you have just bought. Some forms of popcorn will take up more space than others.

For example, popcorn kernels don’t take up as much space as compared to pre-popped popcorn. 

Where you could also fit 5 bags of popped popcorn in a drawer, you may be able to fit 50 bags of popcorn kernels into the same space.

You can also think about how you want to serve the popcorn. If you are buying vegan popcorn items for your kids’ lunchboxes, then you will probably want to buy small snack bags instead.

And, probably enough for a month or two to save money and time spent shopping!

The 9 Best Vegan Popcorns

So, we have spent hours researching the most delicious vegan popcorn out there. And, the best part is that they can all be conveniently purchased online!

One thing we would like to also point out is that many of these products do also come in different flavors.

So, even if we have listed a plain salted popcorn, go have a look before skipping the entire product.

RankProductBest Features
1.Lesser Evil Organic Vegan Popcorn KernelsBest overall vegan popcorn
2.Skinny Pop Original PopcornCompletely GMO-free
3.Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop Sea Salt PopcornGluten-free
4.Jolly Time Vegan Microwave PopcornComes in two flavors: butter and sea salt
5.Three Dads Superfood PopcornAir-popped
6.Organic Heirloom Multi-colored Popcorn KernelsColorful
7.Pipcorn Heirloom Mini PopcornComes in three flavors: sea salt, caramel, and truffle
8.Lesser Evil Vegan PopcornWide variety of interesting flavors
9.365 by Whole Foods Market Organic PopcornClassic, simple design

1. Lesser Evil Organic Vegan Popcorn Kernels

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The first product on our list today is plain popcorn kernels.

However, these are so much more than what you buy at your local corner store!

These popcorn kernels are completely vegan, gluten-free, organic, and made from non-GMO corn.

It is a fantastic product that is easy to use and which will give you the best-tasting popcorn you can come across!

All you have to do to make these kernels is to add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to a pot. Once the oil has been preheated, add the kernels and place a lid on the pot. Then, wait for the kernels to start popping.

Once all of the kernels have been popped, remove the popcorn from the pot, season it with the spice of your choice, and serve immediately!

2. Skinny Pop Original Popcorn

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The first popped-popcorn product on our list, and one we frequently keep in our pantry, is this one from Skinny Pop!

This brand is known for its uber-healthy popcorn products.

These include original popcorn, kettle corn, microwave popcorn, and even popcorn mini cakes.

But, we will rave specifically about their original popcorn products.

This product has been certified as being completely GMO-free, gluten and dairy-free, and it doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients. And of course, it has been certified as a vegan-friendly product too!

This affordable product comes in 7 different flavors including white cheddar, sea salt and pepper, sweet and salty, and butter!

3. Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop Sea Salt Popcorn

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We are obsessed with these pre-popped popcorn flavors from Angie’s.

This range includes sea salt (which is by far our favorite), lightly sweet, and cheddar cheese.

And if you love intensely flavored popcorn, then this brand is made for you!

This popcorn is certified as being gluten-free, kosher, cholesterol-free, whole grain, non-GMO, and also vegan. It makes the perfect travel snack and is super light on calories too!

4. Jolly Time Vegan Microwave Popcorn

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Of course, we had to include a microwave popcorn product option!

And, not only is this one vegan but made from non-GMO whole grain popcorn kernels that are also completely gluten-free.

This product comes in two flavors: butter and sea salt, both of which we are obsessed with.

Microwave popcorn will save you a ton of space and is still quick and easy to make!

5. Three Dads Superfood Popcorn

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This is an extremely healthy option, mostly because it has been air-popped.

This technique differs from most where oil is used to pop the popcorn.

With air popping, you are removing fat entirely, which also retains more nutrients in the kernels themselves.

This vegan snack comes in a wide variety of sizes, including 0.8, 3.21, and 3.25-ounce bags. This makes them a perfect option for any occasion.

6. Organic Heirloom Multi-colored Popcorn Kernels

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If you are looking for a fun popcorn option, then you have to try these multi-colored popcorn kernels that are all completely vegan and GMO-free.

Yes, believe it or not, nature can produce weird and wonderful colored foods on its own!

Now, while these kernels will all pop white, they are still quite the conversation starter.

They are low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with all the nutrients that popcorn contains.

7. Pipcorn Heirloom Mini Popcorn

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Here’s another conversation starter – mini popcorn!

And, the product is also completely GMO-free and vegan.

Also, they don’t contain any preservatives or artificial flavorings.

 This product comes in three flavors: sea salt, caramel, and truffle. And trust us, we cannot choose a favorite! The truffle is even made with real black truffle extracts! SO you know it will be good! 

And, to our biggest surprise, these mini pipcorns aren’t even that expensive!

8. Lesser Evil Vegan Popcorn

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While we have already discussed another product from Lesser Evil, it would feel wrong to skip over their popped popcorn range.

Naturally, these are completely vegan, gluten-free, GMO-free, and all-natural

But, what makes it stand out for us is the interesting and delicious flavors this range offers.

This includes Himalayan sweetness, no-cheese cheesiness, Himalayan gold, and oh my ghee. And again, all of these are completely vegan!

They even have snack packs or large packets available to choose from!

9. 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Popcorn

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Our final product on this list today is a simple sea salt flavored popped popcorn from Whole Foods Market.

This popcorn is also completely GMO-free, certified vegan, and completely gluten-free. And, the best part is arguably its simplicity.

If you are looking for a quick and easy movie-night snack, then this option is flawless!

Related Questions

Now that we’ve gone over some of the best vegan popcorns out there, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!

How do you pop popcorn?

There are a few different methods. The most common is to add some oil to a pot. Once preheated, you can add the kernels and wait for them to be completely popped.

The second is to use a popcorn machine, which works in almost the same way as a pot.

These machines are just less laborsome and automatically remove popped popcorn, which will prevent them from burning.

Is movie theatre popcorn vegan?

Believe it or not, but even popcorn from movie theatres is almost always vegan.

But, if you want to make sure you can always ask them about specific ingredients, like if they use oil or butter to pop the kernels. It is very rare to find non-vegan popcorn there.

Is the butter-flavor vegan?

You will have to check that specific product because some of these butter spices do contain powdered milk or butter.

However, most are completely vegan which will give them a longer shelf life.

Up Next: Grana Padano Vs Parmesan – What’s The Difference?

One Comment

  1. Pop corn are always in the top list of childhood favorite snack of all most of us. It’s a good thing that we can enjoy such a healthy and light snack.

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