Is Popcorn Vegan


Popcorn makes a great snack for many occasions, whether it be popcorn that’s made on the stovetop, pre-popped popcorn, or microwave popcorn. But, is popcorn vegan? The simple answer is yes, popcorn itself is naturally vegan.

But when considering more than just plain popcorn, we’ll give you knowledge that will help you determine whether the ingredients used in the popcorn is vegan.

is popcorn vegan
is popcorn vegan

What Is a Vegan Diet?

A vegan diet is one that consumes only plant-based foods and avoids ones that come from animals, eggs, or include dairy products.

Some vegans choose their diet, making a choice for the environment, some choose it as a benefit for animals, and others follow vegan diets as an attempt to resolve health problems.

How to Tell if Popcorn is Vegan

There are some specific things to look for in knowing whether popcorn is vegan. First of all, popcorn kernels in and of themselves are vegan. They fit within a plant-based diet.

It’s when other things get added to the popcorn that causes it to be questioned as to whether they’re vegan. Here are some examples. 

For vegan-friendly popcorn, avoid cheesy flavoring, or popcorn that indicates it’s made with real butter. If you’re not sure, a good way to determine this is to read the allergens section of the packaging and look for wording that indicates that the product includes dairy or contains milk.

bowl of popcorn
bowl of popcorn

Microwave Popcorn. When trying to determine whether microwave popcorn is vegan friendly, check to see if it’s labeled as having no milk or no dairy content. If this is the case, there’s a good chance the popcorn is suitable for a vegan diet.

Pre-Popped Popcorn.  For pre-popped popcorn, read the label looking for dairy ingredients such as butter or milk. If butter or milk ingredients are included, you’ll want to avoid it. Also, palm oil is not accepted by vegans.

Movie Popcorn. Ask the movie theater if their popcorn is vegan friendly. Chances are if seasonings or flavorings are added, the popcorn won’t be suitable for a vegan friendly diet.

Butter Substitutes for Vegan Popcorn

If you’re new to making vegan popcorn and are looking for butter substitutes, the following are possibilities that make a delicious outcome.

Canola oil

Coconut oil

Olive Oil

Avocado Oil

What Popcorn Brands are Really Vegan?

Below, we’ve laid out a few of the popular popcorn brands that have vegan products or varieties.

What Pre-Popped Popcorn Brands Are Vegan?

Our research shows that the following pre-popped popcorn brands are vegan friendly. 

Skinny Pop

Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop


Earth Balance


What Microwave Popcorn Brands Are Vegan?

The following brands include specific varieties and flavors that are vegan-friendly.

Orville Redenbacher

Newman’s Own

Pop Secret

Act II

Jolly Time

Skinny Pop

Boom Chicka Pop

Milk Ingredients in Microwave Popcorn

Following are milk-based products and dairy ingredients to be avoided by vegans. Look for ingredients listed as such:



Clarified butter

Dried cheeses

Cheese flavor

Other Ingredients in Microwave Popcorn that Vegans Avoid

Along with the more obvious animal-derived ingredients, there are three other main ingredients that can be found in some popcorn, which are not consumed by vegans.

Palm oil. Though palm oil is a plant-based product, some vegans choose to avoid the oil because they argue that the creation of it exploits animals and causes them pain and suffering.

Sucralose. Vegan eaters avoid sucralose, a no-calorie sweetener that’s used to take the place of sugar. 

Artificial flavors. Any popcorn that includes artificial flavors is avoided by vegans.

wooden bowl of popcorn
wooden bowl of popcorn

How to Make Vegan Popcorn

Following are our step by step instructions for how to make the best vegan popcorn on the stovetop.

2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1 tsp salt, to taste


1. Add oil to large pot over medium heat. Cover pot.

2. Add popcorn kernels and shake until the kernels pop. Transfer popped popcorn to a bowl as needed.

3. Add salt. If desired, add another drizzle of oil to help the salt stick. Shake.  Serve warm and enjoy.

Vegan Popcorn Nutrition Facts

Using our recipe above, assuming that there are 4 servings, each serving includes the following nutrition information:

Calories 62
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 581mg
Total Carbohydrate 0.4g
Dietary Fiber 0.1g
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0.1g
Potassium 2mg

Recipe Variations:

Following are some recipe variations that you might choose to incorporate according to availability or preference.

Oil. For oil, you can substitute any of your favorite vegan friendly oil in place of the olive oil, such as coconut oil, canola oil, safflower oil, or grape seed oil.

Salt. Other kinds of salt can be used in place of just plain salt. Sea salt, garlic salt, seasoning salts are all possibilities.

Flavor Variations and Add-Ins:

For vegan friendly flavor variations, here are some ideas.

Vegan smoked paprika and sea salt. Sprinkle with sea salt and smoked paprika for a bit of a smoky flavor that includes salt.

Vegan chili and lime. Coat your popcorn in a pinch of vegan friendly chili seasoning with a dash of lime juice for a savory flavor that includes a kick.

Vegan maple syrup and cinnamon. For a sweet flavor, drizzle your popcorn with maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon to taste.

Vegan gingerbread popcorn. Sprinkle popcorn with a mixture of ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves for a wonderful gingerbread flavor.

Vegan matcha sea salt popcorn. Flavor popcorn with matcha and sea salt for a unique variation.

Vegan BBQ popcorn. Use vegan friendly BBQ powdered flavoring to taste, for a savory taste.

vegan popcorn
vegan popcorn

How to Store Popcorn

The best way to store popcorn that’s already been popped is in a sealed plastic bag or airtight container for up to 3 days. Un-popped and popped popcorn can both be stored at room temperature.

Tips For Delicious Vegan Popcorn

Following are our tips for making the most delicious vegan popcorn.

Heavy pan. Use a pan that has a nice, heavy bottom to help prevent burning and for the best results.

Medium high heat. Use medium high heat for roasting vegan popcorn on the stovetop.

Vent the lid. You’ll want to tip the lid to its side when popping the kernels to vent the lid. Hold onto the lid while shaking the pan in a back-and-forth motion.

Transfer popped corn. As the corn begins to pop and fill up the pan, you’ll want to transfer the popped corn to a bowl to make room for more corn to pop.

Popcorn is done. You will know that your popcorn is done when the popping slows down. When this occurs, you’ll want to remove it from the heat to keep it from burning.

Use salt. Salt tends to add a good flavor to popcorn if your diet allows it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions that relate to is popcorn vegan. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to drop it to us in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.

Is popcorn vegan and gluten free?

Yes, plain popcorn is naturally gluten free and vegan. It’s when additional ingredients are added that the question comes into play as to whether those ingredients also pass the test of being gluten free and vegan.

Does butter affect vegan popcorn popping?

The addition of real butter doesn’t generally affect the outcome of how well the popcorn pops.  However, vegans do not eat regular butter made from cow’s milk.

Can I pop vegan microwave popcorn on the stove?

Microwave popcorn is prepared in such a way that it is most conducive to cook it in the provided microwave bag. We don’t recommend trying to cook it on the stovetop.

Can vegans eat popcorn?

Yes, vegans can eat popcorn. Popcorn in and of itself is vegan friendly. The add-ins are what can make popcorn not a vegan food in some cases.

Is movie theater cinema popcorn vegan?

According to our research popcorn purchased at the following movie theaters is vegan friendly: Regal, Cinemark, Cineplex, and AMC. However, we always recommend asking to confirm, especially if the reason for eating a vegan diet is for health reasons.  

Is AMC popcorn vegan? 

Yes, according to our research AMC popcorn is vegan, but please do ask to confirm before consuming it.

Is popcorn gluten free?

Plain popcorn is gluten free. However, when flavorings and spices are added, one should always read the ingredient list to be sure it’s gluten free.

Does popcorn have milk?

Popcorn itself doesn’t include milk. However, when regular butter or cheese are added popcorn contains milk.

How does popcorn pop?

The way that popcorn pops is a wonderful scientific phenomenon. Each popcorn kernel contains a bit of water inside. And when that water heats up, it expands, causing the kernel to explode.

Why do some popcorn kernels not pop?

The reason that some popcorn kernels don’t pop is because those kernels that are left have too little or too much water and they don’t explode or pop.

Is Orville Redenbacher popcorn vegan? 

Yes, there are some varieties of Orville Redenbacher popcorn that are vegan, including, smart pop, kettle corn, and simply salted naturals.

Is Act II popcorn vegan?

Yes, the kettle corn variety of Act II is vegan friendly.

Is Butterkist popcorn vegan?

According to the FAQ page on the Butterkist website, all their popped popcorn and microwave popcorn is suitable for vegans.

Related Ideas:

Crispy Caramel Corn

is popcorn vegan Pinterest Pin
is popcorn vegan Pinterest Pin

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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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