Is Kettle Corn Vegan?

There is never a bad time to eat kettle corn, and you don’t have to wait for a trip to the cinema to enjoy this healthy snack. But is kettle corn vegan? The good news is that it is. 

We’re going to put it under the microscope because not all of their recipes are vegan. Let’s take a closer look at this popular snack, whilst searching for other vegan-friendly alternatives to enjoy.

What Is Kettle Corn Made Of?

The simple recipe is music to many a vegan’s ears as there is nothing overly complicated about corn, vegetable oil, and salt. 

Originally made in a cast-iron kettle, the brand has a bunch of flavors to choose from, but the traditional version is fone for any vegan.

No animal products or animal by-products are used in the making of Kettle Corn, so they can be considered vegan. You shouldn’t get complacent though. There are plenty of brands making a similar product but include a bunch of ingredients vegans would want to avoid. 

Popcorn seems to be an easy snack for a vega to enjoy, as adding ingredients where animals have had to suffer for them to be made is unnecessary. 

Usually, vegetable oils such as sunflower oil are used. This is not considered to be one of the cruel options, unlike Palm Oil. This is often avoided by anyone following a vegan lifestyle because of the way its production impacts the rainforest. Because the impact strips away an animal’s natural habitat, many will avoid palm oil.

Is There Dairy In Kettle Corn?

The simple ingredient profile makes it easy to see there is no dairy in Kettle Corn. This isn’t always the case though. 

Make sure the brand you are considering has not flavored their product with butter. This is a no-go because of the dairy content. Any dairy will have been made in a way that is cruel to animals, making the product non-vegan.

Since it already has a buttery flavor, it always feels like there is no need, but some brands do see it as a taste enhancer. 

A good way to ensure you are getting vegan kettle corn is to stick to savory, as many sweet flavors will include dairy. 

Look at the allergens on the label as this is where it will say ‘contains milk’ or a similar alarm bell.

Is There Sugar In Kettle Corn?

The old-fashioned way of making kettle corn is without sugar. The simple ingredients have never needed to change for many, which is good as it is vegan.

However, there are plenty of flavors that include sugar and don’t go in-depth as to how it is sourced. This is important to vegans since a lot of sugar uses bone char as a decolorizing filter which gives it a purer white appearance. This is desirable within the industry, but not if you are vegan.

Bone char is derived from cattle bones, and purchased from abroad, and used to treat sugar cane. There is no trace of it within the sugar, but it still raises questions about ethics.

So, if you see sugar on the ingredients list, try and follow the paper trail and see if the brand is open about whether they treat it with bone char.

Other Non-Vegan Ingredients

This is all down to the flavor, as old-fashioned kettle corn is a simple recipe without anything untoward. 

Some brands like to make their popcorn as sweet as possible, so look out for caramel flavors as these can contain milk, and we’ve already mentioned butter as a common culprit. 

You can also find meat flavorings and honey, two types of ingredients that can make kettle corn non-vegan. Other ingredients to scan the ingredients label for include cheese, whey, lactose, disodium inosinate (which can be derived from fish), sodium caseinate, and even natural flavorings as these can be non-vegan.

How Is Kettle Corn Made?

This is as simple as it gets. Unpopped kernels are heated over oil until it pops. The popped corn is then flavored with salt, sometimes sugar, and is ready to go.

If being flavored with other ingredients, these will be added once it has been popped. The traditional method used large iron cast kettles, where kernels were stirred over lard before being sweetened and flavored. In truth, not a lot has changed.

Brands

Thankfully, there are plenty of brands making vegan options, and the following are some of the most popular:

Angie’s Boomchickapop

As fun as it is to say, it is the vegan recipe that has us most excited. 

The simpler the recipe the better, and as a vegan, you can enjoy two flavors of theirs. Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn Popcorn, and Little Kettle Corn Popcorn. Both options use sunflower oil, sea salt, and 100% cane sugar. 

They get the balance spot on so they are never overly sweet or salty but there is one flavor to avoid. Their Dark Chocolaty Sea Salt option contains milk, so is a no-go. 

Orville

This is a brand that uses palm oil, so many vegans will choose to shop elsewhere. The full ingredient profile reads as follows:

Whole Grain Popping Corn, Palm Oil, Salt, Sucralose, Mixed Tocopherols(Vitamin E for Freshness).​​

Popcorn Indiana

This brand does offer a variety of Kettle Corn flavors, but the sugar content is not specific. By this we mean it is not easy to determine whether they use real sugar or bone char. Because of this, we cannot give it the same seal of approval as other brands. 

Popcornopolis

A popular brand with vegans because they use pure coconut oil. This means there is no contact with animals and not only this, their recipe is gluten and GMO-free.

Is Regular Popcorn Vegan?

Yes, it is. Kernels that have not been popped tend to be unflavored unless certain brands are selling cinema-style popcorn. These are often made with butter so are best avoided.

In the cinema, it is possible to get vegan popcorn as long as it is made without butter. Be sure to ask or check the cinema’s website before going.

How To Make Vegan Kettle Popcorn

There are different ways of making popcorn, but here is our tried and tested method.

Start by mixing 4 tablespoons of kettle corn kernels and half a teaspoon of salt and two tablespoons of sugar. 

Next, add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, and put it in a pan. Add 3 kernels and cover on medium-high heat.

Once the three kernels have popped, add the remaining kernels before covering them again. Shake the pan every few seconds so nothing sticks and this should take around 3 minutes before you have delicious vegan kettle corn.

Final Word

A go-to snack that will never go out of fashion, kettle corn can be enjoyed by vegans if it is made without butter as well as a handful of other ingredients. 

Because some brands are making it the old-fashioned way, you don’t have to make it at home, although that’s never a bad thing.