Vegan Popcorn Flavors to Keep You Coming Back For More

Picture this: you’ve just flopped down to watch a movie or binge your favorite TV series. You grab the remote — and immediately start craving popcorn. There’s just one problem: typical buttery movie popcorn doesn’t exactly fit your vegan diet. But don’t panic — there are plenty of vegan popcorn options out there.

On its own, popcorn is completely vegan. The problem comes when it gets smothered in other ingredients that definitely aren’t vegan, like butter or dairy-based caramel.

But don’t think that means your vegan popcorn has to be boring and bland. With a little creativity, you can spice up your popcorn with any number of vegan flavors that are just as delicious as movie popcorn (if not more so!).

Read on for some vegan popcorn flavoring ideas that are so yummy, they’ll make you forget all about traditional popcorn. 

How to Make Vegan Popcorn

To reiterate, plain popcorn is 100% vegan. But how the popcorn is prepared matters. Steer clear of microwave popcorn (it’s far less healthy anyway), and pop your own with an air popper or on the stovetop. Then, you’ll have total control over the added ingredients.

If you air pop your vegan popcorn, you’ll need some kind of liquid or spray to help the dry ingredients stick. Instead of butter, try tossing the popcorn in olive or coconut oil, or even (very lightly) misting it with water. Now you’re ready to season it!

Vegan Popcorn Flavoring Options

Most of us are programmed to equate popcorn with butter and salt, especially when it’s paired with a movie. But there’s a whole world of flavors to explore, from savory to sweet and beyond.

So for your next movie night, try one of these vegan popcorn flavor ideas instead. You might even convert some of your butter-enjoying friends!

Kettle Corn

You don’t have to look far for vegan popcorn flavors when this one’s already popular. Traditional kettle corn is made with just oil, salt, and sugar, making it an excellent vegan popcorn option.

You do need to be careful with store-bought kettle corn, because sometimes it contains added ingredients or uses butter in place of oil. But as long as you make your own, you’ll be good to go — and you can experiment with the ratio of salty to sweet for your perfect flavor profile. 


Nutritional Yeast

Ever wished you could enjoy the flavor of cheese without the actual cheese? You can! Nutritional yeast is often used as a substitute for cheese flavor in vegan snacks (like our own Outstanding Cheese Balls!) because it satisfies that cheese craving but contains no animal products.

Outstanding Foods: Vegan Popcorn Flavor Ideas

Nutritional yeast
does contain extra nutrients and health benefits, however, and can be sprinkled over the food or snacks of your choice, including vegan popcorn. Shake it liberally over popcorn that’s been lightly tossed in oil or water, dust with salt, and enjoy.

Maple Cinnamon

For a much sweeter vegan popcorn flavor, drizzle a little maple syrup over the top, sprinkle with cinnamon, and toss.

Keep in mind that some varieties of maple syrup aren’t vegan, and just reading the ingredient list won’t always tell you if animal products were used in the syrup’s production. You’ll want to choose your maple syrup carefully. Check with the producer, or choose a brand that carries the MOFGA organic label

Flavor Blends

Add oomph to your vegan popcorn by seasoning it with chili powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, wasabi, citrus, vinegar — you name it. Experiment with combinations like:

  • Sweet and spicy (try chocolate + chili)
  • Lemon pepper
  • Salt and lime
  • Sea salt and vinegar

The best part? When you make your own vegan popcorn, you can make the flavors as strong or mild as you like. 

The Sky’s the Limit

Why box yourself in with “normal” popcorn flavors when you can take your vegan popcorn to whole new levels of flavor? All you need is some self-popped corn, vegan ingredients, and a bit of imagination. Happy popping!

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