yellow popcorn popper next to two boxes of Popsmith popcorn on a red background

Is Popcorn Gluten Free? Here’s What You Should Know

Does popcorn have gluten? It’s a valid question for many folks on a gluten free diet, so here’s a guide that will help you make informed choices.

Popcorn is high up on the list of best snacks. It’s easy to prepare, versatile, and so darn addicting. Plus, it can be pretty healthy

Yet when you have a gluten sensitivity, you can’t help but ask — is popcorn gluten free? We can’t give a black-and-white answer, so we hope this blog post clears up any confusion!

Does Popcorn Have Gluten?

To answer this question, let’s do a quick science lesson. Popcorn is a type of corn, which is a whole grain. Gluten is a protein. It’s present in rye, wheat, and barley. It’s not in corn. That means popcorn, in its purest form, is naturally gluten free. 

Is All Popcorn Gluten Free?

Most popcorn is gluten free, but some may have been handled in a plant that also produces nut products or could contain flavoring with gluten.

Take bagged caramel popcorn, for example. One thing you might see listed among the ingredients is malt syrup. This syrup is a popular sweetener used in caramel corn, cereals, and baked treats, but since it’s derived from barley, it has gluten.  

Is Movie Theater Popcorn Gluten Free?

A box of Popsmith Oh Sooo Buttery Popcorn surrounded by popcorn
With an aroma you can smell the minute you walk in the cinema, it takes a strong person to resist movie theater butter popcorn. You might want to take a risk and grab even a small bucket of the snack. 

But even if movie theaters don’t use real butter to flavor the popcorn, you don’t want to take any chances because cross-contamination is still a risk. 

To play it safe, look for a different snack or if you’re really craving popcorn, sneak in your own. Our Oh Sooo Buttery Popcorn doesn’t just taste like classic movie popcorn — it’s also gluten free, vegan, and kosher. There’s no need to compromise your dietary needs and movie experience!

How to Ensure Your Popcorn Is Gluten Free

Here are some tips you can follow to avoid accidentally consuming gluten:

Always Read the Label

 Man reads the back of an Oh Sooo Buttery Popcorn box

Look at the popcorn’s packaging — most brands will highlight when their product is gluten free. If you see a third-party certification, go ahead and buy it. It’s guaranteed to have been tested for gluten. 

You also want to keep an eye out for statements like “processed in a facility that also processes wheat” or “may contain traces of wheat.” This would tell you that the popcorn could be contaminated. 

Check the Ingredients

If there’s no label indicating the popcorn is gluten free, not all hope is lost. You just have to go through the ingredient list and keep an eye out for any of the following:

  • Wheat, wheat starch
  • Barley 
  • Rye
  • Malt flavor, malt extract, malt syrup
  • Oats, oat flour, oat bran 
  • Natural flavor from barley
  • Smoke flavor from barley

Google any ingredient that looks questionable, too. Your hunch may be right!

Make It Yourself

Woman pours popcorn from Popper into a wooden bowl

Another way to guarantee whether popcorn is gluten free is to make the snack yourself. You’ve got two options — you can either air pop the kernels or use a stovetop popcorn popper like the Popsmith (here’s how to use it to make perfect popcorn every time). 

Whichever option you choose is fine. What matters is you have total control over the ingredients. You don’t have to stick with plain popcorn. You can add gluten free mix-ins and seasoning to create a delicious treat. 

So, What’s the Verdict?

Popcorn is generally gluten free, so if you have Celiac disease or simply want to avoid gluten due to personal preferences, you can add it to your list of safe snacks.

But — and it’s a huge but — you have to double-check the label for any red flag ingredients. Or better yet, see if it’s explicitly labeled gluten free like our popcorn kits.

What’s your favorite gluten free snack? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to check out our blog for more popcorn trivia!

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