Is Popcorn Gluten Free?

Those who suffer from celiac disease really need to stay away from gluten. Gluten is a protein found in rye, wheat products, barley and certain other grains. Gluten is a main ingredient in many types of snack food, such as baked goods, candies, chips, and crackers. If you have celiac disease, eating even a little bit of gluten in food can result in serious illness. But what about eating popcorn?

Is Popcorn Gluten Free?

The answer is that, yes, it is gluten free. Corn is a different type of grain than those that contain gluten and it actually doesn't contain any gluten at all. Most popcorn just contains corn, oil, and maybe butter—none of which have gluten. All these mean that those with celiac disease are able to eat it.

However, in actual practice, there are other things to consider when deciding to eat "gluten free" popcorn. There can be cross contamination if the popcorn was made at a factory that also makes other kinds of snack foods containing gluten. If the packaging doesn't actually say that the popcorn is "gluten free", it may actually contain gluten from other products made at the same factory.

If the popcorn contains certain flavorings or spices, they may also have gluten in them and shouldn't be eaten by those who have celiac disease. So it is advised to read all of the ingredients on the label to make sure that the popcorn is completely safe to eat. This is true of pre-popped popcorn, microwaved popcorn, or popcorn you actually pop on your own. You need to make sure there are no flavorings on them or that the flavorings are free of gluten before eating the popcorn. If you put certain flavorings on the popcorn, the answer to "is popcorn gluten free" might be "no".


While popcorn is usually considered a healthy snack, even for those with celiac disease, it can become not healthy if you use a lot of salt, oil, or sugar to prepare it with. Consider movie theater popcorn for example: One medium bag of this type of popcorn contains about 720 calories per bag as well as 1,860 mg of sodium and a whopping 48 grams of fat. This is not that healthy if you know most 2,000 calorie diets should have no more than 67 grams of fat each day and about 2,300 mg of sodium each day.

Make Your Own Gluten Free Popcorn

There is a way to make your own gluten free popcorn so that the answer to "is popcorn gluten free" can be an unequivocal “yes”. Here is a recipe you can easily do:

Total Time: 75 minutes Yield: 5 quarts of popcorn



Fresh popcorn

5 quarts

Agave syrup or light corn syrup

½ cup

Brown sugar

2 cups


1 cup or two sticks

Cream of tartar

¼ teaspoon

Vanilla extract

1 teaspoon

Baking soda

1 teaspoon


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Pop five quarts of popcorn and put inside a big roasting pan.
  3. Mix the rest of the ingredients (except the vanilla and baking soda) together in a large pan and cook over medium heat, slowly stirring until the mixture melts.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for five minutes while stirring.
  5. Remove from the heat source.
  6. Mix in baking soda and vanilla to the boiled mixture.
  7. Pour the hot mixture over the popcorn and stir to coat the popcorn completely.
  8. Bake at 250 degrees for one hour, stirring the popcorn every fifteen minutes.
  9. Cool on a large baking sheet, using a spatula to break up larger clumps of caramel corn.Then just enjoy it!

More Gluten Free Snacks

You have found the answer to "Is popcorn gluten free" and may want to know more snacks that celiac disease sufferers can enjoy that don't contain any gluten in them. Then the following list should be your choices:

  • Raisins and peanut butter on celery. Use natural peanut butter that is gluten free and spread it on stalks of celery. Put raisins on top for a healthy and gluten free snack. Peanut butter is high in protein and monounsaturated fat, and the raisins have complex carbohydrates and fiber in them.
  • Nuts and fresh fruit. These are both gluten free. The combination provides you with plenty of healthy fats, carbohydrates and good protein.
  • Baked corn tortilla chips and fresh guacamole. Be sure to use guacamole that has no preservatives. The guacamole should just contain the mashed avocados, garlic, onion, lime juice, jalapeno peppers and tomatoes. You can enjoy the healthy fats from avocado and carbs from the corn tortilla chips, as well as a small amount of protein in them.
  • A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on gluten free bread. This is a good snack to feed children and is a great source of protein, carbs, and healthy fats.
  • Trail mix. You make this by combining raisins, nuts, M&Ms or chocolate chips. This makes for a salty, sweet treat.
  • Baked potato with chives, and low fat mozzarella cheese. This contains carbs, protein, fat and a lot of good fiber.
  • Carrot sticks with dressing that is gluten free. This involves healthy vegetables with tasty dip, which is a good source of carotenes, fat, vitamin A, and healthy complex carbohydrates.
  • Low fat yogurt with high fiber gluten free cereal and fruit. This is something you can experiment with until you get the right combination of yogurt, cereal, and fruit. This snack is high in calcium, protein, and complex carbohydrates.
  • Store bought treats. You can look through the gluten free section at the supermarket for specially made crackers, cookies, and pretzels that have been made without gluten.