For years I’ve seen Trader Joe’s Caramel Popcorn next to the organic popcorn kernels we buy regularly. I just assumed it contained dairy and never bothered to read the ingredients. After all, caramel usually contain butter, and sometimes cream.
But Tony and I were enjoying some sleuthing through the store last week, and I decided to take a look. Low and behold, it’s not only dairy-free by ingredients, but also gluten-free and vegan! And the price seemed so fair that I simply had to pick up a bag to review.
As a heads up, Trader Joe’s seasonal Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn does contain dairy. I’m sharing the original caramel popcorn, and I believe it’s available year round.
Tasting Notes for Trader Joe’s Caramel Popcorn
I was surprised by the perfect puff and fresh taste of each jumbo popped kernel. They weren’t the least bit stale or flat as other brands can be. And the caramel coating was thin, but so perfectly uniform. It created a delightfully crispy shell that completely en-robed every piece.
As for the taste, it is a butterscotchy caramel with a very, very sweet finish. Don’t get me wrong, it’s tasty, but I was shocked by just how sugary it was. I highly recommend it for parties, gift baskets, or when you are simply craving a sweet treat. It definitely has “I can’t believe it’s dairy free” appeal.
To tame the sweetness, I really liked Trader Joe’s Caramel Popcorn drizzled with dark chocolate and/or tossed with some lightly salted nuts or seeds. As is, it is quite high in sugars, but is actually virtually fat free with 0 grams of fat per serving. It has a negligible amount of fat from the oil in the ingredients.
Essential Details of Trader Joe’s Caramel Popcorn
- The ingredients are Cane Sugar, Popcorn, Brown Rice Syrup, Sunflower Oil, Salt, Soy Lecithin, and Sodium Bicarbonate.
- It is certified Kosher Dairy, which means it is probably made on equipment that produces other dairy-based products. This could indicate a higher risk for cross contamination. There is also an allergen note that this product “may contain traces of milk, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashew, pecans.” As always, you should contact the manufacturer if potential cross-contamination with any allergen is a concern.
The Facts on Trader Joe’s Caramel Popcorn
Availability: Trader Joe’s Caramel Popcorn is sold exclusively at Trader Joe’s stores in the United States.
Certifications: Trader Joe’s Caramel Popcorn is Certified Kosher Dairy, but this does not mean it contain dairy in terms of ingredients. See our Kosher Guide for more details on the different certifications.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Cake Mix is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, vegan, and vegetarian. Nonetheless, check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
For More Product Information: Visit your local Trader Joe’s store or contact them directly via their website at www.traderjoes.com.