Trader Joe’s Caramel Popcorn is a Sweet Vegan, Gluten-Free Treat


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.

Trader Joe's Caramel Popcorn Review - a surprisingly dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan treat

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.


Trader Joe's Caramel Popcorn Review - a surprisingly dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan treatIngredients: cane sugar, popcorn, brown rice syrup, sunflower oil, salt, soy lecithin, and sodium bicarbonate. contains soy. may contain traces of milk, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashew, pecans.

Nutrition (per 3/4 cup): 120 calories, 0g fat, 28g carbs, 1g fiber, 21g sugars, 1g protein.*

Trader Joe's Caramel Popcorn Review - a surprisingly dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan treat

The Facts on Trader Joe’s Caramel Popcorn

Price: $1.69 per 7-ounce bag

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 D (for dairy equipment, not ingredients; see our Understanding Kosher Guide).

Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Trader Joe’s Caramel Popcorn is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, vegan, and vegetarian*

For More Product Information: Visit your local Trader Joe’s store or contact them directly via their website at

*Always read the ingredient and nutrition statement prior to consumption. Ingredients, processes, and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company or product. Contact the company to discuss their manufacturing processes if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. No food product can be guaranteed “safe” for every individual’s needs. You should never rely on ingredient and allergen statements alone if dealing with a severe food allergy. 

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What Others Are Saying ...

Perfectly popped and very sweet

Rated 4 out of 5
March 4, 2019

The big puffs of popcorn were perfectly tender and have a VERY sweet, crispy caramel coating. This is a sugary treat for special occasions, and a great value for sharing at parties. Read on for more details & info …

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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