Are Funyuns Vegan? Here’s All You Need to Know

Are Funyuns vegan? The snack food, which comes in several different forms, including chips and onion rings, has been on the market since 1963.

Many people love the way it tastes and its iconic ring shape, but some people wonder whether or not it’s vegan-friendly.

Is this something you’ve wondered about? If so, here’s everything you need to know about whether or not Funyuns are vegan.

What are Funyuns?

Funyuns are a form of onion ring that comes in a yellow box. Funyuns come in three different flavors:

  • Original – which has no cheese.
  • BBQ – with cheese.
  • Hot – also with cheese. 

Funyuns are part of Frito-Lay’s brand of snacks. Are Funyuns vegan? What ingredients do they contain? Keep reading to find out!

What Are Their Main Ingredients?

Funyuns are not a vegan product, as they contain gelatin (which is made from animal bones). Funyuns also contain corn syrup, which can be made using a number of different agents.

Corn syrup can be produced from different sweeteners (cane sugar or corn sugar) that have been broken down and the excess liquid removed; it’s one of the main ingredients in most candy bars.

How Are They Made?

Funyuns are made from a mixture of wheat flour, salt, yeast, vegetable oil, and onion powder. Sometimes they’re also flavored with an artificial cheese powder as well as preservatives. Yum! 

Funyuns are processed like other fried snacks – extruded through an auger that forms them into small cylindrical shapes; these are then moved on to be fried and baked before being coated with salty seasonings.

Let’s break this down for all of you who are willing to try this at home! 

The extrusion process starts with basic cornmeal. The cornmeal is mixed with water in a giant hopper, and then the batter is created. Following, the mixture goes through an extrusion machine that kneads and heats it along a central screw. 

As it flows, the dough continues to warm up. Once it is forced out of the chamber, the dough hits a lower pressure and rapidly expands. This creates a popcorn effect which provides the Funyun with its distinctive onion ring shape.

The Funyuns are supposed to be uniform at all times. The onion rings are then put in a fryer where they get their nice coating and an intensive salt and onion mix flavors.    

The Original Funyuns 

The Original Funyuns contain Corn Meal (Corn Meal, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn, and/or Canola Oil), and less than 2% of the Following: Salt, Corn Starch, Sugar, Corn Flour, Buttermilk Powder, Maltodextrin (Made from Corn), Onion Powder, Monosodium Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Dextrose, Garlic Powder, Natural Flavors (Including Natural Onion Flavor), Gum Arabic, and Milk Ingredients.

Because of ingredients like buttermilk, it is out of the question to consider them vegan. 

The Hot Funyuns

The Hot Funyuns contain Corn Meal (Corn Meal, Ferrous Sulfate, Niacin, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, And Folic Acid), Corn And/or Soybean Oil, Salt, Corn Starch, Buttermilk, Sugar, Corn Flour, Monosodium Glutamate, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Sunflower Oil, Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten, Artificial Color (Red 40 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake), Citric Acid, Whey, Onion Powder, Corn Syrup Solids, Lactose, Garlic Powder, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Corn Maltodextrin, Nonfat Milk, Sodium Caseinate, Disodium Phosphate, Sodium Diacetate, Extractive of Onion, Gum Arabic, and Milk Ingredients.

The Hot Funyuns are not considered vegan as well. 

Controversies Around Funyuns

There’s a lot of debate about whether or not products like Funyuns are vegan. Is no meat, fish, poultry, or dairy products used in processing good enough to make it all-vegan? 

Some people say yes, others argue that if you read between the lines and consider what is in things like dextrose and autolyzed yeast extract, those ingredients aren’t vegan and can be from animal sources. 

Are They Vegan-Friendly?

Funyuns are not vegan friendly because they contain several animal products and byproducts.

The following ingredients are used in Funyuns, many of which are not vegan: beef gelatin, whey, whey protein concentrate, sodium caseinate, dried buttermilk powder, and several other animal-derived ingredients.

Are Funyuns Dairy-Free?

Funyuns are not dairy-free. Funyuns contain whey and casein, which are both milk-derived ingredients. Because of these ingredients, Funyuns should be avoided by those who are lactose intolerant or have an allergy to milk products.

Additionally, Funyuns may contain trace amounts of eggs and fish products as with other fried snacks.

Are Funyuns Keto-Friendly?

Another hard no. They are not Keto-Friendly products. 

Funyuns are high-carb processed food, and they can have a serious impact on ketosis. If any of you follow the keto diet, try to avoid the Funyuns. 

Are Funyuns Gluten-Free? 

These delicious onion rings do not have any gluten ingredients. Still, they are produced on the same lines that gluten products are processed. Because of this, it is recommended that you avoid them if you are highly sensitive to gluten. 

Vegan Alternatives to Funyuns

Here are a few great vegan alternatives to Funyuns:

  1. Wise Onion Rings – the product does not contain animal ingredients, but it has some artificial colors and sugars.
  2. Munchos Flaming Hot Potato Chips – recognized by PETA, these chips are the perfect alternative to the Hot Funyuns.
  3. Traders Joe’s Baked Onion Rings – a light product that contains cornmeal, flour, cane sugar, and dehydrated onion and garlic.

Conclusion

Sadly, the delicious Funyuns are not vegan-friendly. They contain numerous animal ingredients, in most cases dairy. Although they are one of the most popular go-to snacks with their crispy and delicious crunchy texture, they are not vegan, Keto-friendly, or Gluten-free.   

With this being said, it doesn’t mean that you will not be able to enjoy the perfect snack once in a while. In this article, we presented the three best alternatives to the Funyuns.

We know that they may not be the same as the Flaming Hot Funyuns, but they are the perfect vegan replacement. 

We encourage you to try the Wise Onion Rings, Munchos Flaming Hot, or Traders Joe’s Baked Onion Rings and enjoy a flavored snack without worrying about any animal-based ingredients!

Brett White
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