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

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

Unlike most of the Frito-Lay products, Funyuns are made from cornmeal. They have no cholesterol, zero trans fat, and low saturated fat. So while they’re modeled after the traditional onion rings, they’re not offering the same nutrition risks – it’s like they’re almost good for you from that standpoint. 

Funyuns stand out because they have a unique and savory onion flavor, and they’ve always been gluten-free before gluten-free was mainstream. Unfortunately, both the Flamin’ Hot and Original Funyuns are not vegan because they contain milk ingredients like buttermilk, cheese, and several others. 

What did we do when we found out? Well, what we usually do, which is attempting to find equally delicious alternatives. Keep on reading this article for a closer analysis on Funyuns and vegan alternatives.

Funyuns – Ingredients

funyuns ingredients
Image by The Impulse Buy

There are only two varities: the Original Funyuns and the Flamin’ Hot Funyuns.

The Original Funyuns contain the following ingredients:

  • Enriched 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), and Gum Arabic. Contains Milk Ingredients.

Since it contains ingredients like buttermilk, it’s impossible to consider the Original Funyuns as vegan. 

The Flamin’ Hot Funyuns contain the following ingredients:

  • Enriched 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, And Gum Arabic. Contains Milk Ingredients.

The Flamin’ Hot Funyuns contain several milk-derived ingredients such as buttermilk, cheddar cheese, and sodium caseinate, so they’re not suitable for vegans. 

Recommended Read: Are Lays Suitable for Vegans?

Vegan Alternatives to Funyuns

We found a few alternatives to Funyuns: Wise’s Onion Rings, Munchos Flamin’ Hot Potato Chips, and Trader Joe’s Baked Onion Rings. 

While I can’t speak from experience on whether these alternatives are delicious, they don’t have animal ingredients, and they seem to be available in popular retailers. 

Wise Onion Rings

 

Wise’s Onion Rings contain the following ingredients:

  • Modified Corn Starch, Tapioca Starch, Vegetable Oil (Contains one or more of the Following: Corn, Cottonseed, Soybean, or Sunflower Oil), Onion Powder, Potato Flour, Salt, Sugar, Torula Yeast, Hydrolyzed Torula Yeast Proteins, Hydrolyzed Brewers Yeast Proteins, Monosodium Glutamate (Flavor Enhancer), Garlic Powder, Paprika, Spice Extractive Flavorings, Yellow No. 5, Yellow No. 6, Red No. 3, Blue Number 1.

This product doesn’t contain animal ingredients, but I’m aware that some vegans take issue with ingredients such as sugar, and artificial colors. Reason being is that sugar is sometimes processed with a property called bone char (which are essentially bones derived from cattle) and the artificial colors are still tested on animals to this day.

However, Wise’s Onion Rings don’t contain the usual suspects, so by most vegans standards, they’re vegan. 

Recommended Read: Are Ruffles Suitable For Vegans?

Munchos Flaming Hot Potato Chips

 

Typically, it’s very difficult to find a Flamin’ Hot product without ingredients like milk or cheese, but Munchos Flaming Hot Potato Chips seem to be an outlier that was even recognized by PETA as a perfect alternative to the Flamin’ Hot Funyuns. 

Munchos’ Flaming Hot Potato Chips have the following ingredients:

  • Modified Corn Starch, Tapioca Starch, Vegetable Oil (Contains one or more of the Following: Corn, Cottonseed, Soybean, or Sunflower Oil), Onion Powder, Potato Flour, Salt, Sugar, Torula Yeast, Hydrolyzed Torula Yeast Proteins, Hydrolyzed Brewers Yeast Proteins, Monosodium Glutamate (Flavor Enhancer), Garlic Powder, Paprika, Spice Extractive Flavorings, Yellow No. 5, Yellow No. 6, Red No. 3, Blue Number 1.

As you’re able to check, these potato chips don’t contain animal derivatives, but it has controversial ingredients like sugar and artificial colors, which some vegans choose to avoid.

We know for a fact that artificial colors are routinely tested on animals, but with sugar is different, because bone char is not always used to refine it. 

For most vegans this product is something they can eat. 

Recommended Read: Are Terra Chips Vegan? – Quick Product Breakdown

Trader Joe’s Baked Onion Rings

trader joe's baked onion rings

We came across this alternative on Reddit, and according to the opinions there, this product tastes legitimately like onions, and is delicious. 

Trader Joe’s Baked Onion Rings contain the following ingredients:

  • Cornmeal, Rice Flour, Sunflower and/or Safflower Oil, Cane Sugar, Seasoning (Salt, Dehydrated Onion and Garlic, Natural Flavor, Parsley, Citric Acid).

Unlike the other two alternatives, this one isn’t as ingredient-heavy, and while it contains cane sugar, it doesn’t have the unhealthy artificial colors. 

While I don’t think you can find it online, you should be able to get in a Trader Joe’s near you. 

Recommended Read: Are Sunbites Vegan? Which Flavors Are Vegan?

Summary

Unfortunately, both the Original Funyuns and Flamin’ Hot Funyuns are not vegan. They both contain animal ingredients, predominantly dairy. 

However, there are three alternatives we have found to be quite interesting: Wise’s Onion Rings, Munchos Flaming Hot Potato Chips, and Trader Joe’s Baked Onion Rings.

While they contain controversial ingredients like sugar (which may be refined with bone char) and artificial colors (which are sometimes tested on animals), they don’t have any animal ingredients.  

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than three years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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