Is Movie Theater Popcorn Vegan? (AMC, Regal, etc.)


The fact that most movie theaters cheap out on their ingredients is actually a good thing for us vegans.

A lot of the “butter” flavor that’s added to movie theater popcorn is actually made with soy oil and a few other ingredients.

It depends on the particular theater, but a decent portion of movie theater popcorn is in fact vegan.

I’ll go over the most popular theaters, but you’ll have to contact any others that you’re curious about.

Is AMC Popcorn Vegan?

AMC popcorn is popped in canola oil, which is a good start.

According to their allergen statementplain popcorn without butter is vegan.

However, I found this statement online:

Our popcorn seasoning does contain dairy (milk, in the form of butter). You may request a batch be made without the seasoning and the associates are happy to do so. However, it is all made in the same kettle, so there could be seasoning inside the kettle from all the batches popped.

Avoid the butter (seasoning), and I think most would say that the plain popcorn here is vegan.

Unless you’re allergic, the minimal contamination isn’t a big deal, you’re not contributing to the demand of animal products at all.

Is Regal Cinemas Popcorn Vegan?

I was able to find this response from Regal Cinema’s social media team from a few years ago:

regal popcorn vegan statement

But after reading more, it appears that it varies from theater to theater.

I found reports that while the popcorn and salt were always vegan, the butter topping does in fact contain dairy in some cases.

You’ll need to check at the individual theater you’re visiting if you’re interested in getting  the topping.

Is Cinemark Popcorn Vegan?

Cinemark is the worst of the big theaters for vegans.

While the popcorn is vegan, the popcorn salt is not.

cinemark popcorn vegan statement

You can request them to pop a new batch without popcorn salt, but there would be some contamination from previous batches.

Is Cineplex Popcorn Vegan?

Finally, Cineplex is the best movie theater for vegans.

As stated in their customer support documentation:

Our popcorn is gluten and vegan friendly however, may not be prepared in a gluten-free/vegan-friendly kitchen.

That doesn’t specify about the butter topping, so you’ll have to ask the individual theater you visit about it.

Questions about movie theatre popcorn for vegans to ask

To summarize everything: A decent portion of movie theatre popcorn does in fact turn out to be vegan-friendly. However, this can vary even from theatre to theatre of the same chain.

This means you have to check each different theatre that you may go to. Since many workers aren’t going to necessarily know what is and isn’t vegan, I would recommend asking the following:

  1. What kind of oil is the popcorn popped in? As long as it’s not butter, you should be good.
  2. Does the popcorn seasoning contain any dairy? Pretty much all non-vegan ingredients in popcorn are dairy based.
  3. (optional) If there’s a butter topping that you can add, does it contain butter or other dairy? Ideally it will be soy-based.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. I've spent over 6 years as a freelance nutrition writer and researcher. During this time, I've tested over 50 vegan protein powders, and over 100 other types of vegan supplements.

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