Are Hot Funyuns Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

August 18, 2023

Identifying whether Hot Funyuns are vegan is no easy task. 

The difficulty lies in manufacturers often obscuring the true nature and sources of their ingredients. 

Nevertheless, this article aims to shine a light on the truth and support you in maintaining your compassionate vegan lifestyle.

Are Hot Funyuns Vegan?

Hot Funyuns are not vegan. The reasons behind this lie in the ingredients used to make these flamin’ hot onion flavored rings. Specifically, milk ingredients, buttermilk powder, cheese cultures, and nonfat milk all contribute to Hot Funyuns’ non-vegan status.

Are Hot Funyuns Cruelty-Free?

Unfortunately, Hot Funyuns are also not cruelty-free. The presence of dairy-based ingredients such as milk ingredients, buttermilk powder, nonfat milk, and cheese cultures implies the involvement of animal agriculture, which is known for practices that are not in line with a cruelty-free lifestyle.

What Are Hot Funyuns Made Of?

Hot Funyuns are a spicy and crunchy snack that many people love. Made from a blend of ingredients, they offer a unique taste and texture that’s hard to resist. Here’s a detailed look into the ingredients that make up Hot Funyuns:

  • Enriched corn meal
  • Cornmeal
  • Ferrous sulfate
  • Niacin
  • Thiamin mononitrate
  • Riboflavin
  • Folic acid
  • Vegetable oil
  • Corn oil and/or canola oil and/or sunflower oil
  • Salt
  • Cornstarch
  • Corn flour
  • Buttermilk
  • Sugar
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Yeast extract
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Milk
  • Cheese cultures
  • Salt
  • Enzymes
  • Artificial color
  • Food coloring: red 40 lake, yellow 6 lake
  • Citric acid
  • Whey
  • Onion powder
  • Maltodextrin (made from corn)
  • Lactose
  • Garlic powder
  • Natural and artificial flavor
  • Skim milk
  • Sodium diacetate
  • Gum arabic
  • Onion extracts

Enriched Corn Meal

Enriched corn meal is cornmeal with added nutrients, derived from ground corn. It forms the primary structure of Hot Funyuns and is vegan.


Cornmeal is flour from dried corn. It contributes to the snack’s texture and is vegan.

Ferrous Sulfate

This is a form of iron for nutritional enrichment. It’s synthetically derived and vegan.


Niacin, or vitamin B3, aids metabolism. It can be synthetically or naturally derived and is typically vegan, though it’s sometimes sourced from animals.

Thiamin Mononitrate

This is a source of Vitamin B1. It’s added for nutritional value, is synthetically made, and vegan.


Riboflavin or Vitamin B2 supports energy production. It’s added for its nutritional benefits. It’s typically vegan, but can sometimes be sourced from animal products. There’s no way to know for sure.

Folic Acid

Folic acid supports cell division. It’s synthetically derived for enrichment and is vegan.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil provides fat content. It’s derived from various plants and is vegan.

Corn Oil

Corn oil adds to the fat content. Sourced from corn kernels, it’s vegan.

Canola Oil

Canola oil is another source of fats. Derived from the canola plant, it’s vegan.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil provides essential fats. Extracted from sunflower seeds, it’s vegan.


Salt enhances flavor. It’s mined or sea-derived and is vegan.


Cornstarch thickens and provides texture. Made from corn, it’s vegan.

Corn Flour

Corn flour contributes to the snack’s structure. Derived from corn, it’s vegan.


Buttermilk adds a tangy flavor. It’s derived from milk and is not vegan.


Sugar sweetens the snack. Sourced from sugarcane or beets, it’s typically vegan.

Monosodium Glutamate

MSG enhances flavor. It’s synthetically derived and vegan.

Yeast Extract

Yeast extract adds umami flavor. Derived from yeast, it’s vegan.

Cheddar Cheese

Cheddar cheese provides a cheesy taste. Made from cow’s milk, it’s not vegan.


Milk adds creaminess. It’s sourced from cows and is not vegan.

Cheese Cultures

Cheese cultures ferment the milk. Derived from bacteria, they can be vegan, but some starter cultures contain other ingredients that make them non-vegan.


Enzymes aid in cheese production. Their source varies, so they may or may not be vegan.

Artificial Color

Artificial colors enhance appearance. They’re synthetically made and typically vegan.

Red 40 Lake and Yellow 6 Lake

These are synthetic dyes for color. They’re vegan, but they are not cruelty-free. They’re routinely tested on animals.

Citric Acid

Citric acid adds tanginess. Derived from citrus fruits or synthetically made, it’s vegan.


Whey is a milk by-product. It adds flavor and is not vegan.

Onion Powder

Onion powder enhances flavor. Made from dried onions, it’s vegan.


Maltodextrin provides texture. Derived from corn, it’s vegan.


Lactose is a milk sugar. It adds sweetness and is not vegan.

Garlic Powder

Garlic powder adds flavor. Made from dried garlic, it’s vegan.

Natural and Artificial Flavor

These flavors enhance taste. Their sources vary, but they’re typically vegan.

Skim Milk

Skim milk adds creaminess. It’s derived from cow’s milk and is not vegan.

Sodium Diacetate

This compound adds tanginess. It’s synthetically derived and vegan.

Gum Arabic

Gum Arabic provides texture. Sourced from the acacia tree, it’s vegan.

Onion Extracts

Onion extracts enhance flavor. Derived from onions, they’re vegan.

Vegan Alternatives to Hot Funyuns

While Hot Funyuns may not align with a vegan diet, there is a plethora of alternatives that can satisfy your spicy snack cravings:


While they may tantalize your taste buds with their fiery flavor, Hot Funyuns do not meet the standards of a vegan or cruelty-free diet due to the presence of various milk-derived ingredients. 

However, with an abundance of flavorful and cruelty-free food alternatives available from various ethical brands, it’s possible to make a choice that aligns with your ethical values and supports the health of our planet.

Keep on veganing!