Are Funyuns Gluten Free. Recipes, Info and More

  • Funyuns are onion-flavored snacks, popularly enjoyed in America.
  • The key ingredient in Funyuns is cornmeal.
  • It is naturally gluten free and is usually a safe snack for most celiac patients.
  • It is not certified as a gluten free item and may contain trace gluten. 

Are Funyuns gluten free? I just love those onion rings! When I found out I have Celiac, this was one of the first things that came to my mind.

So naturally, we belive there are many people who would like to know if it’s safe to eat it. Read below.

When Raj on The Big Bang Theory said, “Oh, my God! I just got it. Fun onions. Funyuns!”, we all felt that.

Funyuns are among the most favorite munchies of Americans. These crunchy corn snacks with the flavor of onions are just delightful! But there’s one essential question – are Funyuns gluten free?

Funyuns, made as a replacement for fried onions, are a popular product manufactured by Frito-Lay and are made of ingredients that are naturally gluten free, i.e., there’s no gluten grain used in making your favorite snack.

But it is not labeled gluten free. Besides, there’s also a possibility of cross-contamination. 

Are Funyuns Gluten Free – What are Funyuns

Funyuns are a popular snack with both children and adults addicted to the crunchy, spicy faux onion rings. In case you didn’t know, Funyuns are not made of onions.

They are made of cornmeal to resemble the look and texture of onion rings. Its taste comes from a spice mix containing salt and onion powder.

There are other ingredients that go into making it, as well, like vitamin and mineral compounds, salts, and other additives to improve the flavor and texture of the product.

The website of Frito Lay mentions that Funyuns do not contain gluten-rich products. The list of ingredients also confirms the same. 

But is it safe for consumption if you are allergic to gluten? If only things were that easy!

It’s true that Funyuns are made of naturally gluten free ingredients. But that’s not a confirmation that the product is completely free from any gluten content. The chances of cross-contamination can’t be eliminated. 

The first thing to note is that Funyuns are made in the same facilities as many other gluten-containing products made by the company.

Frito-Lay confirms that the manufacturing facilities are cleaned between each line to prevent cross-contamination. Yet, this might be a problem if you’re severely allergic. 

Funyuns do not come with a “gluten free” label, which means that the product is not tested for gluten content.

At various levels of manufacturing and processing, Funyuns or its ingredients may end up with small amounts of gluten as a result of cross-contamination, i.e., coming into contact with gluten. 

There’s a high possibility that Funyuns contain traces of gluten amounting to more than the permitted level of gluten content, i.e., 20 ppm.

This could be unsafe for you. Even if this snack only contains trace gluten, which doesn’t harm everyone who’s allergic, it’s better if you’re careful about consuming it.

Usually, people without high sensitivity don’t face allergic reactions from trace gluten.

Funyuns are among the naturally gluten free items that don’t cause allergic reactions in most celiac patients, except maybe in a few isolated cases.

But it’s best to eat small amounts to see how your body reacts to it. 

Funyuns Ingredients and Nutritional Value

Most people with gluten allergy or celiac disease or just any other form of allergy trust Funyuns and enjoy it without any particular health concern.

You already know why – it is made of gluten free ingredients, even though it is not tested for trace gluten. Let’s take a closer look at the products that go into making this snack.

Ingredients of Funyuns are – 

  1. Enriched cornmeal, i.e., cornmeal with added ferrous acid, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine mononitrate
  2. Vegetable oil extracted from canola, corn, and/or sunflower
  3. Onion Powder
  4. Sugar
  5. Salt
  6. MSG
  7. Corn starch
  8. Corn flour
  9. Buttermilk 
  10. Maltodextrin 
  11. Dextrose
  12. Garlic powder
  13. Hydrolyzed corn protein
  14. Dextrose
  15. Natural Flavors 
  16. Gum Arabic 

Each serving of Funyuns, which has roughly 13 rings, has about 140 calories, of which 60 calories come from fat.

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It contains 18 g of carbs, 7 g of fat, and 2 g of protein, along with 0.5 g of fibers. It also contains 270 mg of sodium.

This snack has no cholesterol content. Interestingly, it contains added vitamins.

Are Funyuns Healthy? 

You’d think that just like any other pre-packaged snack, Funyuns, too, are not exactly healthy.

You’ll be surprised to know that it is one of the healthier snacks available in the market.

In fact, it is quite different from most of the Frito-Lay snacks, as Funyuns are made using cornmeal, a healthier option than flour. 

It gets better! Funyuns are not only free from cholesterol but also trans fat and saturated fat.

Another great thing about Funyuns is that they are not greasy. This means that you can enjoy the light snack without your fingers getting covered in spices and snack dust – or rubbing them inside your pockets!

A Little about Funyuns

Funyuns, the popular onion-flavored corn rings, are a product of Pepsico’s Frito-Lay and have been making Americans happy for four long decades.

It was launched in the US in 1969. It was invented by an employee of the company, George Bigner. Fun fact: Funyuns are known as Cebolitos in Brazil.   

Earlier, the bag of Funyuns had a transparent “window” so you could see the rings inside.

But in 2005, the packaging was changed to follow the design of the other products of Frito-Lays.

This window was replaced with a photograph of the snacks. That’s something new and fun for millennials, right?  

The product was actually supposed to be named OnYums. But Rudolph Foods owned the registered trademark of this name.

Thus, the name by which we know this bag of deliciousness was given by a copywriter, Professor Jim Albright, who was associated with the University of North Texas. 

Funyuns – and the Seventies

Ask anyone who grew up in America in the 70s, and they will tell you that Funyuns are associated with the history of the country.

Well, it did come about at a time when history was being made. 1969 was the year in which the Americans had set foot on the moon. With that, the Funyuns reached the seventies.

The deaths of Jimmy Hendrix, Elvis Presley, and many more left the world in tears in that decade.

Reality TV entered our drawing rooms, and Stephen King’s first novel reached our bookshelves.

The Disco era began, and the Vietnam war ended. The Muppet Show, Wonder Woman, and the Star Wars came along.

As 70’s kids walked to their friends’ homes to meet them instead of Facetiming, without worrying about safety, they happily dug into a bag of Funyuns.

Meanwhile, for young men in long locks and women in pixie cuts found respite from their existential crisis in the 70’s candies – and, of course, the fun onions! 

You can still enjoy the taste of Funyuns that the people in the seventies did, i.e., the Original Funyuns.

Over the years, they have also launched other flavors, some of which were discontinued, too.

But the Original flavor has grown to become a favorite, be it at a sporting event or simply while Netflixing.

The Continuing Appeal of Funyuns

There was once a time when Funyuns started replacing fried onion rings in homemade green bean casseroles.

Some people even used crushed Funyuns as a turkey coating at Thanksgiving.

From Breaking Bad to How I Met Your Mother and even The Big Bang Theory, the love for Funyuns has been evident.   

Frito-Lay is itself aware of the product’s appeal and does not push the snack a lot.

They market it as “a deliciously different snack that’s fun to eat,” and they are not wrong!

Funyuns are mostly safe for people with different allergies, though it does contain less than 2% of dairy product in the form of buttermilk. 

The nostalgia associated with Funyuns is strong, and people in America seem to inherit their love for the snack.

They make a lighter and healthier snack option. It’s a cornmeal snack with the flavor of onion and is not loaded with all the grease and flour that you’ll find in real onion rings. Plus, it’s quite versatile. 

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The nostalgia associated with Funyuns is strong, and people in America seem to inherit their love for the snack.

They make a lighter and healthier snack option. It’s a cornmeal snack with the flavor of onion and is not loaded with all the grease and flour that you’ll find in real onion rings. Plus, it’s quite versatile. 

Gluten Free Onion Snacks as a Replacement for Funyuns

Most people with celiac disease have no complaints against Funyuns. However, if you are severely sensitive and would like to avoid every possibility of getting affected by trace gluten, you can pick onion rings that are labeled gluten free.

There are a few brands that offer certified gluten free onion snacks.

Gluten free onion ring brands that you can try are as follows – 

are funyuns gluten free
via cosmos

Cosmos Creations

If you are looking for pre-packed onion snacks that can replace Funyuns, try Cosmos Creations’ onion rings. The brand has different flavors of the snack. The best part is that the bag clearly flaunts its gluten free status, which means that it is absolutely safe for you. It’s also healthier because it is a baked snack.

Raw Food Central 

Another incredible onion snack that can replace Funyuns is produced by Raw Food Central. It’s a vegan option that does not contain any grain and is labeled as a gluten free product. The product is also certified as organic, kosher, and non-GMO. But it contains nuts. So be careful if you’re allergic.

Ian’s All Natural

The first thing to know about the onion rings produced by Ian’s All Natural is that they are not your ready-to-eat snack. They are raw, and you have to cook them before you can eat them. If you don’t mind walking into the kitchen, this snack can be a healthy alternative. It’s labeled gluten free and is safe.   

are funyuns gluten free
via tesco

Tesco

The battered onion rings, brought to you by Tesco, cannot be eaten straight from the bag. You have to cook them before you can devour them. The snack pack clearly marks that the batter is gluten free. Therefore, you can eat it without worrying about getting allergic reactions. It’s also dairy-free.

are funyuns gluten free

Mash Direct

The beer-battered onion rings produced by Mash Direct come in a pack full of golden deliciousness. The product is marked gluten free, and the company website clarifies that it is a gluten-removed product to bring the level down to 7.5 ppm, while the permitted gluten limit is 20 ppm. It also uses gluten free beer. 

These gluten free onion rings can be your replacement for Funyuns. If you’re unable to find them in local stores, you can always get them online and stock them at home.

You can go for onion rings ready to be eaten straight out of the bag or choose the battered ones that you can fry or bake any time at home.

Gluten Free Onion Ring Recipes 

Most people with severe gluten allergy or celiac disease get into the habit of cooking everything at home as they are tired of missing out on delicious food options available in the market.

You can make onion rings at home to snack on, and they can be as simple or fancy as you want – without any gluten content!

Gluten Free Beer-Battered Onion Rings 

are funyuns gluten free
Illustration only – results may differ

Beer batter can make everything better. But for celiac patients, both beer and batter come with warning signs.

However, you can make this delicious snack by choosing gluten free options for cooking. Let’s check it out!

Ingredients:

  • Yellow onion (large) – 1 piece (peeled and cut into half-inch rings)
  • Gluten free flour mix – 1 cup
  • Gluten free beer (made of non-gluten grains) – 6-12 oz
  • Cornstarch – 2 tsp
  • Kosher salt – 1 ½ tsp
  • Black pepper – 1 tsp
  • Cayenne pepper – ½ tsp
  • Sunflower oil – As needed for frying

Instructions

  1. Start by filling a heavy-bottom pan with oil. Cover 2-3 inches of the pan with the oil and place a thermometer in such a way that it doesn’t touch the bottom of the utensil. 
  2. Turn the heat to medium or medium-high and let the oil heat up to 375 F.
  3. While the oil heats up, take a baking sheet and line it with paper towels. This is where you will drain your onion rings after frying them. 
  4. In a bowl, take half a cup of gluten free flour and keep it aside. 
  5. In another large mixing bowl, put the remaining one cup of flour, along with other dry ingredients, and combine them. 
  6. Then, add 6 oz of beer to the mix slowly and keep whisking to form a batter. Allow the foam to subside.  
  7. Ensure that the batter is thin but not too watery. If the batter seems thick, add 3 oz of beer and whisk it. After letting it sit, check if it’s still too thick. You can add the rest of the beer if needed. 
  8. Toss a few onion rings into the flour and then dip these rings into the beer batter using a pair of tongs. Then, lift the rings and allow the batter to drain a little so that the rings are lightly coated.  
  9. By this time, your oil should be heated up to the desired temperature. So, put the battered onion rings in the hot oil and let them fry for a few minutes till they become golden. 
  10. Remove the rings from the oil using heat-proof tongs or a straining tool. 
  11. Repeat the process to cook the onions in small batches instead of frying them all at a time. 
  12. Place the rings on a paper towel to get rid of the excess oil. 
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Your onion rings are ready! Sprinkle your favorite spice mix. Anything from Piri Piri mix to cheese mix will work.

Even plain salt and pepper is fine. You can also enjoy it with your favorite dip! 

Gluten Free Homemade Funyuns 

are funyuns gluten free
via traderjoes | Image is an illustration only

Onions can be expensive and quite difficult to cook with sometimes. Either way, they lead to tears.

So, why not try making some onion-flavored rings, i.e., Funyuns, at home? Here’s a recipe that will be highly demanded in your home!  

Ingredients:

  • Egg whites – From 3 eggs 
  • Cream of tartar – ⅛ tsp 
  • Cheese, preferably onion-flavored (frozen, freshly grated) – ½ cup
  • Onion powder – 2 tsp 

Instructions

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 300 F. 
  2. Place the frozen cheese in the food processor and give it a whizz to grate it to pieces. 
  3. Take a mixing bowl and put the egg whites with the cream of tartar. Then whip them to form extremely stiff peaks. 
  4. Add the grated cheese and onion powder and fold them in using a silicone spatula. Be careful not to disturb the fluff and stiffness.  
  5. Put the mixture in a ziplock bag and cut a hole of half an inch in one corner of the bag. 
  6. On a greased baking sheet lined with parchment paper, form rings with the batter mix by squeezing it out of the bag gently. 
  7. Bake the rings at 300 F. It will take them 20-30 minutes to become golden and crispy. But be careful not to let them go brown. 


The onion rings are ready! Store them in an air-tight container and make them last for a few days.

But chances are, these homemade Funyuns will not get the chance to stay too long in the container. 

Conclusion

The key component of Funyuns is cornmeal, and the flavors come from dried onions.

The snack also has additives that enhance its flavor and texture. None of this has anything to do with wheat, barley, and rye.

Made of naturally gluten free ingredients, Funyuns are considered safe by most celiac patients. 

However, since it is made in the same facilities that also deal with other products manufactured by Frito-Lay, there’s always a slight possibility of cross-contamination leading to minute amounts of gluten in the product.

Besides, it does not come with a “gluten free” label, which means that it isn’t tested. 

But since most do not face reactions when they consume trace gluten, Funyuns have mostly proven to be a safe snack option for people with celiac disease or gluten allergy.

However, if you are severely sensitive, it is best not to take chances with your health and try other brands or homemade options. 

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About the Author: Johnny

I am the senior editor and writer of Gluten Free Heroes, before that, I wrote for various well established online magazines about food and health. I love working out, traveling and eating healthy.