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Is Candy Corn Vegan? What Alpha Gals Need to Know

A pile of candy corn spilling out of a pumpkin container onto a white background.

Candy corn is as synonymous with Halloween as haunted houses and pumpkin spice lattes. But when you have alpha-gal syndrome, navigating the candy aisle can feel like walking through a minefield. Here’s what you need to know about vegan candy corn this spooky season.

The information provided on this site is based on my personal experience living with alpha-gal syndrome. I consistently cite and link to expert sources, but nothing published on this site should be perceived as medical advice.

Alpha-gal sensitivities vary by person. You should understand your dietary restrictions, making any adjustments needed, and directing any questions to your physician.

When it comes to candy corn, the sweet, tri-colored kernels either make you jump with joy or cringe in horror. But when you’re living with alpha-gal syndrome, the question isn’t whether you love or hate them — it’s whether you can eat them without reacting. This guide dives into candy corn ingredients and identifies options that align with your dietary needs. So, let’s unmask this Halloween classic and see if it’s a trick or a treat.

    

In This Article

A pile of candy corn on a white background.
Photo Credit: YayImages

Is Candy Corn Vegan?

Is candy corn alpha-gal friendly? Is candy corn vegan? You may be asking yourself these questions now that you’re living with alpha-gal syndrome — especially around Halloween when candy corn seems to be everywhere.

The short answer is that, while there are some alpha-gal friendly candy corn options, there aren’t currently any vegan candy corn brands. (YumEarth used to make vegan candy corn, but it’s been discontinued.) But don’t worry, this guide will break down the options for you as you navigate this spooky season.

Vegan vs Vegetarian vs Alpha Gal Diets
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Common Candy Corn Ingredients

Candy corn is a Halloween staple as iconic as witches and pumpkins. But what exactly goes into those little tri-colored kernels? Let’s break down some of the most common ingredients in candy corn and discuss their implications for both alpha-gal syndrome sufferers and vegans.

Pile of Granulated Sugar on Wooden Counter
Photo Credit: Canva

Sugar

It’s hard to imagine a sweet treat without some type of sweetener. When selecting candy treats, some high-sensitive alpha gals need to be mindful of products made with bone char. If you need to avoid this potential trigger, lookfor candy corn that is certified organic, made with unrefined sugar, or sweetened with another ingredient (like honeyagave, or maple syrup).

A close up image of a pile of yellow gelatin crystals.
Photo Credit: YayImages

Gelatin (or Gelatine)

Gelatin — also known as gelatine in some parts of the world — is a gelling agent used to give candy corn its chewy texture. It is derived from the collagen found in animal tissues such as skin, bones, and cartilage and is typically sourced from cows or pigs, making it off-limits for both alpha-gals and vegans. So, if you see gelatin on the ingredient list, run from that candy corn as if a zombie is chasing you.

Sage Advice: While I’ve yet to see it used in candy corn, some treats — like marshmallows — use fish gelatin which is safe for alpha gals. As a general rule, if gelatin appears on the ingredient list and it’s not specifically listed as fish gelatin, it’s safest to avoid the product, because it’s likely to be derived from a bovine or porcine source.

A bee is sitting on top of a honeycomb.
Photo Credit: Canva

Beeswax

Beeswax is a natural wax produced by honeybees. Worker bees secrete the wax to build the honeycomb structures within the hive. In candy corn, beeswax is often used as a glazing agent to give the candy a shiny appearance. While beeswax is alpha-gal friendly, it’s not vegan because it’s an animal byproduct.

A bowl of carnauba wax flakes on top of carnauba palm leaves.
Photo Credit: YayImages

Carnauba Wax

Carnauba wax is a plant-based wax derived from the leaves of the carnauba palm, native to Brazil. It’s often used in candy corn to provide a glossy finish, similar to beeswax. The good news is that carnauba wax is both alpha-gal friendly and vegan, making it a win-win for candy corn lovers with those dietary restrictions.

Confectioner’s Glaze

Confectioner’s glaze, or shellac, is a resin secreted by the female lac bug. It’s often dissolved in alcohol to create a liquid glaze. In candy corn, it gives the candy a shiny, appealing look. While confectioner’s glaze is alpha-gal friendly, it’s not vegan because it’s derived from an insect.

Related Article: How to Read a Nutrition Label When You Have Alpha-Gal

Alpha-Gals and Vegans Should Avoid These Brands of Candy Corn

Before reaching for a bag of candy corn, knowing which brands are off limits for alpha-gals and vegans is essential. These options are absolute no-nos.

A bag of brahm's candy corn on a white background.
Photo Credit: Amazon

Brach’s Classic Candy Corn

This brand includes gelatin among its ingredients, making it a no-go for both vegans and alpha-gals. Learn more here.

A bowl of gummy candy corn treats on a spooky background.
Photo Credit: Amazon

Fruidles Halloween Candy Corn Treats

Despite its festive appearance, both the original and gummy versions candy contain gelatine, another word for gelatin. It’s definitely not suitable for vegans or alpha-gals. Learn more here.

Williams Sonoma Candy Corn Gummies

This is not an alpha-gal safe option because gelatin is listed as the third ingredient. Learn more here.

Alpha-Gal Friendly Candy Corn

Navigating the candy aisle with alpha-gal syndrome doesn’t have to be a horror story. While some brands are off limits, a few get the green light. Below are some of the best alpha-gal friendly candy corn options that let you enjoy the Halloween fun without fearing a reaction.

A bag of jelly belly candy corn with bats on it.
Photo Credit: Amazon

Jelly Belly Candy Corn

While not vegan due to beeswax and confectioner’s glaze, Jelly Belly’s candy corn is an option for alpha-gals as it doesn’t contain gelatin.

Three bags of alpha-gal friendly candy corn sitting on top of a pile of candy corn.
Photo Credit: Amazon

Sweetzo Old Fashion Candy Corn

This alpha-gal option is free from gelatin but not suitable for vegans as it contains beeswax and confectioner’s glaze.

Wiley wallaby candy corn drops.
Photo Credit: Instacart

Wiley Wallaby Candy Corn Drops

For an alpha-gal friendly option with a twist, try these gelatin-free, candy corn flavored licorice drops in a candy shell.

How to Make Vegan Candy Corn

If you’re an alpha-gal craving this iconic Halloween treat, several gelatin-free, alpha-gal friendly options are available. But if you follow a vegan diet, your best bet is to make homemade candy corn.

To make homemade vegan candy corn, follow these steps:

  1. Make the candy corn dough.
  2. Divide the dough into three equal parts and roll each into a ball.
  3. Color one of the dough balls orange and one yellow. Leave the third dough ball plain.
  4. Roll each dough ball into a long rope and line the strands up on a piece of parchment paper or silicone mat in this order: yellow, orange, white.
  5. Cut the dough diagonally to slice the candy into triangles and chill.

Here are a few vegan candy corn recipes you can try:

Sage Advice: Instead of red or yellow food coloring, you can use a few drops of beet juice and a pinch of turmeric, respectively, to add candy corn colors to your dough.

What’s Your Favorite Candy Corn?

Do you make vegan candy corn or buy an alpha-gal friendly variety at the store? What brand do you like best? Any additional tips and tricks to pass along? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

Candy corn is it vegan?.
A poster with the words vegan candy corn.
How to make vegan candy corn.

Thank you for sharing!

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