Food & Drink

What Exactly Are Corn Nuts, Anyway?

Are they weird? Totally. Are they delicious? Absolutely.
03/06/2015 09:47am ET | Updated December 6, 2017
The lady who made these uses corn, dries the kernals out and then adds barbecue seasoning to them.

Corn nuts are not actually nuts. If you didn't know that already, now you do.

Unlike egg creams, which contain exactly no egg and no cream, corn nuts are at least partially true to their name. Corn nuts are corn kernels that have been roasted or deep-fried. They're seriously crunchy and nutty in flavor, and while they may be eaten in place of nuts as a snack at the bar or the ballpark, they are not nuts.

The most popular brand of corn nuts that we see in the United States is CornNuts®, which is owned by Kraft Foods. CornNuts® come in a variety of flavors, including Original, Ranch, BBQ, Chile Picante con Limon, Nacho and Ultimate Heat. Beloved by many and completely unknown by some, CornNuts® are one of those snacks that you either crave or don't care about whatsoever. But aren't most snacks like that?

The brand is something of a cult favorite. It also happens to have a pretty sad Twitter account and is "a proud sponsor of UFC" (The Ultimate Fighting Championship). Most foods wouldn't sell themselves on being so hard they might break your teeth, but CornNuts® owns it. They're "tough like you."

You don't have to rely on the store-bought stuff, however. Making your own corn nuts is as easy as it is to devour large quantities of this crunchy, salty snack. The one crucial step that prevents you from ending up with popcorn is soaking the corn kernels overnight before cooking them. Once the kernels have soaked, you can either fry them or roast them in the oven. You can also season them however you like.

Finally, it's important to use giant white corn, not the corn kernels you use to make popcorn. Giant white corn is noticeably larger than the traditional popcorn kernels we see in the U.S. They're firm, flat and not very sweet when cooked. You can find dried, white giant corn labeled as "Maiz Mote Pelado" on Amazon or in Latin grocery stores.

giant white corn versus popping corn
Giant white corn versus popping corn

Now that you know how to make corn nuts, and more importantly that they're not nuts at all, there's one final fact to know about this totally weird but delicious snack. Corn nuts taste great with beer.

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