What Are Corn Nuts?

Written by tom ippen
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What Are Corn Nuts?
Corn nuts have been a popular snack food for seven decades. (Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images)

Corn nuts are a popular snack made of roasted or deep-fried corn kernels that are salted and flavoured. They have become a staple of snack foods throughout the U.S. and Canada, and are available in several different flavours. Created in the 1930s, corn nuts have undergone significant changes in production since their inception. Though it is a common misconception, corn nuts do not contain any nuts at all, and are only made from corn kernels.

Ingredients and Preparation

Corn nuts are made from kernels of corn that have been soaked in water for several days before being either roasted or deep-fried. The water helps the kernels retain their size when they are roasted. The kernels are roasted or fried until they are hard and brittle, and usually are salted several times during the process. The kernels are then flavoured before being packaged or served.


"CornNuts" is the most popular brand of corn nuts, owned by Planters, a subsidiary of Kraft Foods. CornNuts were invented by Albert Holloway in 1936, and were made of sweetcorn grown in the U.S. In the 1960s, CornNuts began using Cusco corn from Peru because of its larger kernels. The recognisable CornNuts sold in stores today are made from a hybrid version of Cusco corn grown in California.


Although corn nuts can be made by anyone with access to corn kernels, CornNuts remains the most popular brand. CornNuts are available in different flavours, including Original (salted), Caliente Mix, Barbecue, Chile Picante, Ranch and Nacho Cheese.


Cornick is a Filipino variant of the corn nut. Cornick pieces are smaller and crispier than corn nuts, but are made by the same process. A popular variety of the cornick is "chichacorn," which is made from glutinous corn. Glutinous corn is grown in the Ilocos region of the Philippines, and provides significant income for farmers selling their produce to be used for the production of cornick.

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