Vegan Junk Food: Are Your Favorite Snacks Vegan-Friendly?

When most people think about turning vegan, they think about a lifestyle full of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and tofu. While it is true that some people switch to veganism for a healthier lifestyle, that doesn’t mean vegans can’t have cheat days and binge on junk food without breaking their vegan diet. Because as long as the food doesn’t have any meat or animal products, it is considered vegan.

So, did you know that some of your favorite snacks are actually vegan? You’ll find a lot of websites listing these snacks as vegan, but we did a closer look and saw that some may be vegan, but others are not as vegan as you might imagine. Take a look at these examples below.

Onion Rings: Maybe

Onion rings are basically onions that have been coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried, so one may assume that it’s vegan. However, most recipes include the use of eggs and milk or buttermilk.  For example, a 1933 Crisco recipe for onion rings (one of the oldest records of onion rings) called for onions to be dipped in milk, dredged in flour, and deep-fried.

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Some recipes also use animal fat instead of frying in oil, so onion ring servings in some restaurants may not be totally vegan.

However, that doesn’t mean vegans will have to give up on onion rings completely. Instead of using milk, vegans can use almond or soy milk, depending on their preference. Here’s a vegan onion ring recipe that should taste similar to regular onion rings, if you’re craving for it.

Oreos: Maybe

Some vegan websites will say that Oreos (at least, the classic flavor) are vegan because their ingredients list contains no animal products. This includes sugar, enriched flour, canola or palm oil, cocoa, corn syrup, leavening agent, corn starch, salt, soy lecithin, vanillin, and chocolate. If you choose to look at it this way, then yes, it is technically vegan.

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However, if you’re the type of vegan who wants zero traces of animal products, you might want to put down the Oreos. You’ll find a fine print on Oreos which indicates it was made on equipment that touched milk, which means there may be traces of milk on your cookies. But, if you’re willing to overlook this, then yes, Oreos are vegan.

Gelato and Sherbet: Maybe

Ice cream is obviously out of the question because, as its name goes, it contains cream. So, vegans have been looking for other options aside from ice pops made from fruit juices and fruit blends. Gelato and sherbet are cold treats that are not vegan because it contains certain amounts of cream and milk fat, but it can be made vegan by replacing milk with coconut or almond milk. Here’s an easy recipe for vegan chocolate gelato.

Sorbet: Yes

Sorbet is generally is fruit juice or puree slightly frozen for an ice-cream like consistency. It does not contain any cream, so it should be generally vegan. However, some sorbet flavors may not be vegan-friendly, so watch out for sorbets containing dairy products and honey.

Tortilla & Corn Chips: Yes

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Tortilla and corn chips are generally made with corn, vegetable oil, salt, and water. Most brands of tortilla and corn chips follow this, so their plain-flavored products are generally vegan. However, be careful of flavored tortillas and corn chips because their flavoring may not be vegan.

Tater Tots: Yes

Tater tots (and, in the same sense, hash browns) are generally vegan. Their ingredients include potatoes, vegetable oil, cornflour, onions, spices, and natural flavoring. However, be careful about the oil you’re frying it in, as butter and animal fat will cancel out its being vegan.

Mashed Potatoes: Maybe

Mashed potatoes can be vegan. Most recipes include butter and cream into boiled potatoes, but these can be easily replaced in homemade mashed potato recipes. Instead of using these, you can use vegan butter or olive oil to maintain traditional mashed potato consistency.

Doritos, Fritos, Lay’s, Ruffles and Pringles: Yes

Yes, all these chips are technically vegan. However, their flavoring affects whether or not they are truly vegan. You can’t go wrong with their salted plains, as these are genuinely vegan. However, some of these flavors’ are not vegan. Here are a few flavors aside from salted that are vegan:

  • Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili
  • Doritos Blaze
  • Fritos Lightly Salted
  • Fritos Original
  • Lay’s Plain Salted
  • Lay’s BBQ
  • Lay’s Dill Pickle
  • Lay’s Salt and Vinegar
  • Pringles Plain Salted
  • Pringles BBQ
  • Ruffles All Dressed
  • Ruffles Original

Cocoa Puffs: Maybe

Technically speaking on the ingredients list alone, cocoa puffs are vegan. Its ingredients list includes sugar, grains, corn flour, corn starch, cocoa, canola oil, salt, natural flavoring, and more. However, cocoa puffs may be fortified with vitamin D3 with lanolin, which is made from wax secreted by animals with wool. So, in case cocoa puffs are fortified with this, it’s not totally vegan.

Dark Chocolate: Yes

Dark chocolate is generally made of cacao beans, sugar, vanilla flavoring, and emulsifiers, though some brands may have additional ingredients like salt and different amounts of sugar. However, unlike milk or white chocolate, dark chocolate does not contain milk, so it is safe for vegans to eat bars of dark chocolate.

Image from Pixabay

Hershey’s Syrup: Yes

Hershey’s chocolate syrup is actually vegan. It is made from corn syrup, water, cocoa, sugar, emulsifiers, and artificial flavoring. So, this is a good option for using as a decadent fruit dip without breaking your veganism. It will break your healthy diet with all the sugar and sweets contained in it, though.

Famous Amos Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies: Yes

Famous Amos cookies contain no animal products. Its peanut butter flavor has sugar, flour, peanut butter, oats, vegetable shortening, corn syrup, corn starch, salt, and flavoring. Its vanilla and oatmeal cookies are also vegan. However, its chocolate chip flavor is not vegan, since its chocolate contains milk.

Nutter Butter: Yes

Nutter Butters are vegan. They have roughly the same ingredients as Famous Amos’ cookies and have no animal products. However, if you choose to eat the chocolate Nutter Butters or eat it with a side of cow’s milk, it’s no longer a vegan snack.

Ritz Crackers: Maybe

The original Ritz Crackers are vegan. However, not all of Ritz’s crackers are vegan. Their cheese Ritz, Ritz Crisps, and Ritz Thins are not vegan because they contain dairy products.

Girl Scout Thin Mints: Yes

The popular Girl Scout Thin Mints are vegan-friendly. The chocolate is dark chocolate, so it does not contain milk. Other ingredients include flour, sugar, vegetable oil, cocoa, sugar, cornstarch, peppermint oil, and other artificial flavorings.

Pop-Tarts: Maybe

The Pop-Tart pastry is vegan. However, the frosting determines whether or not the Pop-Tart is vegan. Most frosting contains milk and non-vegan gelatin. However, the Pop-Tart flavors that are vegan include Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry, Brown Sugar Cinnamon, and Strawberry.

Popcorn: Yes

Plain popcorn is vegan. Popcorn is simply heated and pressured corn kernel, so plain popcorn with salt is vegan. However, popcorn made with butter is not vegan. Also, some popcorn flavorings are not vegan, such as cheese or BBQ.

Jell-O Pudding: Yes

Certain flavors of Jell-O’s instant pudding is vegan-friendly. These include pistachio, banana creme, lemon, and vanilla. Unlike some gelatin that’s made with bone marrow, this mix is made with sugar, cornstarch, natural and artificial flavoring, salt, thickeners, and preservatives.

Skittles: Yes

Skittles are made with sugar, corn syrup, citric acid, and food coloring, making it vegan. Not the healthiest snack, but still vegan.

These snacks are technically vegan, but that doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Remember to eat this with moderation, though, because what’s the point of living a vegan lifestyle if you’re going to gorge yourself with these popular snacks?

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