Are Lay’s Vegan? (Updated List)


A lot of chips turn out to be accidentally vegan.

After looking through the ingredients for all Lay’s flavors, some of them are in fact vegan.

I’ve summarized what I found to save you some time.

Ingredients in Lay’s for Vegans to Look Out For

Most non-vegan ingredients in Lay’s are milk ingredients and really obvious (e.g. milk, cheese, lactose, whey, etc.).

But there are 2 ingredients that may or may not be vegan that I need to point out to you before continuing:

  • Natural Flavors – Natural flavors can contain both vegan and non-vegan ingredients, where it’s mostly dairy ingredients we’re worried about. Since Lay’s has labeled a few flavors with “Natural Flavor [including Milk]”, I think it’s pretty safe to assume that the other varieties with just “natural flavors” are vegan.
  • Sugar – Not all sugar in the U.S. is vegan. Not all vegans care about this. I’ll point it out where it’s relevant, and you can decide for yourself.

Which Flavors of Lay’s Are Vegan?

original lays

I’m not going to list out the full ingredient list of each flavor.

Instead, here’s a summary table with the most important things you need to know.

Flavor Potential Non-Vegan Ingredients Verdict
Classic   Vegan
Barbecue Natural Flavors Possibly Vegan
Dill Pickle Flavored Natural Flavors Possibly Vegan
Salt & Vinegar Natural Flavors Possibly Vegan
Limón Natural Flavors, Sugar Possibly Vegan
Chesapeake Bay Crab Spice Natural Flavors, Sugar Possibly Vegan
Cheddar Jalapeño Cheddar Cheese, Whey, Buttermilk Not Vegan
Cheddar & Sour Cream Cheese, Whey, Buttermilk, Sour Cream Not Vegan
Chile Limón Milk Protein Concentrate Not Vegan
Fiery Habanero Skim Milk, Sodium Caseinate, Buttermilk Not Vegan
Flamin’ Hot Milk Protein Concentrate Not Vegan
Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle Whey, Sour Cream Not Vegan
Honey BBQ Natural Flavor [including Milk] Not Vegan
Sabritas Adobadas Sour Cream, Skim Milk Not Vegan
Sour Cream & Onion Milk, Whey, Lactose Not Vegan
Sweet Southern Heat BBQ Cheddar Cheese, Whey Not Vegan

Most are not vegan, but if you’re okay with a small risk on the natural flavors or sugar you still have some choices.

Are Kettle Cooked Lay’s Vegan?

kettle cooked lays

The other main line of chips are Lay’s Kettle Cooked chips. 

They mostly have the same ingredients as the original line, but there are a few differences. For example, the original salt and vinegar chips are vegan, but the kettle cooked salt and vinegar chips have lactose in them.

Flavor Potential Non-Vegan Ingredients Verdict
Kettle Cooked Original   Vegan
Kettle Cooked Reduced Fat Original   Vegan
Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Natural Flavors Possibly Vegan
Kettle Cooked Flamin’ Hot Cheddar Cheese, Whey, Skim Milk Not Vegan
Kettle Cooked Jalapeño Whey Not Vegan
Kettle Cooked Mesquite BBQ Lactose, Skim Milk, Buttermilk Not Vegan
Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Vinegar Lactose Not Vegan
Kettle Cooked Maui Onion Natural Flavor [Including Milk] Not Vegan
Kettle Cooked Lightly Salted Jalapeño  Yogurt Powder, Whey, Buttermilk, Cheese Not Vegan

Not a lot of options, but some.

In general, plain (or just salted) chips of most brands tend to be vegan, but it’s hard to find flavored chips that are vegan of any kind.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.