Are Oreos Vegan and Dairy-Free? (Golden Oreos, Thins, etc.)

A

When you go vegan, a lot of candy that you might have eaten before becomes off-limits.

A lot of people online, particularly new vegans, happily exclaim: “Oreos are vegan!”

While oreos are dairy-freethey also contain 2 controversial ingredients among vegans.

Types of Oreos

There are over 180 oreo products:

oreo products

Most have similar ingredients, and they’re just variations of the same main products.

In this post we’ll look at the main types:

  • Classic oreos
  • Oreo thins
  • Golden oreos

Keep in mind that they may have different ingredients based on country. In this post I’ll be going off the ingredients listed on Oreo’s official site.

These are for Oreos in the U.S. The ingredients in the ones in Canada that I see are a bit different, but still have the same non-vegan ingredient.

Are Classic Oreos Vegan?

oreo classic cookies

Here’s the full ingredient list for your standard oreo, straight from its product page:

UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), SUGARPALM AND/OR CANOLA OIL, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, LEAVENING (BAKING SODA AND/OR CALCIUM PHOSPHATE), SALT, SOY LECITHIN, CHOCOLATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.

All of those appear to be plant-based, but that doesn’t mean they are vegan.

There are 2 main potential issues here:

  1. Sugar – White sugar in North America is often not vegan because it’s processed with bone char. There’s a very high chance that Oreos contain this sugar, which most would not consider vegan.
  2. Palm oil – Many vegans don’t consume palm oil. Harvesting palm oil typically causes a lot of animal suffering (much more than other crops).

If you’re interested in learning more about palm oil, read my full post about why vegans often avoid palm oil.

In short:

  • Palm oil plantations have numerous human right violations.
  • Tigers are driven off their land and have reached endangered numbers.
  • Orangutans are beaten, killed, and burned alive while clearing new land for palm trees (where the oil comes from).
SUMMARY

There’s a good chance that Classic Oreos are not vegan. Even if they did use vegan sugar, many vegans would still not want to eat them because they contain palm oil. Decide where you stand on these issues.

Are Golden Oreos Vegan?

Next up are the popular golden oreos.

Here’s the full list of ingredients:

INGREDIENTS: SUGAR, UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE {VITAMIN B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {VITAMIN B2}, FOLIC ACID), PALM AND/OR CANOLA OIL, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SALT, BAKING SODA, SOY LECITHIN, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR, NATURAL FLAVOR.

Slightly different order, but mostly the same ingredients.

Again, there’s sugar and palm oil in it, which just isn’t vegan to most vegans.

SUMMARY

Golden Oreos have almost the same ingredients as the original Oreos. Therefore, there’s a good chance that Golden Oreos are not vegan because of the sugar in them. Additionally, palm oil is an issue for many vegans.

Are Oreo Thin Cookies Vegan?

Not surprisingly, Oreo thin cookies have almost the same ingredient list as classic oreos.

INGREDIENTS: SUGAR, UNBLEACHED ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE {VITAMIN B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {VITAMIN B2}, FOLIC ACID), PALM AND/OR CANOLA OIL, COCOA (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, SALT, SOY LECITHIN, BAKING SODA, CHOCOLATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.

You probably see a pattern, there’s sugar and palm oil in just about every Oreo product.

SUMMARY

Oreo Thin Cookies may not be vegan, due to the sugar they contain. They also have palm oil, which you may want to avoid.

Summary

While Oreos are not the worst offenders when it comes to junk food, it seems that most (if not all) Oreo products might not be vegan.

I’ve contacted customer support multiple times over the years, and every time I get a “non answer” that won’t clarify if any of the sugar was processed using bone char.

Aside from that, palm oil is an issue for many vegans, and is found in every Oreo product.

There are alternative cookies that don’t have these issues. I’ve seen a few different brands at Whole Foods who offer Oreo-style cookies, but are vegan-friendly.

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.

1 comment

  • I would argue that, only in respect of the UK, that if it’s labelled vegetarian than the sugars vegan. This is due to bone char used to bleach cheap sugar would make it non vegetarian plus most sugar in the UK is labelled vegan.
    On the palm oil side while it’s good to avoide, if we all done that the demand for its replacement would also be extremely damaging so it’s best to consume a variety of different plant oils to attempt to reduce the amount of impact from one large monoculture.
    Though if your vegan for non environmental reasons the palm oil isent a factory.