Hamburger Helper was a staple of my childhood.
I was curious to see if any flavors of it were still vegan friendly.
Most are not, because they contain obvious dairy ingredients like milk, cream, or whey, but there are a few that may be.
Let me explain.
Which Hamburger Helper Flavors Might Be Vegan?
As said, most Hamburger Helper is clearly not vegan, but there are 2 that aren’t so obvious either way.
Take a look at the ingredient list for Tomato Basil Penne:
Enriched Pasta, Sugar, Corn Starch, Maltodextrin, Wheat Flour, Salt, Tomato, Monosodium Glutamate, Citric Acid, Paprika, Vegetable Oil (canola, soybean and/or sunflower oil), Basil, Natural Flavor, Spices, Malic Acid, Parsley*, Color (caramel color, yellow lakes 5 & 6, yellow 5 & 6, red 40 lake), Silicon Dioxide (anticaking agent), Yeast Extract.
There are no obvious animal products in it, but there are 3 that aren’t always considered vegan.
Similarly, the Chili Macaroni flavor has sugar and natural flavor, and monoglycerides.
What’s the potential issue with those?
- Sugar – White sugar in North America is often processed with bone char. Not all vegans care about this, but you’ll have to decide for yourself.
- Natural flavor – This is an umbrella term of a bunch of flavoring ingredients. Some natural flavors are not vegan, but only the manufacturer knows.
- Caramel color – Most caramel color is vegan, but occasionally it’s not.
- Artificial color – A grey area among vegans. Artificial colors like Yellow 5 and 6 are often tested on animals. Here’s a more detailed look at if artificial colors should be considered vegan.
- Monoglycerides – These are derived from fats, which can be plant or animal fats. Unless specified, you can’t tell.
Summary: Are Any Hamburger Helpers Vegan?
The majority of flavors are clearly not vegan friendly.
However, both the Tomato Basil Penne and Chili Macaroni could be vegan.
Unfortunately, that’s as much as we can say. They both contain 3 or 4 ingredients that may or may not be vegan.
Most vegans will want to stay on the safe side and skip the Hamburger Helper, but if you’re okay with the risk, or don’t mind those ingredients we went over above, these 2 flavors are your best bet.