Is Pizza Dough Vegan? (Dominos, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, and More)

I

Cheese and toppings aren’t the only non-vegan ingredients to worry about when ordering or making pizza.

The dough might not be vegan as well.

I’ve tracked down the ingredients list of the most popular pizza chains in North America, and we’ll look at whether each type of crust they offer is or isn’t vegan.

Is Pizza Crust Usually Vegan?

If you’re ordering from another chain, is it safe to assume that the dough is vegan?

Or if you’re buying dough in a store, what should you look for in the ingredients list?

There are a handful of potential non-vegan ingredients in pizza dough:

  • Whey – A cheese by-product (vegetarian, but definitely not vegan)
  • Mono- and di-glycerides –Glycerides can come from plant or animal sources. Short of contacting the manufacturer to check, there’s no way of knowing whether they are vegan-friendly.
  • Sugar – If you’re in the U.S., you should know that some white sugar isn’t vegan due to the use of bone char. This is much less common in Canada, and not a significant concern in other countries.
  • Honey – For some reason, I’ve come across a few doughs with honey (not super common though).
  • Palm oil – While technically vegan, many vegans don’t eat palm oil. It’s not too common in pizza dough, but a few chains use it.
  • Natural flavors – Not too common in pizza dough, but natural flavors may or may not be vegan. It’s an umbrella term that covers both animal and plant ingredients.

Of those above ones, sugar is the most common ingredient, followed by glycerides and whey.

In general, it’s not safe to assume pizza dough is vegan. 

It’s probably something like a 50% chance overall whether or not a random dough is vegan-friendly. If you want to take that chance, that’s your call.

Now, let’s look at each popular chain in more detail.

Domino’s

While I was writing this, Domino’s U.S. website was all sorts of messed up, so I’m referring to the ingredients for Domino’s Canada. They should be very similar, but there could be slight differences.

Here’s an overview of crusts at Domino’s:

Crust Type Vegan? Problem Ingredients
Yellow corn meal (sprinkled on crusts) Yes  
Hand tossed No Whey, sugar
Thin crust Yes  
Gluten free No Honey
Pan No Whey, sugar, palm oil
Whole grain No Whey, sugar

The only vegan option at Domino’s is thin crust pizza. The others are clearly not vegan-friendly.

Pizza Hut

It’s a bit tricky to find the ingredients for Pizza Hut dough.

If you search around, you’ll find a lot of out of date PDFs.

The seemingly most up-to-date source of ingredients is this site if you’d like to check them yourself.

Here’s what I ended up finding:

Crust Type Vegan? Problem Ingredients
Original pan Maybe Sugar
Hand tossed Maybe Sugar
Thin ‘N Crispy Yes  
Original stuffed crust No Cheese

The Thin ‘N Crispy crust is almost certainly vegan to me. Here is its ingredient list:

Enriched Flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Ferrous Sulfate, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Soybean Oil, Yeast, Salt.

The original pan and hand tossed crusts are possibly veganIt’s your choice if you’d like to take a risk on the sugar.

Little Caesars

This was the only chain I couldn’t find ingredient information of any kind online. I’m amazed that it’s not against some sort of law or regulation.

The only thing I could find a Reddit post that said the standard crust ingredients were:

Wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid,Water, Vegetable Oil (Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin), High Fructose Corn Syrup,Yeast, Glucona Delta Lactone, Salt, Baking Soda, Cellulose Gum, SodiumPropionate (Preservative), Food Starch-Modified, Corn Syrup Solids, Vital Wheat Gluten, Dough.

That looks vegan to me, but that’s not exactly a good source that I trust.Personally, I just wouldn’t order from them until there’s a better source.

Papa John’s

You can find the ingredients in Papa John’s dough here.

There’s one possible big problem: the pan oil used to cook the pizzas is “canola oil with natural butter flavor.”

You can find vegan versions of natural butter flavor (example here), but it can also be derived from real butter.

If you’re not comfortable taking that risk, Papa John’s is not an option for you at all.

If you are, here’s a summary of the different crust types:

Crust Type Vegan? Problem Ingredients
Original/Pan Maybe Sugar
Gluten free No Egg whites, whey powder, Sugar
Thin crust No Cultured whey, whey

The fresh pan dough is fairly simple, the only concern is the sugar. Here’s what’s in it:

Unbleached, enriched wheat flour, water, sugar, soybean oil, salt, yeast.

Pizza Pizza

I always grew up thinking Pizza Pizza was in the States as well, but apparently it’s only in Canada.

I included it on this page because I was personally curious about it.

If you go to this page on the Pizza Pizza website, you can go to “what’s in it” and select “wheat/bread products” to see the ingredients in their various dough.

There’s a few things I need to briefly explain:

  • Sugar – I’ve still noted it in the summary chart below, but it’s not as big of a concern in Canada. Some suppliers use bone char, but not many.
  • Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Ester of Mono-Diglycerides (DATEM) – Just like other glycerides, this may come from a plant or animal source.
Crust Type Vegan? Problem Ingredients
Cauliflower crust Yes  
Gluten free Maybe Palm oil, natural flavors, sugar, distilled monoglycerides
Whole grain Maybe Sugar, Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Ester of Mono-Diglycerides
Classic Maybe Sugar, Tartaric Acid Ester of Mono-Diglycerides

There’s no listing for thin crust, strangely enough. If I had to, I’d assume that it’s the same ingredients as the classic crust.

The cauliflower crust is the only sure thing here, but it’s much more expensive.

Again, I’m not too worried about the sugar. And as far as the mono-diglycerides go, there’s a good chance they’re from vegetable sources, and there also in the dough in very small amounts.

If you’re okay with that situation, then the whole grain and classic crusts are fine for you.

Verdict: Is Pizza Dough Vegan?

As we’ve seen, a small portion of pizza dough is definitely not vegan.

A slightly larger portion of pizza dough is vegan.

But most pizza dough falls into the category of might be vegan. It depends on the specific chain or manufacturer.

In general, I would not be comfortable assuming that those doughs are vegan-friendly, but if you’re okay with taking that risk, or want to contact the manufacturers, you have those options.

About the author

Dale C.

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance writer. Trying to do my small part in making the world better by writing about the wonderful world of veganism.

Add comment