Is Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate Vegan?


Sodium stearoyl lactylate isn’t the most well-known ingredient, but once you start reading ingredient labels, you’ll see it everywhere.

It’s used as an emulsifier (to encourage mixing), a foaming agent (creates bubbles), and can strengthen dough as well.

You’ll find it in everything from baked goods to whipped cream when it comes to food, and in a lot of beauty products.

What’s Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate Made From?

To answer whether or not it’s vegan, we need to know where it comes from first.

It’s formed through the esterification of stearic acid with lactic acid.

  • Stearic acid – Comes from fats, which can be plant or animal sources.
  • Lactic acid – Lactic acid is usually vegan. It’s made from fermenting sugars, which can be from a plant or animal source (like lactose in milk).

What can we conclude from that?

Well, some sodium stearoyl lactylate is vegan, and some is not.

If you see it in some food, you’ll need to contact the manufacturer to find out whether it was only derived from plant sources.

Otherwise, you can take a risk that it might not be vegan, it’s up to you.

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.