Is Vanilla Extract Vegan?


Yes, almost all vanilla extracts (even artificial ones) are vegan.

I’ve never come across one that wasn’t.

Some contain castoreum (from a beaver’s anal glands), but it’s exceedingly rare nowadays because it’s difficult and expensive to gather.

Vanilla extract (the real stuff) is made by breaking up vanilla pods and filtering them through a mixture of ethanol and water.

No concerns there.

The artificial vanilla extract, which you can easily identify by the cheap price, is synthesized from guaiacol, a by-product of the wood pulp industry.

Either way, it doesn’t come in contact with or contain any animal products.

If you really want to be sure that a vanilla extract doesn’t contain castoreum, contact the manufacturer.

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.


  • Actually,not all vanilla extract is vegan. It contains castoreum which is secreted from a beavers anal gland.
    Please do your research before posting things like this.

    • Even though some may, it’s extremely uncommon and not something you really need to worry about.

      If you’re really worried about it, contact the manufacturer of a product to double-check.