What Is and Isn’t Vegan: Complete Guide [List]

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This is a huge list of ingredients and food products that are and aren’t vegan.

There’s a link to a detailed explanation of why each item is or isn’t vegan, but also a short answer if you’re in a rush.

It’s ongoing, so I’m probably missing some things. If you think of any that are missing, leave me a comment at the bottom and I’ll add them.

Otherwise, I highly recommend using “Ctrl + f” (find) if you’re looking for a specific ingredient.

Note that if something says it “might” be vegan, that’s because there are controversial ingredients in it that some vegans are okay with, and others are not.

Food Ingredients

Anything that is usually found on an ingredients label that a vegan might not be sure about fell into this category.

If something says “Usually Vegan”, that means that most vegans can be comfortable assuming that it is vegan when they see it on an ingredients list.

Ingredient Verdict Explanation
Caramel Usually Vegan Is Caramel Vegan?
Caramel Color Usually Vegan Is Caramel Color Vegan?
Cocoa Powder Usually Vegan Is Cocoa Powder Vegan?
Food Coloring (e.g. Red 40, Blue 1, etc.) Controversial Are Artificial Flavors Vegan?
Glycerol (Glycerin) Sometimes Vegan Is Glycerol Vegan?
Gum Base Sometimes Vegan Is Gum Base Vegan?
Lactase Usually Vegan Is Lactase Enzyme Vegan?
Lecithin Sometimes Vegan Is Lecithin Vegan?
Mono- and Diglycerides Sometimes Vegan Are Monoglycerides and Diglycerides Vegan? (E471)
Natural Butter Flavor Sometimes Vegan Is Natural Butter Flavor Vegan?
Natural Flavors Sometimes Vegan Are Natural Flavors Vegan
Shellac Not Vegan Is Shellac Vegan?
Sodium Caseinate Not Vegan Sodium Caseinate is NOT Vegan
Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate Sometimes Vegan Is Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate Vegan?
Vanilla Extract Vegan Is Vanilla Extract Vegan?
Xanthan Gum Usually Vegan Is Xanthan Gum Vegan

Packaged Foods

This section includes foods you can buy off the shelf in grocery stores.

There are quite a few foods in this section, so I’ve divided it into a few smaller sections to make it a bit more manageable.

Cereals

Many cereals are close to being vegan, but unfortunately have vitamin D from an animal source (here’s why vitamin D3 isn’t vegan).

You may be interested in my guide to vegan cereals with B12.

Ingredient Verdict Explanation
Captain Crunch Might Be Vegan Is Captain Crunch Vegan?
Cocoa Pebbles Not Vegan Are Cocoa Pebbles Vegan?
Cocoa Puffs Not Vegan Are Cocoa Puffs Vegan?
Frosted Flakes Not Vegan Are Frosted Flakes Vegan?
Fruit Loops Not Vegan Are Fruit Loops Vegan?
Fruity Pebbles Not Vegan Are Fruity Pebbles Vegan?
Kashi Cereals Many Flavors Are Vegan Which Kashi Cereals Are Vegan?
Raisin Bran Not Vegan Is Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Cereal Vegan?
Reese’s Puffs Not Vegan Is Reese’s Puffs Cereal Vegan?
Special K Not Vegan Is Special K Cereal Vegan?

Drinks

I’ve only looked at popular drinks you can buy at stores. See my guide to vegan energy drinks if you’re not interested in the specific ones below.

Ingredient Verdict Explanation
Bubble Tea Can Be Made Vegan Is Bubble Tea Vegan?
Monster Energy Many Flavors Are Likely Vegan Is Monster Energy Drink Vegan?
Red Bull Might Be Vegan Is Red Bull Vegan?
Soda (e.g. Pepsi, Mountain Dew, etc.) Many Sodas Are Likely Vegan Is Soda Vegan?

Chips

The most basic chip is just made from potato, so whether or not a brand of chips are vegan depends on what else they add.

Ingredient Verdict Explanation
Chex Mix A Few Flavors Might Be Vegan Is Chex Mix Vegan?
Doritos Some Flavors Are Vegan Which Doritos Are Vegan?
Lay’s Some Flavors Are Vegan Are Lay’s Vegan?
Miss Vickies Most Flavors Are Not Vegan Are Miss Vickie’s Chips Vegan?
Pringles Most Flavors Are Not Vegan Are Pringles Vegan?
Tostitos Many Flavors Are Vegan Are Tostitos Vegan?

Candy

If you’re not strict about things like bone char in sugar and artificial colors, you’ll consider many candies to be vegan.

Otherwise, you’ll want to look for companies that specifically make candy that’s vegan-friendly.

I’ve also written a vegan jelly bean guide since they can be hard to find.

Ingredient Verdict Explanation
Candy Canes Most Are Not Vegan Are Candy Canes Vegan?
Chips Ahoy! Not Vegan Are Chips Ahoy Vegan?
Donuts Most Are Not Vegan Are Donuts Typically Vegan? 
Lindt Dark Chocolate Some Bars Are Vegan Is Lindt Dark Chocolate Vegan?
Mentos Most Flavors Are Not Vegan Are Mentos Products Vegan?
Nerds Might Be Vegan Are Nerds Vegan?
Oreos Might Be Vegan Are Oreos Vegan?
Salt Water Taffy Some Is Vegan Is Salt Water Taffy Vegan?
Skittles Might Be Vegan Are Skittles Vegan?
Snickers Not Vegan Are Snickers Vegan or Vegetarian?
Swedish Fish Might Be Vegan Are Swedish Fish Vegan?
Sour Patch Kids Might Be Vegan Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan?
Twizzlers Probably Not Vegan Are Twizzlers Vegan? 

Baking and Cooking

Here’s a mix of ingredients typically used for cooking, and packaged foods that you buy and still have to cook.

Ingredient Verdict Explanation
Balsamic Vinegar Some Types Are Vegan Is Balsamic Vinegar Vegan?
Betty Crocker Cake Mix Some Flavors Might Be Vegan Is Betty Crocker Cake Mix Vegan?
Country Crock Butter Some Flavors Might Be Vegan A List of Vegan Country Crock Butters
Molasses Some Brands Are Vegan Is Molasses Vegan?
Shortening Vegetable Shortening Might Be Vegan Is Shortening Vegan?
Smart Balance Butter Some Flavors Might Be Vegan Is Smart Balance Butter Vegan and Dairy-Free?
Sugar (White and Brown) – See Bone Char-Free Sugar Brands Might Be Vegan Is White or Brown Sugar Vegan?
Sweetex Might Be Vegan Is Sweetex Vegan?
Teriyaki Sauce Some Brands Are Vegan Is Teriyaki Sauce Usually Vegan?
Wheat Flour Vegan Is Regular Wheat Flour Vegan?

General

These are foods that don’t fit into any of the above categories.

Ingredient Verdict Explanation
Barbecue Sauce Many Brands Are Vegan Is Barbecue Sauce Vegan?
Chow Mein Noodles Vegan, but Typical Sauce Isn’t Are Chow Mein Noodles Vegan?
Clif Bars Many Flavors Are Vegan Vegan Clif Bars: Flavors That Are Vegan
Graham Crackers Not Vegan Are Graham Crackers Typically Vegan?
Gum List of Vegan Brands Vegan Gum Brands
Hoisin Sauce Usually Vegan Is Hoisin Sauce Vegan?
HP Brown Sauce Vegan Is HP Brown Sauce Vegan?
Jelly/Jam Some Brands Are Vegan Is Jelly Or Jam Vegan?
K Cups Many Flavors Are Vegan Are All K Cups Vegan? [List]
KIND Bars Many Flavors Are Vegan Are KIND Granola Bars and Products Vegan?
Luna Bars Some Flavors Might Be Vegan Vegan Luna Bars
Nature Valley Granola Bars Some Flavors Might Be Vegan Are Nature Valley Granola Bars Vegan?
Palm Oil Might Be Vegan Is Palm Oil Vegan?
Pop Tarts Some Flavors Might Be Vegan Are Pop Tarts Vegan?
Quaker Instant Oatmeal Some Flavors Are Vegan Is Quaker Instant Oatmeal Vegan?
Ritz Crackers Some Flavors Might Be Vegan Are Ritz Crackers Vegan?
Sriracha Might Be Vegan Is Sriracha Sauce Vegan?
Top Ramen Some Flavors Might Be Vegan Is Top Ramen Vegan?
Wonder White Bread Probably Not Vegan Is Wonder Bread Vegan and Dairy-Free?

Eating Out

The final food section is a small collection of posts I’ve written about foods at restaurants.

If there’s anything you’d really like to see added, just let me know.

Ingredient Verdict Explanation
Burger King Fries Might Be Vegan Are Burger King Fries Vegan?
Fast Food French Fries   Which Fast Food French Fries Are Vegan? [List]
Movie Theatre Popcorn Some Movie Theatre Popcorn Is Vegan Is Movie Theater Popcorn Vegan? (AMC, Regal, etc.)
Onion Rings Some Onion Rings Are Vegan Are Onion Rings Usually Vegan?
Pizza Dough Some Crusts Are Vegan Is Pizza Dough Vegan? (Dominos, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, etc.)
Salad Dressing Some Dressings Are Vegan Is Salad Dressings At Restaurants Vegan?

Non Food Items

And here’s…everything non-edible that I’ve looked at before.

You’ll notice that medicine in general is given a little leeway in what’s considered vegan. But some medicine is more vegan than others. For examples, see my guide to vegan sore throat lozenges and cough drops.

Ingredient Verdict Explanation
Beano Probably Not Vegan Is Beano Vegan?
Blistex Not Vegan Is Blistex Lip Balm Vegan?
Carmex Lip Balm Not Vegan Is Carmex Lip Balm Vegan and Cruelty-Free?
Chapstick Not Vegan Is ChapStick Vegan and Cruelty-Free?
Cough Medicine Some Are More Vegan Than Others Vegan Cold and Flu Medicine Guide
Crest Toothpaste Not Vegan Is Crest Toothpaste Vegan?
Emergen-C Vegan Some Products Are Vegan Is Emergen-C Vegan? [Updated]
EOS Lip Balm Some Products Are Vegan Is EOS Lip Balm Vegan and Cruelty-Free?
Glue Usually Vegan Is Glue Vegan?
Hand Sanitizer Probably Vegan Is Hand Sanitizer Vegan? (Purell, Dettol)
Laundry Detergent Sometimes Vegan Is Laundry Detergent Vegan?
Merino Wool Not Vegan Is Merino Wool Vegan?
PU Leather Usually Vegan What is PU Leather, and is it Vegan?
Toothpaste Sometimes Vegan Is Toothpaste Vegan?
Vaseline Probably Vegan Is Vaseline Vegan?

Beauty Products

These are mainly collections of good vegan skin and hair products.

Clothing

I’ve created guides to certain types of clothing and accessories that it can be hard to find vegan versions for.

Product Resources
Boots Here are a few guides to specific types of boots:

Shoes I’ve created a few different guides to shoes:

Camera Straps The Best Vegan Camera Straps
Messenger Bags Vegan Laptop Messenger Bags
Workout Clothes Vegan Workout Clothing Brands