Is chocolate vegan? The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Vegan Chocolate
Chocolate is a broad category. From bars and candies to cakes, frozen desserts, drinks and sauces, there are a number of ways you can get your chocolate fix. Traditional chocolates are generally not vegan because they contain a certain amount of milk.
Fortunately for vegans, the advent of dairy-free milks, such as soy, coconut, cashew and almond milks, has sparked new ideas in the minds of artisan chocolate producers. While we still have a ways to go before vegan chocolate takes the world by storm, it’s far more prevalent than ever.
Here we explore the sweet and sweet world of plant-based chocolate products.
Why isn’t chocolate vegan?
Most of the more popular treats use milk chocolate, which (as expected) contains dairy and is therefore not vegan.
There are three common types of chocolate: milk, white, and dark. White chocolate contains more milk than cocoa in its recipe. In fact, white chocolate is technically not chocolate at all; its recipe usually consists of sugar, cocoa butter, dairy or solids, vanilla and lecithin for texture.
Many dark chocolates also contain milk, milk solids or milk fat, but in smaller amounts than white chocolate. If a dark chocolate bar is labeled as 70% cocoa (or an even higher percentage, which means it is additional dark and bitter-tasting), it’s probably not yet dairy-free. You can check the ingredient list.
Beyond white and dark chocolate, candy bars, and canned truffles, there are types used for baking and baking, as well as drink mixes and condiments. Although most of them contain dairy components, new products made with milk substitutes are available.
- Baking chocolate: This unsweetened bitter chocolate is made from pure chocolate liqueur, or ground cocoa beans, and is intended to be used as a raw ingredient for baking and mixed with other ingredients.
- Semi-sweet chocolate: Most often used to make chocolate chips, semisweet chocolate is another baking variety.
- Ruby chocolate: This variety is made from ruby cocoa beans grown in Ecuador and Brazil which have a naturally pink color. Although it is said to have a flavor profile mixing white chocolate and berries, there is no fruit in the recipe.
- Blanket: Available in milk, white and dark varieties, it is an expensive “ingredient” chocolate often used in baking and confectionery. It contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter than the other types.
- Raw chocolate: Raw chocolate has generally not been processed, heated, or mixed with other ingredients, which means it is often vegan.
- Modeling chocolate: Dough made from melted chocolate combined with sugar or corn syrup used for decorating cakes and pastries.
- Cocoa powder: It is the basis of “hot chocolate” drinks as well as many recipes for pastries and sweets. However, varieties with powdered milk and added solids make it non-vegan.
When is chocolate vegan?
There are many “accidentally vegan” candies and candy bars that are dairy free. Likewise, more and more people have cultivated a taste for sweet and sour dark chocolate and are willing to pay a little more for products that are made in a more sustainable and animal-friendly way.
Look for a “dairy free” label the next time you buy chocolates. If there is no dairy-free label, check the ingredient list and avoid any product that contains milk in any form.
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The way the chocolate’s sugar is processed is also a factor in its vegan status. You may want to dig a little deeper if the chocolate of your choice seems vegan but is not labeled or certified as such.
Vegan chocolate products
Several popular and artisanal chocolate brands offer products made from almonds, oats, cashews or coconut milk in the market. While some of these products are accidentally vegan, others were made for plant-based chocolate lovers.
- Crunchy chocolate bar with quinoa and almond milk Taza
- No whey! Milk free chocolate bar
- Alter Eco Raspberry Blackout
- Endangered Species Oat Milk and Dark Chocolate Crispy Rice Bar
- Trader Joe’s Almond Chocolate Bar
- Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Coated Espresso Beans
- Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Lovers Bar
- Boxes of Lake Champlain chocolate truffles
- Théo Dark Chocolate Sea Salt
- Théo Dark Chocolate Mint
- Theo Vanilla Cocoa Nib
- Lily’s Intensely Dark Chocolate
- John Kelly Dark Chocolate Habanero and Jalapeño Bar
- Endangered Species Premium Oat Milk & Dark Chocolate Chips
- Enjoy Life Mini Semi-Sweet Crisps
- Nutiva Organic Hazelnut Vegan Spread
- Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter
- Amoretti Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
- Vego fine chocolate spread
Frequently Asked Questions
Which chocolate bars are vegan?
From Trader Joe’s to Justin’s, there are plenty of brands that offer vegan chocolate bars. Watch out for chocolates labeled “dairy free” or “vegan”.
Is Hershey’s chocolate vegan?
The majority of Hershey’s chocolate is not vegan. However, Hershey released Oat Made Bars in 2021 that are completely herbal.
Is Nutella vegan?
Nutella is not vegan because it contains skimmed milk powder. However, other chocolate hazelnut spreads may be dairy free.