Is chocolate vegan? Everything you need to know

vegan chocolate

Yes, chocolate can be vegan! Chocolate in its purest form (cocoa beans, cocoa butter, and cane-sugar) is entirely plant-based.

However, whether it’s vegan depends on what else is included in the chocolate that matters. In this post, we’ll explain what vegan chocolate is and what to look out for.

What is vegan chocolate?

Vegan chocolate is chocolate that’s suitable for the vegan diet. That means it doesn’t contain any animal products.

A bar of vegan chocolate should only contain a few ingredients (cocoa beans, cocoa butter, sugar, and sometimes a plant-based emulsifier). The general rule is, the smaller the ingredients list the purer the chocolate bar. 

So what chocolate isn’t suitable for vegans?

Chocolate that shouldn’t be consumed by vegans contains animal milk powder or other animal-based ingredients.

Some chocolate bars have a label or sticker on the packaging which identifies it’s suitability for the vegan diet. However, the best way to ensure it doesn’t contain anything animal-based is to check the ingredients list.

Chocolate ingredients suitable for vegans:

  • Cocoa beans
  • Cocoa butter
  • Chocolate liquor
  • Cane-sugar
  • Plant-based emulsifiers (e.g. soy or sunflower lecithin)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Dried rice powder
  • Alternative milk (e.g. oat or coconut milk)

Chocolate ingredients NOT suitable for vegans:

  • Animal based milk (e.g. cow or goat)
  • Processed sugar (contains bone char)
  • Animal-based emulsifier
  • Confectioner’s glaze

Is sugar vegan?

Not all sugar is vegan! 

Some refined sugar contains bone char. Bone char is made from cattle and other animal bones and is often used in the sugar industry to achieve a certain color. It can be found in both brown sugar and confectioners white sugar. 

This of course will determine whether your chocolate bar is vegan or not.Chocolate that is specifically labeled vegan chocolate uses certified bone char free sugar.

If it isn’t a plant-based sugar and there’s no mention of the type of sugar on the bar, then research the chocolate company’s website to determine whether their sugar is vegan or not. 

Look out for beet or cane sugar, as these are considered to be plant-based alternatives.

Is cocoa butter vegan?

Yes, cocoa butter is vegan! Despite the word ‘butter,’ cocoa butter is 100% dairy-free. Cocoa butter is naturally present in cocoa beans. In fact, over half of the mass of a cocoa bean is made up of cacao butter.

Cocoa butter is extracted from cocoa beans using a hydraulic press. It’s commonly used in cosmetics or by chocolatiers making filled chocolates.

Is dark chocolate vegan?

If the dark chocolate contains only cocoa beans, cocoa butter, and a plant-based sugar then yes it can be vegan. 

However, some brands may include animal-based milk, emulsifiers, or sugars in their dark chocolate. The best way to find out whether a dark chocolate bar is vegan is to check the ingredients list.

Is white chocolate vegan?

It depends! Whilst the majority of white chocolate contains animal-based milk powder, vegan white chocolate does exist. 

A vegan white chocolate bar will contain plant-based milk powder derived from oats or coconuts. Companies that specialize in vegan white chocolate include Solkiki in the UK or Pascha in the US.


We hope this post has clarified whether chocolate is vegan or not! 

There is a growing trend of vegan chocolate on the market that contains alternative milk. Alternative milk chocolate is made with plant-based milk powders, such as coconut or oats. 

And remember, if you’re unsure about what’s in your chocolate, then your safest bet is to check the ingredients list. The ingredients list will always reveal what’s in your bar of chocolate! 

Is chocolate vegan: a checklist.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can vegans eat regular chocolate?

Vegans can eat regular chocolate if it doesn’t contain animal-based products in it. Always check the ingredients list to ensure it’s safe for vegans to eat. Some dark chocolate bars can contain cow milk or animal-based emulsifiers.

Is Hershey’s dark chocolate vegan?

No, Hershey’s dark chocolate is not suitable to vegans because it contains animal-based milk.

How do you know if dark chocolate is vegan?

You can determine whether dark chocolate is vegan by looking at the ingredients list. Avoid chocolate that contains animal-based products such as cow milk. A good bar of vegan dark chocolate should contain only cocoa beans, cocoa butter, and a plant-based sugar. 

Cacao Magazine

Cacao Magazine

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