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Are Oreos Vegan? The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Oreo Cookies

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So you heard the rumor that Oreos are vegan. Can it really be true? Are Oreos vegan? Which types of Oreos are vegan? Are Birthday Cake Oreo’s vegan? What about Halloween Oreos? Is there really no dairy? Is this all too good to be true? Take a breath, dear friend, we’ve got answers to all your burning vegan Oreo questions. Read on! 

Wait a Minute. Are Oreos REALLY Vegan?

You’re cruising through the snack aisle when a sudden wave of nostalgia washes over you. The sight of those iconic Oreo cookie packages is enough to set sweet tooth cravings off like an alarm for anyone who grew up eating these treats. They’re America’s most popular cookie, after all, with sales outpacing all other brands by a mile.

Those two crisp wafer cookies sandwiching a layer of sweet crème in the middle balances out textures and flavors perfectly in every bite, drawing in both kids and adults at a glance. Instinctively, without even thinking, you begin to reach for the nearest bundle, but WAIT- Are Oreo cookies even vegan?

Are Oreos Vegan

Oreos Have Plant-Based Ingredients

Let’s skip right to the chase and cut out all the drama.

Are Oreos vegan? Yes, Oreos are vegan and contain no animal products!

Are Oreos dairy-free? Yes!

Do Oreos have milk? No. 

The formula has changed very little over the years, despite incredible changes in global ingredient access, technology, and evolving taste preferences.

Since their invention in 1912, Oreo cookies have always been dairy-free and eggless, however, they did originally contain lard in the crème filling. Otherwise known as pig fat, this waxy substance was cheap and abundant, but terrible for both humans and animals.

Lard was swapped with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in the 1990’s transforming Oreos into a kosher and “accidental” vegan delight. However, this is still terrible for health, so it was finally upgraded to its current combination of canola and palm oil, making the cookies trans-fat-free.

The remaining essential ingredients are easy to analyze, featuring multiple sweeteners, flours, flavorings, and stabilizers to help preserve freshness. These are still highly processed treats, so they contain a fair number of chemical additives, there’s nothing to raise any red flags for those seeking a cruelty-free treat.

Oreo Cookie Ingredients:

Let’s take a close look at the ingredients in classic Oreos:

  • unbleached enriched flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1), Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid)
  • sugar 
  • palm and/or canola oil
  • cocoa
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • leavening (baking soda and/or calcium phosphate)
  • cornstarch
  • salt
  • soy lecithin
  • vanillin
  • unsweetened chocolate

The only really questionable ingredient on the list is sugar, which is controversial in the vegan sphere. At World of Vegan we consider sugar vegan, but read this to decide for yourself: Is Sugar Vegan?  

The package also says “Contains: Wheat, Soy” which is usually a good indication that something is dairy free. If a product contains dairy, or may contain dairy due to cross contamination, a legal disclaimer is usually present on the package for allergen safety reasons. 

Even if a product does say “may contain dairy” on the label, we still consider that product vegan if it doesn’t have animals products in the ingredient list. 

What About Different Varieties of Oreos and Limited-Edition Flavors?

Oreos were once a simple, consistent cookie, made with cocoa wafers and vanilla crème filling. But now there are as many unique Oreo flavors, varieties, and types as there are days of the year.

Which Oreos Are Vegan?

There are seasonal flavors, regional specialties that you’ll only find in certain countries, and the lineup you’ll find at the local grocery store is liable to change on any given day. However, rest assured that the core options are still free of animal products. That includes:

  • Classic Oreos
  • Double-Stuffed Oreos
  • Mega Stuf Oreos
  • Mini Oreos
  • Gluten-Free Oreos
  • Oreo Thins

Wild flavor combinations, from root beer float Oreos, s’mores Oreos, birthday cake Oreos, Lady Gaga Oreos, carrot cake Oreos, and beyond are all “accidentally” vegan as well! Are mint Oreos vegan? Yup. Christmas Oreos? Yup. The list goes on and on. 

Even the seemingly un-vegan flavors are vegan, like: chocolate marshmallow Oreos, caramel coconut Oreos, red velvet Oreos, brownie batter Oreos, cookie dough Oreos, cinnamon bun Oreos, and ice cream Oreos. Okay, now I’m really hungry. 

Which Oreos Are Not Vegan?

The ONLY Oreo you need to avoid on a vegan diet is the seasonal White Fudge-Coated Oreos released for the winter holidays. That white coating does include whey and milk solids.

Also watch out for the other dipped Oreos and fudge covered Oreos in case they contain milk on the ingredient label. 

We do recommend always taking a peek at the ingredient labels on specialty Oreos just in case they do release a new flavor with non-vegan ingredients, but for the most part, Oreos are a safe bet for vegans. 

Controversial Production

While you aren’t eating any animal products when you indulge in a bite of childhood nostalgia, strict ethical vegans may still want to pass by these cookies while shopping for a conscientious snack. Unfortunately, there are still many questionable practices involved in Oreo production.

Palm oil  — Is Palm Oil Vegan?

It’s possible to source sustainable palm oil, but it’s clear that Mondelez International, producers of Oreo cookies and parent company of Nabisco and Cadbury, don’t go that extra mile. Conventional harvesting practices for palm oil are very destructive to the natural habitats of many animals, and particularly orangutangs. Up to a dozen orangutangs are killed everyday due to palm oil production, adding up to over 50,000 deaths in the past 20 years alone.

Sugar — Is The Sugar in Oreos Vegan?

The bitter truth about sugar is that many manufacturers process it through bone char to achieve a perfectly white, refined appearance. As you might have guessed, this comes from the bones of many types of animals, and never needs to be disclosed on ingredient labels. Oreos source sugar from many different suppliers, which can change without notice, and cannot guarantee that those producers will handle their processing in a more ethical way.

Cross-contamination — Could My Oreos Have Dairy In Them?

Products that contain milk are made in the same factories as Oreos and there is a possibility they could leave minuscule traces of dairy on subsequent batches. If you’re highly allergic to dairy, you should steer clear of this potential hazard. This is where the “May Contain Dairy” labels come into play. 

Vegan-Friendly Oreo Alternatives

Cookies are desserts, not health food, but there are still many alternative options on the market for Oreo lovers who want a slightly more natural option. They have all the great taste with fewer additives, organic ingredients, and more sustainable practices. If you’d like a sweet treat that you can feel better about eating, there are plenty of higher-quality chocolate sandwich cookies to try.

What About Gluten-Free Oreos?

Are Oreos Gluten-Free? Most are not, but Oreo did come out with a line of Gluten-Free Oreos! The gluten-free Oreos are certified gluten-free by GFCO and are made in a GFCO certified facility. Great news for celiac vegans everywhere! Regular Oreo cookies contain flour (wheat) and are not gluten-free.

Are Gluten-Free Oreos Vegan? Yes! The gluten-free line of Oreos are also suitable for vegans. 

If you’re looking for gluten-free Oreos, you can also check out Glutino’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies

Vegan Recipes Using Oreos

If you can’t get enough of these iconic cookies, you can always use them as an ingredient in even more elaborate desserts to amplify your Oreo experience!

  • Cookies and Cream Cake: This cookies and cream cake has three thick layers of cake packed full of Oreo cookies and is filled with a creamy vegan Oreo buttercream and finished with a drip of chocolate ganache.
  • Fudgy Oreo Brownies: Oreo brownies are rich and fudgy bars loaded with chopped Oreo cookies. Secretly vegan and easily made gluten free, they are a simple, showstopping dessert.
  • Easy Vegan Oreo Stuffed Cookies: Not only do they use chocolate chips, but they also use white chocolate chips for the most decadent vegan Oreo stuffed cookies you will ever taste!
  • Vegan Oreo Cheesecake: This Vegan Oreo Cheesecake has layers of cookies and cream in its decadent, ultra-smooth cream cheese filling and an Oreo cookie crust. No nuts or tofu needed for this easy no-bake dessert!
  • Vegan Cookies and Cream Ice Cream: This no-churn vegan Oreo ice cream takes only 3 ingredients and is so easy to make.

We also have the BEST vegan Oreo ice cream cake recipe in The Friendly Vegan Cookbook

Homemade Vegan Oreo Recipes

For the best possible ingredients and flavor, sometimes you need to take matters into your own hands. When you bake up Oreo cookies from scratch, you get exactly what you want with the added satisfaction that you did it yourself! It’s easy to make sandwich cookies at home, and you have plenty of different recipes to choose from.

Should Vegans Eat Oreos?

Ultimately, it’s a personal decision whether you want to support these corporations that don’t have the best practices in place for ingredient sourcing, fair trade, and equitable workplaces. There are many ethically questionable things behind the Oreo label, but at least, animal products are not one of them. For a treat, or when limited choices leave you with few alternatives, Oreos are a fine “accidentally vegan” choice.

More Vegan Cookies & Recipes:

If you were wondering, “Can vegans eat Oreos?” we hope this guide helped you out. This article was written with support from Hannah Kaminsky. Thoughts are our own, and we have no affiliation with the Oreo brand. Please note that this article may contain affiliate links which supports our work at World of Vegan.

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