Some say it’s the cherry on top that really sets a dessert apart, but what’s an ice cream sundae or festive birthday cake without a generous handful of colorful vegan sprinkles?
Found in as many shapes, sizes, and colors as you can imagine, and possibly even more, these edible confetti have been garnishing sweet treats since the early 1900’s. Growing exponentially in popularity since then, the market for more diverse types of sprinkles has never been hotter, which is an especially good thing for those with dietary restrictions or sensitivities.
Are Sprinkles Vegan?
It’s a strange question that most people wouldn’t even think to ask. So small and harmless, what could a tiny little nonparallel possible contain that would be even remotely offensive?
Although these colorful toppers are made primarily of edible wax, they are traditionally made with some questionable dyes or finishes to achieve their eye-catching hue. Here are the ingredients you need to look for that are NOT vegan:
- Confectioner’s glaze or shellac, which is code for mashed-up insects, to give them their lustrous shine.
- Carmine or cochineal, also made from crushed beetles, creating a bright red color.
- Beeswax often kills colonies from mismanagement but is cheap and plentiful, so it might
be the foundation of the sprinkles themselves.
- Castoreum, quite possibly the most unsavory ingredient on this list, comes from beaver
anal gland secretions, believe it or not, and can be used to create artificial vanilla flavors.
Which Sprinkle Brands are Vegan?
Happily, you can now find specifically vegan sprinkles sold by many companies across the globe that take quality into consideration! Everything from basic “jimmies” to custom-made shapes that are more intricate than a painted cookie, your desserts never need to look dull with the right options on hand.
100% Vegan Sprinkles Brands
Based in the UK, this company only makes 100% vegan, gluten-free, fancy sprinkles and ship worldwide. These are my FAVORITE sprinkles because they come in whimsical blends like “butterfly carnival,” “bunny surprise,” snowy morning,” and so much more. For the serious sprinkle-lover in your life, they also offer a sprinkle of the month club, so you’ll always have an exciting assortment of luxury sprinkles to liven up your treats.
Sold as “confetti sprinkelz,” these tiny toppers are made with all natural dyes and can be found at just about any natural food store, such as Whole Foods or Sprouts Farmers Market.
Another purveyor of entirely vegan baking supplies, you can find these fanciful finishes in many nicer grocery stores alongside conventional options. For the greatest range of shapes and colors, head straight to their website and order directly from the source. In addition to fun mixes like “dinomite” and “unicorn tracks,” you can also find natural food colors, full cookie decorating kits, and tons of sweet inspiration for your own unique creations.
Best Sprinkles Brands With Vegan Options
This is one of our favorite brands of gourmet sprinkles! Sweetapolita isn’t a fully vegan brand—some of their more fancy sprinkles options do contain dairy and/or beeswax—but they have a very easy to navigate section of completely vegan options. If severe allergies are a concern, bear in mind that cross-contamination might be an issue. They have vegan edible glitter, fun sprinkle mixes of Christmas sprinkles, Halloween sprinkles, fall sprinkles, metallic silver stars, snowflake sprinkles, pastel confetti sprinkles perfect for Easter and kids birthday treats, and more. This brand is the brain child of Rosie Alyea, founder of the Sweetapolita blog. Thanks, Rosie!
Fancy Sprinkles has an entire range of vegan sprinkle options that are clearly labeled. We’ve used these sprinkles for years and adore them. They are sprinkles that don’t “feel” vegan—they have vibrant colors, gorgeous shapes, and really fun holiday themed collections. They have gold sprinkles, edible gold stars, silver stars, glitter hexagons, edible 24k gold leaf sheets, edible glitter sprinkles (“prism powder”), vegan funfetti sprinkles, vegan chocolate sprinkles, pastel rainbow confetti sprinkles, and an array of fun sprinkle mixes.
This sweet company makes natural sprinkles sold in eco-friendly glass jars. They have lots of vegan options in fun colors and designs.
More Vegan Sprinkle Options:
- Vegan Sprinkles on Etsy (there are several brands available on Etsy!)
- Sweet Eva’s Natural Rainbow Sprinkles
- Color Garden’s Sugar Crystals (multiple colors)
- A Great Surprise 100% Natural Rainbow Sprinkles
- Color Kitchen Gluten-Free Sprinkles
- 365 Everyday Chocolate Sprinkles (Whole Foods Brand
Are Watkins Sprinkles Vegan?
Watkins recently started focusing on their organic spice line and have released a few plant-based sprinkle options! They came out with a vegan rainbow decorating sugar and rainbow decorating sprinkles made with natural food coloring (both vegan), and we hope more vegan products are on the way!
Are Wilton Sprinkles Vegan?
Wilton does have some accidentally vegan sprinkles options—but most of their sprinkles are not vegan. So be very careful and read labels scrupulously. As one of the biggest names in specialty baking, their product range is extensive, accessible, but also peppered with questionable ingredients.
Nothing is specifically labeled as vegan, so you really need to comb over the Wilton labels one by one. On the bright side, these are most readily available across the country in common stores like Target, Joanne Fabrics, Michael’s Arts and Crafts, and more.
Vegan Wilton Products: Wilton Edible Glitter, Gold Stars, and Sparkle Gels (there are currently vegan at the time of this writing, but double-check ingredients in case they reformulate)
Are Betty Crocker Sprinkles Vegan?
Unfortunately, the Betty Crocker brand is not a reliable source for vegan sprinkles. You may come across occasional “accidentally vegan” sprinkles in their line, but most contain confectioners glaze (not vegan) or other animal products.
Natural Sprinkle Alternatives
When you want a fun finishing touch but want to skip more processed options, there’s a good chance you already have ingredients on hand that will fit the bill, and even add more flavor to your treats. Consider the following ideas for natural sprinkles:
- Cacao nibs
- Turbinado sugar
- Sliced or slivered almonds
- Unsweetened coconut flakes or shreds
- Mini vegan chocolate chips
- Crushed vegan graham crackers (the Nabisco brand is vegan) or wafer cookies
- Freeze-dried blueberries or raspberries (whole or crushed into a powder)
- Chia seeds
- Mini vegan marshmallows
Sparkles, Glitter, and More
Beyond crunchy shapes, rods, and balls, there are plenty of other ways to make your desserts shine. These are a few more decorating options that are always vegan:
- Edible glitter, including disco dust, luster dust, tinker dust, and brew glitter: Most edible glitter is made from sugar, cornstarch, and pearlescent color additives or mica, and is totally safe to eat.
- Sequins or confetti: Laser-cut from thin sheets of food-grade silver, iridescent, or gold paper, these tiny shapes look just like something you might use in kindergarten crafts but can brighten up more than finger paint cards!
- Edible glitter spray: It looks like spray paint, dispenses like spray paint, but is destined to decorate much more temporary works of art. It’s essentially liquid food coloring with a touch of added sugar.
In addition, you can also make a healthier, sugar-free version with . . . amaranth! That’s right; just plain old whole grain amaranth, soaked in plant-based dyes and dehydrated, will do the trick. These wholesome sprinkles should be applied sparingly so they don’t contribute any discernable flavor.
All you need to do is soak amaranth in a colorful liquid for 4 hours, drain, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes at 200°F., stirring every 10 minutes or so, until dry to the touch. Your dyeing guide is as follows:
- Beet juice for red/pink (you can also try pink dragonfruit powder or juice for a hot pink color)
- Turmeric mixed with water for yellow
- Matcha or powdered spinach mixed with water for green
- Blue Spirulina (also sometimes called Blue Majik) for blue
Use just enough liquid to cover the grains and ratios as desired to reach the shade you’d like but bear in mind they won’t be as brilliant as anything store-bought or chemically enhanced.
Variations on these colors are easily blended, but this mix tends to do just fine for that extra touch of whimsy. Bake the grains in separate batches until completely dry to prevent the colors from bleeding. Store in an airtight container until ready to sprinkle in some fun!
Homemade Sprinkle Recipes
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can make genuine rainbow sprinkles in your very own kitchen. Bear in mind that it’s a bit time-consuming, but guarantees you’ll get exactly the results you’re craving. Here are a few recipes that will show to how to make vegan sprinkles and brighten up your baked goods:
- Healthy Homemade Rainbow Sprinkles and Confetti (sugar-free sprinkles)
- Plant-Based Sprinkles Made with Aquafaba
- DIY Dairy-Free Chocolate Sprinkles
- Marshmallow Fondant Sprinkles (use vegan marshmallows like these from Dandies)
Fun Vegan Recipes to Try Using Sprinkles:
- Chocolate-Dipped Banana Pops
- Super Easy Vegan Birthday Cake
- Baked Vegan Donuts
- Vegan Sugar Cookies
- DIY Chocolate Dipped Fruit Cones
Vegan Ice Cream Recipes
Sprinkles and vegan ice cream are a match made in heaven, so here are some delicious plant-based ice cream recipe options you can serve up with sprinkles.
- Healthy Banana Nice Cream Sundae
- Homemade Vegan Rocky Road
- Vegan Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe (Coconut Base)
- Dairy-Free Matcha Chip Ice Cream
We hope this vegan sprinkles guide helps you fall in love with your new favorite brand of plant-based sprinkles! Did we miss your favorite vegan sprinkles brand? Let us know in the comments below! This article was written with support from Hannah Kaminsky and may include affiliate links when available which supports our work at World of Vegan.