Is Chocolate Vegan?

Is Chocolate Vegan
The answer: YES and NO

For all we know, the main ingredient in chocolate is derived from cacao beans, whether it is forastero, criollo or trinitario species, which are totally plant and so totally vegan.

Such ingredients as chocolate liquor, cocoa beans, cocoa butter, and cocoa paste that you will see on different chocolate products are all different forms or pure chocolate and as such derivatives of cocoa beans.

So, by all means, treat yourself to a bar of pure chocolate or choco powder because you’re certainly on the safe side of your vegan principles.

And keep in mind that cocoa butter, despite its name, has got nothing to do with the butter that comes from milk. It is simply a fat extracted from cocoa beans during the process of separation as a result of which we get two products: cocoa butter and cocoa powder.


When is chocolate not vegan?

Most milk chocolates are NOT vegan, as they are processed using dairy milk (usually in a form of milk powder). Basically, dairy milk is the main ingredient that disqualifies most chocolate bars from being vegan.

Here is a list of ingredients of a typical grocery store chocolate bar:

Ingredient% by weight
Cocoa liquor13
Cocoa butter17
Whole milk powder19
Skim milk powder3.5
Hazelnut paste2
Vanillin 0.01

However, you should be able to spot chocolates with rice, soy and other plant based milks rather than dairy milk as their ingredients. Rice milk is a healthy vegan food product so no worries about it.


Here’s how to pick out vegan chocolate from the crowd

One fundamental is plain and simple – be ready to read food labels!

  1. A high cacao content, say 55% and above, with some at 100%, is an indication of pureness.
  2. An abnormally long list of ingredients for a simple product as chocolate is a sign that some are fillers and so you are never sure what you are taking in. It is better to avoid such chocolate bars.
  3. Casein ingredient and others like it are a no-no. These are milk extracts.
  4. Since milk is a known allergen, check out the allergen information provided on the pack. If you see the ‘contains milk’ warning, then dairy milk is definitely and ingredient.


What the heck is lecithin?

You’ll often see lecithin listed among the ingredients of a chocolate bar. Lecithin is basically an emulsifier that’s used by chocolate producers. It is retained from either animals or plants, therefore, it might not always be vegan. Soy lecithin is OK for vegans. If the label doesn’t state what lecithins it is, you’ll probably want to avoid this chocolate bar.


A short list of vegan chocolates


Make your own vegan chocolate

Here is a step-by-step video on how to make your own vegan chocolate at home:

Easy, right?


Is drinking chocolate vegan?

Usually powders sold as the base for drinking chocolate are not vegan, because most of them contain milk powder. I don’t even know why they put it there 🙂 Again, all you have to do is to read the label before buying. Of course, you can’t read the label, if you are ordering drinking chocolate in a cafe, so it is better to ask the waiter about it to be sure.

There is always a way out. You can make your own vegan drinking chocolate. Just like in this video:


So, which vegan chocolate brand do you prefer?

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