Are Potato Chips Vegan?
If you’re craving something salty, crunchy, and satisfying, very few snacks hit the spot quite as nice as potato chips! But if you’re sticking to a plant-based diet, you might be wondering, “Are potato chips vegan?”
Read on to learn what makes a potato chip vegan-friendly, plus dive into some of the most popular potato chip brands and flavors to see whether or not they have a place in your plant-based diet.
Firstly, what makes something vegan?
Veganism is a lifestyle practice in which one abstains from using any products that are made using animals or animal byproducts. So in order for something to be vegan, it needs to be made without any animal products.
In the context of food: in order for a food to be considered suitable for vegans, it cannot be made with any:
- Red meat
- Dairy (cheese, milk, etc)
In addition to some of the more obvious animal products listed above, foods that are vegan also would not contain any other ingredients made with animal derivatives. Some lesser-known ingredients that are not vegan-friendly include:
- Confectioner’s glaze
Finally, some vegans will also not touch any foods that are made with refined sugars. Refined white sugar is sometimes purified by filtering it through animal bone char, which some vegans oppose. As we move forward through the article, please note that we have identified some potato chip flavors as “vegan” even though they include sugar since not all vegans adhere to this rule. If you are a vegan who does not want to consume any refined sugars, be sure to double-check the ingredient list on your favorite potato chips prior to consuming them.
So, are potato chips vegan?
Potato chips can be vegan if they’re made with plant-based ingredients only. The main ingredients needed to make a basic potato chip are vegan, including:
- Vegetable oil
However, this may not apply across the board depending on the brand of potato chip you choose. It’s also important to note that flavored potato chips often include many other ingredients which may not be vegan. To best avoid animal products in your potato chips, make sure to read the ingredients list and look out for common animal-based flavoring agents like milk, cheese, whey, and buttermilk.
If you’re curious about whether or not your specific favorite potato chip brands and flavors are vegan, read on! We’ve evaluated the current ingredients in some of the most popular potato chips on the market today to determine whether or not they’re suitable for people who don’t eat animal products.
Are Lay’s Potato Chips Vegan?
The original Lay’s® Classic Potato chip is a vegan-friendly snack since it’s made of only potatoes, salt, and vegetable oil. A couple of other Lay’s flavors are also suitable for vegans including:
- Lay’s® BBQ Potato Chips
- Lay’s® Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips
- Lay’s® Limón Flavored Potato Chips
- Lay’s® Dill Pickle Flavored Potato Chips
- Lay’s® Chesapeake Bay Crab Spice Potato Chips
Unfortunately, there are many other flavors of Lay’s that are not suitable for plant-based eaters. A current list of flavors that are not vegan-friendly:
- Lay’s® Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips
- Lay’s® Cheddar & Sour Cream Potato Chips
- Lay’s® Cheddar Jalapeno Potato Chips
- Lay’s® Flamin’ Hot Potato Chips
- Lay’s® Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips
- Lay’s® Sweet Southern Heat Barbecue Potato Chips
- Lay’s® Honey BBQ Potato Chips
- Lay’s® Chile Limón Flavored Potato Chips
- Lay’s® Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle Potato Chips
These flavors contain non-vegan ingredients like milk, cheese, whey, buttermilk, and honey, all of which are made with animal byproducts.
Are Ruffles Potato Chips Vegan?
The iconic potato chip brand, Ruffles®, is most well-known for its thick, ridged potato chips that are perfect for dipping. Fortunately for vegans, the original Ruffles® Potato Chip is vegan and made with only potatoes, vegetable oil, and salt. The All Dressed flavor is also vegan.
But unfortunately, the rest of the Ruffles potato chip line are all made with animal byproducts, making them unsuitable for plant-based eaters. The non-vegan Ruffles potato chips include:
- Ruffles® Flamin’ Hot Cheddar & Sour Cream
- Ruffles® Flamin’ Hot BBQ
- Ruffles® Lime & Jalapeno
- Ruffles® Jalapeno Ranch
- Ruffles® Flamin’ Hot
- Ruffles® Cheddar & Sour Cream
- Ruffles® Sour Cream & Onion
- Ruffles® Queso Cheese
Are Pringles Potato Chips Vegan?
Only a few flavors made by the original stackable potato crisp brand, Pringles®, are vegan. The vegan-friendly chips made by Pringles include:
- Pringles® Original Crisps
- Pringles® Lightly Salted Crisps
- Pringles® Reduced Fat Crisps
- Pringles® Wavy Classic Salted Crisps
And the flavors of Pringles that are not vegan include:
- Pringles® BBQ Crisps
- Pringles® Cheddar Cheese Crisps
- Pringles® Cheddar & Sour Cream Crisps
- Pringles® Jalapeno Crisps
- Pringles® Pizza Crisps
- Pringles® Sour Cream & Onion Crisps
- Pringles® Ranch Crisps
- Pringles® Salt & Vinegar Crisps
- Pringles® Screaming Dill Pickle Crisps
- Pringles® Parmesan & Roasted Garlic Crisps
- Pringles® Honey Mustard Crisps
- Pringles® Buffalo Ranch Crisps
- Pringles® Mexican Street Corn Crisps
- Pringles® Scorchin’ Chili & Lime Potato Crisps
- Pringles® Scorchin’ BBQ Crisps
- Pringles® Scorchin’ Cheddar Crisps
- Pringles® Scorchin’ Wavy Loaded Nachos Crisps
- Pringles® Wavy Applewood Smoked Cheddar Crisps
- Pringles® Wavy Chipotle Ranch Crisps
- Pringles® Wavy Fire Roasted Jalapeno Crisps
- Pringles® Wavy Sweet & Spicy BBQ Crisps
- Pringles® Wavy White Cheddar Crisps
- Pringles® Scorchin’ Hot Ones Los Calientes Verde Crisps
- Pringles® Scorchin’ Hot Ones Los Calientes Rojo
- Pringles® Scorchin’ Hot The Classic Hot Sauce
Are Kettle Brand Potato Chips Vegan?
Thick-cut Kettle Brand Potato Chips have more vegan flavor options than many of the other brands listed, but with a caveat. Some of the flavors list “Natural Flavor” as part of their ingredient lists, but don’t specify what those natural flavors are.
Some vegan-friendly products by Kettle Brand in their Classic flavors include:
- Kettle Brand® Jalapeno Potato Chips
- Kettle Brand® Sea Salt
- Kettle Brand® Pepperoncini
- Kettle Brand® Sea Salt & Vinegar
The non-vegan products in Kettle Brand’s Classic line are:
- Kettle Brand® Classic Honey Dijon
- Kettle Brand® Farmstand Ranch
- Kettle Brand® New York Cheddar
- Kettle Brand® Parmesan Garlic
Finally, the Kettle Brand Classic chips that have unlisted “Natural Flavor” agents that may or may not be vegan include:
- Kettle Brand® Bourbon Barbecue
- Kettle Brand® Backyard Barbecue
- Kettle Brand® Korean Barbecue
Are Cape Cod Potato Chips Vegan?
The iconic East Coast potato chip brand, Cape Cod®, has a variety of simple but high-quality potato chip flavors to offer. And unlike many of the other options listed in this article, many of the potato chips made by Cape Cod are actually vegan!
Vegan potato chips by Cape Cod:
- Cape Cod® Original
- Cape Cod® Original Lightly Salted
- Cape Cod® Dark Russet
- Cape Cod® Sea Salt & Vinegar
- Cape Cod® Sweet & Spicy Jalapeno
The non-vegan Cape Cod products are:
- Cape Cod® Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper
- Cape Cod® Sour Cream & Onion
As a note, the Cape Cod® Sweet Mesquite Barbecue flavor seems to be okay for vegans based on the ingredients, but it does also include a listing for “Natural Flavor” in which the flavoring agents are not listed.
How to make sure your potato chips are vegan
So, bottom line: how can you make sure that your snack preferences line up with your dietary needs?
Read the ingredients list
Some of the most common ingredients that can make potato chips non-vegan include dairy products like milk, cheese, cream, and buttermilk. You should also be on the lookout for “Natural Flavors,” which may or may not be made using animal products.
Look for “vegan” or “plant-based” labeling
The most straightforward way to determine whether a potato chip is vegan is to check whether it’s labeled as such! If your favorite brand says “vegan” or “plant-based,” you’re good to go.
Make your own
If you really want to control all the ingredients that are in your snacks, consider making your own. Take a mandoline or very sharp knife, cut a potato into thin slices, oil them up with the vegetable oil of your choosing, and pop them into your air fryer or a baking sheet in the oven. This way, you’ll have total control over what’s going into your chip.
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-person-carrying-a-bowl-of-potato-chips-7801207/