We’ve put together this list of 39+ easily-found vegan candy options to keep you from roaming the grocery aisles like a zombie as you decide what’s safe to hand out to all the goblins and ghouls on Halloween night. We’ve also answered more than two dozen commonly asked questions about what makes certain candy not suitable for vegans. This is also a great list if you’re looking for common food allergens present in store bought candy. Did your favorite candies make the list? Read on and find out!
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“T” here, and back when I was teaching at an all-ghouls, errr, I mean all-girls school, a question many students often asked around the beginning of October was “What candy can vegans eat?”
I still think they were really just trying to get a class-time Halloween party out of the situation and this was their way to broach the topic. But I love Halloween, and I do have a bit of a sweet tooth. I also thought I would take the opportunity to remind them that we can eat anything we want, but we choose to omit certain foods and practices from our lives for vegan alternatives.
Anyway, one year I gave them a list of non-vegan ingredients and a “research assignment” to earn their party, and together we gathered a list of commonly found vegan halloween candy options. It turned out it really helped a lot of the students who also had food allergies but didn’t really know what kind of candy was available and safe for them.
What to Look For
This is a great time to revisit that vegan halloween candy guide. I hope it helps you all decide what sort of treats you want to put in those little tricksters’ bags when they ring your doorbell this hallowed eve!
Common animal-derived ingredients found in candy that vegans avoid are gelatin (made from animal bones), honey and beeswax, eggs and egg whites, confectioner’s glaze, carmine, and all forms of dairy. Other than the obvious dairy terms, you’re looking for milk fat, whey, casein, lactose, etc.
Before we begin, let’s clarify one thing: Yes, we know candy’s not necessarily healthy, but it’s Halloween and this is a post about candy. We’re not going to avoid a product just because of corn syrup or non-animal based artificial colors or artificial flavors.
List of Candy That Is Vegan
Not all vegan treats are labeled vegan. The following list of vegan halloween candies is by no means the ultimate guide, but it should be a good start for you and hopefully save you enough time for some extra scary movies this spooky season. Again, any time you are uncertain, you should read the ingredient label for the presence of any animal ingredients.
- Dum Dum lollipops
- Ring Pops (But not the gummy kind)
- Fruit Roll-Ups
- Sour Patch Kids
- Swedish Fish* (Some packages contain beeswax. See below for details.)
- Smarties* (In the United States. See below.)
- Charms Blow Pops
- Charms Pops
- Fruit by the Foot
- Jolly Ranchers
- Hubba Bubba Chewing Gum
- Jujubes and Jujyfruits
- Goldenberg’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Chews
- Pixy Stix
- Fun Dip
- Cherry Nibs
- Laffy Taffy fun-size* (NOT the large size, only the “fun size”.)
- Mary Janes
- Atomic Fireballs
- Original Cracker Jack
- Original Now and Laters (but NOT the extra “chewy” version. They have egg white in them.)
- Red Vines licorice
- Lance Peanut Bar
- Oreo minis
- Life Savers hard candies – Original, Wild Cherry, and even the Buttered Rum flavors are vegan. The gummies version is not.
- Brach’s Star Brite Mints
- Zotz fizzy candies
PPC Magazine Subscribers can find this guide on Page 55 of the Comfort Foods Made Vegan Issue! Download a sample of the issue here.
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Vegan Candy FAQ
If you have vegan candy questions, look no further. Here are the answers to over 30 of the most commonly asked questions about vegan-friendly candies – and we’ve included info on what makes them vegan or not vegan!
Are lollipops vegan?
This depends on the brand of lollipop. Generally, a lot of the hard-candy-on-a-stick lollipops are vegan. It’s when you get into things like Tootsie Pops and the fruit and cream Chupa Chup lollipop varieties that you find dairy in the form of milk powder and whey.
However, Charms Blow Pops, made by the Tootsie Roll Company, and good old Dum Dums are vegan. Check ingredients of your favorite if you’re uncertain.
Are Dum Dums vegan? These diminutive delights are ALWAYS a hit and are indeed vegan! Don’t be a dum-dum yourself, and be smart enough to grab more than just a few for later days.
Are Ring Pops vegan? Seriously, who doesn’t love this très fancy edible accessory? And the good news is you can enjoy the hard candy ones all you want because they are indeed vegan! The gummy version of the ring pop contains gelatin however.
More Vegan Lollies:
- Dum Dum lollipops
- Ring Pops – but not the gummy kind
- Charms Blow Pops
- Charms Pop
Are Smarties vegan?
Okay, follow closely for this one. The Smarties candy found in the United States is vegan and is pretty much just a little sugar tablet. That candy tablet we call Smarties in America is sold under the name Rockets in Canada (where Smarties are candy-covered chocolate pieces that are not vegan). If that’s still confusing for ya, maybe the next answer will help clarify.
Are Rockets Candy vegan?
One more time, because this really can be kind of confusing: Rockets are the Canadian version of the United States’ Smarties. To confuse things further, in the UK, the little sugar tablets are known as Fizzers. Wherever you are and whatever you call them, all the variations are vegan friendly. (*In Canada and Europe, Smarties are little candy coated chocolate pieces similar to M&Ms and not vegan.)
Are Rice Krispies vegan?
Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal contains animal-derived D3 from lanolin and is not vegan. Rice Krispy Treats contain gelatin and are not vegan either.
Are M&Ms vegan?
M&Ms are not vegan. They contain multiple forms of milk products.
Are Jolly Ranchers vegan?
Another sweet treat representing the Hershey Co., Jolly Ranchers and Jolly Rancher lollipops are both vegan-friendly.
Are Jolly Rancher gummies vegan? Actually, yes! Unlike the Jolly Rancher Chews, the gummies surprisingly do not contain gelatin.
Are Jolly Rancher Chews vegan? In a big shift from their counterparts, Jolly Rancher chews are not vegan. They contain gelatin as one of the ingredients.
Are Junior Mints vegan?
No. You’d think dairy would be the obvious culprit here, but Junior Mints list confectioners glaze as the non-vegan ingredient.
Are Starburst vegan?
In the U.S., Starburst candies contain gelatin. So, in the United States, Starbursts are not vegan. Even the Starburst lollipops contain gelatin! Elsewhere, I would suggest reading the ingredients for gelatin and/or “confectioners glaze”.
Are Starburst jelly beans vegan? Starburst jelly beans are not considered vegan due to the presence of beeswax in the ingredients.
Is Mamba candy vegan?
Okay, so this one is a bit of a real disappointment for me because I used to LOVE these fruity, chewy candies. They were my go-to replacement for Starburst when I first went vegan. But a couple years ago, for some reason, they decided to add gelatin to their ingredients. In short, Mamba candies are no longer suitable for vegans.
Are Welch’s fruit snacks vegan?
Once again, gelatin is the culprit and is what makes Welch’s fruit snacks not vegan.
Are fruit roll ups vegan?
Fruit Roll Ups from Betty Crocker brand are indeed vegan!
Is Fruit by the Foot vegan?
Fruit Roll Ups from Betty Crocker brand are indeed vegan!
Are Gushers vegan?
Closing out the trio of vegan offerings from Betty Crocker are Gushers. Yes, Gushers are also vegan!
Are Pop Rocks vegan?
Pop Rocks contain lactose, otherwise known as milk sugar, and are not vegan.
Are Warheads vegan?
The candy that tests your endurance, Warheads are vegan friendly!
Are Airheads vegan?
A tasty taffy candy ALL the kids love, Airheads contain no animal products and are vegan!
Are Twizzlers vegan?
I love, love, love licorice! And thankfully Twizzlers licorice, produced by the Hershey Co., are vegan.
Are Cherry Nibs vegan? Twizzlers’ little cousin, also made by Hershey, Cherry Nibs, are also vegan. And for the record, these are in my top five.
Is Black Licorice vegan?
First I need it to be known, I am a HUGE black licorice and black jelly beans fan! Okay, is black licorice vegan? Honestly, it depends on the company so be sure to read ingredients if you are uncertain at all, but the majority of black licorice I’ve seen is suitable for vegans to enjoy.
Are Twix vegan?
Twix are not vegan. The twin chocolate and caramel bars contain multiple forms of dairy.
Are Hot Tamales vegan?
Hot Tamales, as well as Mike and Ike and Good & Plenty, all contain confectioners glaze. Good & Plenty (which used to be one of my favorites) also contains carmine. None of them are vegan friendly.
Are Skittles vegan?
Yes! Skittles, except the “Skittles Gummies”, are vegan! You can continue to “taste the rainbow” guilt-free now that the manufacturers of Skittles stopped using carmine, gelatin, and confectioner’s glaze (read: food-grade shellac) in these tiny orbs of fruity goodness.
Are sour skittles vegan? All flavors of Skittles are considered vegan friendly. However, if they put out a special, limited-time type, check the ingredients.
Are Jujubes vegan?
Jujubes and Jujyfruits are both gelatin-free gummies and are both vegan.
Are Dots vegan?
First, let’s talk about Dot’s gummy candies. This super gummy goodness popular at movie theaters is made without gelatin and is vegan. Careful of lockjaw if you try to eat too many of these at once.
However, some people call those sugar candy dots on paper “Dots.” Those are actually called “Candy Buttons” and most of those contain gelatin and some contain egg whites.
Recap: The gummy candy you would think has gelatin in it is actually vegan, but the little sugary dot of hard candy stuck to paper is almost always not.
Are Sour Patch Kids vegan?
These sour and sweet, kid-shaped candies came out in the mid 1980s when I was just beginning my “more sophisticated palate” in the world of candy. Introduced in the mid-1980s, these kids may almost be 40, but they are still vegan.
Are peanut chews vegan?
Yes! The dark chocolate version of the “Philly born and raised” Goldenberg’s peanut chews is vegan, but they recently introduced a non-vegan milk chocolate version as well. Just make sure you get the ones with the RED and brown wrapper. These are quite possibly my favorite vegan candy, a lot of childhood memories here!
FUN FACT: These delicious molasses-based bites started as a high-protein ration bar for soldiers during World War I and were manufactured right here in Northeast Philadelphia (where we’re from!!) since the EARLY 1900s before moving to Bethlehem, PA, in the early 2000s.
Some non-chocolate peanut bars, like the kind from Old Dominion and Lance Peanut Bar, are also vegan. Others like Munch or Payday contain dairy and are not vegan.
Are Pixy Stix vegan?
Pixy Stix are indeed vegan. This elongated cylinder of sugar is sure to make every child happy and every parent exhausted…send the kids off with three.
Is Fun Dip vegan?
For those who prefer their flavored sugar from a pouch of sugar eaten with a sugar stick, Fun Dip is also vegan.
Are Hi Chews vegan?
Once again gelatin rears its head and makes HiChew candies not vegan.
Are Chuckles vegan?
I love jelly candies and this classic five-flavored sleeve of sugar-coated confections is a vegan jelly-candy lover’s delight.
Are Nerds vegan?
Yes! They say you are what you eat. And I’m a vegan nerd. A box of these tiny vegan tasties is always appreciated in ANY trick-or-treater’s sack of goodies!
Are Swedish Fish vegan?
Depending on how and where they are manufactured, some packages of Swedish Fish contain beeswax (which is not vegan) instead of or in addition to carnauba wax. I have also read that ALL the miniature bags of Swedish Fish contain beeswax. Apparently, size does matter. Read the package on this one!!!
Is Laffy Taffy vegan?
In another WTF moment caused by size, I’ve just read that the large versions of this candy contain egg white, but the smaller, “fun size” ones do not. Again – and always – read the ingredients. Recap: Fun-size Laffy Taffy are vegan but the large ones are not.
Vegan Candy Recipes
If you’re looking for some homemade vegan halloween candy recipes, check out our Vegan Candy Recipe Round-Up or head straight to one of the following recipes:
- Vegan Peppermint Patties
- Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Cups
- 2-Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Bars (coming soon!)
There really is quite a cavalcade of candy available on the market that does not incorporate animal products in their ingredients, so I have not listed ALL of them here.
But I’m certain you’ll come across a few of your old favorites that you may need to sneak to a safe area before giving them ALL away to little princesses and pirates seeking their loot and booty.
If you enjoyed this vegan candy guide, have any questions, or are wondering why your favorite might be missing from the list, feel free to drop a comment in the section below. Happy Halloween, boos and ghouls!