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Is Dark Chocolate Vegan? A Vegan's Guide to Chocolate

Posted by Aaron Seminoff on

Dark chocolate is usually just fine unless it contains milk or milk fat. It is usually made with cocoa butter and chocolate liquor making it vegan friendly. Chocolate is not vegan friendly when it is mixed with whey, butter fat or milk. Milk chocolate and white chocolate is usually off limits. Always read ingredients to ensure there are no dairy products in the treat.

Chocolate Ingredients List

Milk Chocolate and dark chocolate are made with different ingredients on most occasions. Dark chocolate is not made with any milk solids while milk chocolate usually contains dairy products. Milk chocolate can be made vegan if it is made with a different type of milk. Coconut milk makes a creamy chocolate that tastes even better to some people than the milk chocolate.

All chocolate starts as a bean from a tree. After fermentation dried cocoa beans are taken to a factory where they are roasted. This leaves bitter cacao nibs that are crushed into chocolate liquor. No, you cannot get drunk off that liquor! It is a strong and bitter with a grainy texture. Chocolate producers add their own ingredients to make whatever type of chocolate they manufacture. A note about lecithin: It can be either animal or plant based. Soy lecithin is vegan friendly. Others might be sourced from egg yolk so be sure to read the label. If it does not tell you the source, steer clear just in case. After adding these ingredients below or their own ingredients steel rollers refine the chocolate.

Vegan Chocolate

Milk Chocolate Ingredients

  • Sweet chocolate made with cocoa solids and cocoa butter
  • Milk powder or condensed milk
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Vanilla in some types

Organic Chocolate Crafted to be Vegan:

  • Cocoa Butter
  • Sugar
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Water

The Vegan Rundown on Chocolate

  • Cocoa Powder
  • Cocoa Liquor
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Soy Lecithin*
  • Dehydrated Cane Juice

So is chocolate vegan? Yes, it can be! It sounds like such an easy answer at first because chocolate comes from a plant so you would think it's vegan. The problem is that getting it from a plant to a piece of yummy dessert means mixing it with other ingredients. A good quality piece of chocolate will be pure mixed only with natural things like sugar, cocoa powder and sometimes even vanilla without any additives. It won't have any cheap fillers or artificial flavorings.

There are a few places that have started to produce "milk" chocolate from non-dairy milk items like rice milk, soy milk and/or almond milk so there is a chance you can indulge in milk chocolate. So is chocolate vegan? The answer is yes as long as it is made in a high quality way. Companies that try to skimp on ingredients and taste try to sneak in additives that fool the consumer while the company saves money. The consumer isn't saving any money on their health and the animals harmed in the process aren't being saved at all so the cost isn't worth it!

The answer to "Is dark chocolate vegan" is not cut and dry either. Many times even if the chocolate does not contain animal products it becomes contaminated. This is because many companies use the same machine for all their products. This means traces of animal products can remain on the machine making their way into your chocolate. The Oreo is a great example of how this can happen. One of the best chocolate desserts is the Oreo cookie. You can usually dive into an Oreo if it doesn't have any of the processed stuff like butter fat, gelatin, lactose, albumen shellac and whey powder. What is all that gunk anyway? Nabisco is one of the most popular brands for the Oreo. This brand makes many other products so there is no guarantee their production lines will not come in contact with any trace amounts of animal products. There is also a chance the sugar put into your chocolate is processed with charcoal made from animal bones. This whitens the sugar. Why would you need whiter sugar is another question. You can ensure this does not happen to your chocolate product by buying the kinds made with unrefined sugar. It's always about reading the label. Labels by law have to state everything in the product. You will not be ingesting anything off the vegan palette as long as you read the labels.

What about hot chocolate? Drinking a glass of chocolate soy milk, hot chocolate or a mocha latte can be tricky. Pure cocoa powder is vegan friendly, but it is often not the same as drinking chocolate. Drinking chocolate usually contains dried milk and other additives. If you want to have a mocha cappuccino it's best to make it with pure cocoa, soy milk and sugar. Pretty much everything can be tweaked to be friendly for vegans.


Vegan Chocolate Brands

Many places both in stores and online sell vegan chocolate. Sometimes the chocolate is just naturally vegan even when it's not marketed as such, but is not made with any fillers or additives. Other times the brand is made purposely without dairy, casein or whey. You can find many of these products at a local grocery store or on their website. Most companies promise shipping chocolates without the fear of melting. Gourmet chocolate is one of the most gifted and shipped products available.

Ghirardelli Chocolate

Taza Chocolate

Charm School Chocolate

Trader Joe's Chocolate Bars - Trader Joe's sells many different kinds of desserts so make sure to read the ingredients. The chocolate chips are naturally vegan friendly.

Vosges Hot Chocolate - A bit pricey, but some of the highest chocolate out there.

Newman's Own Chocolate Bars

Whole Foods Chocolate

Equal Exchange - All products except the one labeled "Milk Chocolate"

Dagoba - This company was bought by Hershey so make sure to read the label because some milk products are sneaking in the production.

Scharffen Berger


Rose City Vegan Chocolatier - Promises to be free of bone char and any animal products.

Chocolate Decadence

Alter Eco - Offers all organic chocolate bars.

Endangered Species Chocolate

Lake Chaplain Chocolates

Is Dark Chocolate Vegan

How to Make Your Own Vegan Chocolate Truffles

Making your own chocolate desserts vegan is always a way to ensure your chocolate is vegan friendly. There are thousands of recipes available to make fun treats for the entire family. The best thing is no one will be able to tell the difference in taste! Who can resist a chocolate truffle? Chocolate truffles are rich and amazing. They are so easy to make, too! This recipe will make about ten truffles.


  • 1 bag of 12 ounce chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup lactose free milk (almond, soy, coconut, etc)
  • 1/4 cup and two tablespoons coconut oil
  • Cocoa powder
  • Coconut flakes
  • Almond meal


  1. Heat chocolate chips in a glass bowl for 30 seconds. Stir until melted.
  2. Heat almond milk for 30 seconds and then stir together with chocolate.
  3. Add coconut oil. Mix all of the ingredients together in the same bowl.
  4. Refrigerate a few hours until thoroughly chilled.
  5. Roll each truffle into the mixture after it is cooled. You can use a spoon or ice cream scoop to create the perfect ball.
  6. Roll each ball into the cocoa powder, coconuts and almond meal.
  7. Eat up!

Share the Love

You now have great answers when someone asks, Is dark chocolate vegan? Remember milk and white chocolate in a product makes it unfriendly to vegans. Please comment and tell us your favorite chocolate vegan recipes. We love to connect others with great recipes so they can enjoy sweet treats. Just because you don't eat animal products doesn't mean you ever have to miss out on the sweet concoctions in life! There's usually an alternative product that tastes just as yummy as the one filled with additives and things that endanger animals. Share the love and information with friends so they can enjoy these things without guilt as well.

Chocolate Ingredients

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