Doritos are perhaps the most delicious tortilla chips in the world, with at least 20 different and unique flavors available, generating each year about 2 billion dollars in sales. As a result, it’s no wonder that one of the most searched terms (by vegans) on Google is of people asking whether or not Doritos are vegan.
So, are Doritos vegan? Fortunate, three flavors are vegan, whilst the majority of the Doritos flavors contain animal ingredients. However, it’s important to mention that even the vegan flavors contain what some vegans might refer to as “questionable” ingredients. These ingredients may not be extracted from an animal source but they may be associated with animal cruelty.
In this article, I will break down which flavors are vegan and which ones aren’t, and I’ll cover some of these “questionable” ingredients some vegans avoid but are present in so many products, including Doritos.
Which Doritos Are Vegan?
More important than learning about “questionable” ingredients, we need to first emphasize which Doritos are actually without animal ingredients.
According to what I’ve researched, the following flavors are vegan:
- Toasted Corn Tortilla Chips
- Spicy Sweet Chili
The Toasted Corn Tortilla Chips flavor has very few ingredients, namely corn, vegetable oil, and salt, which makes it the most “vegan” option out of the three.
The Blaze and the Spicy Sweet Chili flavors, on the other hand, include ingredients such as sugar, natural and artificial flavors, added colors, maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate, as well as other similar ingredients.
Some of these ingredients may not be vegan.
Ingredients like sugar, artificial colors, and flavors are questionable for potentially having a link to animal cruelty according to the reasons I’ll explain below.
Sugar is typically derived from two sources: sugarcane and sugar beets.
While they’re both similar in taste and texture, the way they’re processed is different. On one hand, you have beet sugar that is filtered using a diffuser and mixed with additives to crystallize, but no animal ingredient is used.
But cane sugar may sometimes be filtered, processed, and bleached with a property called bone char, which is essentially a charcoal-like powder that is obtained by boiling and incinerating the bones of cattle.
This method is not practiced by every sugar supplier, thankfully. Some suppliers use vegan-friendly alternatives like activated charcoal or ion-exchange resins which ultimately achieve the same result.
A common pattern I’ve noticed among different big companies is that they have a mixed pool of sugar suppliers, which includes some suppliers that use bone char and others that don’t. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to trace which products actually contain the bone char bleached sugar.
The good news is that this isn’t common practice in every place around the globe (namely, in European countries), but in nations like the United States, this method is still used.
Artificial Colors and Flavors
The Blazed and Spicy Sweet Chili flavors contain artificial colors and flavors.
Unfortunately, any artificial ingredient can be associated with animal testing, and there is some evidence that certain ingredients continue to be tested on animals to prevent potential health risks. While the very nature of animal testing is already cruel, once the experiment is finished, the animals are often killed.
And while it’s true that some vegans may be okay with that fact, you’ll also find many vegans that refuse to consume any products with artificial colors (or flavors).
Thankfully, alternatives like In Vitro Testing and Computer Modeling show promise.
On a positive note, PETA, in 2007, seemingly convinced PepsiCo (the company that owns brands such as Pepsi-Cola, Frito-Lay (which owns Doritos), and more) to not conduct or fund any animal experiments. It turns out that since 2007, PepsiCo has pledged to communicate its opposition to animal testing to all entities with which the corporation works.
Why Are Most Doritos Not Vegan?
Most Doritos, unfortunately, are not vegan because they’re made using ingredients like milk and chicken, and it’s easy to guess why considering the various cheese-based flavors.
Here is the list of non-vegan Doritos:
- Cool Ranch Doritos
- Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch Doritos
- Dinamita Chile Limon Rolled Doritos
- Doritos Collisions (Blaze & Cheddar)
- Flamas Doritos
- Flamin’ Hot Nachos Doritos
- Doritos Flavor Shots (Cheese Covered Peanuts, Fiery Habanero Triangles, Flamin’ Hot Nacho Covered Peanuts)
- Jacked Ranch Dipped Hot Wings Doritos
- Nacho Cheese Doritos
- Poppin Jalapeno Doritos
- Salsa Verde Doritos
- Simply Organic Doritos (White Cheddar, Spicy White Cheddar)
- Spicy Nacho Doritos
- Taco Flavored Doritos
- Tapatio Doritos
Besides, some flavors also contain animal-derived rennet in the cheese.
Rennet derived from plants or microbes does exist, but the truth is that rennet is traditionally sourced from animals, which is why even some vegetarians oppose its consumption.
You Can Also Make Doritos At Home
While it’s certainly more convenient to purchase a bag of Doritos, I also believe some people may be interested in baking Doritos at home, especially if they’re not into spicy flavors.
The recipe above belongs to POPSUGAR Fitness, and they’ve made it very easy to make vegan Doritos at home with just a handful of ingredients, including:
- Sprouted grain tortillas
- Coconut oil spray
- Nutritional yeast
- Chili powder
- Onion powder
- Coconut sugar
- and Garlic powder
Check out the video and you’ll see that the result is amazing, and it’s certainly healthier than the Doritos you buy in-store, which are usually filled with artificial ingredients.
Are There Good Vegan Alternatives to Doritos?
It’s not easy to find brands that can reproduce the same flavors you’ll find in Doritos, especially when it comes to the most popular flavors like Nacho Cheese and Cool Ranch. One of the flavors I’ve enjoyed the most before becoming vegan was cheese, so while you can find vegan cheese in the supermarket, it might be more difficult to find it being used in tortilla chips, like Doritos.
I have found a brand called Plant Snacks, whose goal was to create snacks (in this particular case, chips) that some vegans might miss.
At Amazon, you can find them selling with the following flavors:
- Vegan Cheddar Cheese
- Beet with Vegan Goat Cheese
- Salt and Vinegar
- and Super Seed Mix.
Their product appears to have a significant number of positive reviews, but I have not tried them for myself, so while I’m suggesting this product, I can’t speak on its flavor and whether or not it compares to Doritos.
With that being said, it seems to be a fine alternative, especially if you’re missing cheese in your chips.
Summary: Not All Doritos Are Vegan
Out of the many flavors Doritos has available, only three of them are vegan-friendly, which include: Toasted Corn Tortilla Chips, Blaze, and Spicy Sweet Chilli. The remaining Doritos are not vegan because they either contain ingredients like milk or chicken, which are certainly not vegan.
Alternatively, if you do not appreciate the vegan-friendly flavors they have, you can always try to make your own Doritos at home (check the recipe above), or you can always see for yourself if the chips by Plant Snacks (which contain vegan cheese) are better suited for what you’re looking for.
The bottom line of this blog post is that not all Doritos flavors are vegan.