Are Reese’s Vegan? Or Do They Contain Milk?

Reese’s brings me back memories because I used to work in an ice cream parlor where we served many milkshakes, and one of the most popular was Reese’s milkshake. 

It’s perfectly normal for vegans to question whether Reese’s is safe to eat because it tastes like peanut butter, which is a vegan product.

Let’s quickly dive into the article and give you an answer. 

Are Reese’s Vegan-Friendly?

According to its US distributor, Reese’s contains the following ingredients:

  • Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, lactose, soy lecithin, PGPR, emulsifier)
  • peanuts
  • sugar
  • dextrose
  • salt
  • TBHQ (preservative).

Unfortunately, Reese’s is not vegan. 

It has several milk derivates such as non-fat milk, milk fat, and lactose, which isn’t surprising because it has a smooth milk chocolate feel followed by a gritty peanut butter texture. 

Other than these milk derivatives, Reese’s also contains sugar, which is a controversial ingredient. 

READ NEXT: Is Dark Chocolate Vegan? Here’s All You Need To Know

Why is Sugar Controversial?

Sugar isn’t controversial in Europe, but in North America it’s common for sugar refineries to use bone char when processing cane sugar. 

Bone char is a black powder derived from charred animal bones. They use it as a decolorizing agent, but it can also help remove inorganic impurities like sulfates and ions of magnesium and calcium.

It’s difficult to tell whether a product contains sugar processed with bone char because companies get their sugar from a mixed pool of suppliers. This makes it difficult to trace the ingredient back to its source. 

Since I live in Europe, I don’t have to deal with this issue, but I understand why many vegans continue to consume sugar β€” because it’s tough to erase animal cruelty. 

READ NEXT: Are Butterfingers Suitable For Vegans? Or Do They Have Milk?

Hershey Owns Reese’s

Even if Reese’s was vegan, we would still need to be aware of the company profiting from it. 

Hershey is the United States #1 chocolate company, but it’s tough to look at the data and buy from a company that is unethical on many fronts. They contribute to massive deforestation, plastic pollution, they support labor that violates human rights standards, and the bulk of their profit comes from animal products. 

They also own an amusement park and zoo (called Zoo America) where they have over 200 animals, several of which serve entertainment purposes. 

Therefore, it wouldn’t be unusual for a vegan to avoid products from a company like Hershey. 

READ NEXT: Is Mars Suitable For Vegans? Can Vegans Eat It?

Vegan Peanut Butter Cups Recipe

Even if you can’t eat Reese’s, you can always create your own.

If you’ve turned vegan but you miss Reese’s, you can easily re-create a comparable version. As long as you have peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and vegan chocolate chips, it’s doable.

According to the “It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken” food blog, their recipe should take you 20 minutes.

If you’re interested in reading the whole recipe, you can get it here on Sam’s blog post. Otherwise, you can also watch Sam making the vegan Reese’s in the video above.

As you can see, there’s no reason to feel demotivated anymore! Now you can cook Reese’s at home in just 20 minutes. πŸ™‚

Vegan Chocolate Alternatives

There are alternatives to Reese’s.

Today you can find vegan chocolates that look the same, though they’re not as cheap. 

Let’s look at a few options you have available:

Justin’s Nut Butter Mini Peanut Butter Cups

justin's peanut butter cups

Justin’s are at the cheaper end of the spectrum.

While it’s certified organic, and people vouch for its “unparalleled” taste β€” it appears to be too pricey for the quantity it brings.

However, that is expected, considering the following list of ingredients:

  • organic dark chocolate
  • organic peanuts
  • organic powdered evaporated cane sugar
  • organic peanut flour
  • organic palm fruit oil
  • organic cocoa butter
  • organic vanilla flavor
  • sea salt
  • organic soy lecithin.

The list of ingredients is fully organic, hence the inflated price. This being said, if you can afford it, I still feel like it’s a good snack to have. 

Legendary Foods – Peanut Butter Cups

legendary foods peanut butter cups

With just over 3000 thousand reviews on Amazon, these are probably the most popular vegan Reese’s.

They are free from GMO’s, have no added sugars and they’re high in protein. 

These sweet peanut butter cups are considered the perfect Keto Bombs since they’re low in carbs but high in protein and fats.

Fortunately, they didn’t leave vegans out of the picture.

The ingredients are 100% vegan:

  • peanuts
  • unsweetened chocolate
  • erythritol
  • cocoa butter
  • sea salt
  • stevia
  • natural flavors.

Aside from peanut butter, they have other flavors like apple pie, chocolate banana, and blueberry cinnamon bun.

Unreal – Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Unreal - peanut butter cups

The Unreal Peanut Butter Cups are the most expensive option, but at the same, they rank #1 as the best seller for vegan peanut butter cups on Amazon.

This suggests two things:

  1. They must be DELICIOUS;
  2. The integrity of the brand plays a big role. Among the brands I’ve seen, this is the only brand that has fair-trade certified ingredients, which shoots up the price.

Since vegans are sometimes willing to compromise, so they go for the most trustworthy options while ignoring the price. Here are the ingredients:

  • dark chocolate (chocolate liquor, cane sugar, cocoa butter, organic blue agave inulin, sunflower lecithin, organic vanilla)
  • peanut butter (peanuts, cane sugar, palm oil, salt)
  • organic powdered sugar
  • organic palm oil
  • peanut flour
  • organic blue agave inulin
  • salt
  • sunflower lecithin.

They use plastic wrappings, so that deduces a point from their awesomeness. 

Side note: Reviewers on Amazon recommend buying this product in-store (at Whole Foods) because the content within the wrapping may melt during delivery. 

Conclusion

Reese’s is not suitable for vegans, but not everything is bad β€” there are great vegan options out there that also have a delicious taste. 

Brands like Legendary Foods, Unreal, and Justins sell vegan peanut butter cups, and you can either order them online, or you can go get them yourself in supermarkets like Whole Foods.

Since these brands do not advertise heavily (as their budget is not as huge as most mainstream brands), often you have to research them yourself.

The only issue I find with these brands is that they’re quite expensive, but that’s normal because they make their products as sustainable as possible, and that often means they have to use more expensive organic ingredients. 

Still, if you don’t want to spend the money on those alternatives, you can also make vegan Reese’s at home by following the recipe I’ve shared with you above. I’ve tried it myself and it ended up delicious. 


Reese’s FAQs

Are Reese’s Gluten-Free?

According to Hershey, all of Reese’s peanut butter cups are gluten-free apart from the seasonal shapes. 

Are Reese’s Vegetarian?

Yes, Reese’s contain milk so they are suitable for lacto-vegetarians – or vegetarians that consume milk products. 

Alexandre Valente

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for more than five years! I've set up this blog because I'm really passionate about veganism and living a more eco-conscious life. Hopefully, I can use this website as a channel to help you out on your own journey!

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