Are Donuts Vegan?

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First established in the 1800s, donuts are small, fried, sweet dough balls that are typically shaped into either a ring or a ball. 

Donuts are a snack treat that is enjoyed by millions of people across the world on a daily basis, so it is no surprise that many people have begun to question whether they are suitable for a vegan diet. 

In this article, we are going to be looking at whether donuts can be considered vegan friendly and what the traditional ingredients of this beloved sweet snack are. Let’s get started. 

Are Donuts Vegan?

Traditionally, donuts are not vegan-friendly, even though they are vegetarian-friendly. 

Recipes will vary- depending on whether the yeast within the dough is chemically leavened-, but the general ingredients tend to stay the same for most donuts. 

These ingredients are non-vegan-friendly, such as flour, eggs, milk, butter, and white sugar. 

Donuts are also fried which is often done with palm oil, another ingredient that can be considered non-vegan due to the controversial production process. 

What Are The Usual Ingredients Used To Make Donuts

Let’s take a look at the standard donut ingredients and see which ones are vegan-friendly and which ones are not. 


A common baking ingredient, milk is almost always found within pastry dough as well as dough that is used to make donuts.

As you know, milk is derived from cows and so it is not a vegan-friendly ingredient.


Flour is not as tricky an ingredient in terms of its vegan-friendly nature. In fact, a good deal of flour is actually fine for vegan consumption. 

However, the issue here comes from white flour, with some believing that it is bleached with bone char. Even though this does warrant a mention here, it is pretty rare. 

Most flour is vegan-friendly despite this belief. 

Eggs Or Egg Whites

In donuts, eggs are used within the dough as an emulsifier that helps keep the dough together and stops it from falling apart as you bake them. 

As well as this, eggs round out the flavor of donuts and add some texture. 

Due to being produced by chickens, eggs are definitely not a vegan friendly ingredient!


Referring to any type of fat that is solidified at room temperature, shortening is pretty much just the baking term for butter. 

Unfortunately, most shortening is made from animal fat and butter itself is made with milk fat from a cow, making this non vegan. 

Yeast Or Baking Powder

Both yeast and baking powder is vegan friendly and is used as leavening agent in the process of making donuts. 

This means that they are used to make sure that the dough does not rise too high as they bake

Artificial/ Natural Flavors And Fillings

Whilst it is possible to have donuts with vegan fillings, a fair amount of donuts are topped with confectioners glaze. This is not a vegan ingredient, as it is a resin derived from Lac beetles. 

Natural flavors and artificial flavors are similar in that some can be vegan friendly whereas others are not. 

There isn’t always a clear-cut way to tell if the flavors found in your donuts are vegan friendly if it doesn’t say so on the packet, so if you are ever unsure, check out the companies website to see if the information is disclosed there. If that fails, contact the company directly via email or phone. 


Sugar is a key ingredient when it comes to making donuts, as it basically turns into a bread rather than a sweet pastry treat without it. 

A fair amount of the sugar that is used to make donuts is not vegan friendly, as most processed white sugars are filtered through animal bone char in order to create that bright white coloring. 

That being said, pure cane sugar is entirely vegan, but it is a more expensive option and so most donuts that you will find in stores are likely to use the processed, non-vegan option.

Are There Options For Vegan Donuts?

Yes! The rise of veganism has also led to a rise in establishments providing vegan alternatives, and this is certainly true in the case of donuts. 

The great thing about donuts is that it is very easy to make them vegan friendly, as there are a range of vegan alternatives when it comes to the non-vegan ingredients that are traditionally used to bake the sweet treat. 

For example, the milk can be replaced with oat, almond or soy milk whereas eggs can be switched up for options such as vegan egg replacers, chia seeds, mashed bananas, flaxseeds, applesauce, or Aquafaba (which is the liquid leftover from boiled chickpeas). 

Margarine, vegetable oil, vegan butter or coconut oil can be used as a substitute for shortening, whilst it is easy to find vegan friendly toppings, fillings and flavorings. 

Some of the biggest donut chains in the world have begun to offer vegan donut options too- such as Krispy Kremes and Dunkin’ Donuts- so that even if you don’t have the time to bake them yourself, you are sure to be able to find some tasty vegan donuts on the market. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to vegan donuts, the traditional recipes are not usually vegan due to the inclusion of several, prominent non-vegan ingredients, such as milk, eggs and butter. 

However, thanks to the rise of veganism as a whole, there are a wide range of vegan donut options available to buy as well as easy ways to swap out the non-vegan ingredients with vegan friendly choices should you want to make your own delicious vegan donuts. 

Whether you bake your own or buy them, there are now plenty of opportunities to get your hands on some tasty vegan donut treats. 

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