Are Fortune Cookies Vegan? Everything You Need To Know

Are Fortune Cookies Vegan? Everything You Need To Know

Fortune cookies are a common token to be given to customers after they’ve eaten at a Chinese restaurant. They can also be found in some Japanese restaurants or take-out places. 

Everyone loves to crack open these little parcels and read the message inside. Few tend to question what they are made of or how they are produced. These popular after-dinner treats are unique to Chinese-American cuisine. But are they vegan? This article will explore the ingredients used to make a standard fortune cookie and if they are suitable for vegans. 

The History Of Fortune Cookies

There are a few theories surrounding the origin of fortune cookies. One believes they were inspired by 14th-century Chinese rebels who used mooncakes to inform others about potential uprisings against invaders.  

They are also thought to be of Japanese origin, coming from the traditional food tsujiura senbei (rice cakes with paper fortunes), and were made at the Hyotanyama Inari shrine in the 19th century. 

Today they are largely the same wherever you go, sweet, crispy shells with little pieces of paper in them that can either contain lottery numbers, fortunes, advice, or bible verses. 

What Are Fortune Cookies Made Of?

Traditional fortune cookies are usually made of flour, sugar, sesame oil, and water. Some recipes will also use vanilla extract or almond extract to add a sweet and aromatic sensation to the cookie.

Are Fortune Cookies Vegan?

If we assume all fortune cookies are made with those ingredients, then we can say yes, fortune cookies are vegan.  Certain take-out places and restaurants will all sell different fortune cookies, likely bought from a supplier rather than made in-house, which means they could be made with different ingredients. 

Always ask a staff member when ordering food from an establishment before consuming fortune cookies, as you can’t be too careful.


Egg whites or egg wash are often added to many fortune cookie recipes to help the dough bind together. This is usually done to make the manufacturing process easier and doesn’t apply to all fortune cookies. 


Butter is another ingredient that can be added to fortune cookies which makes them unsuitable for vegan diets. This could either be for greasing pans or to add some extra flavor to the treat to suit Western tastes. 

Ethical Considerations

If you happen to come across a fortune cookie brand that makes their treats with vegan ingredients, you might also want to consider if these are ethical. We hate to dampen the fortune cookie parade, but it’s important to give everyone all the facts! 

Palm Oil

Vegans that take an ethical standpoint should look out for the use of palm oil in processed fortune cookies. This controversial oil has been linked to the degradation of the environment and the endangerment of certain animal species. 

Are Fortune Cookies Vegan? Everything You Need To Know

Food Colorings

Certain fortune cookies contain natural and artificial flavors and colors. For example, some contain Yellow 5 and 6, which have been known to be tested on animals. If your moral standpoint doesn’t agree with this, vegan or not, then you should avoid Baily’s fortune cookies.

Vegan Fortune Cookie Brands

Here is our cheat sheet, to help you identify which fortune cookies are vegan-friendly: 

  • Panda Express Fortune Cookies
  • Silk Road Fortune Cookies
  • The Golden Bowl Fortune Cookies
  • Baily International Foods Fortune Cookies
  • Ty Ling Fortune Cookies

Making Your Own Fortune Cookies

If you want to give making your own fortune cookies a go, we’ve included some fun and easy recipes below. Don’t rely on store-bought brands and restaurants to deliver the goods when you can do it yourself. 

Share these with friends and family, they can be fun and quirky gifts to give people around the holidays. Make them even better with personalized fortunes in each one!

Once you’ve made your base fortune cookie, you can decorate it and experiment with many different toppings. Some like to line the edges of the cookie with toasted sesame seeds for an authentic Chinese flavor. 

Another popular way to embellish these little cookies is to dip half in melted chocolate and let them set. Cover them in sprinkles whilst the chocolate is still melted for the ultimate sweet feast. 


Fortune cookies have a long and interesting history, much of which is still to be pinpointed. The traditional components of fortune cookies are vegan, yet many recipes have adapted to use egg whites, egg wash, and butter. 

Brandon White
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