Are Doritos Vegan? The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Doritos Flavors

Doritos come in a variety of flavors. Can vegans enjoy any of them?

Doritos, guacamole and salsa over vintage rusty metal tray

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Since 1966, Doritos has satisfied customers’ snack cravings with their flavored tortilla chips. But unfortunately for vegans, only one variety is vegan-friendly: Spicy Sweet Chili. The other Doritos flavors contain various dairy products and animal-derived flavors, none of which are vegan. 

Let our guide to vegan Doritos help you decipher the label on your next bag of chips.

Why Almost All Doritos Are Not Vegan 

Nearly every variety of Doritos contains dairy products, including cheese, milk, and butter. Additionally, the Salsa Verde (which is dairy-free) and Flamas Doritos varieties include animal-derived flavors.

Whey

A byproduct of the cheese industry, whey is the liquid remains after the milk is coagulated and strained. Whey commonly appears as a food additive in baked goods.

Lactose

Lactose is a milk sugar derived from whey. After the whey is filtered for proteins, the remaining liquid evaporates, leaving the lactose to crystalize.


Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey protein is strained from liquid whey. Manufacturers dry the whey or filter out the lactose, fats, and other non-protein solids.

Buttermilk

In the United States, buttermilk is pasteurized and homogenized milk injected with a bacterial culture that will ferment the lactose (milk sugar) to produce a thicker, slightly sour milk.

Skim Milk

When nearly all milkfat is removed from whole milk, it becomes skim milk. Skim milk is also known as nonfat milk and fat-free milk. 

Sodium Caseinate

When milk proteins (casein) are chemically extracted from skim milk, the salty remains of the dairy are known as sodium caseinate. This non-vegan food additive helps emulsify, thicken, and stabilize processed foods.

Sour Cream

When dairy cream is fermented with lactic acid, it thickens the cream and naturally sours it.

Cheese

Cheese comes from adding acid and enzymes to animal milk. The additives coagulate the protein (casein) and milkfat. The enzymes can be both animal- and non-animal-derived.

Cheeses in Doritos include parmesan, cheddar, romano, and blue.

Cream Cheese

Soft and fresh, cream cheese is made from non-vegan milk and cream. Most industrially produced cream cheeses also contain plant-based stabilizers.

Butter

Butter is a non-vegan dairy product made of about 80% butterfat. When the protein and fat of dairy cream are churned, the resulting product is a spreadable pale yellow paste.

Natural Chicken or Bee Flavor

According to federal regulations, any food products that list an animal-based flavor must include that information on the label. If your Doritos contain natural chicken flavor or natural extractives of bee, those flavors do contain animal products.

Did You Know?

In August 2020, Doritos made steps to reduce their plastic waste by launching unique cardboard packaging for Doritos STAX in the U.K. These triangular tubes are recyclable and designed to reduce the amount of aluminum-coated, low-density polyethylene plastic (LDPE) packaging that ends up in landfills.

Types of Vegan Doritos

The only vegan-friendly variety of Doritos is Spicy Sweet Chili. Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos don’t contain dairy products or animal-derived flavors like the other varieties.

Previously, Doritos has offered a vegan-friendly Toasted Corn variety, but that flavor is no longer in production.

Non-Vegan Doritos Varieties

Nearly every variety of Doritos contains dairy-based products or animal-derived flavor. Unless you’ve seen the bag itself, you can safely assume the Doritos on the table at your next party are not vegan-friendly.

  • Flamin’ Hot Cool Ranch
  • 3D Crunch Spicy Ranch
  • 3D Crunch Chili Cheese Nacho
  • Flamin’ Hot Nacho
  • Flamin’ Hot Limón
  • Nacho Cheese
  • Cool Ranch
  • Dinamita Chile Limón
  • Poppin’ Jalapeno
  • Spicy Nacho
  • Flamas
  • Blazin’ Buffalo & Ranch
  • Taco
  • Tapatio
  • Organic Spicy White Cheddar
  • Organic White Cheddar
  • Salsa Verde
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Which Doritos flavors are vegan?

    The only “accidentally vegan” flavor is Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos. No other Doritos varieties are vegan-friendly.

  • Are the original Doritos vegan?

    Doritos used to carry their original vegan-friendly Toasted Corn chip, but that variety is no longer in production.

  • Are Cool Ranch Doritos vegan?

    No, unfortunately, they’re not. Cool Ranch Doritos contains non-vegan lactose, whey, skim milk, cheddar cheese, and buttermilk.

  • Are Salsa Verde Doritos vegan?

    At first glance, it appears as if Salsa Verde Doritos are vegan, but buried in the ingredients is natural chicken flavor, which is clearly non-vegan. Salsa Verde Doritos do not, however, contain the milk products common in other varieties.

View Article Sources
  1. Wong, Shin Yee, Richard W. Hartel. "Crystallization in Lactose Refining—A Review." Journal of Food Science, vol. 79, no. 3, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1111/1750-3841.12349