Are Potato Chips Vegan? The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Potato Chips

Because you can never eat just one, take note of which potato chips are vegan.

Bag of potato chips
Irina Marwan / Getty Images

Potato chips are the ultimate crowd-pleasing snack. Chip types run the gamut from original to spicy and sweet, from baked varieties to kettle-cooked goodness.

While there are some obvious flavors vegans should avoid—we're looking at you, Cheddar Cheese Pringles—it’s often worth it to look at the ingredients to make sure there aren't any surprise animal products.

Here, we'll help you navigate all the popular brands and chip styles out there, so you can know for sure what's vegan and when to take your crunch elsewhere.

When Are Potato Chips Vegan?

Basic potato chips are made by slicing potatoes thin, washing starch off the surface, blanching the slices, and either deep-frying them in vegetable oil or baking them in an oven. Next, the chips are cooled, seasoned, and sorted. Some chip varieties are set aside to be tumbled in a drum filled with the desired powdered seasoning. For certain flavored chips, this last step is typically when they stop being vegan.

Generally, "less is more" is our mantra when it comes to vegan potato chips. The widely hailed "LAYS Classic Original" chips contain potatoes, vegetable oil, and salt—none of which are animal-derived. Alas, many varieties with added ingredients and seasonings can still be vegan.

When Are Potato Chips Not Vegan?

Some flavored potato chips can contain animal-derived ingredients like dairy and honey. They are even some meat-based flavorings, like maple bacon. Make sure to look for the phrase "may contain milk" particularly on salt and vinegar chip bags, which are likely to include lactose or milk as a blending agent to quell some of the vinegar's acidity. Vegan chip lovers should also watch out for chips that are fried in animal fat.

In addition, there is an ongoing debate about whether anything that contains "natural flavors" is truly plant-based. Those concerned should dig into why particular companies include this phrase and what it means for them.

Types of Vegan Potato Chips

This is just a mere sampling of the many vegan-friendly chips, some with seemingly forbidden flavors achieved by the magic of salts, herbs, and spices.

  • LAYs Original Baked
  • LAY’s Classic Potato Chips
  • LAY’s BBQ Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Limón Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Dill Pickle Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Chesapeake Bay Crab Spice Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Lightly Salted Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Lightly Salted BBQ Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Simple Sea Salt Thick Cut Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Simply BBQ Thick Cut Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Baked Original Potato Crisps
  • LAY’s Kettle Cooked Original Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Kettle Cooked Reduced Fat Original Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Poppables Sea Salt Potato Snacks
  • LAY’s Stax Original Potato Crisps
  • LAY’s Wavy Original Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Wavy Sea Salt & Pepper Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Wavy Reduced Fat Orignal Potato Chips
  • LAY’s Wavy Lightly Salted Potato Chips
  • Pringles Original, Tangy Buffalo Wing
  • Ruffles Original, Tapatio Limon,
  • Kettle Brand Potato Chips Maple Bacon
  • Kettle Brand Bourbon BBQ
  • Kettle Brand Fiery Thai (cooked in 100% almond oil)
  • Kettle Brand Backyard Barbeque
  • Kettle Brand Sea Salt
  • Kettle Brand 40% Less Fat Potato Chips, Sea Salt
  • Earth Balance Vegan Cheddar Potato Chips
  • Earth Balance Vegan Sour Cream and Onion Kettle Chips
  • Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Potato Chips Sea Salt and Vinegar, Sweet & Spicy Jalapeño,
  • Muncho's Flamin' Hot Potato Chips
  • Popchips Sea Salt Potato
  • Popchips Barbeque Potato
  • Garden of Eatin' Blue Chips
  • Good Health Kettle Style Avocado Oil Potato Chips With Sea Salt
  • 7 Eleven Select Kettle Style Salt And Vinegar Chips

Types of Non-Vegan Potato Chips

Proctor & Gamble Sells Pringles Brand To Diamond Foods For $1.5 Billion
Pringles Salt & Vinegar chips are not vegan. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

On the flip side of chips, there are also varieties within this list you may be surprised do have dairy and other animal-based flavoring agents.

  • LAY’s Cheddar and Sour Cream
  • LAY’s Chile Limon
  • LAY’s Flamin’ Hot
  • LAY’s Honey BBQ
  • LAY’s Sea Salt and Vinegar
  • LAY’s Sweet Southern Heat Barbeque
  • LAY’s Baked Barbecue
  • LAY’s Baked Sour Cream & Onion
  • Kettle Cooked Lays Honey Chipotle
  • Kettle Cooked Lays Jalapeño
  • Kettle Cooked Lays Maui Onion
  • Kettle Cooked Lays Mesquite BBQ
  • Kettle Cooked Lays Sea Salt and Vinegar
  • Baked Lay's Barbecue
  • Baked Lay's Sour Creme & Onion
  • Grandma Utz Potato Chips
  • Good's Potato Chips
  • Pringles Cheddar Cheese
  • Pringles Sour Cream & Onion
  • Pringles Salt And Vinegar Potato Crisps
  • The Lay’s Kettle Cooked Sea Salt & Vinegar Chips
  • Dirty Kettle Chips Bag, Sea Salt And Vinegar chips
  • Miss Vickie’s Sea Salt Vinegar Flavored Kettle Cooked Potato Chips 
  • Herr’s Salt Vinegar Potato Chips
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are LAY's BBQ flavored chips vegan?

    Yes! LAY's and several other brands achieve that tangy, spicy barbecue flavor through proprietary mixes of seasonings that are not animal-based.

  • Are Lay's Sea Salt and Vinegar flavored chips vegan?

    No. In fact, several brands' "Sea Salt and Vinegar" flavored chips (Kettle Cooked, LAY's, Pringles) are not vegan because they contain dairy additives like buttermilk and lactose.