Are Tortilla Chips Vegan? The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Tortilla Chips

While tortilla chips are often vegan, there are a few quirks to keep in mind.

A close-up of a bowl of chips and salsa
pjohnson1 / Getty Images

A crunchy addition to salads and a sturdy vessel for dipping, tortilla chips are as versatile as they are tasty. And, generally speaking, the crispy snacks are vegan.

Yet there are a few caveats when it comes to the vegan status of tortilla chips. You'll want to keep a close eye on the product's ingredient list, and sometimes you may want to ask a restaurant how the chips are prepared to be sure they're cruelty-free. Don't worry; our guide will help you feel confident that the chips you choose to chomp are vegan.

Why Tortilla Chips Are Usually Vegan

The basic and traditional ingredients to make tortilla chips are naturally vegan. These include corn flour, water, oil, and salt.

Sometimes, especially at restaurants, the tortilla chips are fried in oil. This is typically animal-free, whether the oil is canola, olive, or something else. Still, it is possible for a restaurant to fry in animal fat, or to use the same fryer it does to fry animal foods, which could lead to cross-contamination.

To mitigate any confusion, it's in your best interest to ask your server. Politely explain that you are vegan and that you'd like to know how the chips are prepared, and whether the same fryer is used to cook foods that contain animal products.

When Are Tortilla Chips Not Vegan?

The vegan status of tortilla chips becomes a little fuzzy when you start to add flavor to the chips.

Doritos, one of the most popular tortilla-style chips on the market, is a major culprit here. Nearly all Doritos chip flavors contain dairy ingredients, which makes them off-limits for vegan.

On the bright side, there are currently three flavors of Doritos that are dairy-free. These are:

  • Lightly Salted Tortilla Chips
  • Blaze Flavored Doritos
  • Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Tortilla Chips (the purple bag)

These three Doritos varieties appear to be the kinds of foods that are accidentally vegan. The chips don't have any vegan claims stamped on the bag, but they are free of dairy and other animal products.

Takis is another popular brand of tortilla chip that is heavily seasoned (and often hot!), with many varieties non-vegan. That said, this chip has several vegan-friendly options in its line. These include:

  • Fuego
  • Nitro
  • Salsa Brava
  • Zombie Flavor

Vegan Friendly Tortilla Chip Brands

While vegans should eat flavored tortilla chips with caution (as in, check out the ingredients list first), there are countless cruelty-free tortilla chips available on the market—plain and flavored.

We're very glad vegans don't have to miss out when it comes to these crunchy chips. Here are a few of our favorite vegan tortilla chip brands:

  • Trader Joe's Salted Tortilla Chips
  • Xochitl Mexican Style Tortilla Chips
  • Whole Foods 365 Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips
  • Siete Lime Tortilla Chips
  • Mi Nina White Corn Tortilla Chips
  • Garden of Eatin' Organic Blue Corn Redhot Tortilla Chips
  • Original Salsitas Spicy Flavored Tortilla Rounds
  • Santitas Totopos De Maiz Tortilla Chips
  • Tostitos Tortilla Chips
  • Taco Bell Tortilla Chips
  • Late July Tortilla Chips
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are Tostitos chips vegan?

    All of the non-flavored (and salted) Tostitos varieties are vegan, whether shaped like a scoop, triangle, or circle, whether they're blue, multigrain, or white, and whether restaurant- or cantina-style. Only a few of the flavored Tostitos are vegan, including the Black Bean & Garlic flavor.

  • Are Fritos vegan?

    Fritos, those delightfully-shaped, yellow corn chips are vegan in their original flavor, but its flavored varieties are not vegan.

  • What tortilla chips are not vegan?

    While it's hard to make a blanket rule about the vegan identity of tortilla chips, it's the flavored tortilla chip that should give you the most pause. These are often seasoned with ingredients that contain dairy or dehydrated meat products.