are animal crackers vegan

Are Animal Crackers Vegan? Demystifying Common Myths

The vegan status of animal crackers can often be a topic of confusion. Certain brands, such as Barnum’s Animal Crackers, are often considered vegan by non-strict vegans. This is because these crackers do not contain any direct animal products in their ingredient list. However, there are still some gray areas that can confuse.

For instance, these vegan animal crackers contain sugar that may be processed using bone char, an animal-derived product. Additionally, these crackers’ natural flavors could be sourced from animals, which is unlikely. Despite these considerations, most vegans are comfortable consuming Barnum’s Animal Crackers.

Understanding the Vegan Status of Animal Crackers

The vegan status of animal crackers is mainly dependent on one’s perspective of what constitutes a vegan product. For most non-strict vegans, the absence of direct animal products in the ingredients list qualifies these crackers as vegan. However, some individuals might argue against this due to the potential use of bone char in sugar processing and the possibility of animal-derived sources for natural flavors.

About Animal Crackers

Animal crackers are popular for their unique animal shapes and sweet flavor. Despite their name, these snacks are made using a method similar to cracker baking, with a docked layered dough. This gives them a distinct texture, unlike traditional cookies. This same method is also used in making graham crackers, which, like animal crackers, have a sweet flavor due to added sugar.

What Brands & Types Of Animal Crackers Are Vegan?

When it comes to the selection of vegan animal cracker brands, there are a few options available. Nabisco’s Barnum’s Animal Crackers are a popular choice among non-strict vegans as they do not contain any direct animal ingredients. However, it’s essential for consumers to carefully check the ingredients list, as some brands might contain animal-derived ingredients.

Are Barnum’s Animal Crackers Vegan?

Whether Barnum’s Animal Crackers are vegan is often a topic of debate. These crackers are considered vegan for non-strict vegans, as they do not contain any direct animal ingredients. However, the sugar in these crackers might be processed using bone char, an animal-derived product. Additionally, the natural flavors could potentially be sourced from animals. Despite these considerations, Barnum’s Animal Crackers are widely accepted as vegan animal crackers by the vegan community.

Are Glutino Animal Crackers Vegan?

The answer to this lies in the ingredients. While they do not contain egg whites, a common non-vegan ingredient, they still contain sugar. The sugar in these crackers might be processed using bone char, an animal product. Therefore, it becomes a matter of personal preference for many vegans. Some are comfortable consuming products with sugar, while others avoid it due to the possibility of it being processed with bone char.

In terms of natural ingredients, Glutino Animal Crackers contain natural flavors that can sometimes be derived from animal products. Therefore, while they may seem vegan initially, these factors make their vegan status unclear.

Are Animal Crackers Cruelty-Free?

Yes, animal crackers like Barnum’s Animals are considered cruelty-free. The company does not test its products on animals nor uses ingredients tested on caged animals. Furthermore, they do not use artificial colors, often tested on animals.

Even though these animal crackers are not vegan, they still uphold a cruelty-free stance. Animal rights activists have even succeeded in convincing the company to remove the depiction of caged animals from their packaging. Thus, consumers can enjoy these delicious crackers without worrying about contributing to animal cruelty.

Are animal crackers vegan

Delving Into Ingredients: What Makes Animal Crackers Vegan or Not?

Understanding the vegan status of animal crackers like Barnum Animal Crackers requires a closer look at their ingredients. While most of the ingredients are plant-based, one questionable ingredient is refined sugar. Refined sugar is often processed using bone char, which is not considered vegan. Furthermore, the representations of circus animals on the product packaging can concern some. However, aside from the refined sugar, the other ingredients in these crackers are mostly vegan-safe.

Comprehensive List of Ingredients in Barnum’s Animal Crackers

The list of ingredients in Barnum’s Animal Crackers includes unbleached enriched flour, wheat flour, canola oil, and yellow corn flour. Various natural flavors and artificial colors are also added for taste and appearance.

However, it’s important to note that the cane sugar used in the product may not be safe for strict vegans as it might be processed using bone char. There is also the mention of ‘natural flavors’ in the ingredients list, which can be sourced from plants or animals. The company doesn’t disclose the source of these natural flavors. Vegetable oil is another common ingredient used, which is safe for vegans.

Unbleached Enriched Flour and Wheat Flour

Unbleached enriched flour and wheat flour are the primary ingredients in Barnum’s Animal Crackers. These ingredients are plant-based and provide the crackers with their basic structure. The flours are enriched with various vitamins and minerals to enhance their nutritional value.

Canola Oil and Yellow Corn Flour

Canola oil and yellow corn flour are also vital ingredients in Barnum’s Animal Crackers. Canola oil adds to the cracker’s texture and flavor, while yellow corn flour gives the crackers distinctive color and crunchiness. Both these ingredients are plant-derived and safe for vegans.

Exploring Alternatives and Solutions: Other Brands of Animal Crackers

While it’s clear that not all animal crackers are vegan, several brands provide vegan-friendly options. For example, brands such as Costco’s Kirkland, Annie’s Homegrown Organic Animal, and Glutino Animal Crackers avoid using animal-derived ingredients. They instead use ingredients like olive oil to provide the same delicious taste in their animal-shaped treats.

Another excellent alternative is Trader Joe’s Organic Animal Crackers. These classic animal crackers are vegan-friendly and contain a variety of plant-based ingredients. They’re sweetened with organic cane sugar rather than refined sugar, eliminating the risk of animal bone char. Additionally, they contain organic brown rice syrup and organic lemon flavor, reinforcing their vegan status.

It’s also worth noting that some brands come close to being vegan despite not entirely cutting. For instance, Stauffer’s Iced Animal Crackers would qualify as vegan if not for their use of sugar. These frosted animal crackers contain only one ingredient that prevents them from being fully vegan.

In conclusion, while not all animal crackers are vegan, several brands offer vegan alternatives. By carefully checking the ingredients and choosing brands that avoid animal-derived ingredients, it’s possible to enjoy these childhood favorites while adhering to a vegan lifestyle.

An Easy Way Out: Vegan-Friendly Animal Cracker Recipes

If you’re a vegan who enjoys animal crackers, you might find it challenging to find a brand that aligns with your dietary preferences. The solution to this is to make your vegan version. Homemade vegan animal crackers are easy to prepare and offer the added benefit of knowing exactly what goes into your food.

A popular recipe among vegans is the Vegan Mother’s Bunny Cookies. This recipe substitutes common non-vegan ingredients like butter and eggs with alternatives such as soybean oil. The result is a delicious and cruelty-free treat that vegans can enjoy guilt-free.

Another favorite is the Vegan Banana Bread Animal Crackers recipe. This recipe uses ripe bananas and simple ingredients to create a tasty, vegan-friendly snack. The reduced iron content in these crackers is a plus for those on a vegan diet looking to increase their iron intake.

Finally, if you want to add some variety to your homemade vegan animal crackers, you might want to try adding some folic acid. Folic acid can provide an extra nutritional boost and be easily incorporated into your dough. Remember, making vegan animal crackers is a great way to ensure they’re free from animal cruelty and allows you to customize them to your specific dietary needs and taste preferences.


Regarding animal crackers, there’s more than meets the eye. Despite their name, they’re more akin to cookies than crackers, thanks to their sweet flavor. The parent company of many animal cracker brands often includes non-vegan ingredients in their recipes, such as natural and artificial flavors derived from animal sources

These ingredients are common in many baked goods, including animal crackers. Therefore, vegans must read labels carefully or consider making their vegan-friendly versions. 

As we have seen, several delicious and cruelty-free recipes are available for those who choose to do so. While not all animal crackers on the market are vegan, with a bit of creativity and effort, vegans can continue enjoying this classic snack without compromising their values.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *