Are Chocolate Chips Vegan? (Semi-Sweet, Nestle, Dark, Milk, Etc.)

You don’t truly appreciate how difficult it is to follow a strict vegan diet until you actually try doing it.

There are a ton of different foods that you have to avoid when following this diet, and some of these foods are commonly used as ingredients in other foods. Take chocolate chips for example.

Are Chocolate Chips Vegan (Semi-Sweet, Nestle, Dark, Milk, Etc.)

Chocolate chips feature in so many different foods. From chocolate chip cookies to cakes, breakfast foods, and even trail mix.

There are a ton of different things that you might find chocolate chips in, and unfortunately, a lot of the time, these sweet treats aren’t actually suitable for vegans. 

In this guide, we’ll be doing a deep dive into chocolate chips to find out if they are suitable for vegans – including taking a look at the different types of chocolate chips. So if you want to find out more, keep on reading! 

Are Chocolate Chips Vegan?

So first things first, let’s take a look at whether, or not, chocolate chips are vegan. As you probably already know, some types of chocolate chips are vegan, while others are not.

To get a better idea of this, let’s take a look at some of the different types of chocolate chips. 


Semi-sweet chocolate chips are one of the types of chocolate chips that have the potential to be vegan (we’ll take a further look at this later on). However, a lot of the time, these chocolate chips are not vegan. 

Some semi-sweet chocolate chips could potentially qualify as vegan, even though they may contain animal products.

This is due to FDA guidelines which state that “semi-sweet” chocolate is defined as having no less than 35% chocolate liquor.

Ultimately, however, whether the chocolate is vegan or not will depend on the manufacturer and the ingredients that they have used. 


Sadly, the majority of chocolate chips used by Nestle are not-vegan. This means that you cannot enjoy the cereals produced by Nestle that include chocolate while following a vegan diet. 

Nestle chocolate chips are actually pretty closely linked to the previous kind that we have looked at, as they tend to use semi-sweet chocolate chips in their products. While these have the potential to be vegan, the kind that Nestle uses sadly are not.


Another hit and miss type of chocolate chip is dark chocolate chips. A lot of the time, dark chocolate chips will be suitable for vegans, simply because there is no need to include milk in the ingredients list for this product.

However, sometimes manufacturers will find a way to sneak milk products in there. 

The safest way to know for certain if dark chocolate chips are suitable for vegans is by checking the ingredients list. However, you can generally tell by price too.

The most basic dark chocolate chips will usually be vegan-friendly. But some fancier, processed recipes will include milk products in their ingredients list. 


As the name suggests, milk chocolate chips are not suitable for vegans. Milk chocolate is known as milk chocolate because milk is an active ingredient in it, and it is about as far away as you can possibly get from vegan chocolate. 

There are some companies that will produce vegan versions of milk chocolate, and these will be safe for vegans to eat. But these products aside, almost all milk chocolate is unsuitable for vegans. 


Finally, white chocolate also is not suitable for vegans. US regulations state that white chocolate should include milk solids and milk fats in its recipe. So, by definition, white chocolate is unsuitable for vegans. 

However, just as with milk chocolate, there are some companies that have produced vegan versions of white chocolate. These vegan versions will be suitable for vegans.

However 99% of the time, you will not be able to enjoy white chocolate while following a vegan diet. So, you cannot eat white chocolate chips either. 

Non-Vegan Chocolate Chip Ingredients

Non-Vegan Chocolate Chip Ingredients

So, you’re probably wondering what products are included in chocolate chips that make them unsuitable for vegans. Let’s take a look at these in a little more detail. 

Milk-Derived Fat

Something that often comes up in the ingredients list on products is “milk-derived fat”. However, it will rarely be listed as milk-derived fat, instead it will be known by one of a few names, including milk fat, butterfat, cream or butter. Most of the time, these names will be used to refer to the same thing. 

Essentially these names are given when fat taken from milk is added to the product. It might be added in the form of butter or cream, or it might be added in powdered form. The form of the fat is what will influence the name given to the ingredient. 

Whole Milk Powder

Sometimes, instead of adding milk itself to the product, manufacturers will use whole milk powder. You might be wondering what this is, but essentially, whole milk powder is milk with the water removed. 

A huge part of milk is water. So, when this is removed, you essentially end up with a powdered version of milk. If you were to add water to it and drink it, it would taste exactly like milk.Whole milk powder is creamy and flavorful, which is why it is often used in products. 

Non-Fat Milk

Essentially, non-fat milk is the opposite of what we looked at earlier in milk-derived fat. Once you extract the cream from the milk, you will be left with the non-fat milk. The cream is where all the fat is stored, so this milk ingredient contains zero fat. 

Once the cream is extracted, you are essentially left with the proteins found in milk. These are commonly used in many food products. 

Potentially Vegan Chocolate Chips


As we said earlier, semi-sweet chocolate chips have the potential to be vegan. There has actually been an increase in vegan-friendly semi-sweet chocolates, and semi-sweet products in general, in recent years.

So there is a good chance that you might find semi-sweet chocolate chips that are suitable for vegans. 

Dark Chocolate

Likewise, there is a very good chance that you will be able to find dark chocolate that is vegan. However, you can never fully trust that dark chocolate is vegan.

This is a trap that many people have fallen into, and have accidentally broken their strict vegan diet.

So, if you are interested in using dark chocolate chips when baking, we would recommend checking the ingredients list to see if they are suitable for vegans. 

Vegan Chocolate Chips

Here are some vegan chocolate chips to check out if you are baking anything that uses chocolate chips. 

Lieber’s Vegan Chocolate Chips

We mentioned that semi-sweet chocolate is often suitable for vegans, and Lieber’s vegan chocolate chips are a perfect example of this.

These chocolate chips are made using semi-sweet chocolate and luxury ingredients for a truly delicious flavor. 

As these chocolate chips are made using semi-sweet chocolate, rather than a vegan alternative to dairy, they taste just like chocolate. They really are one of the best options for vegan chocolate chips out there. 

Enjoy Life Foods Baking Chips

If you are looking for vegan chocolate chips, then Enjoy Life Foods is a great company to consider. They produce a variety of vegan chocolate chips, and one of our favorite options is these white chocolate chips. 

Their chocolate chips are sweet and creamy, and can be purchased in bulk to avoid the often higher costs of vegan produce. We’re sure you’ll love them!


In short, whether, or not, chocolate chips are vegan will depend on the ingredients used to make them. A lot of the varieties of chocolate chips out there use milk products which makes them unsuitable for vegans.

However, there are some varieties out there that are vegan friendly. Check out the guide above for more information. 

Thanks for reading!

Brett White
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