One of the hardest things about being vegan or turning to a vegan lifestyle is that you are forced to question whether everyday foods that you used to eat are completely vegan or not.
It may seem like this is an easy question, but that is only until you get into the thick of it.
Perfectly ordinary products that should not have a trace of animal products may be hiding something in their manufacturing process, like soy sauce – mostly vegan, but sometimes manufacturers put lactic acid from animals in it.
This is not ideal, especially when you want to eat some of your favorite Pillsbury biscuits. After all, can you really trust that Pillsbury products are vegan ?
In this article, we seek to find this for you and give you the lowdown on Pillsbury food products.
What Is Pillsbury?
Pillsbury are as ubiquitous as Oreos, so we are somewhat surprised by this question, but for those not in the know:
Pillsbury is a frozen-baked good product making company originally from Minneapolis, that used to be one of the largest grain product producing companies in the world until they were bought by General Mills in 2001 and their products were divided and sold between different companies.
The Pillsbury company is still very large though and their products still form the cornerstone of American baked goods, with many an American family having tried Pillsbury products at the very least 2 to 3 times in their lives.
Their most iconic product is probably the Pillsbury biscuit that can be baked in a few minutes, which is a godsend for those who don’t want to go through the very long and arduous process of making their own biscuits.
Are Pillsbury Products Vegan?
Well, the answer to this question is really it depends on the product itself, see some Pillsbury products are vegan and others are not.
Although Pillsbury basically only sells grain products, a lot of those products contain milk, eggs, or other dairy products in them, which makes them unsuitable for a vegan lifestyle.
That isn’t to say there aren’t vegan products within Pillsbury – there are – it’s just these are ‘accidentally’ vegan products, and they were created long before veganism became a focus for society and large corporations.
As such, you should still check that they are vegan when you buy them, as Pillsbury might have changed the recipe, but given that they have been around 150 years, we doubt that highly.
What Pillsbury Products Are Vegan?
Realistically, there are only a couple of products and their variations that Pillsbury makes that are vegan, with the rest containing some form of dairy or honey in them.
Luckily, the two that are vegan are the most adaptable and the most sought after.
Yes, the beloved Pillsbury biscuit is part of the vegan range of Pillsbury products, rejoice as you can now enjoy a lovely Sunday dinner like Grandma used to make – only without all the animal products in it.
However, this does come with some caveats.
Pillsbury’s biscuits come in three different sizes:
- The Grands Jr biscuit
- The standard Grands biscuits
- The Value pack
While all of these are technically vegan, some are produced in the same factory as Pillsbury’s other animal-based products, which means they can contain animal traces or derivatives, but this is not supposed to be in the product itself.
If you are going for the fully committed lifestyle, check the packaging beforehand for ‘May contain [product]’.
The Pillsbury biscuits that are vegan are the Southern Home style Original, the Southern Home style Buttermilk, and the Flaky Layers Sweet Hawaiian.
The fact that all three are vegan is surprising to say the least, but again please check labeling before buying.
A vegan safe list wouldn’t be much use without an ingredients list, but to be safe we are going to go through it with you just to make sure. So, here are the ingredients for a Pillsbury biscuit:
- Dextrose: A sweetener made from starch, usually corn starch. The culture of bacteria used to produce this sweetener does not use dairy, so it is safe.
- Sugar: Made from sugar cane, but can be purified with bone char, so be wary. Nowadays, most manufacturers use vegan friendly options to purify instead.
- Soybean Oil: Made from soybeans, 100% vegan friendly.
- Enriched Bleached Flour: Wheat flour with added products. It contains riboflavin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, niacin, and bleaching products.
- Baking powder: Contains sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum, and baking soda, all of which are vegan friendly.
The rest are vegan ingredients that need no explanation or wariness:
- Potassium Chloride
- Xanthan Gum
Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Yet again, another surprising vegan option from Pillsbury is their Crescent Rolls, but we also doubt this was intentional or recent.
This is really good though as you have a quick and easy pastry that you can roll or shape as you want.
As such, you can create little parcels out of them with food inside, throw something on top of them and bake, make them into little quick sweet turnovers, or use them as instructed and have them as a side.
They provide so much flexibility that wouldn’t otherwise be available with using a dairy product.
Now, it is important to remember that only the original crescent rolls, the reduced fat version of crescent rolls, and the crescent rounds are vegan.
Every other crescent roll uses a dairy product as its main ingredient, so keep that in mind before eating. You can get the rolls in packs of 4, 8, and 12, but realistically you will want to be buying the 8 or 12, as 4 never cuts it.
Another ingredients list, this time for the crescent rolls themselves.
Since we explained the ingredients that may cause problems for vegans earlier, we will not be doing the same here:
- Soybean Oil
- Baking Powder
- Enriched Bleached Flour
- Potassium Chloride
- Xanthan Gum
- Hydrogenated Palm Oil. – Basically a vegan version of butter that gives the crescent rolls a better shelf life.
- Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil.
- Wheat Gluten
- Preservatives (TBHQ and Citric Acid)
- Food Color – Yellow Number 5 and Red Number 40
Which Pillsbury Products Are Not Vegan?
Any product we have not covered above that is produced by Pillsbury is not vegan. Even variations of the products mentioned above that are not the same product are not vegan.
If you really want to stick to a vegan diet and buy Pillsbury products, you need to buy the products above.
This may change in the next few years as veganism becomes more mainstream, but in all likelihood it will not, because as long as companies can make a lot of money from animal products then they will not change their tune.
However, they may start introducing vegan versions of the products they produce, which is exciting.
Still, there are a couple of products that we believe will always stay the same and always use animal products unless something changes monumentally.
- Any product with topping or icing: Most of the food with topping from Pillsbury, either chocolate chips, icing, or other, will use a whey derived from dairy products.
- Any product with butter in the title: Any product that says it has butter in it usually does – except for the Southern Home style Buttermilk mentioned above. These are to be avoided at all costs.
- The Buttermilk Frozen Biscuits: It only mentions that it ‘May contain milk’, but it uses whey which was definitely derived from milk, so avoid it.
Are The Pillsbury Vegan Products Healthy?
While most vegan food is healthy, Pillsbury products are not really all that healthy.
We are not sure if you noticed on the ingredient list, but there weren’t many nutrients and most of the things added to the food seemed like additives or chemicals designed to make them more appealing, not healthier.
The Pillsbury products are also loaded with sugars, sweeteners, and fats, even if they are vegan.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t include it in your diet as a vegan, just don’t make their products the cornerstone grain of your diet.
You would be much better off with rice, oats, quinoa, or the hundreds of other grains or pseudo-grains available.
However, a Pillsbury biscuit with your meal or as a snack every once in a while would be just fine and would probably sate any cravings the people who are starting vegan diets might have.
Pillsbury does have some vegan products, but this is neither intentional nor really the cornerstone of their business.
As such, you should always check the packaging of each of their products to make sure that it is as vegan as they say and that they have not changed the recipe to include animal products since you last ate them.