Are Doritos vegan? Here are the flavours to be wary of

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The only movie night snack choice for many, Doritos are hard to give up, but do you have to wave goodbye to them all? No, but don’t buy the wrong flavours.

The familiar tinkle of crispy triangles — seasoned to within an inch of their corny lives — elicits a Pavlovian response in most people. As nostrils twitch, trying to decipher which flavour is on offer, mouths water and bums hit sofas, ready to watch a film and eat an entire sharing bag of delicious Doritos — unless you’re vegan.

But hang on! Don’t turn your back on all your tortilla dreams just yet, as there are some flavours that the plant-based masses can enjoy.

Is it the chip or the seasoning?

When it comes to Doritos, the tortilla chips themselves have nothing but vegan ingredients in them. Ground corn, vegetable oil and salt all make for happy plant-based tummies, which means that it all comes down to the seasoning dust. Here, alongside natural flavours, you’ll find a number of very non-vegan additions, depending on the flavour you are looking at.

We should take solace in the fact that the chips themselves are suitable for a plant-based diet, so thank you Frito-Lay, as this means there is potential for more zingy releases that we can enjoy in the future.

Which flavours are not vegan?

nacho cheese doritosAnything with milk, cheese, milk powder, skimmed milk or cheddar cheese are instantly out, obviously, but as a quick guide, the following Doritos are not suitable for vegans:

Nacho Cheese
Tangy Cheese
Flame Grilled Steak
Cool Original
Hint of Lime
Honey Glazed Ribs & Lemon Blast
Habanero Chilli & Guacamole
Salsa Verde

The Salsa Verde is a real shame, as it has ‘natural chicken flavour’ included in the ingredients. Cool Original — or Cool Ranch Doritos, as they are sometimes known — is also a significant blow to many snack lovers, as this is a classic grab-and-go choice.

Which flavours are vegan?

By now you’re probably shouting at your screen: “Are Doritos vegan or not?” And yes! Some Doritos flavours are. The following can be eaten guilt-free:

Lightly Salted
Chilli Heatwave
BBQ & Chilli
All ‘Blaze’ flavours
Spicy Sweet Chilli

None of the above has any ingredients that are animal-based, but there is another issue to take into account.

The Doritos mild and hot salsa dips are also free of animal products.

Do production methods matter?

doritos veganJust as some vegans still eat honey, there is a modicum of personal interpretation to contend with, when it comes to Doritos. The factory where they are made also handles milk, with every packet of the snack — regardless of flavour — stating that fact on the back.

For some vegans, this is an instant red flag and means that they won’t risk consuming animal products via cross-contamination. For others, it is enough that the physical ingredients are vegan-friendly and the manufacturing processes aren’t an important factor.

Are there any alternatives?

Yes, there are plenty of alternative tortilla snacks out there, ranging from cheap and cheerful supermarket own-brands through to more expensive organic blue corn chips. For the safest option, we recommend grabbing a bag of plain or salted chips and making your own tasty dips.

Dorito lovers rejoice, as some flavours are vegan and your movie nights don’t need to be ruined by trying to find a new favourite snack. But do try making your own dips; it’s usually cheaper and you can tailor for your personal taste far more.

Amy Buxton
Amy Buxton
Amy is a committed ethical vegan, raising a next generation compassionate human with her husband and their beloved dog, Boo. A freelance writer with a background in PR, she decided to use the COVID lockdown period to refocus her client base and has come to The Vegan Review as a senior writer and editor, before moving into her external content director role. "What we should be doing is working at the job of life itself" is Amy's mantra, courtesy of Tom from The Good Life.