We all want to be able to enjoy our fries with our favorite condiment, but it can be hard to tell which are vegan. With so many options and not enough transparency, it is a bit of a minefield out there.
To make your decision easier, we have compiled a list of the most common condiments and will reveal which are best for a vegan to enjoy.
Many of your favorites are vegan, but there are certain ingredients to look out for which are not cruelty free such as honey which creeps into some recipes.
Honey is a no-go because it is derived from an animal source, and takes food away from bees in a way that could deprive them of a valuable resource.
Still, the following brands are known for being deliciously hot, yet vegan: Franks RedHot, Cholula, Tapiato, and many Sriracha brands will also be plant-based.
Yes, you can rejoice in the fact that Tabasco sauce is vegan. It has one of the simplest ingredient profiles you could hope for in its combination of red hot peppers, distilled vinegar, and salt.
This is about as vegan as you could get and is made all the sweeter by the fact that many of their other condiments are also plant-based.
Drizzle it on some vegan pancakes, or over your morning porridge, maple syrup should always be natural, plant-based, and fine for a vegan.
Most of the time it will also be organic which makes it an even more tempting sweet treat. Make sure you go for a product that is as natural as possible and look out for brands that add honey as these are not vegan.
Some will also include milk-derived butter flavoring so be sure to check the label before you try it for yourself.
A popular ingredient in Chinese cuisine, sweet sauce, or sweet and sour sauce as it is sometimes known can be vegan, but you need to look a little closer as to how it is sweetened.
Anything that uses pineapple to bring out the sweetness might be ok if the other ingredients are, but anything with honey will not be.
The most common ingredients for home cooking include sugar, vinegar, spices, fruit juice, and ketchup so anything with a simple profile like this will likely be considered vegan.
A smoky and popular condiment, but is barbeque sauce vegan? Many brands are but there are suspect ingredients to look out for.
To make sure yours is plant-based, look for honey, anchovies, and any other nonvegan ingredient before purchasing.
You’ll be happy to discover that with a simple ingredient profile, most store-bought brands are vegan. Look out for honey as a not-so-common non-vegan culprit, but otherwise, enjoy the mix of chopped cucumber, sugar, spices, and flavorings where you can find it.
Of course, it also depends on your stance on artificial colors as many of these are tested on animals so a lot of vegans will avoid them. The most common is Red 40 and Yellow 5 which can creep into some sweet relish recipes.
Despite the name, most versions of duck sauce are vegan. This means you can dip your vegan spring rolls into a mix of fruits such as plums, apricots, and pineapples, and the combination of sugar, vinegar, ginger, and chili peppers to get that sweet, spicy hit.
Another popular Asian condiment, despite the word hoisin meaning ‘seafood’ in Chinese, is typically vegan.
Look out for artificial colors as these can be tested on animals, making some hoisin sauce the opposite of cruelty-free. Otherwise, they often have a simple bunch of plant-based ingredients.
Dijon & Maple Mustard
A great alternative to the honey mustard sauce, this sweet condiment packs a bit of a kick and is usually fine for a plant-based diet. The maple sweeteners are often homemade, which is the best way to make it since dijon mustard can sometimes use casein (dairy derided) as part of the filtering process.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This common health kick has links to promoting weight loss and curing colds and sore throats, but how is apple cider vinegar vegan? The answer is with a very simple ingredient list.
Made up of the fermented juice of crushed apples, it is typically made without additives so a vegan can enjoy the benefits of acetic acid.
One of the world’s most popular condiments, ketchup is often vegan, but there are some ingredients to be wary of.
Heinz is one of the worlds biggest brands and their ingredient list reads as follows:
Red ripe tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt, and a special blend of spices and flavorings.
Of course, the sugar content is always a controversial subject, but we are assuming they make theirs without processing it with bone char (the charred bones of cattle and pigs).
As a general rule, most hummus is vegan. The simple recipe doesn’t need a lot of additives, but that doesn’t stop some brands so be aware.
With so many flavors available, you do need to keep a close eye on the various options as they can be made with a multitude of non-vegan ingredients.
Hummus is made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Despite this simple recipe, some brands sweeten theirs with honey, so look out for this.
Old Bay Seasoning
Although you are typically going to find this on the plates of a meat-based dish, Old Bay Seasoning is vegan. Even the label used to boast that it is made for seafood, poultry, salads, and meat, but if you can find a vegan use for it, the ingredients are a bunch of spices and flavorings and are fine.
The traditional version is made with egg so it is not vegan, but vegan mayo is a great substitute with plenty of brands making tasty options.
Expect plant-based ingredients such as this from Hellmans:
SOYBEAN OIL, WATER, SUGAR, VINEGAR, SALT, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING: MODIFIED FOOD STARCH (CORN, POTATO), LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, NATURAL FLAVOR, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (USED TO PROTECT QUALITY).
Salsa, Pico De Gallo, & Salsa Verde
A simple ingredient profile that is a hit with many vegans because of the fact it is usually made up of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and a bunch of spices.
Dip your vegan tortilla chips in either of these condiments when the game is one and you can’t go far wrong.
We’ve already seen how names can be misleading, and thankfully this is the case with Eel Sauce.
It is usually made from soy sauce, mirin (Japanese rice wine), and sugar but gets its name from the fact that it is used to glaze unagi.
Oyster sauce is not vegan, but some people are okay with consuming the bivalves. Oyster sauce is one condiment that vegans find tricky to get onto their plate due to its main component being oysters.
The name alone makes it easy to discover its vegan-friendliness. Honey mustard uses animal-derived honey which means it is not to be used as part of a plant-based diet.
There are ways of making your own at home such as using maple syrup to bring out the sweetness, but store-bought products are not suitable.
Made of milk that is supposed to be kept for baby cows, sour cream is not vegan. The cruelty of the dairy industry is bad enough alone, but the fact that it is animal-derived means it cannot be consumed by any vegan anyway.
There are vegan alternatives available such as the one from the brand Only Plant-Based! They pride themselves on having a similar texture and taste like the real thing. To give you an idea of how they make this possible, their ingredients are as follows:
Water, Rapeseed Oil (30%), Modified Waxy Maize Starch, White Wine Vinegar, Lemon Concentrate, Sugar, Stabiliser: Xanthan Gum, Preservative: Potassium Sorbate, Salt, Sour Cream Flavoring, Color: Carotene,
Unfortunately, as the name suggests, fish sauce is not usually vegan.
Made up of crushed anchovies and sea salt, anything that follows the traditional recipe will not be suitable for a plant-based diet. A vegan version might use a combination of seaweed, pineapple extract, vinegar, rice wine, and a few other plant-based ingredients to replicate this in a cruelty-free condiment.
Although this sauce is made with plant-based horseradish, the recipe, and food it is prepared for will, typically, be non-vegan.
Also, to make it creamy, it is usually combined with some sort of sour cream or mayonnaise which means it contains dairy. Some brands include egg yolk in the recipe, so it is important to take a closer look but be prepared to be disappointed by most store-bought brands.
Miracle Whip is an easy-to-turn-down, non-vegan option because of the inclusion of eggs. There are egg-free options available but as a general rule, store-bought versions of this sandwich spread are not going to be suitable for a vegan diet.
Yum Yum Sauce
A popular yet non-vegan condiment, Yum Yum Sauce is made from a combination of mayonnaise, sugar, paprika, butter, rice vinegar, garlic, onion, and mirin.
Multiple culprits make it unsuitable for a vegan diet, but there are ways of switching the offenders out to make sure it can be enjoyed as part of a plant-based diet.
A typically vegan recipe but restaurants and store-bought versions are often made with eggs. These follow the same recipe of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt, which make it plant-based, but with the added cruelty of taking eggs from chickens.
There is always a chance that there are non-vegan versions of what are usually vegan-friendly condiments, and vice versa. This is why it is always so important to read the label.
We should also note that we have assumed that the usually vegan ingredients (such as sugar) are not derived from non-vegan sources where there has been any cruelty to animals. As always, delving deeper is important when trying to live a plant-based life.