Whether you’re a new vegan or an omnivore trying to figure out what to feed a vegan friend, you may find yourself asking “is Nutella vegan?” with a hint of hopefulness. I mean, how awesome would it be if the world’s favorite chocolate hazelnut spread was made without animal products?
I’d like to believe that it is, in an alternate reality, but in this one, Nutella is definitely not vegan.
Sorry about that!
However, I’m not here to burst your bubble and leave you without a solution to the plant-based Nutella problem. Together, we’ll find a way to fill the creamy, chocolatey, Nutella jar-shaped void in your vegan heart, but first, let’s find out what makes Nutella not vegan.
What is Nutella made of?
This chocolatey concoction is made up mostly of sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, and cocoa, but it does contain other additives, including soy lecithin, vanillin, and, unfortunately, skim milk and whey, the ingredients that make it non-vegan. (1)
It may be a bummer at first to learn that you can’t partake in the Nutella craze as a vegan, but don’t worry — I’m here to coach you through it! By the end of this article you’ll be saying “Nutella who?”
Is Nutella even good for you?
Nutella may not be vegan, but that’s no reason to despair. One of the many advantages of being vegan now as opposed to 20 years ago is that there are vegan versions of pretty much anything you can think of, and that certainly includes chocolate hazelnut spread.
Before we explore these delicious plant-based alternatives, though, let’s dissect Nutella’s nutrition facts so we can see what our alternatives are up against.
Nutella is cleverly marketed as both an indulgent snack and a wholesome, healthy additive that you can spread on your kids’ waffles or toast, guilt-free — but is Nutella healthy?
I’ve already mentioned that sugar is one of Nutella’s main ingredients, but just how much does it contain? As it turns out, a frightening amount. In fact, more than half of Nutella’s weight is pure sugar, translating to a whopping 21 grams of sugar in every 2-tablespoon serving. (2)
In addition to tons of sugar, Nutella contains plenty of palm oil. While there are many sources of healthy, plant-based fats out there, palm oil is definitely not one of them. It’s fatty for the sake of being fatty, making it high in calories and deficient in nutrients.
This short, informative video explains just how unhealthy Nutella is:
If that’s convinced you that you’d like a healthy alternative to Nutella, I’ve got you covered!
Vegan Nutella alternatives
As I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of vegan alternatives to Nutella, so let’s dive in!
First on the list is Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Spread. It combines almonds, hazelnuts, cocoa, cocoa butter, and organic sugar for a mouthwatering spread that goes great on bagels, waffles, or a plain ol’ spoon. With one-third the sugar of Nutella, it’s certainly a much healthier alternative.
However, keep in mind that, like Nutella, Justin’s does still contain palm oil to keep the formula “stir-free.” This may concern some vegans who are aware of the devastating environmental impact of palm oil. (3)
While Justin’s is part of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, the notion of “sustainable” palm oil is debatable. If you’d rather skip palm oil altogether, just keep reading! (4)
Nutella relies on sugar, oil, and dairy products as filler, meaning that cocoa and hazelnut are only supporting characters instead of the main stars. If you want a chocolate and hazelnut spread that actually tastes like chocolate and hazelnut, you’ve got to try Rawmio Hazelnut.
This raw, gourmet spread has only three ingredients: raw hazelnuts, raw cacao nibs, and coconut sugar. With 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein (compared to Nutella’s 2 grams!), only 8 grams of sugar, and a ton of antioxidants in every serving, you can indulge in a spoonful of this stuff without that post-Nutella guilt.
Next up we have the closely named Nutiva and their certified organic, non-GMO, vegan-friendly hazelnut spread. The associated gumph starts that this jar of delciousness “starts with organic superfoods and blends them without the use of harmful chemicals or stabilizers, and is a source of Omega-3 fats and dietary fiber.”
Similarly, Pyure’s hazelnut spread for vegans is also organic, but this one is sweetened with stevia, as opposed to the organic cane sugar used in many of the other brands listed here. This enables the company to market the spread as having “90% less sugar than the market leading brand.”
I wonder who they might be talking about?
Onto a personal favorite now, Rigoni Di Asiago Nocciolata dairy-free organic hazelnut & cocoa spread.
The flavor they manage to pack into these tiny little jars is immense, and they do it all without using palm oil, hydrogenated fats, aromas, preservatives, or colorings.
Another sugar-free option is this 100% Cacao Hazelnut Butter by Blue Stripes. Unlike Pyure, Blue Stripe’s effort is sweetened with Allulose, a relatively new sweetener in town. Allulose has an impressive array of potential benefits associated with it, but the lack of human studies may put some off for the time being at least. (5)
The spread itself, however, is delicious and packed with all the goodness cacao brings, including 20% RDA copper, 45% RDA phosphorus, and numerous antioxidants. It’s also made with just three ingredients (organic 100% cacao, organic 100% pure hazelnut butter, and organic allulose sweetener), which is a definite win.
If you’re going to buy your spread on name alone, Wild Friends might be your new BFF. All the good stuff is ticked off here: All Natural, Non GMO Certified, Kosher Certified, Palm Oil free, Gluten free, Dairy free, 50% less sugar than the leading brand.
Not only that, Wild Friends also promise to give back a portion of their profits to organizations that support women and girls, like Girls Inc of the Pacific Northwest. Commendable stuff.
Last on our list is JEM’s Organic Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. This product is one of my favorite Nutella alternatives, and I’m sure you’re going to love it as well. Made from only four ingredients (raw hazelnuts, cacao nibs, coconut sugar, and vanilla), this spread hits the spot and is packed with nutrients, which helps lower the sugar guilt a little!
And of course, there is always the option of getting in your kitchen, rolling up your sleeves, and making your very own vegan chocolate hazelnut spread. A simple, 4-ingredient recipe from minimalistbaker.com will make a batch of delicious, vegan Nutella in just 30 minutes. (6)
Is Nutella vegan? No, but that’s OK!
Yep, we now know the answer to the question, “Can vegans eat Nutella?”
Nutella may not be vegan, but that doesn’t mean that vegans can’t enjoy the delicious combination of chocolate and hazelnut. There are plenty of alternatives out there with a fraction of the sugar and none of the animal cruelty, so find your favorite and dig in!
Have you tried any Nutella alternatives? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
About The Author:
Cristina is a writer, doggy daycare attendant, and vegan of nearly a decade. She earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature with a minor in gender studies from University of California, Irvine. As an undergrad, she served as president of the university’s animal rights club and conducted and presented research on the intersections of feminism and veganism.
When she’s not writing or taking care of dogs, she enjoys reading everything from autobiographies to YA fantasy novels, tending to her houseplants, cooking, and drawing. She lives in Southern California with her boyfriend and their dog.
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- Nutella® | Why does Nutella® taste so good? | https://www.nutella.com/us/en/inside-nutella/quality-and-ingredients
- Jillian Kubala, MS, RD | Is Nutella Healthy? Ingredients, Nutrition and More | https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/nutella
- Natasha Hinde | What Is Palm Oil Used For And Why Is It Bad For The Environment? | https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/what-is-palm-oil-and-why-is-it-bad-for-the-environment_uk_5acf3027e4b0701783abbbdb?guccounter=1
- RSPO | About Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil | https://rspo.org/about
- Franziska Spritzler | Is Allulose a Healthy Sweetener? | https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/allulose
- Minimalist Baker | 4-Ingredient Nutella (Vegan + GF) | https://minimalistbaker.com/4-ingredient-nutella-vegan-gf/