Which vegan chocolate is best?

If you’re both a chocolate lover and vegan, consuming nothing with an animal origin, you may be curious about how to find more dairy-free options to satisfy your sweet tooth. One of the most daunting parts about shopping for vegan products is knowing how to scan the labels for safe ingredients. 

If you want a rich, velvety vegan chocolate bar, the Hu Salty Dark Chocolate Bar is the top choice.

What to know before you buy vegan chocolate

Vegan chocolate is indeed chocolate, but shopping for it is a bit complicated. From avoiding products to spotting possible alternatives, knowing what to look for is the key to finding vegan chocolate that suits your taste.

Ingredients to avoid

The most important part of vegan chocolate is that it doesn’t contain dairy or any other animal products or byproducts. All vegan chocolate products include a thorough list of their ingredients on the label. Allergens may be listed as simple ingredients or as a separate note. The label may also share whether the product was made on equipment used for dairy products. Some dairy ingredients may be harder to spot than others.

Common ingredients to avoid in chocolate include:

  • Milk, whey, butter, butterfat and casein: These ingredients are the main offenders to avoid when shopping for vegan chocolate. A lactose-free product doesn’t necessarily mean it is dairy-free.
  • Honey: Honey comes from bees, and though it can seem like a healthy alternative to white sugar, vegans says it’s unethical in the context of commercial production.
  • Beeswax: This is sometimes used instead of other plant-based options such as carnauba wax.
  • Confectioner’s glaze or shellac: This glaze comes from bug secretions and gives the outer shell of some chocolate candies their shine.
  • Bone char: This says that cattle bones were used to turn the sugar extremely white. However, manufacturers aren’t required to list it as an ingredient.

Milk alternatives

Some chocolate bars reproduce the creaminess of milk chocolate by using milk alternatives, such as oat milk, almond milk, cashew milk or coconut milk. These make it possible for vegans to indulge in a sweeter treat than strict dark chocolate.

What to look for in quality vegan chocolate

Knowing where your chocolate comes from and what’s in it is key when buying quality vegan chocolate.

Certifications

The clearest way to verify a completely animal-product-free chocolate bar is to find a certified vegan stamp of approval on the label. Fairtrade certification is also a good indicator of a company’s commitment to an ethical supply chain.

Though not required for a product to be vegan, these certifications are a good starting point, especially for people with dairy-based allergies or medical conditions.

Flavors

The best vegan chocolate offers something for everyone. Vegan chocolate isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of candy. People on a vegan diet enjoy variety as much as anyone else. Chances are, you can find a vegan version of your favorite flavors.

As with many things regarding being vegan, check the label for specific ingredients when shopping for special flavors. Additional flavors introduce the potential for allergens or non-vegan ingredients.

How much you can expect to spend on vegan chocolate

Expect to pay between 80 cents to $3 per ounce for vegan chocolate bars.

Vegan chocolate FAQ

What’s in vegan chocolate?

A. The most important part of vegan chocolate is about what’s not in it — animal products, notably dairy. Otherwise, vegan chocolate uses the same base ingredients as regular chocolate — cocoa products or cacao, and a sweetener. Beyond the basic ingredients, vegan chocolate can come in many flavors with added spices, fruits, nuts, seeds or other plant-based ingredients. 

Is all dark chocolate vegan?

A. Not necessarily. Dark chocolate can be as simple as a combination of cacao and a plant-based sweetener. That would be vegan. But many options use additional ingredients that aren’t vegan. Examples include dark chocolate that contains dairy ingredients, sugar processed with bone char, or traces of dairy from production. Always check the labels for specific ingredients and certifications.

What’s the best vegan chocolate to buy?

Top vegan chocolate

Hu Salty Dark Chocolate Bar, 12-Pack

Hu Salty Dark Chocolate Bar, 12-Pack

What you need to know: This chocolate bar delivers pure, luscious chocolate with a salty kick for any chocolate lover to enjoy.

What you’ll love: Each bar is organic, vegan, gluten-free, paleo-friendly, non-GMO and fair trade — guaranteeing workers’ rights, conditions and fair pay. There is no refined sugar, cane sugar, sugar alcohols, soy, palm oil, lecithin or emulsifiers. The bars break into eight equal chunks for easy snacking.

What you should consider: These bars don’t use preservatives, so you need to refrigerate them or keep them in a cool, dry pantry.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top vegan chocolate for the money

Endangered Species Extreme Dark Chocolate, 12-Pack

Endangered Species Extreme Dark Chocolate, 12-Pack

What you need to know: These bars come in a wide variety of flavors and offer an oat milk-based selection for a dairy-free alternative.

What you’ll love: Both the dark chocolate and oat milk chocolate bars are smooth and creamy. All bars are certified gluten-free, and vegan products feature a “Certified Vegan” symbol for clarity. Endangered Species supports fair trade chocolate and donates 10% of its net annual profits to wildlife conservation funds.

What you should consider: Some customers noticed that the company’s new chocolate bar molds are thinner than they expected.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Tony's Chocolonely 70% Dark Chocolate

Tony’s Chocolonely 70% Dark Chocolate

What you need to know: Tony’s chocolate bars, made in Belgium, are oversized and easy to share.

What you’ll love: Most of Tony’s dark chocolate offerings are vegan, and the company is fair trade and certified by B Corp, which measures a company’s entire social and environmental impact. Though the chocolate is cut into uneven pieces to break apart more easily, it’s so delicious you may want one all to yourself. You can even design your own wrapper.

What you should consider: The oversized bar isn’t as convenient to grab and go as smaller sizes, and you should store it in a cool, dry place.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Katy Palmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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