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Are Graham Crackers Vegan?
Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Rafid Nassir
Published by Rafid Nassir
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: April 12, 2021

Crackers are a great option when you want to have a quick snack but not overstuff on unhealthy food. But are graham crackers vegan?

Most ingredients lists don't show the answer clearly, so I've done some thorough research. Let's find out the answer!

Can Vegans Eat Graham Crackers?

Yes, vegans can eat graham crackers. Even though the majority of popular brands make their graham crackers with honey as a flavor enhancer, you can easily find vegan-friendly alternatives as many brands offer vegan graham crackers that'll satisfy your snacking needs.

Graham Crackers Ingredients

Powdered/Crushed Graham Crackers

Graham crackers are a snack typically made with honey or cinnamon. As their name suggests, graham crackers are made from graham flour.

The first graham crackers were made in the US in the 1800s.

The main inspiration for graham crackers was Sylvester Graham, an influential preacher in the Temperance Movement.

Graham and his followers started a Vegetarian Movement in the US in the 19th century [1].

They believed that vegetarianism was the healthiest lifestyle, and this is how we got graham flour and graham bread.

But, enough of the history, let’s see some more details on the ingredients in graham crackers.

Now, please remember that ingredients in graham crackers vary depending on the manufacturer and their recipe.

The original graham crackers were vegan. The ingredients included: graham flour, shortening or lard, oil, molasses or corn syrup, and salt.

Once the mass production started, the ingredients began to change and vary depending on the producer.

Nowadays, many brands add honey or honey flavor, which makes graham crackers not vegan.

Non-Vegan Brands

Graham above the desaturated fruits

As I mentioned, there are many vegan-friendly graham crackers brands, but there are even more non-vegan ones.

This is mainly due to the use of the traditional ingredient — honey.

One of the best-known non-vegan brands is the Honey Maid Graham Crackers. As the name suggests, Honey Maid Graham Crackers contain honey.

These honey graham crackers also include Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate {Vitamin B1}, Riboflavin {Vitamin B2}, Folic Acid), Whole Wheat Flour (Graham Flour, Whole Grain Wheat Flour), Sugar, Soybean Oil, Honey, Leavening (Baking Soda and/or Calcium Phosphate), Salt, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavor.

As you can see, the ingredients are mainly vegan, apart from honey.

Target's Market Pantry graham crackers are another example.

Moreover, Solimo, 365 Everyday Value, Annie's Homegrown, Trader Joe's Honey graham crackers are also not vegan as they contain organic honey.

Even though it's organic honey, it's still honey, which vegans consider a non-vegan ingredient.

5 Vegan Graham Crackers Brands

Luckily, you don’t have to worry as there are tons of dairy-free and vegan graham cracker brands.

You can enjoy a tasty snack without hurting the bees and feeling guilty. Here are some of my favorite brands. What’s best is that many of these brands are also PETA-approved.

1. Nabisco Original Grahams

Nabisco surrounded by Leaves and fruits

Nabisco vegan graham crackers bring you whole-grain nutrients.

These crackers are also free from cholesterol and have a very low amount of saturated fat.

However, they contain wheat and soy, so be careful if you have any food allergies or intolerances.

The Nabisco Original Grahams ingredients include:

Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate [vitamin b1], riboflavin [vitamin b2], folic acid), Graham flour, Sugar, Partially hydrogenated soybean oil, Molasses preserved with sulfur dioxide, High fructose corn syrup, Salt, Leavening (baking soda, calcium phosphate), Malted barley flour.

"The taste of my childhood and almost impossible to find. After I became vegan, I thought I couldn't have graham crackers again, but these are accidentally vegan (not healthy food, for sure). I get them by the case and share some with friends. I am always ready now to make vegan s'mores!" — Catherine Vade Bon Coeur

2. Keebler Original Grahams Crackers

Keebler Original Grahams Crackers surrounded by fruits and leaves

Keebler's dairy-free graham crackers are vegan favorites.

They have a subtly sweet flavor that makes them perfect for deserts.

The vegan ingredients include:

Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, vitamin B1 [thiamin mononitrate], vitamin B2 [riboflavin], folic acid), Palm and Palm Kernel Oil (with TBHQ for freshness), Sugar, Graham flour, Corn syrup, Molasses, Contains 2% or less of salt, Leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Malt Extract, Soy lecithin.

3. Nairn Gluten-free Oat Graham Crackers

Not only is this snack vegan, but it's also gluten-free. Moreover, whole-grain oats offer nice nutrition, such as soluble and insoluble fibers and complex carbs.

What makes these crackers vegan-friendly is:

Gluten-free whole grain oats (72%), Sustainable palm oil, Brown sugar, Golden syrup, Tapioca starch, Raising agent (sodium bicarbonate), Sea salt, Tree nuts, Peanuts.

4. Kinnikinnick S’moreables Graham Style Crackers

Kinnikinnick S’moreables Graham Style Crackers surrounded by fruits and leaves

Another vegan-friendly and gluten-free option are Kinnikinnick's S'moreables graham crackers. The crackers are dairy-free, but they may get in contact with eggs due to cross-contamination. However, as the brand is PETA-approved [2], I wouldn’t worry too much about this.

Ingredients:

Pea Starch, Non-Hydrogenated Palm Oil Shortening (palm oil, modified palm oil), Brown Rice Flour, Potato Starch*, Brown Sugar*, Sweet Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Water, Cane Sugar, Rice Bran, Molasses*, Tapioca Syrup, Salt, Sodium Bicarbonate, Pea Protein, Natural Flavour, Pea Fibre, Sunflower Lecithin, Inulin, Mono Calcium Phosphate, Cellulose, Guar Gum.

*Not a product of genetic engineering

5. Kroger Original Graham Crackers

Kroger Original Graham Crackers surrounded by fruits and leaves

Besides being vegan-friendly, Kroger's graham crackers are also crazily affordable.

The ingredients that make this graham cracker brand vegan include:

Enriched Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Graham Flour (Whole Grain Wheat Flour), Sugar, High Oleic Soybean and/or Canola Oil, Molasses, Contains 2% or Less of Leavening (Baking Soda, Calcium Phosphate), Salt, Soy Lecithin, Sodium Sulfite.

Related:

6 Problematic Ingredients

Fruits, Vegetables, and Graham Collage

As with other foods, ingredients are the only thing that makes graham crackers vegan or non-vegan.

The key is to know what to avoid.

If you find yourself searching for a vegan graham cracker brand and the label doesn't clearly show if that particular graham cracker brand is vegan, the ingredients list is your source of info.

Let's see what you should avoid when looking for a graham cracker brand that will suit your vegan lifestyle.

1. Natural Flavors

It may sound good if a graham cracker brand uses natural flavors, but this isn’t the best news for vegans.

Sure, natural is almost always better than artificial, but when it comes to flavors, natural flavors are typically non-vegan.

Natural flavor is a very broad term. It can include fruit and vegetable juice. But it can also include dairy, meat, and eggs.

So, unless the label clearly says the crackers are vegan, you should consider another brand.

2. Honey

Pouring Honey

As you’re aware, you should avoid honey graham crackers. But why isn’t honey vegan? There are two reasons:

Natural Pollinators

Beekeeping may seem beneficial, but it disrupts nature. More bees mean more pollination, but it also means that beekeeping can wipe out natural pollinators, as these bees can disturb the environment's natural balance.

Animal Cruelty

Another point against consuming honey is animal cruelty. Beekeeping isn’t a program designed to harm the bees.

However, it brings them much stress. Queen bees are artificially inseminated, which isn’t only stressful, but it’s also highly unnatural. Moreover, bees are additionally stressed because honey is constantly being taken away from them.

Honey is their food. They count on honey to survive. So, naturally, taking their honey away stresses them.

sugar on tablespoon

Besides honey, there are a couple of other ingredients that may cause some controversy when it comes to the question of vegan-friendly graham crackers.

Sugar, canola oil, molasses, aren’t non-vegan per se, but vegans tend to avoid them as much as honey. Let’s see why.

3. Sugar

Sugar comes from two sources — cane and beet. Nothing non-vegan about that. However, the troubles begin with processing. Cane sugar is very often processed with bone char, which makes it not vegan.

4. Palm and Canola Oil

Both come from plants, but to grow them, acres and acres of land are cleared. This results in destroying different animals’ habitats and endangering them. Your personal definition of veganism will decide if this makes a product vegan or not.

5. Light Molasses

Molasses is no issue in vegan graham crackers. It’s true that molasses for animal consumption is processed with bone char. However, molasses for human consumption isn’t, so you have nothing to fear.

6. Artificial Flavors

Vegans often avoid artificial flavors as they’re often tested on animals. But, as with palm and canola oil, it’s up to you to decide whether this makes a product vegan or not.

Are Graham Crackers Vegetarian?

All graham crackers are vegetarian. Vegetarians don’t eat meat, but they consume foods that come from animals. So, to be vegetarian, these snacks don’t have to be free from eggs or honey. They also don’t have to be dairy-free.

Are Graham Crackers Vegan? The Final Verdict

The good news is that vegans can enjoy snacking on graham crackers.

However, pay close attention to the ingredients when choosing your snack. If the brand uses canola or palm oil, get all the info on how they're sourced.

Also, keep your eye on artificial and natural flavors. We don't want our snacks to endanger anyone's life, right?

Feel free to share your favorite brands and how you enjoy graham crackers!


References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Sylvester-Graham
  2. https://www.peta.org/living/food/vegan-graham-crackers/

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