For many of us, gingerbread brings back fond childhood memories. Whether it’s being treated to a gingerbread man in a paper bag from the local bakery or building a gingerbread house with your family on Christmas eve.
Gingerbread takes many forms, but it’s rarely an actual bread or cake. Instead, at least in the UK, gingerbread commonly refers to a type of thin biscuit or cookie that’s flavoured with ginger. The texture of gingerbread should be firm, yet with a slight softness.
But is gingerbread suitable for vegans? Or do we need to give up eating this tasty sweet treat once we go vegan? Read on to find out everything you need to know about when gingerbread is vegan and when it isn’t…
What is gingerbread made of?
Gingerbread is typically made of flour, sugar, eggs, butter, ground ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and golden syrup. It is often decorated with icing, chocolate or sweets.
The ingredients in gingerbread vary depending on the recipe and the type of gingerbread. For example, the gingerbread that’s used to make a house must be thin and solid, whereas gingerbread cookies may be softer and a gingerbread load will have a cake-like texture to it.
Does gingerbread contain egg?
Many gingerbread recipes contain egg, but not all do. It’s perfectly possible to make gingerbread without using egg as golden syrup can be used to bind the ingredients together.
Can vegans eat gingerbread?
Most gingerbread isn’t suitable for vegans as it contains eggs and butter. However, it’s easy to make vegan gingerbread using golden syrup and vegan butter as alternatives Some shops sell gingerbread men that do not have au animal-derived ingredients.
Is a gingerbread house vegan?
Most gingerbread houses aren’t suitable for vegans as gingerbread is usually made with butter and eggs. Gingerbread houses are often decorated with milk chocolate and sweets that may contain gelatine or beeswax. So some gingerbread houses aren’t suitable for vegetarians, either.
It’s virtually impossible to find a vegan gingerbread house kit in the UK. So, if you want to make a vegan-friendly gingerbread house with your kids, the best thing to do would be to follow a recipe to make your own vegan gingerbread and make the house yourself from scratch, rather than assembling ready-baked pieces.
Are gingerbread men vegan?
Most gingerbread men, such as those from bakeries and shops like Greggs, Pret a Manger and Costa are not suitable for vegans as they contain milk and/or eggs. Some are also not suitable for vegetarians as they are decorated with jelly sweets that contain gelatine.
However, it is possible to find vegan gingerbread men in supermarkets.
Where to buy vegan gingerbread men
Tesco gingerbread men
In the bakery section at Tesco you can get a bag of ten mini gingerbread men. These are labelled as suitable for vegetarians, but they do not have any animal ingredients and so most vegans would say that they are vegan-friendly.
Asda gingerbread men
The bakery section at Asda features a box of 30 mini gingerbread men that do not have an animal ingredients. These are labelled as suitable for vegetarians but they are vegan by ingredient.
Be aware though, Asda’s ‘Free From’ gingerbread men are not vegan-friendly as they contain egg.
McVities Gingerbread Men
McVities mini gingerbread men are vegan by ingredient as they do not contain any milk, eggs or other animal products. They are labelled as suitable for vegetarians but aren’t certified as vegan as they are made in a factory that also handles milk.
There’s no easy answer as to whether gingerbread is vegan or not, as different recipes use different ingredients. While many recipes for gingerbread cookies, gingerbread men and gingerbread houses include milk and eggs, these ingredients aren’t necessary.
If you’re making gingerbread at home, you can do so with golden syrup and there’s no need to add milk or eggs. You can decorate your vegan gingerbread with white icing, dark chocolate and vegan sweets.