Cheetos are the crunchy, cheesy finger-staining snacks that you might remember fondly from your childhood. But are Cheetos suitable for vegans?
Well, to answer this, we must first recognise that there are more than 20 varieties of Cheetos available in the United States alone, and many more in the rest of the world.
While it wouldn’t be possible to research the ingredients of every flavour of Cheetos, there is some good news, for British Cheetos lovers at least. Vegan Cheetos do exist!
Are Cheetos vegan?
Most Cheetos are not suitable vegan for vegans because they contain milk. They’re also not vegetarian as they contain rennet which made from animal’s stomachs. Some vegan Cheetos do exist in the UK, but sadly not in the US or elsewhere in the world.
There is one particular flavour of Cheetos which is accidentally vegan. These are Cheetos Twisted Flamin’ Hot and they’re only available in the UK.
Flamin’ Hot Twisted Cheetos ingredients (UK):
Corn (Maize), Rapeseed Oil, Flamin’ Hot Flavour [Sugar, Flavourings (contains Soya, Wheat), Flavour Enhancers (Monosodium Glutamate, Disodium 5′-Ribonucleotides), Fructose, Acidity Regulators (Sodium Acetates, Malic Acid), Salt, Dried Onion Powder, Hydrolysed Soya Protein, Garlic Powder, Soya Derivatives, Wheat Derivatives, Colours (Paprika Extract, Sulphite Ammonia Caramel)]
Although they are not certified as vegan, it seems that Flamin’ Hot Twisted Cheetos in the UK are accidentally vegan.
Flamin’ Hot Twisted Cheetos are labelled as vegetarian, so we know that the flavourings do not contain any meat. Milk and eggs are allergens, they must be clearly labelled (in bold) according to UK law. As these are not on the label, we can assume that Cheetos are vegan-friendly.
Of course, there’s always the risk of cross-contamination as Flamin’ Hot Twisted Cheetos will have been made in a factory that also handles milk. But if you’re okay with that, then you can tuck into these rare accidentally vegan Cheetos.
Suggested read: Is food that ‘may contain milk’ vegan?
Are Hot Cheetos vegan?
Not all hot Cheetos are vegan-friendly. In fact, the only ones that are are the Flamin’ Hot Twisted Cheetos that you can get in the UK. Cheetos are never vegan in the United States as they always contain milk.
Are Cheetos vegan in the US?
Unfortunately, Cheetos are not vegan in the United States as they contain milk and other animal ingredients. The vegan Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in the UK are not the same as the ones you can buy in the US.
Where to buy vegan Cheetos?
Vegan Cheetos have been spotted in Iceland supermarkets in the UK, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll be in stock in your local branch.
While you can get the British Cheetos delivered outside of the UK, you can expect to pay a huge sum for postage. What’s more, given that some of the ingredients in American Cheetos are banned in the UK, I wouldn’t expect that they’ll taste exactly the same.
The bottom line
Cheetos are generally not vegan, which is hardly surprising as they’re cheese-flavoured. However, you may be surprised to know that many Cheetos are not vegetarian either as the cheese is made with rennet which comes from the stomachs of baby cows, sheep or goats.
There is one flavour of Cheetos that’s accidentally-vegan. You can get these in the UK.