Your Guide to Vegan Chocolate | Holland & Barrett

Can you eat chocolate if you’re vegan?

You can, but it’s got to be certain chocolate. (In other words, chocolate that isn’t made from animal-dairy ingredients). 1

Chocolate ingredients to avoid:

  • Milk2
  • Milkfat3
  • Milk solids4
  • Milk derivatives – casein, gelatin, whey protein isolate, carmine, shellac AKA confectioner’s glaze5
  • Lecithin6

What chocolate is vegan?

Most types of milk and white chocolate is made with all or some of the ingredients above, making it strictly off limits for vegan chocolate lovers.

Only chocolate that’s been made using zero dairy products and hasn’t become contaminated by manufacturers using the same machinery to make vegan and non-vegan chocolate can be classed as vegan.

Interestingly, it is possible to get vegan milk chocolate, providing the chocolate hasn’t been made with dairy milk, but a plant-based milk, such as coconut, instead. Like milk, lecithin can also be animal or plant-based; the soy version of it is vegan-friendly.7

Is dark chocolate vegan?

 Can vegans eat dark chocolate? Yes, providing that it’s been made with vegan ingredients. Just because chocolate is dark, doesn’t automatically make it vegan-friendly.

Non-vegan dark chocolate tends to contain these ingredients: Sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milk fat, cocoa processed with alkali, lecithin, natural flavour milk.

Vegan dark chocolate tends to contain these ingredients: Organic cacao, unrefined organic coconut sugar, organic fair-trade cocoa butter.8

See the difference?

A little tip to remember when buying dark chocolate…

The higher the percentage of cacao, the purer the chocolate bar. Where possible, try to choose dark chocolate that contains between 55 and 85% cacao.9

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Is white chocolate vegan?

Traditional white chocolate isn’t, but vegan-manufactured white chocolate is. However, vegan white chocolate can be a bit tricky to find because legally, white chocolate has to contain 3.5% milk fat and 14% milk solids. If it doesn’t contain milk then it can’t officially be classed as white chocolate.10

The main ingredient in vegan white chocolate is cocoa butter, followed by powdered sugar, rice milk power (not milk powder), salt and vanilla extract.11

How to make vegan chocolate

 If you like the idea of making your own vegan chocolate, then you’re in luck, because there are lots of vegan chocolate recipes out there. Here are a couple of them:

Vegan milk chocolate recipe:

Ingredients list:

  • 1 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (room temperature or warm)
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar, powdered
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Cacao nibs (for the topping)


  1. Put the melted coconut oil, coconut cream, cacao or cocoa powder, powdered coconut sugar, a pinch of salt, and vanilla into a blender.
  2. If required, add more salt to taste, coconut sugar for sweetness, more vanilla to enhance the chocolate flavour, or more cacao/cocoa powder for more of an intense flavour.
  3. Pour the mixture into moulds or cupcake cases.
  4. Freeze them (this takes around 30 minutes). Keep in the fridge or freezer for up to a month.12

Vegan dark chocolate recipe: 

Ingredients list:

  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup cacao butter, chopped
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • Pinch of unrefined sea salt (optional)
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  1. Fill a small pot 1/4 full with water and boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and put a heat-resistant bowl inside the pot. Makes sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
  2. Chop the cacao butter into small chunks and place in the bowl. Once the cacao butter has melted, remove the {hot) bowl and leave to cool.
  3. Add the cacao powder and mix well until there are no lumps. Add the maple syrup and salt and stir.
  4. Pour the melted chocolate into moulds or the bottom of a small square/rectangular dish lined with parchment paper. Freeze for about 10 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes.13

Where can I buy vegan chocolate?

Don’t fancy making your own vegan chocolate just yet? That’s fine, you can buy some instead! You can purchase it online and from most stores these days, including Holland & Barrett.

We happen to stock a wide range of vegan chocolate brands, such as Raw Halo, Cocoa Libre, Mallow Puffs, So Free, Moo Free, Booja Booja, Squirrel Sisters. Choose between honeycomb slabs, dark chocolate bars, chocolate drops, truffles, and more…

Shop vegan chocolate

In the meantime, check out, ‘7 of the best vegan chocolates.’

Last Updated: 22nd September 2020



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