Skip to Content

Are Cheerios Vegan? Can Vegans Eat Cheerios?

Are Cheerios Vegan? Can Vegans Eat Cheerios?

Answer: It depends. You need to go through the list of ingredients on the Cheerios label. If you are a plant-based eater, you can try the multigrain or original Cheerios, as General Mills acknowledges these two as vegan.

Are Cheerios Vegan? Can Vegans Eat Cheerios?

A million Americans begin their days with a bowl of Cheerios. This oatmeal has been dominating the market for more than 75 years.

These “O” shaped granolas are the choice of everyone, from toddlers to adults. The variety of flavors it comes in serves the taste of every family member. However, if you are a dedicated veggie, a question must be bothering you – are Cheerios vegan?

The manufacturer of Cheerios promotes it not just as breakfast cereals but as all-day munching tidbits. You can enjoy the Cheerios as a wholesome breakfast by pouring it into a bowl of milk, banana, and berries or as snacks you can nibble on anytime you want.

Are Cheerios Vegan?

Cheerios are 99% vegan but not pure vegan as they contain vitamin D3 that come from lanolin, and are produced from wool-bearing animals like sheep. Also, the white sugar in Cheerios may be processed using calcium carbonate from animal bones. Therefore, it does not come under whole vegan foods.  

Read on to learn more about Cheerios and their ingredients. 

What Are Cheerios?

Cheerios is a brand of breakfast cereals that General Mills invented in 1941. They marketed it as a healthy food for the early meal made with 100% whole grain oats. The people earlier knew the puffed oats as “Cheerioats,” which was changed to Cheerios in 1945 due to copyright court battles. 

Apart from nurturing your body, these little brown doughnut-shaped oats are also light on your stomach. Therefore, it is the perfect choice for the small appetite of kiddies. 

The first Cheerios flavor was a cinnamon nut that lasted for a few years and began the era of a wide assortment of Cheerios flavors. Today, this delicious cereal is available in approx. 20 flavorings. You can choose from frosted, fruity, chocolate, honey nut, pumpkin spice, and many other kinds of Cheerios.

Do you think that Cheerios are just your bland breakfast cereals? This oatmeal’s sweet and tangy taste enables you to explore different delicacies. You can make mouthwatering pudding, muffins, smoothies, cookies, tartlets, and various other recipes by incorporating Cheerios in them. 

You should also bear in mind the nutrition facts of Cheerios. The total carbs present in each 100 g packet is around 83 g, out of which the dietary fiber is 6 g. So the net carbs per 100 g of Cheerios are approx. 77 g. It also consists of 5 g of total fats and 6 g of proteins. 

Vegan Ingredients 

You cannot skip the plant-based ingredients in any eatables you buy from the market or prepare yourself. Vegan items are the heart of all recipes, and Cheerios are no exception to it. 

Though the spices and constituents of this crunchy appetizer highly depend on the kind of Cheerios flavor you pick, there are a few vegan ingredients that you can find in almost every carton of Cheerios. 

  • Whole Grain Oats
  • Corn Starch
  • Canola Oil
  • Corn Syrup
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Tripotassium Phosphate
  • Vitamin D3
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Vitamin C
  • A B Vitamin (Niacinamide)
  • A B Vitamin (Folic Acid)
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12

Non-Vegan Ingredients 

A plant-based diet is right for your health as it can reduce the risk of certain illnesses. However, not every food item in the market is all vegan. Cheerios is one of those edibles that combines both vegan and non-vegan elements. 

Now, you know that Cheerios are not pure vegan, so you must wonder what ingredients make your favorite breakfast meal a non-vegan food. 

Vitamin D3 

You can find Vitamin D3 in all the flavors and packs of Cheerios, which means none of these oatmeal categories is vegan. We get Vitamin D3 from a substance called lanolin, extracted from animals’ skin glands or fish liver oils. Thus, this makes Cheerios non-vegan. 

However, General Mills confirms that original Cheerios and multigrain Cheerios are vegan as they contain D3 synthetically produced without using the animal’s skin or fish oil.

White Sugar

Producers use cane pulps to manufacture sugar, which is brown at the beginning. Afterward, manufacturers use calcium carbonate produced from animal bones to give it a white color. Since this component uses animal parts to get its color, it is a non-vegan item.  

Apart from these two ingredients, Cheerios include certain food items that are genuinely non-vegan. A honey nut Cheerios consist of honey derived by exploiting the honey bees, so it is undoubtedly a non-vegan. Similarly, chocolate Cheerios can also be non-vegan due to the use of chocolates in them. 

Therefore, it becomes necessary for you to check the details of the ingredients on each Cheerios pack.

Flavored Cheerios Ingredients

You will not run out of choices when it comes to the varied flavors of Cheerios. The different flavors mean assorted ingredients. A pack of this beautiful ring-shaped cereal contains vegan and non-vegan elements. 

Based on the flavors you select, every Cheerios box contains different savored ingredients to add to its taste. Apart from the original Cheerios, each edition of this oatmeal has a different essence. All these flavored components are listed for you to choose from per your preferences.   

  • Toasted Coconut Cheerios – Natural Flavor (coconut)
  • Blueberry Cheerios – Oat Bran, Blueberry Puree Concentrate, and Vegetable and Fruit Juice Color
  • Maple Cheerios – Brown Sugar Syrup, Maple Syrup, and Oat Bran
  • Cheerios Oat Crunch – Honey, Corn Bran, Whole Grain Rice, Whole Grain Millet, Whole Grain Sorghum, Cinnamon, Baking Soda, and color (caramel color and annatto extract)
  • Peach Cheerios – Oat Bran, Peach Puree Concentrate, Natural Flavor, and Annatto Extract Color
  • Honey Nut Cheerios – Oat Bran, Honey, Brown Sugar Syrup, Rice Bran Oil, and Natural Almond Flavor
  • Multi-Grain Cheerios – Whole Grain Corn, Corn Bran, Whole Grain Rice, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Millet, and Brown Sugar Syrup
  • Apple Cinnamon Cheerios – Apple Puree Concentrate, Cinnamon, and Refiner’s Syrup
  • Chocolate Cheerios – Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Caramel Color, Unsweetened Chocolate, and Natural Flavor
  • Fruity Cheerios – Pear Puree Concentrate, Color (vegetable juice, fruit juice, and annatto extract), Natural Flavor, Sodium Citrate, and Citric Acid
  • Frosted Cheerios – Brown Sugar Syrup and Natural Flavor
  • Banana Nut Cheerios – Brown Sugar Syrup, Salt, Banana Puree, Baking Soda, Cinnamon, Natural Flavor, and Natural Pecan Flavor
  • Very Berry Cheerios – Oat Bran, Blueberry Powder, Cane Sugar, Strawberry Powder, Cranberry Powder, Raspberry Powder, Vegetable and Fruit Juice Color, and Natural Flavor
  • Pumpkin Spice Cheerios – Refiner’s Syrup, Cinnamon, Baking Soda, Nutmeg, Cloves, Annatto Extract Color, and Natural Flavor
  • Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch – Rice Flour, Almonds, Molasses, Wheat Flour, Whole Wheat Graham Flour, Baking Soda, Natural Flavor, Barley Malt Extract, Honey, Whole Grain Wheat, Brown Sugar Syrup, Honey, Oat Bran, Natural Almond Flavor, and Annatto Extract Color
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios – Peanut Butter, Dextrose, Cocoa Processed with Alkali, Caramel Color, and Natural Flavor
  • Cheerios Oat Crunch, Oats’ N Honey – Whole Grain Corn, Honey, Whole Grain Rice, Corn Bran, Whole Grain Sorghum, Whole Grain Millet, Baking Soda, Color (caramel color and annatto extract), and Natural Flavor
  • Cinnamon Cheerios – Brown Sugar Syrup, Cinnamon, Caramel Color, and Natural Flavor

Is Refined Sugar vegan?

Yes, refined sugar is vegan, but not all refined sugar is plant-based. Most producers use animal bone char to whiten the sugar and remove its impurities. 

The manufacturers use the animal’s spine or cow’s skull for processing the sugar. Therefore, refined sugars are generally not considered vegan.

Is Lanolin Vegan?

The lanolin derived from the animal’s skin or fish oil is not a vegan item. It is generally a byproduct of the meat industry. A waxy substance comes from the skin glands of wool-bearing animals processed to get lanolin, which is the largest source of Vitamin D3. 

However, if live and unharmed animals are used to produce lanolin, you can believe it to be suitable for vegans.

Is Vitamin D3 Vegan?

Till now, you must have understood that the wool grease of animals like sheep and yak yields vitamin D3. This substance is known as lanolin. So you can undoubtedly consider Vitamin D3 as a non-vegan foodstuff. 

Final Verdict

You cannot deny that Cheerios are the easiest to prepare and healthy breakfast options for hectic morning schedules. However, it is also the truth that these fantastic crispy little munchies are not the most suitable option for real vegans. 

Therefore, it becomes your responsibility to go through the detailed list of ingredients on the Cheerios label. It is the only way to select the best cereals that suits your diet plan. If you are a plant-based eater, you can try the multigrain or original Cheerios with some berries, and soy milk, as General Mills acknowledges them to be totally vegan.