Is Horseradish Vegan? (List of Vegan Variations)


Is horseradish vegan? Is cocktail sauce vegan?

Horseradish is a perennial plant in the same family (Brassicaceae) as mustard, broccoli, and cabbage. It’s a root vegetable that’s used as a spice and is popular in condiments. Because it’s used in many dishes and sauces folks often want to know if it’s vegan.

Is horseradish vegan? Horseradish itself is a root and is thus vegan. Horseradish sauce, on the other hand, can contain animal ingredients—namely, egg products.

List of Non-Vegan Horseradish Condiments and Sauces

Traditional Horseradish Sauce (US)

In the US the term “horseradish sauce” typically refers to a mixture of egg, mayonnaise or an equivalently non-vegan salad dressing with horseradish.1

For example, Zatarain’s Prepared Horseradish contains:2

  • Horseradish
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Soybean oil
  • Salt
  • Artificial flavor
  • Egg
  • Sugar
  • Sodium metabisulfite & sodium benzoate (preservatives)
  • Cellulose gum
  • Xanthan gum
  • Citric acid
  • Spices
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Lemon juice concentrate
  • Calcium disodium EDTA (for freshness)

Inglehoffer Cream Style Horseradish contains:3

  • Grated horseradish root
  • Water
  • Soybean oil
  • White distilled vinegar
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Modified corn starch
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice
  • Xanthan gum
  • Sodium metabisulfite and sodium benzoate
  • Artificial flavor
  • Citric acid
  • Calcium disodium EDTA
  • Paprika

Surprisingly, this one doesn’t contain any actual cream (milk) products. But, it does contain egg, so it’s off-limits for vegans.

List of Vegan Horseradish Condiments and Sauces

Pure Horseradish Sauce (Of Course)

For example, Yoders Pure Horseradish Sauce contains:4

  • Horseradish root
  • Vinegar
  • Salt

That’s about as plain as you’re going to get. In the US, most seafood joints serve this form in small cups with ketchup to mix your own cocktail sauce.

Horseradish w/Additional Ingredients

For example, though it appears as a creamy horseradish sauce, Agrosik Agrosik Horseradish simply contains:5

  • Horseradish
  • Sugar
  • Vinegar
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Salt
  • Citric Acid
  • Antioxidant (Ascorbyl Acid)

Horseradish Mustard

This stuff tends to be vegan even in the US.

For example, French’s Dijon Mustard includes:6

  • Distilled Vinegar
  • Water
  • #1 Grade Mustard Seed
  • Salt
  • Chardonnay Wine
  • Citric Acid
  • Tartaric Acid
  • Spices and Turmeric

This was a surprise. It has a creamy character to it, so I fully expected it to be egg or cream based.

Annie’s Organic, Gluten Free Horseradish Mustard contains:7

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Water
  • Mustard Seed
  • Sea Salt
  • Horseradish Root
  • Garlic
  • Natural Horseradish Flavor
  • Clove

Cocktail Sauce

Cocktail sauce is a type of cold or room temp sauce typically served with seafood cocktail or as a condiment with other types of seafood.8

Is it vegan? Yes, cocktail sauce is typically vegan. In the US, it generally consists of horseradish root, ketchup or chili sauce. It can contain Worcestershire as an additive, but it’s fairly uncommon.9

For example, Kraft Cocktail Sauce contains:10

  • Water
  • Tomato Paste
  • Vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Horseradish
  • Salt
  • Modified Food Starch
  • Soybean Oil
  • Lemon Juice
  • Sorbic Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • Natural Flavor
  • Artificial Flavor
  • Red 40
  • Yellow 6
  • Soy Lecithin

Lactic acid could be a problem for some vegans, but foods containing LA aren’t typically considered non-vegan by most standards unless one has reason to believe that it was derived from animal sources. More on this below.

Anchovy Caution

Some cocktail sauces contain anchovies or anchovy paste. This is obviously not a vegan ingredient.

For example, Louisiana Fish Fry Louisiana Cocktail Sauce contains:11

  • Water
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Distilled Vinegar
  • Tomato Paste
  • Horseradish (Horseradish Root, Vinegar, Salt)
  • Salt
  • Modified Food Starch
  • Soybean Oil
  • Lemon Juice Concentrate
  • Molasses
  • Anchovy Paste (Dried Anchovies, Salt)
  • Dried Garlic
  • Propylene Glycol Alginate
  • Sodium Benzoate

But, I list cocktail sauce under the vegan horseradish preparations because anchovy paste isn’t a standard ingredient.

Worcestershire Caution

I mentioned above that Worcestershire, a sauce made with fish juice, can also be found as a fringe ingredient in cocktail sauce.

For example, Crosse and Blackwell Seafood Sauce contains:12

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Tomato paste
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Horseradish
  • Salt
  • Corn starch
  • Worcestershire sauce (distilled vinegar, molasses, water, sugar, onions, anchovies, garlic, cloves, tamarind extract, natural flavorings, chili pepper extract)
  • Lactic acid
  • Onion
  • Spices
  • Garlic

Again, it’s not too common, but something to look out for.

Tafelmeerrettich (German Horseradish Sauce)

This is a German sauce and the name means “plate of horseradish.”

It’s a variation of a common horseradish sauce, that contains vinegar, lemon juice, or citric acid.1

Tewkesbury Mustard (Hot Mustard)

Tewkesbury mustard is a blend of grated horseradish root and mustard flour. It’s been around for centuries and is still found for sale.

Ingredients for Waitrose include:13

  • Water
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Spirit Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Preservative Sodium Metabisulphite
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Grated Horseradish
  • Mustard Bran
  • Spirit Vinegar
  • Water
  • Dried Horseradish.

Potentially Problematic Ingredients in Horseradish Preparations

These ingredients don’t necessarily render a food product non-vegan, but they are problematic for the most prudent of plant-based eaters so we’ll cover them here.

Xanthan Gum

You’ll find LA in faux creamy horseradish sauces as well as in some cocktail sauces.

Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide with a range of uses in food production, mostly as a thickener and stabilizer, a lot like guar gum. I wrote an article on guar gum and its vegan-friendliness you can check out here.*

It makes for a good a stabilizer because it keeps ingredients nice and mixed by preventing them from separating. It’s made by bacterial fermentation via Xanthomonas campestris.

Whether it’s completely vegan-friendly or not depends on how the bacteria are cultivated to produce the product. It’s often grown on glucose and sucrose.14

However, there is a certain subtype of the bacteria that can be grown on lactose—the simple sugar found in milk. When this is the case, the bacteria is processed with whey protein, a milk waste product during cheese production.15

It can be a grey area for some vegans, but food products containing xanthan gum are still largely considered vegan by most in the community.

If you’re a particularly prudent vegan, this is just something to keep in mind.

Lactic Acid

This one was mentioned above as an ingredient in one of the cocktail sauces listed.  

Like xanthan gum, it’s kind of a grey area for many. I’d image largely because it’s mentioned in PETA’s animal-derived ingredients list.16

LA is an organic acid found in animals (milk, blood, and muscle) so it can be derived from non-vegan sources.

Industrially, it tends to be produced by chemical synthesis from precursors in crude oil and coal or by bacterial fermentaiton.17

With the latter, lactic acid bacteria convert simple carbs like glucose, sucrose, and galactose to LA.

As for how vegan-friendly it is, it basically comes down to how galactose (if used) is sourced. Galactose can be found in animal products, but also in certain vegetables like beets.18

Again, if LA is mentioned in the ingredients, that doesn’t mean the product is generally considered unsuitable for vegans.

I’m listing it here in case you want to be extra safe in avoiding ingredients that could potentially be traced back to an animal origin.

That’s it for horseraddish.

You may also want to check out the following articles:

Thanks for reading.

References

  1. Horseradish. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horseradish#Horseradish_sauce
  2. Zatarain’s® Prepared Horseradish. https://www.mccormick.com/zatarains/products/condiments-and-sauces/prepared-horseradish/prepared-horseradish
  3. Inglehoffer Cream Style Horseradish, 9.5 Oz. Joan L-Colleen L- Ravenwoman- Ravenwoman – https://www.walmart.com/ip/Inglehoffer-Cream-Style-Horseradish-9-5-oz/10535273
  4. Horseradish Pure (Yoders) 8 oz (226g). https://www.walmart.com/ip/Horseradish-Pure-Yoders-8-oz-226g/256312363
  5. Agrosik Agrosik Horseradish. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Agrosik-Agrosik-Horseradish-6-3-oz/157910203
  6. French’s Dijon Mustard with Chardonnay Wine. https://www.mccormick.com/frenchs/products/mustard/dijon-mustard
  7. Annie’s Organic, Gluten Free Horseradish Mustard, 9 Oz. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Annie-s-Organic-Gluten-Free-Horseradish-Mustard-9-oz/10791113
  8. Professional Cooking, College Version – Wayne Gisslen – Google Books.
  9. Frank Stitt’s Southern Table – Frank Stitt, Christopher Hirsheimer – Google Books
  10. Kraft Cocktail Sauce, 12 Fl Oz Bottle Linda- Nngg – https://www.walmart.com/ip/Kraft-Cocktail-Sauce-12-fl-oz-Bottle/15556024
  11. Louisiana Fish Fry Louisiana Cocktail Sauce. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Louisiana-Fish-Fry-Louisiana-Cocktail-Sauce-12-oz/10535328
  12. Crosse and Blackwell Seafood Sauce. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Crosse-Blackwell-Seafood-Cocktail-Sauce-12-Oz/19759570
  13. Gold Mustard Balls Genuine Tewkesbury Mustard Gold Award Winning. Peter – http://www.tewkesburymustard.co.uk/product/gold-mustard-balls-genuine-tewkesbury-mustard-gold-award-winning/
  14. EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources (14 July 2017). “Re‐evaluation of xanthan gum (E 415) as a food additive”. EFSA Journal. European Food Safety Authority. 15 (2): e04909. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2017.4909.
  15. Tortora, G.J., Funke, B.R., & Case, C.L. (2010). Microbiology: An Introduction, 10th edition. San Francisco: Benjamin Cummings. Pg. 801.
  16. Animal-derived Ingredients Resource | Living. https://www.peta.org/living/food/animal-ingredients-list/
  17. H. Benninga (1990): “A History of Lactic Acid Making: A Chapter in the History of Biotechnology”. Volume 11 of Chemists and Chemistry. Springer, ISBN 0792306252, 9780792306252
  18. Galactose. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galactose#Sources

Drew Davis

Hi! I'm Drew and this is the place where I nerd out about vegan and plant-based diets. I have a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Alabama and have taken dozens of classes in areas like organic and biochemistry, food science, medical nutrition therapy, nutritional genomics, and vegetarian diets. I'm still learning every day, and on this blog, I'll be sharing everything I discover about vegan diets as I go.

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