Are Doritos Vegan? (Complete List of Vegan Doritos Flavors)


Are doritos vegan?

Doritos is a popular brand of flavored tortilla chips produced back in 1964 by Frito-Lay, a subsidiary of PepsiCo.1,2 They constitute a classic variety of chips so I’d imagine most vegans grew up eating them and want to know if they can continue to do so.

Is it vegan? Doritos are not typically vegan. The classic flavor most synonymous with the name Doritos is cheese and uses a number of milk products. However, there are a few flavors that vegans can consume as well as a few alternatives that are suitable for vegans.

Actually, the original Doritos were not even flavored, and for a short time, were considered vegan.3 But, that version was basically a plain tortilla chip, and not what most folks think of when they here the name Doritos.

Vegan Doritos Flavors

You’ll no doubt notice that this section is much shorter than the list of non-vegan flavors.

Nowadays, vegan varieties of the chips are hard to come by. Like most highly processed snacks, Doritos contain a ton of ingredients which always ups the chance that there will be animal-derived additives in the mix, even if the flavor could be achieved with plant-based alternatives.

For example, I just wrote an article on Pringles and it was shocking to see just how few flavors qualified as vegan. Even the salt and vinegar turned out the have animal ingredients.

Doritos has so many ingredients that in 1996, The Onion, a satirical website/newspaper, put out an article with the headline “Doritos Celebrates One-Millionth Ingredient”, trolling Frito-Lay for the crazy number of ingredients used in Doritos.4

DORITOS® BLAZE™ Flavored Tortilla Chips

These are surprisingly vegan and contain:5

  • Corn
  • Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn, and/or Canola Oil)
  • Maltodextrin (Made From Corn)
  • Natural and Artificial Flavors
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Spices
  • Garlic Powder
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  • Onion Powder
  • Tomato Powder
  • Jalapeño Pepper Powder
  • Artificial Color (Red 40 Lake)
  • Modified Corn Starch
A Note on Red 40

This stuff is fine for vegans. Red 40 aka Allura red is a petroleum-derived food coloring agent that can also be obtained from strawberries.6 So, it’s 100% vegan.

I’m mentioning it here because there’s also a popular food colorant called Red 4 or carmine that’s produced from beetles.7

Because they impart the same color and share similar nomenclature, they often get confused with each other.

Some folks like to avoid food colorings because they tend to be tested on animals (for carcinogenicity, etc.), but the vegan community at large doesn’t consider non-animal derived food coloring agents to be unsuitable for vegan consumption.

DORITOS® Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Tortilla Chips

Another vegan variety.

These contain:8

  • Corn
  • Vegetable Oil (Corn, Canola, and/or Sunflower Oil)
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • MSG
  • Fructose
  • Sodium Diacetate
  • Soy Sauce (Soybean, Wheat, Salt)
  • Onion Powder
  • Maltodextrin (Made from Corn)
  • Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Corn Protein
  • Garlic Powder
  • Torula Yeast
  • Malic Acid
  • Extractives of Paprika
  • Spices
  • Caramel Color
  • Disodium Inosinate
  • Disodium Guanylate
  • Dextrose
  • Natural Flavor
A Note on Caramel Color

Caramel is a popular candy that’s known to be non-vegan-friendly.

Then there’s caramel color, a popular food coloring agent used to help food products achieve the desired darker color characteristic of certain flavors.

A lot of folks encounter the ingredient on product labels and want to know if it’s vegan.

This is a good question as it’s not immediately obvious that caramel color wouldn’t be obtained directly from caramel candy.

Fortunately, caramel color is, in fact, 100% vegan because it isn’t derived from caramel itself.

While it is produced in a manner similar to caramel—i.e. via a browning reaction using simple sugars—the sugars used to produce the additive tend to be simple sugars other than lactose.

Specifically, caramel color is produced by heating up simple carbs (often in the presence of acids, alkalis, or salts) using:9

  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Sucrose
  • Invert sugar
  • Molasses
  • Malt syrup
  • Starch hydrolysates

Thus, caramel color is perfectly suitable for vegans.

Are DORITOS DINAMITA Chile Limón Flavored Rolled Tortilla Chips Vegan?

These are rolled tortilla chips. I get asked quite a bit if they’re vegan, likely because they resemble Takis which are known to be vegan.

Unfortunately, no Doritos Dinamita are not vegan.

These contain the following ingredients:10

  • Corn
  • Vegetable Oil (Corn, Sunflower, and/or Canola Oil)
  • Maltodextrin (Made From Corn)
  • Salt
  • Citric Acid
  • Sugar
  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Artificial Color (Red 40 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake)
  • Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten
  • Yeast Extract
  • Sodium Diacetate
  • Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Modified Corn Starch
  • Natural Flavor (Including Natural Extractives of Lime and Natural Extractives of Red Pepper)
  • Onion Powder
  • Whey
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Garlic Powder
  • Romano Cheese (Part-Skim Cow’s Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Buttermilk
  • Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Disodium Inosinate
  • Disodium Guanylate
Vegan Alternative: Takis Fuego

These are just as good, if not better than Doritos Dinamita because they’re made by Takis and rolled tortilla chips are kind of their thing.

These contain:11

  • Corn Masa Flour (Processed with Lime)
  • Soybean and/or Palm and/or Canola Oil
  • Iodized Salt
  • Sugar
  • Natural and Artificial Flavor
  • Citric Acid
  • Soy Protein
  • Yeast
  • MSG
  • Maltodextrin
  • Sodium Diacetate
  • Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
  • Artificial Colors (Red 40 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake)
  • Onion Powder
  • Hot Chili Pepper (Chile)
  • Sodium Bicarbonate
  • Sodium Guanylate
  • Sodium Inosinate
  • Silicon Dioxide (Anticaking)
  • Antioxidant (BHT, TBHQ, Propylene Glycol BHA)
A Note on Palm Oil

Palm oil is a rather controversial ingredient in the vegan community due to its effects on the environment.12,13

The environmental concerns surrounding palm oil include:

  • Deforestation and habitat loss, which is thought to threaten critically endangered species like the orangutan and Sumatran tiger.14-17
  • Increased greenhouse gas emissions.13,18-20 The clearing of vast swaths of land needed to cultivate palm oil contributes directly to rising greenhouse-gas emissions.18,21

However, the presence of palm oil doesn’t make a food product non-vegan by most standards. But, many vegans do want to avoid consuming the stuff, so if you’re a particularly prudent vegan this is just something to keep in mind.

Non-Vegan Doritos Flavors

DORITOS® COLLISIONS: BLAZE and Ultimate Cheddar

Don’t be fooled by the “Doritos Blaze” on the label. This product comes with half Blaze and half Ultimate Cheddar rendering the product non-vegan.

Specifically, the Doritos Ultimate Cheddar flavor contains the usual corn tortilla ingredients plus:22

  • Whey
  • Milk
  • Cheese Cultures
  • Enzymes
  • Cultured Cream
  • Skim Milk
  • Cream
  • Monterey Jack Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Butter (Cream, Salt)
  • Swiss Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)

DORITOS® Nacho Cheese Flavored Tortilla Chips

This one is obvious.

This flavor contains the following animal-derived ingredients:23

  • Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Whey
  • Buttermilk
  • Romano Cheese (Part-skim Cow’s Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Lactose
  • Skim Milk

DORITOS® COOL RANCH® Flavored Tortilla Chips

These contain the following non-vegan ingredients:24

  • Lactose
  • Whey
  • Skim Milk
  • Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Buttermilk
  • Sodium Caseinate

Doritos Poppin’ Jalapeno® Flavored Tortilla Chips

This one wasn’t immediately obvious to me, but unfortunately, they contain the following animal-derived ingredients:25

  • Whey
  • Buttermilk
  • Romano Cheese (Cow’s Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Lactose
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Skim Milk

DORITOS® DINAMITA® Chile Limón Flavored Rolled Tortilla Chips

These were mentioned above.

Again, they contain:10

  • Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Whey
  • Romano Cheese (Part-Skim Cow’s Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Buttermilk
  • Whey Protein Concentrate

DORITOS® Spicy Nacho Flavored Tortilla Chips

Often times spicy flavors can get by without animal-derived ingredients, but that’s not the case with this flavor.

These contain:26

  • Whey
  • Buttermilk
  • Romano Cheese (Cow’s Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Lactose
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Skim Milk

DORITOS® Flamin Hot® Nacho Flavored Tortilla Chips

Another spicy flavor lost to non-vegan ingredients.

These include:27

  • Whey
  • Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Buttermilk
  • Romano Cheese (Cow’s Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Lactose
  • Sodium Caseinate
  • Skim Milk
  • Milk Protein Concentrate

DORITOS® FLAMAS® Flavored Tortilla Chips

These include:28

  • Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes),
  • Whey
  • Part-Skim Cow’s Milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Whey Protein Concentrate

DORITOS® Taco Flavored Tortilla Chips

This one had a chance of being vegan because meat flavor can be achieved with MSG and other vegan-friendly additives. Unfortunately, these turned out to have a number of non-vegan ingredients.

These contain:29

  • Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Whey
  • Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Buttermilk
  • Sour Cream (Cultured Cream, Skim Milk)
  • Butter (Cream, Salt)
  • Blue Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)

DORITOS® TAPATIO® Flavored Tortilla Chips

These include:30

  • Cheddar Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Whey
  • Buttermilk
  • Romano Cheese (Part Skim Cow’s Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes)
  • Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Skim Milk

DORITOS® Salsa Verde Flavored Tortilla Chips

Another almost vegan flavor. These are among the closest to being vegan-friendly, but they had to throw in natural chicken flavor. Again, this need not be the case. There is a chicken-flavored Pringles flavor that’s completely vegan-friendly.

Anyway, these contain “Natural and Artificial Flavors (Including Natural Chicken Flavor).”31

That wraps it up for Doritos. Thanks for reading.

You may also want to check out the following articles:

References

  1. T. Rees Shapiro (September 26, 2011). “Arch West, 97, invented Doritos for Frito-Lay”. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/arch-west-97-invented-doritos-for-frito-lay/2011/09/26/gIQAfYpE0K_story.html?noredirect=on
  2. “PepsiCo’s History Timeline”. Archived from the original on July 4, 2007.
  3. Doritos. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doritos
  4. “Doritos Celebrates One-Millionth Ingredient”. The Onion. May 14, 1996. https://www.theonion.com/doritos-celebrates-one-millionth-ingredient-1819563896
  5. Doritos® Blaze™ Flavored Tortilla Chips | Doritos. https://www.doritos.com/products/doritos-blaze-flavored-tortilla-chips
  6. Potera, C., 2010. Diet and nutrition: the artificial food dye blues. Environ Health Perspect. 118 (10), A428–A431.
  7. Bug-Based Food Dye Should Be Exterminated, Says CSPI. https://cspinet.org/news/bug-based-food-dye-should-be-exterminated-says-cspi-20060501
  8. Doritos® Spicy Sweet Chili Flavored Tortilla Chips | Doritos. https://www.doritos.com/products/doritos-spicy-sweet-chili-flavored-tortilla-chips
  9. Caramel Color. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caramel_color#Production
  10. Doritos® Dinamita® Chile Limón Flavored Rolled Tortilla Chips | Doritos. https://www.doritos.com/products/doritos-dinamita-chile-lim-n-flavored-rolled-tortilla-chips
  11. Takis Fuego® Tortilla Chips. Admin – https://barcel-usa.com/takis/fuego-tortilla-chips
  12. Clay, Jason (2004). World Agriculture and the Environment. p. 219. ISBN 978-1-55963-370-3.
  13. “Palm oil: Cooking the Climate”. Greenpeace. 8 November 2007. Archived from the original on 10 April 2010. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  14. “The bird communities of oil palm and rubber plantations in Thailand” (PDF). The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  15. “Palm oil threatening endangered species” (PDF). Center for Science in the Public Interest. May 2005. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 September 2012.
  16. Shears, Richard (30 March 2012). “Hundreds of orangutans killed in north Indonesian forest fires deliberately started by palm oil firms”. Daily Mail. London. Archived from the original on 20 April 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2012.
  17. “Camera catches bulldozer destroying Sumatra tiger forest”. World Wildlife Fund. 12 October 2010. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  18. Foster, Joanna M. (1 May 2012). “A Grim Portrait of Palm Oil Emissions”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  19. Yui, Sahoko; Yeh, Sonia (1 December 2013). “Land use change emissions from oil palm expansion in Pará, Brazil depend on proper policy enforcement on deforested lands”. Environmental Research Letters. 8 (4): 044031. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/4/044031. ISSN 1748-9326.
  20.  “Researchers warn against high emissions from oil palm expansion in Brazil”. phys.org. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 10 April 2019.
  21. Rosenthal, Elisabeth (31 January 2007). “Once a Dream Fuel, Palm Oil May Be an Eco-Nightmare”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  22. Doritos® Collisions™ Blaze® and Ultimate Cheddar | Doritos https://www.doritos.com/products/doritos-collisions-blaze-and-ultimate-cheddar
  23. Doritos® Nacho Cheese Flavored Tortilla Chips | Doritos. https://www.doritos.com/products/doritos-nacho-cheese-flavored-tortilla-chips
  24. Doritos® Cool Ranch® Flavored Tortilla Chips | Doritos. https://www.doritos.com/products/doritos-cool-ranch-flavored-tortilla-chips
  25. Doritos Poppin’ Jalapeno® Flavored Tortilla Chips | Doritos. https://www.doritos.com/products/doritos-poppin-jalapeno-flavored-tortilla-chips
  26. Doritos® Spicy Nacho Flavored Tortilla Chips | Doritos. https://www.doritos.com/products/doritos-spicy-nacho-flavored-tortilla-chips
  27. Doritos® Flamin Hot® Nacho Flavored Tortilla Chips | Doritos. https://www.doritos.com/products/doritos-flamin-hot-nacho#
  28. Doritos® Flamas® Flavored Tortilla Chips | Doritos. https://www.doritos.com/products/doritos-flamas-flavored-tortilla-chips
  29. Doritos® Taco Flavored Tortilla Chips | Doritos. https://www.doritos.com/products/doritos-taco-flavored-tortilla-chips
  30. Doritos® Tapatio® Flavored Tortilla Chips | Doritos. https://www.doritos.com/products/doritos-tapatio-flavored-tortilla-chips#
  31. Doritos® Salsa Verde Flavored Tortilla Chips | Doritos. https://www.doritos.com/products/doritos-salsa-verde-flavored-tortilla-chips

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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