Are Krispy Kreme Donuts Vegan? A Brief Breakdown Of The Ingredients (2024) 

Krispy Kreme Donuts is one of the most iconic donut brands in the world. They’re the biggest competitor to Dunkin Donuts and are known for their famous hot glazed donuts that generate mile-long lines down the road when they’re served hot and fresh. 

Are Krispy Kreme Donuts Vegan, though? 

Unfortunately, Krispy Kreme Donuts are not vegan. Like most traditional donut recipes, Krispy Kreme uses milk, eggs, sugar, and palm oil in all of its donuts. Additionally, many of the toppings and fillings also contain animal by-products, making them all the more non-vegan. 

Although vegan donuts do exist (check out the vegan donuts I ate during my last trip to NYC), they aren’t the norm. Since donuts were first invented, they’ve almost always been made with a dough that included milk, eggs, and refined white sugar. 

In today’s post, I’ll break down all of the main ingredients in Krispy Kreme’s basic donut recipe and explain exactly why Krispy Kreme Donuts isn’t a vegan-friendly establishment. 

Are Krispy Kreme Original Donuts Vegan? 

Are Krispy Kreme Original Donuts Vegan

I know what you’re probably thinking… “What about Krispy Kreme’s plain cake donuts? You know, the ones that don’t have any glaze or creamy filling…” 

Unfortunately, none of Krispy Kreme’s donuts are vegan-friendly. This includes their original unflavored donuts that are just made using fried donut dough.

Although they don’t contain any of the sugar and dairy-heavy glazes and fillings as Krispy Kreme’s other donut flavors, the base dough used to make Krispy Kreme Donuts contains animal by-products. 

Why Krispy Kreme Donuts Aren’t Vegan

Why Krispy Kreme Donuts Aren’t Vegan

Here’s a quick breakdown of the primary culprits that make Krispy Kreme’s delicious donuts not so vegan-friendly: 

Non-Vegan Ingredients In Krispy Kreme DonutsWhy It’s Not Vegan
Palm OilPalm oil is the primary oil used to fry Krispy Kreme donuts. Most vegans consider palm oil to be a non-vegan ingredient, as the industry behind palm oil production is incredibly destructive to the environment
Refined SugarWhile unrefined cane sugar is 100% vegan, refined white sugar is not vegan. Unfortunately, the cheaper white sugar is what’s used by most fast-food restaurants, including Krispy Kreme.  To turn raw brown sugar into white crystals, it must first be filtered through animal bone char. This obviously supports the meat industry, so most ethical vegans stay away from white sugar. Egg yolks have traditionally been used for donut dough since the food was first created. The egg provides a slightly thicker consistency that gives donuts a different flavor and texture when compared to most bread. 
Milk PowderAlthough milk powder isn’t used in the dough itself, almost all of Krispy Kreme’s donuts are coated with a thin layer of milk powder to give them a softer texture and consistency. 

That being said, you can always make your own vegan donuts at home! Check out this simple recipe:

Does Krispy Kreme Have Vegan Donuts? 

Vegan donut shops are popping up in big cities all over the US, so you’d expect Krispy Kreme to offer at least a few vegan-friendly varieties, right? 

As it turns out, they do! Just not in the US… 

Recently, Krispy Kreme Donuts in the UK released their first line of vegan donuts that are made without any dairy, eggs, refined sugar, or palm oil. Sadly, since the US has a lower per-capita percentage of vegans, they have yet to offer any vegan-friendly donut flavors. 

Hopefully, we’ll see some in the near future, though! 

Are Glazed Donuts Vegan? 

Are Glazed Donuts Vegan

No matter where you go, glazed donuts are almost never vegan. There are a few specialized vegan bakeries that offer vegan glazed donuts. However, most mainstream donut shops use white sugar and milk powder in their glaze mixes. 

Additionally, many shops often use shellac, which is a shiny additive derived from crushed beetles. This additive is used to give the glazed donuts a reflective sheen and is also added to many brands of cosmetics as well. 

Krispy Kreme Donuts: The Basic Recipe

Krispy Kreme Donuts_ The Basic Recipe

Now that you know a little bit more about why most donuts aren’t vegan, here’s a quick breakdown of the main ingredients that Krispy Kreme uses in their donut dough recipe. Of course, depending on the flavor you get, you’ll probably run into a lot more animal by-products. 

This is just to show you that even Krispy Kreme’s most basic, least sweet donut is non-vegan. Here’s the official list of ingredients used in their original cake donuts:

donut ingredients

Now, let me take a minute to break down the important ingredients. 

1) Enriched Wheat Flour

Enriched Wheat Flour

Wheat flour is the main base for the donut dough and is 100% vegan-safe. It’s just ground-up wheat with added vitamins and minerals. 

2) Vegetable Oil

Vegetable Oil

Krispy Kreme donuts are fried in a blend of soybean oil and palm oil. These inevitably soak into the donut and are what make the fried treats so filling. While soybean oil is vegan-friendly, palm oil is not, as it’s unsustainable for the environment. 

3) Sugar


Krispy Kreme uses refined white sugar in all of its donut dough. Unfortunately, since white sugar is filtered through bone char, the process turns the otherwise vegan sweetener non-vegan. 

4) Dried Milk Powder

Dried Milk Powder

Dried milk powder is added to the outside of the donuts to give them a better taste, flavor, and consistency when you take a bite of them. Unfortunately, this directly supports the cruel dairy industry. 

5) Eggs & Egg Yolks

Eggs & Egg Yolks

Whole eggs and egg yolks are used in the base of all donut dough made by Krispy Kreme. Eggs are, by definition, non-vegan as they’re an immediate animal by-product

What Kind Of Donuts Are Vegan? 

What Kind Of Donuts Are Vegan

Vegan donuts are a delicious, animal-friendly alternative to traditional donuts that contain dairy and egg. You just have to do a bit of research and find donut shops that offer vegan donuts. 

Overall, they taste almost the exact same! They just use vegan egg substitutes, plant-based milk, and raw cane sugar instead of dairy, eggs, and refined sugar. 

The Verdict – Can Vegans Eat Krispy Kreme Donuts? 

The Verdict - Can Vegans Eat Krispy Kreme Donuts_ 

If you’re in the US, you won’t be able to enjoy any of Krispy Kreme’s famous donuts. However, if you live in the UK, you can trust that every Krispy Kreme location offers at least a few delicious vegan flavors. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of other delicious vegan treats out there. If you’re a vegan with a sweet tooth, then you’ll love the delicious vegan-friendly options at Rita’s Italian Ice

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Author Bio
Im Emma and I’m the creator of Vegan Calm. When I became a vegan seven years ago, I mainly did it for health and ethical reasons. To my surprise, it had another amazing benefit; I became a much calmer and peaceful person. This change inspired me to create Vegan Calm. Whether you’ve been a vegan for a long time or just want to learn more, this website will have something for you!

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