Nutter Butters first hit store shelves in 1969, over fifty years ago. Since then, they’ve remained one of the most popular sweet snacks on store shelves.
They’re the ultimate snack for peanut butter lovers and combine the crunchy sweetness of a wafer with the salty nuttiness of real peanut butter.
The real question you’re probably wondering, though, is, “Are Nutter Butters vegan?”
Dietarily speaking, Nutter Butters is a vegan-friendly snack. They don’t contain any non-vegan ingredients, like butter, dairy, eggs, or gelatin. From an ethical vegan standpoint, though, Nutter Butters aren’t vegan, as they contain refined sugar and palm oil.
Today’s post is going to be all about Nutter Butters. Below, I’ll outline the key ingredients in Nutter Butters and discuss why ethical vegans may not be a fan of them, even though dietary vegans love them.
It’s time to get nutty.
Do Nutter Butters Have Dairy?
If you’ve ever tried a Nutter Butter before, you may remember that they have an incredibly creamy taste and texture. Most people automatically assume this comes from some type of dairy, milkfat, or butter.
Whey is often used in sweet treats like this to give the outer coating a smooth, soft texture. Unfortunately, whey is a milk protein that’s a by-product of cheese-making.
Luckily, this isn’t the case!
Nutter Butters are 100% dairy-free and don’t contain any milk, cream, butter, or milk by-products, such as whey or casein!
Are Nutter Butter Bites Vegan?
Nutter Butter Bites are small bite-sized cookies that are basically just miniature versions of the original Nutter Butters. They have the same exact ingredients as the original (and larger) Nutter Butters.
Nutter Butter Bites are dietarily vegan, as they don’t contain any immediate animal products or dairy. However, they do contain white sugar and palm oil, which ethical vegans avoid.
I suppose this is a good time to break down the difference between ethical and dietary vegans. If you haven’t already learned about the different types of vegans there are, then it’s a good place to start.
Dietary vegans are plant-based eaters who are committed to not eating meat or other animal products, such as milk, eggs, or cheese. Most dietary reasons choose the diet for their personal health, as they’re trying to avoid meat, which is known to be inflammatory.
That being said, dietary vegans aren’t as concerned about ethical issues.
Ethical vegans avoid meat and all animal products as a part of their everyday life. However, they also go one step further and avoid any and all products that harm the environment or are made using any type of animal labor or animal by-products.
This includes honey, which is obtained from exploited bees.
Are Nutter Butter Creme Patties Vegan?
Nutter Butter Creme Patties aren’t quite as common today as they used to be, but I still see them on store shelves periodically.
Basically, they’re a square-shaped Nutter Butter that’s completely covered in a thick sugary peanut butter sauce. They’re a huge favorite among hardcore peanut butter addicts!
Nutter Butter Creme Patties are considered vegan-friendly, as they don’t contain any animal by-products. Despite the name, they don’t contain any dairy or cream whatsoever!
That being said, they still contain palm oil and white sugar, which are problematic for ethical vegans.
Are Fudge-Covered Nutter Butters Vegan?
Last but not least, we have the Fudge-Covered Nutter Butters. These are similar to the Creme Patties, except they’re covered in chocolate fudge instead of peanut buttercream.
Unfortunately, Fudge-Covered Nutter Butters Are NOT vegan. The fudge mixture that coats the outside of the cookie contains non-fat milk, which is dairy and therefore not vegan.
That’s not bad, though. For the most part, Nutter Butters are all dietarily vegan, with the exception of Fudge-Covered Nutter Butters.
What Are The Ingredients In Nutter Butters?
Whenever I write these in-depth reviews of products, I always like to break down all of the specific ingredients in the product. I do this to encourage my readers to learn more about their food and the various ingredients used to make them.
The more you learn how to read ingredients labels, the easier your vegan journey will be for you. Soon, you’ll be able to identify common non-vegan or quasi-vegan ingredients just by glancing at the label for a few seconds!
So, here’s a full breakdown of all of the ingredients in the original Nutter Butters:
1) Unbleached Enriched Flour
The first ingredient is unbleached enriched wheat flour, which is used to make peanut-shaped cookie wafers. Wheat flour is 100% plant-based and is always vegan, as it’s just pure ground-up wheat powder. It’s used for vegan cookies, vegan bread, vegan cereal, and a lot more!
This flour is also unbleached, which means that it’s less processed than the flour that’s used to make white bread and other low-quality carbs.
Since this flour is enriched, it contains a number of added vitamins and minerals, such as iron, vitamins B1 and B2, as well as niacin. This helps make an otherwise unhealthy snack at least somewhat healthy.
Sugar is the first questionable vegan ingredient on this list.
Cane sugar, in its natural form, is always vegan and plant-based, as it comes from reduced sugarcane juice. The problems start once sugar refineries take the raw unrefined sugar and bleach it to remove the coloring.
To remove the brown coloring and make the pretty white crystals, the sugar must be filtered through animal bone char. This is a special type of charcoal that’s made from slaughterhouse animal bones.
The high carbon content in the bone char bleaches all color out of the sugar, leaving pure white crystals behind.
Unfortunately, this process directly supports the meat industry, making refined white sugar not-so-friendly, as far as ethical vegans are concerned. That’s why many vegans (myself included) try to consume products that contain pure cane sugar or organic sugar.
3) Peanut Butter
Nutty Butters use a special peanut butter filling that’s made from peanuts, corn syrup, vegetable oil, salt, and peanut oil.
Thanks to the added corn syrup, it’s a little bit sweeter than most of the peanut butter brands that you’ll find on store shelves. However, all of the ingredients used to make Nutty Butter peanut butter are 100% vegan and plant-based!
4) Canola Oil
Canola oil is a natural, plant-based, sustainably-sourced cooking oil. It’s made by pressing the natural plant oils out of canola flower seeds. In Nutter Butters, canola oil is added to the wafer dough to thicken it and give it a softer texture.
5) Whole Grain Wheat Flour
In addition to unbleached enriched flour, Nutter Butters also use a bit of whole-grain wheat flour. This makes for a more flavorful, natural-tasting wafer.
It also gives the wafer a slightly darker brown appearance, which complements the brown colors in the peanut butter and makes the treat blend well together.
6) High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup is also added to the wafers to make them sweeter and more addictive. Although high fructose corn syrup is far from healthy, it is plant-based and vegan, as it doesn’t involve the use of any animal by-products or animal labor.
7) Palm Oil
Palm oil is the second questionable ingredient you’ll find in Nutty Butters. Although palm oil is a natural plant-based oil (it comes from the African Palm Tree), the industry behind this popular food product is far from harmless.
Most of the world’s palm oil is obtained from South American and Indonesian rainforests, which are vital for our planet’s ecosystem and help filter out the greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere.
Sadly, most commercial palm oil farms don’t have sustainability in mind. Every year, they burn down thousands of acres of rainforest to make room for new palm crops to fuel the ever-increasing demand for cheap, low-cost palm oil.
This puts animals and indigenous tribes in danger and has even driven some animals to extinction!
In fact, the palm oil industry is responsible for killing up to 5,000 orangutans every single year.
Next, we have salt. The saltiness adds a nice flavor kick to the wafers and helps balance out the sweetness from the syrupy peanut butter filling.
Leavening agents like baking soda are typically used in all types of crackers. It keeps the wheat dough from rising and keeps it flat and in cracker form.
10) Soy Lecithin
Soy lecithin is a natural soy-derived oil that’s used as a natural preservative and emulsifier. It raises the pH of the food, preventing bacteria from spoiling the food. It also holds the peanut butter together and prevents it from melting as easily.
Cornstarch also acts as an emulsifier. It removes unwanted moisture and keeps the outside of the wafers dry and powdery. It also prevents the Nutter Butters from melting together.
12) Artificial Flavoring
Last but not least, Nutter Butters contain some artificial flavors, which are vegan-friendly as they don’t come from any natural animal sources.
Are Nutter Butters A Healthy Snack?
Nutter Butters may be dietarily vegan, but they’re not exactly what I’d call a “healthy” snack. Just two cookies contain 180 calories, 9 grams of fat, and 14 grams of sugar. Granted, some of the fat comes from healthy peanut butter, but it’s still a lot of fat and sugar to consume together.
In moderation, they’re healthier than other cookies made from pure sugar, but don’t go overboard on them!
The Verdict – Are Nutter Butters Vegan-Friendly?
If you’re a dietary vegan, then yes – Nutter Butters are vegan-friendly. However, if you’re an ethical vegan who avoids white sugar and palm oil products, then you may want to find a vegan-friendly alternative that’s made with more sustainable ingredients.
If you’re looking for the perfect healthy, sweet treat, be sure to check out my list of the best vegan cookie brands next!