Helping everyone realize their baking dreams, Pillsbury is a household name. If you’re a quintessential American, you must have childhood holiday memories of rolling Pillsbury crescent rolls with your mom or grandmother.
But now that you’ve turned vegan, you can’t relive those memories without asking: Are Pillsbury crescent rolls vegan?
Pillsbury Original and Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls and Original Crescent Rounds are confirmed vegan. The brand’s Original Crescent Dough Sheet also appears to be vegan-friendly, and so do its most other crescent roll products.
However, some may contain a few ingredients that have a controversial status in the vegan community, and hence, some vegans may choose to avoid them.
Let’s talk about it in detail to give you a clear idea about the vegan-friendliness of Pillsbury’s crescent roll varieties.
Do Pillsbury Crescent Rolls Have Dairy?
As hard as it may be to believe it, none of Pillsbury’s crescent rolls contain dairy. They have no milk or butter. Even buttery crescent rolls are made without butter. Can’t believe it? Take a look yourself…
Pillsbury Butter Flake Crescent Rolls ingredients include:
See? There’s no butter; rather, it has vegetable shortening. In case you’re wondering why that is so, it’s because butter has a shorter shelf life, and Pillsbury crescent rolls are meant to have high shelf stability.
Do Pillsbury Crescent Rolls Have Eggs?
No. None of the Pillsbury crescent roll varieties contain eggs, so you have one less thing to worry about.
What Are Pillsbury Crescent Rolls Made Of?
Pillsbury crescent rolls come in several different varieties, and while they may have some unique ingredients, their basic elements are the same. Let’s take a quick look at Pillsbury crescent rolls’ ingredients to get a clear idea of their vegan status.
The basic ingredients Pillsbury crescent rolls are made of include:
· Enriched Flour-Bleached
The bleaching agents used in the flour industry, as well as the nutrients added to enriched flour, are all vegan-friendly.
Some of the commonly used flour bleaching agents are organic peroxides (calcium peroxide, benzoyl peroxide), chlorine, chlorine dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Out of these, benzoyl peroxide is most commonly used in the US.
Is it the best choice health-wise? That’s a whole different discussion. But it’s not non-vegan.
The nutrients Pillsbury uses to enrich their wheat flour include niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid, ferrous sulfate, and mononitrate.
· Vegetable Shortening
Made with hydrogenated vegetable oils, vegetable shortening is a type of fat widely used in baking. Shortening gives baked goods a soft, crumbly, and flaky texture.
Vegetable shortening is free of animal ingredients, but some vegans may still avoid some types of it, the ones made with palm oil, due to ethical reasons.
If you belong to that group of vegans, you may want to skip Pillsbury’s crescent rolls altogether because the vegetable shortening they use contains palm oil.
The vegetable shortening used in Pillsbury’s crescent rolls is made with:
- Soybean oil
- Palm oil; regular, hydrogenated, and fractionated
- Mono and diglycerides
- Preservatives -TBHQ and Citric Acid
- Beta Carotene (for color)
Of these ingredients, monoglycerides, diglycerides, and beta carotene are the ones vegans should generally watch out for, but the ones used in Pillsbury crescent rolls are of plant-based origins and vegan-friendly.
· Baking Powder
A white, powdery formulation used to raise the dough and lighten the texture of baked goods, baking powder used in Pillsbury crescent rolls contains baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, and sodium acid pyrophosphate. None of these are taken from animals and hence, are suitable for vegans’ consumption.
Sugar isn’t non-vegan but is refined in the commercial sector using bone char, due to which some vegans prefer to avoid it.
If you’re one of them, Pillsbury crescent rolls may not meet your vegan criteria as all their varieties contain sugar. While the brand doesn’t specify what type of sugar it uses, it is likely the normally-used refined version.
· Annatto Extract
Annatto is an orange-red condiment taken from the seeds of the achiote tree. Although there have been health claims about it, it is used as a natural food color in Pillsbury crescent rolls and is 100% vegan-friendly.
These are the basic ingredients of all Pillsbury crescent roll varieties. However, some also contain natural and artificial flavors, which have a controversial status in the vegan community.
Some choose to avoid them due to their unidentified origin, while others have no problem consuming them.
Your Pillsbury crescent roll options will vary depending on whether you are comfortable having these or not.
If you’re one of those few people who have never used Pillsbury ready-to-bake crescent-shaped rolls, here’s a quick guide on how to make Pillsbury crescent rolls…
What Varieties of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls are Vegan?
As mentioned earlier, the answer varies depending on your veganism criteria.
If you are okay with having natural and artificial flavors (of unspecified origin), along with sugar and palm oil, you can have all of Pillsbury crescent roll varieties.
If you’re fine with consuming refined sugar and palm oil but avoid natural and artificial flavors and colors, your options for Pillsbury crescent rolls include: Original Crescent Rolls, Reduced Fat Crescent Rolls, Original Crescent Rounds, Original Crescent Dough Sheet, and Grands! Original Crescent Rolls.
If you happen to be a hardcore vegan who avoids all the controversial ingredients, including refined sugar and palm oil, none of the Pillsbury crescent roll varieties will be suitable for you as they all contain these two ingredients.
Do Pillsbury Crescent Rolls Have Artificial Colors?
Only one variety of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls – Filled Crescents Cherry – contains artificial colors; Red 40 and Blue 1.
For the uninitiated, artificial colors are vegan-friendly in their origin; however, there’s strong evidence regarding their testing on animals, which is why they have a controversial status in the vegan community and are avoided by many of its members.
Does Any of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls Have Honey?
There is one Pillsbury crescent roll variety that seems to have honey in it; Honey Butter Crescent Rolls. But, interestingly, there is no honey in them. They contain sucralose, which is a synthetic sweetener made from sugar and is generally considered vegan-friendly.
Conclusion – Are Pillsbury Crescent Rolls Vegan-Friendly?
Pillsbury crescent rolls do not contain any animal-derived ingredients. They are all dairy and egg-free. However, they have sugar and palm oil, which some vegans prefer to avoid.
Some varieties of Pillsbury crescent rolls also contain natural and artificial flavors, and the Filled Crescents-Cherry also contains artificial colors, which are against some people’s vegan criteria.
Therefore, the answer to whether vegans can have Pillsbury crescent rolls or not depends on their definition of veganism.
If you’re interested to know the vegan status of different bread varieties, you may want to check out my article Are Hawaiian Rolls Vegan?