I still remember those old commercials that went something like, “Rrrruffles have rrrridges!”
The popular brand of chips is known for its signature “ruffled” potato chips that easily grab whatever dip or salsa you’re eating them with. While potato chips are generally vegan, Ruffles aren’t your average potato chips.
So, are Ruffles vegan?
Some flavors of Ruffles are vegan, while others are non-vegan. The original Ruffles as well as some of their seasonal flavors are vegan. However, many Ruffles varieties contain cheese, milk, sour cream, butter, and other dairy products.
In today’s post, I’ll show you all of the Ruffles’ vegan flavors. Then, I’ll give you a full breakdown of all of the ingredients in Ruffles’ vegan and non-vegan flavors, so you know what to look out for the next time you’re shopping.
Do Ruffles Contain Dairy?
When Ruffles were first released, they were only available in one flavor: Original.
They used the same ingredients as other popular potato chips that consist of potatoes, oil, and salt.
However, some of today’s best-selling Ruffles’ flavors contain large amounts of dairy. For instance, the Cheddar & Sour Cream variety is packed full of over eleven dairy by-products.
If you want to avoid dairy, you should stay away from most Ruffles flavors that mention “cheese” or “sour cream,” as they likely contain milk, cream, or cheese.
All dairy by-products are non-vegan, as they’re obtained through the cruel and unusual exploitation of cows. To make any dairy product, female cows are forcibly impregnated so that their bodies are constantly producing milk.
This puts excessive strain on the cows and they often become ill, stressed, and die early deaths.
This is just the surface too. To learn more about why dairy is such an evil industry, watch the video below:
What Flavors of Ruffles Are Vegan?
Ruffles offer a variety of different flavors. Out of their current flavors, only one is vegan, while the others are anything but vegan.
To make your life a bit simpler, here’s a quick visual outlining the non-vegan and vegan flavors of Ruffles:
|Vegan Ruffles Flavors||Non-Vegan Ruffles Flavors|
|Original||Cheddar & Sour Cream|
|Sour Cream & Onion|
|Flamin’ Hot Cheddar & Sour Cream|
|Flamin’ Hot BBQ|
|Lime & Jalapeno|
You’d expect some of these flavors to be vegan, just by looking at the packaging. For example, the Lime & Jalapeno Ruffles may seem vegan, but they contain sour cream.
Even the Flamin’ Hot BBQ contains meat and dairy-derived seasoning (despite the fact that BBQ sauce is usually vegan-friendly)
Are Ruffles Double Crunch Vegan?
Recently, Ruffles released a line of extra-thick, extra-crunchy chips that they dubbed Double Crunch. This variety is currently available in two flavors: Hot Wings and Zesty Cheddar.
Sadly, neither of Ruffles Double Crunch flavors is vegan. The Hot Wings flavor contains both sour cream and chicken broth, while the Zesty Cheddar contains cheese and dairy ingredients.
It looks like your best bet is just to stick with the Original Ruffles, which are unflavored and don’t contain any artificial or animal-derived additives.
What Are Ruffles Made Of?
The original Ruffles first hit store shelves in 1948, making them one of the oldest brands of potato chips in the US.
Unlike most other potato chips, which were just thin slices of deep-fried potato, Ruffles were pressed to create ridges along both sides of the chip. This gave the chips a stronger structure and made it easier to dunk them in dips and salsas.
Back in the 1940s, it wasn’t very common to see a bunch of chemicals used in your food. As such, the Original Ruffles were made with just three simple ingredients:
- Vegetable Oil
For a full profile, check out Ruffles’ website. Here’s a screenshot of the ingredients for reference:
All of these ingredients are 100% vegan and all-natural. Potatoes are root vegetables that are very healthy and packed full of amino acids, natural fiber, and vitamins.
Vegetable oil isn’t exactly “healthy,” but at least it’s all-natural. In small amounts, it shouldn’t be problematic.
Salt is always vegan since it’s either man-made in a lab or extracted from oceanic salt deposits.
This means that the Original Ruffles are 100% vegan! They don’t even contain palm oil, which is something that many other potato chip brands can’t say.
Of course, there’s still the ethical consideration that you’d be buying from a brand that pretty much only sells non-vegan chips. The company itself purchases massive amounts of dairy products from dairy farms to use in the production of their other chip flavors.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide, though.
Are Ruffles Cheddar Chips Vegan? Ingredients Analyzed
While the Original Ruffles chips are 100% vegan and wholesome, most of the brand’s other chips are far from vegan-friendly. Just take a look at the ingredients in Ruffle’s best-selling flavor, Cheddar & Sour Cream:
There are well over twenty ingredients used to make these chips. Additionally, most of the added ingredients are either animal-derived, artificial, or just flat-out unhealthy.
Here’s a quick rundown of all of the ingredients, so you can see for yourself.
Like the Original Ruffles, the Cheddar & Sour Cream flavor still uses real potatoes for its base chip. Potatoes are all-natural, healthy, and vegan.
2) Vegetable Oil
What makes the potato chips so unhealthy is that the potatoes are deep-fried in vegetable oil, which is packed full of fats that your body doesn’t really need.
Maltodextrin is a super-simple (and highly processed) starch that’s extracted from corn. It’s used as a drying ingredient to keep the cheese seasonings, sour cream, butter, and other dairy products from turning into a liquid and ruining the consistency of the chips.
Salt is an all-natural seasoning used in all varieties and flavors of Ruffles. It’s always vegan, though, so this is one of the few ingredients that you don’t have to worry about.
Whey is a powdered milk protein that’s often used to create dairy flavors or add extra protein to a food product. Unfortunately, it’s non-vegan since it’s a direct by-product of milk and cheese.
6) Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar cheese powder is the main seasoning used to flavor these Ruffles. Like all cheese, it’s non-vegan.
While I’m on the topic, though, there are actually some really good vegan cheese alternatives on the market. If you’re looking for a bit of cheesy delight without the guilt, be sure to give my post on the best vegan cheese brands a read next!
7) Onion Powder
Onion powder is an all-natural seasoning made from salt and dried onions. It’s vegan-friendly and used in a number of vegan snacks.
MSG is the shorthand for monosodium glutamate. This is the chemical formula for the molecule that our taste buds perceive as savory. Although it’s artificially created, it is vegan and isn’t quite as bad for you as some sources make it seem.
9) Natural & Artificial Flavors
Of course, even a brand as established as Ruffles has its own trade secrets. Their secret blend of natural and artificial flavors is one of the reasons why these chips are such a best-seller.
Buttermilk is just milk that contains added cultures. The result is sour-tasting milk that’s often used in chips, biscuits, and crackers to create a more complex flavor.
11) Sour Cream
Sour cream is made from cream and skim milk. It has the flavor of buttermilk but the consistency of yogurt. This ingredient is about as non-vegan as it gets.
Lactose is a special type of sugar that’s only found in milk. It’s often used in chip seasonings to take the sharp bite off of the cheese flavoring and give it a softer, sweeter taste. It’s a non-vegan sweetener since it’s derived from dairy.
Butter is yet another non-vegan product that’s made from dairy and is best avoided. By contrast, vegan “butter” is typically made from hydrogenated vegetable oils and serves the same purpose in baking.
14) Sodium Caseinate
Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any more milk by-products… There’s sodium caseinate. This salty compound is the result of combining casein (milk protein) with sodium, and it’s a common ingredient used in cheese flavors.
15) Yeast Extract
Yeast extract is known for its savory flavor, which is why it’s also a popular vegan seasoning.
16) Citric Acid
Citric acid is a naturally-occurring acid found in citrus fruits. It’s used as a mild preservative and flavor additive and is generally considered vegan.
17) Skim Milk
More milk products! Skim milk is just fat-free milk with a watery consistency.
18) Blue Cheese
Blue cheese is a special type of cultured cheese that’s been allowed to “mold.” This gives it a super-sharp, bitter flavor that’s popular in dips and seasonings.
19) Lactic Acid
This natural acid is produced by our bodies and can be lab-synthesized. It serves as a mild preservative, extending the shelf life of these chips.
20) Garlic Powder
Garlic is another seasoning. While it is vegan, it can’t hope to make up for the other non-vegan seasonings.
21) Artificial Colors
Last but not least, all of the Cheddar Ruffles are coated with artificial orange and yellow food coloring to keep their color consistent and make them look more appealing.
The Verdict – Are Ruffles Vegan-Friendly Chips?
If you’re looking for vegan Ruffles, then stick with the Original Ruffles, which are just made with three simple, vegan ingredients. However, I recommend staying away from all of the other flavors of Ruffles, as they all contain dairy and/or meat-derived additives.
If you’re looking for more chips that are dairy-free, meat-free, and vegan, I recommend reading my last post on the best vegan chip brands next!