Toaster Strudels are one of Pillsbury’s best-selling sweet breakfast treats. Although they’re more of a dessert than a healthy breakfast, people love them all the same.
As a kid, my mom would only let me eat them on Saturday mornings, providing I’d finished all of my homework for the week. Unfortunately, nobody in my family really knew just how bad they were for you…
So, are Toaster Strudels vegan?
Toaster Strudels are NOT vegan. Unfortunately, all Toaster Strudel flavors contain dairy by-products, such as whey and dried milk.
Additionally, all Toaster Strudels contain both refined sugar and palm oil, which are questionable ingredients that many vegans choose not to consume.
Below, I’ll show you exactly why Toaster Strudels aren’t vegan and give you a full breakdown of the ingredients used to make them. Let’s dive in!
Do Toaster Strudels Contain Dairy?
There’s no denying that dairy has become a major part of a so-called “healthy breakfast” in American culture (and cultures worldwide, for that matter).
Unfortunately, dairy is one of the main ingredients in Toaster Strudels. Dairy is used in both the sweet bread dough and the sweet stuffing.
Are There Any Vegan Toaster Strudels?
Unfortunately, all of Pillsbury’s Toaster Strudels are non-vegan due to the presence of dairy, palm oil, and refined sugar. Additionally, Toaster Strudels are packed full of chemicals and artificial ingredients, making them incredibly unhealthy and unnatural food.
As you’ll see in my ingredients breakdown below, there’s really no reason why anybody should be putting all of these chemicals and artificial additives into their body.
That being said, you can make your own vegan breakfast strudels at home!
With a bit of baking expertise and a few simple kitchen gadgets, you can make a 100% plant-based, delicious strudel that you can enjoy as a breakfast meal or a sweet treat!
Here’s a wonderful recipe that I recently tried myself:
What Is Toaster Strudel Made Of? Ingredients Analyzed
Toaster Strudels are made with no less than thirty-four ingredients (and that’s just the simplest strawberry-flavored Toaster Strudel). There are more ingredients in these artificial strudels than you’ll find in the most advanced, technical, professionally baked cake in the world.
Look at the ingredients list for yourself. Here are the ingredients used for the original Strawberry Toaster Strudels:
Now, let’s take a few minutes to decipher all of these chemicals. For simplicity’s sake, I’ve combined some of the similar ingredients together under one heading.
1) Enriched Bleached Flour
Bleached flour is some of the least nutritious flour on the market. The fact that it’s enriched with some vitamins and minerals does little to justify its use in any food. That being said, it is a vegan-friendly baking additive that’s made from wheat flour and malted barley flour.
When mixed with flour, water creates a dough. Flour and water are the base ingredients used to create all dough, no matter what it’s being used for.
3) Vegetable Oil
There are a number of different types of vegetable oil used in Toaster Strudels, including soybean oil, palm oil, and hydrogenated palm oil.
While soybean oil is a vegan-friendly oil, most vegans avoid palm oil, as it’s a non-sustainable oil that contributes to rainforest deforestation and threatens endangered wildlife.
While organic cane sugar is vegan-friendly, most vegans try to avoid refined white sugar since it’s filtered through animal bone char.
5) High-Fructose Corn Syrup
High-fructose corn syrup is a highly concentrated and chemically-modified variety of corn syrup. Unlike refined sugar, though, HFCS is vegan-friendly and isn’t processed with animal by-products.
6) Corn Syrup & Corn Syrup Solids
Raw corn syrup (a thick liquid), as well as corn syrup solids (dried, powdered corn syrup), are used in Toaster Strudels. Corn syrup is a natural sweetener derived from sweet yellow corn, and is generally considered vegan.
Dextrose is a simple sugary starch that’s usually derived from potatoes or corn. It’s used as a mild sweetener and as a starchy thickening agent in Toaster Strudels.
8) Corn Starch, Modified Corn Starch, & Wheat Starch
Dextrose isn’t the only starch used in Toaster Strudels. To give the sweet pastry dough its flaky texture and near-perfect consistency, Pillsbury adds copious amounts of starch to their dough and the sweet stuffing.
Starch is a refined version of flour that only contains the starch (simple sugars) within the grain. Starch has little nutritional value, no protein, and none of the minerals found in whole grains.
Salt is used in almost all baked goods. When added to the dough, it creates stronger bonds, which lends itself to a chewier texture and a firmer dough.
10) Dry Yeast
Dry yeast is another essential ingredient that’s added to almost all baked goods. As the yeast organisms feed on the dough, they release gas, which helps the dough rise, creating air bubbles and texture in the bread.
11) Modified Whey & Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey and concentrated whey protein are natural proteins that are found in dairy. They’re used to add texture and create the sweet, creamy filling within Toaster Strudels.
12) Lactic Acid
Lactic acid is an organic acid that’s naturally extracted from fermented plant matter. It’s used as a natural preservative to increase the acidity of Toaster Strudels and increase their shelf life.
13) Mono- & Diglycerides
Mono- and diglycerides are fatty acids that are extracted from processed plant skins. They help oil ingredients bind with water-based ingredients, which makes for a more consistent dough.
14) Strawberry Juice Concentrate
Since these Toaster Strudels are strawberry-flavored, they contain a bit of natural strawberry juice to serve as the base for the jelly filling.
15) Carboxymethylcellulose & Microcrystalline Cellulose
Carboxymethylcellulose (try saying that three times in a row) is a chemical used in eye drops to treat dry eyes. When used in food, however, it acts as a preservative and a binding agent.
Similarly, microcrystalline cellulose also acts as a binding agent, ensuring perfect texture and consistency in the dough.
16) Sodium Citrate
Sodium citrate is a sodium salt of citric acid. It’s a potent flavor preservative that helps fruit-flavored foods retain their tangy flavor.
17) Baking Soda
Baking soda is the common term for sodium bicarbonate, which is used as a baking additive to help the dough rise and give it texture.
In addition to the other preservatives that I’ve already listed, Toaster Strudels include several other chemical preservatives, including:
- Potassium sorbate
- Sodium benzoate
These are all strong, acidic chemicals that are added to increase the shelf life of the food and prevent bacteria from getting hold of the food.
19) Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum is a common emulsifier that’s used to help the sweet filling of the Toaster Strudel remain homogenous and bound together.
20) Polysorbate 60
Polysorbate 60 is a nasty chemical emulsifier that’s used to hold fats together. It’s also been shown to damage your intestinal lining, which is just another reason you should avoid this unhealthy food.
21) Natural & Artificial Flavors
All Toaster Strudels are flavored with a variety of natural and artificial flavors in addition to the sugar, strawberry, and dairy by-products used. Unfortunately, even “natural” flavors are highly processed.
22) Artificial Colors
Lastly, Toaster Strudels are artificially colored with colors like red 40 and blue 1 to make them visually appealing to anybody craving a sweet, sugary, delicious treat.
The Verdict – Toaster Strudels Are NOT Vegan
No matter which way you look at it, Toaster Strudels are never vegan due to their high dairy content, palm oil, and refined sugars. They’re also one of the least healthy foods that you could ever eat for breakfast!
If you’re looking for a healthy, vegan-friendly breakfast, then I recommend checking out my list of the best vegan breakfast cereals next!