Are Cheerios Vegan?

Are Cheerios Vegan

There’s a high chance that you’ve had Cheerios for breakfast at some point in your life. However, have you ever asked yourself if Cheerios are vegan?

In this guide, we answer the question: “Are Cheerios vegan?”

What’s Inside?

Cheerios are made from whole oat grains. Depending on the brand you buy, different manufacturers use different ingredients. Therefore, it’s important to do your own research and understand the various ingredients. This will help determine whether your brand of choice is vegan or not.

To produce Cheerios, the dry ingredients are first blended with water. This results in raw batter that ends up as the O-shaped cereal you’ve come to love. Additionally, Cheerios achieve their classic O-shape when the batter is pressed between special moulds.

Ingredients listed on the original Cheerios packaging are:

  • Whole Grain Oats
  • Corn Starch
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Vitamin D3
  • Tripotassium Phosphate
  • Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols – added to preserve freshness)
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate)
  • Iron and Zinc (mineral nutrients)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride)
  • A B Vitamin (niacinamide)
  • Vitamin A (palmitate)
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate)
  • A B Vitamin (folic acid)
  • Vitamin B12

The ingredients listed above are from the original Cheerios’ products. While most of the ingredients can make Cheerios pass as vegan, one ingredient is at the center of the debate on whether cheerios are vegan.

Are They Vegan?

No, Cheerios are not vegan.

The main discord when it comes to Cheerios is the use of Vitamin D3. For any product to be vegan, it needs to be free from all animal products. And while they are made from whole grains, they contain non-vegan ingredients like Vitamin D3, honey, and white sugar.

To achieve the white color in white sugar, the white sugar is usually processed with calcium carbonate. The calcium carbonate is derived from animal bones. In addition, honey comes from bees while Vitamin D3 comes from sheep wool lanolin or fish oil. The sheep’s skin glands produce lanolin which comes in the form of a waxy substance.

The wool usually gets turned over or squeezed to extract lanolin. The yellowish waxy substance that is produced is what is often used as a precursor in the production of Vitamin D3. There is no way to be 100 percent sure that the Vitamin D3 in Cheerios are vegan.  

However, Cheerios that have honey in them are most certainly not vegan. Considering it’s not clear how the Vitamin D3 in the original cheerios is derived, most vegans keep away from it.

Vegan Alternatives

While not all cereals are O-shaped like Cheerios, there are some brands that are vegan-friendly.

Below are some of the top-rated vegan cereal brands that you can try:

  • 365 Everyday Value Organic Morning O’s
  • Back to Nature Gluten-Free Apple Blueberry Granola
  • Cascadian Farm Organic Fruitful O’s

Choosing to take cheerios all boils down to your personal preference. While some people don’t mind that about 99.9 percent of the ingredients are vegan, others will. Given the uncertainty surrounding the Vitamin D3 used, some vegans prefer to avoid it.


Marion is a Kenya-based freelance writer who covers a wide range of topics from politics and business to health and nutrition.

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