Are Lays Vegan? Which Flavors of Lays Chips are Vegan?

All you need to know about your favorite Potato Chips

Potato chips are a favorite snack for many of us but, for the vegans among us, they can also be the most frustrating. With many types of potato chips containing lots of flavoring, it is not always easy to tell which flavor is vegan-friendly.

For example, you can pick up a packet of roasted chicken potato chips that are actually vegan friendly but a brand of plain salted crips may be non-vegan.

We take a look at what potato chips are vegan, paying particular attention to Lays, a number one brand of potato chips that are popular among vegans and non-vegans alike. We also take a look at some of the main ingredients that prevent Lays potato chips from being vegan-friendly and some general troublesome ingredients for vegans. 

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Milk Powder

One of the main reasons that many potato chip brands, including Lays, is not suitable for vegans is that they contain milk powder. Milk powder is a common ingredient in many processed foods including potato chips, chocolate, candy, and caramels.

Ingredients can sometimes be listed as milk powder or that ii contains lactose, both of which mean that the product would not be suitable for vegans but will be ok for vegetarians. 

Always check the packet

It goes without saying that if you are going to eat any potato chips and you are wanting to maintain your plant-based diet then you should check the labels on the packets at all times.

This means that when at parties or other people’s houses you should take caution when taking chips from a bowl and choose to get them straight from the packet. Of course, if the people or the restaurant you are dining at are vegan then you may feel confident that the chips are vegan-friendly. 

Lays potato chips 

There are hundreds of varieties of potato chips on the market but Lays is one of the most popular in the US and around the world. As a leading brand that makes up 30% of the potato chip market meaning that there is a market for them to create vegan products to cater to an ever-increasing vegan population. 

We take a look at the Lays options for vegans to see what flavor options are out there. Like other potato chips, it is not always straightforward as to whether all varieties of Lays are suitable for vegans.

It is always best to check the ingredients list on the packet of Lays but we have checked the most common flavors to see if they are vegan-friendly. Some do contain animal ingredients and others are a little ambiguous, which you can see below. 

Original Lays 

Ingredients in original flavor baked Lays include dried potatoes, corn oil, corn starch, sea salt, sugar, sea salt, dextrose, soy lecithin, and annatto extracts.

You will be glad to hear that the original flavor of Lays, which is an old favorite, is suitable for vegans and contain no animal products or animal byproducts. 

Dill Pickle Lays

The ingredients in dill pickle Lays are Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Sunflower, Corn, and/or Canola Oil), Dill Pickle Seasoning (Maltodextrin [Made From Corn], Natural Flavors, Salt, Vinegar, Garlic Powder, Yeast Extract, and Spice Extracts [Including Dill]).

Although natural flavorings are listed in this list of ingredients they do not contain milk powders which means that Lays dill pickle potato chips are suitable for vegans, which is is unusual for dill flavored potato chips and snacks as most are not vegan-friendly, just vegetarian friendly. 

No products found.

Barbecue Flavor Lays 

Ingredients in barbecue flavor Lay includes dried potatoes, corn oil, corn starch, salt, sugar, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, onion powder dextrose, molasses, brown sugar, spices, fructose, tomato powder, yeast, garlic powder, soybean oil, natural flavors (including milk), sunflower oil, paprika, paprika extracts, caramel color, annatto extracts, and acacia gum.

As you can see, the addition of milk in the natural flavoring means that barbecue flavor Lays are not vegan.

While this may have been obvious as most barbecue sauces and products contain animal products it can often be misleading when it comes to potato chips as some meat flavors are indeed vegan.

This product would, however, be suitable for vegetarians.

Other Flavors of Lay’s that are vegan

One is better than none, I suppose, but there are many brands that do offer a wider selection of vegan chips, so you don’t always end up stuck with the plainest flavor available.

In fact, the regular non-baked lays have far more to offer to vegans. This includes the following flavors: 

Lay's Barbecue Lightly Salted Potato Chips, 235g/8.3 oz., {Imported from Canada}
Lay's Barbecue Lightly Salted Potato Chips, 235g/8.3 oz., {Imported from Canada}
50% less sodium than Lay's Classic potato chips; No Artificial Flavours or Colours; Crunchy Snack Time Delight
$11.98 Amazon Prime
Lay's Potato Chips, Limon Flavored Snacks, 7.75oz Bag
Lay's Potato Chips, Limon Flavored Snacks, 7.75oz Bag
Delicious limon flavor large bag is perfect for sharing; Wherever celebrations and good times happen, the Lay's brand will be there
Lay's Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, 8 Oz
Lay's Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, 8 Oz
Original flavor kettle cooked potato chips in a convenient take-home package; Extra-crunchy, batch-cooked and made with three ingredients: potatoes, oil and sea salt
Lay's Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper, 8.5 Ounce (Pack of 4)
Lay's Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper, 8.5 Ounce (Pack of 4)
Pack of four, 8.5 ounce (Total of 34 ounce); No gluten ingredients**

The crab spice potato chips being vegan may come as a surprise but they are derived from non-meat flavoring. Some of the above flavors are available in the Lays baked variety and the Wavy crisps but do make sure to check the packet for a full list of ingredients.

Sour Cream and Onion Lays

Ingredients in sour cream and onion Lays includes dried potatoes, corn oil, corn starch, skim milk, salt, sugar, soil lecithin, cultured skim milk, dextrose whey, onion powder, sour cream (cultured cream, skim milk), citric acid, parsley natural flavor, and annatto extracts.

Again, due to the milk in the natural flavoring sour cream and onion Lays is not suitable for vegans. While not suitable for vegans, sour cream and onion Lays are suitable for vegetarians.

Salt & Vinegar Lays

Ingredients in salt and vinegar Lays include Potato Flakes, Sunflower Oil And/Or Corn Oil, Unmodified Potato Starch, Rice Flour, And Less Than 2% of The Following: Sugar, Salt, Corn, Maltodextrin, Sodium Diacetate, Lactose, Mono- And Diglycerides, Dextrose, Soy Lecithin, Natural And Artificial Flavor, Citric Acid, Monosodium Glutamate, Malic Acid, Nonfat Milk.

As the flavoring contains milk and lactose, which is derived from milk, they are not suitable for vegans. 

Non-vegan Lays

To confirm, the below flavors of Lays potato chips are not suitable for vegans

  • Cheddar and Sour Cream Lays
  • Flamin’ Hot Lays
  • Honey BBQ Lays
  • Sweet Southern Heat Barbeque Lays
  • Kettle Cooked Lays Honey Chipotle
  • Kettle Cooked Lays Jalapeno (note: if you’re looking for a vegan jalapeno kettle cooked chip, I recommend trying out
  • Kettle Cooked Lays Mesquite BBQ
  • Sweet Southern Heat Barbeque Lays
  • Kettle Cooked Lays Sea Salt and Vinegar
  • Kettle Cooked Lays Maui Onion
  • Chile Limon Lays

If you are ever in any doubt and want to know for sure whether or not your potato chips are vegan-friendly you should read the ingredients on the packet or you can contact Lays for confirmation. 

Problem Ingredients

When looking at all Lays flavors and, in particular, non-classic Lays it is the natural flavoring that is the issue when it comes to them being vegan or not. Although milk is a natural flavoring it is not vegan-friendly.

As always when it comes to vegan ingredients it is not always about whether there is an animal product but whether there is an animal byproduct or if there is an ingredient that has caused harm to animals.

That said, many vegans will feel ok about eating natural flavorings as they are present in many store-bought foods and are difficult to avoid. The choice will be dependent on the individual, especially as some vegans are only just beginning their journey moving away from using animal-based products

Another problem ingredient in Lays potato chips, as it is for many processed products, is sugar. Sugar is most often processed using bone char which some vegans avoid but others choose to consume as it is very difficult to avoid.

Sugar is a contested ingredient in the vegan community and there are ethical sugar alternatives if you do want to completely avoid it but this will mean that there are no Lays that are vegan-friendly. 

Are Baked Lays Vegan?

In conclusion, Baked Lays original potato chips are suitable for vegans and vegetarians as they do not contain any products derived from animals.

This is not the case for any of the other flavors as they have some ingredients that contain animal products, mainly milk that is found in the natural flavorings listed on the packet. 

However, the same cannot be said for all of the other flavors of Baked Lays. Other flavors, like barbecue and sour cream, and onion are not vegan, as they do contain animal-derived ingredients.

For clarity, the full list of ingredients in original Lays is dried potatoes, corn oil, corn starch, sea salt, sugar, dextrose, soy lecithin, and Annatto extracts. This confirms that classic baked Lays are suitable for vegans and vegetarians. 

The good news for snack addicts and Lays addicts, in particular, is that while all flavors of the potato chip are not vegan there are lots of flavors that you can eat happily in the knowledge that they are free from animal products. 

Please note, as discussed in our ‘Is Sugar Vegan?’ article, not all types of sugar can be considered vegan. It is therefore the responsibility of the reader to make their own inquiries with the manufacturers of these suggested vegan friendly products to determine whether the sugar used in these products are suitable for vegan consumption.

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