Is Bread Vegan? 13 Types Explained

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by Alena Schowalter
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Don’t know if bread is vegan or what ingredients to look out for when buying a fresh loaf at the store? Our guide is here for the rescue.

There are some foods you can very obviously eat on a plant-based diet — bananas, rice, beans, and all the veggies in the world. 

Then, some foods aren’t as clear-cut. You may wonder, “Is bread vegan?” What about ketchup, soy, honey, or olive oil?

Is bread vegan?

The short answer is: yes, bread is vegan. Most of the time! Traditional bread contains just flour, water, salt, and yeast.

However, there can be some sneaky ingredients in different types of bread that are not completely plant-based.

close up of two hands kneading whole wheat dough on a floured dark surface

Check for these ingredients!

Non-vegan ingredients

  • Eggs or Egg Whites, which are used for a fluffy texture
  • Butter or Ghee, often found in Indian products or sweet bread
  • Milk, Lactose, Cream, or Yogurt, which some bread contains either in fresh or dried form
  • Honey and Royal Jelly, which come from bees
  • Casein, Caseinate, and Whey, which are derived from milk and used to add texture or flavor
  • Gelatin, which comes from animal connective tissue
  • L-cysteine, a dough conditioner and flavor enhancer derived from duck feathers, pig bristles, or hooves.

Possibly vegan ingredients

  • ​Mono and Diglycerides are basically some type of fat. Most of the time, it’s made from soybean oil and, therefore, completely plant-derived. But they could come from other sources, too, namely animals and synthetic components.
  • Lecithin, which is also an emulsifier and almost always derived from soybeans – but it’s possible that in some cases, it’s actually derived from egg yolks.
  • Enzymes, while usually fungal-based, can also be derived from pig pancreatic tissue.
  • Sugar, when white and refined, can be processed with bone char.

More and more brands choose to put the vegan label on their products (including bread), making shopping much easier. 

But just because your bread doesn’t have a vegan label doesn’t mean it contains any animal products.

Is yeast vegan?

Yes, yeast is vegan. Yeast plays an important role in baking and functions as a leavening agent by producing carbon dioxide.

It does so via a biological process because it is a single-celled organism and a member of the fungi kingdom.

So, while yeast is unquestionably “alive,” no sentience or suffering is involved. Therefore, vegans can eat yeast!

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What bread can vegans eat?

Let’s go over the vegan-friendliness of the most common types of bread.

Is pita bread vegan?

Yes, pita bread is vegan! It usually consists of only flour, water, yeast, and salt.

Some brands may add milk or butter, so be sure to check the label!

Is multigrain bread vegan?

Made from different grains, such as wheat, barley, rye, and oats, multigrain bread is a really nutrient-dense alternative to white bread.

There are plenty of vegan options at the store — look out for eggs or honey.

Top view of sliced bread on white table

Is sourdough bread vegan?

Yes, sourdough bread is usually vegan.

It is unlikely that sourdough bread is not vegan but made with milk products in the starter culture — this is usually not stated on the label and is nothing to be sweated. The same goes for the “mono and diglycerides.”

Is white bread vegan?

Most white bread is vegan, yes. Check the label on commercially prepared bread to ensure that there is no milk, egg, butter, or casein!

Enriched white flour can contain dairy in the form of dried milk powder, butter or milk, and eggs, but the added vitamins and minerals can also be synthetically produced.

loaf of white bread sliced

Is naan bread vegan?

This popular flatbread from India is usually not vegan as it contains butter, milk, yogurt, or eggs.

Find vegan-friendly naan bread at specialty stores or make your own at home!

Is ciabatta vegan?

Yes, ciabatta is usually vegan. This Italian bread is made with flour, water, yeast, salt, and olive oil.

The latter is added to create a crispy outer crust. However, some recipes may include animal-derived ingredients! Just double-check the label.

Is baguette vegan?

The traditional French recipe for bread contains only wheat flour, water, salt, and yeast. It is almost always vegan!

Some bakeries may add milk or butter to their dough, though.

hand holding a piece of bread that was dipped in oil-free vegan hummus over a plate for fresh veggies

Is brioche vegan?

Unfortunately, brioche is not vegan. This delicious sweet bread contains eggs, milk, and butter.

These ingredients create a rich and fluffy texture — something you can also achieve when making your own vegan brioche at home.

Is cornbread vegan?

Classic cornbread is not vegan. This quickbread is made with cornmeal, flour, eggs, and milk. It’s often also sweetened with sugar or honey.

However, it’s really easy to make cornbread at home! Check out our vegan recipe here.

Top view of gluten-free corn bread on parchment paper next to glass jar of mango chutney, rosy cloth and knife

Is focaccia vegan?

Yes, focaccia is usually vegan! This Italian flatbread contains water, flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, and flavorful toppings such as olives, herbs, or dried tomatoes.

It has a crispy crust and tastes delicious! Some may contain cheese or milk, so check the label first.

Are bagels vegan?

Chewy, round, and with holes in the center: everyone loves bagels! Plain bagels are usually vegan unless they include milk, honey, or eggs in the ingredient list.

Watch out for toppings and fillings that can contain cream cheese, eggs, and more.

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Is Ezekiel bread vegan?

Ezekiel bread is a very nutrient-dense bread made with sprouted grains and legumes. It does not contain dairy, eggs, or honey and is fully vegan!

Although it’s more expensive, it’s a good source of protein, fiber, and other nutrients.

Are tortillas vegan?

Tortillas are usually vegan, yes. They are a type of unleavened flatbread made from wheat or cornflour, water, salt, and oil.

See how we transform them into homemade chips here!

white table with a grey towel, sliced lime and a wooden cutting board with corn tortillas

More vegan guides

Make following a plant-based diet and lifestyle more accessible and fun by checking out these articles next!

Did you know that most bread is vegan? Have you tried making your own vegan bread at home? Feel free to share with us in the comments below and Pin this article here.

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Hi, I'm Alena Schowalter — a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with my husband, I founded nutriciously in 2015 and have been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages toward a healthy plant-based diet. I enjoy discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature, and creating new recipes. Read more about us here.

8 Comments

  1. Thanks for an interesting post. I’ve never made bread but would love to give it a go. It makes me think of my grandparents house, my Grandad made bread and the smell of bread cooking was lovely to walk in to.

    Reply
    • Hey Helen,
      lovely to hear from you again.
      Yes, bread is definitely one of my comfort foods as well! And no reason to feel bad about it, I’m sad to see that this important staple food has been demonized so much.
      I can see how the smell and taste of fresh bread brings back amazing memories… it does for me as well.
      Hope all is well,
      Alena

      Reply
  2. Okay, this clears alot of questions in my mind. Like wheat vs white. Love it. Thanks for the great info.

    Reply
    • Hey Miriam, we used cronometer which is a free online tool is calculate the nutrients! You need to create a free account to use it but we’ve been tracking all our food stuff there for years :)
      Hope this helps!

      Reply

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