Can A Vegan Eat Bread? (A Deep Dive with a Vegan Dietitian)

Yes- bread is vegan friendly as long as the ingredients are animal free.

Is most bread vegan friendly? Well, that depends. There are some key things to look for.

I happen to be both a dietitian and vegan! So keep reading as dive deep into this question.

Disclaimer: This article is just providing education and is not a substitute for medical or dietary advice. Talk to your doctor about any health concerns, and before starting supplements or major dietary changes. See our Disclaimers for more details.

This article was originally published on 4/24/22. The recent updated date is listed above.

picture of home made bread sliced on a cutting board with the words: Can a vegan eat bread?

What Makes Bread Vegan?

Simply this- the absence of animal products.

But wait a second: what counts as an animal product?

I am so glad you asked! This can be tricky.

We typically think of the following when we hear “animal products”: meat, fish, dairy (ie: milk, cheese, yogurt, butter) eggs, and honey.

But vegans also avoid animal by-products – in this case, it means ingredients that come from animals. These might not be as obviously named as one of the main categories above.

Here is a list of ingredients you might have seen in breads that are not vegan friendly (please note, this is not a comprehensive list):

  • Honey
  • Eggs
  • Egg whites
  • Egg protein
  • Milk/milk fat
  • Butter/butter fat
  • Casein (a protein found in dairy)
  • Whey (another protein found in dairy)
  • Lactose (a sugar found in dairy)
  • Fish oil

Additionally, some vegans may avoid non organic refined sugar because it is often processed with bone char. You can learn about the sugar topic in my article on sugar in oatmeal here.

However, in my experience, most vegans I know (including me) do not avoid refined sugar if it has bone char.

But… Yeast! Can Vegans Eat Yeast?

Bakers yeast (not to be confused with nutritional yeast) is used to help bread rise.

It does not come from an animal – so why is there some confusion as to whether or not vegans can consume bread made with yeast?

Yeast cells are quite widely known as “living cells.” They require certain nutrients to grow (1).

However, it is well accepted that yeast do not feel pain or have sentience.

As a self identifying vegan, I don’t have an issue with calling yeast vegan friendly!

Types of Bread That Are Usually Vegan

Picture of two slices of  Rye Bread

Here’s a list of types of breads that are usually made with 100% vegan ingredients!

Of course, there will be exceptions and this is not a comprehensive list, but in general, we have found the following tend to be vegan more often than not:

  • Baguette
  • Sourdough bread
  • Rye bread
  • Ciabatta
  • Focaccia
  • Pita bread
  • Water Challah
  • Roti/Chapati
  • Whole Food Plant Based Breads (one popular example might be from the Ezekiel bread (such as the original flourless sprouted bread by Food for Life )
  • Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread

Always check the ingredients list.

Eating out? You can ask the restaurant about their preparation method (as an example, some Indian restaurants might make roti in ghee (or clarified butter), making it a non vegan friendly bread).

Breads labeled vegan or vegan certified are good bet that they are vegan 😉 .

Is White Bread Vegan?


Just because bread looks ‘white’ as opposed to ‘brown’ does not mean it is unsuitable for vegans.

Again, we have make sure the white bread does not have any animal derived ingredients. 

Here is a list of ‘white’ breads that are typically vegan ( again, this is not a comprehensive or necessarily accurate list. Check the ingredients label):

  • Baguette
  • Sourdough
  • Ciabatta
  • Pita
  • French Bread

It goes without saying, but whole wheat versions of the breads listed above could be available as well!

What about Naan bread? Why didn’t you list that one?

Lets unpack that next.

Isn’t Naan Bread Vegan Though?

Naan bread is a popular flat bread often found in Indian restaurants.

According to this source, traditional ingredients for Indian naan may include plain dairy yogurt, which is not vegan.

However naan can certainly be made without yogurt (and there are a variety of vegan yogurts as well)!

Another tip: when eating out at Indian restaurants, ask how the naan is made. Sometimes you can request no butter or yogurt .

Is Whole Wheat Bread Vegan?

Several whole wheat breads are vegan. However, many are not completely vegan friendly – so check the ingredients.

Much like white bread, you’ll want to make sure you read the ingredients and make sure that non vegan ingredients are absent.

For instance – I’ve seen several popular whole wheat breads containing whey – a dairy product.

I personally choose vegan bread that contains mostly whole grains as often as possible because of the health benefits associated with whole grains instead of refined grains (keep in mind, some folks may not be able to have certain ingredients in bread because of a medical condition or allergy. Consult your doctor about your personalized needs).

Vegan Bread Brands

Disclaimer: The following brands available in the USA have a link that goes to a page suggesting it is a completely vegan bread line. Of course, brands (and links) may change, so always check the label.

While other bread brands have vegan options, we just included the brands we found that appear to be completely vegan. This is not a comprehensive list, and certainly, a plethora of other brands carry options that vegans may decide to purchase.

For example, Little Northern Bakehouse and Natures Own have lots of vegan breads, however their entire bread line is not vegan.

What Bread Is Not Vegan

Again, the following breads can be made vegan, but from what I’ve commonly seen (or how these breads are traditionally made) they are less likely to be vegan.

Check the ingredients list to be sure!

  • English Muffins
  • Crumpets
  • Bagels
  • Brioche
  • Cheese bread
  • Challah (traditional)
  • Soda bread
  • Garlic bread
  • Buttermilk bread
  • Croissants
  • Egg bread
  • Paratha

When it comes to “loaf” or sandwich bread, it’s really a toss up!

For example, there are several whole grain breads that are vegan, but also many containing animal products.

Again, you will need to scrutinize that ingredients list!

How Can I make Bread Vegan?

When making bread, sometimes the recipe will call for animal products.

Here is a list of swaps that may help you veganize your loaf bread recipe:

  • Swap honey for maple syrup or blackstrap molasses
  • Consider switching from butter to vegan butter/margarine or oil
  • Trade buttermilk/dairy milk for plant based milk.

Final Words – Can A Vegan Eat Bread?

Yes vegans can eat bread!

Generally speaking, vegans can choose breads with 100% plant based ingredients.

Of course, someone who has certain medical conditions – (for example, they may require a gluten free diet) in which bread ingredients are contradicted will want to avoid certain breads. Talk to your doctor about your specific needs.

Did this post clarify what breads are compatible with a vegan diet?
Let me know by leaving a comment below!
If you would like to learn more about keeping things 100% plant based, why not explore the blog?

I dive into other subjects such as:
Can Vegans Eat Peanut Butter?
Is Guar Gum Vegan?
What Cereals are Vegan?
Costco Vegan Food
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