Yes- bread is vegan friendly as long as the ingredients are animal free.
Is most bread vegan friendly? Well, that depends.
Lets dive into this complex question in this article – written by a dietitian who also identifies as vegan (handy 😉 !
Disclaimer: This article is just providing education and is not a substitute for medical or dietary advice. Always 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.
What Makes Bread Vegan?
Simply this- the absence of animal products.
But wait a second you say: what counts as an animal product?
I am so glad you asked! This can be tricky.
But vegans also avoid animal derivatives , meaning-ingredients that come from animals, but might not be as obviously named as one of the main categories above.
Here is a list of ingredients found in breads that are not vegan friendly (please note, this is not a comprehensive list):
- 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
- Maybe: Mono or diglycerides (this may or may not be vegan as it can come from vegetables or animals).
Additionally, some vegans may avoid non organic refined sugar because it is often processed with bone char. However in my experience, many self identifying vegans do not avoid refined sugar.
You can learn about the sugar topic in our article here.
But… Yeast! Can Vegans Eat Yeast?
Bakers 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
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:
- Sourdough bread
- Rye bread
- Pita bread
- Water Challah
- 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. 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 to look at the criteria listed in the previous section to 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):
- 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)! At the base, naan includes four simple ingredients: flour, salt, yeast and water.
Another tip: when eating out at Indian restaurants, ask how the naan is made. Sometimes you can request no butter or yogurt .
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.
- Dave’s Killer Bread
- One Degree Organics
- Food For Life
- Manna Organics
- Angelic Bake House
- The Rustik Oven
What Bread Is Not Vegan
Again, the following breads can be made vegan, but from what we have most 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
- Cheese bread
- Challah (traditional)
- Soda bread
- Garlic bread
- buttermilk bread
- Egg bread
When it comes to “loaf” or sandwich bread, it’s really a toss up!
Again, you will need to scrutinize that ingredients list!
If I didn’t answer your question here, be sure to leave them in the comments!
What Is Whole Food Plant Based Bread? Can Vegans Eat That?
While we are not aware of a official definition for whole food plant based (Wfpb), it could be described as focused on whole, minimally processed plant based foods that are free (or nearly free) from animal products.
A popular example of this type of bread might be Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread.
Based on this definition and example, yes! Wfpb bread is typically vegan friendly because animal products are often absent.
How Will I Know If the Bread is Vegan When I Eat Out?
Some restaurants post ingredients on their websites, and others do not.
The best way to find out may be to ask! If the server doesn’t know the answer, he/she should be able to find someone who does.
How Can I Easily Spot Vegan Breads At the Store?
If the bread is labeled as vegan, or certified vegan, than you can be quite confident it’s vegan!
Otherwise, – you’ll probably have to read the ingredients even if its listed as organic or non GMO project verified!
But what about those allergen statements you might find in the US?
In the USA, consumer packaged foods regulated by the Food and Drug Administration should contain an allergen statement if an ingredient in the product contains one of the major food allergens (the non vegan ones are: milk, eggs, fish, and crustacean shellfish).
This leaves vegans to determine themselves if honey, gelatin, or any other non vegan ingredient is absent.
What Stores Carry Vegan Breads?
Good news! You likely aren’t limited to Whole Foods Market!
In my experience, you can find vegan breads in just about every grocery store. Of course, you’ll want double check the ingredients list.
If you are at a bakery, you may have to ask one of the employees about what’s actually in the bread.
Should I Only Eat Gluten Free Vegan Bread?
Certain medical conditions, like Celiac Disease require a strict gluten free diet, they should cut out a lot of commonly available breads (although there are certified gluten free breads). P.S.: Even with Celiac disease, you don’t have to eat those gluten free breads. There are plenty of other gluten free starches to enjoy.
Bottom line: if you don’t require a diet that is free from gluten, I wouldn’t cut it out personally!
Gluten containing foods, such as whole grain bread, are another way to get important nutrients.
Needlessly giving up gluten without medical indication is not recommended by many health professionals.
What Vegan Bread Is the Healthiest?
Did you know some breads can contain lots of sodium and a fair amount of added sugar?
Sodium and added sugar are two things (among others) the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 suggest we be more mindful of.
So with that being said, here are some tips for choosing a generally healthier bread than what is typically available:
- Go for whole grain bread most of the time.
- Watch the sodium (consider looking for breads with <140 milligrams or less per serving).
- Look for low or no added sugar.
To learn more about these tips, including information about sprouted grains, check out our post, Plant Based Breads 101!
And lastly, what might be healthy for you may be different for someone else. It’s also important to keep context in mind. Consider how the type of bread you choose might fit into your overall dietary pattern.
Vegan Bread Recipes
Mhhmm the smell of freshly baked bread!
Here are some vegan bread recipes we thought sounded Ah-maze-ing!
- Homemade 100% Whole Wheat Bread by Chris Petrellese from Sweet Simple Vegan
- Healthy Whole Wheat Pita Bread (No Oil or Sugar) By Anniestte
Subbing Non Vegan Ingredients
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/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 has a certain medical conditions in which gluten or wheat is contraindicated, they might not be able to eat many common breads. Talk to your doctor about your specific needs.
Did this post clarify what breads are compatible with a vegan diet? Leave us a comment below!
If you would like to learn more about keeping things 100% plant based, why not explore our blog? We go over more vegan food topics including Can vegans Eat Peanut Butter? and Costco Vegan Food.
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