Are Skittles Vegan?

Diving into the world of veganism can raise many questions, especially when it comes to the candies you may have loved before. One such candy that might cross your mind is Skittles, those vibrant and flavorful treats that urge you to “taste the rainbow.” You must be curious to know if Skittles fit into your vegan lifestyle.

Worry no more, as we unravel the information behind Skittles and their ingredients. Once upon a time, Skittles contained gelatin and carmine, but now they are entirely plant-based. Both original and sour Skittles can happily be enjoyed by vegans. Let’s explore further and discover everything you need to know about Skittles as a vegan candy option.

Key Takeaways

  • Skittles are a vegan-friendly candy option
  • Both original and sour Skittles are plant-based
  • Skittles used to contain non-vegan ingredients, but they have since been removed

What Exactly Are Skittles?

Skittles are tiny, round candies with a delightful blend of gumdrops and jellybeans. These sugary treats were invented by Wrigley, an English company that eventually became part of Mars Wrigley Confectionery, a global leader in producing chocolate, gum, mints, and other confections. Focusing on mass production, the company occasionally creates vegan-friendly products by accident, making them suitable for a guilt-free indulgence now and then.

These little candies come in five vibrant colors, each representing a unique flavor: strawberry, lemon, lime, grape, and orange. But remember, these fruity flavors come from artificial sources – so don’t expect a true serving of real fruit when enjoying these sweets. Skittles are a fun, tasty treat that can brighten up your day and bring a bit of nostalgia with each bite.

What Are The Ingredients in Skittles?


The main ingredient in Skittles, sugar provides sweetness to these candies. Although sugar is plant-based, it is important to note that it can sometimes be processed with bone char, which might concern some vegans. However, since this element is not present in the final product, sugar is still mostly regarded as vegan.

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup provides a natural sweetness to Skittles and offers the candy its chewy texture. This ingredient is different from high fructose corn syrup and is not derived from animal-based gelatin.

Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil

Widely used in processed foods, hydrogenated palm kernel oil is a tropical oil that is high in saturated fat and provides stability at room temperature. Though technically vegan, concerns about the palm oil industry’s ethical and environmental impact lead some vegans to avoid products containing it.

Citric Acid

Found in citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, citric acid adds a zesty, tangy, or even sour flavor to Skittles, enhancing their taste.

Tapioca Dextrin

Derived from tapioca, this simple starch serves as a binder and coating for candies and various other products. It is commonly found in pudding and boba tea.

Modified Corn Starch

Modified corn starch is slightly different from regular cornstarch and is not genetically modified. Instead, it has gone through various processing methods to achieve different properties.

Natural and Artificial Flavors

While Skittles don’t contain actual fruit, they do include natural and artificial flavors to mimic the taste of fruit. Keep in mind that these candies are meant to be enjoyed as treats within a balanced diet.

Artificial Colors

Skittles contain various artificial colors, including Red 40 Lake, Titanium Dioxide, Red 40, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 5, Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 6, Blue 2 Lake, Blue 1, and Blue 1 Lake. Although these colors are synthetic, they are an improvement from earlier versions, which used carmine derived from crushed beetles. However, it’s worth noting that some color agents have been tested on animals.

Sodium Citrate

Sodium citrate is a mildly tart salt that helps maintain the pH balance in confectionery. Balancing the pH is essential for achieving the desired taste and texture in candies like Skittles.

Carnauba Wax

Carnauba wax, derived from the carnauba plant, provides a shiny finish to Skittles and prevents them from sticking together. This plant-based wax is a better alternative to non-vegan coatings like confectioners glaze, often found on other candies and sprinkles.

What Does That Mean?! Are Skittles Vegan or Not?

Good news! Skittles are indeed vegan, as they’re made from entirely plant-based ingredients. So, if you’re following a vegan lifestyle, you can enjoy Skittles without any worry about animal-derived products. However, there’s a minor concern about sugar processing, but it doesn’t take away from their overall vegan-friendly nature.

Besides being vegan, Skittles are:

  • vegetarian
  • plant-based (although not the healthy whole foods type!)
  • dairy-free
  • gelatin-free
  • free from carmine (E120 or cochineal)
  • gluten-free
  • kosher

For those with severe allergies, consult the manufacturer for further information. Enjoy this tasty treat as part of your vegan diet!

Skittles Flavor Variations

For a delightful twist in your candy experience, explore these exceptional vegan Skittle options:

  • Original Skittles: featuring strawberry, grape, lemon, lime, and orange.
  • Sour Skittles: a tangy twist on the original flavors.
  • Sweets & Sour Skittles: a mix of sweet and sour tastes.
  • Sweet Heat Skittles: spicy fruit flavors adding some heat.
  • Wild Berry Skittles: a delicious blend of berry-inspired flavors.
  • Tropical Skittles: perfect for a taste of a tropical paradise.
  • Brightside Skittles: optimistic and uplifting fruity combinations.
  • Darkside Skittles: mysterious and intriguing flavors.

Remember to keep an eye on new releases, as their ingredients may vary. Enjoy these flavorful choices!

Entertaining Skittles Tidbits

Did you know that Skittles rank among the top 5 favorite candies in America, particularly during Halloween? They can be found in over 60 countries worldwide. Additionally, approximately 200 million Skittles are produced daily, tallying up to an impressive 70 billion sugary delights annually.

Homemade Skittles?

Though it requires patience and specific ingredients, you can actually create your own Skittles at home! For guidance, watch this video along with its provided recipe.

A gourmet version has been presented by Bon Appetit, but note that it isn’t entirely vegan due to the use of gelatin in the outer coating. You could try substituting powdered agar as a vegan alternative, but it may prove to be a complex process with no guarantees of success.

In any case, it might be simpler to just grab a bag of Skittles from the store, since they are completely vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, and kosher. Skittles are also gluten-free and produced in gluten-free facilities, making them safe for celiac consumption. However, the kosher status of Skittles has faced some challenges in the past.

For many years, Skittles were not considered kosher, as they contained carmine and gelatin. In 2009, the Orthodox Union announced that Skittles carried an unauthorized kosher symbol, causing confusion in the community. Nevertheless, the KLBD eventually clarified that Skittles were kosher-certified by their Beit Din. Despite the uncertainties, kosher-certified Skittles have been produced for the Israeli market for quite some time.

More Guides on Vegan Sweets

You can explore more about vegan candies with these useful resources:

  • Comprehensive Vegan Candy Guide
  • Vegan Halloween Treats Guide
  • Candy Cane Smoothie Recipe
  • Is Swedish Fish Vegan?

Feel free to share any additional questions or thoughts in the comments below. Your continuous support of our work at World of Vegan is much appreciated!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Vegans Eat US Skittles?

Yes, US Skittles are vegan. They no longer contain gelatin, which is an animal-derived ingredient.

Do Skittles Follow Halal Dietary Guidelines?

Yes, Skittles are considered halal, as they don’t contain any ingredients derived from animals forbidden by Islamic dietary laws.

What About The Red Skittle – Is It Vegan?

Yes, the red Skittle is also vegan. The food coloring used in the red Skittle does not contain any animal-derived ingredients.

Are Sour Skittles Vegan-Friendly?

Yes, sour Skittles are vegan as well. They don’t have any ingredients that are derived from animals.

Do Skittles Meet Vegan and Gluten-Free Standards?

Yes, Skittles are both vegan and gluten-free. They don’t contain animal-derived ingredients or gluten, so they’re safe for those following vegan and gluten-free diets.

When Was The Vegan Change Made to Skittles?

Skittles became vegan in the US in 2010 when the manufacturer removed gelatin, the non-vegan ingredient, from the recipe.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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