Are Cheetos Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

July 26, 2023

Identifying whether or not a product is vegan can be tough. This complexity often arises from food brands that conceal the origin and nature of their ingredients. But fear not, dear reader! This article aims to unravel the truth and guide you on your noble journey to a vegan lifestyle.

Are Cheetos Vegan?

Unfortunately, Cheetos are not vegan. The ingredients that make Cheetos unsuitable for a vegan diet include cheese seasoning, which contains both whey and cheddar cheese​​ , and cheese cultures that can potentially be derived from animal sources​​.

Are Cheetos Cruelty-Free?

Because Cheetos contain dairy-based ingredients, they cannot be considered cruelty-free. Dairy production often involves practices that are harmful to animals, making any product containing dairy ingredients, like cheese and whey protein concentrate, not cruelty-free.

What Are Cheetos Made Of?

Cheetos are made of the following ingredients:

  • Enriched corn meal
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cheese seasoning
  • Salt
  • Artificial flavors and colors

Each of these ingredients plays a role in giving Cheetos its addictive flavor and texture, but some of them are not vegan-friendly:

Enriched corn meal

Enriched corn meal, made from corn and additional nutrients, like folic acid, is a vegan-friendly ingredient​​. This ingredient gives Cheetos its base and crunchy texture.

Vegetable oil

Vegetable oil in Cheetos could be derived from corn, canola, or sunflowers. All these sources are plant based and suitable for a vegan diet​​.

Cheese seasoning

Cheese seasoning is a blend of various ingredients, including whey, cheddar cheese, and potentially animal-derived cheese cultures. These ingredients make Cheetos taste like cheese, but they are derived from milk, making them unsuitable for a vegan diet​​.


Salt is a mineral and is vegan-friendly.

Artificial flavors and colors

Additionally, Cheetos contain natural and artificial flavors and Yellow 6, an artificial color. These ingredients can be either plant-derived or animal-derived, and therefore, it’s essential to check with the manufacturer for more information​​.

Are Hot Cheetos Vegan?

No, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos contain the same animal-based ingredients as regular Cheetos. These spicy cheese-flavored snacks are not safe for vegan consumption.

Vegan Alternatives to Cheetos

There are many plant-based snacks that can satisfy your taste buds without the use of animal products. Here are some great vegan alternatives to Cheetos:

These snacks offer the same cheesy and spicy satisfaction as Cheetos, but are made with vegan-friendly ingredients.


While Cheetos might be a favorite snack for many, they, unfortunately, do not fit into a vegan or cruelty-free lifestyle due to the inclusion of dairy ingredients and potential animal-derived substances. 

However, the world of vegan snacks is vast and diverse, providing plenty of alternatives that are not only kind to animals and the planet but also a delight for the taste buds. Your commitment to a vegan diet is commendable, and we hope this article helps you make informed choices about the food you enjoy. 

Always remember, every step towards a more compassionate lifestyle makes a significant difference.