Are Cheez-Its Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

September 11, 2023

Identifying whether or not a product is vegan can be a daunting task.

The difficulty lies in the convoluted ways manufacturers often hide the nature and source of their ingredients.

Fear not! This article is here to unveil the truth and assist you in your commitment to living a compassionate vegan lifestyle.

Are Cheez-Its Vegan?

Unfortunately, the answer is no, Cheez-Its are not vegan.

They contain milk and dairy products, which are derived from animals, specifically cheddar cheese, skim milk, and whey protein. These ingredients are not vegan friendly, so they make Cheez-Its a no-go for our vegan friends.

Are Cheez-Its Cruelty-Free?

Cheez-Its are also not cruelty-free. One of the vegetable oils listed as an ingredient in Cheez-It Crackers is palm oil. The growing and harvesting of palm oil wreaks havoc on animal habitats in Southeast Asia and is an ingredient of considerable controversy. It’s not cruelty-free.

What Are Cheez-Its Made Of?

Here’s a quick rundown of all the ingredients you’d find in the original flavor cheese lovers’ Cheez-Its:

  • Enriched flour: wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate [vitamin B1], riboflavin [vitamin B2], folic acid
  • Vegetable oil: high oleic soybean, soybean, palm, and/or canola oil with TBHQ for freshness
  • Cheese made with skim milk: skim milk, whey protein, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, annatto extract for color
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  • Yeast
  • Paprika oleoresin for color
  • Soy lecithin

Enriched Flour

This flour is a combination of wheat flour with added vitamins and minerals. It’s vegan-friendly as it originates from wheat.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is plant based and therefore vegan. It contributes to the texture and flavor of Cheez-Its. However, palm oil, one of the oils used in this product, is not cruelty-free.


This is a mixture of skim milk, whey protein, cheese cultures, salt, and enzymes. As it involves milk, a dairy product, it’s not suitable for a vegan diet.


Salt is a mineral and thus, vegan.


Paprika is a spice made from ground sweet and hot dried peppers. It’s vegan and adds color and flavor to the crackers.


Yeast is a type of fungus and therefore vegan. It contributes to the flavor profile of the crackers.

Soy Lecithin

Derived from soybeans, soy lecithin is vegan friendly. It acts as an emulsifier, helping the other ingredients blend together smoothly.

Vegan Alternatives to Cheez-Its

Fortunately for vegan cheese cracker lovers, there are numerous vegan alternatives to Cheez-Its out there. These products use vegan cheese, vegan butter, gluten-free flour (like almond flour, chickpea flour, or corn flour), and other plant-based ingredients to deliver that satisfying cheesy crunch:

If you’re a fan of making your own food and snacks, why not try creating homemade vegan “cheez” crackers using nutritional yeast for that “cheesy” flavor and almond meal or gluten-free flour? These can be a fun and healthy project! Try this recipe from the Minimalist Baker!


While it’s unfortunate for vegans that Cheez-Its are neither vegan nor cruelty-free, there are plenty of vegan cheese crackers available that replicate the beloved snack without compromising on taste or texture.

And you can always get adventurous and make your own vegan cheese crackers at home.

With many vegan alternative brands in the market, it is now easier than ever to enjoy the cheesy crunch you love, while also loving and respecting our planet and its inhabitants.