Is Dunkin’ Caramel Swirl Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

July 31, 2023

Identifying whether or not a product like Dunkin’s Caramel Swirl is vegan can be a rather difficult task. 

Manufacturers, including those at Dunkin Donuts, often shroud the nature and source of their ingredients behind a veil of obscurity. 

This article is here to shed light on these hidden details, supporting you in maintaining your compassionate vegan lifestyle.

Is Dunkin’s Caramel Swirl Vegan?

Unfortunately, Dunkin’s Caramel Swirl is not vegan. The primary reason for this lies in the use of dairy-based ingredients, specifically sweetened condensed milk. Sweetened condensed milk is derived from cow’s milk, a product that involves animal exploitation, thus violating the principles of a vegan lifestyle.

This flavor swirl also contains sugar, an ingredient that often contains bone char, the ground-up bones of animals. Bone char helps to refine the sugar and give its white color. In the supermarket, a sugar that’s labeled “unrefined,” “organic,” or “raw” is probably not processed with bone char.

Is Dunkin’s Caramel Swirl Cruelty-Free?

Once again, the news isn’t great. Dunkin’s Caramel Swirl is not considered cruelty-free. This is primarily because of the inclusion of sweetened condensed milk, which is a dairy product. Dairy farming typically involves the confinement and exploitation of cows, which is incompatible with the principles of a cruelty-free ethos.

What Is Dunkin’s Caramel Swirl Made Of?

Dunkin’s Caramel Swirl contains a variety of ingredients, which are listed below:

  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Natural and artificial flavor
  • Salt

Sweetened condensed milk

Sweetened condensed milk is a dairy product made from cow’s milk that has been concentrated and sweetened. It adds creaminess and sweetness to the Dunkin’s Caramel Swirl. Because it is a product of the dairy industry, it is not vegan.


Sugar is a sweetener derived from either sugarcane or sugar beets. It contributes to the sweetness of the Dunkin’s Caramel Swirl. While it can be vegan, it’s important to note that some sugar is processed using bone char from animals, making it non-vegan.


Water is a fundamental ingredient in many food products and is vegan.

Natural and artificial flavor

These ingredients provide the signature caramel flavor of the Dunkin’s Caramel Swirl. The source and composition can vary and can potentially be derived from both plant and animal sources, making them not strictly vegan.


Salt is a mineral and is vegan.

Vegan Alternatives to Dunkin’s Caramel Swirl

Your vegan options at Dunkin’ Donuts are rather limited. In fact, Dunkin’ still doesn’t serve any vegan donuts. Not a single vegan donut. While Dunkin’s Caramel Swirl may not align with your vegan lifestyle, there are plenty of delightful vegan drinks available at Dunkin Donuts. Dunkin also offers several dairy-free milk options, such as almond milk, oat milk, and coconut milk. 

You can opt for any one of the following coffee drinks or other beverages, just be sure to tell them no whipped cream, which doesn’t come with a vegan option:

Ensure you substitute any dairy milk with a nondairy milk. You can also order a hot or iced Chai Latte with nondairy milk, but the Chai Tea Syrup does contain cane sugar, which may be processed with bone char, which strict vegans prefer to avoid. So even the Chai Latte might not be a good choice at Dunkin’.

Many of the Flavor Shots at Dunkin’ are vegan, however, and you can add one to any beverage. Here are the vegan Flavor Shots at Dunkin’ Donuts:

  • Vanilla
  • Hazelnut
  • Toasted almond
  • Blueberry
  • Raspberry
  • Coconut

The Mocha Swirl flavor shot contains sugar, which we can’t guarantee doesn’t use bone char.


Navigating the world of vegan options can sometimes feel like walking through a minefield, especially when dealing with hidden and unclear ingredients in various brands

While Dunkin’s Caramel Swirl isn’t vegan or cruelty-free due to the inclusion of sweetened condensed milk and refined sugar, there are plenty of other delicious vegan options available. 

From an invigorating iced latte to a rich iced macchiato with almond milk and a vegan flavor shot, Dunkin Donuts continues to offer an array of choices to accommodate your vegan lifestyle.