Is Dunkin’ Chai Vegan and Cruelty Free? The Very Dairy Truth

Trying to work out if the Dunkin’ Donuts chai latte and iced chai latte are vegan friendly can be difficult.

Restaurant chains often hide their ingredients behind vague terms such as “natural flavors,” and even if they do provide a full list of ingredients, deciphering whether they’re derived from animals or not can be tricky.

To ensure that you are only consuming food that aligns with your vegan diet and lifestyle, I’ve looked into the ingredients and production process of Dunkin’ chai.

Here’s what I found out.

Is Dunkin’ Chai Vegan?

No. The Dunkin’ chai latte and iced chai latte are not vegan.

Chai is a type of spiced tea that traditionally contains milk. Dunkin’s chai latte mix contains milk, a questionable natural flavor, and refined cane sugar.

Milk is already a big no-no for vegans because it is a dairy product that comes from cows. Unfortunately, Dunkin’ currently only offers dairy-based skim and whole milk for their chai latte. This automatically makes it unsuitable for vegans.

As for the natural flavor, it can be derived from both animal and plant sources, and Dunkin’ has not specified what type of natural flavor is in its chai latte. This means that it could be animal derived.

The last ingredient, cane sugar, is usually vegan unless it has been processed with bone char. Dunkin’ has not specified how their cane sugar is processed, so I can’t say for sure if it is vegan, but a lot of sugar in the US is still filtered through bone char, although companies are moving away from this practice. Slowly.

So, unfortunately, Dunkin’ chai is not currently vegan.

Is Dunkin’ Chai Cruelty Free?

Yes! Dunkin’ chai latte is cruelty free.

Dunkin’ Donuts’ chai latte is not tested on animals, nor does it contain ingredients that have been tested on animals.

Dunkin’ Donuts has a strict humane animal welfare policy that it adheres to in all areas of its business.

Animal testing is a cruel and outdated practice that only leaves animal suffering in its wake. Dunkin’ Donuts’ commitment to not testing on animals makes them a cruelty-free company.

Fortunately, companies have been moving away from animal testing in recent years and are instead finding alternative methods that don’t involve animals.

Dunkin’ Donuts is one of many food brands that have made the switch to cruelty-free practices, so people who are against animal cruelty can enjoy its products without worrying about the animals involved in making them.

So, although Dunkin’ chai is not vegan, it is cruelty free!

What Is Dunkin’ Chai Made Of?

Here are the ingredients of Dunkin’ chai hot latte with whole milk:

  • Milk
  • Brewed chai tea extract (filtered water, black tea, chai spice)
  • Cane sugar
  • Natural flavors
  • Xanthan gum
  • Potassium sorbate (preservative)
  • Citric acid
  • Sodium benzoate (preservative)

Let’s break down each ingredient of Dunkin’ chai:

Milk

Milk is a dairy product that comes from cows. It is white, creamy, and contains fat, lactose, and protein. Milk is not a vegan ingredient.

Water

Water is a vegan ingredient used to steep tea and coffee. It is also used as a solvent in Dunkin’s chai tea syrup.

Black tea

Black tea is a type of tea that is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. It is usually fermented and has a slightly bitter taste. Black tea is vegan.

Chai spices 

Chai spices vary depending on the recipe, though traditionally it includes cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper. In Dunkin’ chai latte, its chai spices include cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg. Brewed chai tea extract is vegan.

Cane sugar

Cane sugar is a type of sugar that is made from sugar cane. It is usually vegan unless it has been processed with bone char. Dunkin’ has not specified how their cane sugar is processed, so I can’t say for sure if it is vegan.

Natural flavors

Natural flavors can be derived from both animal and plant sources, and Dunkin’ has not specified what type of natural flavor is in its chai latte. This means that it could be animal derived.

Xanthan gum

Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide that is used as a thickening agent, emulsifier, and stabilizer. It is mostly derived from plants, so Xanthan gum is considered vegan.

Potassium sorbate (preservative)

Potassium sorbate is a preservative that is used to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. Potassium sorbate is vegan.

Citric acid

Citric acid is a weak organic acid that is found in citrus fruits. It is used as a preservative, flavor enhancer, and chelating agent. Citric acid is vegan.

Sodium benzoate (preservative)

Sodium benzoate is a preservative that is used to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. Sodium benzoate is vegan.

Why Isn’t Dunkin’ Chai Vegan?

Dunkin’ chai is not vegan because it contains some non-vegan ingredients, particularly milk, as well as a questionable natural flavor and cane sugar. Natural flavor and cane sugar may be vegan friendly, but Dunkin’ does not specify how these ingredients are sourced or processed.

If you’re looking for a vegan alternative to the Dunkin’ chai latte, there are plenty of other chai lattes on the market that are made with plant-based milk and without any animal products.

Is Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Chai Hot Latte Vegan?

No. Dunkin’ Donuts pumpkin chai hot latte is not vegan. It contains milk and sugar.

Dunkin’ Donuts pumpkin chai hot latte is not safe for vegan consumption.

Is Dunkin’ Donuts Frozen Chai Latte Vegan?

No. Dunkin’ Donuts frozen chai latte is not vegan. It contains milk and sugar.

Dunkin’ Donuts frozen chai latte is not safe for vegan consumption.

Are Dunkin’ Donuts’ Sesame Bagels Vegan?

No. Dunkin’ Donuts sesame bagels are not vegan because they contain refined sugar.

Dunkin’ sesame bagels are not safe for vegan consumption.

Are Dunkin’ Donuts’ Everything Bagels With Cream Cheese Vegan?

No. Dunkin’ Donuts everything bagels are not vegan because they contain refined sugar, and cream cheese is a dairy product..

Everything bagels with cream cheese are not safe for vegan consumption.

Is Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Chai Latte with Pumpkin Cold Foam Vegan?

No. Dunkin’ Donuts iced latte with chai and pumpkin cold foam is not vegan. It contains milk, cream, and sugar.

Dunkin’ Donuts iced latte with chai pumpkin cold foam is not safe for vegan consumption.

Is Dunkin’ Donuts Almond Milk Dairy Alternative Vegan?

No. Dunkin’ Donuts almond milk is not vegan. Almond milk, oat milk, or coconut milk, are always offered as a vegan dairy alternative, however, almond milk contains questionable sugar.

The almond milk at Dunkin’ is not safe for vegan consumption.

Is Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Macchiato Vegan?

Actually, yes, with caveats. If you order this iced latte with a milk alternative and no flavor swirl or sweetener, it’s vegan. Whether it will taste good without a flavor swirl or sweetener is another story. 

Dunkin’ Donuts’ plain iced macchiato is safe for vegan consumption.

Is Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Matcha Latte Vegan?

No. The iced matcha latte at Dunkin’ is made with either skim milk or whole milk and contains refined sugar.

This iced coffee product with matcha is not safe for vegan consumption.

Is Dunkin’ Donuts’ Whipped Cream Vegan?

No. Dunkin’ does not currently offer a whipped cream made with a milk alternative. Dunkin’s whipped cream is made with milk, cream, and mono- and diglycerides.

Dunkin’s whipped cream is not safe for vegan consumption.

Are There Any Vegan Options at Dunkin’ Donuts?

Yes, there are! These are the only vegan drinks on the Dunkin’ Donuts menu:

  • Plain coffee (hot/iced coffee)
  • Oat milk coffee
  • Coconut milk coffee
  • Iced macchiato (with oat milk and coconut milk)
  • Cold brew coffee
  • Hot tea
  • Iced tea (except sweetened ones like iced green tea)
  • Iced latte (with oat milk or coconut milk)

Dunkin’ also claims the following vegan menu items: 

  • Cinnamon raisin bagel
  • Sesame bagel
  • English muffin
  • Toasted almond flavor shot
  • Hazelnut flavor shot
  • Mocha swirl frozen coffee

However, all of these menu items contain questionable sugar and/or mono- and diglycerides, both of which are gray ingredients because of the way they are more commonly processed and/or sourced with an animal product. So while Dunkin’ might claim its cinnamon raisin bagel is vegan, until it discloses the source of its sugar, you can’t be certain.

As a vegan, it is your call if you still want to order them.

Vegan Alternatives to Dunkin’ Chai

Looking for some Chai tea to warm you up? Check out these chai tea powder mixes that would be perfect with non-dairy milk:

Next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to check the labels of your favorite chai latte to see if it’s vegan! You might be surprised at how many vegan drinks are out there.

Final Words

So there you have it! Dunkin’ chai is not vegan. However, there are plenty of vegan chai lattes on the market that you can enjoy. Be sure to check the labels of your favorite products to see if they’re vegan before you buy them.

As always, be sure to do your own research to make the best decisions for your lifestyle.