Is Jello Pudding Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

July 25, 2023

It can be quite challenging to identify whether a product like Jell-O pudding is vegan. 

Often, manufacturers obscure the true nature and source of their ingredients, which can make understanding what we’re really consuming rather difficult. 

This article aims to unravel the truth, assisting you, dear reader, in supporting your vegan lifestyle and continuing your commitment to a healthy planet and its inhabitants.

Is Jello Pudding Vegan?

Regrettably, traditional Jell-O Pudding is not vegan.

The major factor disqualifying Jell-O pudding as a vegan dessert option is the inclusion of dairy milk, an ingredient derived directly from animals. The “natural flavors” included in the product can also be sourced from either plant or animal, and the manufacturers do not specify which they use. 

These animal-derived ingredients go against the vegan lifestyle’s core principle, which excludes all animal products.

Is Jello Pudding Cruelty-Free?

Unfortunately, Jell-O Pudding is not entirely cruelty-free.

This is because the dairy milk used in the recipe is sourced from the dairy industry, where cows are often kept in less than ideal conditions. By purchasing products containing dairy, we indirectly support these practices. Therefore, Jell-O pudding cannot be considered a cruelty-free product.

What Is Jello Pudding Made Of?

Jell-O pudding is a simple concoction of various ingredients. Here are the main components:

  • Sugar
  • Modified food starch
  • Cocoa (in chocolate pudding)
  • Disodium phosphate
  • Natural and artificial flavor
  • Salt
  • Dairy milk


Sugar, the main sweetener in Jello Pudding, is typically derived from sugarcane or sugar beets, making it a plant-based ingredient. However, in some regions, sugar can be processed using bone char, a material derived from animal bones, which raises concerns among vegans.

Modified food starch

Modified food starch comes from various plant sources like corn, wheat, or potatoes, making it a vegan-friendly ingredient. Its purpose is to improve the texture and consistency of the pudding.


Cocoa, used in chocolate pudding flavors, is a plant-based ingredient sourced from the cocoa bean. However, ethical considerations exist regarding the fair trade and labor practices of cocoa production.

Disodium phosphate

Disodium phosphate is a synthetic ingredient used to adjust the pudding’s acidity and improve its texture. It is considered vegan because it isn’t derived from animal products.

Natural and artificial flavor

These can come from a wide range of sources, both plant based and animal based. Without specific information from the manufacturer, it’s impossible to determine their vegan status definitively.


Salt is a naturally occurring mineral and is vegan friendly.

Dairy Milk

Dairy milk is an animal-derived product and is, therefore, not vegan. It’s used in Jell-O Pudding to give it a rich, creamy texture.

Vegan Alternatives to Jello Pudding

Thankfully, there are many vegan-friendly pudding alternatives that serve as delicious desserts while respecting the planet and its inhabitants. These include:

  • Vegan pudding mixes available at many grocery stores
  • Instant pudding mixes that only require the addition of a non-dairy milk substitute like almond milk, soy milk, oat milk, rice milk, or coconut milk
  • Homemade pudding recipes using plant-based milks and thickening agents like agar agar

Examples of specific vegan pudding brands include Simply Delish Natural Instant Pudding, European Gourmet Bakery Organics Pudding Mix, and WayFare Dairy Free Pudding.


While traditional Jell-O pudding is not vegan or cruelty-free due to its dairy milk content, several delicious alternatives can satisfy your sweet tooth without compromising your values. 

Whether it’s store-bought vegan pudding mixes or a homemade treat using plant-based milk, you can enjoy eating sweets that align with your commitment to a vegan lifestyle. 

As vegans, we must continue to scrutinize food products and manufacturers to ensure our choices align with our values of respecting all forms of life and taking care of our planet.