Are Joe-Joe’s Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

July 19, 2023

Identifying whether or not a product is vegan can be quite a challenge. 

This difficulty often stems from manufacturers obfuscating the true nature and sources of their ingredients. 

This article aims to demystify this challenge, bringing you the truth about Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s cookies and aiding you in maintaining a committed vegan lifestyle.

Are Joe-Joe’s Vegan?

Regrettably, Trader Joe’s Joe-Joe’s are not vegan. The reason is that they contain milk and sugar, two ingredients known to be non-vegan. Milk, being a direct animal derivative, is the obvious offender here. 

But you should also be wary of the sugar in Joe-Joe’s. Some sugar is processed using bone char from animals, making it unsuitable for those strictly adhering to a vegan diet. 

Are Joe-Joe’s Cruelty-Free?

Despite not being vegan, Joe-Joe’s are considered cruelty-free. This is because the term “cruelty-free” often refers to whether a product was tested on animals or not. None of the ingredients in Joe-Joe’s cookies are tested on animals, which grants them their cruelty-free status.

What Are Joe-Joe’s Made Of?

Here’s a brief overview of what goes into the making of Joe-Joe’s:

  • Enriched flour
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable oils
  • Cocoa processed with alkali
  • Cornstarch
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Soy lecithin
  • Natural and artificial flavors
  • Milk

Enriched flour

Enriched flour is simply refined flour to which certain nutrients have been added back after processing. It comes from wheat, a plant source, thus it’s vegan.


Sugar comes from either cane or beets, which are plant-based sources. However, some cane sugars are refined using bone char, a non-vegan process. Trader Joe’s has not revealed whether its sugar is processed with bone char. Thus, its vegan status can be ambiguous.

Vegetable oils

Vegetable oils, derived from various plant sources, are vegan.

Cocoa processed with alkali

Also known as dutch-process cocoa, this ingredient is derived from the cocoa bean, which is vegan.


Cornstarch is a thickening agent derived from corn, a plant-based source, making it vegan.


Salt is a mineral and is therefore vegan.

Baking soda

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a chemical compound and is vegan.

Soy lecithin

Soy lecithin is derived from soybeans, a plant source, and thus is vegan.

Natural and artificial flavors

These flavors can come from both animal or plant sources. Without specific information, it is hard to determine if they are vegan.


Milk is an animal-derived ingredient, thus not vegan.

Vegan Alternatives to Joe-Joe’s

If you love Joe-Joe’s but are looking for vegan alternatives, here are some options:

  • Oreo cookies: Known as “accidentally vegan,” these famous sandwich cookies are dairy-free and make an excellent alternative.
  • Trader Joe’s Thai Vegetable Gyoza: If you’re just wondering if good ol’ Trader Joe has vegan options, you’re in luck. Delicious and filled with vegan goodness, these gyoza are a great savory alternative.
  • Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo: A fantastic meat-free option for those looking to add some spice to their meals.

There are also many other Trader Joe’s vegan products that you can enjoy, such as brown rice, Taiwanese green onion pancakes, vegan caramelized onion dip, baked tofu, coconut milk, soy sauce, and basil pesto.


In conclusion, while Trader Joe’s brand Joe-Joe’s cookies are cruelty-free, they unfortunately are not vegan due to the inclusion of milk and potentially non-vegan sugar. 

However, for those seeking out alternative foods, there are many delicious and satisfying vegan products available, both from Trader Joe’s and other manufacturers, that can satisfy your cravings and adhere to your ethical choices. 

Keep an eye out for more vegan-friendly snacks and remember — your choices make a difference for the animals and our planet!