Is Kosher Gelatin Vegan and Cruelty Free?

August 10, 2023

Identifying whether a particular food product is vegan can be a challenging task. 

The reason for this complexity often lies in the fact that manufacturers tend to hide the true nature and sources of their ingredients. 

Fear not! This article aims to lift the veil on the truth, helping you make informed decisions that align with your compassionate, planet-friendly vegan lifestyle.

Is Kosher Gelatin Vegan?

No, kosher gelatin is not vegan.

The reason lies within its very ingredients. Kosher gelatin is typically derived from kosher animals, such as fish, or from kosher-certified beef bones and hides. 

The gelatin-making process involves boiling these animal parts, particularly bones and connective tissues, to extract gelatinous proteins, namely collagen. This means that the product involves the use of animal products, thus disqualifying it from being considered vegan.

Is Kosher Gelatin Cruelty-Free?

Regrettably, kosher gelatin is also not cruelty-free. The production of kosher gelatin requires the use of animal bones, hides, or fish gelatin. Therefore, it is directly connected to the harm and death of animals. 

Although kosher food follows strict Jewish dietary laws, including specific guidelines on how kosher animals should be treated and slaughtered, it doesn’t alleviate the fundamental concern of vegans: the use of animal products.

What Is Kosher Gelatin Made Of?

Kosher gelatin is a specialized type of gelatin that adheres to the regulations of kashrut, the Jewish dietary law. Unlike regular gelatin, which is often derived from pig bones, skin, and connective tissues, kosher gelatin is made from sources permissible under Jewish dietary laws.

Here are the primary ingredients found in kosher gelatin:

  • Kosher animal gelatin
  • Fish gelatin
  • Agar-agar
  • Carrageenan

Kosher Animal Gelatin

Kosher animal gelatin is typically derived from the bones and hides of kosher-slaughtered cows. It plays a crucial role in providing the texture and structural stability to the product, just like traditional gelatin does in non-kosher food items. While it is permissible under Jewish dietary laws, it is not vegan because it involves the use of animal-derived materials.

Fish Gelatin

Fish gelatin, another common ingredient in kosher gelatin, is derived from the skin and bones of kosher fish species. It acts as a gelling agent, similar to other types of gelatin, helping the product maintain its shape and consistency. As this ingredient is derived from animals (in this case, fish), it is not considered vegan.


Agar-agar is a plant-based alternative to animal-derived gelatin. It is extracted from certain types of seaweed and is a popular ingredient in many vegan and vegetarian recipes. It also acts as a gelling agent and gives the product its firm, gel-like consistency. Being plant derived, agar-agar is indeed vegan friendly.


Carrageenan is a substance extracted from red and purple seaweeds, and is often used as a food additive for its gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties. In kosher gelatin, carrageenan aids in enhancing the texture and consistency of the product. 

Because carrageenan is a plant-derived substance, it is considered vegan. However, it should be noted that its use is somewhat controversial due to potential health concerns, although more research is needed to fully understand its effects.

Vegan Alternatives to Kosher Gelatin

There are many alternatives to kosher gelatin that uphold the principles of veganism, promoting both the health of the planet and those who live on it. Here are some fantastic vegan gelatin alternatives:

  • Agar-agar: This vegan gelatin alternative is derived from cooked and pressed seaweed. It offers similar gelling properties to traditional gelatin.
  • Irish moss: Also known as carrageenan, Irish moss is a type of seaweed that can be used as a thickening agent.
  • Vegetable gums: Sourced from a variety of plants, these can provide a similar texture to gelatin in food products.

Remember, when seeking vegan alternatives, always look for products marked with a certified vegan label to ensure they meet vegan standards.


To conclude, kosher gelatin, while adhering to the Jewish dietary laws, is neither vegan or cruelty-free due to its use of animal sources such as bones and hides from kosher animals or bones from kosher fish. 

For those following a vegan lifestyle, consider alternatives offered by various brands like agar agar, Irish moss, or vegetable gums, which can mimic the texture of gelatin without harming our animal friends or the planet. 

Keep championing animal rights and making choices that respect all life on earth!