Is Pillsbury Frosting Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

September 15, 2023

Identifying whether a product like Pillsbury Frosting is vegan can often be difficult.

This difficulty arises because manufacturers conceal the true nature and source of their ingredients.

However, this article aims to uncover the truth and provide you, the reader, with valuable information to support your compassionate, vegan lifestyle.

Is Pillsbury Frosting Vegan?

No, Pillsbury Frosting is not entirely vegan. The primary reason is the inclusion of sugar, which may be processed with bone char, making it non-vegan. Additionally, some artificial colors are derived from animal sources, and mono- and diglycerides are often sourced from animals as well.

Is Pillsbury Frosting Cruelty-Free?

No, Pillsbury Frosting is not cruelty-free. The product contains palm oil, which is associated with habitat destruction and harm to wildlife. Moreover, the inclusion of corn syrup and corn starch raises concerns because these ingredients are usually GMO, and GMO products are tested on animals, as are artificial colors.

What Is Pillsbury Frosting Made Of?

Pillsbury Frosting is made of a variety of ingredients, some of which raise concerns for vegans and those seeking cruelty-free products. Here’s a list of its ingredients:

  • Sugar
  • Palm oil
  • Water
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn starch
  • Canola oil
  • Artificial flavor
  • Salt
  • Mono and diglycerides
  • Artificial color
  • Polysorbate 60
  • Modified corn starch
  • Potassium sorbate (Preservative)
  • Soy lecithin
  • Xanthan gum
  • Citric acid
  • Antioxidants (Ascorbyl palmitate, mixed tocopherols, chamomile and rosemary extracts)


Derived from sugarcane or sugar beets. It’s used for sweetness. However, it might be processed with bone char, making it non-vegan.

Palm Oil

Derived from the fruit of the palm tree. It’s used for texture and consistency. Its production is linked to deforestation and habitat destruction.


A universal solvent, water is used in many food products to achieve the desired consistency. It’s vegan friendly and cruelty-free.

Corn Syrup

Derived from corn. It’s used as a sweetener. It can be GMO, raising concerns about animal testing.

Corn Starch

Derived from the endosperm of the corn kernel, corn starch is used as a thickening agent. It can be GMO, which raises concerns about animal testing.

Canola Oil

Extracted from the seeds of the canola plant, this oil is used for its smooth texture and neutral flavor. It’s vegan friendly, but its cultivation can have environmental impacts.

Artificial Flavor

These are chemically derived flavors used to enhance the taste of the product. The source can be either plant based or animal based, making its vegan status uncertain without further information.


A mineral used for seasoning and preserving food. It’s vegan friendly.

Mono- and Diglycerides

These are fats used as emulsifiers to blend ingredients together. They can be derived from plant or animal sources, so their vegan status is uncertain without specific details.

Artificial Color

Used to give the product its color. Some artificial colors are derived from animal sources, including bugs! All artificial colors are tested on animals.

Polysorbate 60

A synthetic compound used as an emulsifier. It’s derived from palm oil or petroleum and is considered vegan, but the palm oil source raises environmental concerns.

Modified Corn Starch

It’s corn starch that has been chemically altered to improve its properties. Like regular corn starch, it can be GMO.

Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)

A salt of sorbic acid, it’s used to inhibit the growth of mold and yeast. It’s synthetically produced and is vegan friendly.

Soy Lecithin

Derived from soybeans. It’s used as an emulsifier. It’s vegan friendly.

Xanthan Gum

A thickening agent derived from bacteria. It’s vegan friendly.

Citric Acid

Derived from citrus fruits, citric acid is used to preserve the product and provide a sour flavor. It’s vegan friendly.

Antioxidants (Ascorbyl Palmitate, Mixed Tocopherols, Chamomile and Rosemary Extracts)

  • Ascorbyl palmitate: A fat-soluble form of vitamin C. It’s vegan friendly.
  • Mixed tocopherols: A form of vitamin E, used to prevent oxidation. They are vegan friendly.
  • Chamomile and rosemary extracts: Plant-derived extracts used for flavor and their antioxidant properties. Both are vegan friendly.

Vegan Alternatives to Pillsbury Frosting

If you’re looking for vegan alternatives to Pillsbury Frosting, you’re in luck! There are several brands and products that offer vegan frosting options.

Some popular vegan frosting brands include Betty Crocker Frosting Vegan and Simple Mills Organic Frosting.

Additionally, you can explore homemade recipes that use organic powdered sugar, dairy-free milk, and vegan butter to create a delightful vegan buttercream frosting.

Remember, always check the ingredient list to ensure it aligns with your vegan diet.


Navigating the world of vegan and cruelty-free food can be challenging, especially when manufacturers aren’t transparent about their ingredients. While Pillsbury Frosting might seem like a tempting choice, it’s essential to be aware of its non-vegan and non-cruelty-free components.

Fortunately, with the rise of veganism, there are numerous alternative brands available that align with a compassionate lifestyle. Always stay informed and make choices that resonate with your values.