Are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

September 19, 2023

Identifying whether Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are vegan can often be a challenging task.

This complexity stems from manufacturers who often obscure the true nature and source of their ingredients.

However, this article is here to unveil the truth and support you, the reader, on your noble journey towards a compassionate vegan lifestyle.

Are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Vegan?

No, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are not vegan. They contain ingredients such as milk chocolate, skim milk, milk fat, and lactose, which are derived from dairy and, hence, animal sources.

Are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Cruelty-Free?

No, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are not cruelty-free. The production process involves the use of dairy, which indicates that animals, specifically cows, are used in the manufacturing process. Dairy production is often linked with habitat destruction and inhumane conditions for the animals.

It also contains several ingredients that are tested on animals, including TBHQ and GMO-based ingredients, such as soy lecithin, sugar, and dextrose.

What Are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Made Of?

Let’s dive deeper into the components that make up this popular treat:

  • Milk chocolate
  • Sugar
  • Cocoa butter
  • Chocolate
  • Skim milk
  • Milk fat
  • Lactose
  • Lecithin (soy)
  • PGPR
  • Peanuts
  • Dextrose
  • Salt
  • TBHQ
  • Citric acid

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate is made from milk solids, cocoa, and sugar. It plays a significant role in giving Reese’s its sweet and creamy texture. It’s not vegan due to the inclusion of milk solids.


Sugar provides sweetness to the product. While sugar itself can be vegan, the refining process often uses bone char, which is derived from animals, making it non-vegan in many cases. It’s also often GMO.

Cocoa Butter

Derived from the cocoa bean, cocoa butter gives the chocolate its smooth texture. It’s vegan.


This is a mix of cocoa solids and other ingredients, potentially including milk, making it non-vegan in this context.

Skim Milk

A dairy product, skim milk is liquid milk with a reduced fat content. It is not vegan because it’s derived from cows.

Milk Fat

This is the fatty portion of milk, making it non-vegan.


A sugar derived from milk, lactose is not vegan.

Lecithin (soy)

A fatty substance extracted from soybeans. It’s vegan and acts as an emulsifier in chocolates, but soy is one of the most heavily genetically modified crops in the world.


A type of emulsifier often used in chocolate. It’s vegan.


Peanuts are legumes and are vegan. They provide the signature flavor to the product.


A sugar derived from plants, dextrose is vegan, but since it comes from corn, which is GMO unless it’s organic, dextrose is also GMO.


Salt is a mineral and is vegan.


A synthetic antioxidant used to preserve freshness. It’s vegan, but it’s tested on animals.

Citric Acid

Derived from citrus fruits, citric acid is vegan and used to preserve the product.

Vegan Alternatives to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

If you’re searching for cruelty-free and vegan-friendly options similar to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, fear not! Numerous brands offer vegan peanut butter cups, and some grocery stores even have their house brands. Some alternative brands include:


Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, despite their undeniable appeal, do not fit into a vegan or cruelty-free lifestyle due to their dairy content and the implications of the dairy industry’s impact on animals.

For those passionate about ensuring their food choices reflect compassion for all beings and the planet, several vegan alternatives are both delicious and ethically sourced.

From store-bought treats to homemade delights, the world of vegan sweets is vast and ever-expanding.