Are Tootsie Rolls Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

September 25, 2023

Identifying whether or not Tootsie Rolls are a vegan food is a complex task. To be fair, that Tootsie Rolls are food at all is a puzzle I’ve been unraveling my whole life.

Candies have a lot of ingredients, and some of them are vague or obscure, and you can’t always tell what processing methods are used and if they’re vegan.

This article will uncover the truth and support you in your compassionate, planet-friendly choices.

Are Tootsie Rolls Vegan?

No, Tootsie Rolls are not vegan. These “chocolate” candies contain several animal-derived ingredients. This includes condensed milk and whey, which are both dairy products.

The “natural and artificial flavors” listed may also be derived from animal sources, but due to a lack of clarity from Tootsie Roll Industries, we can’t say this with certainty.

Are Tootsie Rolls Cruelty-Free?

No, Tootsie Rolls cannot be considered cruelty-free. A great many of its ingredients are from GMO crops, including sugar, corn syrup, and soy lecithin. GMOs are tested on animals to ensure they are safe for humans to consume.

Moreover, the presence of palm oil, a deeply controversial ingredient, further disqualifies this product from a cruelty-free bill of health.

What Are Tootsie Rolls Made Of?

Tootsie Rolls are composed of this dazzling array of ingredients:

  • Sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Palm oil
  • Condensed skim milk
  • Cocoa
  • Whey
  • Soy lecithin
  • Artificial and natural flavors


Sugar, in the form of refined cane sugar, is a sweetening agent. While not all sugar is vegan (due to some refining processes involving bone char), we can’t definitively state its source in Tootsie Rolls.

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup is a sweetener derived from cornstarch. While it is technically vegan, its heavy processing and environmental impact are areas of concern for some.

Palm Oil

Palm oil is a plant-based fat source. While it is vegan, it poses serious environmental concerns due to its contribution to deforestation and habitat destruction.

Condensed Skim Milk

Condensed skim milk is a dairy product. This non-vegan ingredient is derived from cows’ milk and is one of the primary reasons why Tootsie Rolls are not vegan.


Cocoa is a plant-based ingredient used for its flavor and color. While cocoa is vegan, its sourcing practices often involve child labor and deforestation, making it controversial within the vegan community. Where possible, buy Fair Trade cocoa.


Whey is a protein derived from milk, making it a non-vegan ingredient.

Soy Lecithin

Soy lecithin is a vegan-friendly emulsifier derived from soybeans. However, the impact of soy farming on deforestation and biodiversity is a topic of concern for some vegans. Furthermore, soybeans are one of the most common GMO crops worldwide.

Artificial and Natural Flavors

These flavorings could be derived from animal or plant sources, or created synthetically. Unfortunately, due to a lack of transparency from Tootsie Roll Industries, we cannot confirm their vegan status.

Tootsie Roll Varieties

Are Tootsie Fruit Chews Vegan?

No, Tootsie Fruit Chews are not vegan friendly. They contain dairy and GMOs.

Are Tootsie Pops Vegan?

No, Tootsie Pops contain dairy and GMOs. They are not vegan friendly.

Vegan Alternatives to Tootsie Rolls

There are numerous vegan, dairy-free candies that you can enjoy guilt-free, without harming animals or the planet: 


Tootsie Rolls are not vegan food due to the presence of dairy ingredients, such as condensed skim milk and whey. They also aren’t cruelty-free, thanks to the presence of palm oil and GMOs.

If you’re seeking sweet treats that align with your values, plenty of vegan alternative brands are available.

Continue your journey in compassionate eating with a clear conscience and a satisfied sweet tooth.