Personally, I love Baked Lay’s. Of course, one benefit is the reduced fat and calories compared to normal Lay’s. But for me, the biggest appeal is just the texture and taste. I far prefer them to Classic Lay’s. But what do the vegan options look like within that Baked line?
Are Baked Lay’s vegan? Most flavors of Baked Lay’s are vegan. The original flavor is vegan, as well as Dill Pickle, Lightly Salted, Limon, and Salt and Vinegar. The non-vegan flavors of Baked Lay’s are BBQ and Sour Cream and Onion, as they contain dairy products.
Below I’ll break down specifically why each flavor of Baked Lay’s is or isn’t vegan. I’ll also discuss animal ingredients to watch out for in Classic and Baked Lay’s, as well as some awesome vegan alternative chip brands!
Are Original Baked Lay’s Vegan?
The original flavored of Baked Lay’s are, in fact, vegan-friendly. They don’t contain any animal products or derivatives.
Let’s take a look at the typical ingredients found in Baked Lay’s. You will find:
- Dehydrated potatoes
- Modified food starch
- Corn oil
- Soy lecithin
- Sodium Bicarbonate
- No preservatives
While some of these ingredients might not be healthy, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t vegan. Veganism is about not consuming animal products—and there are no animal products on this list.
So go ahead and indulge in Baked Lay’s if you want a salty, delicious snack to munch on midday!
Are BBQ Baked Lay’s Vegan?
Although many barbeque chips are vegan-friendly, Baked BBQ Lay’s are not vegan. The “natural flavors” contain milk and chicken derivatives.
This is a big disappointment for me to realize. There is nothing quite like a good bag of barbecue chips. Fortunately, below I’ll share some vegan BBQ chip options you can pursue instead.
Here are the full ingredients found in Baked BBQ Lay’s:
- Dried potatoes
- Corn starch
- Corn oil
- Soy lecithin
- Molasses (Contains Wheat Starch and Soy Flour)
- Onion Powder, Brown Sugar, Chili Pepper, Tomato Powder, Garlic Powder
- Natural Flavors (Contains Milk, Barley, and Chicken)
As you can see, a lot goes into these chips. However, you can clearly see that Baked BBQ Lay’s contain milk and chicken derivatives, and therefore are not vegan-friendly. They’re not even vegetarian-friendly!
If you’re craving BBQ chips, consider ordering some of this tasty alternative. These Beanfield chips are a lot healthier in general, too.
Are Regular Lay’s BBQ Chips Vegan?
Regular BBQ Lay’s are vegan, while Baked BBQ Lay’s are not. Baked BBQ Lays contain chicken and milk flavoring, whereas regular (fried) BBQ Lay’s don’t contain animal products.
Does this mean that the regular (fried) version of Lay’s BBQ chips are healthier than a baked option? No—but the main goal here is to avoid animal products as a vegan.
If you have a love for Lay’s BBQ Chips, you will need to stick to the original (fried) ones as a vegan. Otherwise, you’ll need to explore other brands of BBQ chips that are vegan-friendly.
Are Baked Sour Cream and Onion Lay’s Vegan?
Another classic and ever-popular flavor of Lay’s is the sour cream and onion. but are they vegan?
Unfortunately, Sour Cream and Onion Baked Lay’s are not vegan. They contain several dairy products, including skim milk, cultured skim milk, whey, and sour cream. Vegans don’t eat dairy products.
When you look at the full ingredients, it’s easy to see these non-vegan ingredients sticking out:
- Dried potatoes
- Corn Starch
- Corn oil
- Skim milk
- Soy lecithin
- Cultured skim milk
- Sour cream (Cultured cream and skim milk)
- Onion powder and parsley
- Citric acid
With the inclusion of lots of skim milk, whey, and cultured cream, this is nowhere near being a vegan option for chips.
So, what’s a better choice for the vegan who is craving the flavor-pop of sour cream and onion? These tasty veggie puffs (Amazon link) from Off the Eaten Path will do the trick! Since chickpeas are one of the main ingredients, these chips are far healthier, too.
Other Vegan Baked Lay’s (and Classic Lay’s)
Seeing that two popular Baked Lay’s flavors aren’t vegan can be quite a disappointment. However, you should rest easy knowing that there are still plenty of Lay’s that are vegan and ready to be devoured at any time.
Some of the most popular vegan-friendly Lay’s chips include:
- Dill Pickle Lay’s
For some, this may sound like the strangest chip flavor they have ever heard of. But to pickle-lovers, it’s a dream come true. If you can’t seem to get enough of pickles and suck down the juice of every pickle jar, you will be happy to know that Dill Pickle Lay’s are fully vegan!
- Lightly Salted Lay’s
Who needs all that extra salt, anyways? Lay’s have a tendency to be excessively salty as is, and a lot of people like that. But if you need/want to limit how much salt you eat, then you should always opt for lightly salted chips. And these just so happen to be vegan, too. Win-win.
- Limon Lay’s
Feeling feisty? Love anything with lemon and lime? Then these are the chips for you. They give you a big boost of citrusy flavor in a fun way, and they’re totally vegan.
- Salt and Vinegar Lay’s
Some people love that bitter taste of vinegar. Well, luckily for your taste buds, you don’t have to walk past the Salt and Vinegar Lay’s. This flavor contains no animal products, so you can grab a bag and safely munch on them whenever you please.
Non-Vegan Lay’s Potato Chips to Watch Out For
We discussed in detail why you should avoid two incredibly popular flavors of Baked Lay’s (BBQ and Sour Cream and Onion). But there are other non-vegan Lay’s to be wary of in their other lines.
Here’s a list of more non-vegan Lay’s chips:
- Cheddar and Sour Cream Lays
- Chile Limon Lays
- Flamin’ Hot Lays
- Honey BBQ Lays
- Sweet Southern Heat Barbecue Lays
- Kettle Cooked Lays Honey Chipotle
- Kettle Cooked Lays Jalapeno
- Kettle Cooked Lays Maui Onion
- Kettle Cooked Lays Mesquite BBQ
- Kettle Cooked Lays Sea Salt and Vinegar
Instead, Try Some of These Delicious Vegan-Friendly Chips
- To get your chile limon fix, consider these from Churri Nopal.
- If you’re looking to get a thrill from setting your mouth “on fire,” consider these yummy and healthy, yet super fiery PeaTos (like Cheetos but made from Peas).
- And Beanfields makes an incredible 4-pack of vegan cheese chip flavors: jalapeno, spicy, nacho, and sour cream. Those are all your fixes in one purchase!
- Lastly, check out PETA’s full list of vegan-friendly chips for more options!
How to Quickly Tell If Any Chips Are Vegan
If you’re in the grocery store and you need to assess whether a bag of chips is vegan or not, it’s actually really simple:
- Check the allergen warning. At the end of the ingredients list, it will give a warning about any allergens in the chips. If there are milk ingredients in the chips, it will say something like “Contains Milk Ingredients.” If not, it is likely vegan. Proceed to step 2.
- Scan the ingredients list. If you know the chips don’t contain dairy, you’re mostly in the clear. Now, just scan the ingredients list for any other known animal products. Chicken or other meat could potentially be used for flavoring. Honey may be used for flavoring, too. But if you don’t see any of these animal products, it’s vegan for practical purposes.
You may see ingredients that you aren’t 100% sure of, like “natural flavors” or some chemical name you haven’t heard of.
Usually, these more obscure ingredients are either vegan or there’s no way for us to know without contacting the company, and they might not even know. So personally, I wouldn’t worry about those.
If there’s no allergen warning for dairy and you don’t see any other obvious animal products, I’d go ahead and assume the chips are vegan.
For a more general guide on how to check if any food is vegan, check my full guide here.
Two More Recommendation for Your Vegan Journey
1. This is the best vegan multivitamin I’ve found in 13 years of being vegan. It has vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3—and nothing else. Translation: It only has the nutrients vegans are actually low in. Read my full review of Future Kind’s multivitamin here (with 10% discount).
2. This is the best vegan starter kit I know of. It’s a bundle of 9 beautiful e-books that help you transition to a healthy plant-based diet the right way. The advice is spot-on, and it has print-outs and checklists that make it easy to implement. Read my full review of Nutriciously here.