I’m surprised how hard it was to find an answer online about whether Pizza Hut’s breadsticks are vegan. And I really wanted them. So I went to two reputable sources—the Pizza Hut website and my local Pizza Hut—to find out.
So, are Pizza Hut breadsticks vegan? Pizza Hut breadsticks are not typically vegan, as they contain dairy in the seasoning. However, you can order them without the seasoning to make them dairy-free. Just ask for dry breadsticks without butter or seasoning, and they will be vegan.
This is actually the case for many pizza chains, by the way—the “dry sticks” are vegan, even if the usual seasoning isn’t. Read on for how to order Pizza Hut breadsticks vegan, along with other possible concerns some vegans may have with the sticks.
Dairy Ingredients in Pizza Hut Breadsticks
If you look up the ingredients to Pizza Hut breadsticks on their website, you’ll find the following list below.
I’ve broken it into separate lists for the dough, pan oil, “buttery blend” (doesn’t seem to actually contain butter), and seasoning. I bolded the known animal products and italicized the possible animal products:
DOUGH: ENRICHED FLOUR (BLEACHED WHEAT FLOUR, MALTED BARLEY FLOUR, NIACIN, FERROUS SULFATE, THIAMIN MONONITRATE, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID), WATER, YEAST, SALT, SOYBEAN OIL, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, DATEM, VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN, ENZYMES, ASCORBIC ACID, SODIUM STEAROYL LACTYLATE.
PAN OIL: SOYBEAN OIL, TBHQ ADDED TO PROTECT FRESHNESS.
BUTTERY BLEND: SOYBEAN OIL, WATER, SALT, VEGETABLE MONO & DIGLYCERIDES, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF: SODIUM BENZOATE AND POTASSIUM SORBATE (AS PRESERVATIVES), SOY LECITHIN, CITRIC ACID, NATURAL FLAVOR, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA ADDED TO PROTECT FLAVOR, BETA CAROTENE (COLOR), VITAMIN A PALMITATE ADDED.
SEASONING: PARMESAN, ROMANO, AND HARD GRATING CHEESES ([CULTURED PART-SKIM COW’S MILK, SALT, ENZYMES], CELLULOSE POWDER (ANTICAKING AGENT), POTASSIUM SORBATE [PRESERVATIVE]), SALT, RICE FLOUR, WHEY, SPICES, GARLIC POWDER, MODIFIED BUTTER OIL AND DEHYDRATED BUTTER, MALTODEXTRIN, GUAR GUM, NATURAL FLAVORS, COLOR (EXTRACTIVES OF ANNATTO AND TURMERIC), AND LESS THAN 2% SODIUM SILICOALUMINATE ADDED AS AN ANTICAKING AGENT. (source)
So, let’s break that down:
The dough: Contains a possible animal product, “sodium stearoyl lactylate.” But it can come from plants or animals—we don’t know. In these kinds of cases, I’m fine with eating it. But some vegans choose to avoid it. More about this below.
The pan oil: It’s vegan.
The “Buttery Blend”: Contains a possible animal product, “natural flavor.” It can come from plants or animals. Again, I’m fine with eating these kinds of ingredients—but some vegans avoid them.
Seasoning: It contains multiple dairy/milk products and is not vegan.
How to Order Pizza Hut Breadsticks Vegan (Dairy-Free)
If you want Pizza Hut breadsticks to be vegan, just ask them not to include any butter or seasoning. I talked to someone from Pizza Hut, and he said people do this all the time.
The Pizza Hut worker I spoke to said when you place your order online, it should give an option to get the breadsticks dry (without butter or seasoning). But if it doesn’t, just call the store right after you place your order, and specify to have it made without butter or seasoning.
As I mentioned above, there is a possible animal product in the breadstick dough—”sodium stearoyl lactylate.” But let me explain why I wouldn’t worry about it.
Why I Consider Pizza Hut’s Breadstick Dough to Be Vegan
Pizza Hut’s breadstick dough contains “sodium stearoyl lactylate.” This ingredient is a product of lactic acid (which is generally vegan) and stearic acid, which is more questionable but can be animal- or plant-sourced.
What do vegans do in this kind of situation? Well, I think it makes sense to just not worry about it and consider it an okay ingredient to consume.
First, according to GoDairyFree.org, sodium stearoyl lactylate is “generally considered non-dairy and safe for the lactose intolerant and milk allergic.”
Second, even though it’s possible that the stearic acid used to make sodium stearoyl lactylate may have come from an animal, we just don’t know… and it likely would not be easy to figure out… and it also likely would not have any practical impact to boycott it.
Making a Difference as a Practical Vegan
When vegans boycott foods that are clearly animal-derived, I believe we can make a difference. But when a product only possibly contains a minor ingredient that may have come from an animal at some point and it’s hard to track down… well, that’s not very “80 20,” as they say.
Trying to boycott every single minor possible animal byproduct will take a ton of effort for very little impact (if any). Your time and effort can be spent much more effectively for the animals.
Here’s how to make a difference as a vegan: Boycott meat, dairy, eggs, leather, and other major, known animal products. Then if you want to have a bigger impact, get involved in activism. Convince your friends to be vegan.
If you convince anyone else to be vegan, that makes at least 100x the impact of you getting extra picky about possible animal products like sodium stearoyl lactylate when it’s the last ingredient in breadstick dough!
What Else Is Vegan at Pizza Hut?
So I’d say the dry Pizza Hut breadsticks are vegan—but what else can you eat at Pizza Hut? There’s actually quite a bit.
The normal Pizza Hut crust and marinara sauce are vegan. That includes hand-tossed crust, pan pizza crust, and thin-n-crispy crust.
This means if you just order a pizza with veggies, no cheese or meat toppings, then it’s vegan!
The biggest surprise may be that the cinnamon sticks are also vegan! But the icing/frosting isn’t—it contains some dairy—so you may want to order it without that extra icing.
Lastly, the fries at Pizza Hut are also vegan. This is not a big surprise, though, as french fries are usually vegan. I explained this more in my post, “Can Vegans Eat Fried Food?”
Two More Recommendations for Your Vegan Journey
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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.