Is Nutella Vegan? The Best Dairy-Free Alternatives

If you’re missing the taste of Nutella, there are many plant-based alternatives available


(updated )

8 Minutes Read

Artistic image of Nutella alternative Vego spread There are many vegan and dairy-free Nutella-style spreads available to buy - Media Credit: Vego

Nutella, a chocolate and hazelnut spread, is a popular sugary treat. Loyal consumers spread it on toast, on pancakes, or eat it straight from the jar. If you’ve recently adopted a plant-based and dairy-free diet, you may be wondering if Nutella is suitable for vegans.

Nutella is manufactured by Ferrero, one of the largest companies in the global chocolate confectionery market. The spread was first sold across Europe in the 1960s. It has since amassed a cult following and has been reported to sell a jar every 2.5 seconds.

For the planet and the animals used to produce Nutella, this is not such great news. Dairy production causes suffering to cows and massive environmental harms.

Thankfully, there are many vegan Nutella alternatives available to buy. Here are some of the top vegan Nutella brands in the UK and US, as well as some recipes to make your own plant-based hazelnut and chocolate spread.

Nutella ingredients: why isn’t Nutella vegan?

Nutella states that it contains just “seven quality ingredients.” These are sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, dairy milk, cocoa, lecithin, and vanillin. Due to the fact that Nutella contains milk, therefore, it is not suitable for vegans.

Some vegans also avoid palm oil (though this ingredient is technically vegan-friendly). Palm oil is a source of significant deforestation and the leading cause of extinction for the critically endangered orangutan species. Nutella claims on its website that its palm oil “does not come from plantations subject to deforestation.”

The problem with dairy

Dairy is arguably one of the most cruel industries in which animals are used for food. Cows must give birth in order to produce milk, and they are generally forcibly impregnated in the dairy industry. Modern “dairy cows” have been selectively bred to produce around 4.5 times more milk than they naturally would. This means they often suffer from mastitis, a painful udder inflammation. Moreover, abuse on dairy farms is rife and well-documented.

In the UK, dairy cows are forcibly impregnated via artificial insemination from the age of around 15 months, and their pregnancies last nine months. This means they’ll usually give birth for the first time at the age of two. 

After their first baby, cows are impregnated again within a matter of weeks. Dairy cows will generally give birth once a year.

A dairy cow and her calf
Lukas Vincour / Zvířata Nejíme / We Animals Media The dairy industry separates mother cows from their calves

A cow’s calf is usually taken from her hours after birth. Mother cows form powerful attachments to their babies and this separation is hugely traumatic. Mother cows will often cry out and bellow for days after their young are taken away.

The calves are often kept in small, barren crates on their own for around two months and fed a milk replacer. The female calves will then eventually suffer the same fate as their mothers. Meanwhile, males will either be shot, enter the veal market (which is small in the UK), or raised for beef.

Dairy production is also a significant contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, especially methane. This is having a catastrophic impact on the Earth and poses a serious threat to life on our planet.

Can you get vegan Nutella?

The good news for anyone wanting a hazelnut chocolate spread without causing suffering to cows is that many plant-based, dairy-free alternatives exist.

The best vegan alternatives to Nutella

Vegan Nutella in the UK

Vego, Fine Hazelnut Chocolate Spread

Artistic image of Nutella alternative Vego spread
Vego Vego is a chocolatey hazelnut spread without dairy or palm oil

Popular brand Vego has a vegan spread that also contains seven ingredients. Its sugar, cocoa, and vanilla are sourced, traded and audited as Fairtrade and it is completely free of dairy and palm oil.

Available from health food stores and supermarkets, including Asda and Co-op

Fabalous, Organic Hazelnut and Cocoa Spread

Vegan Nutella spread Fabalous
Fabalous Hazelnut and cocoa spread… made from chickpeas!

Free from dairy and palm oil, Fabulous has a hazelnut and cocoa spread that is 32 percent chickpeas. Gluten free and high in fiber, this spread is more sustainable and nutritious than Nutella.

Available from independent stores

Mr Organic Dairy Free Chocolate and Hazelnut Spread

Mr Organic vegan dairy-free chocolate spread
Mr Organic Mr Organic sells a dairy-free chocolate and hazelnut spread

Made with organically grown ingredients, this chocolate and hazelnut spread uses toasted hazelnuts grown in northern Lazio, Italy. It’s also palm oil free.

Available from stockists including Waitrose and Ocado

Sweet Freedom Choc Pot Chocolate Spread

Artistic shot of Sweet Freedom Choc Pot
Sweet Freedom Spread Sweet Freedom’s Choc Pot on pancakes, toast or oatcakes

Vegan chocolate spread without palm oil. Its natural sweetness comes from carob and apple extracts and it contains 75 percent less fat and half the calories of Nutella. Sweet Freedom’s charity work includes support for The Orangutan Project.

Available directly from Sweet Freedom

Meridian Cocoa & Hazelnut Butter

Meridian Cocoa and Hazelnut Butter
Meridian No dairy or palm oil… but lots of nuts!

For a healthier option, there’s Meridian’s Cocoa & Hazelnut Butter with no added refined sugar or salt. Roasted hazelnuts mixed with cocoa powder, pure coconut, and agave syrup. Palm oil free.

Available direct from Meridian and from supermarkets

Nature’s Store Hazelnut and Cocoa Spread

Nature's Store vegan hazelnut spread
Nature's Store One of the more sugary Nutella-esque options

This is a gluten-free vegan chocolate and hazelnut spread. This dairy-free spread is a plant-based alternative for avid Nutella fans.

Available from supermarkets including Tesco and Ocado

Vegan Nutella in the US

Ghia Ghianduja Hazelnut Spread

Ghia Ghianduja vegan nutella
Ghia US consumers can get vegan alternatives to Nutella

With the strapline “All of the Goodness, None of the Nasties,” this nutty spread is made of hazelnut and cocoa. Without palm oil or dairy, it is a healthier and more planet-friendly alternative to Nutella.

Available direct from Ghia

Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut and Almond Butter

Justin's "Nutella" style spread
Justin's Eating Nutella does not need to involve dairy

Dry roasted hazelnuts and almonds combine to make a nutty chocolate spread. This spread contains palm oil, which the company claims is “orangutan Friendly.”

Available from stockists including Amazon and Walmart

Voyage Foods Hazelnut-Free Spread

Voyage Foods' Hazelnut-Free Spread
Voyage Foods This vegan hazelnut-free spread is free from the top nine allergens

Made without dairy, palm oil, nuts, or cocoa, Voyage Foods’ Hazelnut-Free Roasted Seed Spread uses sugar, seeds, and sunflower oil to replicate the taste of traditional Nutella spreads whilst remaining free from the top nine allergens.

Available in hundreds of stores across the US

Dairy-free Nutella recipes

If none of the above brands are working for you, or you want to try something different, there is also the option of making your own.

Many recipes are available online – here is just a small selection to try:

Vegan Nutella Spread (by Ela Vegan)

Four ingredients, two steps, and ready in five minutes. This easy recipe uses nut butter, maple syrup, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract to make a healthier and more ethical alternative to Nutella.

Find the recipe here: Vegan Nutella Recipe | Easy Chocolate Spread – Elavegan

Hazelnut Spread Recipe (by Plant Based School)

Raw or toasted, hazelnuts do the heavy lifting in this five-ingredient recipe. The developers offer substitutions and tips to get the spread just how you want it.

Find the recipe here: Hazelnut Spread Recipe – Vegan Nutella – The Plant Based School

Best Ever Vegan Nutella (by Pick Up Limes)

This recipe uses Medjool dates and maple syrup for sweetness. Prepped in only 20 minutes, this spread is a “perfect spread to enjoy on toast, on pancakes, or as a dip for fresh fruit,” according to the developer.

Find the recipe here: Best Ever Vegan Nutella | Pick Up Limes

Vegan Nutella (by Bianca Zapatka)

Canned coconut milk mixes with hazelnuts and vegan dark chocolate for this all-natural Nutella recipe. According to the developer, it’s “dreamily creamy, silky smooth, rich in chocolate and hazelnut flavor and just so delicious.”
FInd the recipe here: Vegan Nutella Recipe – Bianca Zapatka | Recipes

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