Gelatin, a protein, is extracted by the partial hydrolysis of collagen found in the hides, tendons, and bones of animals like chickens, cows, and pigs. It is also sometimes made from the skin or scales of fish.
Hence, gelatin is NEVER vegan or vegetarian. Even many non-vegans try to limit foods having gelatin because excessive intake can lead to heartburn, bloating, gas, and a heavy feeling in the stomach. Though FDA marks it safe for consumption, even non-vegans must eat it in moderation.
Are there any Vegan Substitutes for Gelatin? Agar Agar: The Vegan Gelatin
It is pretty difficult to find a vegan alternative to gelatin because of the thickness and texture it provides to food items it is used in. However, one product, agar agar can be the go-to ingredient for many vegans and non-vegans looking to give up gelatin.
Agar agar, or agar, is commonly available, but its usage requires skill and patience. It is derived from algae, making it 100% vegan and animal-free. It comes in powder form or flakes, and you use it the same way as gelatin; mixing in warm water and letting it set for some time. Though the end product isn’t the perfect replica of the one you would get with gelatin, it is the closest you can get. You can read more about agar here. Most recipes published by vegan chefs would call for exact agar amounts. However, you may still need to experiment a bit if you substitute agar for gelatin. Most chefs suggest using half the amount of agar as a recipe with gelatin would call for.
You can also use cornstarch instead of gelatin. However, agar is more famous among chefs. Some people also use carrageenan, made from red-dried seaweed. It is not popular like agar agar, but it does the job. You can also use pectin, guar gum, xanthan gum, and arrowroot instead of gelatin.
Best Agar Agar Powders/Flakes to Try Out
Here is a list of the best agar powders/flakes you can try in your next recipe.
- Kate Naturals Store Agar Agar Powder
- Eden Agar Agar Flakes
- Hoosier Hill Farm Store Agar Agar Powder
- Unflavored Pure Vegan Gelling Agent by LIVING JIN
- Fit Lane Nutrition Store Agar Powder
- NOW Foods Pure Agar Powder
What items commonly contain Gelatin?
Gelatin’s production methods make it a cruel product. Even non-vegans freak out when they see how it is produced by boiling animal skin and bones. Some common items containing gelatin as an ingredient are soups, broths, gummy candies, sauces, marshmallows, medicines, and cosmetics. The good news is that increasing awareness about gelatin has led to various brands producing gelatin-free alternatives.
Are Gelatin-Free Products Available?
Yes. Gelatin-free items are now commonly available. Many people are now going towards a gelatin-free lifestyle. Here are some of the gelatin-free eatables that vegans can enjoy.
- Fruit Snacks (jellies): Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks, Vegan and gluten-free
- Marshmallow: Dandies Vegan Marshmallow, All natural, vanilla marshmallows
- Multivitamins: Deva Vegan Multivitamin, 100% vegan and gelatin-free; consult with your doctor before eating
- Soft Candies: Luehders Vegan Soft Gummy Candy, tasty and delicious alternative to non-vegan candies, great for all ages
- Jelly Dessert: Simply Delish Plant Based Natural Strawberry Jelly Dessert, quick and easy to make, tastes great
You can find many other gelatin-free snacks online and in stores. However, you must always check the ingredients and labels.
What is Vegan Gelatin made of?
Gelatin is not vegan. However, products like agar agar, cornstarch, pectin, guar gum, xanthan gum, and arrowroot are sometimes termed vegan gelatin. Agar agar, the most popular of all, is derived from seaweed or algae.
Is Kosher Gelatin Vegan?
No. Kosher gelatin is not vegan. Kosher gelatin is simply made from Kosher bones and byproducts. Many people often mix kosher and vegan. While this is true for some foods, it isn’t for gelatin.
Is Halal Gelatin Vegan?
No. Halal or not, gelatin is not vegan. The Halal label only ensures that the meat is obtained via religious methods. It doesn’t stop animals from being brutally slaughtered.
Is Organic Gelatin Vegan?
No. Organic Gelatin is not vegan. The label “USDA-Certified” means that animals were raised without cruelty and allowed to graze and live a “natural” life. However, organic gelatin can never be vegan as animals have to be slaughtered to obtain gelatin.
Is Knox Unflavored Gelatin Vegan?
No. It is not vegan. It is made unflavored to ensure that your recipe doesn’t get any taste/odor.
Is Bovine Gelatin Vegan?
Gelatin made from cows is called bovine gelatin. It is not vegan. On the contrary, traditional gelatin is made by mixing cow and pig body parts.
Is Jell-o Gelatin Vegan?
Conventional Jell-o is not vegan. The good news for vegans is that many non-gelatin and vegan alternatives are available for jelly desserts.
Is Unflavored Gelatin Vegan?
No. Flavored or unflavored, gelatin is never vegan. Make sure you don’t fall prey to these marketing tactics when buying vegan alternatives for gelatin.
Is Porcine Gelatin Vegan?
No. Porcine gelatin is made from pig collagen. It is not vegan like all the other types of gelatin.
Is D’GARI Gelatin Vegan?
No. It is not vegan. Some D’GARI gelatin desserts also contain dairy products.