Graham crackers are pantry staples for people who love making no-bake desserts. They're usually seen in moon pies or s’mores, with a layer of soft, gooey marshmallow in between two crackers. Graham crackers in crumb form are used as either crusts or toppings in cheesecakes.
We know you’ve got some vegan dessert ideas up your sleeve, but can you use graham crackers as an ingredient? Are graham crackers vegan? Let’s find out!
Graham Crackers: Vegan Or Not?
Graham crackers were inspired by the teachings of Sylvester Graham in the 19th century. He believed that God intended people to live simply and minimize pleasure wherever they could, and that included meals. The Grahamites vegetarian diet mostly centered around consuming only graham crackers and graham bread, made from graham flour. 
In the present day, graham crackers are intended as snacks or as an ingredient in desserts like our yummy vegan pumpkin pie. They are slightly sweet, hinting at cinnamon and honey, with tiny punctures along their surface to act as adhesives to whatever topping the crackers will be layered with.
Most Graham crackers are almost always made with no dairy, but some graham crackers contain honey. Therefore, our verdict is: it depends on the brand. Not all graham crackers are vegan-friendly.
What It’s Usually Made Of
Here are the popular graham crackers ingredients you will find in most brands; however, these will still vary because each graham cracker brand likes to have its own distinct flavor:
- Enriched Flour
- Graham Flour
- Vegetable Oil
- Corn Syrup
- Soy Lecithin
Vegan-Friendly Graham Crackers
Ingredients: Water, White And Brown Rice Flour, Potato Starch, Tapioca Starch, Fructose, Non-Hydrogenated Palm Oil Shortening Palm Oil, Modified Palm Oil, Egg Whites, Cellulose Powder, Tapioca Syrup, Psyllium Fiber, Cellulose, Yeast, Glycerin, Salt, Pure Vanilla Extract, Enzymes, Icing Sugar, Corn Starch, Water, Glucose, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Citrate, Natural Flavor, Salt, Locust Bean Gum, Natural Color Titanium Dioxide, Citric Acid
Kinnikinnick S'moreables Graham Style Crackers are gluten-free, with no dairy, eggs, and milk in its ingredient list. Also, they taste exactly like the original; you wouldn’t believe they are gluten-free.
Ingredients: Gluten-Free Whole Grain Oats (72%), Palm Kernel Oil, Brown Sugar, Golden Syrup, Tapioca Starch, Raising Agent (Sodium Bicarbonate), Sea Salt
Nairn’s is a vegan graham crackers brand and is a great option for those who are on a vegan diet. The oat-shaped graham crackers contain 35 percent less sugar than other brands. All of Nairn’s graham variants are dairy-free and vegan, except for Chocolate Chip.
Ingredients: Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Graham Flour (Whole Grain Wheat Flour), Sugar, Canola Oil, Molasses, Palm Oil, Leavening (Baking Soda And Calcium Phosphate), Salt
Classic Nabisco Original Grahams are vegan. Each graham cracker is dairy-free with no additional flavoring and has absolutely no animal products.
Ingredients: Organic Wheat Flour, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Expeller-Pressed Sunflower Oil, Organic Corn Flour, Organic Whole Wheat Flour (Graham Flour), Organic Invert Cane Syrup, Organic Chocolate Cookie Bits (Organic Wheat Flour, Organic Sugar, Organic Expeller-Pressed Sunflower Oil, Organic Malted Black Barley Flour, Organic Cocoa, Baking Soda), Calcium Carbonate, Organic Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Unsweetened Chocolate, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Vanilla Extract), Baking Soda, Sea Salt, Natural Flavor, Mixed (Vitamin E) To Protect Flavor.
Annie’s is a bit of a toss-up. Annie’s Honey Graham Crackers and Cinnamon Graham Crackers are not vegan, as both contain honey.
Some in the Bunny line are vegan graham crackers. Options include Organic Chocolate Chip Bunny Grahams, Organic Birthday Cake Bunny Grahams, Annie’s Organic Chocolate Bunny Grahams, Annie’s Gluten-Free Snickerdoodle Bunny Grahams, or Annie’s Gluten-Free Cocoa & Vanilla Bunny Grahams.
Kroger Original Graham Crackers
Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Graham Flour (Whole Grain Wheat Flour), Sugar, High Oleic Canola Oil And Soybean Oil (With Tbhw And Citric Acid), Molasses, Contains 2% Or Less Of Leavening (Baking Soda, Calcium Phosphate), Salt, Soy Lecithin, Sodium Sulfite
The “tasty and tempting” Kroger Original Graham Crackers are vegan. They are also stronger than most graham crackers, based on our observation. However, Kroger flavors like Graham Crackers Honey, Cinnamon, and Chocolate Animals contain honey.
Ingredients To Watch Out For
Are all graham crackers vegan? No. Non-vegan graham crackers, like Keebler Graham Crackers, tend to have the following ingredients:
Honey is an ingredient that is typically present in graham cracker brands. Most vegans shy away from this sweet flavoring because organic honey farming tends to harm the overall health of bees.
Artificial flavors are definitely artificial, but vegans choose not to consume them because they are always known to undergo animal testing to confirm human consumption safety. We make it a point to stay away from all forms of animal cruelty.
Natural flavors found in graham crackers sound like they should be an innocent ingredient. Usually, they are often acquired from the natural flavors found in fruits and vegetables. However, “natural” can also mean eggs, dairy, and even meat.
Technically, palm oil is vegan. It is a plant-based ingredient extracted from the palm fruit borne by palm trees. However, palm oil plantations are doing serious damage to the environment. Palm trees produce large amounts of peat in the soil, which converts into methane, which is the number one contributing greenhouse gas that is damaging the ozone layer.
Sugar is refined and given its bone-white color using a bone char filtering system, which comes from the charred bones of cattle and livestock. Although the animal bones don’t necessarily end up in the final product, the process of obtaining bone char is unaligned with vegan principles.
The top five vegan graham cracker brands are Kinnikinnick, Nairn, Nabisco, Annie, and Kroger. This is not to say that all the variations within the brands are vegan, though.
No. Honey Maid, the leading graham crackers brand, contains no dairy, so this is safe for people on a dairy-free diet. However, the crackers are not vegan as they are honey graham crackers.
It depends. Modern graham crackers don’t contain pork, but the crackers contained lard (or pig fat) back in the day.
So, Are Graham Crackers Vegan?
Here at Kathy’s Vegan Kitchen, we’re happy to report that finding vegan-friendly graham cracker brands is the norm. We’re sure they’ll come in handy when you decide to build that vegan dessert!