Saltines, aka soda crackers, are light, crispy snacks with a tiny pinch of coarse salt. They pair extremely well with cheese, jam, or just about any spread, or otherwise dipped into soup, chilis, and stews. They can also take the place of croutons once crumbled over hot soup or cold salad.
Saltine crackers are one of the most beloved oldie snacks, but if you’re serious about a vegan lifestyle, can you eat saltine crackers? Are saltines vegan-friendly? Let’s see!
Are Saltine Crackers Vegan or Not?
Saltines crackers have been around since the 1800s when a bakery from Massachusetts took inspiration from the trending pilot bread (what pilots and sailors munched on during trips).
However, the pilot bread was dense, hard, and quite frankly dry, but they didn’t have many options.
To improve the texture, the Josiah Bent Bakery tested different ingredients and formulas using wheat flour and baking salt to create the superior cracker.
The soda cracker was born: it had a light yet crisp texture and remained fresh as it traveled from one location to the next.
Nabisco (called Premium back then) was the first to produce soda crackers on a large scale. The small baked crackers were lightly dusted with salt, thus giving birth to its name: saltines. This cracker became so popular that not only did other brands call their similar product “saltine,” the word was actually added to the dictionary as well, which meant “thin crackers, usually sprinkled with salt.”
All base saltine crackers have simple, straightforward ingredients: just unbleached enriched flour, baking soda, salt, malted barley flour, and yeast. So if you’re wondering if they’re A-okay as you traverse your vegan journey: yes, they’re completely vegan friendly.
Saltine Crackers Vegan Brands
Ingredients: namely Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B], Folic Acid), Soybean Oil (with TBHQ for Freshness), Sea Salt. Contains 2% or Less of Corn Syrup, Baking Soda, Yeast, Soy Lecithin
Sunshine Krispy Saltine Crackers are vegan friendly and list no animal products in their ingredient list. The thin crackers are lightly salted and evenly toasted, making them an ideal addition to your soups, salads, and spreads. Our white bean dip recipe is perfect for saltine crackers!
Ingredients: Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Canola Oil, Palm Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, Sea Salt, Salt, Malted Barley Flour, Baking Soda, Yeast
Nabisco is the brand that started the saltine craze. Fortunately, Nabisco’s Premium Saltine Crackers are vegan friendly, with PETA certifying their vegan-friendliness. Their Unsalted Tops variant is also vegan.
In Canada, Nabisco sells their signature saltine crackers under a different name: Christie’s Premium Plus Crackers. All three variants of Christie’s (Original, Unsalted, and Whole Wheat) are vegan flavors.
Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Soybean Oil (With TBHQ For Freshness), Salt, Corn Syrup. Contains 2% Or Less Of Baking Soda, Yeast, Soy Lecithin
Keebler Zesta Crackers, just like Sunshine, are produced by Kellogs. Both brands have similar ingredients, which means that Keebler Saltine Crackers are vegan. They are second to Nabisco’s in terms of popularity, and they also sell Reduced Salt and Whole Wheat variants.
Winco Foods Saltine Crackers
Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Soybean Oil, Palm Oil, Canola Oil, Corn Oil (Vegetable Oil), Salt, Invert Sugar, Sugar, Sodium Bicarbonate (Leavening), Yeast, Wheat Gluten, Malted Barley Flour
All ingredients in the Winco Foods Saltine Crackers are vegan, but they’re not gluten-free, nor do they have a non-GMO label. This is a no-go for some vegans.
Harris Teeter Saltine Crackers
Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Soybean Oil With TBHQ And Citric Acid For Freshness, Palm Oil, Canola Oil (Vegetable Oil), Contains 2% Or Less Of Enzymes, Yeast, Malted Barley Flour, Sodium Sulfite, Salt, Leavening (Baking Soda)
Both the Original and Unsalted Harris Teeter Saltine Crackers are vegan. They are made with the usual ingredients you would find in basic saltine crackers.
Ingredients: Unbleached Enriched Flour (wheat Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), High Oleic Safflower Oil, Salt, Contains 2% Or Less Of Baking Soda, Enzymes, Yeast, Malted Barley Flour, Soy Lecithin
The enzymes present in Wegmans Saltines are derived from microbes, making them 100 percent safe for vegan consumption. Aside from enzymes, other ingredients in this brand include unbleached enriched flour, sunflower oil with high oleic content, baking soda, and soy lecithin.
Target Market’s Pantry Saltine Crackers
Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin [vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Soybean Oil With TBHQ and Citric Acid for Freshness, Contains 2% or Less of Salt, Leavening (Baking Soda, Yeast), Malted Barley Flour, Sodium Sulfite, Enzymes
The saltine crackers from Target Market’s Pantry are certified safe for those on a vegan diet. However, we wouldn’t recommend this brand unless you really were budget-strapped, and it’s not because of any non-vegan-related issue -- it’s because the crackers tasted a little off to us. Your money will be better spent buying from more established names.
Reasons Saltine Crackers Are Vegan
It Uses Salt
When vegans found out that sugar went through a bone char refining process , they were understandably skeptical of salt as a result, which has an uncanny resemblance to sugar. In case you didn’t know, salt is actually colorless. The only reason it appears white is because sodium and chloride, the chemical compounds making up salt, are packed so densely together.
It Uses Enriched Flour
Enriched flour is always, and will always be, vegan. Wheat flour is enriched with nutrients lost during the milling or production process, meaning that only iron and B vitamins are added to the final product.
On the other hand, Fortified flour adds nutrients that were not present in the original formulation to further boost its nutritional value. Animal ingredients are sometimes added to “fortify” the flour.
It Doesn’t Contain Milk Derivatives
Most saltine cracker brands don’t contain any milk derivatives, milk fat, or dairy ingredients, which means they are safe for those on a vegan or dairy-free diet. They are even considered bland by some, so flavor isn’t a big deal to them (not so much as texture, anyway).
Controversial Ingredients To Watch Out For
Palm oil has been a hot debate between vegans for the longest time. For one thing, the product is derived from palm fruits borne by the palm tree, and by that definition alone, the said oil should be vegan. It’s important to note, though, that vegans also consider how the ingredient was produced or obtained. Palm oil plantations are a major contributor to deforestation, which destroys the natural habitat of endangered animals living in forests.
Some saltine crackers are noticeably more buttery than others, so there might be a slight chance that it contains butter. We recommend sticking to the brands we mentioned above or carefully reading through the product label to ensure that it does not contain animal ingredients like dairy.
No, saltine crackers do not have eggs. They are completely safe for vegans and even those allergic to eggs.
Yes, Premium Saltines are completely dairy-free. There are no visible dairy products, nor are there any milk derivatives on the product label.
So, Are Saltine Crackers Vegan?
After painstaking research, we can easily deduce that saltine crackers are safe veg cracker options. These crackers don’t contain any dairy, eggs, or animal ingredients, making them perfect for your vegan journey. Make these a staple on your pantry as they make such a great base to many of your favorite vegan spreads and dips.