Skip to content

Are jelly beans vegan?

a blue bowl filled with rice and veggies

Are jelly beans vegan?

What are jelly beans?

Jelly beans are small, bean-shaped candies with a soft gel-like center and a hard candy shell. They come in a variety of flavors, colors, and textures, making them a popular treat for people of all ages. Jelly beans are often associated with holidays such as Easter, where they are commonly used in Easter egg hunts and as decorative elements in baskets.

Ingredients in jelly beans

The ingredients in jelly beans can vary depending on the brand and flavor. However, the main ingredients typically include sugar, corn syrup, modified food starch, and flavorings. Additional ingredients may include coloring agents, such as artificial or natural dyes, and a glazing agent to give the candy shell its shiny appearance.

Are jelly beans vegan?

Whether or not jelly beans are vegan depends on the specific ingredients used in their production. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Gelatin: Gelatin is a common ingredient in many candies, including gummy bears and marshmallows. It is derived from animal collagen, typically sourced from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of pigs or cows. However, not all jelly beans contain gelatin. Some brands use alternative ingredients, such as pectin or starch, to achieve a similar texture.
  • Coloring agents: Some jelly beans are colored using artificial dyes, such as Red 40 or Yellow 5, which are derived from petroleum. These dyes are generally considered vegan-friendly as they do not contain animal products. However, some individuals may choose to avoid artificial dyes due to personal preferences or concerns about potential health effects.
  • Shellac: Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug and is commonly used as a glazing agent in candies, including jelly beans. While shellac is derived from insects, it is typically considered vegan-friendly as the insects are not killed during the harvesting process. However, some vegans may choose to avoid products containing shellac due to its animal origin.
  • Sugar: Sugar is a key ingredient in jelly beans, and its vegan status depends on how it is processed. Some sugars are filtered using bone char, which is derived from animal bones. However, many companies now use alternative methods, such as activated charcoal or ion-exchange resins, to filter their sugar, making it suitable for vegans.

Vegan-friendly jelly bean brands

While not all jelly beans are vegan, there are several brands that offer vegan-friendly options. These brands use alternative ingredients to replace animal-derived components, making their jelly beans suitable for vegans. Some popular vegan-friendly jelly bean brands include:

  • YumEarth: YumEarth offers a range of organic and vegan jelly beans made with organic cane sugar and natural fruit extracts for flavoring and coloring.
  • Surf Sweets: Surf Sweets produces organic jelly beans that are free from artificial colors and flavors. They use organic fruit juice concentrates and plant-based ingredients to achieve their vibrant colors and delicious flavors.
  • Jelly Belly: Jelly Belly offers a variety of jelly beans, including a line of vegetarian-friendly beans that do not contain gelatin. However, it is important to note that not all Jelly Belly flavors are vegan, so it is essential to check the ingredient list before purchasing.


Whether or not jelly beans are vegan depends on the specific ingredients used in their production. While some jelly beans may contain animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin or shellac, there are also many vegan-friendly options available on the market. It is always recommended to check the ingredient list or look for certified vegan labels to ensure that the jelly beans you choose align with your dietary preferences and restrictions.