Four Vegan Chocolate Slabs, with added dried fruit and nuts

Your ultimate guide to vegan chocolate - plus easy recipes

Can you eat chocolate if you’re vegan? You can, but it’s got to be certain chocolate. (In other words, chocolate that isn’t made from animal-dairy ingredients).1

Chocolate ingredients to avoid

The following ingredients are not vegan friendly in chococlates:2,3,4,5,6
  • Milk
  • Milkfat
  • Milk solids
  • Other milk derivatives – casein, whey protein isolate
  • Shellac AKA confectioner’s glaze
  • Lecithin from animal sources

Which chocolates are vegan?

Most types of milk and white chocolate is made with all or some of the ingredients above, making it strictly off limits for vegan chocolate lovers.

Only chocolate that’s been made using zero dairy products and hasn’t become contaminated by manufacturers using the same machinery to make vegan and non-vegan chocolate can be classed as vegan.

Interestingly, it is possible to get vegan milk chocolate, providing the chocolate hasn’t been made with dairy milk, but a plant-based milk alternative, such as coconut, instead. Lecithin can also be animal or plant-based; the soy and sunflower version of it are vegan-friendly.7

What is vegan chocolate made from?

Chocolate is made using cacao beans which are found on cacao trees, meaning chocolate in its ‘raw form’ is vegan friendly as it’s a plant-based food.

To make chocolate products such as bars, truffles, cakes etc., animal and dairy ingredients are often added such as milk products, butter and eggs.

Chocolate products that are vegan friendly will use a dairy alternative such as dairy free spread, coconut oil or oat milk.

Is Cadbury chocolate vegan?

We can confirm that the following products from the Cadbury goods are vegan friendly: 
  1. Cadbury Drinking Chocolate (Swirl into hot milk). Ingredients: Sugar, Cocoa Powder, Salt, Flavouring, Sugar, Cocoa: traded in compliance with Fairtrade Standards, total 99%, Cocoa Solids: 25% minimum
  2. Cadbury Giant Buttons Dark Chocolate. Ingredients: Sugar, cocoa mass, palm oil, cocoa butter, emulsifiers (soya lecithins, E476).
  3. Cadbury Bournville Classic Dark Chocolate Bar. Ingredients: Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Cocoa Mass, Vegetable Fats (Palm, Shea), Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Cocoa Solids 36% minimum, Vegetable Fats.

Is cocoa butter vegan?

The name may be deceiving but cocoa butter is naturally free of dairy, eggs, honey and other animal-derived ingredients.

Cocoa butter is a type of fat that comes from cocoa beans. Beans from the cacao plant are roasted, stripped and then pressed in order to separate out the fat, which is how we get cocoa butter.

So seeing cocoa butter listed in the above products may have concerned you, however, you can have peace of mind that cocoa butter is 100% vegan.

Is dark chocolate vegan?

Can vegans eat dark chocolate? Yes, providing that it’s been made with vegan ingredients. Just because chocolate is dark, doesn’t automatically make it vegan-friendly.

A little tip to remember when buying dark chocolate…

The percentage of cacao tells you how much cacao is in the chocolate bar. Where possible, try to choose dark chocolate that contains between 55 and 85% cacao.8

Is white chocolate vegan?

Traditional white chocolate isn’t, but vegan-manufactured white chocolate alternative is. However, legally, white chocolate has to contain 3.5% milk fat and 14% milk solids. If it doesn’t contain milk, then it can’t officially be classed as white chocolate.9 The main ingredient in vegan white chocolate alternative is cocoa butter, followed by powdered sugar, rice power (not milk powder), salt and vanilla extract.10

How to make vegan chocolate

 If you like the idea of making your own vegan chocolate, then you’re in luck, because there are lots of vegan chocolate recipes out there. Here are a couple of them:

Vegan milk chocolate alternative recipe:

Ingredients list:

  • 1 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (room temperature or warm)
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar, powdered
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Cacao nibs (for the topping)


  1. Put the melted coconut oil, coconut cream, cacao or cocoa powder, powdered coconut sugar, a pinch of salt, and vanilla into a blender.
  2. If required, add more salt to taste, coconut sugar for sweetness, more vanilla to enhance the chocolate flavour, or more cacao/cocoa powder for more of an intense flavour.
  3. Pour the mixture into moulds or cupcake cases.
  4. Freeze them (this takes around 30 minutes). Keep in the fridge or freezer for up to a month.12

Vegan dark chocolate recipe:

Ingredients list:

  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup cacao butter, chopped
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • Pinch of unrefined sea salt (optional)


  1. Fill a small pot 1/4 full with water and boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and put a heat-resistant bowl inside the pot. Makes sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.
  2. Chop the cacao butter into small chunks and place in the bowl. Once the cacao butter has melted, remove the {hot) bowl and leave to cool.
  3. Add the cacao powder and mix well until there are no lumps. Add the maple syrup and salt and stir.
  4. Pour the melted chocolate into moulds or the bottom of a small square/rectangular dish lined with parchment paper. Freeze for about 10 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes.13

Where can I buy vegan chocolate?

Don’t fancy making your own vegan chocolate just yet? That’s fine, you can buy some instead! You can purchase it online and from most stores these days, including Holland & Barrett.

What are some of the best vegan chocolate brands?

We happen to stock a wide range of vegan and dairy free chocolate brands, such as:
  1. Enjoy!
  2. Montezumas
  3. Blanxart
  4. NOMO
  5. The Raw Chocolate Company
  6. Peakz
  7. Plamil
  8. Goodio
  9. Mummy Meagz
  10. Raw Halo
  11. Vego Good Food
  12. Choc Chick
  13. Cocoa Libre
  14. Love Raw
  15. Booja Booja
  16. Deliciously Ella
  17. Doisy & Dam
  18. Mallow Puffs
  19. Moo Free
  20. Almighty Foods
  21. Fabulous Freefrom Factory
  22. iQ Chocolate
  23. Liberto
  24. Raw Health
  25. Sweet Freedom

Choose between honeycomb slabs, dark chocolate bars, chocolate drops, truffles, and more…

Shop Vegan Chocolate

Vegan chocolate products

To make life easier we’ve picked some of our favourite vegan chocolate products, starting with everyone’s winter favourite - which is of course hot chocolate!

Vegan hot chocolate

Price: £3.99

Description: This luxury hot chocolate is 100% natural, containing only two ingredients, cacao and raw cane sugar

Price: £5.95

Description: Made with high-quality organic coconut sugar and raw cacao powder. Mix with warm soya or nut milks, depending on your preference.

Vegan chocolate bars

Price: £2.29

Description: An ideal snack for any occasion, these are a great chocolate bar alternative packed with 16g protein and less than 1g sugar.

Price: £2.49

Description: Convenient and delicious snack which is made using natural flavours and Belgium chocolate. Bite into the bar to reveal a thick layer of yummy caramel. Yum!

Price: £2.49

Description: This delicious bar is high in protein, low in sugar and contains sweeteners. Very tasty snack.

Price: £0.99

Description: Made with organic cacao, creamed coconut and coconut sugar, this bar has a luxurious glossy shine, a satisfying snap, and a melt-in-your-mouth smoothness, which is divine.

Price: £2.99

Description: This bar is innocent-looking however the thick coating of 70% dark chocolate hides a wonderfully gooey caramel middle. It tastes so good it’s hard to believe it’s free from dairy, gluten and soya. We promise it is!

Price: £2.99

Description: This bar by Fody uses ingredients dry roasted peanuts, almonds, coconut oil and pure maple syrup ensuring a premium and delicious taste.

Vegan chocolate cake

Don’t fret, becoming vegan doesn’t mean that you have to say goodbye to chocolate cake.

There are chocolate cakes available in most supermarkets these days, alternatively, we sell the devilishly good chocolate cake by Everfresh. This cake is baked with the goodness of sprouted organic wholegrain and wholemeal flour. Alternately, if you enjoy baking (and fancy yourself as a bit of a Mary Berry), why not browse our vegan baking products range. If you need some inspiration, check out our recipe for a very tasty vegan chocolate fudge decadence cake. Want to carry on reading about vegan chocolate? Why not check out, 7 of the best vegan chocolates Shop Vegan

Last updated: 6 January 2021

Related Topics

ChocolateDairy FreeDairy Free RecipesFood & DrinkVeganVegan Recipes
Andrea Dobronszki

Andrea Dobronszki,
Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate

Joined Holland & Barrett: Aug 2020

Master’s Degree in Food Science and Technology Engineering and BSc in Dietetics

Andrea started her career as a clinical dietitian and lecturer at a university hospital, managing the dietetic treatment of patients with various diseases, and giving lectures in nutrition for medical students.

Later she worked as a Product Developer at a sport nutrition company where she developed food supplements and fortified foods, and ensured that the products complied with the relevant regulations.