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Are Oreos dairy-free?

Oreos are a popular cookie that many people enjoy as a sweet treat. However, with rising rates of lactose intolerance and dairy allergies, an important question has emerged: are Oreos actually dairy-free?

The Ingredients in Oreos

To determine if Oreos contain dairy, we need to examine the ingredients list. The main ingredients in Oreos are:

  • Enriched flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
  • Sugar
  • High oleic canola oil and/or palm oil and/or canola oil
  • Cocoa (processed with alkali)
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Cornstarch
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Soy lecithin
  • Vanillin (an artificial flavor)
  • Chocolate

At first glance, the main ingredients in Oreos appear to be vegan-friendly. There is no obvious milk, milk protein, whey, or other dairy derivatives in the ingredients list. However, we need to dig a little deeper to determine if Oreos are truly dairy-free.

Hidden Dairy in Oreos

Although Oreos do not contain obvious dairy ingredients, they are manufactured on equipment shared with milk-containing products. This means there is a high risk of cross-contamination with dairy. Many vegans and those with dairy allergies or intolerances may react even to small amounts of milk residue.

In addition, Oreos contain “natural flavors.” The exact source of these natural flavors is proprietary. However, natural flavors can sometimes come from dairy sources like whey, milk, or cream. Nabisco (the company that makes Oreos) does not disclose what the natural flavors are derived from.

So in summary, while Oreos do not contain obvious milk ingredients, the risk of dairy cross-contamination and potentially hidden dairy-derived natural flavors means Oreos are not guaranteed to be dairy-free.

Specialty Dairy-Free Oreos

For those needing to strictly avoid dairy, some specialty brands make dairy-free Oreo-style cookies:

  • Newman O’s by Newman’s Own – uses sunflower oil and non-dairy chocolate
  • Joe-Joe’s by Trader Joe’s – uses vegetable oil and non-dairy chocolate
  • Double Stuf Chocolate Sandwich Cookies by Enjoy Life – allergy-friendly facility

So people who need or want completely dairy-free Oreos do have some supermarket options available. However, traditional Oreos sold by Nabisco may contain small or trace amounts of milk.

Are Oreos Vegan?

Related to the dairy-free question is this: are Oreos vegan? Vegans avoid all animal products, not only dairy. Here is a quick rundown of how Oreos stack up against a vegan diet:

Vegan Diet Oreos
Avoids dairy May contain trace dairy
Avoids eggs Egg-free
Avoids meat Meat-free
Avoids honey Honey-free
Avoids confectioner’s glaze Uses confectioner’s glaze (made from insect secretions)
Avoids bone char refined white sugar May use bone char refined white sugar

As the table illustrates, while Oreos do not contain obvious animal ingredients like eggs or meat, they may contain trace dairy, confectioner’s glaze from insects, and white sugar filtered through bone char. So traditional Oreos cannot be considered vegan.


Oreos do not contain obvious dairy ingredients like milk, cream, or whey. However, due to potential cross-contamination and hidden “natural flavors,” they cannot be considered dairy-free. Specialty brands like Newman-O’s and Joe-Joe’s make vegan Oreo-style cookies that are safe for dairy-free diets.

In addition, Oreos cannot be considered vegan due to the use of confectioner’s glaze and possible bone char refined white sugar. Those wanting completely dairy-free and vegan Oreos can look for specialty store-brand versions, but should avoid traditional Oreos.

The bottom line is that while delicious, Oreos in their classic form contain potential animal-derived ingredients and are not suitable for vegans, those with dairy allergies, or the lactose intolerant. Thankfully, dairy-free and vegan alternatives exist for those that want to enjoy Oreo goodness without the dairy!