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Veganism and The Crunch: Vegan Chips

September 7, 2021

No matter where you go in the world, from America to Japan, chips—be that potato chips or corn chips—are a favorite and beloved snack food. It’s reliable comfort food that you know you can turn to.

But what if you’re vegan?

What many people don’t realize is that most chips are in fact, non-vegan.

But fear not, because Nopigneva is here to deliver the best that vegan chips have to offer.

The history of chips

The earliest recipe resembling today’s potato chips is in a cookbook entitled The Cook’s Oracle, written by William Kitchiner and published in 1817.

Cook's Oracle book by William Kitchiner

From the late 1850s, it was not uncommon to see chips on a restaurant menu. This died out, however, in the 20th century when this delicious snack was being mass-produced and packaged for home consumption.

Thank goodness!

Are there different types of chips?

Most of us pick up a packet of chips without really paying attention to what kind of chip we are actually eating. While there are many kinds of chips, the most common three are potato chips, corn chips, and tortilla chips.

Lot of chips

Potato Chips

These are the most common and well-known chips.

As you can imagine, potato chips are made from potato, sunflower oil, canola oil, and salt.

Some of the most well-known potato chips are Walkers, Lays, and Pringles.

Corn Chips vs. Tortilla Chips

While both of these chips are composed of the same ingredients of maize kernels, oil, salt, lime, and then specific flavorings, the difference lies in how they are made.

When it comes to corn chips, you must ground down masa and then deep-fat-fry it. In contrast, tortilla chips are simply tortillas that are baked and then deep-fat-fried.

It seems amazing how such a small difference in cooking technique can change the integrity of the chip so drastically. But as they say, the proof is in the pudding—or should we say—chip.

Vegetable Chips

Vegetable chips may not have the same nostalgic taste as potato chips or even tortilla chips, but these veggie-based chips are steadily increasing in popularity.

Vegetable potato chips

These snacks are popular among those who want a healthier alternative to beloved potato chip brands!

Aren’t all chips vegan?

Unfortunately, no.

As flavoring techniques improve, the named flavor of a crisp reveals very little in regards to whether or not they are vegan. Because of this, we always recommend checking the list of ingredients on the back of the packet. Or, if you are still feeling unsure, you contact the manufacturer.

So what does make chips non-vegan?

For most chips, the answer to this would be flavoring. While many are simply meat imitations, it isn’t wholly uncommon for brands to add meat to their products. Cheese-flavored chips are also usually non-vegan.

For example, Walkers, a popular UK chip brand, changed many of their recipes back in 2013 so that they were no longer vegetarian nor vegan friendly. Then, in 2018, to everyone’s relief, they shifted back to vegan-friendly ingredients.

One of the biggest culprits for making chips non-vegan is whey. It is a protein derived from milk, and it is used to add nutrients to unhealthy food. It’s also a form of ‘recycling’ since whey is a byproduct, meaning nothing goes to waste.

Glass of milk

A number of chemicals are also added to enhance flavor and help with the integrity of the chip. These ingredients may also derive from animal products, thus making the chip non-vegan.

If you want a broader idea of what chemicals and additives may be non-vegan, check out this helpful list by Healthline.

What are some of our favorite vegan chips?

While we could spend precious time trying to comprehend the ingredient labels of chip packets while grocery shopping, wouldn’t it be so much easier if there were brands out there dedicated to creating delicious, vegan chips?

Luckily for you, there are!

And so, to save you the hard work, I’ve gone ahead and formed a list of our favorite vegan chips (many of which can be found on NopigNeva!) for you to peruse and enjoy.

Torres Black Truffle Chips

Want to add a little flair and elegance to your snack? Try Torres’s black truffle chips. A mash-up between gourmet dining and pigging out, this packet of chips will have you feeling fancy, wherever you are.

Imported straight from Spain and with ingredients ranging from potatoes to dehydrated black summer truffles, these chips are the perfect backyard barbecue potato chips.

Vegan Rob’s Dragon Chips

Just the name alone would have me reaching for this brand if I saw it on the shelf!

Despite its intimidating name, however, the spice is actually rather tame and perfect for those of you who turn away from anything labeled ‘Flamin hot.’

As for ingredients, these chips are made from dried potatoes, tapioca starch, smoked serrano chili pepper, and extractives of paprika.

Matzo Harissa Chips

These spicy chips are a treat for the taste buds. With various other flavors such as Matzo Salted Chips and Matzo Cinnamon Sugared Chips, this brand is not one to be overlooked.

Matzo Harissa Chips

Made from unbleached, enriched wheat flour, sea salt, dehydrated garlic, and onion, with a dash of ground paprika and crushed pepper for that added oomph, this chip promises to be a new favorite for any snacker!

Bubba’s Fine Foods Blazing Buffalo ‘Nana Chips

These kettle-cooked chips are a winner for those of you looking for that spicy flavor.

Made from green saba bananas, coconut oil, and sea salt, these chips are for those adventurous eaters who love trying something different.

With various other flavors to choose from, Bubba’s fine food kettle-cooked chips are the way to go when looking to try a new, adventurous snack.

Vegan Goat Cheese Chips by Plant Snacks

Another variation on the usual potato or corn tortilla chips, this vegan chip is actually made from beetroots.

As I said earlier, most cheesy chips are full of dairy flavorings. These chips by the brand Plant Snacks give you the nostalgic tang of cheese without compromising your vegan commitment.

These chips are made from cassava root flour, vegan goat cheese seasoning, beet, and rosemary extract.

While this potato chip certainly shouldn’t replace your leafy greens, they are much more exciting!

What are some vegan-friendly fan favorites?

Having specially made vegan chips are great, but what if you are running into the store at the gas station for a quick snack? Unfortunately, most of these places don’t carry many of these specialized vegan brands.

To help you choose a quick, vegan treat, check out this list of vegan-friendly favorites. And if this list isn’t enough, check out this comprehensive list from PETA.

Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili

Yes, it’s true! Doritos spicy sweet chili chips are vegan-friendly!

With a delicious flavor combo of sweet, spicy and savory is a party favorite! Perfect for a side dish at a barbecue or paired with a submarine sandwich, this is one snack that you really wanna check out. It even ranked first on PETA’s list of vegan chips.

Fritos Original Corn Chips

Fritos original corn chips are a family favorite. These curved chips are the perfect base for a walking taco and the ideal companion to a killer vegan chili.

Kettle Brand Maple Bacon Potato Chips

This combination of maple and bacon is a winner. Once a mystery to vegetarians and vegans alike, this Canadian-inspired flavor is now ours or the enjoying!

Kettle Brand Backyard Barbecue

Once again, Kettle Brand comes to our rescue with this delicious, BBQ-flavored chip. The perfect companion to a sub sandwich or a vegan hamburger. 

Sun Chips Original

A healthier alternative to the classic potato chip, sun chips are the perfect companion to a vegan spinach artichoke dip or hot vegan cheese dip.

Sun Chips Original

You can never go wrong with this vegan classic.

Vegan chips are the real crunch

If there’s one thing that comes with veganism, it’s ingenuity. 

In the search for delicious substitutions, companies have stumbled upon delicious and unique chips of all flavors and ingredients. Whether you prefer sea salt vinegar, spicy salsa, or more of a cheddar taste, there is a vegan chip for everyone.

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