Are Wheat Thins Vegan? (All Vegan Flavors)

Wheat Thins, one of the popular brands of baked whole-grain crackers is brought up by Nabisco in the US and Canada. A lot of vegans grew up eating them since the times of the 1940s. Now they are curious to know if they can continue to do so after switching to a 100% plant-based diet.
The question is are they vegan? Yes. Original Wheat Thins are vegan which only consists of whole grain flour, canola oil, sugar, salt, cornstarch, malt syrup, refiner’s syrup, leaveners, and preservatives. All of them being vegan. For the flavored variety, some of them qualify as vegan whereas others have milk products and/or honey as an ingredient.
Here we would go over a list classifying both vegan and non-vegan flavors and eventually will step on doing an analysis of the ingredients.

Vegan Wheat Thins

The Original

Now this simply contains:

  • Whole Grain Wheat Flour
  • Canola Oil
  • Sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Malt Syrup
  • Salt
  • Refiner’s Syrup
  • Leavening agents
  • BHT (for freshness)

The packing material has the BHT but actually, it’s listed in the ingredients.

BHT stands for butylated hydroxytoluene or dibutyl hydroxytoluene.

It’s a derivative of phenol thus is having antioxidant properties. This property is the reason why it is used as a preservative.

BHT is considered vegan because it’s made via the chemical synthesis in industries using non-animal-derived precursors.

The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) terms it as a vegan-friendly ingredient.

Besides this, three similar products that I’ll include over here is the Hint of Sea Salt, Multigrain, and Wheat Thins BIG. All containing the same ingredients. The latter is actually bigger and the former two contain the original ingredients with which sea salt and multigrain flour are added respectively.
So, even they are vegan!

Zesty Salsa

Zesta Salsa is a popular flavor that was discontinued at a guess for a while but later on had its comeback in the market.

It contains:

  • Whole Grain Wheat Flour
  • Soybean Oil
  • Sugar, Salt
  • Malt Syrup (from Corn And Barley), Refiner’s Syrup*
  • Cornstarch
  • Dried Green Bell Peppers
  • Leavening (Calcium Phosphate And/or Baking Soda)
  • Spices (Includes Parsley), Natural Flavor
  • Onion and Garlic Powders
  • Citric Acid, Distilled Vinegar
  • Vegetable Color (Annatto Extract, Turmeric Oleoresin)

*Refiner’s syrup is an ingredient one might not run into too often. But, folks do bump into it from often when scanning labels for vegan friendliness.
Refiner’s syrup is also known as golden syrup or light treacle.

It’s a thick amber-colored form which is actually known as invert sugar. It’s simply a byproduct of the process in which majorly, sugar cane and sugar beet juice are refined into sugar.
Contrary to this, it can also be produced by treating a sugar solution with acid.

So it can be concluded that it’s 100% plant-based and thus vegan.

Sundried Tomato Basil

Ingredients it includes are:

  • Whole Grain Wheat Flour
  • Soybean Oil
  • Sugar, Invert Sugar, Salt
  • Cornstarch, Yeast Extract
  • Malt Syrup (from Corn and Barley)
  • Leavening (Calcium Phosphate and/or Baking Soda)
  • Tomato Powder, Sundried Tomato Powder
  • Garlic and Onion Powders
  • Spices (Including Basil)
  • Dried Red and Green Bell Peppers
  • Vegetable Color (Paprika, Annatto Extract,
  • Turmeric Oleoresin, Paprika Extract)
  • Caramel Color
  • Natural Flavor
  • Sulfur Dioxide and/or Sodium Metabisulphite (for Color Retention)

*Caramel color must not be confused with actual caramel. Real caramel (the confection) is attained from heating milk which causes lactose (the simple sugar in milk) to go through browning via the Maillard reaction which leads to the addition of the flavor and aroma feature of caramel.

Caramel color is produced by the same reaction, but it includes other simple sugars like glucose, fructose, and vegan-friendly sugary substances like malt syrup, molasses, and invert sugar.
Therefore, caramel color can be classified as vegans.

Spicy Buffalo

It contains:

  • Whole Grain Wheat Flour
  • Soybean Oil
  • Sugar, Salt
  • Cornstarch, Maltodextrin*
  • Malt Syrup, Refiner’s Syrup
  • Cayenne Pepper Sauce
  • Leaveners
  • Tomato and Garlic Powders
  • Citric Acid, Yeast Extract
  • Natural Flavor, Spices
  • Vegetable Color
  • BHT

Sometimes, I am questioned if Maltodextrin is vegan. Maltodextrin is a polysaccharide that is made up of glucose chains.

It is produced when vegetable starch is partially hydrolyzed.

Starch is found only in plants (animal tissue contains glycogen), that’s why maltodextrin is always considered vegan.

Non-Vegan Wheat Thins

Honey-Containing Wheat Thins:

Smoky BBQ

Its ingredients include:

  • Whole Grain Wheat Flour
  • Soybean Oil
  • Sugar, Salt, Fructose
  • Leaveners (Calcium Phosphate And/or Baking Soda)
  • Cornstarch, Yeast Extract
  • Malt Syrup (from Corn And Barley), Invert Sugar
  • Tomato Powder
  • Garlic and Onion Powders
  • Spices (includes Mustard)
  • Honey
  • Vegetable Color (Annatto Extract, Turmeric •Oleoresin, Paprika Oleoresin), Caramel Color
  • Citric and Malic Acids
  • Caramel Color
  • Natural Flavor (Includes Smoke)

Honey Mustard

It comprises of

  • Whole Grain Wheat Flour
  • Soybean Oil
  • Sugar, Salt
  • Cornstarch
  • Malt Syrup (from Corn And Barley), Refiner’s •Syrup
  • Maltodextrin, Dextrose
  • Leavening (Calcium Phosphate And/or Baking Soda)
  • Onion Powder
  • Prepared Mustard (Distilled Vinegar, Mustard •Seed, Salt, Turmeric, Spices, Garlic Powder)
  • Honey Solids
  • Citric Acid
  • Spices, Natural Flavor
  • Vinegar Solids
  • Vegetable Color (turmeric Oleoresin, Annatto Extract)
  • Yeast Extract
  • Sodium Diacetate (a Flavor)
  • Lactic Acid

One must be aware that the presence of honey cannot be a reason for one to terms a food product non-vegan. When it comes to insect-derived substances like honey and confectioner’s glaze, it leads to somewhat of a divide among vegans.

But, it is largely listed as non-vegan.

If one is okay with honey, there aren’t any other problematic ingredients in the above two flavors.
Smokey BBQ flavor included Smoke flavor and Honey Mustard variety included lactic acid. Alarms are raised by these two ingredients.

The smoke flavor is just derived from the destructive distillation of wood, this is fine for vegans. Whereas lactic acid is usually considered vegan.
It’s actually different from lactose which can be produced from milk sugar, it is an industrially prepared product which is produced via fermentation of LA-producing bacteria or by chemical synthesis using precursors from the petroleum industry.

Milk Containing Wheat Thins

It’s not necessary to jot down all of its ingredients here, but in one form or another, both the ranch and chili cheese flavors contain milk.

What the ranch flavor contains is whey protein, buttermilk, lactose, and cultured milk.

The chili cheese flavor has whey, non-fat milk, cultured milk, and buttermilk as it’s co-products.

That’s all for what’s required to get through the vegan status of Wheat Thins.
Thank you for reading.


  1. Smart Label, Wheat Thins Original.
  2. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT).
  3. Vegetarian Journal’s Guide To Food Ingredients.
  4. Nabisco Wheat Thins Hint of Salt Snacks, 9.1 Oz.
  5. Wheat Thins Zesty Salsa Crackers 9 oz.
  6. Golden Syrup.
  7. Joe Pastry – Refiner’s (a.k.a. “Golden”) Syrup.
  8. Wheat Thins – Sundried Tomato Basil Ingredients.
  9. Caramel Color.
  10. Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation (Page 420). Amy Brown – Wadsworth Cengage Learning – 2011. ISBN-10: 0-538-73498-1
  11. Maltodextrin.
  12. Wheat Thins Honey Mustard Crackers 9 oz.
  13. The Great Vegan Honey Debate. Is honey the dairy of the insect world?
  14. Lactic Acid.
  15. Wheat Thins, Chili Cheese.


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