Are all Oreos dairy-free?

Oreos are a popular cookie that have been around since 1912. Many people enjoy Oreos as an afternoon snack or dessert. With the rise in food allergies and dietary restrictions like veganism, a common question is: are Oreos dairy-free?

The Short Answer

The short answer is: no, not all Oreos are dairy-free. Traditional Oreos contain milk as an ingredient. However, Oreo does offer dairy-free Oreo cookies that are vegan.

Examining the Ingredients in Traditional Oreos

To determine if a food item is dairy-free, it’s important to read the ingredients list. The main ingredients in traditional Oreos are:

  • Enriched flour
  • Sugar
  • High oleic canola oil and/or palm oil and/or canola oil
  • Cocoa
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Cornstarch
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Soy lecithin
  • Vanillin
  • Chocolate

The key ingredient in traditional Oreos that makes them not dairy-free is milk. Milk is listed as an ingredient on Oreo’s website and food packaging. Any amount of milk, lactose, whey, or other milk-derivatives would make them not vegan.

Varieties of Oreos That Contain Milk

Since milk is in the traditional Oreo recipe, these varieties also contain milk:

  • Original Oreo
  • Double Stuf Oreo
  • Mega Stuf Oreo
  • Most Oreo seasonal flavors like Winter Mint, Eggnog Latte, etc.
  • Oreo Thins
  • Oreo Mini

Essentially, if it’s a standard Oreo variety that you would find in the cookies aisle at the grocery store, it likely contains milk as an ingredient.

Oreo Varieties That Are Dairy-Free

While traditional Oreos contain milk, Oreo has created some dairy-free, vegan varieties in recent years:

  • Oreo Vegan – launched in 2021 in China
  • Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies Dairy Free – sold in the US and Canada as of 2022

The Oreo Vegan and Dairy Free Oreos specifically have had all milk and milk byproducts removed from the ingredients. Instead, they use vegan ingredients like vegetable oils and cocoa powder to provide the classic Oreo taste.

Aside from the standard Oreo shape, Oreo also offers dairy-free options under some of their sub-brands:

  • Nutter Butter Sandwich Cookies Dairy Free
  • Chips Ahoy! Dairy Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Select Teddy Grahams varieties

Always check the packaging on these products to confirm which ones are vegan or dairy-free. The ingredients can vary between flavors and varieties.

Why Traditional Oreos Contain Milk

Oreos contain milk because it’s part of the original patented recipe. Milk functions as a binding agent and adds flavor. Specifically, traditional Oreos include skim milk powder and whey powder. These milk derivatives provide the following benefits:

  • Texture – Milk proteins help bind the cookie dough together to achieve Oreo’s signature crunchy-yet-soft texture.
  • Flavor – Lactose and milkfat provide creamy, rich, and chocolatey flavors.
  • Color – Milk ingredients contribute to Oreo’s dark black cookie color.
  • Shelf life – Milk solids can help extend the shelf life of the cookies.

Essentially, milk is difficult to replace in the traditional Oreo recipe without impacting the taste, texture, and appearance that consumers expect from Oreos.

How Vegan Oreos Are Made Without Dairy

Creating a dairy-free Oreo requires reformulating the recipe. Here’s how Oreo approaches making milk-free cookies:

  • Use vegan chocolate made with soy lecithin instead of milkfat and whey powder.
  • Replace skim milk powder with vegetable starches like potato and tapioca starch.
  • Use vegetable oils like coconut oil in place of butterfat.
  • Add natural colors from fruits, vegetables, and algae instead of artificial colors.
  • Use vanilla extract instead of lactose-derived vanillin.
  • Include emulsifiers like soy lecithin to mimic the texture milkfat provides.

While this achieves a dairy-free cookie, many Oreo fans feel the taste and texture isn’t quite the same as the original. However, the dairy-free varieties allow those with milk allergies, vegan diets, and other dietary needs to enjoy Oreo cookies.

Nutrition Comparison of Dairy vs Dairy-Free Oreos

Below is a nutrition comparison between a serving (3 cookies) of traditional Oreos and dairy-free Oreos:

Nutrition Facts Traditional Oreo Dairy-Free Oreo
Calories 160 150
Fat 7g 7g
Carbohydrates 21g 23g
Protein 1g 2g
Sodium 135mg 170mg

The dairy-free Oreos tend to be slightly lower in calories and fat compared to the traditional Oreos, while providing 2g more protein. However, they also contain more carbs and sodium. Overall, the nutrition profile is fairly comparable between the two varieties.

Cost Difference Between Regular and Dairy-Free Oreos

Traditional Oreos tend to cost less than the dairy-free varieties. Here are some average prices:

  • Traditional Oreos: $2.50-$3.50 per package
  • Dairy-Free Oreos: $4.50-$6.00 per package

The specialized ingredients and manufacturing process of dairy-free Oreos make them 50-100% more expensive than regular Oreos. Consumers need to determine if the added cost is worth it for them to be able to enjoy Oreos without the dairy.

Where to Buy Dairy-Free Oreos

The Oreo dairy-free varieties are still new products only rolling out in certain regions. Here are some places to find them:

  • Grocery stores – Check larger chains like Target, Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, etc. in the specialty diet or cookies aisle.
  • Online – Dairy-free Oreos can be ordered online from Amazon, the Oreo website,, and more.
  • Specialty health food stores – Vegan/organic food stores may carry dairy-free options.

Oreo’s dairy-free offerings are also currently limited to the United States and Canada. Those in other countries may have difficulty finding them.

Are Homemade Oreos Dairy-Free?

With some simple ingredient swaps, it’s possible to make homemade dairy-free “Oreos” from scratch. Instead of using milk and butter, swap in:

  • Non-dairy milk like almond, oat, or soy
  • Dairy-free butter like Earth Balance
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vegetable shortening

You can then adjust and experiment with the recipe to achieve the classic Oreo taste without the dairy. Making them at home allows total control over the ingredients.

Bottom Line

Traditional Oreos contain milk and are not vegan or dairy-free. However, Oreo has developed specialty dairy-free versions that allow those avoiding milk to enjoy these classic cookies. While the dairy-free Oreos have a slightly different taste and texture, they provide a suitable option for consumers with dietary restrictions. Checking labels and ingredients is key to finding Oreo cookies without milk-derived ingredients.

Leave a Comment