Are graham crackers dairy-free?

Graham crackers are generally dairy-free, meaning they do not contain milk or milk derivatives like lactose. Most mass-produced graham crackers only have a few basic ingredients like flour, sugar, oil, and honey, none of which are dairy.

What are graham crackers made of?

Graham crackers were originally created in the early 1800s by Sylvester Graham as a healthier alternative to refined white flour. The main ingredients in traditional graham crackers are:

  • Whole wheat flour – Made from grinding the entire wheat kernel. Naturally gluten-free if certified gluten-free.
  • Honey – A sweetener made by bees from flower nectar. Dairy-free.
  • Vegetable oil – Expeller-pressed oils like canola, soybean or sunflower oil. Dairy-free.
  • Cinnamon – Ground cinnamon spice. Dairy-free.

Some brands may also add:

  • Sugar – Granulated cane sugar. Dairy-free.
  • Molasses – A sweet syrup made from sugar cane. Dairy-free.
  • Salt
  • Leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder

As you can see, traditional graham cracker ingredients do not contain any dairy products like milk, butter, cream, or cheese. They are made simply from whole grains, oil, and natural sweeteners.

Why are graham crackers dairy-free?

There are a few reasons why graham crackers are naturally dairy-free:

  • They were designed to be a healthy alternative to baked goods made with refined flours and dairy products, which were thought to be less digestible.
  • Whole grain flours provide enough structure and binding without needing eggs or dairy.
  • Oil and honey can provide moisture and tenderness usually achieved with butter.
  • The simple combination of flour, oil, honey and spices gives graham crackers their signature crisp, crunchy texture without dairy.

Graham’s original recipe aimed to exclude ingredients like dairy and white sugar, which he considered unhealthy. This resulted in crackers made from basic whole food ingredients that happen to all be dairy-free.

Are all graham crackers dairy-free?

While traditional graham crackers don’t contain dairy, some modern brands add milk or milk derivatives like whey to their recipes. This makes the graham crackers not vegan or dairy-free.

Always check the ingredient list to be sure. Watch out for:

  • Milk
  • Whey or whey protein
  • Buttermilk
  • Cream
  • Butter
  • Cheese or cheese flavors

Many brands proudly advertise on the packaging when their graham crackers are “vegan” or “dairy-free.”

Some examples of popular dairy-free graham cracker brands include:

  • Keebler Original Graham Crackers
  • Annie’s Original Graham Crackers
  • Back to Nature Classic Graham Crackers
  • Mi-Del Swedish Style Graham Crackers

Always check labels though, as formulations can change over time. Homemade graham crackers are also dairy-free if you use a vegan recipe.

Why add dairy to graham crackers?

Some brands add milk or whey to their graham cracker recipes for a variety of reasons:

  • Flavor – Milk products like whey can add a creamy, vanilla-like flavor.
  • Color – Butter and milk can produce a richer brown color.
  • Texture – Dairy ingredients help graham crackers soften and achieve a crispier texture.
  • Binding – Milk proteins can bind ingredients together and reduce crumbling.
  • Nutrition – Milk and whey add protein, calcium, and other nutrients.
  • Allergies – Some brands may process graham crackers on dairy production lines.

However, achieving those effects with dairy ingredients isn’t actually necessary. Non-dairy substitutes like oil, leaveners, egg replacer, and almond milk can create similar flavors, textures and nutrition in graham crackers.

Are honey graham crackers dairy-free?

Honey graham crackers are traditionally dairy-free. Popular brands like Honey Maid and Keebler Honey Grahams simply take original graham cracker recipes and add extra honey for sweetness. The only ingredients are:

  • Whole grain wheat flour
  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Leaveners like baking soda

Again, always double check labels for any milk-based ingredients. Some less common brands add whey or actual honey butter to honey graham recipes, making them not vegan. But the most popular mass-produced brands of honey grahams are dairy-free.

Are chocolate graham crackers dairy-free?

Chocolate graham crackers may contain milk chocolate or other dairy ingredients. To be dairy-free, look for brands made with dark chocolate, cocoa powder, or vegan chocolate chips. For example:

  • Trader Joe’s Chocolate Graham Crackers
  • Simple Mills Fine Ground Sea Salt Chocolate Graham Crackers
  • Annie’s Chocolate Bunny Grahams

Avoid brands listing:

  • Milk chocolate
  • Milk powder
  • Butter
  • Whey

Also look out for potential cross-contamination if the brand’s standard graham crackers contain milk.

Overall chocolate graham crackers may not be dairy-free, so read ingredient lists carefully. Dark chocolate varieties are your safest bet.

Are s’mores graham crackers dairy-free?

S’mores graham crackers or “s’mores sandwich cookies” usually contain marshmallow creme filling.

Regular marshmallows contain gelatin, which is not dairy but not vegan. Vegan marshmallows replace gelatin with plant gums like agar agar.

So to be dairy-free, s’mores graham crackers need to use vegan marshmallow creme in the filling. Some brands that offer dairy-free options include:

  • Anna’s S’mores Sandwich Cookies
  • Aleia’s Original S’mores Snaps

However, most major brands like Honey Maid S’mores contain regular marshmallow creme made with gelatin from animal sources.

As always, check ingredient lists to confirm dairy-free status. Homemade s’mores sandwiches with vegan marshmallows and grahams are dairy-free too.

Are graham crackers gluten-free?

Traditional graham crackers are not gluten-free because they contain wheat flour.

However, some brands make gluten-free graham crackers using alternate flours like:

  • Brown rice flour
  • Tapioca flour
  • Sorghum flour
  • Millet flour

Look for brands that are certified gluten-free to ensure safety for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Some gluten-free graham cracker options include:

  • Kinnikinnick Foods Gluten Free Graham Style Crackers
  • Snyder’s of Hanover Gluten-Free Honey Grahams
  • Mi-Del Ginger Honey Grahams, Gluten Free

There are also recipes to make homemade gluten-free graham crackers with alternate flours and xanthan gum to mimic the wheat-based versions.

Are Teddy Grahams dairy-free?

Teddy Grahams, the cute bear-shaped graham snacks, are generally dairy-free.

The Original Teddy Grahams only contain:

  • Whole grain wheat flour
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Honey
  • Baking soda
  • Salt

No dairy ingredients are used.

The Teddy Soft Bakes and Teddy Organic Grahams are also dairy-free. But flavors like Teddy Grahams Chocolatey Chips do contain milk chocolate, so read labels carefully.

Overall, the standard Teddy Grahams without specialty flavors are dairy-free and vegan.

Are graham crackers ok on a dairy-free diet?

Yes, plain graham crackers without dairy ingredients are perfectly fine for dairy-free diets.

In fact, graham crackers can be used as:

  • A crunchy base for no-bake desserts and pies
  • A fun dipper for fruit spreads or nut butters
  • Crumbled as a topping over oatmeal, yogurt or ice cream
  • In homemade bars and snack mixes
  • As an edible pie crust

Just opt for dairy-free brands without milk, butter, or whey. Homemade graham crackers are easy to make dairy-free too.

Those with multiple food allergies or sensitivities can also look for brands that are top common allergens free.

Overall, when prepared without dairy, graham crackers can be safely enjoyed on a dairy-free, vegan, or allergy-friendly diet. Their simple ingredients make them versatile for snacking, desserts, or even breakfast.

Can you substitute graham crackers in recipes?

Yes, graham crackers can be substituted in many recipes, just take into account some differences:


  • Graham cracker crumbs are finer and crunchier than cookies or digestive biscuits.
  • You may need to use more graham cracker crumbs for volume.
  • Binding and moisture may need adjusting.


  • Graham crackers are slightly sweet with hints of cinnamon and honey.
  • Substituting an unfavored cracker may change taste.
  • Complementary flavors like vanilla, ginger or almond work well.

Some substitutions to try:

  • Digestive biscuit crumbs
  • Gingersnap cookie crumbs
  • Animal cracker crumbs
  • Vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
  • Shortbread cookie crumbs
  • Crumbled up rice cakes

Adjust wet ingredients as needed for binding and prevent dryness. Overall, graham cracker crumbs can be swapped for similar crunchy, neutral-flavored crumbs or thin crackers in most recipes.

Are there health benefits to graham crackers?

Graham crackers made from whole grain flours offer some potential health benefits:

  • Fiber – Whole grains provide more fiber than refined flours. Fiber aids digestion.
  • Nutrients – Whole wheat contains B vitamins, iron, magnesium and antioxidant compounds.
  • Blood sugar – The fiber and nutrients in whole grains can help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Heart health – Fiber reduces cholesterol levels and may lower heart disease risk.
  • Gut health – The prebiotics in whole grains support probiotics and healthy gut flora.

However, some graham cracker brands use refined flour or add a lot of sugar, reducing potential benefits. Always check the ingredients for whole grains and less processed sweeteners like honey.

Eaten occasionally as part of an overall healthy diet, whole grain graham crackers can provide useful fiber and nutrients. But they should not replace whole food sources of nutrients.

Are graham crackers nutritious?

Graham crackers do provide some nutritional value, but not a huge amount compared to other foods. A serving of 2-3 crackers (26g) contains around:

  • 70-90 calories
  • 1-3g protein
  • 1-2g fiber
  • Around 15% DV iron, thiamin, folate
  • 5% DV calcium, magnesium, zinc
  • Small amounts of B vitamins

The nutrition depends on the brand’s recipe. Whole grain graham crackers offer more fiber and micronutrients vs. refined flour versions.

Overall, graham crackers get a decent amount of nutrients from whole grain flours. But they are still a fairly processed snack food. For maximum nutrition, eat them paired with other whole foods like nut butter, yogurt and fruit.


Graham crackers originated as a wholesome baked good made with whole grain flours and natural sweeteners. This means most traditional brands are dairy-free by nature.

Always check ingredient lists though, as some modern graham cracker recipes add milk, whey or butter. Look for vegan/dairy-free labeling or brands sticking to simple, classic ingredients.

When made without dairy, graham crackers can be enjoyed on a dairy-free, vegan or allergen-friendly diet. Their crunchy, mildly sweet taste makes graham crackers a tasty base for snacks, desserts and fun recipes. In moderation, whole grain versions can add useful nutrition as well.

Overall, graham crackers are a handy staple that are naturally dairy-free – just be sure to get a veggie brand to stay safe if avoiding milk products. With a careful read of labels, even those with dairy allergies or dietary restrictions can enjoy these nostalgic treats.

Leave a Comment