Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+ Join today!.
You know it’s springtime when your local big box store finally packs the last of the clearance Valentine’s candy away and suddenly fill the shelves with Peeps. The colorful plastic-wrapped packages of Easter candy come in a never-ending array of variations, appearing in every color of the rainbow and flavors from strawberry and chocolate to Hot Tamale and Froot Loops. But are peeps vegan or are these marshmallow-ish creations off-limits for plant-based eaters?
Are Peeps Vegan?
Peeps are not vegan or vegetarian, according to the company that makes them.
“Our marshmallow candies are not vegan because they contain pork-derived gelatin,” says a statement from Just Born, the manufacturer of Peeps. The company claims the pork is essential for the “great eating experience” it creates. “We have done a great deal of research, analysis and testing using alternative sources of gelatin and have not been able to identify a consistent alternative that provides the same great eating experience that our current gelatin provides.”
In addition to the pork gelatin, chocolate-dipped and caramel-filled varieties of Peeps also contain dairy.
What Are Some Vegan Alternatives to Peeps?
If you still want something cute and marshmallow-y for your spring and Easter celebrations – just without the animal ingredients – there are several options to try. Dandies is one of our favorite brands of vegan marshmallows, free of corn syrup and gluten in addition to being entirely plant-based. Since a 2019 reformulation, Trader Joe’s house-brand marshmallows are also vegan. TJ’s reportedly uses a seaweed base to stand in for the animal-derived ingredients in gelatin.
To transform your plain white vegan marshmallow into something extra-festive, grab your favorite plant butter and try an on-theme marshmallow Rice Krispies treat.