We bought and taste tested an array of vegan gummy candy to find our favorites. Here are our gelatin-free candy picks!
Y'all, I love gummy candy. It's one of those sweet treats that I try not to keep around, because I will demolish some vegan gummies. What a delight it was to try so many at once to find our faves.
This week on the podcast, Larisha and Andrew from Make it Dairy Free joined us to eat some vegan gummy candy and to chat. It was a good time!
I'm also keeping this list updated with new finds, so if you have a favorite type of vegan gummies that didn't make the list, let me know in the comments!
- 💡 Why isn't all gummy candy vegan?
- 🍬 The BEST vegan gummy candy
- ⭐️ Gummy candy without gelatin
- 365 Vegan Gummy Bears or Stars
- Air Heads Extremes
- C'est Bon Bon Vegan Gummies
- Jelly Belly Gummies
- Project 7 Gummy Bears
- Smart Sweets
- Snak Club gummies
- Sour Patch Kids
- Sprouts Vegan Gummi Worms
- 🎧 Where to listen
- 🍭 More Vegan Candy Reviews
💡 Why isn't all gummy candy vegan?
Unfortunately, a lot of companies use gelatin as the base for their gummies. Gelatin is a by-product of the meat industry. It's made from animal bones and ligaments.
Popular brands of gummies, like Haribo Gummy Bears and Black Forest Gummy Bears are gelatin-based. So are things like Nerds Rope and Nerds Clusters, which is why we didn't include those two in our vegan Nerds episode.
🍬 The BEST vegan gummy candy
So, which of these was the favorite? The Sour Patch Kids were the clear frontrunner. We all liked the Project 7 gummies pretty well, too.
For all of us, those were our top picks.
If sour candy is your thing, I'd go with Sour Patch Kids. They're a classic, and they just nail it in both the taste and texture departments.
The Air Heads Extremes weren't part of the episode, but I rank them right up there with Sour Patch Kids - some of the best vegan gummy candy I've had in a while!
We tried the Sprouts Vegan Gummi Worms on a different episode of the pod, and they blew us away! Texture, flavor...they have it all! This is one of my top picks for sure.
You can read detailed reviews of all of the vegan gummies that we tried below.
⭐️ Gummy candy without gelatin
Wondering how they make gelatin-free gummy candy?
The good news is that it's not hard to make gummies without gelatin. Pectin and starches (like potato starch) are both common alternatives. There are also brands that use tapioca as the base.
We even sampled one brand that uses a mix of fiber and rice flour to achieve a gummy consistency that was shockingly spot-on.
The list below is not a complete collection of all the vegan gummies you can buy. Instead, we wanted to choose an array of options that are easy to find at stores like Kroger, Target, Whole Foods, and Sprouts.
If you want a quick list of our favorite picks, see the section above. Below, you can browse the alphabetical list of candies, if you want to see how we liked your favorite or one you're considering buying.
365 Vegan Gummy Bears or Stars
Actually, I should say that Dave used to love these gummies, but after this taste test, he has reversed his decision.
We all agreed that the flavor on these were pretty good, but the texture was very unpleasant. They just absolutely coat your teeth when you eat them, like melted gum. It's truly awful.
They use a combination of tapioca and cornstarch in place of gelatin. It almost has the texture of a fruit snack, like the kind you might put in a kid's lunch box.
We also agreed that gummy candy should have a bit of a snap. When you bite in, you should get some resistance. Haribo Gummy Bears -- which are not vegan -- were what we agreed are the epitome of that texture. That's what we were chasing, texture-wise.
Biting into these, though, your teeth just sort of...sink in. I find it very unpleasant, and they don't even tempt me when they're in the house.
Air Heads Extremes
This is a post-recording addition to this list. I recently picked up a pack of Air Heads Extremes Rainbow Berry at either Target or Kroger (I can't remember!), and y'all, they are incredible! Dave and I tried them on a recent episode of the podcast, and we are obsessed.
The pack contains stacks of four rainbow-colored strips of gummy candy, and each strip is coated in a mix of sugar and citric acid for a sweet and sour crunch on the outside.
The gummy texture of these is on point, and the flavor is just so fun! To me, it tasted like a mix of berry and watermelon, and it was delightful. I don't usually like watermelon, but as a secondary flavor note, it was nice.
I definitely recommend these. They are going fast in my house!
Here's the episode that includes our review of Air Heads Extreme from the pod. The review is at 39:33:
C'est Bon Bon Vegan Gummies
A listener sent us a few of her favorite vegan gummy candies to try, and these tart-sweet little gems were in the package!
C'est Bon Bon is a French candy company, and Dave and I love their gummies! The texture is a little bit less chewy than a Sour Patch Kid, but not that melty, stuck-in-your-teeth consistency of something like the 365 gummies.
They have a great balance of tart and sweet with a lovely texture. If you can get your hands on these, I highly recommend it!
Jelly Belly Gummies
Jelly Belly recently released a gummy candy that says "vegan" right on the front of the package and is very easy to find!
These tapioca syrup and cornstarch-based gummies come in a variety pack of lemon, berry blue, berry cherry, orange, and green apple.
Y'all, these were a huge letdown. The texture was firmer than the 365 gummies, but they still stuck in your teeth way too much.
What really disappointed us, though, was the flavor. Jelly Belly Jellybeans aren't vegan, and we were all looking forward to experiencing some of those flavors from our childhoods again.
These gummies were just...bland! Some colors had a mild flavor, but some, like the green apple, tasted like nothing. What a strange, disappointing experience.
Project 7 Gummy Bears
These pectin-based gummies are available pretty widely now and are lower in sugar than conventional gummies. They are stevia-sweetened, and that flavor does come through in the candy a bit.
Andrew and Larisha couldn't find the gummy bears, so they grabbed Project 7 Sour Worms instead, and they really liked them. I got the impression that the sour flavor on these was really good and masked the taste of the stevia.
These gummies had a great texture, and I think the sour worms are the way to go, if you don't like the taste of stevia.
These are lower in sugar than conventional gummies, which I think is why we all felt like these tasted "healthy," if that makes sense.
Dave likened it to beet juice, though I don't think they tasted like beets. Just like naturally sweetened and flavored candy, versus a super sugary conventional gummy candy.
Not all varieties of Smart Sweets are vegan, but they label the vegan ones with a little Plant Based badge on the front and back of the package. The non-vegan ones contain gelatin.
The vegan Smart Sweets use a combination of different fibers along with rice flour for their texture. They're also low sugar, sweetened with monk fruit.
We tried three varieties of these: Peach Rings, Sweet Fish, and Sour Buddies. Of the three, we liked the Sour Buddies the best and would eat those again.
The Peach Rings and Sweet Fish were total flops for us, mostly due to the flavor. The Sweet Fish just didn't hit that Swedish Fish spot for us. Andrew described their flavor as "flavored water that you can chew on," and that felt accurate, and their flavor was oddly sticky.
The flavor of the Peach Rings was too perfumey. This one was unanimously our least favorite of the eight gummies we tried.
That said, after recording, we let our kids try some of these, and the Peach Rings were a hit with our kid and their girls.
Snak Club gummies
Snak Club makes a variety of chili and lime gummies, like rings and gummy bears, and all of the ones I've found in stores have been vegan!
Dave and I have tried quite a few of these:
- apple rings
- peach rings
- gummy bears
- mango rings
Overall, the texture of these gummies isn't our favorite. They're too soft and sticky. The apple and peach rings are definitely a hard pass from both of us. The gummy bears were a little bit hit and miss. We liked the pineapple, strawberry, and orange flavors, but the apple and lemon were terrible.
We were pretty divided on the mango rings. They had that same too-soft texture, but for me the flavor was so good, I could get past it and enjoy them. Dave hated these, too.
Sour Patch Kids
These vegan sour candies have been one of my faves since I was a teen, and they're still top tier as far as I'm concerned. We all agreed that these are a gold standard candy and our favorite of the bunch.
The texture is fantastic, and they hit a perfect balance of sweet-to-sour. No bag of Sour Patch Kids is safe when I am around!
These get their gummy texture from cornstarch instead of gelatin.
Sprouts Vegan Gummi Worms
We grabbed a bag of these on a whim over winter break, and y'all, they are amazing! The texture is firm and really reminds me of my pre-vegan days gummy bears.
And the flavor is great, too! Even though these gummi worms are two colors each, I don't recommend biting them in half. They taste best if you pop the whole thing in your mouth.
🎧 Where to listen
Thank you so much for listening (or reading!). We record these episodes for you, and we'd love to hear from you.
Got a favorite vegan treat that you think we should cover on the podcast? Send your suggestions to [email protected]!
You can find Talkin' Tofu on: