Is dark chocolate vegan?
Most dark chocolate is naturally vegan. In most cases, it’s made with only a few ingredients, including cocoa, sugar and any added flavours. However, this isn’t the case for all dark chocolate – some brands add milk powder to enhance the creamy flavour and texture. It’s best to check the labels and buy high-quality chocolate, or look specifically for a vegan brand.
Find out the impressive health benefits of dark chocolate.
Best vegan chocolate to buy 2023
Cadbury plant vegan chocolate bar
Best classic chocolate bar
Our team are big Cadbury fans, so we were slightly dubious about trying a bar without dairy. We needn’t have worried – its vegan chocolate bar is super-creamy and moreish. In fact, some said it tasted similar to the bar we all know and love. The only real difference is that it has a slightly nuttier flavour – that’ll be the almond paste – and is a touch sweeter. But, we don’t mind this – during testing, we found we wanted to eat a bit less, which stopped us eating the full bar in one go. A win all round! Cadbury also offers a salted caramel version. If you’re a fellow Cadbury fan, you should definitely give it a go.
Vego hazelnut chocolate bar
Best nutty vegan chocolate bar
Before we began our vegan chocolate taste test, never did we imagine we’d find one that tasted, not only as good as traditional chocolate, but one we’d actually prefer to a milk chocolate bar. We went back for seconds (and thirds) of this deliciously ‘creamy’ bar filled with whole hazelnuts. Most vegan alternatives to chocolate have a high cocoa content (often 75% and above), meaning that if you’re not a fan of darker styles, vegan varieties may be too bitter. The Vego bar, however, is the closest thing we’ve found to a milk chocolate bar. Similar in taste to a rich hazelnut spread, but with no added palm oil, this is the vegan chocolate bar we’ve been searching for.
Hotel Chocolat 85% dark chocolate batons
Best vegan chocolate gift
Perfectly presented for a gift, or a luxurious treat for yourself, these dark chocolate fingers are the pinnacle of premium vegan chocolate. The bite-sized chocolate pieces contain an even balance of both sweet and bitter flavours and you’ll be surprised at how creamy they taste, despite their darker appearance. As you’d expect from luxury chocolatier Hotel Chocolat, each individual baton is pristinely smooth, tempered to perfection and has a wonderfully sharp snap to it. High-end indulgence.
Hotel Chocolat (£7.50)
Asda Free From choc bar
Best budget chocolate bar
All our taste tests are conducted entirely blind, meaning that flavour will always prevail over the way a product is packaged. Our judges were unanimous in deciding that this smooth, free-from bar should sit proudly in our top five. We’d be hard pushed to differentiate between this and a non-vegan variety of budget chocolate and, for those times when the only thing that will satisfy your cravings is a sweet mouthful, make sure you’ve got a stash of these at home.
Chocolate and Love rich dark 71% bar
Best large vegan chocolate bar
A high-scoring entry in our taste test, this is another luxury vegan chocolate bar that has everything we’d want in a dark chocolate; deep and rich flavour as well as a sharp snap. Plus, it’ll take you by surprise when it melts in your mouth. If you prefer lighter flavours of chocolate, opt for the orange, pomegranate or coffee varieties from Chocolate and Love – they’re all vegan, too, and taste delicious.
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Ombar Coco Mylk bar
Best for baking
You’ll see that a number of our recipes call for the addition of ‘good quality chocolate’, but what happens if you can’t consume chocolate that contains milk? The second we tasted the Ombar, we knew that its rich coffee taste would make it ideal for cooking and baking. You can tell the chocolate has been tempered correctly as it has a crisp snap when you bite into it and the texture is perfectly smooth, so when melted down, you’ll be left with an entirely fluid mixture to work with. Make sure to keep a few squares aside for snacking, too.
How we tested vegan chocolate
A range of nationally available chocolates were tested by various members of our BBC Good Food editorial team. The chocolates were all served blind, so that no brand prejudice could play a part in the judging. The chocolates were served at room temperature and tasters were encouraged to cleanse their palate between tastings. We scored the chocolate against the following criteria.
Taste: Although taste can be subjective when it comes to chocolate, we looked for a rich, dark chocolate that was full of flavour. We allowed the chocolate to sit at a comfortable room temperature and began to take flavour notes when the chocolate melted on the tongue. How did a chocolate pass our test? By simply tasting as good, if not better, than milk chocolate.
The perfect snap: The correct tempering of the chocolate can influence whether there are any nasty lumps or bumps in the finished product. Not only should the chocolate appear smooth and glossy (apart from when additional ingredients are included) but it should have the perfect snap when broken apart.
No scuffs or ‘bloom’: Signs of a high-quality chocolate start at the physical appearance of the product. We made sure that the chocolates tested didn’t appear to have any white marks (called bloom) on their surface, which often indicates that the chocolate has been spoiled in some way.
Presentation: Although all chocolates were removed from their packaging, we took note of the appearance and originality of each bar.
This review was last updated in December 2022. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you found a vegan chocolate bar that you love? Leave a comment below…