Nutter Butters are one of the most popular and classic American biscuit brands, and they first hit store shelves in 1969. Over the years, they have retained their broad popularity as a favorite snacking cookie due to their buttery flavor. Nutter Butters naturally contain peanut butter in the middle, giving them a creamy texture when you bite into each cracker.
But despite their name, Nutter Butters do not necessarily use butter in their recipe. This has led many people to wonder whether Nutter Butters are vegan, or if any special Nutter Butter varieties are vegan even if the classic crackers are not.
Today, let’s take a closer look at the ingredients in Nutter Butters and explore whether they are suitable snacks for vegans.
Nutter Butter Ingredients
The exact ingredients included in a Nutter Butter cookie depend on the type you choose. Nutter Butters have branched out from their core cookies into several different subsidiary or specialized cookies, like chocolate-covered Nutter Butters and so on.
For our purposes, we’ll look at the ingredients included in core or classic Nutter Butters. These ingredients include:
- Unbleached enriched flour, which includes wheat flour, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate or vitamin B1, and niacin
- Riboflavin or vitamin B2
- Folic acid
- Peanut butter made from peanuts, corn syrup solids, hydrogenated rapeseed oil or cottonseed oil or soybean oil, salt, and peanut oil
- Canola oil
- Whole grain wheat flour
- Palm oil
- High fructose corn syrup
- Leavening made of baking soda and calcium phosphate
- Soy lecithin
- Artificial flavors
That’s a pretty basic ingredient list, and it’s one found in a variety of other crackers and cookies throughout America. As you can see from the above list, nothing immediately sticks out as anti-vegan.
Are Nutter Butters Vegan-Friendly?
Yes, although there are some caveats we will go over below. Each of the ingredients above is either plant-based or totally synthetic, so they aren’t derived from animals or (necessarily) cruel practices. Vegans can crunch on Nutter Butters as much as they like without breaking their diets.
Note that this recommendation only applies to the classic Nutter Butters cookies, not many of their later varieties, like chocolate-covered Nutter Butters (which are not vegan friendly for obvious reasons).
Controversial Ingredients in Nutter Butters
The vegan diet can vary depending on what types of foods you allow yourself to eat and how strictly you try to avoid consuming anything from animals or tested on animals. Unfortunately, Nutter Butters do include some controversial ingredients that may disqualify them as vegan-friendly depending on your specific diet or guidelines.
For example, sugar is found in practically all candy and cookie products, and Nutter Butters are filled with them. Some vegans, however, do not eat products with sugar because many refined cane sugars are processed using bone char: an animal derivative that comes from charred cattle bones. Even though the sugar doesn’t have any bone particles, it may not be considered vegan to some because it is processed using an animal product nonetheless.
Nutter Butters’ sugar type is not explicitly stated. Therefore, you can assume it to be vegan friendly or assume it to be the opposite. If you want to be safe, you may need to avoid Nutter Butters so you don’t accidentally consume sugar that is made with bone char.
Next, Nutter Butters contain palm oil, which is another controversial vegan ingredient. That’s because palm oil cultivation can be very devastating to animals due to environmental destruction. Technically, palm oil isn’t vegan if you want to follow the spirit of the diet as much as its various food rules.
Additionally, Nutter Butters contain artificial flavors. It’s difficult to tell what these artificial flavors are, or where they come from. It’s possible that Nutter Butters’s manufacturers use cruel practices or animal testing to prepare their artificial flavors, and there’s no easy way to tell.
So, bottom line: Nutter Butters appear to be vegan on the surface. However, you may still not consider them to be vegan friendly for your specific diet given the fact that they use palm oil and the potential that the sugar included in each cookie comes from bone char processing methods.
Other Nutter Butter Varieties
Alongside classic Nutter Butters, you can find several other Nutter Butter varieties or types, like:
- Fudge Covered Nutter Butters, which are not vegan friendly. That’s because they include cocoa and nonfat milk in their ingredients, which firmly places them outside the vegan diet
- Nutter Butter Bites, which include practically all the same ingredients as classic Nutter Butters. These cookies are vegan friendly since they have the exact same ingredient makeup and do not include any dairy or animal products. Note that the caveats mentioned above still apply to these cookies as well
- Nutter Butter Crème Patties, which include the exact same ingredients as classic or traditional Nutter Butters. Thus, they are technically vegan friendly, though they may also not count depending on how you interpret the vegan diet
Are Nutter Butters Dairy Free?
Most of them are dairy-free, but not all. For example, the above-mentioned Fudge-Covered Nutter Butters are not dairy-free since they include chocolate. But regular Nutter Butters are certainly dairy-free if you have an allergic reaction to dairy or you simply want to avoid it for dietary or ethical reasons.
Are Nutter Butters Gluten Free?
Not at all. In fact, no Nutter Butter product or variety is gluten-free. Each cookie has gluten contained in the wheat flour described above. So if you have celiac disease or simply want to avoid eating gluten for another reason, stay away from Nutter Butters.
Nutter Butters are broadly vegan friendly, although there is some room for interpretation because of their unique ingredients and the fact that what constitutes “vegan” can vary between individuals. For more information about vegan guidelines and vegan-friendly foods, check out our list of vegan breakdowns and ingredient reviews here!