Is Powdered Sugar Vegan? (List of Brands I Recommend)

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a saucer of sifted vegan powdered sugar

Is powdered sugar vegan?

The short answer is IT DEPENDS. How annoying is that? I know. But don’t worry. I’m going to explain why. And I’m going to give you a list of brands of powdered sugar that ARE vegan.

Table of Contents

(click the links below to skip to different sections)

I’ve been baking vegan desserts for over half my life! It’s crazy to think about. Because it’s been so long, I often don’t put much thought into the ingredients I use. But this website isn’t for me. It might have started out that way, but it’s for you.

Are you someone who hasn’t been vegan for half their life? I want to help! Can I be your vegan godmother and teach you about the vegan ingredients I use when I bake?

What Makes Sugar Vegan or Not?

Sometimes sugar is filtered through bone char. What is bone char? It’s cow bones. The sugar industry uses cattle bones to filter sugar because the world is an effed up place. They call it natural carbon to make it sound less gross and wrong. It’s kind of like a decolorizing filter, but it’s also a denutrition filter.

Did you ever wonder how conventional white cane sugar is so white, when sugar cane is so brown? I live in the United States and I know this is common practice here, but I’m not sure about foreign countries. Refined sugars using bones of cattle is just one of the screwed up parts of the U.S. sugar industry. There are more, but I’ll try to stay focused.

Do Vegans Really Care About This?

I will say that many vegans do not mind eating sugar that’s processed using animal bones. I took a poll on my instagram to see how the vegans I’m connected with feel about this topic. Almost 85% of the vegans in my community said they would eat foods with sugar listed as an ingredient if they didn’t know for sure that the sugar was vegan. My very own love of my life (Mr. Dollhouse) falls into this category. I just saw him munching on some skittles earlier today, in fact.

I am what I would call a strict vegan, which means I question everything I purchase, from food to the kind of paint I buy. So, I only buy organic sugar. I would never use a packet of white sugar in my coffee if I’m at a diner. And if I’m not sure if the sugar in something is vegan or not, I usually contact the company and ask (like when I confirmed that biscoff cookies are vegan).

Are Some Types of Sugar Vegan?

The type of sugar can sometimes indicate if it’s safe for a vegan diet. For instance, beet sugar and evaporated cane juice are vegan-friendly sugars. If you see these in an ingredients list, you can feel assured that those are vegan sugars that were not processed using animal products. Vegan chocolate companies will often use beet sugar as a sweetener because it comes from sugar beets.

In all of my recipes that call for sugar, I specify organic sugar, raw sugar, or vegan sugar. This is because you can sometimes just tell by looking at sugar if it’s vegan or not. If it’s not white, it’s typically vegan. So, sucanat, turbinado, coconut sugar, and demurara are all vegan sugars. But how can you tell with powdered sugar? Isn’t it always a white color? You are so right! This makes it more difficult.

If you choose organic powdered sugar, you’re safe. I have never come across an organic powdered sugar that wasn’t vegan. In all my recipes, I specify when the reader should use the organic version of an ingredient to make sure that the recipe is still vegan. Powdered sugar is one of those.

Offtopic: brown sugar is another sneaky one. It looks unrefined since it’s brown, but they actually refine it (using bone char filtration). They take all the naturally occurring nutrients out of it, and then add molasses back in for flavor and texture. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? This is another reason to just buy unrefined sugar from the get go. It’s more nutritious. Ok, rant over.

powdered sugar falling onto a mini wreath cake like snow

Brands of Vegan Powdered Sugar

I typically just buy the least expensive organic powdered sugar I can find. They’re the first 2 in my list. However, if you don’t live near those grocery stores, I’ll list other brands that don’t use a refining process that involves the use of bone char.

The vegan products below are not filtered through animal bone char. That doesn’t mean these are all-vegan sugar brands. I’m only recommending these products, not other products made by these companies.

a saucer of sifted vegan powdered sugar

Brands of Powdered Sugar that Might be Vegan

There’s a long explanation about the sugar refineries used by 3 of the largest sugar manufacturers: Domino, C&H, and Florida Crystals. It’s on the Vegetarian Resource Group Blog if you want to read about the different refineries. I’ll be honest, I didn’t have the patience to read the entirety of the sugar production story. However, the TLDR is that you can actually look at the lot numbers on the sugar packages of Domino Sugar, Florida Crystals or C&H Sugar. If the lot number on the label starts with a 1, 4, or 6, then that sugar is completely bone char-free! Pretty cool right?

I have seen claims on other vegan blogs that some brands are vegan when they actually are not. So, if you’re a strict vegan or baking for a strict vegan, the best way to find out for sure is to contact the companies and ask. I know it’s a pain, and sometimes they don’t get back to you right away, but it’s a failsafe method of finding out the truth.

Powdered Sugar Substitutions

Just like there are many different types of sugar and powdered sugar, there are also many alternatives. I’m just going to list a couple, but the possibilities are endless.

Make Your Own Powdered Sugar

Depending on the recipe you’re using, there are some alternatives to traditional powdered sugar. In some of my recipes, I call for powdered sugar, but it doesn’t need to be store bought powdered sugar (like my Alice in Wonderland cookies). In those cases, I tell the reader to use their blender to make their own powdered sugar at home using vegan-friendly sugar. However, I don’t recommend this when making buttercream frosting, because the consistency is still a little different. Even if you have a high-powered blender, like a blendtec and you blend your sugar into a fine powder, there’s still a difference.

Powdered Date Sugar

Powdered Date Sugar is an excellent alternative for anyone who is trying to cut down on simple sugars. Date sugar is probably the best of the natural sweeteners for your body. It has been processed so little that your body recognizes it as if you’re eating the fruit in its natural form.

I have been buying it at Grocery Outlet for $4/bag, so I’ve been baking with it, sprinkling it into my oatmeal, and even sweetening tea with it. My stepmom even found some at her local Costco. The only downside is that since dates are brown, you wouldn’t be able to use it to make a white frosting for a cake.

a bad of vegan date sugar

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is a liquid so it might not be the best substitute for powdered sugar. However, whenever I use date sugar, I try to also use some regular sugar or some maple syrup. Date sugar all by itself tastes a little bit too healthy for me.

Powdered Agave

Unlike powdered date sugar and maple syrup, agave nectar is actually highly refined. Therefore, I don’t know that it actually offers many benefits over using organic powdered sugar. The consistency is very fine, so it’s a nice item to have at an iced tea party because it dissolves easily in iced beverages. I haven’t actually tried baking with it yet, but I’ll update this article when I do.

Comments or Questions?

If you know of other brands of vegan powdered sugar I can add to my list, I would love to hear from you. You can message me on instagram @vegandollhouse.

Or email me) if you have any suggestions, questions, or feedback about this post.


I use mostly organic ingredients when I cook. I realize that not everyone has the disposable income to buy only organic ingredients. So, I only specify organic on the ingredients that matter: when buying the organic (or non-GMO) version is the only way to ensure that an item is vegan.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on one, you might go to a website (like Amazon) where you can buy the same product I talk about. Sometimes, the store you purchase from (Amazon, Etsy, etc.) will pay me for referring you. This costs you nothing extra, and I would never recommend a product that I wouldn’t buy myself. These affiliate programs help me create content for you. Read more about this in my privacy policy.


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