Are Hot Tamales Candy Vegan?

hot tamales aren't vegan

Navigating the vegan lifestyle can feel like a maze, especially when it comes to deciphering candy ingredient lists. Many are surprised to discover that Hot Tamales candy, a popular sweet treat, is not considered vegan despite being gelatin-free.

This blog post will break down why they’re off-limits for those following a strict plant-based diet and provide delicious alternative options you’ll love. Get ready to satisfy your sweet tooth without compromising your dietary convictions!

Key Takeaways

  • Hot Tamales candy is not considered vegan due to the presence of confectioners glaze, which is derived from animal sources.
  • Although Hot Tamales do not contain gelatin, they still include an ingredient that goes against the principles of a vegan lifestyle.
  • Vegan – friendly alternatives to Hot Tamales include Red Hots, Sour Patch Kids, Sweet Tarts, Good & Plenty, and homemade vegan candies.

Vegan Status of Hot Tamales

Hot Tamales candy—a long-time favorite in the confections aisle—has, for years, stirred debate among vegans. While often assumed vegan-friendly due to their primary components of sugar and corn syrup, Hot Tamales indeed pack a non-vegan surprise: confectioners glaze.

This shiny finisher adds sheen to the candies you know and love but originates from an insect source; hence it strays from strict vegan norms.

Further sparking controversy is that some flavors of Hot Tamales were once notorious for containing animal-derived gelatin—an ingredient now absent from their recipe. This change has spurred further confusion about whether they qualify as vegan candy options or remain on the forbidden list for those adhering to a plant-based diet.

Regardless, credibility as vegan-friendly treats remains out-of-reach while they continue sporting that glossy coat of insect-derived confectioners glaze.

Ingredients of Hot Tamales

Before we delve into why Hot Tamales candy is often disputed as non-vegan, let’s first break down the ingredient list. This will give us a clear understanding of what goes into making this popular candy.

Corn Syrup
Modified Food Starch
Contains Less than 0.5% of the Following: Citric Acid, Malic Acid
Confectioners Glaze
Artificial Flavor
Gum Acacia
Red 40
Yellow 5 (Tartrazine)
Yellow 6
Blue 1
White Mineral Oil
Carnauba Wax
Sodium Citrate
Artificial Color

Among these ingredients, the most controversial for vegans is confectioners glaze, an animal-derived product. Although Hot Tamales candy doesn’t contain common animal substances like gelatin, the presence of this ingredient makes it non-vegan. However, on the brighter side, it doesn’t contain any animal-derived colors, which is a common concern among vegans. Despite the change in recipe to exclude gelatin, Hot Tamales candy still remains a subject of debate in the vegan community.

Why Some Consider Hot Tamales to be Non-Vegan

Hot Tamales candy is often considered to be non-vegan due to the presence of confectioners glaze in its ingredients. Confectioners glaze, also known as shellac, is a coating used on many candies and other food products.

It is derived from the resin secreted by certain insects, making it an animal-derived ingredient.

While Hot Tamales do not contain gelatin, which is commonly found in non-vegan candies, the inclusion of confectioners glaze raises concerns among vegans. This ingredient is derived from animal sources and therefore goes against the principles of a vegan lifestyle.

It’s important for vegans to carefully read product labels and research ingredients before consuming any candy or food item. While some may argue that the small amount of confectioners glaze in Hot Tamales may be insignificant, others take a strict stance on avoiding all animal-derived ingredients.

If you’re looking for vegan-friendly alternatives to Hot Tamales candy, there are plenty of options available. Sour Patch Kids, Sweet Tarts, Good & Plenty, and Red Hots are some popular vegan candy choices that do not contain confectioners glaze or other animal-derived ingredients.

In conclusion, although Hot Tamales candy does not contain gelatin like many non-vegan candies do (after a recipe change), it still includes an ingredient called confectioner’s glaze that comes from animals.

Therefore it cannot be considered purely vegan according to most standards within the vegan community.

Vegan Alternatives to Hot Tamales

If you’re a vegan and looking for some sweet alternatives to Hot Tamales candy, there are plenty of options out there that are suitable for your dietary preferences. Here are some vegan-friendly candies that can satisfy your sweet tooth:

  1. Red Hots: If you love the spicy cinnamon flavor of Hot Tamales, you can try Red Hots candy instead. They have a similar taste but without the non-vegan ingredients.
  2. Sour Patch Kids: These tangy and chewy candies are entirely vegan and come in various flavors like watermelon, cherry, and blue raspberry.
  3. Sweet Tarts: These classic tart candies are vegan and offer a variety of fruity flavors. They’re perfect if you enjoy a mix of sweet and tangy.
  4. Good & Plenty: If you prefer licorice-flavored candies, Good & Plenty is a great vegan option. These chewy capsules have a distinctive black licorice taste.
  5. Homemade Vegan Candy: Another alternative is to make your own vegan candy at home using plant-based ingredients like agar-agar or vegan gelatin substitutes. There are many recipes available online to help you create delicious sweets.


In conclusion, Hot Tamales candy is not considered vegan due to the presence of non-vegan ingredients like confectioners glaze. While it does not contain gelatin, another animal by-product is used in the candy.

However, there are plenty of other vegan-friendly candy options available for those who follow a vegan diet.

To find more vegan and eco-friendly tips, check out Journey to Conscious Living!


1. Are Hot Tamales candy vegan?

No, Hot Tamales candy is not vegan. It contains gelatin, which is derived from animal products.

2. What ingredients in Hot Tamales make them non-vegan?

Hot Tamales contain gelatin, which is made from animal collagen. This ingredient gives the candy its chewy texture but makes it unsuitable for those following a vegan diet.

3. Are there any vegan alternatives to Hot Tamales candy?

Yes, there are several brands that offer vegan alternatives to Hot Tamales candy. Look for candies that are labeled as “gelatin-free” or specifically marketed as vegan-friendly.

4. Can I make my own vegan version of Hot Tamales at home?

Yes, you can make your own vegan version of Hot Tamales at home using plant-based ingredients such as agar agar or pectin instead of gelatin. There are many recipes available online that provide step-by-step instructions for making homemade vegan candies similar to Hot Tamales.