Is Cream Soda Vegan? Unlock All You Need To Know

Is Cream Soda Vegan? It is an important question because “Who loves Cream Soda? I love Cream Soda”, and if you are reading this then it means you also love Cream Soda and are vegan. That officially makes you amazing, by the way. According to a YouGovAmerica survey, A&W’s Cream Soda ranked as the 26 most popular beverage in the US – with 92% of people having heard of the drink, 58% of people liking it, 13% disliking it (boo), and a cool 21% of people just being indifferent about it. Wait, it doesn’t just stop there EAT THIS reports Cream Soda to the most popular beverage in California, Oklahoma, Texas, and Vermont. Didn’t know it was that popular? Tempted to try one now? Well, before you do let’s answer two questions for you: “What is Cream Soda?” and “Is Cream Soda Vegan?”

Is Cream Soda Vegan?

As a general rule, most cream sodas are vegan (except a few that are sweetened with honey). A&W, Barqs and Mug cream sodas are vegan. The name cream soda comes from the presence of vanilla, not cream. However, there are a few potentially non-vegan ingredients to watch out for:

  • Sugar (as it could have been processed with bone char); and
  • Red 40 (normally just found in red cream soda) which is routinely tested on animals.

Is Cream Soda Vegan – What is Cream Soda?

Is Cream Soda Vegan

Wikipedia states that Cream Soda is a sweet soft drink that is generally flavored with vanilla and is based on the taste of an ice cream soda. It is a vanilla-based soft drink. The drink’s (also known as Crème Soda and Creaming Soda) original recipe was written by E.M. Sheldon and appears in the 1852 edition of Michigan Farmer. The original recipe? Water, Cream of Tartar, Epsom Salts, Sugar, Tartaric Acid, Milk, and Egg – most definitely not vegan.

Luckily this original recipe did not stick. Modern iterations of the drink are predominately Vanilla-Based soda. In fact, it is the drink’s not-so-secret ingredient, vanilla, which is meant to create that creamy flavor we all know and love.

In short, by adding vanilla to a soda and sweetening we are trying to re-create an ice cream soda.

Does Cream Soda Contain Dairy?

Cream soda does not contain dairy. The creamy flavor of cream soda is derived from vanilla, not dairy. Some restaurants will, however, add ice cream to cream sodas, so make sure to double-check when ordering a cream soda in a restaurant.

Like Vegan Drinks – Not Just Cream Soda?

Like what you are reading? Not Just into Cream Soda? What about other Sodas? Coffee? Or even Beer or Wine? Ever wanted to know what is vegan on the Starbucks drinks menu or if your favorite Soda is vegan (SPOILER ALERT – Diet Pepsi is not vegan)? Then check out some of our other articles such as:

Is Cream Soda Vegan – Things To Look Out For

In this section, we break down the ingredients for Cream Soda as well as those things to particularly look out for on the back of your favorite Cream Soda label.

Carbonated Water

No issue. It is water. It is vegan.


Is Cream Soda Vegan

The main form of sweetener you will find in Cream Soda will be cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately, sweeteners are also the main ingredient that may cause your favorite Cream Soda to not be vegan. This is due to the potential use of honey to sweeten or sugar (which has been processed with bone char). Although sugar is not derived from animals, it can be processed with Bone Char in the production process. Sugar is a notoriously difficult area for vegans to navigate. If you are concerned about what sugar is used in your Cream Soda (or any drink for that matter) then try and pick Cream Sodas that have been sweetened with organic, raw, unrefined, or beet sugar, and/or high fructose corn syrup. Sadly, Bone Char processed sugars remain a potential issue for most drinks in the US.

Artificial Colors

Artificial colors aren’t derived from animals but are routinely tested on animals. For example, Red 40 (often found in Red-colored Cream Soda) is not derived from any animals but is routinely tested on animals. Red 40 should not be confused with Red 4 which is derived from crush bugs – not vegan. The good news is that colors that are usually tested on animals don’t tend to be found in regular Cream Sodas – this is due to the more traditional brown hue associated with the drink being achieved with caramel color, which despite what the name implies, is vegan. If your Cream Soda is brightly colored or red probably best to stay away from it.

Natural Flavors

“Natural Flavors” listed on the back of the labeling can be either from animal products or from plant sources. Manufacturers don’t have to tell you where the Natural Flavors come from. However, if there are any Natural Flavors that contain dairy manufacturers are required to list “contains milk or dairy” on the packaging, so natural flavors are unlikely to be an issue for cream soda. It is always worth bearing in mind that there is always the possibility that “natural flavors” could include honey.

Artificial Flavorings

All artificial flavorings are man-made so are not derived from animals. However, some may undergo testing on animals when they are first created to ensure they meet certain safety standards). They don’t tend to be routinely tested in animals like artificial colors.


The standard go-to preservative for most Sodas is Sodium Benzoate. This compound is considered vegan and is produced synthetically by reacting benzoic acid with sodium hydroxide, neither of which is taken from animal sources. It is used in drinks to prevent spoilage from harmful bacteria, yeast, and molds, as well as help, maintain the chemical balance of food mixtures.

Caramel Color

This is what gives Cream Soda its brown hue. Despite being called Caramel it doesn’t refer to the traditional dairy-based caramel we are all familiar with – just the color. Let’s face it “Caramel” sounds better than “Brown”.

Caramel color is made from heating corn or sugar. The sugar used could be fructose, sucrose, molasses, malt syrup, or regular cane sugar. Obviously, if the caramel is made from cane sugar, then the whole question of bone char opens again which could be an issue for strict vegans.

However, most caramel color in Northern America and Europe is derived from corn and so is vegan. You can never know for sure but the chance of caramel color not being vegan. There is a very slim chance, but on the balance, it’s safe to assume the caramel color is vegan.

Citric or Phosphoric Acid

These are added to Sodas to give them a sharper flavor. It is what gives Soda its tang flavor. They also act as a preservative like Sodium Benzoate above. Both are vegan.


Yucca is the common name for more than 40 species of plants in the Yucca genus. It is used by the drinks manufacturing industry as a foaming and flavoring agent in their carbonated beverages. It is vegan.


Is Cream Soda Vegan

Ah, sweet caffeine. That thing some of us rely on to get us going in the mornings and generally survive daily life. It is also what some drinks manufacturers add to their Sodas to help give us all a boost. Cream Soda brands like A&W and Dr. Pepper add caffeine to their drinks. It is vegan.

This is a good spot to mention that if you love caffeine as I do then check out our article on How To Actually Order A Vegan Drink From Starbucks. In it, we break down every drink item on the Starbucks menu and tell you what is vegan and what isn’t.

Is Cream Soda Vegan – Which Cream Sodas Can I Buy?

The issue depends on where you stand on Sugar and Animal testing. If you don’t want to drink anything that is just derived from animals, then most store-bought Cream Sodas (except those sweetened with honey) should be okay for you.

However, if sugar and animal testing matter to you then it is a bit more complicated.

To help you out as much as possible I have broken down the most popular store-bought Cream Sodas into the following categories:

  • Sweetened with Honey – NOT VEGAN
  • Sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup and does not contain artificial colors – VEGAN
  • Sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup but contains Red 40 – POTENTIAL ANIMAL TESTING ISSUE
  • Contains Sugar, but the manufacturer has confirmed this Cream Soda is Vegan – VEGAN

Sweetened with Honey Sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup and does not contain artificial colors Sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup but contains Red 40 Contains Sugar Contains Sugar, but the manufacturer has confirmed this Cream Soda is Vegan
Sprecher’s Gourmet Cream SodaA&W Cream SodaA Treat Cream SodaBarr American Cream SodaJones Cream Soda
Henry Weinhard’s Vanilla Cream SodaBarqs Cream SodaBig Red Cream SodaCrush Cream SodaVirgil’s Cream Soda
Mug Cream SodaBarqs Red Creme SodaSparletta Cream SodaBoylan’s Creme Soda
Dr. Pepper Cream SodaIBC Cream Soda
Dads Old Fashioned Cream SodaStewart’s Cream Soda
Great Value Cream SodaDr Brown’s Cream Soda
Wegmans Cream Soda* listed as vegan on their websiteBlue Sky Cream Soda

Is Cream Soda Vegan – What About HARD Cream Soda?

If you like your drinks with a kick then the good news is that according to Barnivore Crazy Uncle Hard Cream Soda is also vegan.

What About Restaurants?

If you are ordering Cream Soda in a restaurant, make sure to check with your server if the drink is vegan. This is because restaurants will often add vanilla ice cream to your Cream Soda creamier and just more special. If they do add ice cream always ask to sub with a vegan ice cream scoop, if possible, and check what type of Cream Soda they are using for the base.

Is Cream Soda Vegan? – The Final Sip

Is Cream Soda Vegan

If you love Cream Soda then the good news is that there are definite vegan options available to quench your Cream Soda desires. Brands such as A&W Cream Soda, Barqs Cream Soda, Mug Cream Soda, Jones Cream Soda, Virgils Cream Soda, Boylans Cream Soda, and Wegmans Cream Soda are all vegan. As for other brands that can be slightly more complicated depending on the sugar used the and nature of certain ingredients being tested on animals. Like most things, when being vegan it is best to check, double-check and check again. If it isn’t vegan, then fear not, you could always try our recipe making a root beer float at home and just sub the root beer for a vegan cream soda. If you want to learn how check out our article: Is Root Beer Vegan?

Is Cream Soda Vegan

…now you know.

Beverage makers may change ingredients and/or manufacturing processes. Always double-check ingredients before purchasing any beverages.

Like what you are reading

Like this article, want to find out more? Want to know if your favorite Root Beer, Soda, Wine, Beer, or even if your morning coffee (yes, your morning coffee) is vegan? Then check out some of our other articles and sign up for our newsletter below:

Editorial Team

The Vegan Bev HQ Editorial Team - helping you find the best vegan drink out there!

Learn more with these similar posts