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Is Porcine Gelatin Vegetarian? The Honest Truth!

Is Porcine Gelatin Vegetarian? The Honest Truth!

Following a vegetarian diet can be rewarding, but it can also be difficult. In addition to giving up meat and other animal products, you’ll need to learn about foods you should avoid.

Gelatin is an ingredient that catches many vegetarians off guard. If you’ve spotted porcine gelatin or another type of gelatin on the label of your favorite food, it’s best to proceed with caution.

Is Porcine Gelatin Vegetarian?

Porcine Gelatin is not vegetarian. Porcine gelatin is made from pig collagen. This collagen comes from the bones, cartilage, and tendons of pigs. Since gelatin is made using the body parts of animals, it isn’t vegetarian-friendly.

Is Porcine Gelatin Vegetarian?
Is Porcine Gelatin Vegetarian?

In fact, all types of gelatin are made from animals. The only exception to this is a plant-based ingredient called ‘agar-agar,’ which is sometimes labeled as gelatin.

Some vegetarians do choose to eat gelatin, but if you want to avoid eating animals, gelatin is something you should stay away from. However, you should be aware that gelatin can be found in many food products and beverages.

What Are Foods That Contain Porcine Gelatin?

Many products that are made with gelatin look like they could be vegetarian. If you want to avoid porcine gelatin, products to watch out for include:

Candy

It’s very common for gelatin to be used in candy, especially candy that has a gummy or chewy texture. You can find gelatin in some types of chocolate as well.

A lot of candies contain gelatin, especially those with a chewy or gummy texture.
A lot of candies contain gelatin, especially those with a chewy or gummy texture.

Marshmallows

Gelatin is what gives marshmallows a gooey texture, which is why it’s included in most packaged marshmallows. In fact, there are only a few marshmallow brands that don’t use gelatin.

Gelatin is what gives marshmallows their chewy, gooey texture.
Gelatin is what gives marshmallows their chewy, gooey texture.

Snack Foods

You can find porcine gelatin in all kinds of pre-packed snack foods, including savory and sweet treats. Aside from checking the label, the clearest indicator that a food product to contains gelatin is a chewy texture.

Alcoholic Beverages

Gelatin can help with the fermentation process of alcoholic beverages, which is why you can sometimes find it in wine or beer. Thankfully, there are many products that don’t use gelatin at all.

Cereals

Most cereal doesn’t contain gelatin, but you may see gelatin on the ingredients list for frosted cereals. Any cereal that includes marshmallows is likely to contain gelatin as well.

Cheesecake

While cheesecake can be made without gelatin, it’s sometimes used to help set the cheese. If you order cheesecake at a restaurant, it’s a good idea to ask if it’s made with gelatin.

Gel-Cap Medications

Surprisingly, some medications and supplements aren’t vegetarian. If a product has a gel capsule, it’s possible that the capsule is made from gelatin.

Unless labelled vegetarian, most gel capsules and supplements contain gelatin.
Unless labelled vegetarian, most gel capsules and supplements contain gelatin.

Packaged Nuts

Nuts can be a fantastic source of protein for vegetarians, but some processed nuts are roasted in porcine gelatin to help bind the seasoning to the nut. This is especially common for peanuts.

How Vegetarians Can Avoid Porcine Gelatin

The best way to avoid accidentally eating gelatin is to limit your intake of packaged and processed foods. When you do eat packaged foods, you should always check the ingredients for gelatin.

While you will have to watch out for gelatin, you don’t have to avoid candy and packaged snacks if you’re vegetarian. Popular products that are gelatin-free include:

  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Skittles
  • Airheads
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Twizzlers
  • Oreo Cookies
  • Sweet Tarts
  • Blow Pops
  • Unfrosted Pop Tarts
  • Fruit By the Foot
  • Swedish Fish

Since products can change ingredients over time, and because products may have different ingredients in different regions, you should still check the label before picking up the products above. If you enjoy cooking, you may also want to look for gelatin alternatives that you can use at home.

What Are Alternatives to Gelatin?

Gelatin can thicken food, change its texture, or work as a binding agent. While you won’t want to omit gelatin from recipes when you’re cooking, there are plenty of substitutes that you can use in its place.

Agar-Agar

Agar-agar, which is made from Red Sea algae, is an incredibly effective substitute for gelatin. In fact, it’s so close to the real thing that it’s sometimes labeled as gelatin.

Since gelatin and agar-agar are very similar, you can use an equal amount of agar-agar if you’re using it as a substitute in a recipe. While you might notice a slight difference in texture, any recipe that substitutes agar-agar for gelatin is likely to turn out beautifully.

Agar-agar is a good substitute for gelatin and produces similarly textured baked goods.
Agar-agar is a good substitute for gelatin and produces similarly textured baked goods.

Cornstarch

Cornstarch is used as a thickening agent in all kinds of recipes. If a recipe calls for you to use gelatin to thicken a liquid, you can try using cornstarch instead.

When using cornstarch as a substitute, use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch for every 1 and 1/4 teaspoon of gelatin. Avoid substituting cornstarch for gelatin in recipes that don’t require heat.

Pectin

Pectin, which is derived from fruits and vegetables, can thicken foods and work as a binding agent. Since pectin only thickens up when it’s exposed to sugar, you should limit yourself to using it in sweet dishes.

If you plan on using pectin as a gelatin substitute, it’s best to experiment to see how much pectin you need. Try adding a small amount at first, and add more until the dish reaches your desired thickness or texture.

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum, a soluble fiber made from fermented sugar, is a common ingredient in gluten-free baked goods. It can also stabilize, bind, and thicken foods, which makes it a potential substitute for gelatin.

Dishes that use xanthan gum may have a creamier texture than dishes made with gelatin. When using it as a substitute, replace every 2 teaspoons of gelatin with 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum.

Conclusion To Is Porcine Gelatin Vegetarian

Gelatin can be a difficult ingredient for vegetarians to deal with. Once you start checking the labels of the food you eat, you’ll be able to spot products that contain gelatin and find foods that are vegetarian safe.

Frequently Asked Questions On Is Porcine Gelatin Vegetarian?

Is Gelatin Halal?

Porcine gelatin is not halal, but other types of gelatin, such as gelatin made from fish skin, may be halal. If you’re not sure if a product uses halal gelatin, it’s best to contact the manufacturer.

What Kind of Gelatin Is In Marshmallows?

While different products vary, it’s common for porcine gelatin to be used in marshmallows. However, there are some marshmallow brands that don’t use gelatin at all.

Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)

Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking and have made it my mission to answer as many open questions related to cooking and food as possible. I am by no means a professional cook. But cooking is a hobby that I have loved for the past 20 years and I am getting better by the day.