Are Junior Mints Vegan?

Junior Mints are a popular candy in America, boasting a dark chocolate coating encasing a sugary minty filling. Produced by Tootsie Roll Industries, over 15 million Junior Mints are produced every day. 

With such a popular candy comes lots of questions about them, with the most common and recent being if they are vegan or not.

Today we will be looking into whether Junior Mints can be incorporated into a vegan diet, as well as answering a number of other burning questions about the breath-freshening candy. 

Junior Mints Ingredients

Sugar, Semi-Sweet Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate Processed with Alkali, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin-An Emulsifier, Vanillin-An Artificial Flavor), Corn Syrup, Confectioner’s Glaze, Food Starch-Modified, Peppermint Oil, Invertase (An Enzyme).

Breaking Down the Ingredients

First thing’s first, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Confectioner’s Glaze is another name for Shellac. This ingredient is made from female lac bugs originating from India and Thailand. So, Confectioner’s Glaze is made from insect products and therefore not considered vegan friendly. 

It depends on whether you consider insect-derived products to be not friendly to the vegan diet. Some are against it while others don’t see the harm in it. It is up to you on which side of the spectrum you sit upon. 

No matter whether you consider the Confectioner’s Glaze to be a dealbreaker or not, there are a few other ingredients that are considered to be controversial to vegans. Although not strictly ‘not vegan’, these ingredients might take Junior Mints off of your shopping list. 


Sugar is the only ingredient that we might want to avoid in our diets, and sugar is the most used ingredient in the Junior Mints formula. Junior Mints doesn’t tell us what sugar is being used in the formula, so some vegans might want to steer clear. 

This is because refined cane sugar used bone char to bleach it to make it the refined white color. Despite the fact that there is no bone char in the actual sugar, many people who follow a vegan diet will not consume refined cane sugar. 

It is not known what kind of sugar is used to create Junior Mints, so it’s up to you whether you will consume the candy without knowing the type of sugar within them. 

What About Junior Mints Deluxe?

Junior Mints Deluxe are individually wrapped candies that look much more deluxe than the Original and Mini versions. Although these two types of Junior Mints are not vegan friendly, will Junior Mints Deluxe be the saving grace?

Junior Mints Deluxe Ingredients

Semi-Sweet Chocolate {Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, And Soy Lecithin (An Emulsifier)}, Sugar, Palm Kernel Oil, Maltodextrin, Invert Sugar Syrup, Sorbitol, Invertase (An Enzyme), Polysorbate 60 And Mono And Diglycerides (Emulsifiers), Peppermint Oil, Potassium Sorbate, BHT And Citric Acid To Preserve Freshness, Milk.

Breaking Down the Ingredients

Again, we can clearly see that Junior Mints Deluxe are not vegan friendly. However, it is not because of the same reason as before. Rather than Confectioner’s Sugar, Junior Mints Deluxe has milk within the ingredients list. 


Milk is certainly not vegan-friendly as it is a product that comes from cows. There are plenty of vegan-friendly alternatives to milk out there, such as soy and oat milk. However, as the Junior Mints Deluxe ingredients list does not suggest that it uses a milk substitute, we can assume that it is animal’s milk and therefore not vegan. 

What About Junior Caramels?

Junior Caramels are similar to the original Junior Mints, although instead of having a minty paste inside of the chocolate, there is soft caramel. Furthermore, the chocolate casing is made from milk chocolate rather than dark chocolate. But can vegans consume these candies? 

Junior Caramels Ingredients

Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Chocolate, Milk, and Soy Lecithin – an Emulsifier), Sugar, Corn Syrup, Palm Oil, Dry Whole Milk, Mono and Diglycerides, Natural Flavors, Whey, Confectioner’s Glaze, Salt, Food Starch-Modified, Soy Lecithin. 

Breaking Down the Ingredients

Perhaps the least vegan-friendly candy in the Junior Mints family, Junior Caramels have plenty of non-vegan friendly ingredients within a short ingredients list. Let’s take a quick look into the different ingredients (that we haven’t looked at already) and why they are not considered vegan friendly. 

Milk Products

There are four milk products within the Junior Caramel ingredients list - Milk Chocolate, Milk, Dry Whole Milk, and Whey. As these are products, or use products, that come from dairy and therefore cows, these are definitely not vegan-friendly. 

Palm Oil

Palm oil is a product that is often added to food and other perishables to stop them from going bad so quickly. It has been used for a long time without anyone batting an eyelid, until recently when it was relieved that harvesting palm oil was a leading cause of deforestation. 

Orangutans are just one of the species that are becoming extinct due to the harvesting of palm oil. For this reason, many people who follow a vegan diet have now cut it out of their diets. 

Are Junior Mints Dairy Free?

Junior Mints, both Original and Mini options, are dairy-free. However, there is the potential that the candy could be cross-contaminated with milk or egg from other products within the factory. So, if cross-contamination is a no-go for you, we suggest steering away from Junior Mints. 

Junior Mints Deluxe and Junior Caramels are not dairy-free as they both contain milk products. This is the reason why both of these products are non-vegan friendly and not dairy-free.


All in all, there are no Junior Mints products that can be defined as vegan friendly. Junior Mints, both Original and Mini, contain insect products. Junior Mints Deluxe contains milk which makes them not vegan, and Junior Caramels contain plenty of non-vegan components. 

Depending on whether you consider insect products vegan-friendly or not will determine whether Junior Mints are okay in your diet. However, the majority of vegans do not consider this vegan friendly. 

There are plenty of controversial ingredients within all of the ingredients lists that we’ve looked at today, so we suggest vegans keep well away from Junior Mints products. 

What are Junior Mints made of?

Most mints are made from a combination of sugar, mint flavoring, and some kind of binding agent. But, as Junior Mints have a chocolate coating there are a few extra ingredients in them. Here are the ingredients of Junior Mints:

  • Sugar
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate Processed with Alkali, Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin-An Emulsifier, Vanillin-An Artificial Flavor)
  • Corn Syrup
  • Confectioner's Glaze 
  • Food Starch-Modified
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Invertase (An Enzyme)

Junior Mints are mostly made from flavorings, sugar, and a sweet kind of chocolate. There are several different types of Junior Mints. But these all have very similar ingredients. The only difference is in Junior Caramels. But these are not mints. 

What mints are vegan?

It’s easy to assume that pretty much all mints are vegan. But, this isn’t always the case. So make sure to always double-check the ingredients.

Here are just a few brands of mints that are vegan:

  • Tic Tacs
  • Green Apple Mentos
  • Simply Gum

The shortness of this list is probably surprising. But, there are some mints that contain animal products. Some mints aren’t even vegetarian.

For example, only green apple flavored Mentos are vegan. All other Mento flavors contain beeswax. This is an ingredient that is often ignored but it definitely isn’t vegan. Altoids are also not vegan as they contain gelatin.

Are Junior Mints gluten and dairy free?

Junior Mints are gluten free and dairy free. But they are still not vegan. This is because Junior Mints do not contain any ingredients that contain gluten, such as wheat. Although Junior Mints are coated in chocolate, this chocolate is surprisingly vegan.

The ingredient in Junior Mints that isn’t vegan is confectioners’ glaze. This is because confectioners’ glaze is made from shellac. Shellac is made from the secretions of certain insects. This is definitely not vegan. Specifically, shellac is a resin made from the secretions of the female lac bug. Although this is a secretion, lac bugs are killed in their millions for this ingredient.

Which candy is vegan?

Although Junior Mints, and lots of other mints, aren’t vegan. But there are luckily lots of other vegan candies! We’re sure that you don’t think very much candy is healthy. So it won’t surprise you to learn that most candies are made from sugar, flavorings, and a binding agent. The ingredient that is most commonly non-vegan is the flavorings.

 Here is a list of some of the best vegan candies:

  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Dots
  • Twizzlers
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Skittles
  • Swedish Fish

Although it might be difficult to find vegan mints, there are lots of other vegan candies available. Plus, there are still a couple of vegan mints that you should be able to easily find.

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