If you want something sweet to snack on during a movie, a sugary surprise for your sweetie on Valentine’s Day, treats to fill an alpha gals’ Easter basket, AGS-safe candy for Halloween, or plant-based stocking stuffers, here’s a long list of alpha gal-safe candy. (And as an added bonus, most options on this list are vegan candy unless otherwise noted.)
The information provided on this site is based on my personal experience living with alpha-gal syndrome. I consistently cite and link to expert sources, but nothing published on this site should be perceived as medical advice.
Alpha-gal sensitivities vary by person. You should understand your dietary restrictions and make any adjustments needed when using this site, directing any questions to your physician.
Although the most common symptom of alpha-gal syndrome is an allergic reaction to mammalian meats (like beef, pork, and lamb), some alpha gals also react to dairy products and other ingredients derived from mammals. And while you may not immediately associate sweets with ingredients derived from animals:
- chocolate often contains cow’s milk and other dairy products, and
- marshmallows, gummy bears, and candy corn often contain gelatin (derived from cows and pigs).
When you have a food allergy, it can feel like you spend most of your time focused on the long list of foods you can NOT have as you carefully read ingredient lists and adjust recipes to keep allergens out of your body.
But this article is the opposite.
Here is a long list of alpha gal-safe candy you CAN enjoy.
In This Article
Important Notes About This List of Alpha-Gal Safe Candy
- According to this article, most people with alpha-gal can tolerate “moderate, lean dairy” (like skim milk). While nearly all of the candies on this list do not contain dairy products — and any that do specifically call out that ingredient — if you are a highly sensitive alpha gal, you’ll want to read the label or contact the manufacturer to ensure it doesn’t contain trace amounts of dairy from cross-contamination. (And if you can tolerate dairy products, there are many more alpha-gal safe candy options beyond this list!)
- Glycerin can be either plant based (vegetable oil) or animal based (tallow), and it’s usually impossible to know which version is in your food simply by scanning the ingredients list. Instead, you’ll have to contact the manufacturer. The glycerin used in candies is nearly always plant based, and I’ve double checked most of the candies on this list with the manufacturers. But if you are a highly sensitive alpha gal, you should confirm the type of glycerin used with the Fig app or by contacting the manufacturer yourself to be absolutely certain.
- Vegan products avoid all animal-derived ingredients, including those that are safe for alpha gals, like honey, beeswax, eggs, egg whites, carmine, and confectioner’s glaze. While most of the candies below happen to be vegan, this list is geared toward alpha gals. That means that some products may include alpha-gal safe animal-based ingredients like honey, eggs, carmine, and confectioner’s glaze.
- When selecting candy treats, some high-sensitive alpha gals need to be mindful of products made with bone char. To avoid this potential trigger, select sweets that are certified organic, made with unrefined sugar, or sweetened with another ingredient (like honey, agave, or maple syrup).
Why Alpha Gals Cannot Automatically Enjoy Vegan Candy
As an alpha gal, I often start with a vegan base and add additional ingredients and foods to it. But there are two important considerations for alpha gals using this method.
Carrageenan is a seaweed extract. Because it is a plant-based ingredient, it can be found in vegan products. However, it contains the alpha-gal epitope, which can cause a reaction in some people with alpha-gal syndrome. If a vegan candy contains carrageenan, it will not appear on this alpha gal-safe candy list.
Related Article: What is Carrageenan (And Why Should Alpha Gals Avoid It)?
No Official Definition of “Vegan” in the United States
Because there is currently no FDA-endorsed definition of “vegan” in the United States, food manufacturers may use the designation as they like. If you choose a vegan lifestyle for dietary, environmental, or animal welfare reasons and a small amount of mammalian meat or dairy makes it into your food, you won’t end up in the emergency room. But when you have an allergy to those foods, you can find yourself broken out in hives, gasping for breath, or reaching for your EpiPen.
Chewy Candies Safe for Alpha Gals
These thin taffy candy bars come in a variety of fruit flavors, including watermelon, blue raspberry, cherry, orange, and grape.
Made by the same folks who produce Tootsie Rolls, DOTS are fruit-flavored gumdrops with a soft, chewy texture. Each container of DOTS includes an assortment of flavors, including strawberry, lemon, cherry, orange, and lime.
5. Fruit Roll-Ups
These thin sheets of sweetened fruit puree contain 10 g of vitamin C. And unlike most of the sweet treats on this list, the first ingredient listed on each package of Fruit Roll-Ups is pears from concentrate rather than sugar or corn syrup. They are available in strawberry, tropical, and blue raspberry flavors.
6. Huckleberry Salt Water Taffy
While most salt water taffy treats include egg whites and evaporated milk, these huckleberry taffy treats are dairy free. Yes, they are still made with egg whites, but while that excludes them as a vegan candy, they are still safe for alpha gals. And if you’ve never tasted huckleberries before, you’re in for a delicious experience!
Related Article: Fun Facts About Huckleberries
7. Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
While many brands of jelly beans use gelatin to make their sweets, Jelly Belly jelly beans are kosher certified and do not contain gelatin. And whether you buy a bag of a single flavor or an assortment, more than 100 flavors will keep your mouth happy for a long time.
Enjoy the expected with basic flavors like blueberry, coconut, and cherry. Or bite into a burst of something more exotic like acai berry, pina colada, and chili mango. And if you like to live on the edge, get a box of BeanBoozled jelly beans that mixes look-alike regular flavors with wacky tastes. Take a chance identifying a peach jelly bean from a barf-flavored bean and a cappuccino Jelly Belly from liver and onions copycat.
10. Laffy Taffy
11. Lily's Gummy Bears
Naturally flavored and with no sugar added, Lily’s gummy bears are an alpha-gal friendly candy with fresh fruit flavors like apple, black currant, lemon, and pumpkin.
12. Mary Janes
13. Mike and Ikes
These fruit-flavored candies are like elongated, oversized jelly beans. The original assortment includes five fun flavors: cherry, lemon, lime, orange, and strawberry. But there’s also a tropical typhoon assortment with paradise punch, kiwi-banana, Caribbean punch, strawberry-banana, and mango flavors. And for those who like it sour, Mike and Ike’s also has a mega mix option with ten tangy flavors like sour green limeade, sour power pineapple, and sour shockin’ raspberry.
14. Now and Later
Now and Later candies are a type of taffy known for their long-lasting chewiness. The square, alpha gal-safe candy was originally produced in cherry, apple, banana, strawberry, and grape, but now is also available in flavors like wildberry, watermelon, and blue raspberry.
15. Red Vines
Skittles are small, round candies with a hard sugar coating and a chewy, fruit-flavored center. Whether you select the original assortment (with flavors like strawberry and orange), the wild berry assortment (with flavors like berry punch and raspberry), or the sour assortment (with flavors like sour green apple and sour lemon), you can taste the rainbow in a combination of sweet and tangy flavors. Just avoid Skittles Gummies, as they include gelatin.
17. SmartSweets Cola Gummies
Before being diagnosed with alpha-gal syndrome, one of my favorite sweet treats was Haribo Happy Cola candies. But, unfortunately, they contain gelatin. So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered SmartSweets Cola Gummies! Not only is this plant-based alternative alpha-gal friendly, but with 3 grams of sugar per serving, it’s also much lower in sugar than its Haribo equivalent.
18. Sour Patch Kids
If you like your chewy candy sour, it’s hard to beat Sour Patch Kids. These candies are shaped like people (which is kinda weird) and coated in a layer of sour sugar that gives them their signature tartness (and makes them delish).
The 100-calorie bags of thse square-shaped chews come in a variety of tangy fruit flavors like strawberry, orange, lemon, and cherry. And, because they’re made with fruit pectin, rather than gelatin, they’re alpha-gal friendly.
Sage Advice: Always read the ingredient label before selecting a Starburst snack as some varieties contain gelatin.
20. Surf Sweets Gummies
With options like gummy bears, gummy worms, gummy fish, gummy rings, and more, Surf Sweets offers a line of allergy-friendly, organic sweets. Instead of high fructose corn syrup, Surf Sweets contain organic cane sugar and plant-based, organic natural flavors like raspberry, cherry, grapefruit, lemon, and orange.
21. Swedish Fish
While many brands of fish-shaped gummies are made with gelatin, the original Swedish Fish brand is made with carnauba wax, a plant-based alternative. That makes this sweet treat both a vegan candy and an alpha gal-safe option. Americans often associate red sweets with flavors like strawberry or cherry. But if you’ve ever shopped at IKEA, you’ll likely recognize the original Swedish Fish as lingonberry, a popular berry in Scandinavia.
Twizzlers licorice is safe for both alpha gals and vegans. The original strawberry flavor is the most popular, but Twizzlers is also available in cherry, rainbow, and black licorice. There are also filled twists, with orange cream pop, strawberry smoothie, and other temptations squeezed into the center of an otherwise standard stick of licorice. And if you’d rather chew on bite-sized pieces of fruit licorice, Twizzlers Nibs and Twizzlers Bites are both alpha-gal friendly.
Alpha Gal-Friendly Tablet Candies
23. Bottle Caps
This alpha gal-safe candy is shaped like old-fashioned glass soda bottle caps. Delivering a slightly fizzy sensation as you suck on them, Bottle Caps come in a variety of soda-inspired flavors like root beer, cherry, grape, cola, and orange.
Sage Advice: Although alpha gals can safely consume eggs, Bottle Caps manufacturer Ferrara states on the ingredients list that they may contain egg. So, if you follow a vegan diet, this candy isn’t for you.
This alpha gal-safe candy may be known more for its unique containers than the actual treat! Pez dispensers come in a wide variety of shapes and designs, including superheroes, cartoon characters, and other icons from popular movies and TV shows. When the head of the dispenser is pulled back, it doles out a small, pellet-shaped candy treat in a fruity flavor like lemon, grape, and raspberry.
Sage Advice: Already have an awesome Pez dispenser? Get a bag of assorted candy refill rolls here.
These sweet and tangy tablet candies come in an assortment of pastel colors packaged in a clear cellophane roll that’s twisted at each end. Smarties have a slightly chalky texture and include flavors like orange cream, pineapple, and cherry.
Fun Fact: Outside the US, Smarties are a chocolate-dipped candy similar to M&Ms.
Hard Candies Safe for Alpha Gals
27. Atomic Fireballs
Known for their spicy cinnamon flavor, Atomic Fireballs are fiery jawbreakers that deliver a sweet, burning deliciousness. Because they are made with carnauba wax, a plant-based alternative to bee’s wax, Atomic Fireballs are also a vegan candy.
Sage Advice: If you are a highly sensitve alpha gal, be advised that Atomic Fireballs are typically packaged in a facility where milk products are used.
28. Brach’s Lemon Drops
Brach’s lemon drops are an old-fashioned hard candy. Made with real lemon juice, they have a tart, tangy taste that delivers the perfect combination of sweet and sour.
29. Dad’s Root Beer Barrels
Root beer barrels are another soda-inspired hard candy. Shaped like wooden barrels, they taste like the namesake soda with molasses, vanilla, sarsaparilla, ginger, and nutmeg flavors.
30. Brach’s Star Brites
These classic hard peppermint candies are most commonly associated with Christmas and restaurants that want to help you freshen your breath after an especially garlicky meal.
31. Jolly Ranchers
Manufactured by the Hershey Company, Jolly Rancher hard candies, stix candy, and lollipops are vegan friendly. These alpha gal-safe treats come in several delicious flavors, including watermelon, blue raspberry, cherry, grape, green apple, and pink lemonade.
32. LIFE SAVERS
Round with a hole in the center (like a life preserver) LIFE SAVERS are a classic American treat. One of the most popular flavors is the original known as Pep-O-Mint. But this hard candy also comes in a variety of fruity flavors, including cherry, watermelon, raspberry, orange, and pineapple.
Sage Advice: While the original LIFE SAVERS are an alpha gal-safe candy, LIFE SAVERS gummies include gelatin.
33. SmartSweets Jolly Gems
These individually wrapped, plant-based candies come in three natural flavors: green apple, peach, and pink lemonade.
Lollipops and Suckers That are Alpha-Gal Friendly
34. Charms Blow Pops
Charms Blow Pops are suckers with a hard, candy shell and a bubble gum center that deliver a two-in-one experience: first lick the lollipop and then blow bubbles with the gum center. They come in a variety of flavors, including grape, strawberry, cherry, watermelon, and sour apple.
35. Dum Dums
Resembling drum mallets used to beat large, loud drums, Dum Dums are lollipops known for their small size and wide variety of unique flavors. Look for these alpha gal-safe candy treats in flavors like watermelon, blue raspberry, bubble gum, butterscotch, cotton candy, cream soda, pineapple, and root beer – just to name a few!
This popular brand of lollipops are enjoyed by – you guessed it – pushing up on the bottom of the cylindrical container. While most suckers have to be eaten in one sitting (because it’s hard to wrap them up and save them for later), this alpha gal-safe candy treat comes with a lid. That means you can easily save a portion of your watermelon, cotton candy, blue raspberry, or other flavored PushPop for later.
37. Ring Pops
For alpha gals who want to suck on a fruit-flavored candy diamond placed on their ring fingers, there are Ring Pops. These playful treats come in flavors like blue raspberry, cherry, watermelon, and strawberry.
38. Smarties Double Lollies
While most of the lollipops on this list feature hard candies on a stick, Smarties Double Lollies are a bit different. They feature two oversized versions of Smarties tablet candies layered together on a stick.
Alpha Gal-Friendly Chocolate Candies
39. free2b Dark Chocolate Sunflower Butter Cups
While you’ve surely heard of peanut butter, and may have enjoyed it paired with chocolate, you may not be as familiar with sunflower butter. Made by grinding roasted sunflowers into a paste, it’s an alternative to peanut butter or almond butter that’s perfect for people with nut allergies. Give it a try in these alpha gal-friendly sunflower butter cups.
40. Junior Mints
These small, round chocolates with a creamy mint filling are made by the folks behind Tootsie Rolls. Not only are Junior Mints safe for alpha gals, but they are also nut free, gluten free, and kosher certified.
41. UNREAL Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
Not only are these chocolate candies vegan and alpha-gal friendly, but they contain 36% less sugar than the leading brand.
42. UNREAL Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars
If you enjoy Mounds but can no longer eat them due to a milk allergy or alpha-gal induced sensitivity, try these dark chocolate coconut bars. And as an added bonus, each bar has just 3 grams of sugar, about half as much as other chocolate coconut candy alternatives.
43. UNREAL Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems
If you’re looking for an alpha-gal friendly alternative to M&Ms, try UNREAL Crispy Quinoa Gems. And instead of “coloring by numbers” with ingredients like Red 40 and Yellow 5, this candy treat gets its color from all-natural veggies like spirulina and beets.
44. UNREAL Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Mmmmm, chocolate and peanut butter – one of my favorite candy flavor combinations! The milk chocolate used in Reese’s famous peanut butter cups rules them out for alpha gals who cannot consume dairy, but you’ll love this dairy-free, vegan alternative made with dark chocolate.
45. UNREAL Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems
Satisfy your next peanut M&M craving with this certified vegan option from UNREAL.
Sage Advice: Not all of UNREAL’s chocolate treats are vegan and alpha-gal friendly. Some of its products, like dark chocolate caramel peanut nougat bars and the entire milk chocolate line, include ingredients like grass-fed whey protein, nonfat milk, and whole milk powder. Be sure to check the ingredients list to ensure that the chocolate candy that catches your eye is suitable for your dietary needs.
Related Article: The Truth About Alpha-Gal and Chocolate: Is It Safe to Eat?
46. York Dark Chocolate Peppermint Patties
Made by The Hershey Company, these round peppermint disks dipped in dark chocolate are a refreshing treat for chocolate and peppermint lovers. Note that this treat contains milk- and egg-based ingredients.
Other Alpha Gal-Safe Candy Treats
48. Fun Dip
49. Pixy Stix
A Pixy Stix is a powdery candy packaged in a thin, paper straw-like container. The sugary, slightly tangy treat comes in flavors like grape, cherry, orange, and blueberry.
50. SmartSweets Caramels
This leading brand of caramels uses both skim milk and buttermilk in its recipe, which makes it off limits to vegans and alpha gals with a dairy sensitivity. SmartSweets crafts its caramels with coconut cream, making it the perfect alpha-gal friendly choice to melt for caramel apples. And, as an added bonus, each serving of SmartSweets caramels has just 1 gram of sugar compared with 13 grams in the leading brand.
Sage Advice: In addition to the specific SmartSweets products included on this list, the brand also offers plant-based lollipops, licorice, and a variety of other chewy candies. And the recently refined recipes removed all carrageenan. Yay!
Frequently Asked Questions About Alpha Gal-Safe Candy Treats
Can you eat chocolate with alpha-gal?
Alpha gals who can tolerate dairy can typically eat both dark chocolate and milk chocolate without issue. If you cannot tolerate dairy, then dark chocolate may still be an option. Just be sure to carefully read the ingredients list because some brands include milk. For more information on alpha-gal and chocolate, check out this article.
Are candy canes vegan?
As a general rule, candy canes are vegan. The main ingredients in these seasonal sweets are sugar, corn syrup, peppermint oil, and red coloring. Whether you purchase crushed candy canes to top off a steaming mug of vegan hot chocolate or a box of peppermint canes as stocking stuffers, Brach’s peppermints are both vegan and alpha-gal friendly.
Is candy corn vegan?
Most confectioners use gelatin when making this iconic yellow, orange, and white striped Halloween treat. Some manufacturers, including Brach’s, also use honey. Although honey is an alpha gal-friendly sweetener, vegans avoid all animal products.
All of Jelly Belly’s products are kosher parve certified, and its candy corn is made with carnauba wax (a plant-based ingredient) instead of gelatin. This makes them safe for alpha gals, but vegans should note that beeswax is listed as an ingredient.
Is gummy candy vegan?
Most gummy candy and other chewy candies contain gelatin. Because gelatin is made from cows and pigs, it’s neither vegan nor alpha-gal safe. But if you’re craving fruity gummy bears, a handful of jelly beans, bottle-shaped cola gummies, or another chewy treat, these are a few of my favorite vegan and alpha gal-friendly options:
What candy bars are vegan?
Because most candy bars are made with milk chocolate, they are not vegan. But dark chocolate is typically made by blending cocoa solids with cocoa butter (the natural fat from the cocoa bean that is dairy free) and sugar. While dark chocolate should always be dairy free, some brands may contain up to 12% milk, so be sure to read the ingredients carefully.
UNREAL makes dark chocolate coconut bars that are certified vegan. The brand also offers dark chocolate peanut butter and almond cups. free2b has dark chocolate sunflower butter cups that are vegan and safe for alpha gals.
Are candy melts vegan?
Candy melts are essentially white chocolate that’s tinted to provide bakers with a rainbow of options for their confections. Like white chocolate, the main ingredients in candy melts are sugar, oil, and milk. Because they include ingredients like whey powder, milk powder, and cream powder, Wilton Candy Melts are not vegan.
Gefen Wonder Melts are vegan and alpha gal-friendly candy melts. Or, you can use vegan white chocolate chips.
Are Jolly Ranchers Hard Candy Vegan?
The main ingredients in Jolly Ranchers hard candy are corn syrup and sugar, and they are both vegan and alpha-gal friendly. While many gummies include gelatin, Jolly Ranchers Very Berry Gummies do not and are also vegan.
As Jolly Rancher Chews contain gelatin, they are neither vegan nor alpha-gal friendly.
What chocolate candy is vegan?
Like chocolate bars, most chocolate candy is made with milk chocolate and is not vegan. Instead of regular or peanut M&Ms, try UNREAL’s Dark Chocolate Crispy Quinoa Gems or Dark Chocolate Peanut Gems. Both are vegan and alpha-gal safe.
Are candy hearts vegan?
Nothing brings back memories of exchanging valentines in elementary school quite like Brach’s Conversation Hearts with a message like “love you” and “hug me” stamped on each colorful piece. Unfortunately, these candy hearts contain gelatin.
Get all the sweet “XOXO” and “kiss me” sentiments with none of the unexpected animal products with SweeTARTS Conversation Hearts instead.
Are hot tamales candy vegan?
The main ingredients in this fiercely cinnamon-flavored sweet are sugar, corn syrup, and modified food starch. Although they are a chewy candy, they are made with carnauba wax (a plant-based ingredient) rather than gelatin. But Hot Tamales do contain confectioners glaze. While that sounds like a sugary liquid used to create the final layer of this sweet treat, it’s actually derived from insects, which means that Hot Tamales are not vegan, but they are still an alpha-gal friendly candy.
Are butterscotch candies vegan?
If you’re craving a shiny, gold-wrapped Werther’s Original butterscotch, you’ll be sad to learn that it contains cream, whey, and butter. While it’s not as creamy (for obvious reasons), LIFE SAVERS Butter Rum Candy is an alternative butterscotch treat that is both vegan and alpha-gal safe.
Are DOTS candy vegan?
These fruit-flavored gumdrops are made with corn syrup, sugar, and modified food starch and are both vegan and alpha-gal friendly. So dig into a bright yellow box of these lemon, lime, cherry, strawberry, and orange treats!
Are LIFE SAVERS Hard Candy vegan?
Made primarily with sugar and corn syrup, these hard, round candies with a hole through the center are vegan, so enjoy LIFE SAVERS in a variety of flavors, including cherry, watermelon, raspberry, orange, and pineapple. Just avoid LIFE SAVERS gummies, because they include gelatin.
Are Nerds candy vegan?
The primary ingredients in Nerds are dextrose, corn syrup, and sugar modified corn starch. While this crunchy and chewy candy is alpha-gal friendly, vegans will want to scan the ingredient list for carmine, a deep red dye made from ground-up beetles.
Although the box warns that it may contain egg due to cross contamination, the watermelon and cherry combination is otherwise vegan. But the grape and strawberry combination and rainbow assortment contain flavors made with carmine.
Are peppermint candies vegan?
Like candy canes, peppermint candies are typically vegan. One of the most popular peppermint candies, Brach’s Star Brites, is manufactured in a facility where milk and eggs are used in the production of other products but are otherwise both vegan and alpha-gal friendly. So crush a few to sprinkle atop a mug of vegan hot chocolate or freshen your breath after a deliciously garlic-filled meal.
Does See’s Candy have vegan options?
For more than a century, California-based See’s Candies has been making delicious chocolate candies and other sweet treats. While none of its chocolates are vegan, dairy-free options include licorice medallions, strawberry medallions, red raspberry hearts, jelly beans, and lollipops.
Several of these items, like the red raspberry hearts, are neither vegan nor alpha-gal friendly because they contain gelatin. Other options on the dairy-free list are safe for alpha gals but are not vegan because they include ingredients like beeswax or confectioner’s glaze (an ingredient derived from insects). The strawberry medallions are both vegan and alpha-gal friendly.
Sage Advice: See’s Candies does an amazing job listing the ingredients in each of its products here, so reference it before you pick your sweets.
What Easter candy is vegan?
Trying to fill a vegan Easter basket? Scroll up to the main article above where you’ll find a wide selection of chewy candies, tablet candies, hard candies, lollipops and suckers, chocolate candies, and other vegan candy options. And many of these manufacturers produce special seasonal versions of these candies sold in Easter-themed packaging.
Are Almond Joy candy bars vegan?
With ingredients like skim milk, lactose, whey, milk fat, and hydrolyzed milk protein, Almond Joy candy bars are not vegan. Although no almond is sitting on the coconut layer just under the creamy milk chocolate exterior of an UNREAL dark chocolate coconut bar, it is a good vegan substitute for an Almond Joy.
What candy can a vegan eat?
While vegans and alpha gals will have to swap milk chocolate sweets for dairy-free dark chocolate varieties and read ingredient lists to confirm that their favorite chewy candies don’t include gelatin, many popular candies are vegan and safe for people with alpha-gal syndrome.
Here are a few of my favorites:
What is Your Favorite Alpha Gal-Safe Candy?
From sugary sweet to mouth-puckering sour, alpha gals can enjoy a wide range of candies and chocolates. Which one do you like most? Is your favorite alpha gal-safe candy not on this list? Drop me a comment below and let me know what I missed!