Is Kahlua Vegan? The Truth About This Creamy Liqueur

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Rich, intense, enticing; Kahlua is a deeply complex coffee liqueur. The star of favorite cocktails, including White Russians and Espresso Martinis, many consider this product to be a must-have in any well-stocked liquor cabinet. So, is Kahlua vegan or not? Here’s what you need to know. 

The Short Answer: Is Kahlua Vegan?

Kahlua is NOT vegan. Although Kahlua Original was previously thought to be vegan, the official Kahlua website and the Kahlua entry at Barnivore were updated in June 2020 to indicate it is not.

According to Barnivore, the company that makes Kahlua looked closely at their suppliers and found that one of their sugar suppliers uses “a process that is not considered vegan-friendly.” We don’t know what that process is, but we do know that bone char is widely used by the sugar industry as a decolorizing filter, which allows the sugar cane to achieve a white color.

The brand’s Ready-To-Drink line of premade cocktails—which include a White Russian, Vanilla White Russian, Mudslide, and Kalhua with Milk variety—are also not vegan. Unsurprisingly, the drinks contain milk and/or milk proteins, meaning they are unsuitable for vegans.

Kahlua Ingredients 

Kahlua combines a silky texture with a creamy, intense flavor. While the brand’s website doesn’t include an ingredients list for the drink, Wikipedia states that the drink is made from rum, sugar, vanilla bean, and arabica coffee beans.  

The official Kahlua website also states that the Original product is free from allergens. However, if you’re concerned about specific dietary needs, it’s worth contacting their customer service team to check whether you can consume the beverage.  

Expert Tip: Make Your Own Kahlua 

If you’re handy in the kitchen, you could whip up a batch of your own coffee liquor. Our unique homemade Kahlua recipe takes just 20 minutes to complete. Infusing vanilla beans, dark chocolate, syrup, and a spirit of your choice, the homemade product tastes as good as any store-bought option. Why not give it a try?

Best Vegan Kahlua Alternatives 

Since Kahlua isn’t vegan, you might want to explore the wide range of vegan coffee liqueurs available. Let’s take a look at three alternative options you may enjoy.


Kamora coffee liqueur
Photo courtesy of @demotteliquors/Instagram

Kamora is perhaps the best-known Kahlua alternative available in the U.S. It’s less expensive than Kahlua, so it’s often used to make drinks like White Russians and Mudslides if you order from a bar and don’t specify you want Kahlua. But taste is subjective, and with its smooth mouthfeel and notes of vanilla, chocolate, and caramel, you may find you actually prefer the taste of Kamora. Give it a try!  

Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy

Allen's Coffee Flavored Brandy

If you’re interested in a coffee liqueur that packs a little more punch and offers a different flavor profile, try Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy. This 60 proof naturally flavored brandy is considered a New England treasure and a true favorite in the state of Maine. The parent company, M.S. Walker, confirmed that the company uses no animal products, so this drink is also vegan-friendly.

Aber Falls Coffee & Dark Chocolate Liqueur

Aber Falls Coffee & Dark Chocolate Liqueur

The Aber Falls Coffee & Dark Chocolate Liqueur is made in Wales, United Kingdom, which means that it may be hard to get your hands on. However, if you do manage to source it online, you’re in for a treat. Inspired by the famous Espresso Martini cocktail, it includes hints of bitter dark chocolate and coffee. The company confirmed for us directly that they do not use animal products in this liqueur.


Does Kahlua have dairy in it?

No, despite the creamy texture, Kahlua does not have any dairy ingredients in it.

Is Kahlua espresso martini vegan?

No, espresso martinis are generally not vegan. Not only do they usually contain Kahlua, which uses non-vegan sugar, but they also have simple syrup in them. While a few simple syrups use non-refined sugar, most contain sugar that is processed with bone char.

Does Kahlua have egg?

No, Kahlua does not contain any egg or egg product ingredients. 

Enjoy These Vegan Beverages

While vegans may not be able to partake in Kahlua or drinks made with this mixer, there are still plenty of great vegan beverage options out there. Here are a few of our favorites that can be made with or without alcohol.

  • Vegan Coquito – This deliciously spicy Puerto Rican eggnog is made with coconut milk and cinnamon. 
  • Cucumber Juice – Perfect for a warm summer afternoon, this refreshing cucumber juice makes a great mixer for vodka.
  • Vegan Orange Creamsicle Smoothie – Cold, creamy, and impressively healthy, this creamsicle smoothie can be made even better by adding a splash of dark rum.
  • Easy Homemade Frozen Lemonade – Another perfectly refreshing beverage. This one pairs with a variety of alcohol, so pick your favorite and enjoy!
  • Best Homemade Vegan Eggnog – Celebrate the holidays in style with this creamy vegan eggnog.

If you enjoy these vegan beverage alternative recipes, be sure to sign up for our newsletter. We’ll email you with new recipes and vegan tips each week.

The Bottom Line

The takeaway is that—no—Kahlua is NOT vegan-friendly. But the good news is there are loads of vegan coffee liquors to try and you can even make your own, too. The choice is yours. 

What is your favorite vegan mixer or beverage? Let us know in the comments below.

Charlotte Grainger

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3 thoughts on “Is Kahlua Vegan? The Truth About This Creamy Liqueur”

  1. Sorry that’s incorrect. Khalua website and states that all Khalua products are NOT vegan, including the original Khalua. Tia Maria however, is vegan friendly 🙂

    • Hi Thelma. Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention. At the time this article was written, both Barnivore and the official Kahlua website claimed the original Kahlua is vegan. It appears that very recently this information changed and the page we linked to on the Kahlua website above was removed. We’ll get this information updated asap!