Is Marmalade Vegan? Here’s What You Should Know
Marmalade is a zesty orange spread that’s often used to add flavour to toast, scones and other baked goods. If you love the orange flavour but are wondering: ‘Is marmalade vegan?’, this post will help you out.
Marmalade is a fruit preserve made from oranges and sugar. It comes in two varieties- one with orange peel shreds and one without.
In the 18th century, marmalade became popular in Dundee when Janet Keiller boiled sugar together with bitter Seville oranges and sold it. The Scottish city is still well known for their marmalade to this day, with Mackays being the only producers left from Dundee.
Is marmalade the same as jam?
Although the two spreads are very similar, they are slightly different. While jam can be made from any fruit, a marmalade is only a marmalade if it’s made from bitter oranges. When making marmalade, the whole orange is used, including the peel. You also need to use a lot more sugar for marmalade to help counteract the bitterness.
What is a typical marmalade made from?
The ingredients of a standard homemade marmalade are usually just sugar, oranges, water and lemon or orange juice. Obviously there will be a few more ingredients like acidity regulators added to commercial marmalades but these are the standard four ingredients for the homemade version.
Is marmalade vegan?
Yes, almost all marmalade is vegan. It is free from animal-derived ingredients. Sometimes, marmalade may contain honey or dairy but this is very rare.
If a gelling agent is used in commercial marmalades, it is almost always pectin, which is plant-based too. I have never personally seen marmalade that contained gelatine but it may exist, so always make sure to check the labels if you’re buying it. If you want to be doubly sure, just make it at home. There are tonnes of recipes online for you to choose from.
What about the sugar?
In the UK, all sugar is vegan-friendly so sugar-filled marmalade is still vegan. In countries like the US, some sugars are processed using animal bone char and are therefore not vegan. If you’re outside of the UK, buy organic marmalade to ensure that it’s vegan because organic sugar cannot be processed using bone char.
Popular vegan marmalade brands
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular marmalades in the UK and what they’re made with.
Mackays is the marmalade producer I was referring to earlier in this post and I’m glad to say that their marmalade is vegan-friendly. The ingredients they use in their Dundee marmalade are:
Sugar, Seville Oranges, Orange Juice from Concentrate, Lemon Juice from Concentrate, Gelling Agent: Fruit Pectin, Acidity Regulator: Citric Acid, Orange Oil.
Is Robertson’s marmalade vegan? It sure is! Their website lists it as suitable for vegetarians and vegans. The ingredients are as follows:
Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Sugar, Orange Juice from Concentrate, Water, Orange Peel, Oranges, Gelling Agent: Pectin, Acid: Citric Acid, Treacle, Acidity Regulator: Sodium Citrates, Orange Oils.
Mrs. Bridges thick cut orange marmalade is also vegan-friendly. The ingredients in this one are:
Sugar, Thick Cut Oranges, Brown Sugar, Orange Juice from Concentrate, Lemon Juice from Concentrate, Gelling Agent: Pectin, Acidity Regulator: Citric Acid, Orange Oil.
Frank Cooper’s have their Oxford marmalade listed as both vegetarian and vegan on their website. The ingredients are:
Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Seville Oranges, Sugar, Acid: Citric Acid, Acidity Regulator: Sodium Citrate, Gelling Agent: Pectin.
Duerr’s marmalade is vegan and is marked as such on their website. The ingredients in this marmalade are:
Sugar, Oranges, Acidity Regulators: Citric Acid, Sodium Citrates, Gelling Agent: Pectins, Sweet Orange Oil, Tangerine Oil.
Some of the supermarket own-brand marmalades that are suitable for vegans are:
- Morrisons marmalade
- Aldi marmalade
- Sainsbury’s orange marmalade
- Tesco fine cut orange marmalade
- Waitrose Essential fine cut marmalade
It was unclear whether or not Asda marmalade is vegan. All of their marmalades are marked as vegetarian only, not vegan, but none of them actually contain any animal products. I would steer clear just to be on the safe side.
Ways to use marmalade
If you’ve have some marmalade to hand but are unsure what to do with it, here are some ideas:
- Fill vegan Jaffa Cakes with it
- Spread on toast (or sandwiches, Paddington Bear style)
- Use it to add sweetness to vegan scones in place of strawberry jam
- Make mini fruit tarts
- Use it as a topping for porridge or dairy-free yoghurt
- Spread it on a slice of vegan orange cake
Marmalade is vegan almost all of the time, especially if it’s homemade. Sometimes, commercial brands may add non-vegan ingredients like honey or gelatine to their marmalade, although this is very rare. If you’re purchasing marmalade made in the UK, the sugar in it is vegan-friendly. If you’re in the USA, it’s best to buy organic marmalade or use organic sugar to make your own.