How To Build a Great Vegan Easter Basket in 3 Easy Steps

The tradition of the Easter basket dates all the way back to the medieval Catholics, who brought large feasts to churches to be blessed on the day of Easter. There are a lot of theories about how bunnies and eggs somehow got connected with the Christian holiday, but most theorists agree that the egg is a symbol for the new life and resurrection of Christ.

Of course, today Easter baskets are more commonly associated with sweet treats and fun gifts for children. For those following a vegan lifestyle, though, Easter can be a tricky time because as we’ll see below, most of these traditional treats aren’t necessarily vegan friendly. 

But there’s no need to let that stop you from building an amazing (and delicious) Easter basket. We put together the following easy three step guide to help you build the perfect vegan Easter basket, and find delicious foods that everyone can enjoy. 

vegan individually wrapped cookies in Easter basket

Step #1: “Peep” the Ingredients List

Before you put anything into your vegan Easter basket, it’s a good idea to check out the ingredients list. As you’ll see below, many of the most popular Easter basket items unfortunately aren’t vegan. If you feel overwhelmed or confused trying to break down the ingredients of any of these foods, check out our full guide on how to read an ingredient label.

To give you an idea of what to keep an eye out for, let’s break down some of the most popular Easter basket items:

  • Cadbury Creme Eggs - Not vegan. Ingredients: sugar, milk, glucose syrup, cocoa butter, invert sugar syrup, dried whey (from milk), cocoa mass, vegetable fats (palm, shea), emulsifier (E442), dried egg white, flavorings, color (paprika extract).
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs - Not vegan. Not gluten free. Ingredients: peanuts, milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, skim milk, milk fat, lactose, lecithin (soy), sugar, dextrose, vegetable oil (palm oil, shea oil, sunflower oil, palm kernel oil, &/or safflower oil). Contains 2% or less of: chocolate salt, skim milk, whey (milk), lecithin (soy) Tbhq & citric acid (to maintain freshness), vanillin (artificial flavor).
  • Peeps - Not vegan. Ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, gelatin. Contains less than 0.5% of the following ingredients: yellow #5 (tartrazine), potassium sorbate (a preservative), natural flavors, carnauba wax.
  • Starburst Jelly Beans - Not vegan (because of the confectioners glaze). Ingredients: sugar, corn syrup, modified corn starch; less than 2% of : apple juice from concentrate, citric acid, acacia, colors (blue 1, yellow 6, yellow 5, red 40, titanium dioxide), natural and artificial flavors, sodium citrate, carnauba wax, confectioner’s glaze.
  • Russel Stover’s Milk Chocolate Bunny - Not vegan. Ingredients: milk chocolate {sugar, whole milk, cocoa butter, chocolate, soy lecithin (an emulsifier), vanillin (an artificial flavor)}.

One thing you’ll notice from these ingredients lists is that milk chocolate is often a giveaway that a given product won’t be vegan. However, you can also see that even in sweets that aren’t chocolatey, it’s still important to check whether the food is vegan. For example, the Starburst Jelly Beans don’t have any ingredients that immediately stand out as non-vegan, apart from the confectioner’s glaze which is listed at the very bottom of the ingredients list.

Step #2: Stock Up On the Best Vegan Easter Swaps

Since the most popular Easter basket items aren’t vegan, you’ll need to find some swaps if you’re looking to build a vegan Easter basket. Luckily there are easy and delicious swaps available for pretty much all the popular and traditional Easter treats.

Here are our favorite swaps for vegan Easter baskets:

  • Vegan Cream Eggs: These cream eggs are 100% milk free, peanut free, tree nut free, gluten free, egg free, soy free, sesame free, and have no artificial colors and flavors!
  • Vegan Chocolate Bunnies: When it comes to vegan chocolate bunnies, there are actually a lot of options. Here’s a detailed guide with over 20 great choices.
  • Vegan Chocolate Bars, Hunks, Chips & More:  Whether you’re looking for bars, hunks, gems, chips, or other general chocolatey goodness, you can’t go wrong with either Nelly’s or Hu Chocolate.
  • Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups: Peanut butter lovers will love Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups. Just be aware that not all of them are vegan. These ones are, though.

  • Dandies Vegan Marshmallows: Dandies Marshmallows are 100% vegan, made with all natural ingredients, contain no high fructose corn syrup or gelatin, and are the first ever marshmallow to be Non-GMO Project Verified. A good swap for Peeps.

  • YumEarth Vegan Jelly Beans: YumEarth jelly beans are packed full of flavors, ranging from very very cherry, to peach, apple, and mango.

  • Vegan Cookies: Maxine’s Heavenly grab & go packs are perfect for sneaking into an Easter basket. All of our homemade style cookies are vegan and made with unrefined sugars for a healthier way to treat your sweet tooth right.

vegan individually wrapped cookies in Easter basket

Also, don’t forget to ask around and check out your local businesses! Plenty of small shops create fresh and unique vegan treats that would go great in any basket.

Step #3: Spice Things Up with Non-Food Options

You’ve got all the perfect vegan sweet treat swaps for your Easter basket, but remember that not everything in your basket has to be food related. Books make a great Easter basket addition. Or consider adding games, which can make things fun for the whole family. These can be strategy games like Settlers of Catan, or as simple as a new box of playing cards. Theory11 makes amazing premium playing cards with themes ranging from Harry Potter to the Beatles to Avengers.

These are just a few unique ideas to get the ball rolling! For a full list of food and non-food Easter basket gift ideas, make sure to also check out our guide to 11 healthy Easter basket ideas here.



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