11 best vegan chocolate bars that mean you'll never miss dairy

Jenna Farmer
·9-min read
If you're not a fan of the bitter taste of super dark chocolate, there’s also now plenty of 'mylk' options on the market, (iStock/The Independent)
If you're not a fan of the bitter taste of super dark chocolate, there’s also now plenty of 'mylk' options on the market, (iStock/The Independent)

With around 350,000 people signed up to take part in Veganuary this year (the charity reports that this is already 100,000 more than last year), it’s abundantly clear that veganism is on the rise.

You might assume that chocolate is a no-go if you’re taking part but, in fact, there’s a wealth of options out there to satisfy even the sweetest of teeth.

Dark chocolate – which has a higher concentration of cocoa solids - is often made without milk, meaning it’s been the go-to option for vegans looking for a chocolate fix in the past.

For those who aren’t a fan of the more intense, bitter taste that often accompanies it, there are now plenty of “mylk” options on the market, which use milk alternatives such as coconut milk or soya to create a milder, creamier taste.

As well as considering flavour, it’s also worth considering the other ingredients (for those with dietary restrictions and, of course, avoiding problematic ingredients such as palm oil), price and credentials (such as where the cacao is sourced and whether it’s Fairtrade).

We chomped our way through a whole range of vegan chocolate bars to bring you the definitive list of those that kept us wanting more.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

NOMO caramel and sea salt choc bar: 99p, Holland and Barrett

New to the vegan chocolate world in 2019 was NOMO (a clever acronym for “no missing out”) and its creamy free from offering that’s also free from gluten and nuts. They state it’s taken them years to perfect this and we can easily see why. It’s an incredibly creamy luxurious chocolate (it uses rice powder, cocoa butter and inverted sugar syrup), and this caramel flavour with a pinch of sea salt creates the perfect blend of sweet and tangy. Of all the chocolate bars we tried, this one tasted the closest to “real” chocolate and, as it’s aimed specifically for those on a “free from” diet, it’s also suitable for those with milk allergies, as well as coeliacs and those with nut allergies.

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Galaxy vegan smooth orange bar: £3, Tesco

It’s great to see a mainstream chocolate brand throw its hat into the vegan ring; so there was much excitement when Galaxy launched its three vegan offerings in December. But at almost double the price of its regular offering, how close is it to the real thing? Well, there’s no denying this bar, which uses hazelnut paste as the main ingredient, is seriously good chocolate. If you picked it off the shelf by mistake (good luck trying to do so as it’s often sold out), you would be able to tell the difference but we still think you wouldn’t be disappointed. Our favourite – the orange flavour – captured the smoothness and velvety taste you expect from Galaxy but perhaps just without the intensely rich notes we know from the original bar. The only downside to this one is that despite being accredited by the Vegan Society, it’s not actually suitable if you suffer from a milk allergy (or, of course, a nut allergy either).

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Asda extra special coconut and rum dark chocolate: £1.50, Asda

Asda has a whole range of dark chocolate bars that are suitable for vegans (top tip: the mint flavour makes a great After Eight replacement) but this coconut and rum flavour truly lives up to its “extra special” title. The coconut flakes and rum flavour really do come through at first bite, contrasting with the slightly bitter flavours of the 52 per cent dark blend and making it a lovely dessert chocolate. At only £1.50 for a 100g bar, it also offers the best value for money in our roundup, too.

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Seed and Bean mandarin and ginger extra dark chocolate bar: £2.39, Ethical Superstore

This 100 per cent organic chocolate brand has great credentials: their foil is 100 per cent compostable, it’s all sourced and handmade in England in small batches and there’s a whole range of unusual flavour creations. The dark chocolate range is vegan and palm oil-free (although it does come with a factory warning for milk) and, unlike most on the supermarket shelves, contains a handful of ingredients, with the usual emulsifiers and thickeners nowhere to be seen. This mandarin and ginger variety is perfect for those who like their chocolate with a bit of zing – our tester noting both title ingredients blended wonderfully in the mouth without feeling overpowering; leaving behind a tangy mandarin after-taste.

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Moo free bunnycomb mini bar: 94p, Ocado

Not many vegan chocolate offerings in our roundup will appeal to little ones; so we’re a big fan of Moo Free mini moo range; which offers vibrant fun packaging (designed with cartoon characters such as Rosie the Rabbit) and delicious flavours. Kids will love this bunnycomb bar: it’s perfect for little hands and topped with chunky sweet pieces of vegan honeycomb. And parents will love that it’s under £1. Moo’s products are made in a specific “free from” factory, offering reassurance to parents whose children have food allergies (such as soya or dairy) that cross-contamination isn’t possible.

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Ombar Centres Coconut and Vanilla: £2.10, Ocado

Ombar has a multitude of raw, organic, gluten-free and vegan chocolate bars but its coconut and vanilla variety is our top pick of the range. At £2.10 for 30g, it’s certainly a case of quality over quantity, but it is so decadent that a few bites will leave you satisfied. The high concentration of creamed coconut is what makes this bar a lot creamier than most on our list (and perhaps is reflected in its price); while the use of raw cacao also brings added health benefits. A perfect treat for those days when you’re craving something indulgent.

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Freedom Chocolate dark (80%): From £11 (two large bars), Freedom Chocolate

Freedom Chocolate is an artisan chocolate brand from Scotland that lovingly crafts raw chocolate that’s free from all 14 allergens and made with plastic-free packaging. It offers a range of flavours (including both dark and “mylk” varieties; the latter using coconut to create a smoother texture) but our vegan taste tester rated the dark a particular favourite. This bar is perfect for chocolate purists and those who prefer a cleaner palate. Our tester was impressed by the beautiful smell of cacao on opening it, and loved the crisp, clean taste of this high-cacao chocolate, commenting that a little went a long way. If you prefer a sweeter chocolate, this probably isn’t for you. But for the health-conscious, those with multiple dietary restrictions or fans of raw chocolate, we definitely recommend it.

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Tony’s Chocolonely dark chocolate almond sea salt: £3.49, Ocado​

While not all of Tony’s Chocolonely’s range is vegan (there are currently two flavours: dark chocolate and dark chocolate, almond, sea salt), its credentials are otherwise impressive. It’s committed to offering and campaigning for 100 per cent slave-free chocolate; meaning not only does it work directly with farmers but it also pays extra premiums on top of Fairtrade (around 9 per cent of the product’s price goes back into the farmer’s pocket). But how did it fare on the taste test? First up, we can’t get enough of the supersized chunks revealed as we peel open the gold foil (fun fact: they’re not evenly divided squares like you’d expect; the “unequal” pieces a clever nod to the inequalities surrounding chocolate production); they were incredibly satisfying to bite into, and the hearty almond chunks and solid dark chocolate complement each other perfectly.

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Doisy and Dam maple, toasted rice and pink salt snaps: £3.15, Amazon

Craving something with a crunch? We loved biting into these snaps (which come in a handy, resealable share bag rather than a usual bar) and found them somewhat addictive! Each snap is a small slab of thin dark chocolate, topped with crunchy rice pieces, Himalayan sea salt and maple essence. The addition of the crunchy rice pieces makes these feel really satisfying to bite into, while the salt and maple combo are the perfect blend of sweet and savoury. They’re perfect for snacking or tucking into when you only fancy a bite or two at a time (although we bet you’ll struggle to stop at one).

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Fellow Creatures organic raspberry white chocolate: £3.70, The Vegan kind Supermarket

White chocolate that’s vegan is a rare find, so we love this Raspberry White Chocolate by Fellow Creatures; a chocolate brand that’s completely dairy-free and Soil Association-accredited organic. This bar was probably the sweetest of all we tried, yet the ingredients list was far healthier than we anticipated. A mix of organic raw cane sugar, cacao butter, tiger nut powder and coconut cream create a lovely mix of creamy white chocolate; the dried raspberries add a perfect dollop of sweetness.

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Hotel Chocolat Columbia 75% coffee dark chocolate: £7.50, Hotel Chocolat

At £7.50, this bar certainly isn’t one for everyday eating but Hotel Chocolat’s dark chocolate range makes a great gift for any vegan. This dark blend, which fuses Colombian chocolate with Sierra Nevada coffee, is beautifully smooth with a hint of sharp, bitter notes, too. The high cacao content is better suited for chocolate purists but this, combined with the beautifully minimalistic packaging, makes for a great high-end, luxury chocolate.

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The verdict: Vegan chocolate bars

We were truly impressed with just how many vegan chocolate offerings are now on the market that we struggled to whittle it down to 11, let alone to decide on our top pick. After much consideration, our best buy is NOMO: it really does taste like regular chocolate and it won’t break the bank, either. For supermarket buys, we loved Asda’s extra special range. Finally, if you love to know where your chocolate comes from and shop small, why not give artisan brand Freedom Chocolate a try?

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