Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Guide

If you’re taking steps to remove dairy in your life and you love chocolate, you are going to want to read this Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Guide. You’ll find there really is life after milk chocolate.

The Diary-Free Chocolate Chip Guide for vegans and folks striving to be dairy-free who still love chocolate!

If you’re used to milk chocolate, there are also some tips for making the adjustment to dark chocolate. Giving up milk chocolate was one of the most difficult parts of going vegan for me. I put it off to the very end.

Have you seen this video of kids trying dark chocolate for the first time?

That’s kind of what I thought about dark chocolate too.

But you know what? Our taste buds are malleable.

With a little time away from eating milk chocolate every day (insert embarrassed grin), my taste buds changed. Before long, I found some dark chocolate I actually liked, and then I started trying different varieties of dark chocolate. Next thing you know, something crazy happened. Now, I don’t even like milk chocolate anymore. It has a sour taste to it, that you can’t even detect until after you’ve been a dairy-free chocolate connoisseur for awhile.

So if you’re finding yourself resisting the plunge, this dairy-free chocolate chip guide will help you make the transition to milk chocolate to dark chocolate!

The Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Guide: Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Here’s one thing I bet you didn’t know bout dark chocolate. It’s actually good for you. Believe it or not, dark chocolate includes:

  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Flavanols.

Of course, chocolate chips also include sugar and cocoa butter (fat). That means you want to consume them in moderation. The good news is that dark chocolate is rich, so it doesn’t take much to satisfy that itch.

If you’re interested in a delicious, dairy-free hot cocoa drink, check out my Tea Infused Hot Cocoa. It’s one of my favorite, chocolatey drinks!

Anyway, back to dark chocolate. Now that you know it’s good for you, the next question is where can you get some!

Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vegan Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Best Dairy-Free Chocolate Chips

When you’re buying dairy-free chocolate chips, you want to make sure you’re buying the best ones.

What’s my definition of best?

Affordable + Accessible + Delicious = BEST

You can’t go wrong with that formula!

To make my cut for the Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Guide, the product must meet these three standards: Affordable, Accessible, and Delicious (AAD). Here’s how I break that down.

Affordable. I’m not interested in paying $10 for a bag of chocolate chips. Oh, I guess if there were some super special occasion or if there were was something truly unique about the chocolate. But most often, I’m making chocolate chip cookies or adding these to a vegan cake. These are every-day kinds of uses for chocolate chips. So, for the most part, to make this list a bag of chocolate chips would need to be under the $5 mark.

Accessible. Being accessible means you can answer “yes” to one of these three questions: 1) Can you drive to your local grocery store and buy them? 2) Can you find them at Target or Wal-Mart? or 3) Can you find them at a local health food store? If not, they didn’t make my list.

Delicious. Taste is definitely subjective so you may need to taste a few and decide on your own personal favorites. But if you’re in a pinch and need to pick some dairy-free chocolate chips, these are the ones that I think are the tastiest. If they made my list it means I think they’re great in a cookie or straight from the bag.

Dairy-Free Labels

Let’s spend a moment talking about your goals, regarding dairy-free chocolate chips.

If you are highly allergic to even trace amounts of dairy, you will want to choose products that are certified dairy-free. Some people will rely on the Kosher designations on products to determine if a product is dairy-free or not. However, it appears that Kosher designations do not indicate if a product has been processed on a machine or in a factory that also processes dairy. So, a product may have the circled “U” followed by a “D” on the front which indicates that it was processed on a machine or in a factory that has dairy products. As a result, for people with allergies, they should not rely on kosher labeling for dairy-free products.  I suggest looking at the list of ingredients. and also looking for products that are labeled Vegan.

If you’re making lifestyle changes only (not motivated by an allergy), you may be more flexible in your purchases. For example, you may be open to products that do not have dairy in the ingredients but may be processed on machines or in factories that also process dairy products.

Vegan Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

Vegan Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

The Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Guide: My Favorite Dairy-free Chocolate Chips

So, without further ado, here’s my Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Guide. Try not to eat them all at once.

Guittard. This is one of my favorite brands of chocolate chips, especially the dark chocolate variety described below. I love that Guittard uses sunflower lecithin for their chocolate chips. Lecithin is used in chocolate chips as an emulsifier, to create a smooth consistency. Lecithin can be made from animal products unless otherwise stated. So the fact that Guittard uses sunflower lecithin makes it a wonderful dairy-free chocolate chip option. And it meets my AAD criteria, because I can buy Guittard chocolate chips at my local grocery store. So it’s Affordable, Accessible, and definitely so Delicious!

To find it near you, check out the Guittard Where to Buy page.

The Namely Marly Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Guide includes Guittard Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Guittard Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips. This is Guitard’s classic chocolate chip that delivers a semi-sweet chocolate with hints of vanilla.

Buy this: Our local grocery store carries this. You can also find it at Whole Foods. You can also buy Guittard’s Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips in packs of four from Amazon.

The Namely Marly Dairy-free Chocolate Chip guide includes the Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chips

Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chips. This may be my favorite chocolate chip of all time. I just discovered these at our local grocery store (Price Chopper) and found these were delicious both in recipes and straight out of the bag. Sometimes dark chocolate can leave an unfavorable after-taste, but not these. They’re the perfect amount of sweet and chocolate.

Buy this: Our local grocery store carries this. You can also find it at Whole Foods. You can also buy Guitar’s Extra Dark Chocolate Chips in packs of four from Amazon.

The Namely Marly dairy-free chocolate chip guide includes Kirkland's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Costco’s Kirland Chocolate Chips. The motherload of chocolate chips in a great big bag that encourages one batch of chocolate chip cookies after another! Kirkland makes their semi-sweet chocolate chips with soy lecithin.

NOTE: On 9/9/19 I saw an updated bag of Kirkland Chocolate Chips at Costco and the recipe indicated that it had milk-fat in it. This is a developing story so as soon as I can confirm, I will let you know. But it appears at this time that Kirkland may have changed its recipe and is no longer dairy free!

Buy this: At Costco. You can also find Kirkland Chocolate Chips on Amazon.

Scharfen Berger Chocolate Chips are dairy-free

Scharffen Berger Chocolate Chips

This is a new addition to my Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Guide (added 10/20/16). I added this listing partly because of the recently Chocolate Desert experience, but also because I’m now able to buy Scharffen Berger Chocolate Chips at Target for an affordable price. And this is high-quality chocolate, folks. The fact that it’s also dairy-free is like chocolate frosting on a chocolate chip cake!

Learn more about Scharffen Berger Chocolate Chips


I’m a big fan of Trader Joe’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, however they can’t get a full AAD rating because they’re not as readily available. You can only buy them at Trader Joe’s. I take that back. You can buy Trader Joe’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (which are made with soy lecithin) on Amazon, but at the time I checked they were pricey. We have to Trader Joe’s in KC and whenever I’m near one I usually will buy a few bags at a time. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your area, I would opt for one of the brands described above.

I did what I did before Sprouts came to town. We just had a Sprouts move into town recently and I have to say, I’m in love. In addition to a wonderful produce section, Sprouts also offers lots of vegan products, including s Sprouts brand of semi-sweet chocolate chips which also happen to be dairy-free. In addition, Sprouts has an impressive bulk section that includes chocolate chips that are dairy-free (in addition to some pretty amazing dark chocolate covered fruits and nuts…all dairy-free).

Baker’s Semi-Sweet Bars. First, I have to say that I love chocolate chunks. They add a bit more texture to my chocolate chip cookies. These would definitely be on the list above if they were more accessible. I used to find them at our local grocery store, but then they stopped carrying them. You can buy Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks on Amazon, but at the time I checked they were pricey. Most grocery stores will carry 4 oz packages of Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bars and I have been known to purchase these and chop them up into brownies, cookies, and more. So this is a nice back-up option if you need it.

Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. These are another great dairy-free chocolate chip option, however, I don’t think they’re as easy to find as the ones listed above and when I have found them, they seem pricey to me. However, they are a fine option and usually available at most health food stores. You can also buy Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips on Amazon.

The Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Guide: What to Look for in Dairy-free Chocolate Chips

If you’re out and about and on the prowl for dairy-free chocolate chips, look for chocolate, cocoa butter, usually soy lecithin, vanilla, and sugar. You will see some chocolate chips refer to a cacao percentage. This is referring to the total amount of cocoa butter and cocoa solids from ground-up cacao beans. The other main ingredient is sugar. That leaves less than 2% of the remaining ingredients to be the lecithin (emulsifier), vanilla and sometimes salt. If you see milk fat, then you should pass.

Oftentimes you will see a statement like: “processed on equipment that also equipment that also packages products that may contain milk, nuts, wheat, etc.”

This simply means that the plant that manufactures these chocolate chips may also have dairy, nuts, etc. It’s a way of saying if you have a serious allergy and cannot tolerate any form of contact with dairy, then you should probably buy something else.

If you have a serious dairy allergy, you might want to stick with Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips, described above.

Dairy Free White Chocolate

If you’re looking for vegan white chocolate, you’re in luck because it’s actually easy to make yourself. People have reported mixed results with purchasing vegan white chocolate, but there are options both at health food stores and online.

In Closing

Well, that’s it for the Namely Marly Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Guide.

Do you have some favorite dairy-free chocolate chips? Leave them in the comments below so we can consider adding them as we update this page.

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21 Responses to Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Guide

    • The good news is they’re much easier to find these days. That’s why I included “accessible” on my selection criteria. Thanks for your comment! xoxo!

  1. Hi Marly! You have shared awesome and informative article. This article is very helpful for me as well as for those who work in baking industry. Also you have shared with simple ingredients that’s the important thing for me. Thanks for sharing informative blog.

    • Hi Catherine. Yes, I agree, that’s why I included the section about “Dairy-free Labels” above. For people with allergies, they will want to be more particular about the equipment the chocolate is processed on.

  2. This is exactly the info I am looking for as I approach my first month of transitioning to vegan and know I need to figure out the chocolate! Thanks so much!!

    I guess unless the ingredients specify the source of lecithin, we assume it’s not vegan? I know you provided soy & sunflower examples, and then said it can be an animal product as well…

    • Hi Charlotte, so glad you found this page helpful. Yes, if it doesn’t specify some kind of plant-based lecithin then I assume it’s animal-based. There are so many good dairy-free chocolate chips out there! 🙂

  3. I tried to buy the Kirkland brand chocolate chips (Costco brand) today and found that they are no longer available. It made me very sad, as I am allergic to milk, and Kirkland chocolate chips have been my mainstay for chocolate chips. I went online to see if they might be available at costco.com, but the website also shows that they are not available. Just thought you would like to know that is no longer an option.

    • Misery loves company, Karen, because we are in the same boat. Our Costco almost never carries Kirkland chocolate chips any more. Every now and then it will be on the shelves, and when it’s there, we stock up! I would say we’re really enjoying the dairy-free chocolate chips at Sprouts. The Sprouts brand chocolate chips are sold in packages and in the bulk section. Also, Trader Joe’s has a nice dairy-free chocolate chip too.

  4. Guittard chips are made on equipment that produces milk items and are not certified milk free. Your passing bad info. I found your site because I am looking to distribute milk free chips. I have the guittard statement.

    • Hi David. Please read the section above on dairy-free labels. I go into all of that. Some people, like vegans, are looking for dairy-free and are ok using products that have been prepared in factories that also process milk products. Other people are more particular because of dairy allergies. Each person has to read labels and choose products according to their needs.

  5. These look amazing. What about adding cacao paste instead of chocolate chips? Looking into at Amazon and other stores It seems cheaper to buy cacao paste, at around $15 per pound, plus no added sugar and 100% cacao
    Not going to lie, I just saved this recipe and I ´m going to use it as my base chocolate chip cookies recipe for my blog. https://rainforestflavor.com/blog/

  6. Hi Marly, First off- I am not the vegan police and 2nd- I LOVE your website. My family’s favorite breakfast casserole is from your recipes. But, I’ve been researching vegan chocolate chips for my start up vegan baking company and had always thought Kirkland/Costco chocolate chips were the best. However, because I am vegan certified I have to delve a little deeper. Just spoke to a representative at Costco and they said their chocolate chips aren’t considered vegan because they are “treated with bone char”. Some people won’t mind that but technically, they aren’t vegan. (I’m crushed) Will miss the big yummy affordable bag we always stocked up on as well!

    • Hi Julie. Thanks for your comments and thorough research. However, I believe this sounds like an issue about refined sugar. In other words, any product that has sugar in it would fall into this category. For example, BBQ sauce or ketchup or my beloved Sriracha. Even PB2 powder or peanut butter or any product that has sugar in it. Even Peta lists Duncan Hines cake mixes as “accidentally vegan” and they have sugar in them.

      I had to make a decision about this early on my vegan life and that’s when I decided to be a secular vegan. I am passionate about my vegan life, but I’m not dogmatic about some of these peripheral ingredients, like sugar. I completely understand from your perspective of becoming certified vegan for your product that you would need to use a sugar alternative so you can get that label on your products. Thanks for your kind comment! And I can’t wait to learn more about your vegan product line!

  7. Hi Marly.
    After reading your response, I realized I’d lost sight of the bigger picture.
    You are right.
    My focus had narrowed with all the certified-vegan-cookie-research I’ve been wrapped up in and your words brought me back to my true north.
    I’m excited to bring a product to market that is certified vegan but, more importantly, I hope to show more people how easy and fulfilling a vegan lifestyle is, just as you are doing on your site. Clearly I would have turned many people off had I continued down that sugar/bone char research detour.
    Thanks for pulling me out of that rabbit hole!
    Sending much appreciation and hugs your way.

  8. Hi Marly,
    I would appreciate your hints on melting dairy free chips. I find that they are not as ‘stirable’ as semi sweet (dairy). What I mean is the melt is thicker and therefore harder to stir into and coat things. Would you recommend a teaspoon of solid veggie or coconut oil during the melting process to loosen things up? thanks for your help!

    • I agree Liza, and I usually recommend adding at least 1 teaspoon of coconut oil per 1 cup of dairy free chocolate chips. I have at times added up to 1 T of coconut oil per 1 cup of chocolate chips, but this creates a chocolate that should be refrigerated (especially in warmer temperatures). I hope this is helpful!

  9. Not all sugar is processed using bone char, in fact there are several brands out there, including the sprouts brand, that does not use bone char.


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