Are Bacon Bits at Pizza Hut Vegetarian? A Definitive Guide

Bacon bits are a popular pizza topping for adding a smoky crunchy punch of flavor. But if you’re vegetarian or vegan you may be wondering – can you still enjoy bacon bits at Pizza Hut? Or do they contain real bacon?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll uncover everything you need to know about the ingredients, preparation and vegetarian suitability of Pizza Hut’s bacon bits.

A Brief History of Bacon Bits

Before diving into Pizza Hut specifically, let’s take a quick look at the history of bacon bits in general.

Bacon bits first became popular back in the 1950s after the Oscar Mayer company developed a process to simulate the flavor, texture and appearance of bacon using vegetarian ingredients.

This allowed brands to create bacon bits that were shelf-stable inexpensive and suitable for vegetarians and religious groups that avoided pork.

The kosher and halal markets were key for early bacon bit sales. And large foodservice companies like Pizza Hut drove further demand for convenient, meat-free bacon bits.

Over the years, different brands have produced bacon bits using everything from soy protein to overcooked bacon scraps. So not all bacon bits are vegetarian. But Pizza Hut’s have remained meat-free.

Are Pizza Hut Bacon Bits Vegetarian?

The straightforward answer is yes, Pizza Hut’s bacon bits are completely vegetarian and vegan.

According to Pizza Hut, their bacon bits contain no animal ingredients or byproducts. The primary ingredients are:

  • Soybean oil – Adds fat and flavor.
  • Soy flour – Provides texture and protein.
  • Caramel color – Made from caramelized sugar, used for coloring.
  • Salt – For seasoning.

Beyond these basic plant-based ingredients, Pizza Hut does not disclose the full recipe. But they confirm no meat, dairy or other animal products are used.

Some additional analysis indicates they likely also contain:

  • Yeast extract – For umami flavor.
  • Paprika extract – For color and subtle flavor.
  • Smoke flavor – Adds smoky taste.

So while the complete recipe is proprietary, Pizza Hut is clear their bacon bits are 100% vegetarian and vegan.

Why Do Pizza Hut’s Bacon Bits Taste Like Bacon?

Pizza Hut is able to achieve the smoky, salty, savory taste of bacon bits through plant-based ingredients and natural flavors. Here are some of the keys:

  • Soy flour – Has an umami meat-like flavor.
  • Yeast extract – Adds depth of umami taste.
  • Smoke flavor – Provides smoky aroma and taste.
  • Paprika – Has a subtle meaty flavor.
  • Salt – Boosts overall savory flavor.
  • MSG – Potentially used to enhance umami.
  • Liquid smoke – Made from wood smoke, amplifies smokiness.

No artificial bacon flavoring is used. Just clever blending of natural plant-based ingredients to create the expected bacon bit flavor.

How Are Pizza Hut Bacon Bits Made?

Pizza Hut starts by making a dough from soybean oil and soy flour. Salt and seasonings are added to boost the flavor.

The dough is then extruded through a shaping die to create the crispy bacon bit shapes. As the bits are formed, caramel color and paprika extract are added to achieve the expected bacon shade of red.

Finally, the uncooked bacon bits are dried at low heat. This removes moisture and sets the texture while also allowing reactions between amino acids and sugars to enhance the flavor.

The result is crunchy, smoky, umami-rich bacon bits made entirely from plants!

Are Bacon Bits at Other Pizza Chains Also Vegetarian?

While Pizza Hut’s bacon bits are vegetarian and vegan, this isn’t universally true at other pizza chains. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Domino’s – Uses real pork bacon, so not vegetarian.
  • Papa John’s – Uses soy-based bacon bits like Pizza Hut. Vegetarian friendly.
  • Little Caesars – Contains bacon fat, not suitable for vegetarians.
  • California Pizza Kitchen – Uses imitation bacon bits that are meat-free.

So if you want veggie bacon bits from a national pizza chain, Pizza Hut and Papa John’s are your best bets. But always check each restaurant’s ingredients to be 100% sure.

Homemade Vegetarian Bacon Bits

If you want to make your own vegetarian bacon bits at home, it’s easy to do with just a few simple ingredients:

  • Tofu – Makes the base.
  • Coconut oil – For frying and flavor.
  • Liquid smoke – Gives that smoky taste.
  • Paprika – For color.
  • Salt and spices – Season to taste.

Just crumble firm tofu into small bits, mix in seasoning, then fry until crispy. You can customize the flavors to your liking.

Other Vegetarian Topping Options at Pizza Hut

In addition to the bacon bits, Pizza Hut offers a range of other delicious veggie toppings to build a customized meatless pizza:

  • Mushrooms – Choose from classic sliced or portobello.
  • Green peppers – Crisp, fresh and full

Easy Vegan Bacon Bits Recipe! (smoky maple) | plant.well


What toppings are on the veggie lovers pizza at Pizza Hut?

Pizza Hut’s Veggie Lover’s® Pizza is vegetarian and comes loaded with mushrooms, onions, green peppers, diced tomatoes & black olives.

Does Pizza Hut use animal Rennet?

Parmesan Romano cheese blend that is added to P’Zones, Breadsticks and Ultimate Cheese Pizza as well as some dine-in products contains both microbial enzymes and animal-based rennet. Customers can request that ‘breadstick seasoning’ or ‘Parmesan parsley blend’ NOT be added to their products, if desired.

Is Pizza Hut Crust vegetarian?

Yes, three out of the four main pizza crusts that Pizza Hut offers are vegan-friendly and don’t contain any dairy or animal products. These include the Hand-Tossed Pizza Crust, the Original Pan Pizza Crust, and the Thin N’ Crispy Crust (the only crust that isn’t vegan is the Original Stuffed Crust).

Why are Pizza Hut fries not vegan?

It’s thought that the Pizza Hut fries are vegan, but there is a risk of cross-contamination. You can also order the breadsticks without parmesan seasoning.

Are Pizza Hut bacon bits vegan?

Pizza hut bacon bits are suitable for vegans and vegetarians. They do not contain any animal ingredients and according to Pizza Hut, there should be no cross-contamination with animal products.

Are bacon bits vegan?

Any bacon bits advertised as “real” are going to be made of actual pork. These real bacon bits will be more expensive and won’t keep in the pantry for quite as long. And, of course, these varieties are not suitable for vegans. A quick scan of the front of the package should tell you fairly quickly which type of bacon bits you’re dealing with.

Is Pizza Hut beyond meat vegan?

However, Pizza Hut’s Beyond Meat pizzas include mozzarella cheese which is not vegan-friendly. Pizza Hut’s Beyond Meat pizzas cannot be made with vegan cheese. This is because the Beyond Meat pizzas are only available for delivery, whereas the vegan cheese is only available in Pizza Hut’s dine-in restaurants. Is anything else vegan at Pizza Hut?

Are Pizza Hut crusts vegan?

You’ll be pleased to find that most of the crusts at Pizza Hut are vegan-friendly! The only one you’ll want to avoid is the stuffed crust (unless you’re lucky enough to be in the UK). Everything else is fair game: Most crust flavors are not vegan, but the Butter Blend happens to be accidentally vegan!

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