When it comes to the vegan options at McDonald’s, we’re teetering on saying ‘we’re lovin’ it’. Currently, your main option with any substance would be their Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. And if you’re lucky, you’re getting to try the McPlant Burger.
Please do not think the fries or hash brown’s are a safe bet, they contain a natural beef flavoring which contains dairy.
-> While the McPlant Burger is being tested in specific locations (see the FAQ section below for cities), what confuses us is McDonald’s is paying to do research (in the United States) on providing a plant based option, yet responded to us in an email (in October of 2021) that they have no intentions of changing the recipe for their fries in the United States.
They use a vegan friendly recipe in other countries.
The United States version of the McPlant Burger is NOT vegan as-is (like it is in the U.K.). Order with NO cheese and NO mayonnaise.
Let us know if you try it!
Vegan Options at McDonald’s
- Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. Order with NO cream … comes with oatmeal, diced apples and a cranberry raisin blend.
The McPlant is being tested in specific cities & states. See below in the FAQ section for where.
- McPlant Burger. Order with NO cheese or mayo. Ask for one of the sauces below.
- Hamburger. Order with NO beef patty. Ask for lettuce to be added. We are fully aware that suggesting for you order a burger with no burger is not exactly ideal. But at the moment, it’s still one of the only options available… in most locations.
The fries are NOT vegan. The details are in the FAQ section below.
- Apple Slices
- Sweet & Sour
* As with any restaurant that is not 100% vegan or does not offer a designated cooking space for their vegan options, cross contamination can occur and fryers/grills may be shared with animal products. You can choose what your level of comfort is with these potential issues.
McDonald’s Vegan FAQ
Is the McPlant Burger Vegan in the United States?
With modifications, the McPlant Burger can be made vegan by ordering it with NO cheese or mayo.
Where Can I Find the McPlant Burger in the United States?
The following cities are testing the McPlant Burger in the United States. I do want to mention that I have reached out to McDonalds questioning if the cities that began testing the McPlant in Novemeber of 2021 are still testing it.
I have looked at a few of the cities online and am not seeing the McPlant as an option to order. If you are in one of the cities and still able to, please let us know!
- El Segundo (began 11.3.21)
- Manhattan Beach (began 11.3.21)
- San Francisco (began 2.4.22)
- Cedar Falls (began 11.3.21)
- Jennings (began 11.3.21)
- Lake Charles (began 11.3.21)
- Dallas-Fort Worth (began 2.4.22)
- Irving (began 11.3.21)
- Carrollton (began 11.3.21)
Are McDonald’s fries vegan?
No, at least not in the US. The fries in the United States are prepared with natural beef flavoring, which happens to have hydrolyzed milk proteins.
Prior to 1990, McDonalds fried their fries in beef tallow. They switched to vegetable oil but still used beef flavoring.
In 2002, they changed the beef flavoring to a natural beef flavoring but like it says above, the natural beef flavoring contains hydrolyzed milk derivatives; still not making them vegan friendly.
In an email we received from McDonald’s, as of October 2021, they have no intentions of changing the recipe in the United States while also acknowledging that the recipe is different in other countries. Different meaning, other countries offer vegan fries.
Are McDonald’s Hash Browns Vegan?
Like the French fries, the hash browns are prepared with natural beef flavoring, which also contains milk derivatives so, no, they are definitely not vegan.
If you’re curious to know how and why McDonald’s prepares their hash browns with ‘natural beef flavoring’, we did a deep dive into looking at why McDonald’s hash browns are not vegan.
Are McDonald’s pancakes vegan?
No. The pancakes at McDonald’s contain both eggs and milk.
Where did McDonalds side salad go?
We’re not sure! In early 2020, McDonald’s removed all of their salads. If they bring them back, we will update this page.
Are McDonalds Apple Pies Vegan?
We currently categorize McDonalds Apple Pies as not vegan. McDonalds Apple Pies contain L-Cysteine as a dough conditioner. To the best of our knowledge the L-Cysteine used in their Apple Pies come from duck feathers. (Read more about L-Cysteine)
Can I eat WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based) at McDonalds?
Yes. You can order the the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal with NO light cream. Depending on where you are in your WFPB journey, you can also order without brown sugar and/or the cranberry raisin blend. Your only other WFPB option is Sliced Apples.
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More Links and Info:
- Not quite what you were wanting to eat? VeggL has over 175 Cheat Sheets Guides for popular chain restaurants including other fast food locations like Burger King and Wendy’s
- If you’d like to see McDonald’s Full Menu, head over to their Official Menu Page
- Disclaimer: We do everything possible at VeggL to make sure all our Vegan Guides are as up to date as possible, but sometimes menus and menu items can change. VeggL is not responsible for incorrect or outdated information. Always check with your location and server to confirm items are vegan when ordering. If you notice something that needs to be corrected – please let us know!