When it comes to the vegan options at McDonald’s, we’re not exactly saying ‘we’re lovin’ it’. Currently, your main option with any substance would be their Fruit & Maple Oatmeal.
Typically, fries* can be a safe bet at most restaurants… not at McDonald’s. The French Fries (and Hashbrowns) are NOT a vegan friendly option. They both have a natural beef flavoring that contains dairy.
In 2022, Mcdonald’s in the United States (Texas and California) was testing a McPlant Burger using Beyond meat. It was vegan-friendly with modifications but we read it did not do well.
We did not get to try it but I have had some thoughts. Most people order a burger with fries. If fries are not an option, why get the burger?
We’re hoping something new is in the works for 2023 but for now, here are your vegan options:
Vegan Options at McDonald’s
- Fruit & Maple Oatmeal. Order with NO cream … comes with oatmeal, diced apples and a cranberry raisin blend.
I know, I know… this is an annoying outdated option; however, if you need to order something:
- Hamburger. Order with NO beef patty. Ask for lettuce to be added … comes with pickles, chopped onion, ketchup and mustard.
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 Discontinued?
Yes. By mid-2022, the McPlant Burger was no longer being tested at McDonald’s locations in California and Texas. This was a test that began in November 2021.
Is the McPlant Burger Vegan in the United States?
The McPlant Burger can be made vegan by ordering it with NO cheese or mayo. It is NO LONGER available on menus in the United States.
Where Can I Find the McPlant Burger in the United States?
Testing of the McPlant Burger in the United States (Texas and California) began in November 2021 and concluded mid 2022. As of 2023, you can no longer find it on menus.
We have reached out to Mcdonald’s to ask what is next in 2023. I will keep this guide updated with what we find out.
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 215 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!