As a McDonald’s fan, in my pre-vegan days, I used to hate the fact that they do wouldn’t target our public. While Scandinavian McDonald’s are adding McVegans to their menus, McDonald’s in the US still failed to have a basic veggie burger or even vegan fries. Yes, in case you haven’t heard yet, let us repeat that: the fries at McDonald’s aren’t vegan friendly. They contain “natural beef flavorings” that contain milk derivatives. They also contain wheat derivatives, for those of you who are gluten sensitive.
So, many of us still wonder: what exactly can a vegan person consume at Mcdonald’s? Well, this article is for all of you. I can still relate to that confusing feeling when asking the Mcdonald’s staff what are their vegan options, and they start to jiggle. Even though they are usually super polite, I always felt like vegan people like me shouldn’t be in their restaurant. Therefore, I came to the main question of this article: is Mcdonald’s a vegan-friendly fast-food chain?
Is McDonald’s A Vegan-Friendly Restaurant?
First of all, I’d like to mention that McDonald’s is the world’s largest fast-food restaurant chain and one of the best-known brand names. So, the company has more than 39,000 locations in about 100 countries. As a pioneer in the fast-food industry, the company has maintained consistent, moderate growth through affordable prices, speedy service, and constantly expanding and refreshing its menu offerings.
Therefore, they should be the first fast-food chain that manages to bring vegan options for all of us. They clearly afford it, so wouldn’t they? Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the exact answer. Some say it’s because they want to preserve the American love for meat and burgers, others that they are a brand too big to care about a minority of their public.
Nevertheless, if you find yourself in a bind, and McDonald’s is your only option, there are a handful of vegan-friendly items you can order off their menu. Even though some require modification, and you’ll have to leave out key ingredients, if you get enough little sides and snacks, you can cobble together a decent meal with McDonald’s vegan options. However, at least you’d have eaten enough food to hold you over until you can eat somewhere else.
McDonald’s Vegan Menu Items
In addition to the next vegan options, I would like to advise you to constantly consult the McDonald’s Menu. They may always change their products’ ingredients. So, keep an eye on their offer and be careful to read the details about your region. Their menus differ according to the location of the restaurants.
The only McDonald’s salad that comes vegan is the Side Salad, but their other premium salads can be customized to be vegan by ordering them without the meat and dairy ingredients. The reason you might want to do this is that the premium salads come with other ingredients and toppings. For example, the Southwest Salad includes tortilla strips, beans, and corn. The list below tells you what to order the salads without in order to make them vegan. Below that, are the vegan-friendly salad dressings.
- Newman’s Own Creamy French Dressing
- Newman’s Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Side Salad
- Southwest Salad without Chicken or Cheese
- Bacon Ranch Salad without Bacon, Chicken, or Cheese
Breakfast Options for Vegans
Breakfast options for vegans are pretty limited these days. There isn’t anything you can order that doesn’t require modification to make it vegan.
However, you may be wondering why hash browns aren’t listed. That’s because McDonald’s hash browns are not vegan. Sadly, they contain the same ingredients as the french fries, including the milk derivatives from natural beef flavorings, which ironically, probably don’t come from real beef. Also, you might be wondering if McDonald’s pancakes are vegan. Unfortunately, their hotcakes contain milk and eggs. The good news is, McDonald’s oatmeal is vegan if you order it without cream, so at least there’s one decent hot breakfast option.
- Fruit and Maple Oatmeal without Cream
- Plain English Muffin
- Fruit Parfait without Yogurt
McDonald’s Vegan Burgers and Sandwiches
The only way you can get a vegan sandwich from McDonald’s is if you custom order it. The easiest way to do this is to order one of their regular sandwiches from the menu, like a Big Mac, but request it without meat, cheese, or sauce.
On the other hand, the buns are vegan, and so are most of the other burger/sandwich toppings. So, instead of whatever sauce comes on the sandwich, you can add vegan condiments, like ketchup and mustard.
- Artisan Bun
- Sesame Seed Bun
- Regular Bun
- Pico De Gallo
Condiments and Dipping Sauces
- Tangy Barbeque Sauce
- Sweet ‘N Sour Sauce
McDonald’s Vegan Desserts
Believe it or not, McDonald’s actually has a vegan dessert, and you might be surprised by which one it is. We triple-checked the ingredients and then read them once more for good measure, and although it contains a lot of stuff that is probably terrible for you, McDonald’s classic apple pie is actually plant-based.
On the other hand, if you’re wondering if McDonald’s cookies are vegan, sadly, they are not. Both of the cookies McDonald’s currently sell contain milk and eggs.
- Baked Apple Pie
Vegan Sides and Snacks
In case you didn’t read the opening paragraph, McDonald’s fries are not vegan. So, we are left with only a little range of sides options. However, Burger King’s fries are vegan.
- Apple Slices
McDonald’s Drinks for Vegan People
Unfortunately, except for regular black coffee, which is now called “McCafe Coffee,” all of the McCafe beverages contain milk/cream. Technically, you could probably order them without milk or cream, but they wouldn’t be very good. To the best of our knowledge, McDonald’s has yet to embrace any plant-based kinds of milk. However, there are plenty of vegan-friendly fountain drinks and other beverages to choose from.
- Black Coffee
- Apple Juice Box
- Sweet Tea
- Bottled Water
- Orange Soda
- Dr. Pepper
- Powerade Mountain Berry Blast
Are you still not satisfied with the McDonald’s vegan options in the US? We advise you to contact them and tell them you’re a US customer who would greatly appreciate better options for vegans. Also, they encourage us to share our complaints and feedback directly in the restaurant too. So, go and try your luck!
Finally, please share with us all your experience with Mcdonald’s services for vegans. We are always excited to hear all about your vegan adventures! It’s always so relatable! Also, don’t hesitate to ask any further questions in the comments sections.