Veganism is by no means a new thing. This movement has been around for a long time, and people have been avoiding foods that contain any animal byproducts for many years.
But, it is only in the past couple of years that America’s fast food restaurants have started to recognize the dietary requirements of those following a vegan diet. And so, it is only in the past few years that fast food restaurants have started to add vegan options to their menu.
If you visit a restaurant that specializes in vegan food, then you will find yourself overwhelmed by the vast amount of options available to you. But, if you visit a regular fast food restaurant, then you will likely find yourself incredibly underwhelmed. That is because the vegan options at most fast food restaurants are incredibly poor.
Most fast food restaurants now serve at least 1 vegan option. In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at how to order vegan food at some of America’s biggest fast food chains. So to find out how to do this, keep on reading.
But, it is worth noting that there is a risk of cross-contamination with the vegan options at Burger King because they do not use a special grill to cook their vegan burgers.
However, if you can get past this, Burger King offers the Impossible Whopper, which is suitable for vegans.
It was originally added to the menu as a vegetarian option, but if you order it without mayonnaise, it is vegan-friendly too.
The fries at Burger King are vegan too, so if you are visiting this chain, you will be able to order a meal that is entirely vegan-friendly.
Somewhere else that offers pretty great vegan options is Taco Bell.
Unlike many other fast food restaurants that only have vegan side dishes on their menu, Taco Bell actually has quite a few main menu options which are suitable for vegans. This includes tacos, burritos, crunch wraps, and lots more.
The majority of the vegan options at Taco Bell contain black beans, which are an excellent source of protein.
Some of the best vegan dishes at Taco Bell which we would recommend trying are the black bean crunch wrap supreme, the black beans and rice, or the veggie power menu bowl.
All of these dishes are truly delicious, and they are packed with nutrients to ensure that you get a full and healthy meal.
One of the best fast food restaurants to visit if you follow a vegan diet is Chipotle.
This is mainly because Chipotle allows you to design your own meals, so you can simply add whatever ingredients you know are vegan to your meal.
Simply start by ordering either a burrito bowl, a regular burrito, or a soft/crispy taco. Once you have ordered this, you can then add whatever vegetables you want, plus one of the vegan proteins that Chipotle offers.
Chipotle offers a couple of different vegan proteins, including black or pinto beans, red and gold quinoa, and sofrito. So, as you can see, the vegan options at Chipotle are actually pretty great.
Carl’s Jr is a burger restaurant, so vegan options were scarce – before the Beyond Burger came to Carl’s Jr.
They offer a great vegetarian Beyond Famous Star With Cheese, containing American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, their Special Sauce, and mayonnaise. It can be vegan when ordered without mayonnaise and cheese.
Their Amber sauce and fried zucchini aren’t vegan, so when ordering the Beyond Wraptor burgers, which have lettuce in place of a bun, swiss cheese, Amber sauce, fried zucchini, and tomatoes, order them without the sauce and zucchini.
Carl’s Jr’s Beyond Burgers are soy and gluten-free. A few things they contain are pea protein, rice protein, pomegranate concentrate, and apple extract.
They have beet juice to give the burgers the appearance of “bleeding” as meat burgers do. The full ingredient list is available on Beyond Meat’s website.
Carl’s Jr also offers vegan Hash Rounds. Their Natural-Cut French Fries and Crisscut Fries are also vegan. None of these can be considered 100% vegan, due to being fried with non-vegan items.
Surprisingly, Del Taco has plenty of vegan options.
There is even a whole menu section for their vegetarian & vegan items. They have several Beyond Burritos and Tacos that can be vegan when ordered without sour cream and cheese.
The Epic and Beyond Fresh Guacamole Burrito comes with Beyond Meat, guacamole, beans, cilantro-lime rice, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and Pico de Gallo.
The Beyond Guacamole Taco is their vegan taco option, made with Beyond Meat, diced tomatoes, guacamole, and shredded lettuce.
Like Carl’s Jr, their hash browns and fries are vegan. The chips that come with the Chips & Queso Dip are vegan, but the dip is not.
Unfortunately, they offer no vegan burger options. Their salads all come with meat, but removing the meat, sour cream, and cheese will make it vegan.
Panera Bread starts strong with a few vegan options for breakfast.
Their Steel Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries contains steel-cut oats, pecans, strawberries, and cinnamon sugar. They also serve a fruit cup containing cantaloupe, pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries.
They serve a few salads that can be vegan if you order them without the cheese. They also offer apples and bananas as sides. Their baguette is also vegan.
You can easily customize your order and make any sandwich vegan.
Their Everything Bagel contains brown sugar, so it is up to you whether you consider it vegan, because sugar often contains bone char. The Plain Bagel also raises the same question, as it has brown sugar, too.
Check out Panera Bread’s menu to see other vegan options. They list the ingredients for every item available.
When you first think of fast food, you might not immediately consider this coffee chain, but Starbucks actually offers quite a few vegan options.
Almost all of their coffees and teas can be made vegan-friendly by ordering them with an alternative to dairy milk, and they have a couple of different vegan food options too.
This includes things such as their vegan chocolate and raspberry cake, peanut and cashew bar, and even some of their sandwiches too.
For example, if you order the Impossible Breakfast sandwich from Starbucks, but remove the egg and the cheese, this sandwich will be vegan-friendly.
Check out Starbuck’s vegan food items on our list here.
Dunkin’ specializes in coffees and hot drinks, so a lot of its drink menu is suitable for vegans.
This includes drinks such as their breakfast teas, flavored teas, frozen beverages, and most of their coffees too.
Previously, you would have had to order your coffee black from Dunkin’ for it to be vegan-friendly, but since they added oat milk to the menu, drinking vegan at Dunkin’ has become a lot easier.
Unfortunately, their food menu isn’t as suitable for vegans. But, they do have a handful of vegan options.
The best is their Beyond Meat Breakfast Sandwich. So, if you are looking for a vegan meal to order alongside your coffee, this is the option to order.
Most of the menu items at Panda Express contain meat, making it hard to find something to eat there, but there are a few tried and true favorites.
They have sides like Mixed Vegetables, containing broccoli, zucchini, carrot, green beans, and cabbage. They also serve White Steamed Rice. Their chow mein has been vegan since 2019, removing the chicken broth.
Unfortunately, all of their entrees contain meat, but the appetizers and sides can still make a great dinner!
Hardee’s offers considerably fewer vegan options than its counterpart, Carl’s Jr. They serve the same Hash Rounds, which fry with non-vegan food, and therefore are not considered 100% vegan.
They do not show the full list of ingredients, but it looks like their Bean, Rice & Cheese Burrito can be made vegan by ordering it without the cheese.
Their Natural-Cut French Fries and Crispy Curls are vegan, but, like with the Hash Rounds, they are deep-fried and cannot be confirmed 100% vegan.
Hardee’s used to serve the Beyond Burgers but took those items off their menu in 2021. Hopefully they come back soon!
Ordering vegan food at Subway is also pretty simple, and this is because Subway usually offers a great salad selection.
So, you pretty much have free rein when it comes to deciding what salad to add to your vegan sub.
You are a little more limited when it comes to the bread options, and this is because Italian is the only bread that is definitely suitable for vegans.
Once you have ordered your Italian sub, you can either opt for the veggie delight or veggie patty. With the veggie delight, you can add whatever salad you want, and your sub will be vegan.
With the veggie patty, you can also add salad to your sub if you wish.
Auntie Anne’s pretzels are mostly vegan as long as you order your pretzel without butter.
Their Original Soft Pretzel, Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel, Sweet Almond Pretzel, Jalepeño Soft Pretzel, and Raisin Soft Pretzel are all vegan.
So are their Original Pretzel Nuggets and Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Nuggets.
Along with that, they offer vegan dipping sauces, too. Their Sweet Glaze Dip and Marinara Dip are both vegan. There are a variety of vegan snacking options here, a rarity among fast food restaurants!
White Castle is most famous for its burgers, but thankfully they offer some pretty great vegan options too.
White Castle has added Impossible burgers to it’s slider menu, so there are meat substitutes available for vegans. The bun is vegan, so you just have to ask to remove the cheese from their Impossible slider to make it vegan.
It is also pretty easy to modify their veggie options to make them vegan-friendly.
For example, the veggie slider can be easily made vegan-friendly by removing the ranch dressing from it.
Quite a few of the side dishes at White Castle are also vegan-friendly, so you can easily make a whole vegan meal at this restaurant by ordering french fries or hash brown nibblers on the side of your burger.
One of the biggest fast food chains in the world is McDonald’s.
Across the globe, different McDonald’s stores offer some excellent vegan options. But back in the USA, these options are definitely lacking.
Even the fries in McDonald’s USA are not vegan, or even vegetarian friendly because they are cooked in shared fryers.
But, thankfully, McDonald’s does have a totally vegan option, and that is on their breakfast menu. So, if you are visiting McDonald’s during breakfast hours, order their fruit and maple oatmeal.
But, it is very important that you request it to be made with water, not milk. As long as you order it in this manner, it will be vegan-friendly.
As you would expect, the vegan options at KFC are definitely lacking.
After all, this is a restaurant that specializes in fried chicken, so it isn’t surprising that they do not offer many vegan options on their main menu.
So, if you are a vegan, and you find yourself visiting KFC with friends, there are some things that you can order.
For example, the fries, wedges, side salad (without cheese), and the BBQ baked beans are all vegan-friendly. So, as you can see, you actually have a couple of different things to choose from, even if the Beyond nuggets aren’t available at your local KFC yet.
As you design your own pizza at Little Caesars, it actually isn’t that difficult to create your own vegan pizza.
Of course, you will have to skip the cheese because Little Caesars does not offer a vegan cheese option on their menu. But, once you get past this, you actually have quite a lot of freedom with what to order.
Simply begin with regular crust and sauce (both of which are vegan-friendly), then add whatever vegetables you want on top.
Making your pizza vegan is easy at Little Caesars because you simply create it yourself.
When it comes to ordering vegan dishes at Chick-fil-A, it is a little similar to KFC.
This is because Chick-fil-A specializes in chicken, so most of their dishes are not suitable for vegans. But, a lot of their side dishes are. This includes options such as waffle fries, hash browns, side salad, and lots more.
If you want a vegan main menu dish at Chick-fil-A, this is possible. But, there aren’t any main menu dishes that are designed to be vegan, so you will have to order some modifications.
One of the easiest dishes to modify is the cool wrap, which you simply have to order without chicken, cheese, and dressing to make it vegan-friendly.
If you are heading to Dairy Queen for a snack, then you actually have quite a few options to choose from.
But, if you want a large meal, then you will be bitterly disappointed. Dairy Queen doesn’t offer any vegan-friendly main meals, but in terms of snacks, there are quite a few different things to choose between.
These include the side salad, which can be ordered with a vegan dressing for additional flavor, and the pretzel sticks, which are vegan-friendly as long as you order them without queso.
So, while your options are limited, there are some delicious things available for you to order.
Most of the time, when you visit Sonic, you are looking for a snack to eat, and thankfully, Sonic has quite a good selection of vegan options to choose from.
As long as you avoid dips, there are lots of different vegan options available at Sonic.
These include onion rings, soft pretzel twists, and tater tots. So, if you want to fill yourself up, you can easily order a couple of different side dishes to fill you up.
Likewise, if you visit Arby’s in the search of vegan options, you shouldn’t set your expectations too high.
Just like many fast food chains, Arby’s doesn’t offer any main menu vegan dishes. But, they do offer a variety of different types of fries, and these are all vegan-friendly.
So, if you want to fill yourself up on carbohydrates, you can order the curly, homestyle, and sweet potato fries from Arby’s, and they will all be suitable for those following a vegan diet.
Wendy’s is great if you eat meat and animal byproducts.
But, if you are vegan, your options at Wendy’s are considerably more limited. Once again, you are pretty much limited to the side dishes that the company offers, and unfortunately, you will often need to make modifications to these.
For example, the baked potato and side salad at Wendy’s are both suitable for vegans. But, you will have to order the baked potato without butter, and the side salad without cheese and croutons.
This does remove some of the flavors from these dishes, but you can add things, such as chives, to them to try to make your meal a little more flavorful.
What Makes Fast Food Vegan?
Before we take a look at the best fast food vegan options, let’s take a look at what would allow a fast food order to be labeled vegan. Of course, the requirements for fast food to be considered vegan, are the same as the requirements for any type of food. So, let’s take a quick look at what they are.
As you probably already know, a vegan diet is a plant-based diet. In a vegan diet, everything will be able to be traced back to plants, and no animal by-products will be used.
This means that meat, dairy products, eggs, and other ingredients like this, are not suitable for those following a vegan diet. This is because all these ingredients can be traced back to animals.
The main difference between following a vegan diet at home, and following one in a fast food restaurant, is the fact that you can almost guarantee that there will be zero cross-contamination when you cook yourself. But, when you eat out at any restaurant, there is always the risk of this.
That is why some die-hard vegans will avoid fast food together, simply because of this risk. But, if you are a vegan who is a little more lenient with your diet, read on to find out the best vegan options at some of America’s biggest fast food chains.