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9 Vegan Options at McDonald’s

Learn how to eat vegan at McDonald’s

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you can’t find any restaurant that offers decent Vegan food? Perhaps on a road trip, where all highway food signs point towards nothing but McDonald’s? Don’t worry! I’ve got your back on this one.

McDonald's McVeggie Meal

There have been many times I have thought of the glorious “Happy Meal,” only to realize it does not suit my vegan lifestyle anymore, leaving me feeling nothing but the opposite of “happy.”

Although they claim to serve every customer out there, McDonald’s has not yet officially released a vegan-friendly menu. However, that doesn’t mean you have to limit your options or potentially starve yourself.

From their Fruit & Maple Oatmeal and Baked Apple Pie to the freshly prepared Side Salad and Orange Juice, I have listed some tried and tested McDonald’s vegan options.

Hopefully these might give you the same happiness you get from a Happy Meal without having to sacrifice your ethics, health, or personal dietary choices. 

McDonald’s Vegan Options

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get creative with the vegan-friendly options at Mcdonald’s! 

Fruit & Maple Oatmeal 

There is honestly nothing quite like a healthy Fruit and Maple Oatmeal bowl.

If you think about it, it is a pretty versatile dish! You can have it for breakfast, lunch, and even dinner. 

Luckily, this fruit bowl option at McDonald’s is vegan-friendly, which means that you can easily grab a bowl or two whenever you feel like you’re out of other options.

If you’re wondering whether McDonald’s makes use of any milk or cream in their oatmeal, the answer is a straight NO. They used water-based oats, which is fortunate for us.

The ingredients include

  • Water-based Oats. 
  • Red and green apples. 
  • Cranberries and raisins. 
  • Organic brown sugar.

Baked Apple Pie 

The velvety smooth apple and cinnamon mix layered in between the flaky pastry of the Baked Apple Pie at McDonald’s leaves a chaotic mouthful – a true embodiment of  American cuisine.

Since McDonald’s doesn’t, in the strictest sense, offer a vegan-friendly menu, many people have termed this item as an “Accidental Vegan” dish.

Accidental or not, it’s one of the best things on the menu that just so happens to be vegan!

This baked apple pie is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth, filling you up pretty quickly without leaving you feeling heavy.

In my opinion, the baked apple pie is my favorite vegan-friendly item off of the fast-food chain’s extensive menu. 


English Muffin 

No matter how hard I try to toast my English muffin to perfection at home, I just can’t get it as good as McDonald’s does.

That is another vegan-friendly option at the restaurant. Just ask them for an English Muffin alone, without any fillings. 

The best part? You can always fill them up with a choice of veggies and dips to create your own little DIY vegan sandwich.

I mostly ask for vegan-friendly dip sauces or pop a few of my favorites in my bag before making my way to McDonald’s.

Yes, you read that right. I often intentionally make my way to the fast-food chain to grab a few English Muffins and Apple Pies. 


Side Salad

Being a fast-food chain, McDonald’s doesn’t exactly focus a lot on providing a great range of salads, which is a pretty big bummer for vegan customers.

However, we have to give them brownie points for including the option of ordering the Southwest Chicken Salad without chicken and cheese and with dairy-free dressing options. 

As a pro tip, you can use the Side Salad as the stuffing for your DIY vegan sandwich with the English Muffin. 


Apple Slices 

Usually found as sides, that too with the happy meal, this menu item is self-explanatory – juicy Apple Slices cut up to bite into and enjoy instantly. 

I like to buy them when I’m ordering salad options so I can further enhance my salad by topping it with the apple slices.

One pack comes with no more than 4-5 slices, so you might want to order keeping the serving size in mind. 


Orange Juice 

The Orange Juice served at McDonald’s is sourced through Minute Maid, which luckily passes as a vegan-friendly option.

To be honest, I find myself grabbing their orange juice quite often. If anything, it does taste like fresh oranges and is a healthier option at McDonald’s than sodas or fruit punch from the fountain.

Unfortunately, McDonald’s does not offer other flavors of juices.

I consider this a big downside since countless juice options can be easily considered vegan-friendly, expanding the dietary choices for those looking to eat at McDonald’s. 


Soft Drinks 

McDonald’s is famous for having a wide selection of drinks to choose from.

However, it is hard to find vegan-friendly options since most of them are shakes that contain dairy products. Your best bet at the fast-food restaurant, you might ask? Soft drinks (or Orange Juice). 

Since soft drinks aren’t exactly the healthiest options out there, especially if clean-eating is part of your dietary concerns, I recommend sticking to water or bringing in your own slushies.

I do hope that, in the future, McDonald’s can consider bringing in a variety of slushies and sodas that cater to a broader customer group. 


Coffee

If you have ever walked into McDonald’s early in the morning, you’re probably familiar with the exotic smell of coffee that lingers in every corner of the restaurant. 

McDonald’s serves two coffee drinks that pass considerably well under the vegan-friendly options, which include McCafe Premium Roast Coffee and McCafe Americano Coffee.

Both of these coffee items are expertly roasted and freshly brewed, made from Arabica beans and filtered water.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the rest of their coffee range. Most of their blended drinks and lattes contain dairy, and they currently don’t offer any non-dairy substitutes.

Keep away from their creamers as well, which are not vegan-friendly options. Consider bringing your own non-dairy creamer if you know you’re going to want a “fancier” experience than just a plain black coffee. 


McPlant (Coming Soon) 

I kept the best news for the end! 

McDonald’s will soon be coming out with the McPlant – their first-ever vegan burger.

This isn’t just a moment of triumph for the fast-food chain’s vegan customers, but it represents a colossal step forward when it comes to including the dietary wants of all customers – a pretty big and bold step for the franchise to make in the international market. 

So far, the burger has been tested and approved in Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Austria, and the U.K. The McPlant has gotten great reviews, which indicates that it might be available in North America very soon.  

If you can’t imagine what the McPlant would look or taste like – picture a vegan Big Mac. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? The expected ingredients include

  • Sesame seed bun 
  • Tomato and onion slices 
  • Pickles and lettuce 
  • Vegan-friendly sauces
  • Plant-based patty

It’s important that the McPlant is a success in the U.S., so the chain might consider bringing in more plant-based items and expanding its menu.

So, if you see it at your local McDonald’s, be sure to order it and show your support!


McDonald’s Vegan Options

  1. Fruit & Maple Oatmeal
  2. Baked Apple Pie
  3. English Muffin
  4. Side Salad
  5. Apple Slices
  6. Orange Juice
  7. Soft Drinks
  8. Coffee
  9. McPlant (Coming Soon)

Final Thoughts 

While choosing the vegan lifestyle is an ethically optimal choice for all, it isn’t the easiest. Quite often, it is incredibly difficult to find decent food options, especially at fast-food establishments like McDonald’s.

However, even with limited options, these vegan options can help you stay full and give you the energy you need to go about your day.

I do not recommend going to McDonald’s for a full, planned-out dinner experience since you might be disappointed by the limited vegan-friendly options.

At the same time, I do recommend visiting it once in a while when you have run out of good options for plant-based snacks or are on a strict budget with few affordable substitutes around! 

Whether you go for a coffee and English muffin for breakfast or create your own “combo” with an oatmeal and apple pie, you can make do with some of these options, so don’t be afraid to get creative. 

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.