Vegan at McDonald’s: Plant-Based Menu Options and How to Order Everything Vegan

This vegan McDonald's fast food Guide details everything you can order off the McDonald's menu that is vegan in the USA.
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A photo of a juicy vegan burger that we wish was at McDonalds around the world.
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How many times have you been on a long road trip and the only highway food sign points to a fast food restaurant like McDonald’s? Your omni friend pulls off the highway feeling elated at the thought of a so-called “Happy Meal”—but you only feel pain.

What can a vegan possibly eat at McDonald’s? Do you need to resort to the bruised apple under the seat or to the vegan protein bar that you bought last year?

We’ll be taking you through everything you can eat that’s vegan at McDonald’s, as well as what to avoid.

All of the vegan options listed are also plant-based, vegetarian, dairy-free, and cholesterol-free. Read on to see where you can find the new McPlant Vegan McDonald’s Burger, and also get a glimpse of other more exciting vegan specials available abroad. Unfortunately, the current vegan options at McDonald’s in the USA are quite disappointing—but that should be changing soon! 

How to Order Vegan at McDonalds Photo

Vegan Choices at McDonald’s: A Limited Selection

Regrettably, the list of vegan-friendly options available at McDonald’s is quite limited compared to many other restaurants that offer more extensive plant-based menus. While we’ll explore all the available vegan choices below, it’s important to note that several items you might have assumed were suitable are, unfortunately, not vegan.

What is Not Vegan at McDonald’s (in the US)?

The following popular menu items at McDonalds contain animal products and are not suitable for vegans.

  • French Fries at McDonald’s in the US are not vegan-friendly because they contain “Natural Beef Flavor,” which is derived from wheat and milk, and they are fried in beef fat. Try making sweet potato fries, polenta fries, tofu fries, or zucchini fries instead!
  • Hash Browns on McDonald’s menu in the US are not suitable for vegans as they contain milk and are also fried in beef fat. These homemade hash brown waffles are so much betteranyway!
  • Donut Sticks at McDonald’s are not vegan due to the presence of milk in both the sticks and the accompanying sauce. Explore our vegan donut guide for plant-based options.
  • Shakes at McDonald’s are not vegan-friendly since they contain milk. Make your own vegan milkshake instead!
  • McDonald’s Fruit Smoothies are not considered vegan as they contain yogurt. Make your own vegan smoothie with these recipes!
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies on the McDonald’s menu are not suitable for vegans as they contain both egg and milk. However, you can make your own vegan chocolate chip cookies in a snap, or order some from an online vegan bakery!

Vegan Options at McDonald’s (USA)

There aren’t any plant-based meat options at most U.S. McDonald’s locations yet, but there have been hints that they may offer a plant-based burger in the near future. And if the fast-growing vegan options at other fast-food restaurants are a sign, it’s only a matter of time for McDonald’s to follow suit. Cross your fingers!

We’ve seen the new vegan options explode in popularity at fast-food giants like Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Taco Bell, Del Taco, and more. So McDonald’s…what are you waiting for?

For now, here’s what you can order from the McDonald’s vegan menu for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks—and how you can get creative with these very limited options.

Vegan McDonalds Order USA Plain Bun With Lettuce Tomato No Meat

Vegan McDonald’s Breakfast Options

  • Fruit and Maple Oatmeal (ask to be made with water and without milk or cream)
  • Apple Slices
  • English Muffin (plain)
McDonalds Apple Slices in A Vegan Kids Meal Bag

100% Vegan Breads

  • English muffin
  • Flour tortilla
  • Artisan Roll


  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Pickles

Salads Suitable for Vegans (and How to Order Them)

  • Southwest Salad (without cheese or Southwest dressing)
  • Premium Bacon Ranch Salad (without cheese, bacon or Ranch dressing)
  • Side Salad (without cheese or dressing)

Vegan Newman’s Own Dressings

  • Balsamic and White Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Raspberry Walnut and Red Wine Vinaigrette
  • Classic Oil & Vinegar
  • Zesty Italian
  • Sesame Ginger
  • Citrus Splash

Plant-Based Dipping Sauces and Condiments

  • Spicy buffalo
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Sweet and Sour Sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Maple Syrup

Vegan Snacks at McDonald’s

McDonalds Apple Pie Vegan Dairy Free Photo

Vegan-Friendly Drinks at McDonald’s

  • Soda
  • Hot coffee (without milk or cream)
  • Iced coffee (without milk or cream)
  • Orange juice
  • Apple juice
  • Iced tea (without milk or cream)
  • Slushies

When Will the Vegan McDonald’s Burger (McPlant) Be Available in the USA?

After decades of offering zero options catered toward vegans, McDonald’s has finally turned a corner with the international launch of the new vegan McPlant Burger! This is essentially a vegan BigMac. They are doing a slow-but-steady rollout of the McPlant burger, and have thus far tested the McPlant burger in Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria, and the U.K. It’s gotten rave reviews and is now starting to be tested in select U.S. McDonald’s locations.

According to a meat industry news outlet, the plant-based McPlant burger tests have exceeded expectations, and McDonald’s is expected to continue rolling out the McPlant burger in the US in 2022.

“Sales of the plant-based burger are well above expectations. Consumers should expect a broader rollout of the McDonald’s McPlant in 2022 following a successful trial of the plant-based burger in eight select U.S. cities, BTIG analyst Peter Saleh predicted.

‘Our conversations indicated the McPlant test performed exceptionally well in its handful of locations, with very limited operational challenges.'”

mcdonalds mcplant burger photo news

How to Make Meals From The McDonald’s Vegan Menu

McDonald’s Vegan Breakfast Ideas

  • Fruit and Maple Oatmeal (made with water, no cream), a coffee (without milk or cream), and a side of apple slices.
  • A toasted English muffin with margarine*, jelly*, or maple syrup* with a side of apple slices and an orange or apple juice. *(Some restaurants may have these available in the morning or during the day. Ask the cashier when ordering.)
  • Baked apple pie alone or along with either idea above
  • If you’d like a vegan McDonald’s coffee, you’ll just need to order it black, without milk or cream.

Vegan Lunch and Dinner Ideas

  • Southwest Salad (with no cheese or Southwest dressing), dressing, beverage
  • Premium Bacon Salad (with no cheese, bacon or Ranch dressing), dressing, beverage
  • Southwest Wrap—order the Southwest Salad (no cheese or Southwest dressing), a flour tortilla (or two!), dressing, beverage. Ask for the flour tortilla(s) on the side and assemble your own veggie wrap by filling the tortilla with salad and topping with a dressing.
  • Veggie Artisan Roll Sandwich—ask for any of the burgers or sandwiches without the meat, cheese, and mayo. Ask for extra lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Request a dipping sauce (like bbq, mustard or spicy buffalo), if desired, and a beverage.
  • Basic Side Salad and a Wrap or Sandwich combo

McDonald’s Vegan Snack Ideas

  • Apple slices
  • Apple Pie
  • Any of the breakfast, lunch, dinner ideas
  • Apple or orange juice
  • Coffees or teas (without milk or cream)

Bring Your Own Extras and Add-Ons

If you’re able to keep some of these in your car, pocket, or purse, you’ll improve your chance of having a satisfying meal when visiting McDonald’s. They’re also perfect snacks on their own!

  • Packets of nut butter (to top a toasted English muffin, tortilla or artisan roll)
  • Hummus (to top a toasted English muffin, tortilla or artisan roll)
  • Avocado (to top a toasted English muffin, tortilla or artisan roll)
  • Packages of nuts (add to salad or oatmeal bowl)
  • Fresh fruit (add to salad or oatmeal bowl)
  • Dried fruit (add to salad or oatmeal bowl)
  • Individual container of plant-based milk (to add to coffee or tea to drink alongside a meal, or to add to the oatmeal bowl)
  • Reusable cutlery, especially a knife (to cut the avocado or spread nut butter)
Avocado half thinly sliced and fanned out on a cutting board to look like a wing.

Are McDonald’s Fries Vegan?

Sadly, NO. Even the french fries at McDonald’s aren’t vegan—at least not in the United States. Some other countries (such as Canada) do have vegan fries, but if you’re in the US, pass on the fries.

Generally, when vegans swing by burger joints, we can sigh and say, “Well, at least the fries are vegan.” That this is not the case at McDonald’s is a travesty we may never get over.

Are McDonald’s Apple Pies Vegan?

Yes, sweet friends! The McDonald’s apple pies are vegan! They are what we call “accidentally vegan.” McDonald’s certainly didn’t design them for specifically vegans, but they don’t happen to include any animal products! No meat, no eggs, no milk, no butter, and no dairy whatsoever.

Another question many ask—are the McDonald’s apple pies made with real apples? Yes, in fact they are! They also contain apple powder (for deeper flavor), wheat flour (sorry, gluten-free friends), brown sugar, cinnamon, apple powder, palm oil (I know, not the best), salt, and high-fructose corn syrup.

What about the sugar? Is the sugar in these Apple Pies vegan? It’s not made with vegan-certified sugar, but we still consider it vegan (in the same way that vegetables are considered vegan even if they’re grown in cow manure). If you’d like to learn more about the vegan status of sugar, read our “Is sugar vegan?” article.

What do the McDonald’s apple pie nutrition facts look like? While I doubt many of you are swinging by McD’s for a healthy treat, you may be curious about the nutrition profile. McDonald’s apple pies contain 230 calories each, 2 grams of plant-based protein, 11 grams of fat, and 33 grams of carbs. There we have it! Imperfectly and accidentally vegan apple pies at McDonald’s.

Vegan Dishes at Other McDonald’s Locations (Outside the USA)

  • Vegetable Deluxe Sandwich (UK)
  • Spicy Veggie Wrap or Meal (UK)
  • Muffin with Jam Meal (UK, includes english muffin, jam, black coffee, and a package of apples and grapes)
  • Big Vegan (Germany)
  • Vegan Vegetable Nuggets (Norway)
  • Falafel Nuggets (Sweden)
  • McVegan (Finland)
  • El Veggo (Finland)
  • McAloo Tikki (India)

HISTORIC NEWS: Vegan McPlant Burger Launches at Select McDonald’s Locations!

What is the McPlant Burger Patty Made From?

The new McPlant is made with a Beyond Meat burger patty that has actually been certified vegan by the UK’s Vegetarian Society. Not only is the McPlant burger completely vegan, but McDonald’s has also made the decision to cook the vegan patties on a separate grill from their other meat and dairy items. While cooking vegan items on a grill that’s not exclusively vegan is acceptable to many (but not all) vegans, it’s still a very nice gesture that we certainly appreciate.

What is on the McPlant Burger, you ask?

The standard fixin’s that come on a McPlant burger—besides the Beyond Meat patty—include vegan sandwich sauce, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and the much anticipated McDonald’s vegan cheese! According to McDonald’s, they tested dozens of vegan cheese brands from many different countries before setting on coconut oil-based cheese slices made in collaboration with an Irish company called Kerry. The vegan cheese slices look just like a classic orange slice of American cheese—and many people have said they tastes nearly identical!

It’s only a matter of time before the McPlant burger is available at every McDonald’s location, just as the Burger Kind Impossible Whopper and Carl’s Jr. Beyond Famous Star burgers have become a staple on every menu. The list of McPlant locations is quickly growing and we eagerly await the McPlant burger USA rollout!

McDonald’s McPlant Burger Taste Test Video (from a London location):

When Will There Be Vegan McDonald’s Nuggets?

Once the vegan McDonald’s burger is a permanent fixture on the vegan McDonald’s menu worldwide, the obvious next step are vegan nuggets. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time, but we haven’t heard any rumors about vegan McDonald’s nuggets yet. Considering the success of the McPlant burger, it would be very surprising if McDonald’s isn’t already working on some secret vegan nugget magic behind the scenes.

Find More Vegan-Friendly Fast Food Options

We know how it goes, sometimes you land at a McDonald’s and have to make it work. However if you’re able to convince your friends to swing by another eatery, fast food chain, or heck—even a gas station instead, you’ll likely have far better luck getting a filling meal. Here are some of the best fast food options for vegans.

Fast Food Chains With Vegan Burgers

Knowing that there are various vegan options at mainstream burger chains makes it much easier when traveling or hanging out with friends. These are tried and true chains which offer more than one choice for a meal. We promise you won’t leave hungry!

Hands holding an Impossible Whopper in its wrapping.

Restaurant Chains With the Best Vegan Options

Looking for the best filling fast food meals for vegans? The following fast food restaurants have the biggest selections of meal options for vegans.

  • Chipotle – Chipotle offers a world of vegan options, including Sofritas tofu, beans, fajita veggies, and fresh salsas. Customize your bowl, burrito, or tacos for a satisfying plant-based meal.
  • Taco Bell – Taco Bell’s dedicated vegan menu features favorites like the Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme and Bean Burrito. You can also swap meat for beans in various menu items for a delicious vegan twist.
  • Del Taco – Del Taco’s Beyond Avocado Taco, made with Beyond Meat, avocado, and veggies, is a vegan favorite. Create your custom vegan burritos and tacos with bean substitutions and a variety of plant-based toppings and sauces.
Vegan Chipotle Burrito Tacos and Burrito Bowl and a Side of Guacamole on a Table

Vegetarian and Vegan Fast Food Restaurants

Here are some up and coming chains that offer fantastic fast food, including mouth-watering veggie burgers, golden fries and scrumptious shakes!

vegan fast food lunch

How to Order Vegan at Other Chains

Don’t miss our comprehensive vegan fast food guide that breaks down what you can get at all the major fast food chains, such as:

  • Chick-Fil-A – It’s nearly impossible to satisfy your hunger at Chick-fil-A as a vegan. You’re looking at bland salads without the fixings and waffle potato fries. They also provide vegan-friendly sauces like BBQ, Polynesian, and Sriracha.
  • Wendy’s Vegan Options – Wendy’s is another tough spot for vegans, but our guide shows you how to piece together side dishes.
  • Dominos – You can hack the Domino’s menu to create a vegan pizza with vegetable toppings and other altered options. But if you’re stuck here for pizza night, consider bringing your own vegan cheese.
  • Starbucks – Starbucks caters to vegans with dairy-free milk alternatives like almond, soy, and coconut milk. You can customize your coffee, tea, or cold brew with these options, and they have also offered occasional vegan food items like the Impossible Breakfast Sandwich.
  • Arby’s – While Arby’s doesn’t have an extensive vegan menu, they do offer a Crispy Vegan Wrap made with plant-based Beyond Meat. It’s a flavorful choice for those looking for a meatless option at Arby’s.

Vegan Fast Food Guide—How To Order Vegan At The Most Common Chain Restaurants

Have you found any other options to be veganizable? Did you find something amazing that we missed? Send us a message and let us know and tag #worldofvegan and @vegan on Instagram to share your favorite vegan at McDonald’s creations with all of us!

At the time of this vegan McDonalds article, all of the foods mentioned above are vegan. Since restaurants constantly update their menus, add or take away items, and reformulate menu items, please keep this in mind when ordering your food. There may be new items that are vegan and not listed above or items listed here as vegan, which are no longer vegan. Take care to double-check. Good luck!

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  1. Eating vegetarian at McDonald’s is so tough these days! I’m excited about the McPlant, but no luck yet!

  2. These are the saddest meals ever, at least there’s oatmeal lol. Would prob get gaz station snacks over those in a pinch.

  3. The apple pies have l-cysteine hydrochloride. Doesn’t that derive from hair and feathers?

  4. You never mentioned peanut butter , peanut butter on a English muffin or roll would be a lovely option.

    • Oh, good idea! Do you know if they offer peanut butter at all locations?

  5. Sadly, McDonald’s is not offering salads any longer 🙁

  6. Apple pie isn’t vegan if it made of brown sugar since that’s made of animal bones

  7. BreakfastLunchDinner says:

    This is a small but pertinent distinction: McDonald’s has not used beef tallow to deep fry its French fries and hash browns since the late 1980s. It’s cost-prohibitive. Those potato products do, however, contain added “natural beef flavor” in the United States. To approximate the taste of being fried in beef fat, as opposed to vegetable oil. They smell like formaldehyde to me.

    • Hi there! I’ve just checked the US website and the ingredients in the fries still contain milk. Here is what McDonald’s listed: “Ingredients: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Beef Flavor [wheat And Milk Derivatives]*), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (maintain Color), Salt. *natural Beef Flavor Contains Hydrolyzed Wheat And Hydrolyzed Milk As Starting Ingredients. Contains: Wheat, Milk.” Sadly, they’re not vegan-friendly. I believe the fries in the UK do not contain dairy, so they’re an option for vegans.

      • I hate being stuck in the US. I need to move overseas when I have the money and freedom.

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