When I’m on the road, stopping for a bite to eat at a fast-food chain (unless it’s a vegan one) isn’t my first choice, but sometimes it’s the only choice! And I would bet plenty of you out there have found yourselves in similar situations.
Or, it’s entirely possible that you’re on a tight budget, and dinner at a fancy-pants vegan restaurant just isn’t in the budget — there’s no shame in that!
No matter your reason for seeking out vegan fast-food options, you’ll be pleased to know that options exist and they are growing! According to a Future Markets Insight report, over the past six years, vegan fast food grew over 4.5% and is expected to continue that same growth between 2023-2033.
What was once an April Fool’s joke (years ago VegNews ran a story about vegan chicken at KFC) is now a reality! The next time you’re looking for a quick bite to eat, check out the vegan options at these fast-food chains (plus a few vegan fast-food spots) throughout the US!
Vegan Options at Fast Food Chains Around The US
Finding vegan options at fast food restaurants can be a struggle, but it’s not impossible! The next time you’re on the road, check out this lineup of vegan options at some of the most popular fast-food spots.
#1 Burger King
The most noticeable veggie option on the Burger King menu is their Impossible Whopper, but it’s not vegan by default; you’ve got to omit the cheese, mayo, and ask them not to butter the bun (sometimes they do that before grilling the bun). In addition to that, these other menu items are vegan-friendly:
- French fries: Burger King’s French fries are usually vegan.
- Onion rings: Some Burger King locations offer onion rings that are vegan.
- Salad: Most locations have a garden salad on the menu. Just make sure you double-check for any non-vegan dressings, cheeses, or sneaky meat toppings.
McDonald’s has been testing and introducing vegan options at its fast food locations globally (in Europe, the prized McPlant burger is common on most UK menus). In the US, you’ll also find these vegan-friendly options:
- McPlant Burger: You can only find this veggie burger at selection locations (there is a complete list on their website).
- French Fries: McDonald’s French fries are NOT vegan in the US, but are in the UK and Europe
- Apple Slices
- Side Salad: Request a vegan dressing option like balsamic vinaigrette or Italian dressing.
- Hash Browns
This popular sub-spot built a fast-food franchise on the mission to eat fresh, which makes it a little easier for vegans. They offer some vegan options, or you can create your own sub or salad.
- Bread: Many of their bread options are vegan, like Italian, 9-Grain Wheat, Hearty Italian, Roasted Garlic, or Sourdough.
- Sauces: Many of Subway’s sauces are vegan. Some options include mustard, sweet onion sauce, oil, vinegar, and buffalo sauce.
- Veggie Delite: The long-time vegan favorite, loaded with various veggies and your choice of bread and sauces.
- Salads: Choose the Veggie Delite salad or create your own salad.
#4 Taco Bell
Taco Bell has long been a favorite of the veggie community! They have a dedicated vegetarian menu (Veggie Cravings), and many of the items can be customized to be vegan. You can also request things to be made “Fresco,” which replaces dairy-based sauces with tomatoes. Here’s a breakdown of their vegan options:
- Bean Burrito or Fiesta Veggie Burrito: Both can be made vegan by omitting the cheese and sour cream.
- Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme: Can be made vegan by omitting sour cream and nacho cheese.
- Black Bean Chalupa Supreme: Can be made vegan by omitting cheese and sour cream.
- Power Menu Bowl: The Taco Bell spin on a burrito bowl; ask them to hold the cheese and sour cream.
- Sides: Cinnamon Twists, Fiesta Potatoes (without the sour cream and nacho cheese), and, of course, corn tortilla chips.
Chipotle offers a variety of vegan options. You can customize your burrito, bowl, salad, or tacos with Sofritas (spicy tofu), beans, rice, vegetables, and salsa. Here are some vegan options at Chipotle:
- Sofritas: A flavorful shredded tofu braised with chipotle peppers and spices.
- Veggies: Load up your bowl, burrito, tacos, or salad with a variety of vegan-friendly vegetables such as grilled peppers and onions, lettuce, tomatoes, corn, and guacamole.
- Rice and Beans: Chipotle offers white or brown cilantro-lime rice and black or pinto beans, which are vegan.
- Salsas and Sauces: Fresh Tomato Salsa (mild), Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa (medium), Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa (medium-hot), and Tomatillo Red-Chili Salsa (hot).
- Tortillas and Taco Shells: Chipotle’s flour tortillas, crispy corn taco shells, and soft corn tortillas are all vegan.
Just like its Tex-Mex-inspired competitor, Qdoba also has a good lineup of vegan options which include:
- Rice and beans
- Raw Veggies & Fajita Veggies: Load up on a variety of veggies like lettuce, tomatoes, onions, peppers, corn, and guacamole.
- Salsa: Many of Qdoba’s salsas, such as the pico de gallo, salsa verde, and salsa roja, are vegan.
- Tortillas: Qdoba’s flour tortillas are vegan. You can opt for a burrito or a quesadilla with vegan fillings.
- Tofu: Some Qdoba locations offer grilled tofu as a protein option.
#7 Del Taco
I had no idea Del Taco was veggie-friendly until the hit comedy show, “Grace and Frankie” enlightened me! They have quite a few vegetarian options, but their vegan options include:
- Beyond Guac Taco: features Beyond Meat crumbles, avocado, lettuce, and tomatoes in a crunchy shell. It’s vegan as is.
- Epic Beyond Fresh Guac Burrito: The burrito is loaded with seasoned Beyond Meat crumbles, beans, cilantro lime rice, guac, and pico de gallo. It is vegan as is.
- Crinkle Cut Fries & Hash Brown Sticks
In 2020, Wendy’s introduced the veggie-friendly Plantiful burger, but a quick search of the website shows it’s gone. Have no fear; there are a few other options you can order:
- Baked Potato: Wendy’s offers plain baked potatoes, which are typically vegan. You can customize it with vegan-friendly toppings like chives, onions, or salsa.
- French Fries: Wendy’s natural-cut French fries are typically vegan.
- Garden Side Salad: Just omit the cheese or croutons, and use a dressing like Italian vinaigrette or balsamic vinaigrette.
- Apple Slices
#9 White Castle
This slider spot is well known for its greasy meat option, but it does have two veggie options:
- Impossible or Veggie Slider: An Impossible or veggie-based patty with pickles and onions. Just make sure to order it without cheese or mayo.
- French Fries: White Castle’s French fries are typically vegan.
- Onion Chips: The White Castle take on onion rings that are generally vegan-friendly but not available at all locations.
#10 Tropical Smoothie Café
If you’re a smoothie lover, this is a solid option. You’ll find a wide range of smoothies, many of which can be made vegan (they also have edible straws). A few of the vegan-friendly smoothie options include the Island Green, Mango Magic, and Acai Berry Boost.
#12 Smoothie King
You can never have too many smoothies, right? In addition to smoothies, you’ll also find vegan-friendly smoothie bowls here:
- Make-Your-Own-Smoothies: Whip up your own berry or veggie-packed drink by selecting the base, fruits, veggies, and Sunwarrior vegan protein for a boost. They offer dairy-free milk and fruit juices as vegan base options. If you don’t want to make your own, a few vegan options include: Mango Kale, Pineapple Spinach, and Espresso Mocha. They also have a few vegan-friendly energy enhancers that are vegan.
- Acai & Pitaya Bowls: You’ll find multiple vegetarian smoothie bowl options that can be made vegan by omitting honey. Double-check with the staff that the granola doesn’t include honey as well.
In the morning, you can pair your coffee or tea with a few different vegan breakfast options at this on-the-run coffee shop:
- Bagels: Vegan options include Cinnamon Raisin, Plain, Everything, & Sesame.
- English Muffin
- Hash Browns
- Oatmeal: (only available at select locations)
- Avocado Toast
- For your coffee, Dunkin has a few non-dairy options like oat milk, almond milk, or coconut milk. In addition to coffee-based drinks, Dunkin’s Coolatta, Refreshers, and Energy Punch are also vegan.
#14 Shake Shack
This burger joint just dropped new vegan options in partnership with NotCo at over 260 locations throughout the US. Although vegans can’t get a burger, you can indulge in these items:
- Non-dairy chocolate custard made with NotCo’s vegan milk that is created using AI. Although it mimics milk, it doesn’t contain cholesterol, lactose, and is non-GMO.
- Non-dairy chocolate shake also created with NotCo’s frozen custard.
- Crinkle-cut French fries (they do contain gluten)
- Shake Shack does have a vegetarian burger and also had a vegan burger in partnership with Slutty Vegan, but at this time, there isn’t a vegan option.
Temporary Vegan Fast-Food Menu Options (That Hopefully Come Back)
At the beginning of 2022, KFC launched a vegan fried chicken partnership with Beyond Meat. At the time of launch, KFC said it was only for a limited time and hasn’t since announced if the partnership will return — some locations sold out within a day! Given that demand, hopefully, they bring it back.
Until then, the only vegan-friendly thing at KFC is the French fries (surprisingly, they aren’t gluten-free)!
#16 Panda Express
Like KFC, Panda Express also partnered with Beyond Meat to offer Beyond Orange Chicken at select locations throughout the US. The unique menu option was launched in NYC and California in July 2021 and then expanded to over 2,000 locations in 2022 but by 2023, the Orange Chicken was gone.
But all is not lost; vegans can enjoy their Super Greens and Eggplant Tofu at select locations, and of course, the steamed rice is vegan.
#17 Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s
For a limited time, Hardee’s featured a Beyond Famous Star Burger made with Beyond Meat and a Beyond Sausage breakfast burrito. Unfortunately, both are no longer on their regular menu.
Although those are gone, vegans can enjoy their French fries and Hash Rounds.
Fully Vegan (& Vegetarian) Fast-Food Chains
#18 Native Foods
This was one of the first vegan fast-food (or fast-casual) spots I visited and has remained one of my favorites. You can find locations throughout the US in California, Oregon, Colorado, and Illinois.
Their menu features veganized comfort favorites, some inspired by other fast-food behemoths like the Munchwrap Supreme, Veggrib, meatball sub, and much more.
In addition to vegan options, their menu is also gluten-free friendly.
#19 Amy’s Drive Thru
Amy’s took their popular frozen entrees to the next level when they opened this California-based vegetarian fast-food chain (four locations throughout the state, including at the San Fransisco airport). Just about everything has a vegan option, from organic burgers and cheese fries to ultra-creamy milkshakes.
Just like Native Foods, Amy’s Drive Thru menu is also gluten-free friendly.
#20 Plant Power Fast Food
This plant-powered fast-food chain in Las Vegas & California is on a mission to change the world with its lineup of veganized favorites. You’ll find everything from egg and cheese croissant sandwiches for breakfast to their Big Zac burger (two plant-based patties with special Big Zac sauce)!
But that’s just the start of their extensive menu! You’ll also want to try their chick’n waffle sandwich, Southwest Avo wrap, buffalo wings, and of course, dessert! Ice cream fans shouldn’t miss their Snow Days (a veganized take on a Blizzard or McFlurry), sundaes, chocolate chip cookies, cheesecake, and more.
And their menu is also gluten-free friendly.
#21 Mr. Charlie’s
This viral fast-food chain is taking aim at the Golden Arches with its veganized take on the chain’s popular menu options. Just for fun, you’ve got to grab a Frowny Meal — obviously, a spin on a kid’s Happy Meal but without cruelty. The bright red box with a yellow frown can be filled with one of their Not Burger or Not Chicken options, along with golden French fries and a drink.
There are currently two Mr. Charlie’s locations, in LA and San Francisco.
#22 Veggie Grill
This fast-casual restaurant chain is trying to make plant-based eating easier and more accessible. Unlike its counterparts, it doesn’t just focus on veganized fast-food favorites; the menu is quite diverse along with burgers; it includes hearty kale salads, Japanese Katsu sliders, Southwestern nachos, and mac-n-cheese. It’s also a great place to go if you’re gluten-free.
You can find Veggie Grill locations throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York.
#23 Next Level Burger
You’ll find giant vegan burgers, crispy chick’n sammies, and milkshakes galore at this vegan fast-food spot, which is considered the first of its kind in the US! The founders put everything on the line to create a concept that would not only appeal to vegans and meat eaters but would also be a game changer in fighting climate change.
The franchise operates nine US locations in Oregon, Washington, California, Colorado, Texas, and New York. Six of the locations are conveniently located in Whole Foods stores.
Vegan Fast-Food FAQs
McDonald’s French fries are NOT vegan in the US. The ingredients include milk and beef flavoring — full ingredients can be found here. They are however vegan in the UK and Europe.
Sadly, in the US, Pizza Hut no longer offers its Beyond Meat Pizza options, which came with vegan cheese and plant-based meats. If you’re in the UK, you will find Violife Cheese that can be topped on their popular pan crust or All-American thin crust.
Starbucks’ Impossible Breakfast sandwich is vegetarian, not vegan, but there is talk that they will be adding a vegan breakfast sandwich option soon. Currently, their only vegan breakfast options include select bagels, oatmeal, and of course, coffee with non-dairy milk.
At this time, no, Sonic doesn’t have a vegan burger. Its fries, tater tots, and slushies are vegan-friendly.
Yes, the McPlant is available at select McDonald’s locations throughout Texas and California. Hopefully, we will see the McPlant on more menus soon.
Obviously, from this list, there are quite a few options — Del Taco, Subway, Panda Express, and many more. The menus at each location may vary slightly, so it’s always best to ask what’s vegan before you order. In my opinion, the fast-food chain that is most consistent with its vegan options and tastiest is Chipotle. Even if I’m not traveling, I enjoy visiting Chipotle.
More Vegan Travel Help
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