How to Eat Vegan at McDonald’s

Split image of the McDonald's golden arches logo (left) and a McPlant burger (right).

(Updated August 23, 2021) | The most famous fast-food chain on the planet is welcoming more plant-based offerings than ever to its golden arches. There’s never been a better time to be vegan at McDonald’s.

McDonald’s, the quintessential American hamburger joint, first fired up its grill in 1940. On the menu? Burgers, fries, and milkshakes. Little could the McDonald’s brothers Richard and Maurice know that their humble California hamburger stand would go on to become one of the largest restaurant chains on the planet, serving up quick, cheap food in more than 100 countries.

Image of a McDonald's plant-based burger, which uses vegan meat.
The McPlant combines Beyond Meat’s vegan patty with animal-based mayo and cheese. | McDonald’s; photo illustration by Eileen W. Cho for LIVEKINDLY

McDonald’s puts plants on the menu

You may soon see plant-based burgers on McDonald’s menu in the U.S. In February 2021, the chain revealed it had signed a three-year global agreement with Beyond Meat.

After testing its McPlant burger in Denmark, Sweden, and Canada, the burger chain has launched the meatless product in Austria. The burger features Beyond Meat’s pea protein-based patty, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mustard, and ketchup. It also contains conventional mayonnaise and cheese. 

McDonald’s China is also upping its vegan menu options. In March, the fast-food giant added new plant-based pork items to its breakfast menu. Its unclear if any of the new menu items are entirely vegan. But the five new items—launched in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen—feature OmniPork, a vegan ground pork made from pea, soy, shiitake mushroom, and soy protein.

“By introducing tasty and sustainable menu innovation, the planet, our animal friends along with many new-generation customers will be overjoyed to sing ‘Ba da ba ba ba….I am lovin’ it,’” David Yeung, OmniFoods CEO and co-founder.

So, what other vegan options does Mickey D’s have to offer? Keep reading to find out. Just keep in mind that many of the below items are cooked on shared equipment with animal products.

Image of the Apple Pie, one vegan-friendly option that can be ordered at most McDonald's.
The quintessential apple pie is one way to order vegan at McDonald’s. | McDonald’s; photo illustration by Eileen W. Cho for LIVEKINDLY

Apple pies and oatmeal at McDonald’s U.S.

For breakfast, meatless eaters can feast on McDonald’s fruit and maple oatmeal (order without cream). Drink options include black coffee and orange juice (Minute Maid brand).

Lunch and dinner options are sparse, especially since the company rid its menu of salads last year. So, you’ll have to skip right to dessert. The baked apple pie is free from animal products. Or you can go the healthy route and opt for apple slices.

Vegan at McDonald’s Canada: breakfast and smoothies

Canadians also have a few plant-based menu items to choose from at Mickey D’s. For breakfast, the English muffin or the everything, multigrain, and plain bagel can be ordered without butter. The chain’s hash browns are also vegan-friendly. And you can always snag a hot cup of Joe. The blueberry pomegranate, strawberry banana, and mango pineapple smoothies are also vegan-friendly, so long as it’s ordered without yogurt.

The chain’s French fries and baked apple pie are also free of animal products. For a healthier snack, opt for carrot sticks.

Dippers and hash browns at McDonald’s U.K.

If you’re in the U.K. and on the prowl for vegan food at McDonald’s, you’re in luck. The U.K. has an entirely vegan menu, and it’s quite expansive. For breakfast, opt for a hash brown, apple and grapefruit bag, and orange juice. 

Vegan lunch and dinner menu items include Veggie Dippers, which feature a blend of red pepper and sundried tomato pesto, coated in crispy golden breadcrumbs, and the Spicy Veggie One. The latter, launched in 2019, includes Veggie Dippers, spicy relish, lettuce, and tomato all wrapped in a toasted tortilla. The U.K. chain’s fries are vegan (score!), and customers can also opt for cucumber sticks.

Vegan English muffin at McDonald’s Australia

In 2019, McDonald’s Australia revealed it would be launching new meat-free options to meet the growing demand for healthier fast-food options. 

After testing its McVeggie burger that same year, the chain—known as Macca’s in Australia—launched the plant-based menu item the following January nationwide. The burger features a meatless patty made from peas, potatoes, corn, carrot, and onion, as well as cheese, lettuce, herbs, spices, mayonnaise, and pickles all on a sesame seed bun. However, a spokesperson for the company revealed the menu item had been axed in June of this year “in response to changes in customer demand.”

So, what can Aussie’s looking to eat plant-based get their hands on at Macca’s? The chain’s plain English muffin, Garden salad with Balsamic dressing, and apple slices.