Are McDonald’s Fries Vegan In The US?

Because the Fries sold and procured in McDonald’s are flavored with beef flavor, which is derived from milk, McDonald's French Fries sold in the United States are not acceptable for vegans.
Zeynep Ozdemir, RDN

Written by Zeynep Ozdemir, RDN. Updated on November 30, 2022.

Because the Fries sold and procured in McDonald’s are flavored with beef flavor, which is derived from milk, McDonald’s French Fries sold in the United States are not acceptable for vegans.

Back in the day, McDonald’s fries were prepared using lard (animal fat).

Customers voiced their dissatisfaction when McDonald’s moved from using animal fat to vegetable oil; as a result, the beef flavor was added to improve the flavor.

In this article, we will discuss McDonald’s products, especially french fries, and their ingredients.

If you’re surprised by the fact that McDonald’s fries aren’t vegan, you’ll probably find some unexpected foods on our list of foods that are usually considered as vegan but aren’t.

McDonald’s Fries Ingredients

French fries served at a McDonald’s in the US contain the following ingredients:

Potatoes, canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, dextrose, sodium acid pyrodosdate, natural beef flavor (milk derivatives and wheat), salt.

Calories and Nutritional Value

According to USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) nutritional data, 1 medium serving (117 g) of fast food french fries contains the following nutritional values:

Energy 365 kcal
Protein 4.01 g
Total lipid (fat) 17.2 g
Carbohydrate 48.4 g
Fiber 4.4 g

Vegan Options at McDonald’s

We know you’re disappointed with the french fries. Unfortunately, this will also be true for hamburgers.

There are currently no plant-based meat choices available at most McDonald’s restaurants in the United States; however, there have been suggestions that the company may introduce a vegan burger in the not-too-distant future.

Leaving these two aside, there are some vegan items you can consume at McDonald’s.

Vegan Breakfasts

  • Maple & Fruit Oatmeal – make sure to ask for it to be prepared with water, not milk or cream
  • English muffins – plain
  • Apple slices

Vegan Bread

  • Flour tortilla
  • English muffins
  • Artisan Roll


  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Pickles


  • Premium Bacon Ranch Salad – excluding bacon, cheese, and Ranch dressing
  • Southwest Salad – excluding Southwest dressing and cheese)
  • Side Salad – excluding dressing or cheese


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


  • Spicy buffalo
  • Sweet and Sour
  • BBQ
  • Ketchup
  • Maple Syrup
  • Mustard


  • Baked apple pie
  • Apple slices


  • Soda
  • Iced coffee – excluding milk and cream
  • Hot coffee – excluding milk and cream
  • Orange juice
  • Apple juice
  • Iced tea – excluding milk and cream
  • Slushies

Are McDonald’s French Fries Vegan In Countries Other Than The US?

The product ingredients of all McDonald’s are not the same. These contents may differ from country to country. The same is true for french fries.

Although it is vegan in some countries, in other countries it may contain animal-based ingredients such as beef, milk, etc.

Is It Vegan In The UK?

Yes, McDonald’s french fries in the United Kingdom are vegan.

The Vegetarian Society has given McDonald’s french fries in the UK its seal of approval since they are entirely free of animal products.

Potatoes and a combination of rapeseed oil and sunflower oil are used in the production of these chips.

They are fried in special vats that are kept away from any animal-based products while the process is carried out.

Is It Vegan In Canada?

Because they do not include any products derived from animals, fries from McDonald’s may be deemed to be appropriate for vegans in the country of Canada.

On the other hand, the website for McDonald’s in Canada states that “No items are certified as vegetarian; goods may include trace quantities of substances originating from animals.”

Is It Vegan In Australia?

Because they do not include any components derived from animals, the fries sold at McDonald’s restaurants in Australia are suitable for vegans.

However, the fries could be prepared on the same cooking equipment as goods that include eggs and milk, so vegans should avoid eating them.

McDonald’s website indicates that no menu products are vegetarian-certified. Although certain items may not include animal substances, they cannot guarantee that they will not come into touch with those that do.

Vegans Perception of McDonald’s

The bad relationship between vegans and McDonald’s is not limited to the scarcity of vegan foods. It contains more factors in the background.

Vegans often cite the following reasons for their refusal of fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s:

  • Avoiding financial involvement with businesses that engage in animal cruelty
  • Having the conviction that current welfare guidelines for animals should be raised
  • Due to a lack of desire to promote businesses that just pay their workers the minimum wage
  • Favoring assisting in the growth of smaller enterprises

On the other hand, there is a group of vegans that go to McDonald’s to support veganism so that McDonald’s might frequently provide and add more vegan products:

  • They would claim that showing the corporation that there is a need for plant-based meals by ordering vegan dishes would prove that there is a need for plant-based products in the market.
  • Omnivores will be more inclined to choose vegan options instead of meat if more vegan options are introduced to the menu, which will, in turn, imply that more vegan options will be added to the menu.

Health Side

The harm that eating fried meals does to one’s health was recently measured in a review of previous research.

A merely 1/2 cup of McDonald’s fries, which is equivalent to a medium portion, is enough to raise the risk of coronary artery disease and other cardiovascular events linked with it.

The meta-analysis summarized the findings of 17 separate research that looked at the connection between eating fried food and the health of one’s heart.

According to the findings of the study, eating fried food once a week equal to a half cup, which is equal to four ounces, is connected with a 3% higher risk of stroke and heart attack, a 2% greater risk of cardiovascular heart disease, as well as a 12% higher heart failure risk.

This danger increases if you consume french fries regularly.

People who consumed the highest fried food regularly during a week had an enhanced heart failure risk of 37%, as well as an increase in the risk of major cardiovascular diseases by 28% and an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease by 22%.

People who consumed the least fried food during a week seemed to have the lowest risk of a heart attack.

Trans Fats in Fries

Not only do french fries from McDonald’s include beef flavoring in order to increase the overall taste, but they also absorb some of the fat that comes from the oil in which they are cooked.

This oil very certainly includes trans fats, a particularly harmful sort of fat that is easy to produce for a low cost and extends the shelf life of food.

Because of the clear and present danger that trans fats pose to human health, the Food and Drug Administration issued a ban on their use in 2015.

According to the findings of a recent study, consumption of trans fat is linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease, as well as a rise in LDL (“bad” cholesterol) and a drop in HDL (“good” cholesterol).

We are aware that frying food may reduce the nutritional value of the food, produce trans fats that are known to be dangerous, as well as increase the energy amount in the food.

All of these processes can ultimately contribute to heart disease, thus it is important to avoid frying foods whenever possible.

Nevertheless, the FDA still permits companies to claim a meal as being free of trans fats if a single serving of the item contains fewer than 0.5 g of trans fats.

This amount may build up if consumers consume repeated portions of the same food over a period of time.


Although french fries seem like a food that can be vegan, they may not be vegan everywhere.

McDonald’s in the US is an example of this situation. Because the potatoes are flavored with beef flavoring, they may contain non-vegan ingredients such as milk.

When you go to McDonald’s, you can find vegan alternatives other than french fries.

Some vegans argue that buying more of these products will support the production of vegan products.

Other vegans, on the other hand, may refuse to enter McDonald’s altogether for a variety of reasons.

Even if the fries were vegan, it is advisable to consider the health benefits. Fries in general can contain trans fats and increase the risk of heart disease.

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