Vegan options at fast food restaurants have come a long way in the past few years. I remember not too long ago when we’d go through a fast food drive-thru, Jen would be lucky just to be able to order some fries.
Now, with Beyond Burgers, Sofritas, Impossible Burgers and even Good Catch Crab Cakes (we see you Long John Silver’s) there are vegan friendly options almost everywhere you look with more and more being introduced what seems like monthly.
If you’re playing catch up on the vegan fast food options that are currently out there, or maybe you just want to make sure you’re not missing out on something, Jen and I put together a list of our favorite fast food orders.
So, what counts as fast food? We used to classify fast food as a chain that typically has a drive-thru, but with options like mobile ordering at places like Chipotle the idea of ‘fast food’ has changed so you’ll see a few “fast casual” options on the list.
Also, these are fast food options at otherwise non-vegan chains so a vegan chain won’t be included here either (different list for a different article).
Third, yes we know that cross-contamination is likely at most of these locations – if you’d like to read more on our philosophy in that regard, please look at our Disclaimers page.
So, with those ground rules in place, here we go!
The Best Fast Food Vegan Options
Bean Burrito ‘Fresco Style’ from Taco Bell
We thought it was fitting for this to go first on the list because the Bean Burrito at Taco Bell sort of feels like the OG when it comes to vegan fast food options. It’s delicious and easy to order without complicated substitutions.
It’s also easy to eat in the car which makes it a great choice for road trips.
Speaking of substitutions, lately I’ve been adding potatoes and seasoned rice to mine. It bulks up the burrito while keeping it cheap and adds more layers of flavor.
Taco Bell also has Cinnamon Twists too which is one of, if not the best fast food dessert that’s also vegan.
Beyond Fried Chicken
We were there in Smyrna, Georgia back in 2019 when KFC did a test run of Beyond Chicken. And we were so excited for the official release of Beyond Fried Chicken on the KFC menu.
It was a long wait, but these Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets did not disappoint! I (Ryan) was the KFC fan from back in the day and these nuggets have that signature KFC taste. You know immediately you’re eating those special herbs and spices.
If you order them as a combo, you can get some KFC fries too, which is an absolutely great fry.
Del Taco’s Epic Beyond Fresh Guacamole Burrito
While that might be a mouthful to say, it’s also a mouthful to eat! Del Taco has had Beyond Meat on their menu for awhile now and they’ve had numerous iterations of burritos and tacos featuring Beyond Meat since then.
One of the newest burritos at Del Taco is the Epic Beyond Fresh Guacamole Burrito. It’s made up of Beyond Meat crumbles, slow-cooked beans, cilantro lime rice, pico de gallo and guacamole.
There’s a reason it’s called Epic. One of these burritos will be more than enough for almost anyone – it is packed to the brim with deliciousness. Finally, absolutely no modifications needed. You can order it directly as it’s listed on the menu.
Also, while you’re at Del Taco, you might as well order some French fries. Their old school crinkle cut French fries are perfection.
Culver’s Sweet Potato Fries
These are a limited time (once a year) item that usually shows up on Culver menus sometime in the fall.
When they do show up – they are worth going out of your way for. Culver’s Sweet Potato Fries are southern-grown sweet potatoes fried in canola oil*.
There isn’t a lot you can pair the fries up with because Culver’s “veggie” burger contains milk, but that’s okay. Just order some sweet potato fries. You’ll be glad you did.
Impossible Whopper at Burger King
When Burger King first rolled out the Impossible Whopper (order with no mayo!), I probably got it five times that week.
Because it’s amazing!
Jen actually hesitates ordering them because they taste too much like the original thing that it’s hard for her to tell the difference. So much so that she gets weirded out and doesn’t finish it half the time. (Don’t worry, I do)
Like the previous two selections on our list, part of the reason the Impossible Whopper is such a great option is that it requires barely any modifications. No mayo, that’s it.
What you’re left with is an Impossible Burger with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle on a sesame seed bun. Pair it up with an order of French fries and you’re good to go.
The Beyond Famous Star Burger at Carl’s Jr
The Beyond Burger makes it’s second appearance on our list with Carl Jr’s Beyond Famous Star Burger. It requires a couple modifications (no cheese and no mayo) but not much. It’s thicker than the Impossible Whopper and has a similar flame grilled taste.
The burger, in combination with the pickles, onions and special sauce makes for a symphony of flavors that is spot on. Plus, you can add in an order of fries to round everything out perfectly.
Dairy Queen’s Dilly Bar
This vegan option is a little, ok a lot, different than the others, but that doesn’t make it any less great.
Dairy Queen doesn’t have any vegan ice cream flavors (at least not yet), but they did recently add the Non-Dairy Dilly Bar to their menu.
Dairy Queen‘s Dilly Bar is an exact replica of the ice cream popsicles we used to eat as kids. It’s the kind of treat that even if you had a freezer full of them, they wouldn’t last long – at least not in our house.
You can pair it up with one of Dairy Queen’s pretzel for a perfect combination of salty and sweet.
If you’re really feeling nostalgic, you can go with the Star Kiss (also featured in the image above). We’re pretty sure it’s just ice, sugar and food coloring but it’s still pretty good on a hot summer day.
The Chow Mein at Panda Express
Panda Express’s Chow Mein is the kind of thing I could eat every single day and never get tired of it. The noodles are always well cooked and packed full of flavor.
Pair it up with a couple spring rolls and you have one of the best vegan fast food options you could ever hope for. (From a non-vegan chain at least)
Also, we chose the Chow Mein because although we’ve heard from people that it not only exists, it’s amazing – we’ve never actually come across the Eggplant Tofu ourselves.
If you are lucky enough to have Eggplant Tofu at a Panda Express near you, we’d recommend giving that a shot as well.
Panda Express recently tested Beyond Orange Chicken at select locations across the country. We’ve been able to try it out and if this vegan chicken from Beyond Meat gets a permanent spot on their menu it may very well make this list!
Dunkin’s Iced Coffee with Oat Milk and a Mocha Swirl
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Not a food option, but considering this is the fast food menu item that I order more than any other it didn’t seem fair to leave it off the list.
Dunkin’s Iced Coffee was my favorite back when Almond Milk was the only non-dairy option, but Oat Milk has taken this drink to another level.
The Mocha Swirl is the icing on the cake. All of the other swirl options at Dunkin’ contain dairy, but the Mocha is dairy-free and perfection in an iced coffee. Pair your drink with a bagel and breakfast is in the bag. Literally.
The Everything Plant Based Sandwich from Peet’s Coffee
Peet’s Coffee has done something that none of the bigger coffee chains have been able to do thus far.
They added a fully plant-based sausage breakfast sandwich to their menu. This sandwich includes a Beyond Breakfast Sausage, JUST Egg and just for good measure, vegan cheese as well.
To be honest, we don’t have a Peet’s Coffee near us, but we can’t wait to get our hands on one of these sandwiches!
Chipotle’s Sofritas Bowl
The Sofritas Bowl from Chipotle is my (Ryan) answer to the, ‘you’re on a desert island and can only eat one thing the rest of your life’ question.
We used to consider Chipotle ‘fast casual’ vs ‘fast food’, but now with the Chipotle App I can make my order and pick it up without even waiting in line. It’s actually faster than going through a driveway 90% of the time.
I order my bowl with brown rice, sofritas, fajita veggies, red-chili salsa, corn salsa and lettuce. (sometimes Guacamole, sometimes not). Finally, pro tip, get a bag of chips and use them as scoops for you bowl. Perfection.
Silk Chocolate Almondmilk Frozen Dessert from Cold Stone Creamery
Vegan ice cream isn’t really a new concept anymore so it’s hard for a ‘frozen dessert’ to surprise you with how good it is. But, that’s exactly how Jen and I both felt when we tried Cold Stone’s new vegan option.
Cold Stone added the frozen treat to their menus in January 2022 and we were blown away with how good it was. So good in fact that it didn’t even matter if we were eating ice cream when it was thirty degrees outside.
If you haven’t already, we definitely recommend giving it a try.
Arby’s Curly Fries
Arby’s Curly Fries are our favorite fast food French Fry. The seasoning, flavor and crunch are the perfect combination and they’re fun, because, well… they’re curly.
Considering there isn’t exactly many other reasons to visit Arby’s as a vegan, that also tells you how good the fries are when you make a trip through the drive thru just for the fries.
Vegan Smoothies From Smoothie King
We’ve given you specific items thus far, but there are too many delicious vegan-friendly smoothies at Smoothie King to narrow it down to just one.
It really will come down to personal preferences, just look at how different our smoothie orders are above. I went with the Dark Chocolate Banana and Jen got the Veggie Lemon Ginger.
What really matters is that Smoothie King smoothies are cold, delicious and absolutely amazing on a hot summer day.
Final Thoughts on the Best Vegan Fast Food Options
The coolest thing we both noticed as we were finishing up this list is the fact that we were actually choosing our favorite options for this list.
Not too long ago we would have been just trying to scrape together as many as we could find just to make a list. That’s definitely progress.
For instance, we didn’t even include the following vegan options at popular fast food restaurants:
- White Castle’s Impossible Sliders – good but White Castle was never really either of our thing.
- Jason’s Deli has a really good Spinach Veggie Wrap that you can combo with their Organic Vegetable Soup. It’s a great pair when for a hearty and healthy lunch.
- El Pollo Loco’s Chickenless Burrito – we’ve heard great things, but with no El Pollo Loco anywhere in our vicinity, we haven’t had a chance to try it.
- Any of the dozens of vegan options at Starbucks.
We could keep going on which is also a pretty cool thing. And with vegan options at popular fast food chains being added all the time, pretty soon it’s going to be even harder to narrow all the choices down to make a single list. We’re here for all of it.
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