Recently I was sitting in a local restaurant enjoying a meal when I heard a lady at the table next to me ask if the French fries were vegan. It surprised me because they're potato and I thought it was pretty obvious this vegetable is suitable for a vegan diet. I'm always happy to admit being wrong and it turns out, on this occasion, I was very wrong.
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Are French fries vegan?
Although French fries are made of potato, we found that 30% of the 27 brands we researched could not claim their French fries to be vegan.
Why are some French fries non-vegan?
Although there were a range of reasons for fries not being suitable for a vegan diet, the main causes were:
- the fries had seasoning that contained ingredients derived from egg and milk.
- the fries were cooked in animal based fat.
- cross contamination from non-vegan menu items was possible.
Which brands offer vegan fries?
|Brand||Vegan French Fries?|
|Buffalo Wild Wings||No|
|In n Out||Yes|
|Jack in the Box||Yes|
5Guys offers handcrafted burgers and fries with over 1500 locations worldwide. Not only do the offer vegan fries, but their ingredients list was one of the best on the list without all the extra stuff that so many other restaurants seem to include.
Ingredients: potatoes, salt and refined peanut oil.
A&W has 1100 locations and is famous for its burgers and root beer. Vegan fries are on the menu, although they seem to have a lot of ingredients when compared to 5Guys.
Ingredients: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Soybean, Canola, Cottonseed, and/or Sunflower), Food Starch-Modified, Contains Less Than 2% Of Dextrose, Leavening (Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Rice Flour, Salt, Xanthan Gum, Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate (To Maintain Natural Color)
Alexia markets a range of frozen French fries that can be cooked at home. Their Oven Reds, Yukon Gold and Oven Fries are all vegan.
Arby's is a fast food sandwich chain with over 3300 venues. They offer vegan fries but have a very long ingredients list just for a humble French fry.
Ingredients: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (may contain one or more of the following: canola, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, corn, palm), Modified Potato Starch and/or Modified Corn Starch, Rice Flour, Dextrin, Salt, Leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate), Xanthan Gum, Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (to preserve natural color). Cooked in Corn Oil
Bojangles offer vegan fries. We were unable to find their ingredients list though.
Buffalo Wild Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings do not offer vegan fries as they use beef shortening in their fryers.
Burger King is a widely recognized fast food chain offering burgers and other menu items similar to McDonalds. They offer vegan fries.
Ingredients: Potatoes, Soybean Oil or Canola and Palm Oil, Modified Potato Starch, Rice Flour, Potato Dextrin, Salt, Leavening (Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Dextrose, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate added to preserve natural color.
Raising Canes have over 400 locations in the U.S. They do not offer vegan fries; according to their allergen information, their fries contain egg which is from cross contaminated fry oil as well as milk.
Carls Jr is an American fast food chain with around 1500 locations world wide. Their fries are suitable for those on a vegan diet.
Ingredients: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (may contain one or more of the following: Canola Oil, Sunflower Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Palm Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil), Modified Food Starch, Rice Flour, Dextrin, Salt, Leavening (Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Dextrose, Xanthan Gum. FRIED IN: Vegetable Oil (Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil with TBHQ and Citric Acid to protect flavor, Dimethylpolysiloxane (as an antifoaming agent)).
Checker's use fry batter that contains dairy so their French fries are not vegan. They are also fried in the same fryer as the chicken wings.
The Chili's website advises that their French fries are suitable for vegans.
Ingredients: CDN potatoes, vegetable oil, modified potato starch, rice flour, tapioco dextrin, salt, baking powder, xanthan gum, dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate
Del Taco offer vegan fries. We were unable to find their ingredients list though.
Denny's offer vegan fries. We were unable to find their ingredients list though.
Frisch's offer vegan fries. We were unable to find their ingredients list though.
In-n-Out have over 300 locations, primarily in the American Southwest and Pacific coast. They offer vegan fries and an impressive looking ingredients list as you can see below.
Ingredients: potatoes, salt and cottonseed oil
Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box is a burger franchise with around 2,200 locations in the U.S and Guam. They serve up vegan fries.
Ingredients: Potatoes, Canola and Palm Oil, Modified Food Starch (Potato, Corn, Tapioca), Rice, Flour, Dextrin, Salt, Leavening (Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Dextrose, Xanthan Gum. Cooked in Canola Blend Frying Oil.
McCain produce frozen French fries that are vegan friendly.
Ingredients: Potatoes, canola oil, dextrose (from maize).
McDonald's do not claim that their French fries are vegan due to the potential for fryer cross contamination.
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.
The Nathan's French fries that you can buy at the supermarket are vegan.
Ingredients: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Contains One or More of the Following: Canola, Palm, Soybean, Sunflower), Sugar, Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate (to Promote Color Retention), Dextrose
Oreida sell a frozen product which you can make at home. These fries are vegan friendly.
Ingredients: Potatoes, vegetable oils (sunflower, cottonseed, soybean and/or canola), salt, potato flour, spices, natural flavor, dextrose, disodium dihydrogen, pyrophosphate, annatto (vegetable color).
Outback Steakhouse does not offer vegan fries as it cooks them in animal based oil.
Rally's does not offer vegan fries as they are cooked in beef tallow.
Red Robin do not claim to offer vegan fries on their allergen menu. This is due to cross contact of allergens in the fryer area with splashback and vapors from one fryer to another. They cannot guarantee no cross contact of allergens and therefore claim all ingredients cooked in any fryer contain shellfish, fish, wheat, eggs, milk and soy.
Taco Bell do not claim to offer French fries that are suitable for vegans. Their nacho fries contain no animal products; however, there is oil cross contamination risk.
Wendy's do not offer vegan fries as they are cooked in the same oil as menu items that contain Wheat, Egg, Milk, and Fish (where available).
Ingredients: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (contains one or more of the following oils: canola, soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, corn), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (to maintain natural color). Cooked in Vegetable Oil (soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural flavor [vegetable], citric acid [preservative], dimethylpolysiloxane [anti-foaming agent]). Seasoned with Sea Salt.
As you can see, if you're a vegan you should always ask the question are your fries vegan? Better yet, check the restaurants ingredients list and allergen statement as not all waiters are up to speed on nutritional information, especially if it's their first day on the job.
Can you help grow this list by adding more chain restaurants or food brands? Let us know in the comments below.