Are McDonald’s Hash Browns Vegan?

You are feeling a little peckish in the morning and decide to duck into McDonald’s for some breakfast. Looking at the morning breakfast menu you see that they have pancakes and hash browns.

The hash browns are made of potatoes so should be okay with your vegan lifestyle, but are they truly vegan? The answer is: it varies from country to country with UK being the only country to have a certified vegan rating for its hash browns.

Here we will run you through the world of McDonald’s Hash browns and see if a vegan can get what they need from the fast-food giant. As you’ll soon find out, it all varies depending on country.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The links below may be affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy for more information. 

What are McDonald’s hash browns made of?

Let’s start by looking at what is contained within hash browns in McDonald’s. The main component is potato, but then we see that the other ingredients can change from country to country.


In America, the hash browns contain the following:

Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat And Milk Derivatives]*), Salt, Corn Flour, Dehydrated Potato, Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (maintain Color), Extractives Of Black Pepper. *natural Beef Flavor Contains Hydrolyzed Wheat And Hydrolyzed Milk As Starting Ingredients

So, in the USA forget about getting yourself a vegan hash brown. The milk derivatives and beef flavor just put an end to your dreams.


Maybe, if you’re in the USA, you could head north into Canada. What about the hash browns from McDonald’s there? Dissecting their hash browns we find that consists of:

Potatoes, high oleic low linolenic canola oil and/or canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural flavor (vegetable source), salt, dehydrated potato, vegetable monoglycerides, corn flour, dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain color), extractives of black pepper, citric acid (preservative), dimethylpolysiloxane (antifoaming agent). Cooked in vegetable oil (high oleic low linolenic canola oil and/or canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, citric acid, dimethylpolysiloxane)

Now, things are getting a little more hopeful. Yet, dimethylpolysiloxane could be derived from animals. Do you care to take the risk?


Let’s head down on under and visit Australia. Does McDonald’s there offer vegan hash browns? Looking at the nutritional information from McDonald’s Australia we find that the hash browns there are made from several different options:

Potato, Canola Oil, Salt, Dextrose (Maize), Emulsifier (471), Preservative (450), Antioxidant (330), Natural Pepper Extracts.

OR Potatoes, Canola Oil, Salt, Dehydrated Potato, Black Pepper, Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate, Dextrose. 

OR Potatoes, Canola Oil, Dextrose (220) (Maize), Seasoning (Black Pepper, Salt, Modified Corn Starch). 

HASH BROWNS are cooked in a McDonald’s Vegetable Oil blend and may be cooked using the same equipment as products containing gluten, egg, milk, and soy.

It was looking pretty good until that disclaimer at the bottom. There is the possibility of cross-contamination, so the hash browns from Aussie don’t make it into the vegan list.


Having a look at what McDonald’s in England has to offer leads a vegan to feel optimistic. They have a range of vegetarian options to choose from when you pop into McDonald’s. What about the hash browns? Amazing! They are vegan certified!

So what makes these hash browns so special? Let’s look at the ingredients: 

Potatoes, Blend of Non-Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Sunflower, Rapeseed), Salt, Maize Flour, Dehydrated Potato, Dextrose, Stabiliser (Diphosphates), Black Pepper Extract.

Prepared in the restaurant using non-hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Nothing there for a true vegan to worry about. So, we have certified vegan hash browns available in England. But why doesn’t McDonald’s offer vegan options through all its chains?

McDonald’s is somewhat vegan

In 2017, McDonald’s trialed the McVegan burger in Finland for two months. The demand was so strong for the burger that the company has now made it a permanent item on their menu in Sweden and Finland. 

In India, the company has been offering a vegan burger since 2012.

Unfortunately for those in the USA, the options to go vegan at McDonald’s are pretty non-existent. Some countries have salads from which a vegan can mix and match to meet their needs, but McDonald’s in America offers no such choice (other than its Baked Apple Pie). 

Here are some ideas about his vegans can utilize the salad menus at those McDonalds that have fruit and vegetables available:

  • Grab some apple slices
  • Have the Garden salad
  • Try a side salad
  • Ask for the Caesar salad but hold off on the chicken and dressing
  • Most of the dipping sauces can suit a vegan lifestyle: ketchup, BBQ, Maple Syrup, mustard
  • Have a hot coffee with milk or sugar
  • Order a juice
  • Have a slushie
  • Have a packet of carrot sticks

As always, check the nutritional information of the products to ensure that they meet your vegan needs.

Will McDonald’s start to meet more vegan needs?

As we mentioned, with the success of the McVegan burger in the Nordic countries, McDonald’s started to recognize that there is a market need to satisfy hungry vegans. The menus in Sweden, Finland, and the UK all offer a vegan burger

Recognizing that veganism is a lifestyle choice that is increasing, McDonald’s is contemplating rolling out more vegan-based options across its chains.  Though slower than its competitors, the company is moving toward offering plant-based burgers throughout its restaurants. Yet, since 2019, there have been rumors of the company moving in the right direction for vegans.

The great news is that McDonald’s is focusing more on providing vegan products in its menu from 2021. The sad news is that it is only going to be in select locations, so keep your vegan eyes peeled on the menu board at your local McDonalds.

Be patient and selective

We focused specifically on whether the McDonald’s hash browns were vegan and found that it varies from country to country. The UK is the only place that carries a certified vegan rating for its hash browns.

McDonald’s has noticed the cry of vegans for an alternative to the traditional lineup on its menu board. Luckily, some locations now offer plant-based hamburgers, yet in America, the company is still lagging behind its competitors.

There is a time coming when the US division of the company will cater to the needs of vegans, until then you need to be selective on the limited range of vegan options available. 

Similar Posts