KFC doesn’t carry an impressive amount of vegan-friendly dishes. Considering that KFC literally stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken, can we be surprised? While most of the menu items at the fast-food chain are animal-based, KFC vegan options are not a myth.
Life is more exciting for vegans living in the United Kingdom than those in the US. The fast-food establishment offers many more plant-based options in the UK, such as onion rings and vegan chicken. This isn’t shocking – I have noticed that the menus offered by many global fast-food chains like Jack in the box, and Pizza Hut have more vegan options in the UK and Europe than in the States.
Is KFC Vegan Chicken Available In The USA?
Founded in 2009, Beyond Meat is a brand offering plant-based alternatives to otherwise animal-based products. And by now, every vegan has at least heard of, if not tried, their masterpieces. If you’ve been vegan for a while, you have probably heard the hype around KFC collaborating with Beyond Meat. What exactly is that about?
KFC first started testing out plant-based chicken products years ago, back in 2019 in the UK. And by now, plant-based chicken nuggets and sandwiches are available all across the UK. While in the USA, Kentucky Fried Chicken uses Beyond Meat, in the UK, Quorn is used. Getting your hands on vegan chicken in the USA is much more challenging than in the UK.
Not long ago, KFC announced that the KFC beyond fried chicken nuggets would be available at 4000 locations across the USA. And they were, but only for a limited time in January, corresponding with the annual challenge of Veganuary.
Is KFC’s Beyond Chicken Worth The Hype?
When KFC first introduced Beyond Fried Chicken Nuggets on the American market in the summer of 2019, the fast-food chain saw long lines and hours-long waiting times. One Atlanta location sold out of their Beyond Chicken within hours from launching. People were thrilled to try out the plant-based meat, to say the least. I genuinely do not understand why KFC hasn’t made it a permanent menu item yet.
KFC did not just want to throw the first soy-based chicken alternative they found on their menu and call it a day. They were committed to making the vegan nuggets as similar to their famous chicken nuggets as possible. They were looking for a recipe that replicates the same taste and texture as whole muscle chicken. Something that pulls apart like KFC’s traditional fried chicken breast, with their signature breading. Now, the question you might be asking – did they succeed?
Do you know that feeling when you order a vegan dish, and once you receive it, you’re worried someone messed up and gave you the non-vegan option? That is how I felt when I got my first plant-based combo meal. The vegan nuggets look dauntingly similar to the real deal – crispy and golden. They even smelled like chicken! However, the texture is slightly different.
But enough about looks. If you have tried Beyond before, you know it’s delicious. And so were the KFC beyond nuggets. However, from what I remember (it has been years), the taste wasn’t that identical to KFC’s famous chicken nuggets. But hey, if you get the chance, definitely give it a try!
Other Vegan Options At KFC
Not lucky enough to get your hands on the Beyond chicken nuggets or sandwich? There are a few other things on KFC’s menu that you can eat as a vegan – some need some slight modifications, some do not.
● Corn on the Cob – Request for it to be made without butter.
● Potato Fries
● Sweet Kernel Corn – As with their corn on the cob, request no butter.
● Green Beans
● House Side Salad – Leave out cheese because obviously, that’s not vegan.
● Apple Sauce
● Apple Turnover
● BBQ Baked Beans
Worth mentioning that the apple turnover does contain palm oil, a controversial ingredient amongst vegans, and some prefer to avoid it. But that’s a whole other topic for another day!
What KFC Sauces Are Vegan?
If you’re popping by KFC just to grab some fries, you will be pleased to know that you will not have to eat them plain. KFC has a few sauces that are free from any animal-derived ingredients. What are those?
- Ketchup Packet (as usual, it is vegan at KFC as well)
- Summertime BBQ Sauce
- Sweet N Tangy Sauce
- Lemon Juice Packet
- Mazetti Light Italian Dressing
- Grape Jelly
- Strawberry Jam
Ordering Vegan At KFC
Have you ever found it challenging or overwhelming to order vegan at a fast-food place? I have some tips and tricks up my sleeve to remember next time you’re at KFC. Let’s go over all the menu items that are a safe bet as no modifications are needed. We have baked beans and green beans to choose from.
And, of course, the classic option that surprises no vegan, french fries. As long as cross-contamination is not an issue for you – the secret recipe fries are fried in the same oil as animal products. And you’ll be relieved to know that all drinks at KFC are fit for vegans.
Side of corn? Whether you want to go for corn on the cob or sweet kernel corn, request them to be made without butter. When it comes to KFC’s house salad, ask for it to be made without cheese and croutons and get it with Mazetti Light Italian Dressing, as that’s the only vegan one. How often do you find a suitable dessert at a fast-food joint? Yeah, not that often. KFC offers you an apple turnover, or opt for some applesauce.
So, Is KFC vegan friendly?
While not shining with vegan options at KFC. They have enough to offer to have you satisfied by the time you leave. For most Americans, vegan chicken is out of reach for now. But we can fill up on fries, some sides, and finish with a dessert. Let’s be frank, for a chicken restaurant, that’s pretty good.
Hopefully (fingers crossed!), we will see KFC Beyond chicken available in every location at some point. And perhaps even more plant-based options.