Five years ago, the thought of vegan options at KFC seemed downright impossible. But if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that the impossible is very much possible.
Now, we’re entering a new era where vegans can walk into virtually any fast-food outlet and expect to be catered for. And 2022 marks the year where that became a reality at KFC.
In 2019, KFC tested the plant-based market with their ‘Imposter Burger’, which was made available at select restaurants across the country for January. Intended to last the month, the Imposter Burger sold out in just a few days, and its overwhelming popularity prompted a bigger roll-out the following year.
This year, it has reached hero status and has been granted a permanent place on the menu, albeit with a new name — the ‘KFC Vegan Burger’.
So dining at KFC as a vegan is now very much possible! In-store, their menu is marked with symbols so that you can easily identify what’s vegan, and their website has further allergen and nutrition information (more on this below).
The full list of vegan options at KFC include:
- KFC Vegan Burger
- KFC Vegan Nuggets
- Baked Beans
- Corn Cob
- curry sauce
- Real Tomato Sauce
- Kentucky Smokey BBQ Sauce
KFC Vegan Burger
Touting their vegan burger as “11 herbs and spices. Zero Chicken”, KFC is marketing their latest offering to vegans and flexitarians alike.
The KFC Vegan Burger is available from over 900 KFC restaurants across the country, and for delivery via Deliveroo, Just Eat and Uber Eats.
A collaboration with Quorn UK, the KFC Vegan Burger is a Quorn chicken fillet that’s been coated in the chain’s iconic herbs and spices mix. It’s served with iceberg lettuce and vegan mayonnaise, and stacked between a glazed bun. And with PETA recently awarding it the crown of the ‘Best Vegan Chicken Burger’, it seems to be hitting the spot.
The vegan chicken burger is the same burger that was previously released for Veganuary. The ‘Imposter Burger’ was so popular that the chain reintroduced it as a permanent menu fixture this year, with a new name and packaging.
Since January, it’s been up for grabs at the majority of KFC outlets in the UK. There are a few that cannot sell it due to their cooking and preparation methods. You can find out which restaurants stock it by searching for the KFC Vegan Burger on their website and scrolling down to the FAQ section.
To reduce cross-contamination, KFC’s Vegan Burger is stored away from other ingredients and made using separate utensils. It’s never cooked in the same oven as chicken, and is fried beforehand in vegetable oil. Staff are also trained on how to safely prepare it.
You can purchase the KFC Vegan Burger on your own or as a meal deal with a drink. KFC’s beans and corn are also vegan and can be added to the deal for 50p.
KFC Vegan Nuggets
Currently, the KFC Vegan Burger is the only product that’s designed to be vegan at KFC. However, several of the sides are accidentally so. But there are definitely vegan menu expansion plans in development.
Earlier this year, a partnership between Beyond Meat and KFC in the States saw the launch of vegan chicken nuggets by the bucket, in the form of Beyond Fried Chicken.
Marketed as plant-based rather than vegan due to cooking methods, this was a limited-edition menu item for Veganuary 2022.
Will the USA follow the UK’s lead and make its plant-based tester products permanent in 2023? Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, there are whisperings that more vegan products will soon be making their way onto the UK menu. In May, it was reported that KFC is further collaborating with Quorn on new vegan chicken items and are readying them for release.
Allegedly, the next vegan offering is likely to be the ‘Original Recipe Tender’, as this has already featured on the menus of select restaurants in the Netherlands and Germany.
Two years ago, KFC made one of its stores in Rotterdam in the Netherlands completely vegetarian for ‘National Week Without Meat’, and replaced all meat options with Quorn alternatives.
This included Chickenless Crispy Tenders, Chickenless box meals, and the Chickenless Chicken Burger. Here’s hoping that similar non-meat options are on their way to the UK!
Are KFC sides of beans and corn vegan?
If you’re looking to bulk up your KFC Vegan Burger meal then you can easily do so with sides of beans, as they’re both accidentally vegan.
KFC’s baked beans are made with a hint of Kentucky BBQ sauce, so treat yourself to a portion.
Are KFC French Fries vegan?
In the UK, KFC’s fries are cooked in the same oil as its Popcorn Chicken and so are not suitable for vegans who want to avoid cross-contamination. As a result, KFC don’t offer the Vegan Burger as a meal.
According to the company: “We don’t offer the Vegan Burger as a meal because our fries aren’t suitable for vegetarians or vegans.
“This is due to being cooked in the same oil as our Popcorn Chicken. We know this is disappointing, but both beans and corn are vegan-friendly.”
Are KFC mashed potatoes vegan?
Unfortunately, KFC mashed potatoes are not vegan as they are made with dairy milk. The online nutrition information clearly lists it as an ingredient, stating: ‘the allergen is contained and presented in this item’.
Whether the milk is in the form of butter or milk we’re unsure, but there are plenty of non-dairy alternatives for both if the chain wants to consider making its mash vegan.
Is the gravy at KFC vegan?
Surprisingly, KFC’s gravy also contains milk, so just like the mash it’s a no-go for vegans. And again, this one feels like a fairly quick-fix for the fast-food giant.
Perhaps with Quorn’s help, they can revamp the recipe and offer dairy-free gravy alongside the new vegan menu items?
Is KFC coleslaw vegan-friendly?
Coleslaw is made with mayonnaise, which traditionally contains eggs. Currently this popular KFC side is produced with an egg-based mayo, making it unavailable for vegans.
But the KFC Vegan Burger is made with vegan mayonnaise, so the chain does have an alternative on hand should they want to make a change.
Wouldn’t it be great if KFC offered plant-based versions of their famous sides, or simply reworked them all so that they’re available for everyone, regardless of diet?
If you agree, then why not tell them? You can write to KFC via their contact form or reach out on social media.
Together, we might be able to persuade them that a few simple changes are particularly worth while — especially when it’s guaranteed to result in more sales!
How does KFC prevent cross contamination?
According to their website, KFC trains every staff member on how to cook and prepare their vegan options to avoid cross-contamination. Using separate storage areas, utensils, frying oils and ovens, the chain does what it can to safely offer its non-meat menu items.
Vegan options are made unavailable at locations where cross-contamination cannot be avoided. That means you can feel confident that your food is being safely produced and prepared if it’s listed for sale on your local KFC menu.
In terms of plant-based food, KFC still has a way to go until it’s competing with the likes of Burger King (which has many more options). But considering it’s a fast-food chain that’s made its name selling fried chicken, it’s pretty incredible that anything is available at all.
KFC may not sit well with everyone, but its forays into the plant-based sphere could provide life changing. After all, every couple of plant-based burgers bought at KFC is another chicken who didn’t have to die.
From McDonald’s to KFC, fast food is moving from meat to plants.
Now you know about the KFC’s option, check out the vegan Burger King options.