According to history, French fries were initially offered for sale in the late 1700s, well before the infamous French Revolution.
More than 200 years later, they continue to be one of the most well-liked and simple snacks on the globe!
But before you order your vegan burger with fries, you might be wondering, are French fries vegan?
To help you understand more, we’ve created this quick and helpful guide about French fries and whether or not you can eat them when following a vegan diet.
French Fries: Are They Vegan?
Most often, French fries are vegan. Fries are a straightforward snack made from potatoes, vegetable oil, and salt when they’re prepared the old-fashioned way.
However, a lot of restaurants frequently add extra ingredients, making their fries non-vegan.
Always do your homework first before eating any French fries!
The good news is that making French fries at home is really simple.
As a result, even if none of the restaurants in your neighborhood serve vegan-friendly fries, you can always make your own vegan fries at home!
Why Some French Fries Aren’t Vegan
French fries were originally just boiled and fried potatoes that were salted when they were first sold on the streets of France.
It was an uncomplicated, satisfying dish that almost everyone enjoyed.
Due to the simplicity of the original recipe, restaurants began to add their own distinctive flair to the fries to make them seem more “special.”
Other fast-food outlets conducted experiments by using various oils to fry the fries or by changing the seasoning, cheese, and other toppings.
So let’s spend a moment going over some of the common offenders that may convert this normally vegan dish into a not-so-vegan snack.
Because they are prepared with frying oil that is not sustainable, certain kinds of French fries may not be vegan. The main offender in this case is typically palm oil.
Due to its low cost and wide availability, palm oil is one of the most widely used cooking oils in the modern commercial food sector.
But this commonly used oil is also a major factor in the destruction of rainforests.
Due to these reasons, the majority of vegans steer clear of palm oil unless it is produced on certified organic farms that follow sustainable farming practices.
Seasoning made from animal products is another major factor that frequently results in non-vegan French fries.
For instance, McDonald’s fries are seasoned with a meat-derived seasoning to give them a savory flavor.
These meat-derived seasonings frequently blend salt, pepper, and spices with animal fat.
They are typically sprinkled over the fries before frying, which effectively cooks them into the fries.
This meat flavor cannot be avoided when it is used, unlike other seasonings, which can frequently be excluded by asking your service to “hold the seasoning.”
Small local establishments and burger joints frequently have this. Many restaurants will lard coat their French fries in order to enhance flavor and texture.
If you’ve never heard of it before, lard is just animal fat that has been reduced.
Any fries that have lard or other fats from animal products on them are obviously not vegan.
Some restaurant and store-bought French fry brands may contain dairy byproducts including milk fat, whey, casein, or sodium caseinate.
To improve the texture of fries, these dairy products are frequently added to them. But avoiding dairy is one of the fundamental principles of the vegan diet.
When ordering fries from a restaurant, you should also be on the lookout for fries that are fried with meat.
For instance, several eateries cook their chicken strips in the same oil pots as their fries.
This implies that there’s a good chance that your fries will contain chunks of meat. These fries will typically have a slight meaty flavor, which will usually reveal the truth.
These days, restaurants are more sensitive to the dietary and religious requirements of their patrons, so this problem is much less common.
Given that they are simply fried potatoes, french fries are almost always vegan-friendly.
However, non-vegan fries that are seasoned with meat, prepared in animal oil, or have dairy byproducts should always be avoided.
As long as you stay vigilant and be confident in asking your server questions about how they are prepared, there’s no reason why you should not be able to enjoy French fries, regardless of your vegan diet!