Are McDonald’s Hash Browns Vegan?

Are McDonald’s Hash Browns Vegan?

Eating out at fast food restaurants when you’re a vegan is difficult, there is no hiding that. As the rise of veganism has taken the world by storm over the past few years, there has been an increase in the number of foods available at said restaurants. 

When you’re on a long road trip or passing by with friends, they may want to go to McDonald’s for a quick bite to eat. That may sound tempting, but are you sure they will have something you can eat? No, the fruit bag is not an option.

This article will discuss the ingredients in McDonald’s hash browns and whether or not they can be consumed by vegans. 

What Are Hash Browns?

If you aren’t sure what these crunchy delights are classified as they are potatoes that have been chopped into small pieces and formed into cakes before cooking until golden brown. 

This popular American and English breakfast food actually takes its name from the French word “hacher” which means to hack or chop. The earliest mention of the food goes back to 1895 when food author Maria Parola used the term “hashed potatoes” to describe them.

Today hash browns are an important component of a good old-fashioned Full English breakfast as well as a popular addition to many McDonald’s breakfast items. 

What Is In A McDonald’s Hash Brown?

Although hash browns are largely made of potatoes, when they are processed and made on a large scale they tend to contain a few additives. These are the ingredients listed on the McDonald’s website: 

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable Oil 
  • Salt
  • Corn flour 
  • Dehydrated potato
  • Dextrose
  • Sodium acid pyrophosphate
  • Extractives of black pepper 

In terms of nutritional information, a portion of hash browns contains 140 calories. These calories are divided between 18g of carbs, 8g of fat, and 2g of protein. It’s evident that they cannot be considered as healthy, but we don’t go to McDonald’s for a nutritious meal. 

Are McDonald’s Hash Browns Vegan?

Unfortunately, no McDonald’s hash browns are not vegan. As the allergen information states, their hash browns contain milk. According to their nutritional information, milk derivatives are used in the cooking process. 

Natural Beef Flavoring

Another surprising ingredient that means the hash browns aren’t vegan is the use of natural beef flavoring. The natural beef flavoring also contains hydrolyzed wheat and milk. So, what is natural beef flavoring?

These flavor additives are products that have components derived from plants, meat, or seafood. They are popular among food manufacturers such as McDonald’s to enhance the taste of a dish. 

Are McDonald’s Hash Browns Vegan?

So, What About Their Fries?

We don’t want to be the ones to tell you, but McDonald’s fries are also not vegan. Similar to their hash browns, the french fries are also cooked with natural beef flavoring and milk derivatives.  

Many argue whether or not natural beef flavoring actually contains any animal products. This ‘natural’ flavoring is made in a lab and can be created to have the umami taste without the beef. Therefore, it’s up to the individual to decide whether or not they agree with this. 

McDonald’s Statement 

The fine print on the McDonald’s website states “we do not promote any of our US menu items as vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free”. Technically speaking, there aren’t any vegan-friendly products on their menu which means it’s out of the question on a road trip. 

At the time of writing this article, we are unsure of their plans to expand their menu and make it more accessible for alternative diets in the future. 

Make Your Own Vegan Hash Browns

Never fear, our hash brown recipes are here! These tasty, crispy treats are easy to make at home so you can enjoy them without worry. We will say that things can get a little messy. 

To make your own hash browns you’ll need some of the basic ingredients such as potatoes, salt, shallots, black pepper, and some oil. Baking them is a much healthier option, but pan-frying them definitely makes them crispier. 

Hash browns can be eaten on their own, but we recommend making a fancy brunch with them using these recipes: 


Hash browns are a delicious and crispy treat. However, McDonald’s hash browns are unsuitable for vegans as they contain beef flavoring and milk products. The best way to enjoy these hearty potato discs is to make them yourself.

Brandon White
Latest posts by Brandon White (see all)