What is Vegan at Burger King (UK)?

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Burger King has upped its vegan game in 2021. From being a total no-go for vegans a few years ago, British Burger King restaurants now have a selection of vegan options.

But vegans ordering from Burger King need to be careful, as not all of the plant-based options on the menu are free from contamination. Some are even cooked on the very same grill as meat burgers. Yuck!

So, what can vegans order at Burger King? Read on for all of your options…

Burger King

Vegan Certification at Burger King

Burger King has worked with The Vegan Society to register some of its products with the vegan trademark. To achieve vegan status, any dishes that are labelled as vegan must be prepared separately from non-vegan dishes.  At a minimum, this means thoroughly washing surfaces and utensils before using them for vegan cooking.

However, the vegan trademark doesn’t necessarily mean that a product is 100% free from contamination. According to Burger King’s allergen information, some of the fast-food chain’s suppliers have ‘reported a real risk of cross-contamination on their production line’. Yet these items still meet the criteria for Vegan Society certification and carry the vegan trademark.

What’s more, some items, such as the Garden Salad, that are free from animal products and cross-contamination both in the supply chain and within Burger King’s restaurants do not have Vegan Society accreditation. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not vegan, just that Burger King hasn’t applied to have them certified.

These items are certified vegan at Burger King…

Here’s a list of seven certified vegan items at Burger King’s UK restaurants:

1. Vegan Royale

Burger King Vegan Royale

Burger King’s Vegan Royale was launched in April 2021 as a vegan alternative to the popular Chicken Royale. It consists of a crispy coated plant-based ‘chicken’ fillet from The Vegetarian Butcher topped with iceberg lettuce and vegan mayo inside a toasted sesame seed bun.

According to Soco Nunez, Marketing Director of Burger King UK, “we would go as far as to say it’s an identical taste experience to the original Chicken Royale.”

I would have to agree with that. I tried the Vegan Royale and I didn’t like it at all. It tasted far too much like real chicken for me! But, if you love and miss the taste of chicken, then this is the burger for you.

Is Burger King’s Vegan Royale suitable for vegans?

  • Vegan Society Certified? YES
  • Potential cross-contamination with milk or eggs in factory? YES
  • Potential cross-contamination in Burger King kitchen? NO

[Source]

According to the Burger King allergy information sheet, the Vegan Royale Patty is free from cross-contamination, as are the lettuce, tomato and vegan mayonnaise. Therefore, any risk of cross-contamination must be from the bun potentially coming into contact with milk or eggs in the factory.

If you have a severe milk or egg allergy, Burger King advise that you order your burger with no bun to mitigate your risk of becoming ill.

2. Vegan Bean Burger

Nurger King Vegan Bean Burger

Burger King’s Vegan Bean Burger could be the ideal choice for vegans who don’t like the taste of fake meat.

Whereas the old-style bean burgers were topped with dairy cheese and grilled alongside meat, these new-style vegan bean burgers are topped with vegan mayonnaise and are certified as vegan.

The bad news is that you may not always be able to get your hands on the Vegan Bean Burger. Launched in January 2021 to coincide with Veganuary, the burger was only available until 28th February. However, Burger King regularly switches up its menu, so be sure to keep an eye out for its return.

Is Burger King’s Vegan Bean Burger suitable for vegans?

  • Vegan Society Certified? YES
  • Potential cross-contamination with milk or eggs in factory? YES
  • Potential cross-contamination in Burger King kitchen? NO

[Source]

3. Kids Vegan Burger

Burger King Kids Vegan Burger

If the Vegan Bean Burger isn’t available and you don’t fancy the realistic fake chicken of the Vegan Royale, then be sure to check the Burger King menu for the Kids Vegan Burger.

I managed to order this for my kids in July 2021. I tasted it myself and found the bean patty to be much nicer than the Vegan Royale. It’s also a decent size for a burger that’s aimed at children.

It seems to be a bit hit and miss as to whether the Kids Vegan Burger is available at Burger King. If it’s not on the menu when you order, then your children may have to resort to the classic make-do vegan kids option of chips in a bun with a side of fruit!

Is Burger King’s Kids Vegan Burger suitable for vegans?

  • Vegan Society Certified? YES
  • Potential cross-contamination with milk or eggs in factory? YES
  • Potential cros- contamination in Burger King kitchen? NO

[Source]

4. French Fries

Burger King French Fries

Burger King chips are certified as vegan by The Vegan Society and are cooked in separate frying vats away from animal products. However, Burger King’s French fries are not 100% free from contamination due to shared oil filtration systems.

Burger King restaurants use a VITO Fryfilter to clean the frying oil and make it last longer. The filter system that is used to clean the oil used to deep-fry chicken products, sausage patties and fish is also used for the French fries. [Source]

You can take a look at this video to see exactly how Burger King’s oil filter system works.

Are Burger King’s French Fries suitable for vegans?

  • Vegan Society Certified? YES
  • Potential cross-contamination with milk or eggs in factory? NO
  • Potential cross-contamination in Burger King kitchen? YES

[Source]

While there is a potential for cross-contamination with animal products within Burger King’s kitchens, the Vegan Society deems this risk as low enough that the fries can still be certified as vegan.

Suggested read: Are McDonald’s fries vegan?

5. Apple Slices

Burger King Apple Slices

A healthy side option, Burger King’s apple slices are suitable for vegans. They are certified as vegan by The Vegan Society and are also free from cross-contamination, both in the factory and within Burger King kitchens.

Are Burger King’s apple slices suitable for vegans?

  • Vegan Society Certified? YES
  • Potential cross contamination with milk or eggs in factory? NO
  • Potential cross contamination in Burger King kitchen? NO

[Source]

6. Capri Sun

Capri Sun drinks do not contain any animal-derived ingredients and are certified as vegan by The Vegan Society. They do not contain any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

At Burger King, you can choose from Capri Sun Blackcurrant & Apple or Capri Sun Orange Juice.

7. Bottled Water

Bottled water is always vegan and Burger King’s water is no exception.

Yes, you could consider that the plastic bottle is made from oil which is possibly made from prehistoric creatures that have decayed over millions of years. But if you’re that much of a level five vegan, I’m pretty sure you won’t be stepping foot inside a Burger King anyway.

Is anything else vegan at Burger King?

You may have noticed that the list of vegan-certified items at Burger King is quite short. However, there are a few more things on the Burger King vegan menu that you may wish to consider ordering, depending on how strict you are about cross-contamination.

Personally, I draw the line depending on whether the contamination is definite and deliberate, or possible and accidental. For example, I wouldn’t eat a burger that’s cooked on the same grill next to a meat burger and covered in meat juices, but I would eat a burger that may have potentially come into contact with traces of milk on a factory production line.

Of course, that’s just my view. As a vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian, you must make your own decisions about what is acceptable to you.

Plant-Based Whopper

Burger King plant based whopper

Formerly known as the Rebel Whopper (which contained non-vegan mayonnaise), Burger King’s Plant-Based Whopper was launched in April 2021 at the same time as the vegan Royale. It consists of a plant-based patty topped with tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, onions, ketchup and vegan mayo inside a sesame seed bun.

According to Burger King, the Plant-Based Whopper is not suitable for vegans or vegetarians. This is because it’s cooked on the same broiler as the beef Whopper and so will be contaminated with meat juices. The bun may also contain milk and eggs due to cross-contamination along the supply chain.

If you’re vegan for health or environmental reasons, you may decide that you don’t care about a little meat juice on your plant-based burger. After all, you’re still reducing your carbon footprint by choosing an alternative to beef.

However, if the thought of having your food cooked in meat juices turns your stomach, then Burger King’s Plant-Based Whopper is one to avoid.

Side Salad

At one time, Burger King’s pre-prepared Garden Side Salads contained a ‘three-cheese medley’. However, the latest allergen info from June 2021 shows that the Garden Salad does not contain any milk products.

There’s also no contamination with Burger King’s pre-packaged salad, so this could be a great healthy vegan option to add to your meal. Just be sure to check this at your local restaurant to be sure that there’s no cheese in the salad.

Onion Rings

Burger King Onion Rings are vegan by ingredient in the UK. However, they are cooked in the same oil as non-vegan products such as Halloumi Fries, Chilli Cheese Bites, Chicken Nuggets and Chicken Fries.

While strict vegans will want to avoid anything that’s been cooked directly alongside meat and dairy products, some may decide that Burger King’s onion rings are acceptable to eat because they do not contain any animal-derived ingredients.

Hash Browns

Burger King hash browns

Burger King Hash Browns are vegan by ingredient in the UK. However, just like the Onion Rings, they are cooked in the same fryer as products containing breaded cheese and chicken.

When it comes to vegan breakfast options are Burger King, there are none. The hash browns are the closest you’ll get to a vegan-friendly breakfast item, so long as you’re willing to overlook the cross-contamination issue.

Suggested read: Are McDonald’s hash browns vegan?

Vegan Burger Toppings

Burger King scrapped their ‘Have It Your Way’ slogan back in 2014 after over 40 years. However, that doesn’t mean that you can no longer customise your burger. In fact, Burger King is happy to let you add, remove or swap the toppings on your burger.

These Burger King extras are all suitable for vegans:

  • Chilli Sauce
  • Crispy Onions
  • HP Sauce
  • Jalapenos
  • Ketchup
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard
  • Onions
  • Pickles
  • Pink Pickled Onion
  • Rocket Salad
  • Smoky BBQ Sauce
  • Tomato
  • Vegan Mayonnaise

One of the best vegan hacks at Burger King is to order a Kids Vegan Burger and top it with lettuce, tomato, onions, jalapenos and vegan mayo.

Fizzy Drinks

Coca Cola

At Burger King, you can enjoy a variety of soft drinks including Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta and Sprite Zero. These drinks, which are made by The Coca-Cola Company, are all suitable for vegans as they do not contain any animal derivatives.

While Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite are vegan by ingredient, these drinks have not been certified by The Vegan Society. And because of that, they’re not on Burger King’s official list of vegan items.

When I ordered a Vegan Royale meal at Burger King, the only drink options available on the self-sevice machine were the vegan certified Capri Sun or water. I was unable to order a Coke Zero with the meal. I could only have this option if I ordered the burger, chips and drink separately.

While most vegans choose to drink Coca-Cola drinks, some strict vegans and vegetarians choose to boycott the brand due to its historical links with animal testing.

Suggested read: Is Fanta vegan? (UK & USA)

Tea and Coffee (without milk)

Burger King Americano

Another beverage option for vegans at Burger King is black coffee or black tea. You can order Americano coffee, Espresso or tea without milk.

However, you should be aware that these drinks are not labelled as suitable for vegans because of the risk of cross-contamination with drinks that do contain milk.

Suggested read: Is food that ‘may contain milk’ vegan?

To Conclude

Burger King has certainly improved its vegan offering over the past few years and it’s now possible for vegans to enjoy a burger, fries and a drink at Burger King.

Of course, some vegans choose to avoid Burger King because the company makes most of its profits from the deaths of animals for meat. Other reasons not to eat in Burger King include not wanting to support a company that pays employees a minimum wage and preferring to support small businesses.

You could argue that ordering vegan items at Burger King strengthens the demand for plant-based alternatives which will result in a wider range being available for vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians and meat-reducers alike.

Burger King’s UK CEO Alasdair Murdoch commented that “Over time the amount of beef that we are selling as a proportion of our total sales is reducing,” He also hopes that 50% of the Burger King menu will be plant-based by 2031 and hinted that meat-free nuggets are also being developed.

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