Are McDonald’s hash browns vegan or vegetarian?

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McDonald’s hash browns are a staple of the breakfast menu. But are McDonald’s hash browns vegan? Are they even vegetarian?

The answer depends on where in the world you order them. While McDonald’s hash browns are certified as suitable for vegans in the UK, in other countries they don’t have the same accreditation. In the United States, McDonald’s has browns contain milk and may also contain beef.

This guide will help you to decide whether you can eat McDonald’s has browns or not, as well as listing all of the things that are vegan at McDonalds in the main English-speaking countries.

McDonalds hash browns vegan

What are McDonald’s has browns made of?

The exact ingredients in McDonald’s hash browns vary depending on where you buy them.

The standard ingredients in McDonald’s hash browns are potatoes, vegetable oil, salt, pepper, cornflour, stabiliser and dextrose. In some countries, the ingredients may also include sodium acid pyrophosphate, dimethylpolysiloxane, disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate, citric acid, emulsifier, antioxidant or vegetable monoglycerides.

Because of the different ingredients and food preparation processes, McDonald’s hash browns are not vegan-friendly in every country.

The following table should help you to decide whether McDonald’s hash browns are suitable for your vegan or vegetarian diet where you live…

CountryVegetarian ingredients?Vegan ingredients?Cooked separately?Guaranteed free of contamination?
UKYESYESYESYES
USANot disclosedNONONO
CanadaYESYESYESNO
AustraliaYESYESNONO

United Kingdom

Are McDonald’s hash browns vegan in the UK?

McDonald’s hash browns are 100% vegan in the UK and feature on McDonald’s vegan menu. The hash browns do not contain any animal products and are prepared separately from any non-vegan items.

In the UK, Mc Donald’s hash browns are deep fried in the same oil as the veggie dippers, which are also vegan-friendly.

McDonald’s hash brown ingredients in the UK

UK Mcdonald’s hash browns ingredients:

Potatoes, Blend of Non-Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Sunflower, Rapeseed), Salt, Maize Flour, Dehydrated Potato, Dextrose, Stabiliser (Diphosphates), Black Pepper Extract.

[Source]

United States

Are McDonald’s hash browns vegan in the US?

McDonald’s hash browns in the US are not suitable for vegans. The hash browns contain ‘natural beef flavor’ which may or may not contain real beef, but certainly contains milk.

In the United States, McDonald’s hash browns are cooked in the same fryer as donut sticks, which contain milk.

McDonald’s hash brown ingredients in the US

US Mcdonald’s hash browns ingredients:

Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat And Milk Derivatives]), Salt, Corn Flour, Dehydrated Potato, Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Extractives Of Black Pepper.

[Source]

Are McDonald’s hash browns vegetarian in the US?

The McDonald’s US website states: “Please note none of our menu items are currently certified vegetarian.

Many vegetarians want to know if the ‘natural beef flavoring’ that’s added to McDonald’s fries and hash browns is suitable for vegetarians or not. This is something which McDonald’s do not comment on, only stating that the hash browns and fries are not vegetarian.

The McDonald’s US website states: “Natural Beef Flavor Contains Hydrolyzed Wheat And Hydrolyzed Milk As Starting Ingredients“.

As milk and wheat can cause very serious allergic reactions, McDonald’s is required by law to include this information. Meat, however, is not one of the major food allergens. This means that McDonald’s is under no obligation to disclose whether or not its hash browns contain meat, so long as they do not state that they are suitable for vegetarians.

Canada

Are McDonald’s hash browns vegan in Canada?

In Canada, McDonald’s hash browns are vegan-friendly by ingredients as they do not contain any animal products. However, McDonald’s state that “No products are certified as vegetarian; products may contain trace amounts of ingredients derived from animals.”

If you don’t mind that there is a potential for cross-contamination with non-vegan items, then you may consider McDonald’s hash browns to be suitable for vegans in Canada.

McDonald’s hash brown ingredients in Canada

Canadian Mcdonald’s hash browns ingredients:

Potatoes, high oleic low linolenic canola oil and/or canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural flavour (vegetable source), salt, dehydrated potato, vegetable monoglycerides, corn flour, dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain colour), extractives of black pepper, citric acid (preservative), dimethylpolysiloxane (antifoaming agent).

[Source]

Australia

Are Maccas hash browns vegan in Australia?

Maccas hash browns are vegan-friendly by ingredient as they do not contain any ingredients of animal origin. However, they are cooked using the same equipment as products that contain milk or egg so strict vegans may wish to avoid them.

McDonalds.com.au states: “No food items are certified as vegetarian. Whilst some ingredients may not contain animal ingredients, we cannot guarantee that there will be no cross contact with ingredients that do.”

McDonald’s hash brown ingredients in Australia

Australian Mcdonald’s hash browns ingredients:

Potato, Canola Oil, Salt, Dextrose (Maize), Emulsifier (471), Preservative (450), Antioxidant (330), Natural Pepper Extracts.


OR Potatoes, Canola Oil, Salt, Dehydrated Potato, Black Pepper, Disodium Dihydrogen Pyrophosphate, Dextrose.


OR Potatoes, Canola Oil, Dextrose (220) (Maize), Seasoning (Black Pepper, Salt, Modified Corn Starch).

[Source]

hash browns at McDonalds

FAQs

How are McDonald’s hash browns made?

  1. Potatoes are peeled and chopped into strips using a mechanical cutter
  2. The potato strips are blanched in hot water for a few minutes
  3. The potato strips are dried and then sliced again into smaller pieces
  4. The potato pieces are mixed with other ingredients such as salt, pepper and cornflour as well as any flavourings, stabilisers and preservatives
  5. The ingredients are shaped into hash browns and then partially fried
  6. The part-cooked hash browns are cooled, frozen and delivered to restaurants
  7. At the restaurant, the hash browns are fried again in hot vegetable oil

Are McDonald’s hash browns vegetarian?

Whether McDonald’s hash browns are vegetarian depends on where you order them. In the UK, McDoanld’s hash browns are certified by the Vegetarian Society. Other countries lack this certification, but the hash browns are vegetarian by ingredient. In the United States, McDonald’s has browns may not be vegetarian-friendly as they contain ‘natural beef flavor’.

Is there milk in McDonald’s hash browns?

McDonald’s hash browns in the United States contain a small amount of milk which is used as a flavoring. In many other countries, they do not contain milk, but there may be some cross-contamination with items that do contain milk.

Are McDonald’s hash browns real potatoes?

Just like fries, McDonald’s hash brown are made with real potatoes. There are also several other ingredients added. The exact ingredients used vary across the world.

Is anything at McDonald’s vegan?

Whether or not you can eat vegan food at McDonalds depend on which country you live. British McDonald’s restaurants each have a decent vegan menu with several options.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, there are several items on the McDonald’s menu that are certified as vegan. There are also several more which are not certified due to the risk of cross-contamination, but which are vegan by ingredients.

Certified vegan items at McDonald’s (UK):

  • Apple & Grape Fruit Bag
  • Carrot Bag
  • Fries
  • Hash Browns
  • Veggie Dippers
  • Spicy Veggie Wrap

Vegan by ingredient items at McDonald’s (UK):

  • Apple Pie
  • Side Salad
  • Toasted Bagel (plain)
  • Vegetable Deluxe (ask for no mayo)

United States

In the United States, there is pretty much nothing for vegans to eat at McDonalds. The company advises that ‘none of our menu items are currently certified vegetarian‘. The only possible option (aside from drinks) is the apple slices.

Vegan by ingredient items at McDonald’s (US):

  • Apple Slices

Canada

No food at McDonalds in Canada is certified as vegan. However, there are a few sides and desserts which may be considered vegan-friendly by ingredient.

Vegan by ingredient items at McDonald’s (Canada):

  • Apple Pie
  • Apple Slices
  • Fries
  • Fruit Smoothie Without Yoghurt
  • Hash Browns

Australia

In Australia, nothing at McDonald’s is certified as vegan. However, there are some items which are vegan by ingredient, so long as you don’t mind the potential cross-contamination.

Vegan by ingredient items at Maccas (Australia):

  • Apple Slices
  • Garden Salad with Balsamic Dressing
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Hash Brown
  • Fries
  • McDonaldland Cookies

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