Ordering vegan at chain eating places can include loads of struggles. Many nationwide institutions have meat-centric menus and unsubstantial plant-based choices, such because the dreaded iceberg lettuce salad with tomatoes. On the flip-side, they are often your starvation’s saving grace if no different possibility is on the market. KFC is a type of eating places. In the mean time, the vegan choices at KFC are restricted to sides and drinks—and maybe, sometime within the very close to future, plant-based hen will turn into a nationwide menu staple. Right here’s how one can order vegan at KFC within the meantime.


Does KFC have vegan hen?

It tracks that fried hen is the primary attraction of KFC’s menu. Given plant-based meat’s proliferation on the menu of restaurant chains nationwide, it follows that KFC would supply a vegan model of its hottest possibility. Nonetheless, as of earlier this yr, that’s sadly not the case. 

KFC used to supply plant-based fried hen made in collaboration with vegan meat-maker, Past Meat, which has a variety of fast-food partnerships beneath its belt, together with with Panda Categorical, McDonald’s, Del Taco, and Carl’s Jr.

KFC’s story with Past Meat started again in August 2019, when the fast-food chain trialed plant-based hen within the type of nuggets or wings at an Atlanta location. It was extremely profitable, promoting out in simply 5 hours. In 2020, a brand new recipe was trialed at places in Nashville, Charlotte, and Southern California, and obtained an outpouring of assist.

Making a chicken-like taste and texture that might attraction to the rising lots of flexitarians was a high precedence of each Past Meat CEO and founder, Ethan Brown, in addition to former KFC US president, Kevin Hochman. 

“What we’re attempting to copy is a tenderloin the place you even have the muscle fibers. The feel is a little more pleasing than what we’d name a ‘chewed-and-glued.’ It’s a unique expertise,” Hochman advised Fortune in September 2021. “Our plan is to attempt to replicate that Kentucky Fried Hen as shut as we will, clearly with out utilizing the animal. Numerous that’s about how the hen cuts and tears and the mouthfeel. The gold commonplace is the hen tenderloin or hen strip.”

In January 2022, KFC’s Past Meat nuggets, made out of soy and wheat protein, went nationwide at greater than 4,000 places. Public opinion of the meat-free possibility was divided; some prospects have been firmly in favor of them, whereas others discovered them to be a lot denser and costlier than typical hen. Some have been bothered by the cross-contamination with typical hen, because the nuggets have been fried in the identical oil. On the alternative facet of the spectrum, many vegan and vegetarian prospects settle for this as an inevitability of ordering a plant-based possibility at a significant fast-food chain. Barring any allergic reactions, whether or not or not a vegan chooses to order one thing the place there’s a danger of cross-contamination with animal merchandise is a private alternative. 

However, as of writing, KFC’s Past Hen is not. Final yr’s launch was meant to be a limited-time launch coinciding with the brand new yr. In Yum!’s Q1 2022 earnings name, the KFC father or mother firm revealed that the plant-based hen “elevated the model and boosted relevance, leading to extra media impressions than another product launch within the model’s historical past.” Yum! didn’t reply to VegNews’ inquiry if the plant-based hen would return, or if there are plans to trial a brand new sort of vegan meat.

Though we ought to be used to this at this level, prospects exterior the US are a lot luckier in the case of plant-based choices at KFC. In Canada, you may order a plant-based hen sandwich made utilizing Lightlife’s meat-free hen. And, all places within the UK have a vegan hen burger on the menu, that includes a crispy cutlet made by the old-school meatless model, Quorn. Now, let’s put apart our jealousy and get to what’s truly vegan on KFC’s US menu.

Vegan choices at KFC

With out Past Meat’s hen nuggets, there aren’t many substantial plant-based objects on the KFC menu stateside. And sadly, the fast-food chain discontinued a variety of its vegan-friendly choices, together with corn on the cob, baked barbecue beans, inexperienced beans, home salad, applesauce, and the apple turnover, which was its solely vegan dessert possibility. (However, in case you didn’t know, the baked apple pie at McDonald’s is free from all animal substances!) 

Nonetheless, if you happen to’re hungry and never within the neighborhood of a extra vegan-friendly restaurant, you may assemble a small snack out of a handful of sides whilst you wait in your subsequent meal. 


1 Candy kernel corn

KFC could not supply corn on the cob, however you may go for the candy kernel corn as an alternative, which is made with simply corn and nothing else. Add this dairy-free facet dish to your order for a serving to of hearty veggies. 


2 Secret Recipe Fries

A few years in the past, KFC changed its much-loved potato wedges with a brand new, starchy possibility: the Secret Recipe Fries. These crispy fries are seasoned with onion, carrot, and tomato powder in addition to sea salt and a contact of MSG. They add some much-needed carbs to accompany your facet of candy corn.


3 Condiments & drinks

French chef Fernand Level, the daddy of contemporary French delicacies, as soon as stated, “Within the orchestra of an awesome kitchen, the sauce chef is a soloist.” We’re inclined to agree–what’s eating with out sauce, in any case? So far as condiments at this fast-food institution go, you could have a handful of choices to select from. The ketchup is vegan, so that you gained’t have to fret about consuming plain fries. The new sauce can be appropriate for vegans.

You gained’t need to accept simply water (although, no shade if that’s what you need). The vegan drink choices embrace Capri Solar Fruit Punch, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, Sierra Mist, Lipton Brisk Teas, and Sobe Lifewater, in addition to Tropicana lemonade, fruit punch, and Tornado.

For extra vegan fast-food restaurant guides, learn: