Burger King got its start in the mid-1950s in Miami, Florida. Aside from their real-beef burgers, they also developed quite a reputation for their delicious French fries. While the beef burgers are obviously non-vegan, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about their fries lately.
So, are Burger King fries vegan?
Surprisingly, Burger King fries ARE vegan-friendly! Although the restaurant offers very few vegan options, their fries are (and always have been) vegan.
They’re not seasoned with meat and don’t contain any dairy derivatives. The only thing that can be problematic is that they may be fried in palm oil, which many vegans try to avoid.
Today’s post is going to be all about Burger King’s fries! Below, I’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions on the internet about BK fries. Then, I’ll give you a full breakdown of all of the main ingredients and micro-ingredients used in the fast-food chain’s French fry recipe.
Let’s take a look!
Are Burger King Fries Fried With Meat?
One of the most disappointing things I’ve discovered about a lot of American restaurants is that they cook their French fries in the same exact cooking oil that’s used for frying meat in. This, unfortunately, turns what would be an otherwise vegan dish into a non-vegan dish.
In other words, what should be plain fried potatoes is not fried potatoes with meat bits stuck to them.
Thankfully, Burger King does NOT cook their fries alongside meat.
Instead, the fast-food franchise uses separate vats of oil to cook their fries. This not only means that your fries are meat-free but it also ensures that you don’t get any weird flavors or have to worry about bacterial contamination from meat.
Does Burger King Use Meat-Derived Seasoning?
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a full post about why McDonald’s French fries aren’t vegan. Although the fast-food chain offers vegan-friendly fries in Europe, all of their US locations season fries with a meat-derived seasoning blend.
This seasoning blend is made from a combination of salt and beef fat, which therefore makes their fries non-vegan. Once, they were even sued by Hindu activist groups after being told that the fries were “vegetarian.” Hindus do not eat beef, as it directly violates their beliefs.
So, they weren’t too happy to find out that their so-called vegetarian fries were cooked with beef!
That being said, Burger King does NOT use any meat-derived seasoning on their fries.
Instead, their fries are lightly salted with a bit of iodized salt. It’s not healthy, but at least it’s vegan!
What Does Burger King Fry Their Fries In?
Burger King uses a vegetable oil blend to cook their fries in. This blend of vegetable oil often changes, depending on market availability and what various food suppliers offer. According to Burger King, all of their fries are cooked in:
- Canola Oil
- Palm Oil
- Soybean Oil
While canola and soybean oil are vegan-friendly, palm oil is the thing that concerns most vegans.
This is because palm oil is, by far, the least sustainable cooking oil on our planet. This is because most palm oil comes from Brazil and Indonesia. These countries, sadly, do not care about their natural resources.
As a result, greedy farming corporations destroy massive swaths of rainforest every single year to make room for more palm trees.
The rainforest is one of our planet’s most valuable resources, as it filters carbon and CO2 out of the air, replacing them with fresh oxygen. Without our rainforests, our planet’s air would be far more toxic than it is.
Losing these trees is bad enough, but it doesn’t stop there.
As farms destroy the rainforest, they displace already endangered animals. Orangutans are the latest victim of the palm oil industry, and many activist groups are trying to stop the expansion of palm oil farms in order to save the primates from extinction.
Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to tell exactly what type of oil your fries are being cooked in. It’s nearly impossible to avoid palm oil altogether in today’s world.
So, I don’t mind eating some fries here and there. However, I don’t make a habit of it and prefer to cook my own fries at home using sustainably-sourced canola oil.
What Are Burger King Fries Made Of? Ingredients Revealed
Now that you have a little bit more background on Burger King’s fries, it’s time to give you guys a full breakdown of all of the ingredients used in their French fries.
You’ll be surprised to learn that they contain a lot more than just potatoes and oil, which is why they’re generally regarded as a not-so-healthy food.
Take a look and see for yourself!
Like most fries, potatoes are the main ingredient in Burger King’s fries. Potatoes are a root vegetable and are generally quite healthy. They’re a great source of natural fiber, antioxidants, and branch-chain amino acids.
2) Vegetable Oil
Since fries are cooked in vegetable oil, the oil contributes to nearly as much caloric value as the potatoes themselves. Burger King fries are cooked in canola oil, palm oil, soybean oil, or a combination thereof.
Aside from the obvious problems with palm oil, the other two vegetable oils used by the fast-food chain are plant-based and vegan-friendly.
3) Potato Starch
Potato starch is a fine powdery starch that’s derived from dried potatoes. The outside of the fries is coated with this starch, giving them a crispier texture when they’re fried.
4) Rice Flour
Rice flour is combined with the potato starch to create a powdery coating used for the fries. The two powders, combined, create a crispy crunch that makes Burger King’s fries oh-so-tasty.
5) Potato-Derived Dextrin
Dextrin is very similar to potato starch. However, it has a higher sugar content and is far more processed. This dextrin is used to lightly sweeten the fries, giving them a more complex flavor.
It also contributes to the “crunch factor,” working in combination with the rice flour and potato starch.
Of course, most fries are all seasoned with plain old-fashioned iodized salt. If you’re on a low-sodium diet, you can ask Burger King to withhold the salt, as it’s not added until after the fries are cooked.
7) Leavening Agents
Burger King uses leavening agents like baking soda to prevent the fries from expanding in the oil too much. This makes for a tighter, crispier fry that’s more rigid and firm instead of soft and mushy. Leavening agents are always vegan!
8) Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum is a naturally derived (although heavily processed) compound that’s added to food as a natural preservative. This helps extend the shelf life of the fries while they’re being transported or sitting on the shelf in the freezer.
9) Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate
Sodium acid pyrophosphate is a strong acid that’s used to preserve the natural yellow color of the fries. Without this acid, the fries would take on a disturbing gray color after being frozen for a few days.
This acid is far from healthy, but it is vegan.
The Verdict – Are Burger King Fries Vegan-Friendly?
Burger King fries are remarkably vegan-friendly! In fact, they’re one of the only vegan items you’ll find at Burger King. So, don’t be afraid to buy a small order of fries the next time that you find yourself at a fast-food chain.
Chick-Fil-A is another great place to find vegan fast-food fries. Be sure to check out my latest post on Chick-Fil-A to find out why their fries are also vegan-friendly!