Are French’s Fried Onions Vegan and Cruelty-Free? The Bitter Truth

August 1, 2023

Figuring out whether French’s Original Crispy Fried Onions are safe for vegans to consume can be challenging.

Makers of onion rings often hide their ingredients behind vague terms such as “natural flavors”, and even when they do give you a list of ingredients, it can be difficult to determine whether or not those ingredients are vegan.

To make sure that you are only eating food that aligns with your vegan lifestyle and diet, I’ve looked into the ingredients and production processes of French’s Fried Onions.

Here’s what I found.

Are French’s Fried Onions Vegan?

It’s complicated. French’s Original Crispy Fried Onions do not contain any animal products. However, they do contain dextrose, a carbohydrate sugar that may or may not be processed with bone char. Strict vegans may want to avoid these crispy onions, since there is no vegan label to guarantee the dextrose is not made using animal exploitation, either directly or indirectly.

French’s Crispy Fried Onion is a product of McCormick & Company, Inc. These gluten-free fried onions are a popular tasty topping or ingredient used in many recipes, most notably Thanksgiving green bean casserole. Unfortunately for vegans, the original flavor is a bit iffy, and most of its flavors are not suitable for a vegan diet.

Cheddar Cheese and Caramelized Crispy Fried Onions flavors contain milk and its derivatives and sugar, making them not vegan. Milk is automatically a disqualifier for vegans, as it is an animal-derived product.

Then there’s sugar. While sugar is plant based, the refining process of sugar often uses bone char. Bone char is a type of charcoal that is made out of the bones of animals, and is used to make sugar whiter. Unless the sugar is labeled as “organic,” “raw,” or “unrefined,” it is probably not vegan.

Are French’s Fried Onions Cruelty-Free?

Yes! French’s Fried Onions are cruelty-free.

French’s Fried Onions are not tested on animals at any point in their production. None of French’s flavors contain ingredients, such as artificial colors, that are routinely tested on animals.

Animal testing is an outdated and gruesome practice that should be stopped. Because innocent animals are subjected to painful and often deadly experiments. There are alternative methods that are available that are not only more humane but also more accurate. So there is no excuse for food brands to continue testing on animals.

What Are French’s Fried Onions Made Of?

Here are the ingredients of French’s Original Crispy Fried Onions:

  • Onions
  • Palm oil
  • Wheat flour
  • Dextrose
  • Salt

Let’s break down each ingredient of French’s Fried Onions:


Onions are a type of vegetable that belong to the allium family. Onions are the main ingredient of French’s Fried Onions. They are what gives the product its distinctive taste and aroma. Onions are a vegan-friendly ingredient.

Palm oil

Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil that is extracted from the fruit of palm trees. It is a popular ingredient in many food products because it is relatively cheap and has a long shelf life. It helps the onions to have that golden brown color and stay crispy when fried. Palm oil is a vegan-friendly ingredient.

Wheat flour

Wheat flour is a type of flour that is made from grinding wheat. It is a common ingredient in many baked goods. Wheat flour is a vegan-friendly ingredient.


Dextrose is a type of sugar that is made from corn. It is often used as a sweetener in food products. Dextrose can sometimes be processed with bone char, so if the possibility of consuming sweetener filtered through animal bones bothers you, then you should avoid products that contain dextrose.


Salt is a type of mineral that is composed of sodium and chloride. It is a common ingredient in many food products. It is used as a preservative or to add flavor. Salt is a vegan-friendly ingredient.

Why Aren’t French’s Fried Onions Vegan?

French’s Fried Onions are not vegan because most of its flavors contain non-vegan ingredients such as milk, its derivatives, and refined sugar or questionable dextrose. These ingredients are simply a no-no for vegans. 

Are French’s Caramelized Fried Onions Vegan?

No, French’s Caramelized Crispy Fried Onions contain refined sugar.

These crispy fried onions are not safe for vegan consumption.

Are French’s White Cheddar Crispy Fried Onions Vegan?

No, French’s Cheddar Cheese Crispy Fried Onions contain whey, sugar, parmesan cheese, buttermilk, and cheddar cheese.

These crispy fried onions are not safe for vegan consumption.

Vegan Alternatives to French’s Onion Rings

If you’re looking for some vegan-friendly alternatives to French’s crispy onions, there are plenty of options available. Here are some of my favorites that you can try:

With these vegan-friendly options, you and the whole family can still enjoy the taste of crispy fried onions without any guilt. You don’t have to miss out on this deliciousness just because you’re vegan. Or if you’re up for some experimentation, you can even try making your own vegan onion rings at home. There are many recipes online that you can follow. Here are a few of my favorites:

With just a few ingredients like fresh onions, black pepper, onion powder, almond milk, and other spices, and a little bit of effort, you can create a delicious and healthy vegan-friendly side dish for your green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, or any other holiday meal.

Final Words

So there you have it! Are French’s Fried Onions vegan? Unfortunately, no, most of their flavors are not vegan friendly. If you’re looking for a vegan-friendly alternative to French’s onion rings, there are plenty of options available. You can even try making your own vegan onion rings at home with one of the many recipes that are available online. So go ahead and enjoy your meal with a delicious and crispy vegan onion ring on the side.