Is KFC Beyond Chicken Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

July 22, 2023

Identifying whether or not KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken is vegan can prove to be a difficult task. 

Mainly, this difficulty results from manufacturers that often obscure, for whatever reason, the nature and source of their ingredients, making it a challenge for consumers to make informed decisions. After all, in late-stage capitalism, consumers have few rights.

We’re here to help. This article aims to uncover the truth about KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken to guide and support our dear readers in their compassionate, planet-friendly, vegan lifestyle.

Is KFC’s Beyond Chicken Vegan?

The simple answer is, no, KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken is not fully vegan. The primary reason for this lies in how the product is prepared. While the plant-based chicken nuggets themselves are, in fact, completely plant based, they are cooked in the same fryers used for the regular KFC nuggets and other animal products, thus leading to cross-contamination. 

This is a matter of concern for many in the vegan community who do not wish to consume any food that has come into contact with animal products.

Is KFC’s Beyond Chicken Cruelty-Free?

Yes, from the perspective of the ingredients, KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken is cruelty-free. No animals are harmed directly in the production of the plant-based nuggets themselves, which aligns with the philosophy of not eating animals. 

However, it’s worth noting again that the nuggets are deep-fried in the same fryers as regular chicken nuggets, which might not meet the strict criteria for some vegans.

Furthermore, KFC’s cruelty-free record is pretty poor. It’s been accused of gross animal cruelty in the past and even lost a lawsuit to PETA. If cruelty-free consumption is your priority, patronize a different fast-food restaurant.

What Is KFC’s Beyond Chicken Made Of?

KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken, plant-based chicken that offers a vegan alternative to traditional fried chicken, is made of a variety of ingredients:

  • Water
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Wheat gluten
  • Enriched wheat flour


Water, being a universal solvent, acts as the base of many food items, including these almost-vegan chicken nuggets. It’s completely vegan because it doesn’t involve any animal products in its sourcing or production. It’s just water.

Soy protein isolate

Soy protein isolate is a highly refined form of soy protein, often used in plant-based meat products for its texture and high protein content. It’s derived from soybeans, a plant-based source, making it vegan.

Wheat gluten

Wheat gluten, the source of seitan, or “wheat meat,” provides a meat-like texture to these vegan chicken nuggets. It’s derived from wheat, a plant source, and is completely vegan.

Enriched wheat flour

Enriched wheat flour is wheat flour that has nutrients added back in that are lost during the processing of whole wheat. It’s used as a binding agent in these nuggets and is also plant based and vegan.

Vegan Alternatives to KFC’s Beyond Chicken

While KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken may not meet the criteria for vegan certification, there are numerous alternatives available that are both plant based and vegan:

  • Store-bought vegan chicken nuggets from brands like Gardein and MorningStar Farms.
  • Homemade vegan chicken nuggets using tofu, seitan, or chickpeas as the base.
  • Plant-based options at other major chains like Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Chipotle.
  • Deep-fried cauliflower or tempeh, with vegan mayo and hot sauce.

Add in some vegan dipping sauces and you’ve got yourself a vegan meal to rival the heydays of Kentucky Fried Chicken, when people would eat literally anything.


While KFC’s Beyond Fried Chicken is an innovative attempt to provide plant-based options to traditional chicken nuggets, it does not fully meet vegan criteria due to the cooking process and potential cross-contamination. However, the attempt is commendable, though we’d like to see more effort from KFC in the future. 

Thankfully, for those strictly adhering to a vegan lifestyle, numerous alternatives exist. As the demand for vegan options increases, we hope restaurant chains like KFC and other brands will continue to adapt and innovate, offering certified vegan options and proper plant-based food in the future.