Are Mcdonald’s Hash Browns Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

September 13, 2023

Greetings, compassionate consumers! Today, we’re tackling a question that’s been buzzing in our community: Is the McDonald’s Hash Brown vegan? 

Determining whether or not this product is vegan is difficult. This is because of the way that manufacturers hide the true nature of their ingredients.

In the following article, we will uncover the truth about these crispy hash browns and support you in your vegan lifestyle, making the choice that much easier.

Are Mcdonald’s Hash Browns Vegan?

No, McDonald’s Hash Browns are not vegan in all countries.

In the United States, McDonald’s Hash Browns contain natural beef flavor, which may or may not contain real beef, but certainly contains milk, making the hash browns unsuitable for vegans.

In Canada and Australia, hash browns are not certified as vegan due to potential cross-contamination.

However, in the UK, McDonald’s Hash Browns are certified as suitable for vegans.

Are Mcdonald’s Hash Browns Cruelty-Free?

No, McDonald’s Hash Brown is not cruelty-free. In fact, McDonald’s is not a cruelty-free company.

As far as general animal cruelty goes, how it treats the animals it uses for ingredients, according to the Humane Society, McDonald’s could do a lot better. You can read its Animal Health & Welfare guidelines here.

Furthermore, the corn flour and dextrose used in the Hash Browns is probably made from GMO corn. GMOs are tested on animals to ensure their safety for human consumption. Therefore, nothing that includes GMOs can be considered cruelty-free.

What Are Mcdonald’s Hash Browns Made Of?

Here are the standard ingredients in McDonald’s hash browns:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable oil that includes natural beef flavor from milk
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Corn flour
  • Stabilizer
  • Dextrose
  • Sodium acid pyrophosphate
  • Extractives of black pepper

In some countries, the ingredients may also include sodium acid pyrophosphate, dimethylpolysiloxane, disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate, citric acid, emulsifier, antioxidant, or vegetable monoglyceride, and, of course, the dreaded natural beef flavor in the US.


Potatoes are the main ingredient in McDonald’s Hash Browns. They are a plant-based ingredient, which means they are vegan. However, the way they are prepared and what they are cooked with can affect their vegan status.

Vegetable oil

Vegetable oil is a vegan ingredient. But this vegetable oil includes (canola oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor made from wheat and milk derivatives. It is not vegan because it contains natural beef flavor made from milk.


Salt is a mineral and is therefore vegan.


Pepper is a spice derived from plants, making it vegan.

Corn flour

Corn flour is a thickening agent derived from corn, a plant, making it vegan.


The stabilizer used in McDonald’s Hash Browns is diphosphates. This is a synthetic compound and is generally considered vegan.


Dextrose is a sugar derived from starches, like corn, and is vegan.

Sodium acid pyrophosphate

This is an inorganic compound made up of sodium cations and pyrophosphate anion. It’s vegan.

Extractives of black pepper

Black pepper is a spice. It’s vegan.

McDonald’s Hash Browns Around the World

Are McDonald’s Hash Browns Vegan in the UK?

Yes. The UK McDonald’s Hash Brown is vegan. It does not contain any animal products and is prepared separately from any non-vegan items.

Are McDonald’s Hash Browns Vegan in the US?

No. The US McDonald’s Hash Brown is not vegan. It contains ‘natural beef flavor’ which includes milk and potentially beef derivatives.

Are McDonald’s Hash Browns Vegan in Canada?

Kinda, maybe, but not really. The Canadian McDonald’s Hash Brown is not certified as vegan due to potential cross-contamination with animal products during the cooking process, but there are no animal products or by-products in the hash browns.

Are McDonald’s Hash Browns in Australia?

Again, not really, but sort of. The Australian McDonald’s Hash Brown is not certified as vegan due to potential cross-contamination with animal products during the cooking process, but no animal products or by-products are in the actual hash browns.

Vegan Alternatives to Mcdonald’s Hash Brown

If you’re looking for vegan alternative brands to McDonald’s Hash Browns, consider making your own hash browns at home using vegan-friendly ingredients. You can also look for vegan-certified frozen hash browns at your local grocery store.

Some restaurants and fast food chains offer vegan hash browns, but always double-check the ingredients and cooking process to ensure they meet your dietary needs.

Here are just a few restaurants and manufacturers that offer vegan hash browns:

  • Burger King
  • Dr. Praegers
  • Alexia 
  • IHOP


So there you have it! Not all McDonald’s Hash Browns are created equal.

In the US, they sneak in a natural beef flavor — a no-go for us plant-based folks. And in Canada and Australia, there’s a risk of cross-contamination, which doesn’t sit well with me either.

But hey, there’s a silver lining! If you’re in the UK, you’re in luck — the McDonald’s Hash Browns in the UK are certified vegan.

So, my fellow vegans, let’s stay vigilant. Always scrutinize those ingredients and cooking methods to make sure they align with our plant-powered lifestyle.