Is McDonald’s Oatmeal Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

August 4, 2023

Unraveling the complexities of whether a product is vegan or not can often feel like a daunting journey. 

It’s almost as if manufacturers have their own secret language, concealing the true essence of their ingredients from us. 

But guess what? I’m here to help us crack this code together! As your guide in this vegan adventure, I’m committed to shedding light on the truth and supporting you in sustaining a lifestyle that reflects your principles. 

So, let’s find out the truth about Mcdonald’s oatmeal.

Is McDonald’s Oatmeal Vegan?

Unfortunately, McDonald’s oatmeal is not vegan. This is due to the presence of non-vegan ingredients such as cream and milk, as well as natural flavor, which may contain milk derivatives.

Is McDonald’s Oatmeal Cruelty-Free?

Regrettably, McDonald’s oatmeal is not cruelty-free. The inclusion of dairy products like cream, which involve the use of animals in their production, prevents it from being a cruelty-free option.

Plus, McDonald’s is simply not a cruelty-free company. If a cruelty-free lifestyle is your priority, you’re better off getting your fast food from somewhere else, like Chipotle.

What Is McDonald’s Oatmeal Made Of?

McDonald’s oatmeal is composed of the following ingredients:

  • Oatmeal
  • Water
  • Whole grain rolled oats
  • Brown sugar
  • Modified food starch
  • Salt
  • Natural flavor
  • Barley malt extract
  • Caramel color
  • Apples
  • Calcium ascorbate (a blend of calcium and vitamin c to maintain color)
  • Sweetened dried cranberries (sugar, cranberries)
  • California raisins
  • Golden raisins
  • Sunflower oil
  • Sulfur dioxide (a preservative)
  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Sodium phosphate
  • Datem
  • Sodium stearoyl lactylate
  • Sodium citrate
  • Carrageenan


The term “oatmeal” typically refers to a type of coarse flour made from hulled oat grains (groats) that have either been milled (ground) or steel-cut. Oatmeal is entirely plant based and vegan.


Water is a universal solvent used in almost all food items, including oatmeal. It doesn’t raise any concerns about veganism.

Whole Grain Rolled Oats

Whole grain rolled oats are derived from the oat plant. They are steamed, rolled, and dried to give them their distinctive shape. They add texture and a hearty, grainy taste to the oatmeal. Whole grain oats are entirely plant based and therefore, are vegan.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar is derived from sugarcane or sugar beets. It adds sweetness to the oatmeal. While sugar itself is vegan, some sugar production processes involve bone char, which can complicate its vegan status.

Modified Food Starch

Modified food starch is a processed form of starch that improves the texture and consistency of foods. It is usually vegan, as it’s typically derived from corn, potato, or tapioca.


Salt is a mineral that enhances the flavor of food. It is vegan.

Natural Flavor

Natural flavor is a broad term that can include a variety of plant and animal ingredients. The specific natural flavor used in McDonald’s oatmeal could potentially contain non-vegan ingredients.

Barley Malt Extract

Barley malt extract is derived from barley and is used to provide sweetness and flavor to foods. It is plant-based and is typically considered vegan.

Caramel Color

Caramel color is a very common food coloring made by heating a form of sugar. It is generally considered vegan.


Apples are a common fruit that add a natural sweetness and crunch to the oatmeal. They are entirely plant based and vegan.

Calcium Ascorbate

Calcium ascorbate is a mineral compound used as a preservative and to maintain the color of the apples. It is vegan.

Sweetened Dried Cranberries

Sweetened dried cranberries provide a tart, fruity flavor to the oatmeal. They are vegan.

California Raisins

California raisins are dried grapes that add a concentrated sweetness to the oatmeal. They are vegan.

Golden Raisins

Golden raisins are dried white grapes that have been treated with sulfur dioxide to preserve their color. They are vegan.

Sunflower Oil

Sunflower oil is a plant-based oil used in food preparation. It is vegan.

Sulfur Dioxide

Sulfur dioxide is a preservative used to maintain the color and freshness of dried fruits. While vegan, some individuals may choose to avoid it due to potential health concerns.


Milk is a dairy product derived from cows. It is used in the light cream component of the oatmeal, and it is not vegan.


Cream, also a dairy product derived from cows, is used to add a rich, creamy texture to the oatmeal. It is not vegan.

Sodium Phosphate

Sodium phosphate is a salt used to control the pH of foods. It’s typically vegan.


Datem is an acronym for “Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Monoglycerides,” and it’s used as an emulsifier. It is typically vegan.

Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate

Sodium stearoyl lactylate is a versatile food additive used as an emulsifier and stabilizer. It can be derived from plant or animal sources, but the majority used in food is plant-based. It is typically vegan.

Sodium Citrate

Sodium citrate is a salt used to control the acidity of foods. It is vegan.


Carrageenan is a substance extracted from red and purple seaweeds, used as a thickening agent in foods. It is vegan.

McDonald’s Oatmeal Varieties

Is McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal Without Brown Sugar Vegan?

No. This variety of McDonald’s oatmeal is not vegan, as it still contains cream and milk.

Is McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal With Brown Sugar Vegan?

No. Despite its enticing name, this variety is also not vegan because of the cream and milk.

Is McDonald’s Fruit and Maple Oatmeal With Apples Vegan?

This oatmeal variety is not vegan either. It contains the same non-vegan ingredients: cream and milk.

Vegan Alternatives to McDonald’s Oatmeal

If you’re seeking vegan options at McDonald’s, you’re in luck. McDonald’s has been slowly expanding its vegan menu options, in response to the growing demand for plant-based foods

Here are some vegan alternatives to McDonald’s oatmeal:

  • Apple Slices: A simple, yet satisfying option for a light snack.
  • Side Salad: A refreshing mix of veggies. Just make sure to choose a vegan-friendly dressing.
  • Spicy Veggie Wrap: Made without any animal products, this wrap is a filling and flavorful option.
  • McPlant Burger: McDonald’s vegan burger option, just make sure to order it without cheese or mayo.


So there you have it! While we’ve discovered that McDonald’s oatmeal isn’t vegan, remember that there are other gems hidden in the McDonald’s menu that align with our vegan lifestyle. 

Every time we choose these vegan-friendly brand options, we’re not just satisfying our hunger, but we’re also casting a vote for a healthier planet and a more compassionate world. So, let’s keep our spirits high and our choices conscious!