Is Burger King Onion Ring Sauce Vegan? Decoding Fast Food Condiments

Fast food outlets like Burger King have several sauce options you can request with your order. However, your options become more limited if you want a vegan sauce. The menu at Burger King has evolved to accommodate vegans, but remember that you may need to modify your order to ensure you aren’t getting a non-vegan product added.

Is Burger King Onion Ring Sauce Vegan?

The answer depends on what sauce you accompany your onion rings with. But hold on: Are the Onion Rings Vegan?

According to Cruelty-Free Reviews, Burger King’s Onion Rings are not vegan because their batter contains whey, a milk derivative. The vegan options at Burger King include Hash Browns, French Toast Sticks (egg and dairy free) served with a vegan-friendly syrup, Classic Fries, Garden Salad (without the cheese), and some dips and sauces. If you order their Classic Fries, you can choose from the following vegan sauces:

  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Zesty Sauce
  • Sweet & Sour Sauce
  • Italian Salad Dressing

These sauces are always available and animal-free. You may find other sauces without animal products at some locations, but it’s best always to read the ingredient lists.

In a sesame bun, Burger King’s Impossible Whopper contains a plant-based patty with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles. However, of the two condiments used on the Impossible Whopper, only the ketchup is vegan, not the mayonnaise. You can make it vegan by asking them to omit it. Another problem for some vegans is that the patty for the Whopper gets prepared on the same grills as their meat burgers. You can ask that they cook it separately without broiling it.

Non-vegan sauces at Burger King include:

  • Honey mustard sauce
  • Ranch Sauce
  • Buffalo Sauce contains milk
  • Ranch Sauce
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette (contains honey)

Ingredients in Burger King Onion Ring Sauce

One of the most popular sauces at Burger King, Zesty Sauce, usually accompanies an order of onion rings. Even if the onion rings aren’t vegan, you can still ask for the Zesty sauce with your fries since it’s vegan. The sauce contains a blend of ketchup, spices, onion, and garlic.

Decoding Fast Food Condiments

Condiments are the things we add to our food to enhance its flavor. However, most sauces served at fast food outlets have high-fat, salt, and even higher sugar content, meaning they contain loads of calories and no nutritional value.

Manufacturers of condiments use several names for sugar, meaning you may not recognize it on the packaging. These names all refer to sugar on condiment packaging – dextrose, sucrose, maltose, barley malt, rice syrup, corn syrup, and high-fructose are some.

In this article on How Stuff Works, we read that one meal from a fast-food restaurant includes far more than just the ingredients you can identify. Some come from animal products, some are synthetic, and others from plants.

Besides salt and sweeteners, sauces usually include the following:

1.     Citric Acid

Salt is not the only way to preserve food by inhibiting bacterial growth. Citric acid, an organic acid found in fruits, especially citrus fruits, is a chemical added to condiments to prevent the growth of bacteria without causing side effects.

2.     Caramel Color

Color makes foods and sauces look more appetizing. Some of the most common color additives used include Yellow No. 5, Yellow No. 6, and Red No. 40. These popularly used colors provide a yellow or red color where needed.

However, one of the most popular tints used in fast food menus is caramel color, providing a dark brown hue to foods. Most food colorants come from plant sources, except carmine, a popular red shade made from beetles, sometimes used in cosmetics, sauces, syrups, and candy.

3.     Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

MSG is used in Asian cuisine and fast-food outlets because it provides a rich flavoring that resembles meat or chicken. It’s a form of glutamate found naturally in many living things. The white powder initially came from seaweed in Asia, but most sources today come from fermenting carbohydrates from sugarcane, starch, sugar beets, and molasses.

Even though MSG is deemed safe for human consumption by the FDA, it can cause problems when large amounts are consumed on an empty stomach and by people with asthma.

4.     Niacin

Niacin or vitamin B3 is a common nutrient in fast foods and sauces. It’s introduced into several fast food meals, including buns and condiments, to enrich them with an ingredient commonly found in fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, poultry, and lean meats.

5.     Oils and Fats

Depending on your choice of sauce, you might get no fat or plenty of it. Ketchup has no fat, and mustard has very little, but mayonnaise contains 11.3 g per tablespoon and 10 grams for the vegan option.

6.     Mono- and Diglycerides

Emulsifiers help blend liquids that are usually difficult to combine and act as stabilizers. Eggs are commonly used as emulsifiers, but glycerides from vegetable and animal fats have become popular. These sources provide triglycerides broken down by enzymes to form the mono- and diglycerides frequently used in fast foods.

7.     Xanthan Gum

Sauces and salad dressings containing oil, vinegar, or other spices that don’t stay together require a thickening agent. Xanthan gum stabilizes emulsions and creates a smooth texture in foods, including ice cream. Xanthan gum is produced by bacterial fermentation from plant-based sources, meaning it’s vegan.

Tips for Eating Vegan at Burger King

Eating vegan at Burger King isn’t difficult, and you can get creative with the options available. Here are some tips:

  • ·      Order a veggie burger without mayonnaise and opt for ketchup instead.
  • ·      If you want onion rings, ask for Zesty Sauce on the side or order classic fries.
  • ·       Request that your meal is cooked in a separate part of the kitchen from meat products.
  • ·      Read ingredient lists carefully to make sure your sauce is vegan-friendly.

Home-Made Onion Ring Sauce

Home-made vegan condiments are also easy to make and a great way to avoid unhealthy additives. For example, try making your own vegan mayonnaise which only requires four ingredients – oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and mustard. This can be used as a dairy-free alternative to the Burger King mayo! You could even make your version of Burger King’s Zesty Onion Ring Sauce using onion, garlic, ketchup, and other spices you have at home.

Final Take

Fast-food chains still have limited vegan options, but they are trying to remedy that as more and more people make it their preferred lifestyle choice.

Even though Burger King has expanded its options by including a vegan burger, you must still remember to ask them to replace the mayonnaise with one of the vegan sauces. Ironically, Burger King Onion Sauce is vegan, whereas the breading for the onion rings the sauce is meant to accompany contains whey, an animal fat.

The basic fast-food condiments to best accompany your fries or hash browns (both vegan) are ketchup and mustard. If you want to try another of their sauces and are unsure whether they are animal-free, ask to see the ingredients on the packaging before ordering.

A few vegan food and sauce options are insufficient to attract people who want to avoid animal products. Cross-contamination remains one of the most significant issues for some vegans, meaning places like Burger King must address how to prepare vegan-friendly foods separately.


Are Burger King onion rings vegan?

No, Burger King onion rings are not vegan because the breading contains whey, an animal fat. The Onion Ring Sauce from Burger King’s is, however, vegan-friendly.

Is Burger King mayonnaise vegan?

No, the standard mayonnaise at Burger King contains egg yolks and is, therefore, unsuitable for vegans. However, various vegan sauces can now be requested instead of regular mayo.

Is Vegenaise vegan?

Vegenaise is a plant-based alternative to dairy products and eggs and is, therefore, 100% vegan. It’s a popular choice among vegans and often replaces mayo in sandwiches and other dishes.

Are fast food sauces vegan?

It depends on the individual sauce. Some contain animal-derived ingredients, while others are deemed vegan-friendly. It’s always best to check the label before ordering or consuming a sauce from a fast-food restaurant.

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