Are Popeyes Fries Vegan? (No, Here’s Why)

Are Popeyes Fries Vegan

Popeyes Chicken is a fast-food chain known best for its fried dishes involving its titular bird. But sometimes, Popeyes is all that’s available when you’re on the road and need to grab a quick snack. In such cases, it’s logical to assume that their French fries will be a suitable choice – after all, aren’t they just fried potatoes?

Popeyes French fries are not vegan, as they are fried in pig lard. Popeyes French fries are also prepared in a shared cooking environment with chicken and non-vegan ingredients, so the risk for cross-contamination is likely. The best vegan alternatives to Popeyes French fries are Cascadian Farm Crinkle Cut Fries and Alexia Frozen All Natural House Cut Fries.

Fortunately, you can rest assured that there are plenty of other snacks you can check out, whether you want to visit another fast-food chain or you’d rather pack your own snacks for healthy vegan alternatives. Let’s take a closer look at Popeyes French fries and break down what makes them technically vegan.

Non-Vegan Frying

Because Popeyes French fries are essentially seasoned potatoes, it would be more surprising if they weren’t vegan friendly by default. As opposed to onion rings, French fries are almost always vegan, provided they aren’t prepared with non-vegan seasonings or in non-vegan oils.

However, the Cajun-seasoned French fries at Popeyes are not vegan because they are fried in pig lard rather than vegetable oil. Pig lard, as you already know, is made from pigs. So anything made in pig lard, like these French fries, will never count as vegan-friendly.

On top of that, many other popular sides and other offerings at Popeyes are also fried in the same pig lard (in many cases, even in the same batch of lard as the French fries!). These include the Cajun Rice, Hash Browns, and Red Beans & Rice. These are also non-vegan because they are fried in the pig lard and in massive batches.

As a result, if you’re a vegan, you’re better off staying away from Popeyes overall in favor of other fast food eateries or sit-down restaurants. Popeyes may decide to change its frying plans in the future in favor of vegetable oil, but there aren’t any announced plans to do this just yet. You can’t order Popeyes Cajun fries to be made in any other type of oil because vegetable oil isn’t present at these restaurants (so even a sympathetic fry cook wouldn’t be able to help!).

Risk of Cross Contamination

Although the pig lard is the main factor disqualifying French fries from Popeyes as being vegan, there’s more to worry about.

As many vegans are probably aware, you can’t be too careful when it comes to cross-contamination. Cross-contamination means that ostensibly vegan food is prepared in a shared cooking environment or with shared tools that come into contact with non-vegan elements, like meat, dairy products, and so on.

Cross-contamination is by far the most common risk many vegans assume when they eat at fast-food restaurants like Popeyes. Therefore, Popeyes French fries would probably still be non-vegan even if they were fried in vegetable oil.

You’ll need to look elsewhere for your French fry fix. It’s unlikely that Popeyes will ever transition to a totally vegan safe cooking environment. After all, the restaurant chain is predicated on the popularity of its chicken products!

Popeyes Fries Nutrition Facts

Popeyes only offers a single type of French fry product: Cajun season French fries. These French fries then come in two different sizes, although the ingredients and nutrition info are shared between both (i.e. there aren’t any additional sauces or ingredients added to the “large” size of French fry compared to the regular size).

With that said, let’s break down the ingredients and nutrition info for Popeyes French fries so you know what to expect if you were to take a bite.

Its ingredients are:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable oil
  • Bleached enriched wheat flour
  • Modified food starch
  • Yellow cornmeal salt
  • Spices
  • Paprika
  • Dehydrated garlic
  • Leavening
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Dehydrated Worcestershire sauce
  • Sugar
  • Disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate

Nutrition info (per 1 basket of fries):

  • 268 cal
  • 14 g fat
  • 4 mg cholesterol
  • 587 mg sodium
  • 33 g carbohydrates
  • 3 g fiber
  • 4 g protein

As you can see, there’s no non-vegan ingredient to be found anywhere. Once more, however, these French fries are prepared in a shared cooking environment. Since Popeyes is famous for its chicken products, there’s definitely a chance that chicken particles or other non-vegan elements could end up in your fry order by accident.

On top of that, the French fries are fried in pig lard at every Popeyes location. You won’t find even a single location that deviates from this recipe as the pig lard helps the French fries to retain their unique flavor compared to other fast food restaurants. The pig lard is responsible for the above cholesterol and high sodium you see in the nutrition break down.

Vegan Alternatives to Popeyes Fries

While the Cajun fries at Popeyes may not be truly vegan-friendly (or even all that healthy), you’ll be pleased to know that there are lots of healthy vegan alternatives to these French fried snacks.

In fact, you can pick up vegan French fries that you can make right at home – this way, you’ll know that they are vegan from their ingredients and since you can control any risk for cross-contamination. As an added bonus, these healthier vegan alternatives are definitely not fried in pig lard.

Let’s break down some of the best vegan alternatives to Popeyes one by one. You can even combine these with vegan ketchup or other toppings depending on how you like to eat your fried potatoes!

Spudsy Vegan Ranch Sweet Potato Fries

Spudsy Sweet Potato Fries | Vegan, Gluten Free Veggie Straws | Plant-Based, Allergen-free, Non-GMO, Kosher, Superfood Snack | 2 Pack, 4 oz Bags (Cheese Fry / Vegan Ranch Fry Variety)Spudsy’s Vegan Ranch Sweet Potato Fries are a stellar example of healthy vegan alternatives to fast-food French fries from any restaurant. True to their name, these French fries are made for vegans from the get-go and are made from sweet potatoes; as a result, they have a unique flavor. On top of that, they are non-GMO and totally grain-free, plus free of the top eight allergens. All in all, they’re about as healthy as you can get for French fries.

Its ingredients are:

  • Potato starch
  • Sweet potato flour
  • Sunflower oil
  • Potato flakes
  • Potato granules
  • Tapioca syrup solids
  • Tapioca maltodextrin
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Sugar
  • Spices
  • Citric acid
  • Yeast extract
  • Lactic acid
  • Natural flavoring
  • Annatto

Nutrition info (per 1 oz):

  • 140 cal
  • 7 g fat or 9% DV
  • 290 mg sodium or 13% DV
  • 19 g carbohydrates or 7% DV
  • 1 g fiber or 4% DV
  • 1 g sugar
  • 50 mg calcium or 4% DV
  • 3 mg iron or 2% DV
  • 80 mg potassium or 2% DV

Cascadian Farm Organic Crinkle-Cut Fries

CASCADIAN FARM ORGANIC CHEWY GRANOLA BARS VANILLA CHIP, 1.2 oz, 6 ct (Pack of 6) Alternatively, you could go with these organic crinkle-cut Fries from Cascadian Farms. As their name suggests, they are made with organic ingredients only and they are totally suitable for vegan diets. They are also totally milk-free, wheat-free, soy-free, and free of other common allergens. They’re easy on your stomach and they taste great, too, making them a suitable side dish for any veggie burger or dinner delight.

Its ingredients are:

  • Organic potatoes
  • Organic canola oil

Nutrition info (per 85 g):

  • 100 cal
  • 5 g fat or 4% DV
  • 18 g carbohydrates or 6% DV
  • 1 g fiber or 4% DV
  • 1 g sugar
  • 2 g protein

Alexia Frozen All Natural House Cut Fries

Lastly, consider Alexia’s All Natural House Cut Fries. These French fried potatoes are made with natural sea salt and only include five simple ingredients, so you never need to worry about adding synthetic chemicals to your diet by accident. Naturally, they are totally vegan friendly and even have a unique flavor thanks to apple juice concentrate and citric acid, which promote browning in the fries while they cook.

Its ingredients are:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable oil
  • Sea salt
  • Apple juice concentrate
  • Citric acid

Nutrition info (per 3 oz):

  • 130 cal
  • 5 g fat or 4% DV
  • 200 mg sodium or 9% DV
  • 23 g carbohydrates or 8% DV
  • 2 g fiber or 7% DV
  • 1 g sugar
  • 2 g protein
  • 410 mg potassium or 8% DV
  • 11 mg calcium
  • 36 mg iron or 2% DV

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Popeyes French fries are indeed vegan in the technical sense, as they don’t include any non-vegan ingredients. But you should keep in mind that they are prepared in a cross-contaminated environment. You may wish to pack your own vegan-friendly snacks so you never run the risk of cross-contamination.

Related Questions

Does Popeyes offer any vegan options?

Generally, no – your only real options are a few toppings or desserts. We recommend going elsewhere if you’re a vegan.

Do the French fries at Popeyes contain any meat?

No. However, the French fries at Popeyes still are not vegan due to being cooked in pig lard.

Are the French fries at Popeyes dairy free?

Yes, as there aren’t any dairy products included in their recipes or in their frying method.

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Choosing Nutrition Team

Here at Choosing Nutrition, our goal is to help people with making smarter food choices. Whether you're wondering about vegan, keto, paleo, or other diets, we'll help you determine which options fit your nutritional lifestyle. Our staff is composed of registered dieticians, nutritionists, and health-conscious individuals.

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