What Are the Vegan Options at Chicken Express? (2021)

Chicken Express is one of those restaurants that just wasn’t intended for vegans at all… Not only are the vegan options scarce—it’s hard to even figure out what’s vegan. However, today I’m using my 13 years of vegan dining experience to help map out the options.

Vegan options at Chicken Express:

  • Corn on the Cob (No Butter)
  • Seasoned Italian Green Beans (Confirm with Staff)
  • Fried Apple Turnover
  • Buffalo Sauce
  • Marinara Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Ketchup and Other Condiments
  • Fresh Brewed Iced Tea
  • Coca-Cola Products

Below, I’ll share more about how to order these items vegan, and some other menu items that are surprisingly NOT vegan. I’ll share everything I was able to figure out about the fries—and I’ll end with a quick look at the whole-food plant-based options!

Chicken Express Vegan Menu

The following vegan menu was compiled with the help of the nutrition and allergen information on the Chicken Express website. However, it was difficult to confirm stuff 100%. This is because, so far, I’ve been unable to confirm the cooking oil used at Chicken Express (or if it varies by location).

I hope to update this post with more detailed information when I’m able to figure out even more. But for now, I’ll share what I was able to deduce from available information and my 13 years of vegan dining experience.

Restaurant menus change and often vary by location. I recommend double checking any important information with staff at your location!

1. Corn on the Cob (No Butter)

One of the safest vegan items to order at Chicken Express is the corn on the cob. Corn on the cob is typically just boiled or steamed, and any butter would only be added after cooking. So this is easy to order with no butter and make sure it’s vegan.

Personally, I would get two cobs or more—because there’s not a lot else!

2. Seasoned Italian Green Beans (Confirm with Staff)

The Green Beans appear to be vegan from the information I could find. (There are no allergens and no cholesterol listed for this product.) However, I would check to confirm this at your location.

You want to make sure there is no butter, no lard, and no meat included. The nutrition facts show 0g of total fat, and I didn’t see any meat from the picture—so there’s not a huge risk—but I’d ask to confirm.

3. Fried Apple Turnover

The Fried Apple Turnover appears to be vegan—it contains no allergens and no cholesterol. And indeed, I’ve seen other restaurants that offer vegan fruit turnovers—so this would not be shocking.

However, I would try to confirm with staff at your location that it does not contain lard in the crust. As I’ve documented with my own research, about 58% of pie crusts are vegan—but that means about 42% are not. So I’d double check!

Note: The Fried Cherry Turnover contains dairy.

4. Sauces and Extras

There are a decent selection of vegan sauces:

  • Buffalo Sauce
  • Marinara Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Heinz Ketchup

You could also get any of these Addins (originally meant for the “Chicken Express Blends”):

  • Strawberry
  • Mango
  • Strawberry Banana
  • Peach

Note: The “OREO” and “Chocolate” Addins both contain dairy.

5. Beverages

There are plenty of vegan drinks to choose from:

  • Fresh Brewed Iced Tea
  • Coca-Cola
  • Diet Coke
  • Sprite
  • Dr. Pepper
  • Diet Dr. Pepper
  • Lemonade
  • Fruit Punch
  • Powerade
  • Bottled Water

But What About…

You might think some of the following items would be vegan, too—but unfortunately they’re not:

  • The Fried Okra contains dairy.
  • The Fried Pickle Slices contain dairy.
  • The Mashed Potatoes contain dairy.
  • The Biscuits contain dairy and egg.
  • The Yeast Rolls contain dairy.
  • The Fried Cherry Turnover contains dairy.

Now let’s answer some common questions about eating vegan at Chicken Express.

Are Chicken Express Fries Vegan?

Chicken Express fries appear not to be vegan. I have two reasons to suspect this. First, I’ve heard from one source that Chicken Express uses lard for their fried foods, although I was not able to confirm this. Second, the allergen menu says the french fries come with dairy, although this may just be a dip you can decline.

Whole-Food Plant-Based Options

What if you’re not just vegan but also trying to avoid processed foods? Can you get a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) meal at Chicken Express? That means no processed sugar, oil, or flour.

Well, strangely enough, yes.

Just get the Corn on the Cob. Corn on the cob is a whole food. It’s obviously not as nutritious as something like a salad, but it’s not processed in any way.

It’s also possible that the Green Beans are also WFPB. I would suspect there might be oil used in the preparation, but the nutrition facts report 0g of fat. They just seem to be packed with sodium (600mg).

More Vegan Guides to Restaurants

I’ve made vegan guides to nearly 100 restaurant chains. Check out the vegan options at some of these other similar chains:

Two More Recommendations for Your Vegan Journey

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