Applebee’s vegan options – Complete guide (2023)

Eating at Applebee’s can be a challenge for vegan eaters, but it is possible. The well-known fast-food chain tends to have some great vegan choices, but this can depend on the menu at the location you choose to visit. These options include a vegan burger, many sides, a few salads, and even an appetizer or two.

Maybe not at the level of Slutty Vegan, but overall Applebee’s has some great vegan items including Impossible burger, multiple sides, salad, and maybe even an appetizer depending on your local Applebee’s menu choices.

Quick summary

  • There are 19 fully vegan, plant based options at Applebee’s incuding sides and salads
  • There are 9 non-vegan items, that can be made plant based by substituting some of the ingredients (mostly the entrées and the main dishes)
  • Beware, that there are cross-contamination issues, they use the same oil and frier for all the food
  • Impossibble burger is not available at all locations

Is it easy to be vegan at Applebee’s?

In a word, it isn’t. Theplant based options were once pretty limited, but it is getting easier to be vegan at Applebee’s.

The American fast-food chain was not always so vegan-friendly. The cooking processes used to include things such as animal lard, but they updated their cooking processes as well as some of the items they serve. Many people who enjoy a plant-based diet may have no clue that Applebee’s has added some vegan items.

Some locations still lack plant based menu items, even Impossible burger is not available at every Applebee’s, but many carry the majority of the items listed here. Hopefully, their menu grows in the future to include more plant-based options. First, let’s take a closer look at the menu.

Appetizers / Entrées

Brew Pub Pretzels & Beer Cheese Dip

Luckily, the crunchy pretzel sticks are accidentally Vegan, so the only thing that must be substituted is the dip. I would recommend the chipotle lime salsa or marinara sauce.

White Queso Dip & Chips

The freshly made corn tortilla is 100 percent cruelty-free, however, the dip contains dairy. The most suitable substitute is the guacamole in my opinion. It is very similar to Starbuck’s guacamole spread, which is also vegan luckily.

How about the frier and oil?

In the past, Applebee’s used oil that contained animal lard, but today you can enjoy both of these appetizers on a vegan diet. Thankfully all Applebee’s use vegetable oils (soybean in particular) that are trans-fat free. But please note that they use the same oil and frier for meat and dairy products, so there may be cross-contamination.


Luckily, Applebee’s has a pretty good vegan guide and there are many things to look forward to safely. 

The Impossible Burger (not all locations)

Delicious hand-crafted burger with 100 percent plant-based Impossible Patty topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and cheese. Make sure that they exclude the last one. The only downside is that it isn’t available at all locations.

Oriental Chicken Salad

A colorful salad that comes with various Asian greens, rice noodles, and Oriental vinaigrette. It is served with Applebee’s signature breadstick brushed with garlic butter and parsley. You must exclude the chicken and substitute the garlic butter for a vegan friendly meal (see below).

Southwest Chicken Bowl

The southwest chicken bowl comes with fresh and healthy mixed greens, cilantro rice, house-made pico de gallo, black bean corn salsa, and guacamole. Finally topped with chimichurri, tortilla strips, and a fresh lime wedge. The only non-vegan ingredients are the chicken and the dressing, so ask the meal without them, or substitute these options.

Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad

The flavorful healthy salad is served with garden tomatoes, red onions, and delicious fresh strawberries. In the end, It is topped with sliced almonds, a drizzle of balsamic glaze, and sweet lemon olive vinaigrette on the side. The plate comes with the signature breadstick. Luckily, it isn’t hard to make it vegan-friendly. Make sure that you exclude the chicken and substitute the dressing.

Are there any vegan pasta?

The noodles itself is free from animal ingredients, however, there are no pasta dishes that could be satisfying. The “Breadsticks with Alfredo Sauce” belongs to the pasta, so you can order it with vegan sauce.

Vegan-friendly menu items altogether

Those are all the vegan main courses you can order at this time. If none of those items sound appetizing, Applebee’s has some decent sides to choose from that can build a simple vegan meal or add some bulk to one of the above salads. Let’s take a look at all of their vegan sides.

All the Vegan Sides, Potato & Salads

applebees vegan options
  • Baked potato (no butter or sour cream)
  • Basket of French Fries
  • Seasoned Fries
  • Steamed Broccoli (request no butter)
  • Apple Sauce
  • Side House Salad (no cheese, see non-diary, egg-free dressings like Olive Oil Vinaigrette below)
  • Salad Greens with Fruit and Veggies
  • Grilled Onions (off-menu but can be ordered as a topping)
  • Guacamole

Some Applebee’s locations may also carry corn. You can make the corn vegan by requesting no butter. Surprisingly, most locations do not have corn, so this vegan side is a treat for just a few of us. Other than the items listed above, there are no more vegan-friendly sides to order at Applebee’s. Hopefully, they add a few more options for plant-based eaters in the future.

Salad Dressings & Sauces

  • Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette
  • Fat-Free Italian
  • Champagne Vinaigrette
  • Sweet & Spicy Sauce
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Pico De Gallo
  • Chimichurri Sauce
  • Chunky Roma Pepper Relish
  • Black Bean Corn Salsa
  • Chunky Roma Pepper Relish
  • Chipotle Lime Salsa
  • Marinara

Also, there is a pretty good video on how to order vegan at Applebee’s by Vince Lia: 

Is That All The Vegan Options?

Other than the drinks they serve, that is all they offer as far as Applebee’s vegan food.

Like with all restaurants, they also update their menu regularly, and also have a helpful Allergen Guide.

Keep in mind that the breadsticks, onion rings, and the toasted brioche bun all contain ingredients that are not dairy-free or vegan-friendly, such as milk, eggs, and butter. Many pasta dishes and desserts available at Applebee’s can be made vegetarian with a few changes, but unfortunately, they can not be made vegan. Their soups are not vegan either, and most contain beef broth. For now, you will have to skip those items and hope they make some changes in the future.

When you order at Applebee’s there is always a risk of cross-contamination. That can be a deal-breaker for some. If you are not worried about that, there are enough items on their vegan menu to make a decent meal. Someday, if they make their Impossible Burger available at all locations, it will be easy to enjoy an entirely vegan meal at them. You can check here which fast-food chain has Impossible Burger!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Applebee’s have vegan options?

They added many vegan menu items lately, so you can enjoy things like Fries, Chips & Salsa, Impossible Burger without cheese, Southwestern Chicken Salad or Oriental Chicken Salad. For the full list, check out our article above! Remember, when you order at Applebee’s there is always a risk of cross-contamination.

Are Applebees pretzels vegan?

Yes, Applebee’s pretzels are vegan, but you have to remember not to order honey mustard or cheese dip with it.

Are Applebee’s breadsticks vegan?

According to their guide, it is vegan, just make sure you exclude buttery garlic.

Are Applebee’s fries vegan?

Applebee’s fries are vegan, however, cross-contamination can be an issue because the fries may be cooked in the same fryer as any meat products at the restaurant.

Are Applebee’s onion rings vegan?

Unfortunately, Applebee’s Crunchy Onion Rings are not vegan because they contain dairy.

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