Aside from a few sides, bread items and veggie toppings, there aren't a lot of vegan options at Sonic. Sonic is a fast-food chain that's famous for it's servers delivering your food on roller skates. Most locations also have a drive thru if you don't want the full experience. Sonic Drive-In isn't a place where you'd expect to find a lot of vegan options. And you'd be right. But, since they do not use any animal lard in their frying oil like many fast-food chains do, they do have some vegan-friendly options.
Sonic was founded in 1953 in Shawnee, Oklahoma. It was originally called Top Hat Drive-In. Sonic is only located in the United States and currently has over 3,500 locations nationwide. It serves a lot of hot dogs, burgers, fried foods, slushies, and ice cream treats. So what's vegan at sonic? Let's check out the menu items.
Sonic's Vegan Options
First, not all options are available at all Sonic locations. If you happen to be at one that has a Veggie Burger, you might think this is your best bet. It isn't! The Veggie Burger patty contains dairy products. You'll have to be a little more creative if you want to make a full meal. I'd recommend having one of their bread items and then putting a bunch of vegan toppings on it. Luckily, there are several vegan bread choices. You'll notice that a few options "may contain dairy and egg". This is a personal choice whether or not you eat those. We do not have an allergy to them so I'm not worried about "may contain".
Vegan Bread Items:
- Soft Pretzel Twist
- Hamburger Bun (may contain dairy and egg)
- Hoagie Bun
- Hot Dog Bun (may contain dairy and egg)
- Texas Toast (may contain dairy and egg)
- Tortilla (may contain dairy and egg)
Bread Items that Contain Milk - STAY AWAY:
- Brioche bun
Vegan Sandwich Toppings:
- Dill pickle chips and spears
- Hatch green chiles
- Diced onion
- Sport peppers
- Sweet pickle relish
Dairy-Free and Egg-Free Sauces and Condiments:
- Buffalo Sauce
- Celery Salt
- Hickory BBQ
Vegan Condiment Packets:
- BBQ Sauce
- Grape Jelly
- Lime Juice
- Marinara Sauce
- Salsa de Sonic
- Strawberry Jam
- Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Sweet Relish
What about the side items? Since Sonic doesn't fry their sides in animal lard (they use vegetable oil), there are actually some vegan sides to choose from. One note is that they do not have a dedicated fryer so there is always the risk of cross contamination. But that is a risk at almost any fast-food restaurant chain.
Vegan-friendly Side Options:
- Onion Rings
Yes, you read that correctly. Sonic’s onion rings are actually vegan! That is rare in the fast-food world and a reason for hungry vegans to celebrate. Sonic’s tater tots and fries also do not contain any animal products.
NEW: Sonic recently released a new menu item - Pickle Fries! You may be wondering if pickle fries are vegan. Unfortunately, they have not released the ingredients or allergy information yet for the pickle fries. However, there is another menu item called Pickle O's and they contain dairy. Most fried pickles that you find in restaurants contain dairy in the batter and sometimes also egg. So until they release the information, it's best to stay away from the pickle fries.
Most of Sonic's drink options do not contain any dairy. The exceptions are their Cold Brew Iced Coffee, Hot Chocolate, and Milk (obviously). What about all of their Flavor Add-Ins and Syrups? The only one that contains dairy is their Cheesecake Syrup.
Vegan Drink Options:
- Barq's Root Beer
- Big Red
- Canada Dry Ginger Ale
- Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, and Diet Coke
- Dr. Pepper and Diet Dr. Pepper
- Fanta Orange
- Fresh Brewed Sweet and Unsweet tea
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Hot Coffee
- Hi-C Fruit Punch
- Mello Yellow
- Minute Maid Apple Juice and Orange Juice
- Sprite and Sprite Zero
- Sun Drop
- Bottled Water
Vegan Add-Ins and Syrups:
- Blackberry Sugar-Free Syrup
- Blue Coconut Syrup
- Blue Raspberry Syrup
- Cherry Syrup
- Diet Cherry Sugar-Free Syrup
- French Vanilla Syrup
- Grape Syrup
- Mango Sugar-Free Syrup
- Peach Sugar-Free Syrup
- Raspberry Sugar-Free Syrup
Frozen and Ice Cream Items and Sweet Toppings
Yes, their vanilla ice cream contains milk (the cone doesn't) and there isn't any vegan ice cream. But there are a few other frozen food items that do not contain dairy.
Vegan Frozen Items:
- Lemonade Slush
- Limeade Slush
- Plain Slush Base
Vegan Sweet Toppings and Add-Ins:
- Chocolate fudge topping (may contain diary)
- Fresh banana
- Graham crumbs
- Maraschino cherries
- Oreo cookie pieces
- Peanut butter topping
- Strawberry topping
All of the information provided came from the Sonic Allergen Guide.
Vegan Meal Ideas
While they don't have any vegan meal options, you can make up some decent options. Once you have your bread choice, you can add on the toppings and sauces, most of which do not contain any animal products. You'll then have a "veggie sandwich".
- Try a hoagie roll with avocado, lettuce, tomato, diced onions, and a side of tots.
- Or how about a bagel with avocado and a side of onion rings.
These aren't great meals, but if you find yourself at a Sonic these are decent options.
Fried Pickles Recipe
So if you're really excited about trying Sonic's new Pickle Fries but are staying away because we don't know yet if they're vegan, you can just make your own fried pickles! This recipe for Crispy Deep Fried or Air Fried Pickles by Veganosity gives options for how the fried pickles are cooked. They are quick to prepare and contain simple ingredients:
- dill pickle chips or spears
- all-purpose flour
- plant-based milk
- panko breadcrumbs
- seasonings (cumin, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper)
Like most fast-food restaurants, Sonic’s menu is not full of vegan food but there are some options that can fit in a vegan diet. You can make your own sandwich using a dairy-free bread, some vegetable toppings and dairy-free sauces. There are a few side options that do not contain animal ingredients - most importantly their vegan onion rings! And there are lots of soft drinks to choose from. Hopefully in the future there will be a vegan burger (how about an Impossible burger or a Beyond burger?) and some other meal options to choose from.
Wondering what's vegan at other chain and fast-food restaurants? Check out: