In recent years, the number of people choosing to follow a vegan or vegetarian diet has grown significantly. As a result, many fast food chains, including Dairy Queen, have started offering plant-based alternatives to their meat-based menu items.
What are the best Dairy Queen vegan and vegetarian options? Dairy Queen has some great salads, smoothies, slushies, and dressings that are friendly for vegans and vegetarians. You can also customize the menu items with vegan-friendly ingredients that suit your needs.
In this blog post, let’s take a closer look at the best vegan and vegetarian options that Dairy Queen has to offer.
What Is Dairy Queen Known For?
Dairy Queen is a beloved fast-food chain that has been known for its sweet and savory treats for over 80 years. The chain has more than 7,600 locations across the world, offering a wide range of menu items from sweet treats to smoothies and even hearty meals.
If there’s one thing that Dairy Queen is most famous for, it’s its selection of sweet treats. Dairy Queen is credited with inventing the soft serve, which is a creamy ice cream-like dessert that has become synonymous with the chain.
One of the most iconic Dairy Queen treats is the Blizzard, which was first introduced in 1985. The Blizzard is a blend of soft-serve ice cream and various toppings, such as candy, cookies, and fruits, and is served upside down to prove its thickness.
While Dairy Queen is most known for its delicious desserts, the chain also offers a range of food items that have helped set it apart from other fast-food joints.
One of the most popular Dairy Queen entrees is the DQ® Bakes! Chicken Bacon Ranch.
Sandwich, which is a crispy chicken fillet topped with bacon and cheddar cheese, served on a warm ciabatta roll with ranch dressing.
Dairy Queen also has a selection of hot dogs, burgers, and fries. Lastly, Dairy Queen is known for its family-friendly environment. Many Dairy Queen locations have seating areas, allowing for larger groups to enjoy meals together.
Vegan & Vegetarian Options at Dairy Queen
Although Dairy Queen is not known for its vegetarian and vegan meals and desserts, vegans and vegetarians can still get a satisfying meal when coming here with the whole family. Let’s take a look.
Vegan & Vegetarian Food Options
If you are looking for a filling meal, there are plenty of dishes on the menu at Dairy Queen that you can order or customize to make them vegan and vegetarian-friendly.
First up, let’s talk about the burger options. Dairy Queen has a deluxe cheeseburger that you can easily order without the cheese and meat.
This burger comes with lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles, as well as a slice of cheese and mayo. Just ask for it without the meat, and you have yourself a tasty vegetarian burger. You could also add on some extra veggies or avocado to make it even more delicious.
If you’re looking for a snack, Dairy Queen has pretzel sticks on the menu. Unfortunately, the queso dip that comes with them is not vegan-friendly. But you can still enjoy the pretzels without the dip or bring your own vegan dip to enjoy with them.
Another great snack option is their hash browns and French fries, which are both vegan. And if you’re in the mood for chips, Lay’s BBQ, Original, and Baked Potato Chips are all vegan-friendly.
If you are ordering fries or hash browns, keep in mind that there is a risk of cross-contamination as these dishes share a fryer and cooking space with other meat dishes on the menu. If you are a strict vegan, make sure to steer clear of these menu items.
For sides, Dairy Queen offers a side salad that you can customize to your liking. Choose from a variety of toppings like veggies and sunflower seeds, and pair it with one of their four vegan-friendly dressings.
Applesauce or a banana are also vegan sides, which makes them a good Dairy Queen vegan option!
They do offer a variety of non-dairy beverages, like soda and lemonade. And if you’re in the mood for coffee, they have a variety of hot and iced coffee options that can be made with non-dairy milk.
Vegan & Vegetarian Dressing Options
While the fast food chain isn’t typically known for its healthy food options, they do offer a variety of salad dressing choices that cater to a plant-based lifestyle.
Asian Sesame Dressing
First on the list is the Asian Sesame Dressing. This dressing is vegan-friendly and features a sweet and savory flavor profile with a tangy sesame twist.
Made with soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and a mix of spices, this dressing is an excellent choice for salads. It’s also low in calories and contains no cholesterol or saturated fats, making it a great option for those watching their weight.
Balsamic Vinaigrette is another Dairy Queen vegan option. This dressing is a classic favorite with a tangy and sweet taste that adds flavor to any salad.
Made with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and a touch of honey, this dressing option is free of preservatives, artificial colors, and flavors. And at just 80 calories per serving, it’s a guilt-free choice for those who want to watch their calorie intake.
Fat-Free California French-Style Dressing
If you’re looking for a dressing with no fat, then the Fat-Free California French Style Dressing is a perfect choice. This dressing is gluten-free and vegan-friendly, and it includes a blend of fresh herbs and spices that make it unique.
Made with a blend of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and Dijon mustard, the California French Style Dressing is a good option for those who want something low-calorie and flavorful.
Light Italian Dressing
Lastly, Dairy Queen offers a Light Italian Dressing that is both vegetarian and dairy-free. This dressing has the classic Italian flavors of oregano, basil, and garlic and is enhanced with tangy red wine vinegar.
It’s free of any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives and is a low-calorie alternative to traditional Italian dressings.
Vegan & Vegetarian Ice Cream Options
When it comes to ice cream, Dairy Queen has been a favorite among many for years. But for those who follow a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, the options at the popular chain might seem limited.
However, there are actually a few Dairy Queen vegan and vegetarian ice cream options that are worth trying. Let’s take a look.
Non-Dairy Dilly Bars
Dilly Bars are a classic Dairy Queen treat, and now you can enjoy a non-dairy version of it too. These bars are made with coconut cream and come in two flavors – chocolate and mint. They are gluten-free and vegan-friendly.
The best part? They taste just as good as the original Dilly Bars, with a creamy texture and a rich flavor.
Star Kiss Frozen Treats
In selected branches, Dairy Queen also offers Star Kiss Frozen Treats, which are vegan and dairy-free.
They come in three fruity flavors – raspberry, orange, and cherry. These frozen treats are made with real fruit juice and have a refreshing, slightly tangy taste. They are a perfect option for those who are looking for a lighter, healthier treat.
Vanilla or Chocolate Soft Serve
Vegetarians who can safely consume dairy can also enjoy Dairy Queen’s classic vanilla or chocolate soft-serve ice cream.
While these options aren’t vegan-friendly, as they contain both milk and eggs, they are still a great choice for anyone who avoids meat but still consumes dairy. These options can be enjoyed on their own or as a base for adding toppings like fruits, nuts, or chocolate chips.
Build Your Own Blizzard
Another great option for vegans and vegetarians at Dairy Queen is to build their own Blizzard.
While many of the pre-made Blizzard flavors contain milk or other animal products, you can customize your own by choosing non-dairy ice cream as a base and adding in your favorite mix-ins like peanut butter or strawberries.
Vegan & Vegetarian Smoothie Options
Dairy Queen also offers some delicious smoothie options for plant-based eaters. Let’s explore these tasty options.
The Misty Slush is a classic drink at Dairy Queen that comes in a variety of flavors, including cherry, grape, and blue raspberry. The best part? It’s 100% vegan-friendly!
This slushy drink is perfect for summer days and is a great alternative to Dairy Queen’s traditional milk-based shakes. With a tangy and fruity taste, the Misty Slush is sure to satisfy your cravings.
Papaya Paradise Light
If you’re looking for a smoothie that’s both nutritious and delicious, then look no further than the Papaya Paradise Light. This drink is made with real papaya and is blended with nonfat vanilla yogurt and pineapple juice.
It’s a rich source of minerals and vitamins and is perfect for a quick snack or breakfast. The Papaya Paradise Light is a vegetarian option, as it includes yogurt.
In addition to the Misty Slush and Papaya Paradise Light, Dairy Queen also offers a variety of “light” smoothies that are perfect for those who are health-conscious. These smoothies are made without dairy and real fruit.
They come in a variety of flavors, including strawberry banana, mango pineapple, and mixed berry. These smoothies are vegetarian-friendly and are a great way to enjoy a sweet treat without adding too many calories to your diet.
One of the best things about Dairy Queen is that they allow customers to customize their drinks to suit their preferences.
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian and want to make sure your drink is 100% plant-based, just let the staff know that you don’t want any milk or yogurt in your drink. They’ll be happy to accommodate your request and make sure you get a tasty and satisfying drink.
How to Navigate Dairy Queen Menu as a Vegan
Dairy Queen has plenty of options that contain animal products, but with the right knowledge and some modifications, you can easily navigate the Dairy Queen menu as a vegetarian or vegan. Let’s find out how you can order vegan-friendly meals at Dairy Queen.
Research Before You Go
Before heading to Dairy Queen, research their menu, including their ingredients and nutritional information. You will be able to identify vegan-friendly options and what menu items you need to avoid.
You can check Dairy Queen’s website for the full menu and nutritional information.
Get Creative With Substitutions
If you are looking for a vegan option, Dairy Queen has the non-dairy Dilly Bar and non-dairy Blizzard, which are both vegan-friendly.
Additionally, you can customize your order by substituting ingredients that are meat or dairy-free. For example, instead of a burger with cheese and mayo, you can order it without cheese or mayo and add guacamole or mustard instead.
Order from the Sides
Another hack for Dairy Queen vegan options is to order from the sides. You can get fries, onion rings, or a side salad without meat or dairy products.
Dipping sauces like barbecue, sweet and sour, or honey mustard also are vegan-friendly. You can also ask for a side of vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, and onions.
Watch for Hidden Animal Products
Dairy Queen has a few menu items that might seem vegan, but they’re not. For example, the Garden Chicken Salad contains cheese. Drinks, too, can have hidden animal products. For instance, some smoothies use yogurt as their base.
Therefore, it’s crucial to be vigilant and ask questions to clarify your doubts.
Speak up and Ask Questions
Lastly, one of the best ways to navigate Dairy Queen’s menu as a vegan is to ask questions. The Dairy Queen staff is always willing to help you choose appropriate vegan-friendly options.
You can ask for a menu or for the ingredients in a particular item. Additionally, you can request the staff to wash off grills and prep surfaces to avoid cross-contamination.
Is Dairy Queen Certified Vegan?
Unfortunately, as of now, none of Dairy Queen’s menu items are officially certified as vegan by any outside organization. That being said, there may still be some options worth exploring to find suitable substitutes for Dairy and other animal-based ingredients.
With its many specialty shakes, sundaes, and more, Dairy Queen can still be a valid option for anyone hoping to have their favorite treats while adhering to their lifestyle choices.
Should Vegans Worry About Cross-Contamination at Dairy Queen?
With Dairy Queen’s wide selection of dairy-based treats, vegans may worry about cross-contamination. With more and more people opting for vegan diets, a greater focus has been placed on cross-contamination when dining out.
While Dairy Queen does offer some vegan choices, they are in the minority compared to their other menu items. They also prepare all food in the same kitchen, so there is an increased risk of shared utensils and surfaces that could result in cross-contamination with animal products.
Fortunately, their online allergen information makes it easy for diners to identify foods that are free from animal products, so vegans still have options while dining at Dairy Queen.
Is Dairy Queen Gluten-Free?
If you live with dietary restrictions due to allergies or sensitivities, it can be difficult to know what options are safe for you.
The good news is many Dairy Queen locations offer gluten-free treats and food items. There is even a selection of desserts that dairy-free customers can enjoy as well!
The best way to find out what you can have is by checking with your local restaurant and asking about their specific offerings to find an option that works for you.