Eating Vegan at Applebees 

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Since 1980 Applebees has offered a casual dining spot with competitive prices and friendly service. This giant business runs 1800 restaurants across America and 15 other countries. One glance at the menu or website will leave you no doubt that Applebees is a meat-heavy restaurant. But the vegan experts here at Vegan Unlocked have created a custom guide to ensure you find something to eat! Read on for our secret menu, editor’s picks, and vegan menu items at Applebee’s. Next time your grandparents are revving for a trip to Applebee’s, think twice before you roll your eyes. With our help, you’ll find yourself a delicious meal!

The Vegan Unlocked Research Team analyzed all items on the Applebee’s menu. Despite the lack of on-menu options, we came away with a load of delicious custom creations.

Applebees scores 2.3 out of 5 stars with few vegan options, so while there won’t be a stampede heading there for vegan fare, with our help, you’ll enjoy your meal as much as the meat eaters who invited you there. 

This score is calculated based on the amount of vegan offerings on Applebee’s menu “as is” or with an easy substitution, a restaurant vegan customizability score, and finally, the amount of vegan options vs non-vegan options. Learn more about how Vegan Unlocked Ratings are calculated. 

Secret Menu

When a restaurant isn’t explicit about its vegan options, it’s understandable to think that it may not cater to vegan customers at all. However, sometimes, you just need to take a closer inspection of a menu to find the hidden vegan gems. We know that this isn’t always easy, especially for newer vegans. We hired a team of vegan researchers to help you out and hack the Applebees’ vegan menu. We think you’ll like what you see!

Hungry for something simpler? Scroll on to find Applebee’s vegan menu items and our editors’ top picks just below this section.

Impossible Southwest Bowl:

For this bowl of goodness, order the Southwest Chicken Bowl and ask to sub the chicken with an Impossible patty. What you’ll get is Cilantro-lime rice, a bed of greens, Pico de gallo, black bean corn salsa, guacamole, and savory Impossible beef to bulk things up. Better yet, the bowl is topped with chimichurri and crispy tortilla strips. 

Loaded Vegan Fries:

Get a portion of waffle fries, ask for a side of black bean salsa, a side of guacamole and chipotle lime salsa. That’s a few steps up from chips and salsa, now isn’t it?!

Impossible Veggie Pasta:

Start with your base order of pasta noodles with marinara sauce. This classic dish has been an ally to vegans treading through meat-heavy territory for years. We might not admit it to ourselves, but it sure is bland, isn’t it? Your days of plain spaghetti and marinara end here. Add an Impossible patty and a side of steamed broccoli with no butter and your pasta is suddenly bursting with flavor and texture!

What else is vegan at Applebees?


  • White Queso(less) Dip & Chips: Simple, ask for the White Queso Dip without the white queso, and ask for a side of guacamole, so the queso-less dip, guacamole, and chips tickle your senses together. 
  • Brew Pub Pretzels with marinara: Firstly, lose the beer cheese dip, and ask your server to hold the honey mustard too. Here’s the twist- add marinara but be warned that you may need to actively guard your pretzels against your friends once they realize how well they go with the marinara.
  • Breadsticks with Alfredo Sauce: Ask your server to hold the alfredo and garlic butter and bring out the marinara. The rest is history.
  • Fries
  • Waffle Fries


  • Strawberry Balsamic Salad: It’s always good to have a salad option for a fresh palate, and the strawberry balsamic is lush. Order the Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad but lose the chicken and enjoy this salad with the Italian Dressing or Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette. Honestly, we’d ask for both.
  • Impossible Burger: Ask for The Impossible Cheeseburger, but hold the cheese, and make sure your server has noted that. 
  • Tex-Mex Lime Bowl: The Tex-Mex Lime Shrimp Bowl dish has enough flavor without the shrimp. It’s warming, lively, and quite possibly something you’ll return for time and time again.
  • Oriental salad: Order the Oriental Chicken salad without dressing or chicken, and no garlic butter topping on the breadstick. Bring in Italian Dressing or Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette, and we’re away!


  • Baked Potato: Simply ask for it without butter or sour cream, and it’ll do what potatoes do, which is to add bulk to your flavourful main.
  • Steamed Broccoli: Ask your server to hold the butter. Easy.
  • House Salad: Hold the cheese, but other than that you’re good to go. Add Italian Dressing or Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette to add more zing.


  • Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette
  • Italian Dressing
  • Note: The Honey French does not contain dairy or egg, but does contain honey.

Editors’ picks: What are the best vegan options at Applebee’s?

The most flavorful option is the custom-created Impossible Southwest Bowl (sub chicken). With salsas, spices and sauces, it’s absolutely bursting with flavor. With rice, greens, protein-packed Impossible meat and guacamole, it’s also quite nutritious!

The best classic American-style meal option is the Impossible Burger (without cheese). Who says that vegans have to be healthy at every meal?! Evidence shows that indulging in meals that replicate your old favorites can help a vegan lifestyle be more sustainable in your life. So drop the guilt and order that juicy burger. 

Beer Pretzels with Marinara are our best pick to share with friends. That is, if you’re willing to let your friends have some!

Note: Vegan Unlocked is a tool dedicated to helping people find plant-based options. We are not an allergen resource and want to encourage our friends with allergies to proceed with caution. We cannot control and don’t always know when cross-contamination occurs. See Applebee’s allergen menu here. Regarding cross-contamination of vegan foods with animal products, this is completely up to your comfort level as an individual. Read our stance on cross-contamination here

Frequently Asked Applebee’s Questions

Are Applebee’s pretzels vegan? 

If you’re a fan of pretzels, you’re in luck! Applebee’s pretzels are completely vegan. Enjoy them with marinara sauce or all by themselves!

Are Applebee’s fries vegan?

Yep, Applebee’s regular and waffle fries are 100% vegan! Check out our vegan loaded fries under our Secret Menu for a twist to these salty classics.

You can find out more about Applebees by visiting their website here. 

Dining at Applebees soon?

Be sure to tag Vegan Unlocked and share your vegan meal or custom creation to be entered into our monthly giveaway!

Applebee’s vegan menu brought to you by…

Chelsea Pinkham

Chelsea Pinkham is a long-time animal advocate, rescuer, and humane education writer. Chelsea studied Communications & Journalism with a minor in Environmental Science at Sonoma State University. She has been vegan for thirteen years, since she discovered the treatment of animals on farms in middle school. Outside of Vegan Unlocked, she works for a nonprofit farmed animal sanctuary, authors humane education children’s books, and has personally rescued, fostered and transported over 1,000 animals. She enjoys camping, hiking, learning about animal behavior, and traveling the world on a low budget!

Cristina Garrido

Cristina is a vegan cook and recipe developer. She’s worked in several vegan kitchens, as a collaborator for different cooking blogs and now works as a consultant helping restaurants interested in making their menus more vegan-friendly. She’s passionate about cultural foods and culinary innovations. Her non-food related interests include thrifting, sustainability and exploring her new adoptive country, Portugal.

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