Carl’s Jr. was started up in 1941 by then-truck driver Carl Karcher. Having witnessed the success of hot dog stands in his LA neighborhood, he decided he wanted a slice of the pie and began building his fast-food empire. Now, with 1,000 locations across the U.S., serving 28 countries worldwide, the fast-food chain has come a long way since its hot dog stand beginnings, but its journey has not been without controversy. It’s been criticized throughout the years for its sexist portrayal of women in its adverts, and in recent years, it has tried to pivot away from this reputation and rebrand. Unfortunately, this rebrand hasn’t come with a more vegan-inclusive menu but don’t worry because, at Vegan Unlocked, we’re the experts at finding plant-based power anywhere. With our vegan secret menu, full menu, and editor’s picks, you can still enjoy Carl’s Jr.’s fast food without limitation, whether you’re a spice fan or loony-for-loaded fries!
The Vegan Unlocked Research Team searched through all 58 items available on the Carl’s Jr. menu and found a couple of delectable on-menu items and two unmissable custom creations.
Carl’s Jr. earned 0.7 out of 5 stars with little to no vegan options. So, while your options are undoubtedly limited at this chain, you’ll still be able to grab a bite to eat and can even enjoy a plant-based patty in your bun.
This score is calculated based on the number of vegan offerings on Carl’s Jr.’s menu “as is” or with an easy substitution, a restaurant vegan customizability score and finally, the number of vegan options vs non-vegan options. Learn more about Vegan Unlocked Ratings.
With each year that passes, there are more and more weird and wonderful plant-based creations available across the US. However, not every restaurant has caught up with the plant-based revolution, and some are still very much keeping to the basics. Carl’s Jr., for the time being, is one of these restaurants, offering only very limited vegan options. That said, we sent in our team of vegan researchers to scout out the plant-based options you may have missed, and they did it again, finding a couple of lip-smacking vegan custom creations.
Want to keep it a tad more simple? Scroll on past this section to find Carl’s Jr. vegan menu items and our editors’ top picks just below this section.
Loaded Waffle Fries
To enjoy this rather cheeky Carl’s Jr. order, simply ask for an order of waffle fries, and request a side of creamy, zingy guacamole, some jalapenos, and a side of spicy salsa, and pour this all over your fries – and dig in.
Spicy Crunch Burger
Order the big hamburger, but swap out the beef burger for a plant-based patty and then add in some jalapenos, Spicy Buffalo Dipping Sauce, and extra pickles. Bite down to experience the crunch and the wave of spice.
All the Vegan Options at Carl’s Jr.
So, what is on the vegan menu at Carl’s Jr.? Well, there’s a reasonable selection.
- Beyond Famous Star: This burger is packed full of flavor and comes with a Beyond plant-based patty, lettuce, tomato, sliced onions, and dill pickle on a seeded bun. Order without cheese and mayo to make it 100% vegan-friendly.
- Big hamburger: Order this with a Beyond Meat patty subbed in instead of the beef burger, and you’ll have dill pickles, onions, mustard, and ketchup layered on a seeded bun.
- Natural French cut fries
- Waffle fries
Sauces, Add-ons and Toppings
- Carl’s Jr.’s Special Sauce,
- Spicy Buffalo Dipping Sauce
- Sweet and Bold BBQ Sauce
Editor’s Picks: What Are the Top Vegan Meals at Carl’s Jr.
While Carl’s Jr. is certainly not the ultimate destination for vegans, unlike some of its fast food counterparts, it does offer some delicious plant-based options and features big-name brand Beyond. The best alternative meat option on the menu is the Beyond Famous Star.
It’s fun to spice things up, and the Spicy Crunch Burger is just the candidate for the job. This plant-based zinger has it all: a bit of spice from the spicy buffalo dipping sauce, a crunch from the pickles and jalapenos, and a juicy patty.
At Carl’s Jr., the ultimate fast-food treat is the Loaded Waffle Fries. The delicious, crinkled waffle fries provide the perfect surface area to carry all the mouthwatering toppings you choose to pile on. Guacamole, jalapenos, and salsa? Yes please.
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 takes place. As far as 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.
Frequently Asked Carl’s Jr. Questions
Are The Fries at Carl’s Jr. Vegan?
Yes! The fries at Carl’s Jr. are not fried in lard and don’t contain any other animal-derived ingredients, so they’re vegan-friendly. However, check your local outlet to see whether the fries are fried in the same fryers as the chain’s animal products.
Does Carl’s Jr. Have Vegan Cheese?
No, for the time being, at least, the chain does not offer vegan-friendly cheese.
Is Carl’s Jr. Guacamole Vegan?
Carl’s Jr.’s guacamole is made from ripe avocados, diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice, so it’s completely vegan-friendly.
You can find out more information on Carl’s Jr. by visiting their website here.
Planning on visiting Carl’s Jr. soon?
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