The Ultimate Vegan Fast Food Items, Ranked

From Burger King nuggets to the McPlant, plant-based alternatives have become endless. Here's everything you need to know.
Daisy Jones
London, GB
Lauren O'Neill
London, GB
A hand holding the Burger King Vegan Royale, and the Burger King vegan nuggets
The Burger King Vegan Royale and the Burger King vegan nuggets. All photos: Daisy Jones and Lauren O'Neill

It's January, which means one thing: A bunch of people have been trying out veganism, as is tradition (who knows when or why “Veganuary” came to be, but we're here now). It also means that food joints across the country have been dropping tasty new menu items to appeal to rookie and veteran vegan eaters alike (see: the new vegan Babybel, Papa John's vegan all-day breakfast pizza, plant-based Philadelphia cream cheese). 


Usually, we might individually review the newest vegan drops. At this point though, there are simply too many of them already out there. Go to any fast food restaurant in the country and there will be vegan burgers and subs and wraps vying for your attention, glutinous and glistening in their greasy little paper bags, waiting to be shovelled into your mouth and washed down with Coke. 

This year, then, we've decided to simplify the process and put together an ultimate list of best ever vegan fast food items. We've stuck to “fast food” because that’s the only type of food worth ranking.

Consider this the only guide you need to work out what to order on a hangover in 2022.

10) Costa Vegan Ham and Cheeze Toastie

If you can forgive the spelling of “cheeze”, this is fairly decent for the price. For a long time at most high street chains, vegan options were basically “falafel wraps” where the falafel tasted like mothballs, so to be able to walk into the biggest coffee chain in the country and just grab a simple cheese’n’ham is progress – and just as you wouldn’t expect fireworks from the non-vegan version, nor should you with this reassuringly run-of-the-mill plant-based toastie. Lauren O’Neill

9) Subway Meatless Meatball Marinara

The thing with this is that it is just pure pornographic filth – red, gooey sauce going all over your hands, melting cheese, vegan aioli sloshing around somewhere in there as well, not to mention four perfectly spherical balls made out of something I’m not sure I can even comprehend – which therefore makes it very satisfying to eat. I once scarfed one in four bites standing rooted to the spot on Brixton Road at rush hour.


This is another vegan option which does what you want from vegan fast food: it takes a winning formula and removes the gross meat element, adding in some sort of mystery replacement, and wrapping it in bread. Chuck in the vegan chocolate cookie that Subway now sell and this is a top drawer lunch, though you will definitely be hungry like, an hour after eating it, because its nutritional value is surely questionable at best! Lauren O’Neill

8) M&S Hoisin no duck wrap

When you are a packet sandwich, which is a sadly doomed-to-mediocrity food item for one to be, the best fate you can possibly hope for is that when someone is rushing for the the train while also starving, it is you they are hoping to see on the shelf of whatever “to go” station shop they are ransacking. This is how I feel about the M&S hoisin no duck wrap. When I am tearing through Euston, my platonic ideal haul is this guy in one clenched fist, and either a canned gin and tonic or a Starbucks oat latte with sugar free vanilla in the other, depending on the time of day (after 1PM it’s usually the G&T, what am I like x).

According to my non-veggie boyfriend, the hoisin no duck wrap tastes no different from the real duck wraps you can get from various supermarkets – the soya duck is flavoursome and chewy, the wrap soft and floury, the hoisin sauce sweet and indulgent, all topped off by the fresh crunch of cucumber – and according to me, it tastes good as all hell. An elite packet sandwich and vegan fast food item. Lauren O’Neill


7) Burger King Vegan nuggs 

The Burger King vegan nuggets dipped into sauce

Good nuggets need only fill a few basic criteria: Hot, salty and the right size and shape for you to pick them up between your thumb and forefinger and dunk them into cheap sugary ketchup and/or barbeque sauce. Burger King ticks the boxes with these. Extra points for their firm yet squishy consistency, crispy batter and greasy-but-not-too-greasy finish. The only category they're slightly lacking in is flavour. All nuggs rightly taste “beige”, but some nuggs taste beige-r than others. — Daisy Jones

6) Pret VLT sandwich 

You may wonder what a humble Pret sandwich is doing on this list. This is the shit you grab when you have 15 mins in between emails and it's raining, right? Wrong! The Pret VLT is a wolf in sheep's clothing. There are no limp carrots or mushy falafel in here. Just salty, crispy dehydrated mushrooms, red leaf lettuce and tomatoes encased in two soft brown slices slathered in creamy vegan mayo.

Some sandwich engineer at Pret HQ managed to get the mushrooms to taste exactly like bacon – crunchy yet chewy, with a smoky paprika edge. The only reason this doesn't rank higher is because the tomatoes aren't juicy or red enough – but it's tit for tat at this point. — Daisy Jones

5) KFC's Original Recipe Vegan Burger

KFC's Original Recipe Vegan Burger in a box

I went through this phase in my teens where I'd buy a KFC bargain bucket multiple times a week on the way home after nights out. The neighbours once complained because I left a Hansel and Gretel-like trail of popcorn chicken and crushed chips outside my front door, so much did I love Sir Colonel Sanders. I later gave up meat and didn't look back, but KFC was the ultimate forbidden fruit. The succulent chicken pieces; the flavourful, spicy, crunchy batter – I missed it all for a long, long time.

Thankfully, KFC came through in 2019 with the Imposter Burger – now a permanent fixture, and renamed the Original Recipe Vegan Chicken Burger. It's glorious: sweet, squishy bun, a dash of iceberg lettuce and hot little Quorn burger coated in their iconic 11 secret herbs and spices. Does it taste like the OG? No, but it's definitely easier on the stomach and you're not eating animal flesh. — Daisy Jones


4) Burger King Vegan Royale 

A hand holding the Burger King Vegan Royale

A lot of consideration went into which should rank higher – this, or the KFC burger. Burger King’s Vegan Royale is 80p more expensive unfortunately, but it's also bigger and squishier, and the mayo is in my opinion a little creamier.

It's also the perfect shape. A good burger / sandwich / sub should be big enough that you can grip it in one hand and then tear chunks out with your mouth without it falling apart. Imagine being hungover and then just pure ripping into this. Taste-wise, it's on par with KFC, but it's the size and structure which really elevates the burger as a whole. — Daisy Jones

3) McDonald’s McPlant burger 

A hand holding the McDonald's McPlant burger

The McPlant, for me, is the single most significant development in vegan fast food since the vegan sausage roll. This is largely because there is a McDonald’s under five minutes’ walk from my home, so I eat it all the time, but it is also because it slaps.

The McPlant was made in partnership with fake meat behemoths Beyond Meat, who did an excellent job of creating an approximation of McDonald’s’ patented meat discs sandwiched between two slices of cake – I mean a classique McDonald’s bun – alongside ketchup, vegan cheese, mustard, gherkin, lettuce, onion and an unnecessary tomato. My major criticism is that the cheese could be meltier, but otherwise this is a pretty solid replica, and it costs the same as McDonald’s meat burgers, which I think is important. Do the Big Mac next. — Lauren O’Neill


2) Hummus, available in all good supermarkets 

Easy to forget that before fake meat was a glint in anyone’s eye, vegans were quite happily subsisting on bread, flat mushrooms slapped between two slices of bread, and smashed up chickpeas, otherwise known as hummus. The mushroom burgers can fuck off, but there’s still little better you can do for a hangover than a family sized tub of hummus and a pack of pitta out of Tesco Express – an option that is almost definitely cheaper than anything else on this list. — Lauren O’Neill

1) Greggs vegan sausage roll

A hand holding the Greggs vegan sausage roll

The Greggs VSR is the Beyoncé self-titled album of vegan fast food items: It dropped unexpectedly, impacted the culture immeasurably and changed the course of UK vegan fast food history going forward. I would go as far as to say that the Greggs vegan sausage roll started the revolution in terms of vegan convenience foods and their recent wider availability in the UK. Without it, there would be no McPlant, no Vegan Royale, none at all. Greggs took the punt and proved that there was extreme demand for a plant-based version of their most beloved snack, and as such, the VSR remains the original and the best.

When I am out and about and hit by a little hunger pang, there is no convenience item I would rather eat (though I will say they’re at their best when they’re cooled slightly and I do find the sausage can taste a bit gummy when it’s just out of the oven), and for a meagre £1.05, it’s a salty, crispy treat. The best on the market, by far. — Lauren O’Neill

@daisythejones / @hiyalauren