McDonald’s – Dairy-Free Foods under the Golden Arches

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Eat Dairy Free - Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and SweetsUpdated 2021! McDonald’s menu has shifted in recent years due to normal ingredient changes and some dairy supplier contracts. They now use real butter, have several buttermilk-based products, and use dairy just a little more liberally. Some of their classic items are still dairy-free by ingredients, but the risk of potential cross contamination with dairy is a bit higher. The quick list below is for the United States. For allergen information and menus for Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia, see the links further down the page.

McDonald's- Dairy-Free Menu Guide with Custom Order Options and Allergen Notes

No Dairy (Milk-Based) Ingredients (see disclaimer below)

Menu Items

  • Burgers (see Allergen Notes; order NO BUTTER) – Hamburger, Bic Mac (no cheese), McDouble (no cheese), Quarter Pounder (no cheese), Quarter Pounder Double (no cheese), Quarter Pounder Deluxe (no cheese), Quarter Pounder Bacon (no cheese)
  • Chicken (see Allergen Notes; order NO BUTTER) – Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Deluxe Crispy Chicken Sandwich, McChicken Sandwich, Chicken McNuggets, Spicy Chicken McNuggets
  • Sides – Apple Slices
  • Dipping Sauces – Tangy Barbeque Sauce, Honey Mustard Sauce, Sweet ‘N Sour Sauce, Mighty Hot Sauce, Honey
  • Specialty Drinks – Minute Maid Slushies (Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, Pink Lemonade)
  • Dessert – Baked Apple Pie

Components to Help Customize Your Order

  • Proteins – Beef Patties, McChicken Patty, Hot ‘N Spicy McChicken Patty, Spicy Crispy Chicken Fillet, Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Sausage Patty, Canadian Bacon, Egg (not the Folded Egg), Plain Scrambled Eggs
  • Breads (see Allergen Notes) – Regular Bun, Big Mac Bun, Quarter Pounder Bun, Potato Roll, English Muffin, Bagel, Flour Tortilla
  • Vegetables – Shredded Lettuce, Pickles, Onions, Roma Tomato
  • Condiments – Big Mac Sauce, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Mustard, Tartar Sauce, Hotcake Syrup
  • Coffee Add-Ins – French Vanilla Syrup

Other Allergen Notes

  • In the United States, McDonald’s French Fries and Hash Browns CONTAIN milk, which is why they are not on the above list. In the U.K., Canada, and some other countries, their Fries and Hash Browns are dairy-free by ingredients.
  • Other surprise foods at McDonald’s U.S. that contain dairy include the Fish Filet, Spicy Buffalo Sauce, Folded Eggs, Scrambled Egg Sausage and Vegetable mixture (used in breakfast burritos), and their Oatmeal, which is prepared with light cream.
  • Their English Muffins, Bagels, other Breads, and some Buns are buttered. It’s also possible that some locations might automatically butter the buns on all orders. So make sure to state “No Butter” when you order any non-dairy burgers, sandwiches, or bread products.
  • Because McDonald’s now uses real butter,  you may need to inquire on cross-contamination issues with the grill, if concerned.
  • We have read that some McDonald’s locations do use separate fryers. At the time of our review, all of their deep-fried chicken menu items were made without dairy, and might be cooked in an exclusive fryer. But it’s possible that they cook the fish filet or the fries and hash browns in the same fryer. Verify on your visit!
  • McDonald’s used to use a Grill Seasoning, which was dairy-free, but now they reportedly season their patties only with salt and pepper. You can request no salt and pepper when ordering.

McDonald's- Dairy-Free Menu Guide with Custom Order Options and Allergen Notes

More Details from McDonald’s

Allergen Disclaimer from McDonald’s:  As part of our commitment to you, we provide the most current ingredient information available from our food suppliers for the eight most common allergens. However, we also want you to know that despite taking precautions, normal kitchen operations may involve some shared cooking and preparation areas, equipment and utensils, and the possibility exists for your food items to come in contact with other food products, including allergens.

Restaurant Website: www.mcdonalds.com

U.S. McDonald’s Ingredient & Allergen Information: www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/full-menu.html

Canada McDonald’s Ingredient & Allergen Information: www.mcdonalds.com/ca/downloads/ingredients-list-en.pdf

U.K. McDonald’s Ingredient & Allergen Information: www.mcdonalds.com/gb/en-gb/menu.html

Ireland McDonald’s Ingredient & Allergen Information: www.mcdonalds.com/ie/en-ie/good-to-know/about-our-food.html

Australia McDonald’s Ingredient & Allergen Information: mcdonalds.com.au/maccas-food/nutrition

*The above information was supplied by the corresponding restaurant via their website, customer service, or other published nutritional information.  Ingredients and menu offerings are constantly changing in the food service industry, and can be subject to interpretation.  For this reason, Go Dairy Free does not guarantee nor take responsibility for the accuracy of this information.  If severe allergies or intolerances are a concern, contact the restaurant directly before purchasing or consuming one of their products.  Cross-contamination of potential food allergens should always be considered a possibility in a fast food restaurant. 

Last Updated: February 18, 2021

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What Others Are Saying ...

Dairy in fries

Rated 1 out of 5
September 28, 2021

My friend has allergies to dairy and gets migraines and has been getting migraines after eating at McDonald’s and discovered there was dairy in the fries. She never had any problems in the past and is very disappointed as she won’t eat there anymore.

Avatar for Kathy
Kathy

Response from Go Dairy Free

At U.S. locations, there has always been dairy in the fries. Please make sure your friend reads all of the information above. It is clearly outlined to help!

STILL HAS DAIRY!

Rated 1 out of 5
June 8, 2021

I recently discovered that my lactose intolerance grew tenfold last month. After cutting it out successfully, I tried hash browns and French fries from McDonald’s. Both immediately upset my stomach to the point where I can’t trust eating here anymore.

Avatar for Derika
Derika

Response from Go Dairy Free

Yes, in the U.S., this has never changed, as stated in the guide above.

Dairy

Rated 5 out of 5
December 28, 2020

My latest trip to McDonald’s they pulled out the book. They told me that the fries and nuggets are no longer cross contaminated.

Avatar for Metris Holmes
Metris Holmes

Response from Go Dairy Free

It looks like in the U.S., they are still made with milk ingredients, but I’m looking into it. I’m not sure which country your are in.

McDonalds

Rated 1 out of 5
December 15, 2020

No soya/oat milk option to have with a black coffee – dreadful – even Greggs can manage this!

Avatar for Stephen Whitehead
Stephen Whitehead

Dairy free

Rated 3 out of 5
October 16, 2020

My grandson is highly allergic to milk. Most orders are correct but sometimes it’s not and you get home with the food and he can’t eat. It’s very important they get it right because we can end up in the ER

Avatar for Leann
Leann

Cross contamination

Rated 1 out of 5
August 3, 2020

A lot of the items are cooked in the same friers, this isn’t made easy for milk/dairy allergens. When you go there you have to look things up in a book this put people right off

Avatar for Julie
Julie

Response from Go Dairy Free

I hope you find this post helpful. All of that information is noted above. I agree, McDonald’s doesn’t make it easy. That’s why we’re here to help!

Failure

Rated 1 out of 5
August 1, 2020

This is the second time I have had an issue at the Carlisle walnut bottom location. Even ordering and double checking when give to me they still buttered the muffin.

Avatar for Brian
Brian

Food Items containing milk

Rated 5 out of 5
July 13, 2020

I’m glad to see that McDonald’s cares about people with food allergies. Many kids have them, but I recently became allergic to milk and all dairy products, eggs, and shellfish. I am 68, and I think the chemo I took for cancer messed up my immune system. Thank you McDonald’s for posting this. I remember eating at my first McDonald’s 60+ years ago!

Avatar for Mark L FUZEK
Mark L FUZEK

Response from Go Dairy Free

You’re welcome! We are not actually affiliated with McDonald’s. The information above was put together by the Go Dairy Free team via research. I hope you find it very helpful!

Prefer Burger King

Rated 2 out of 5
July 11, 2020

I have a dairy allergy and if you want to get any fried foods you would have more luck at Burger King because the dryers are cross contaminated at McDonald’s. The chicken nuggets are not safe and you have to make sure they keep the grill clean when ordering a burger.

Avatar for Megan
Megan

Response from Go Dairy Free

Yes, as noted throughout the post above, shared fryers and equipment are used. But as a heads up, Burger King uses shared fryers too. Here is the information -> https://www.godairyfree.org/dining-out/fast-food-restaurants/burger-king

This helped

Rated 5 out of 5
February 23, 2020

I have a dairy allergy and like McDonald’s, so this helped!

Avatar for Grace Shine
Grace Shine

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

72 Comments

  1. Their nutrition info says fries are “just fries” but if you go to McDonald’s site in the “how fries are made” section. They tell you that the beef flavoring has milk product in it. Their fries are hardly just fries. 🙁

    • Thank you for telling us where that information is on the McDonald’s site, Brittany! While it’s tricky to find, we did know that McDonald’s fries have dairy, which is why we don’t list them on our site.

  2. You don’t have their chicken nuggets listed, but going on their web page for allergy information they do not say they contain milk. Do you know otherwise or is that just an oversight?

      • So bummed they added that buttermilk chicken. Those nuggets worked great for my dairy allergy kid until the buttermilk chicken rolled into town. 🙁

  3. So I am a former McDonalds employee and yes we do try to keep from cross contamination from happening but I will tell you that it doesn’t matter if you order all of your food without butter. The sausage and eggs are all cooked on the grill that butter has already been sprayed on numerous times. We do not clean the grills after cooking foods we just squeegee them. The only things you can really eat off the breakfast menu and be sure not to get sick is oatmeal no cream, english muffin no butter, or the apple slices. I’m not trying to bash on mcdonalds just trying to keep everyone from getting sick like I did.

  4. Alejandra Ayalde on

    Hi Alisa… How about the french fries? Is it because they’re cooked in oil? Thank you

  5. The new chicken wraps are yummy and dairy free if you say no cheese and no ranch or garlic sauce. I subbed them for mayo. Just thought I would share since they are a new product. I had to ask them to verify for me.

  6. McDonald’s butters their buns. Just an FYI. I came home with a migraine after eating a quarter pounder.

  7. The last two times that I have gotten really sick was after eating the sausage patties. I made it a habit of steering clear of the Big M. I have not eaten there since 2008 and life is good.

  8. I just attempted to eat at McDonalds yesterday and asked about an allergen pamphlet. The manager brought me a 3 ring binder which clearly listed their french fries as having dairy. Also, every single one of their breakfast items contains dairy. It all comes pre-mixed so you can’t even ask for it to be cheese free and actually get it cheese free. We discovered this a few weeks ago while traveling. Best bet is just to steer clear of McDonalds. 🙁

    • They used to have biscuits made without milk. Not sure recently as the little girl is now a mother and buys her own food.At least MCD tell you may be cross contamination. Heard about a hospital that removed the berry off someone’s food and served it.

  9. Hi I am new to dairy free and have wondered in bread products if “Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate” is something to steer clear of?

    Its listed in the McDonalds buns and many breads I have looked into buying but it only lists wheat as an allergen…

  10. Can you tell me if the potatoes in the mcskillet has cheese? I’ve been ordering them without cheese but one of the workers said they did. I couldn’t see why or where the cheese would be at?

    • See the link provided in this post to read the ingredients at McDonald’s. This one is for the U.S. Keep in mind that ingredients and menu items vary by country.

    • Yes, they do. We asked to have it without cheese, and upon inspection, found cheese. The employee informed us that its all pre-packaged so they can’t remove cheese. They can only refrain from adding more cheese.

  11. Karolina Palma on

    I am on antibiotics that state to stay clear of dairy products for 2 hours before and 2 hours after taking them. I love McDonald’s coffee with creamer, and i was wondering if the creamer was a dairy or non-dairy product? Please help, thanks!

  12. When ordering egg mcmuffins please remember to specify no butter. Normally the English muffins are brushed with butter when they come out if the bun toaster. (Same with English muffins served with the Big Breakfast) You can hold the cheese all you want and still get exposed to dairy by accident.

  13. Hello Alisa i was wondering if you know by any chance if chicken nuggets and fries at Mcdonalds contain any type of dairy. I have looked everywhere and found websites that say they do, and say they do not. I am critical Lactose intolerant with only 6% enzymes and can be damaged if I eat any of these products. Please help! Thanks!

    • Michael, that is probably because they are different in the U.S. and Canada, so some will say it is dairy-free, while others will not. See the listing above if you are looking for U.S. and the link to their website for current allergy details. If looking for Canada, that is a different listing here on our site.

  14. Alisa,
    do you know if McDonalds Mighty Wings contain dairy. I cannot find this information anywhere.

    • I’m so sorry, but according to the company, the ice cream is most definitely dairy. Here are the ingredients from their site: Milk, sugar, cream, nonfat milk solids, corn syrup solids, mono- and diglycerides, guar gum, dextrose, sodium citrate, artificial vanilla flavor, sodium phosphate, carrageenan, disodium phosphate, cellulose gum, vitamin A palmitate. It isn’t a soy ice cream.

      • ChristyInOregon on

        I too found that the McDonalds ice cream never makes me sick; even “tested” this by getting a cone every day this week 🙂 and had no intolerance or allergy symptoms.

  15. Just in case anyone else is from the UK, avoid Chicken Products! all McD;s chicken in the UK is padded with Milk Protein.

  16. Oh By the way here is the listed ingredients of the sausage patty
    I am new to being dairy free so is there a by-prouduct i am missing or unaware of?

    Sausage Patty

    Pork, water, seasoning (salt, corn syrup solids, spices, dextrose, sugar, spice extractives), preservatives (BHA, citric acid and propyl gallate).
    (copy & pasted from website)

    • Hi Jeana – Thank you for the update! The ingredient list you are looking at from McDonald’s is more recent than my last update (I put the last revision date at the bottom of each fast food listing). I’ve added the sausage patty which does appear to be made without dairy ingredients.

      Keep in mind, cross-contamination in fast food restaurants is very likely. If you are sure you had a dairy reaction, it was likely due to cross-contamination with another dairy product. I’ve never seen a fast food chain where they could say there was “no way” it came in contact. I have to agree though that coffee seems unlikely.

  17. I have a question….. on the website for McDonald’s they say that the sausage patty is dairy free, but it is not listed above as a breakfast food that is dairy free….. in my experience i tryed it in an egg & sausage mcmuffin hold the cheese (with a small black coffee) and had a reaction….so the next time all i ordered was a hamburger (have not had a reaction to the regular hamburger with extra onions and mustard) and a black coffee…. had a reaction. then one day i got just a coffee and had a reaction…..when i went back into the same location for lunch (my son had an all day state competition closest place was Mickey D’s) i asked if the creamer or anything else with dairy or dairy by-prouducts could have come in contact…. they said no there is no way.

    here is my question….
    has anyone had a reaction to the sausage patties or the coffee???

    • I’ve had a problem with the sausage patties before but the reason why i assume is that there was a slice of cheese on it then scraped off. Many times I could see where that was the case.