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 ...

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

Not much for dairy free KIDS!!

Rated 2 out of 5
February 10, 2020

I’m very disappointed with the new dairy free options. Since hash browns contain dairy, it was always nice that the kids could have French fries. Disappointed. Will definitely cut down on our visits, which were always fun for the kids because of the play area.

Avatar for J Mieras
J Mieras

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. Wow! Thank you so much for this info! My stepdaughter has a severe milk intolerance. If she eats anything with milk in it she will puke it up 8 hours later. It’s gotten worse over time. She used to be able to have McDonald’s but we noticed anytime she had it she’d get super sick. We couldn’t figure out why as she only had a plain hamburger and French fries. Now we know! Shame on McDonald’s for not being open about this.

  2. like nearly everyone who is lactose intolerant I’m fine with butter and tiny amount of lactose like in cheddar cheese. I can never find out how much lactose is in McDonald’s products especially the asterisk beside the word cheddar every time. It’s fair to say that sharp cheddar cheese has zero lactose same for Swiss cheese. Please create a category of very low lactose.

  3. Recently cut out all diary but them thought I was afe to have McDonald’s fries. I got horribly sick and rashes from the milk. I think it’s horrible that their allergy tool fails to list Fries as having dairy yet milk os listed as a third ingredient. Shame on them.

    • I didn’t realize they had that glitch on their tool! We check the ingredients when updating too here on Go Dairy Free. I hope you are feeling better soon!

  4. Hi, are the burger buns at mcdonalds usually dairy free? (Asking for the bun of the big mac and the kids burger buns). Also, their chicken nuggets dont contain dairy. Correct? Thank you,

    • Hi Cynthia, our list above was updated late last year and should cover your questions. To verify that they are current for your needs, there is a link to where you can drill down to ingredients on the McDonald’s website.

  5. I read that they also butter the buns for every sandwich. So you’d have to special request.

  6. What about the buns? Are THEY Dairy Free? I’m wondering because I know a LOT of commercially made bread is made with milk products and I would still LOVE to eat at McDonald’s!

  7. I realize that regardless of the lack of dairy in these two items, cross-contamination is still possible with the McChicken and McNuggets. My question is, has anyone experienced allergies or adverse effects from either of these? Please be 100% sure.

  8. My McDonald’s just announced that they are now cooking their grilled chicken in butter, putting butter on the buns, and added mik to their scrambled eggs.

    • Thanks, Katie! I thought their oatmeal automatically came with the cream added. I see on their website that the oatmeal itself is dairy free. I will update the listing.

  9. After September, 2015 i started having allergies reaction to my Macdonald coffee
    I had always drink my lite and sweet coffee
    And never felt what i started feeling on my on my birthday last year sept 2015
    It’s itching sensation all of over my body
    Including my throat,my feet, my hands and my face.

  10. where have you found that mcdonalds fries contain dairy ?
    it would explain alot if they do but im running out of things to eat!!

    • Hi, Shelley,

      Go to the McDonald’s Nutrition Calculator on their site, “add” French Fries to your “meal,” and calculate the nutrition. You will see a tab that says “Ingredients.” Click on it, and you will see this information, which I also added to the listing above:

      “FRENCH FRIES

      Ingredients: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Natural Beef Flavor [Wheat and Milk Derivatives]*), Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (Maintain Color), Salt. *Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.
      Contains: WHEAT, MILK.”

      Hope this helps!

    • Hi Jordan, mayo contains eggs not dairy. While it could feasibly contain milk in some form, I’ve yet to meet an unflavored mayo with dairy.

  11. I order the egg McMuffin all the time. I just say, ” no butter pat” and “no cheese” please. I am severely sensitive but have been just fine eating it prepared that way.

  12. The breakfast “McMuffins” contain butter. They are not safe to consume unless you special order. I’ve met a lot of resistance asking them to not toast the muffin in butter

    • I’m really glad resources like this exist. My lactose intolerance is getting worse. So, while I might not have been sensitive to the fries years ago, they could be a trigger down the line.

      Now that I’m being more cautious and checking labels, its incredible how much dairy is in everything. Example – no idea the McMuffins were toasted in butter! I was about to order a sausage one without the cheese.

    • Yes! Alisa, please update your list to also ask for no butter on a McMuffin. I ordered a sausage McMuffin today for my allergic toddler. When I opened it, I realized it probably had butter on it given the color. I called (it was a drive-thru order) and they confirmed it. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch this the first time I ordered it for him – and that explains the reappearance of his eczema. ?