Does Mcdonalds have dairy free fries?

Quick Answer

The fries at McDonald’s are dairy free, meaning they do not contain milk ingredients. McDonald’s uses a simple recipe for their fries that includes potatoes, vegetable oil (canola, corn, soybean and/or sunflower oil), and a small amount of dextrose (added at the processing plant to maintain color consistency). Their fries are cooked in dedicated fryers that only fry fries, so there is no cross contamination with dairy containing products like cheese or shakes. Some customers may still have concerns over the oil used for frying, but overall McDonald’s fries are considered dairy free and safe for people with milk allergies or lactose intolerance.

Ingredients in McDonald’s Fries

The main ingredients in McDonald’s fries are:

– Potatoes – McDonald’s uses a specific potato variety called Russet Burbank. The potatoes are washed, peeled, cut into fry shapes and partially fried before being shipped to restaurants.

– Vegetable oil – The fries are cooked in a blend of canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil and hydrogenated soybean oil. Some locations may also use sunflower oil.

– Dextrose – This natural sugar is added at very low amounts to the par-fried potatoes to help maintain consistent coloring.

– Natural beef flavor (contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk) – This is added to the vegetable oil for flavor, but should not come into contact with the fries themselves as they are cooked in dedicated fryers.

– Salt – Added after cooking for flavor.

No Milk Ingredients

Importantly, there are no milk ingredients like whey, casein, milk solids or cheese listed in the ingredients. McDonald’s states their fries are “dairy-free” and safe for people with milk allergies or lactose intolerance. The only way dairy could come into contact with the fries is potentially through cooking oil that was previously used to fry dairy-containing products like cheese sticks or hash browns. However, McDonald’s uses separate fryers just for French fries, so cross-contamination should not occur.

Potential Concerns

While McDonald’s fries themselves are dairy-free, some customers may still have concerns:

Frying Oil

The oil used to fry the potatoes may be an issue for those with soy, corn or canola allergies. However, soy, corn and canola oil are commonly used for frying at most restaurants. Those with food sensitivities may want to request that their fries are cooked in one of the alternative oils (sunflower) if possible.

Processing Aids

There are some processing aids used on the potatoes before they arrive at the restaurant, including dairy-derived ingredients like whey powder. However, processing aids are not required to be labeled as ingredients. McDonald’s states that no dairy remains on the final product that is cooked and served.

Shared Equipment

While fries have dedicated fryers, they are transported from the fryer using the same equipment as other menu items. So there is a slight chance of cross-contact.

Errors in Food Preparation

There is always a small possibility of human error resulting in accidental cross-contamination of ingredients. Someone adding back old fries into a new batch could potentially introduce traces of dairy from other McDonald’s menu items.

Confirming with McDonald’s

If you have concerns about potential dairy exposure from McDonald’s fries, it is best to check directly with your local restaurant. You can ask:

– What type of oil they use for frying fries – this may vary by location.

– If they have dedicated fryers just for fries.

– What their allergen protocols are to prevent cross-contamination with dairy.

– If they can accommodate requests for special food preparation – e.g. changing gloves, using fresh oil, separate equipment.

Knowing the policies and being able to communicate your needs clearly will provide more assurance that you can enjoy McDonald’s fries safely.

Other Dairy-Free Options at McDonald’s

In addition to their fries, the following popular McDonald’s menu items are also dairy-free:

Burgers and Sandwiches

– Hamburger
– Cheeseburger (without cheese)
– Big Mac (without cheese)
– McDouble (without cheese)
– Filet-O-Fish
– Chicken McNuggets


– French fries
– Hash browns
– Apple slices


– Soft drinks (Coke, Sprite, Fanta, etc)
– Iced tea
– Coffee
– Orange juice
– Apple juice
– Dasani water
– Minute Maid Light Lemonade

Those with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance can customize their McDonald’s orders to avoid dairy ingredients. Just be aware of potential cross-contact with dairy-containing menu items. Communicating with staff is key to ensuring proper food preparation.

Dairy-Free Fast Food Options Beyond McDonald’s

For even more choices, there are some other fast food chains that offer dairy-free menu options:


Subway sandwiches, salads, and sides like apple slices, chips and cookies can all be customized to be dairy-free.


Burritos, bowls, salads and sides like chips and guacamole at Chipotle are dairy-free by default. You just need to avoid cheese and sour cream.


Chick-fil-A has dairy-free grilled chicken sandwiches and nuggets. Waffle fries and most sauces and dressings are also dairy-free.

Taco Bell

Many Taco Bell items like tacos, burritos, rice and beans can be prepared dairy-free by avoiding cheese, sour cream and creamy sauces. Cinnamon twists and chips are dairy-free sides.


Wendy’s offers dairy-free hamburgers, fries, chili, Frostyccinos, sauces and lemonade. Salads and baked potatoes can also be customized.

So for those needing to avoid dairy, there are still many fast food options available. With some customization and extra care, you can enjoy dairy-free fast food from major chains like McDonald’s and others.

Tips for Enjoying Dairy-Free Fast Food

Here are some useful tips for safely eating dairy-free fast food:

– Review ingredients lists and nutrition info online before ordering. Many chains post this information.

– Ask about preparation policies – separate equipment, gloves changed, allergen protocols.

– Request special handing of your order if needed – fresh oil, clean cooking tools.

– Customize orders to remove cheese, creamy sauces and other dairy ingredients.

– Clarify diet when ordering to minimize cross-contact. Explain it is due to allergy or intolerance.

– Ask for sauces, dressings and condiments on the side to better control dairy exposure.

– Check labels on bottled/packaged drinks, sides, snacks for hidden dairy ingredients.

– Consult the restaurant’s allergen guide or ask staff about dairy-free menu options.

– Thank helpful staff for taking extra care to accommodate your dietary needs.

Should Those with Lactose Intolerance Avoid McDonald’s Fries?

People with lactose intolerance do not need to avoid McDonald’s fries. Since the fries themselves contain no dairy ingredients, they will not cause issues associated with lactose intolerance like gas, bloating or stomach discomfort. Even those with severe lactose intolerance or dairy allergies can generally consume McDonald’s fries safely.

However, some individuals with lactose intolerance may still choose to avoid McDonald’s fries, or only eat them in very small amounts. Reasons can include:

– Concerns over cross-contamination with menu items containing lactose like cheese and milkshakes.

– Personal sensitivity – even small amounts of lactose can trigger symptoms in some people.

– Use of shared cooking equipment and fryers for non-dairy and dairy menu items.

– Traces of dairy-based processing aids used in potato preprocessing.

– Preferring to err on the side of caution to prevent gastrointestinal issues.

– Individual differences in level of lactose intolerance and reaction to small amounts of lactose.

So while McDonald’s fries are technically lactose-free and dairy-free, individuals with lactose intolerance may make different choices based on their comfort level and past experiences eating at McDonald’s. Consulting directly with staff about food prep policies and procedures can provide more assurance as well.

Enjoying Dairy-Free Fast Food – A Recap

To summarize the key points:

– McDonald’s French fries do not contain any milk ingredients and are considered dairy-free.

– The main ingredients are potatoes, vegetable oil, dextrose and salt. Dedicated fryers help prevent cross-contact with dairy.

– People with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies can generally eat McDonald’s fries safely, but should check directly with staff on food prep policies if concerned.

– Those with soy, corn or canola oil allergies may want to request alternative frying oils be used.

– Other fast food chains like Subway, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell and Wendy’s also offer dairy-free options.

– Customizing orders, asking questions and communicating needs clearly is key to safely enjoying fast food with dietary restrictions.

So with some care and planning, people avoiding dairy can still enjoy fast food favorites like McDonald’s fries along with other menu options modified to be lactose-free.


In conclusion, McDonald’s French fries can be considered dairy-free and do not contain milk-derived ingredients like whey or casein. While traces of dairy from processing aids or cross-contact in the restaurant may concern some, McDonald’s states their fries are safe for consumption by those with milk allergies or lactose intolerance. People wanting to err on the side of caution can inquire directly with staff about food preparation procedures and policies at their location. Overall, with customization and clear communication, many fast food menu items at chains like McDonald’s, Subway and Wendy’s can be made dairy-free. By being an informed customer, you can still enjoy the convenience of fast food despite dietary restrictions involving dairy.

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