21 Juicy Meatless Burgers That Beat a Big Mac Every Time

In 2022, McDonald’s ended the US test of its McPlant burger before it ever got the chance to tempt customers with a nationwide launch. But luckily, vegan sandwiches at fast-food chains are no longer difficult to come by. If you’re craving a juicy fast-food burger, McDonald’s might not have your back, but we do. Below, we’ve compiled 21 vegan burgers that are way better than a Big Mac.


Why did McDonald’s get rid of the McPlant?

In early 2022, McDonald’s McPlant trial was well underway in several locations across the US. While not 100 percent vegan, the burger was entirely meat-free and featured a Beyond Meat patty served with tomato, lettuce, pickles, onions, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and American cheese.

But after the testing period ended, instead of a nationwide launch, the McPlant completely disappeared from menus.


RELATED: Where Are You, McPlant? Why McDonald’s Still Doesn’t Have a Meatless Option in the US

Later on in the year, McDonald’s confirmed that no further expansions of the McPlant were planned, and this was due to “underwhelming” sales performance. There are a few theories as to why this happened, but according to Restaurant Business Online, one potential barrier to a successful trial was the McPlant’s placement in rural locations, where demand for meat-free options is historically not as high.

As of yet, there have been no further announcements regarding vegan burgers or any other plant-based options at McDonald’s locations in the US. That said, it’s worth noting that the McPlant has witnessed success in other markets, including the UK, where the Double McPlant was rolled out nationwide.

RELATED: Move Aside Beyond and Impossible, These Housemade Burgers Are Totally Underrated Must-Tries

Are vegan burgers healthy and sustainable?

The beef industry has a massive impact on the environment. It’s linked with driving deforestation, habitat destruction, and potent greenhouse gas emissions, particularly methane. (In just one year, one cow can burp around 220 pounds of methane into the atmosphere.) As well as animal welfare implications (most animals in the meat industry are raised on cramped factory farms), this is one key reason why more consumers are opting for vegan burgers. But another reason is health.

Beef burgers are a form of processed meat, which is linked with an increased risk of chronic disease, including cancer. In fact, processed meat has been officially classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization since 2015. Vegan burgers, on the other hand, often present a healthier alternative.

This is not to say that vegan fast food is healthy. After all, fast-food vegan burgers designed to mimic meat are still processed and fried, and, in many instances, contain high amounts of fat and sodium. But research suggests they are healthier than the meaty alternative. In December 2022, one review from the University of Bath examined 43 studies and concluded that plant-based meat is healthier and more sustainable than animal products.

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RELATED: 7 Vegan Fast-Food Restaurants With Kids’ Meals

Which is better: Beyond or Impossible burger?

The plant-based meat industry is growing by the day, with new exciting brands entering the sector all the time. But two of the most well-known names in the industry, particularly when it comes to beef-like, fast-food burgers, are Beyond Meat, founded in 2009, and Impossible Foods, founded in 2011. Both brands have their (very similar) products in fast-food chains. But which is best? Like with any food product, it’s entirely subjective.

For example, if you’re sensitive to soy, you may be better suited to the Beyond Burger, which is made with pea, mung bean, rice protein, and beetroot (for that pinky “bleed” effect). Impossible Foods uses soy and potato protein as well as heme, an iron ion, which gives its burger its superior meaty flavor and appearance. It’s worth noting that while the Beyond Burger is non-GMO, Impossible Foods’ uses genetically modified ingredients, including heme.

While they are very similar in appearance, and often offered at a similar price point in fast-food chains, each burger has a distinct taste, which comes down to the different ingredient profiles. And of course, not all fast-food vegan burgers are made with Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods products, but they’re still just as delicious. To see which is your winning patty, well, you’ll just have to try for yourself!

Craving a vegan Big Mac? These meat-free burgers do it better 

Opt for one of these meat-free burgers (listed in no particular order) the next time you’re craving a Big Mac.

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1The VG Classic at Veggie Grill

Multiple locations

Veg chain and safe haven Veggie Grill, which was recently acquired by Next Level Burger, has been slinging plant-based favorites since 2006. The simple VG Classic is a can’t miss. Order this Beyond patty topped with lettuce, tomato, American cheese, pickles, onions, and special sauce for a Big Mac taste that’s better than the Mickey D’s original.

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2 Hart Signature Burg’r at Hart House

Los Angeles, CA

Two plant-based patties are stacked high and topped with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and housemade Signature Sauce at this vegan chain founded by Kevin Hart. 

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3Big Chuck at Mr. Charlie’s

Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA

The TikTok sensation dubbed “the vegan McDonald’s” provides mouthwatering plant-based fast food while also uplifting communities in need. Mr. Charlie’s partners with the Dream Center, a nationwide organization that helps unhoused and formerly incarcerated people get back on their feet by providing them with housing, training, and additional resources, to staff its restaurant. Grab The Big Chuck for a tasty burger that gives back.


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4 O.G. Betr at Jerrell’s Betr Brgr

New York, NY & Hoboken, NJ

If you’re in New York City or New Jersey and you’re craving a late-night juicy burger, head to Jerrell’s Betr Brgr. There, you can wash down an O.G. Betr burger, which is loaded with two Impossible patties, vegan cheese, and salad, with an oat shake. Depending on your appetite, you can also opt for Crispy Waffle Fries or a Hearty Chili Bowl or a Supr Betr (which is like the O.G., but with even more toppings).
Find it here

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5 Double Cheeseburger at Monty’s Good Burger

Multiple locations, Southern California

Coined the “Vegan In-N-Out,” Monty’s aptly mimics this Southern California burger chain right down to the secret sauce. This signature sandwich is stacked with two Impossible patties, melty Follow Your Heart cheese, house spread, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and grilled onions on a soft brioche bun. Pair with a side of crispy yet tender fries and a dairy-free strawberry shake.


6 Fussy Hussy at Slutty Vegan

Multiple locations

What began as a local food truck has become a popular vegan -chain in Georgia, New York, and beyond. Each menu item is a solid choice, but if you’re looking for a McDonald’s replica, Slutty Vegan’s Fussy Hussy is where it’s at. Dive into a plant-based patty topped with vegan cheese, caramelized onions, pickles, lettuce, tomato, and Slut Sauce. What makes this burger even better than the Big Mac? It comes sandwiched between two vegan Hawaiian buns. Aisha “Pinky” Cole, you’re making our dreams come true!

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7 The Iconic Burger at Plant Power Fast Food

Multiple locations

This vegan fast-food chain is giving Mickey D’s a run for its money. In this signature burger, a beefy vegan patty is topped with secret burger sauce, American cheese, lettuce, and grilled onions for an epic handheld that’ll have you saying, “Big Mac, who?!” Complete your order with a creamy milkshake, and you’ve got yourself an unparalleled burger experience.

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8 Impossible Whopper at Burger King


In 2019, fast-food giant Burger King followed White Castle’s lead and launched Impossible Burgers nationwide, in the form of the Impossible Whopper. And to this day, it is by far the biggest fast-food company in the US to offer a vegan burger. The menu item comes with mayonnaise, which isn’t vegan, but you can make your order plant-based by requesting it without. And don’t worry, you won’t end up with a dry boring burger, because it also comes packed with ketchup, pickles, tomato, lettuce, and sliced onions.
Find it here

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9 The Veggie Shack Shake Shack


If you’re not a fan of meaty plant-based burgers, some chains, like Shake Shack, offer vegetable patties instead. The Veggie Shack comes with a black bean and brown rice patty and a selection of salad ingredients. But you will have to make some customizations: ask for no cheese and a gluten-free bun to make this menu offering totally vegan. But that said, the chain might be open to more nationwide vegan options in the future. In August 2021Last year, it partnered with Slutty Vegan on a limited-edition vegan burger in Harlem, NY.
Find it here

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10 Impossible Slider at White Castle


Yep, the chain that gave us the original fast-food burger is still going. And, even better, it’s kept up with the changing landscape of food, too. In 2018, after a successful trial period, it rolled out Impossible Sliders (made, of course, with the Impossible Burger), to all of its restaurants across 13 states. Today, the Impossible Slider is still on the menu—just order without cheese to ensure it’s vegan.
Find it here

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11 Impossible Standard at Bareburger


Bareburger, which has nearly 40 locations across the US, added the Beyond Burger to its menu back in 2018. At the time, CEO Euripides Pelekanos said the chain was “committed to offering consumers their favorite food while being mindful about the sustainability and origin of these products.” Since then, it has stayed true to that commitment. Now, its menu is complete with an entire meatless section. All of the options are 100 percent vegan and include the Impossible Shrooming, which is served with wild mushrooms, and the classic vegan cheeseburger: Impossible Standard. There are also two vegetable-based options: My Sunshine, which features sweet potato, kale, and wild rice patty, and Cilantro Black Bean.
Find it here

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12 Smokehouse Burger at HipCityVeg

Philadelphia, PA and Washington, DC

You can’t go wrong at HipCityVeg. The fan-favorite Smokehouse Burger is sure to satisfy even the biggest cravings. Made with a grilled vegan patty and topped with crispy onions, tangy barbecue sauce, and smoked gouda,  this veg handheld pairs perfectly with sweet potato fries and a chocolate milkshake for a meal you won’t soon forget.

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13 DBL PLNT Burger at PLNT Burger

Multiple locations

Founded by popular chef Spike Mendelsohn, most PLNT Burger locations can be found inside Whole Foods Markets, serving everything from DBL Plnt Burgers to  Mushroom BBQ Bacon Burgers to Crispy Chik’n Sandwiches to Save The Bay fillets (a vegan nod to McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish).
Find it here

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14 The Vurger at Vurger Guyz 

Los Angeles, CA

BBeloved by Angelenos and Hollywood celebrities, Vurger Guyz can’t be missed when in the City of Angels. The food truck’s Vurger is topped high with vegan American cheese, lettuce, fried onions, pickles, and fried jalapeños. Choose between Agave Mustard, Vurger Ranch, Sunrise, Sunburn, and Sunset sauces to complete your order. Make it a double for an extra meaty burger.



Truffle Burger at Freesoulcaffe

Tustin, CA

In full transparency, the size of this burger is a bit underwhelming. However, for what it lacks in volume, it makes up in flavor. Made with a beefy vegetable-based patty and topped with caramelized onions, sauteéd mushrooms, and truffle aioli on a flax seed bun, this handheld from Freesoulcaffe is the most gourmet burger on our list. 


16Vegan Cheeseburger at Burgerlords

Los Angeles, CA

Opt for the Vegan Cheeseburger featuring a housemade patty and topped with dairy-free American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, and Burgerlords’ signature sauce. Pair with a side of animal-style Lord of the Fries for true bliss.


17 The Big D at Doomie’s Home Cookin’

Los Angeles, CA

You have to ask for the secret menu to order this Big Mac copycat at LA’s Doomie’s Home Cookin’. Piled high with two vegan patties and three buns—in addition to all the standard Big Mac toppings—one would never guess this burger didn’t come through the drive-thru. 

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18 The Maverick at Next Level Burger

Multiple locations

With locations in California, Oregon, Washington, New York, Colorado, and Texas, Next Level Burger is redefining fast food one state at a time. Many of its locations can be found in Whole Foods Markets. Skip the hot bar and head to the Next Level register to order The Maverick. This burger is made with a house-seasoned Beyond patty slathered with special sauce, your choice of vegan cheese, crispy onion rings, tempeh bacon, hickory barbecue sauce, dill pickles, lettuce, and tomato between a buttery, toasted pretzel bun.

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19Big WAC at Green New American Vegetarian

Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix’s favorite casual vegan eatery, Green New American Vegetarian, has a burger on its menu to rival all other fast-food contenders—the Big WAC. There’s nothing fancy about it—just a double patty served with special sauce, pickles, cheese, lettuce, and onions on a traditional sesame seed bun—but this sandwich is perfect in its simplicity. 

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20The Dirty Double at J Selby’s

St. Paul, MN

J Selby’s is a solid contributor to Minnesota’s burgeoning vegan food scene. Known for its plant-based renditions of fast food, bar, and diner dishes, you can bet the menu includes a stellar Big Mac-style burger. The kitchen relies on two beefy vegan patties to mimic this McDonald’s icon. 

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21Kendall Square at Veggie Galaxy

Cambridge, MA

Veggie Galaxy grabbed the attention of Food Network star Guy Fieri and was featured on the popular Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives primetime show. While the menu offers several standout burgers to choose from, the one that most resembles the Big Mac is the Kendall Square. Made with a sweet potato and black bean burger, roasted red pepper purée, onion rings, roasted garlic mayo, and baby arugula, this sandwich beats anything we’ve ordered from a drive-thru window.

Editor’s note: This list is by no means exhaustive. Vegan restaurants across the country are making exceptional plant-based versions of fast-food classics like the Big Mac. As always, we encourage you to get out there and support your local vegan restaurants so they can keep on feeding the community.

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