If there are two things Jack in the Box is primarily known for, it’s their incredible legacy in the fast food industry, having been around for more than 60 years, and also their delicious and cheap hamburgers which come in a variety of flavors and options to choose from.
However, while their beef patties might be the reason so many people flock to Jack in the Box, it might come as a surprise to some that there are actually a decent amount of vegan options on the menu to enjoy, ensuring that everyone gets a chance to taste-test this fantastic fast-food branch.
Here is a full breakdown of what vegan-friendly options are on the Jack in the Box menu, what meals you can enjoy if you’re following a vegan diet, and what food to steer clear off when you next crave some Jack in the Box.
What Is Jack In The Box?
Jack in the Box is one of the oldest chains in the fast food industry, first opening its doors to the public in 1951 with its singular shop in San Diego.
Jack in the Box, and its founder Robert O. Peterson, have actually been credited with creating what we now know as a modern drive-thru, making the branch actually very important and revolutionary in how it changed the fast food scene.
Since opening its doors, however, the menu options in Jack in the Box have always been narrowed down to one thing, beef patties.
Their regular hamburger used to cost only 18 cents throughout the 1950s, and while this price has risen considerably, they are still well known for serving cheap but tasty burgers, tacos, and any meat-based meals and snacks.
However, to avoid excluding any customers from trying out their delicious foods, many fast food chains have begun expanding their menus in recent times to incorporate more vegan-friendly options, and this includes Jack in the Box who now has a decent variety of vegan options on their menu for everyone to enjoy.
Jack In The Box Vegan Options
Luckily, if you are on a vegan diet, there are still a wide selection of meals and vegan-friendly foods on the menu for you to choose from, so you won’t need to miss out next time you visit a Jack in the Box.
Here are all the vegan options Jack in the Box currently has to offer on their menu:
1. Teriyaki Rice Bowl
While this menu option is not vegan due to its spicy Teriyaki chicken, you can easily make it vegan-friendly by removing the chicken and adding in a few more veggies to fill up the bowl instead.
When doing this, you won’t need to worry about any of the flavor or texture being lost as the bowl will still have a nice crunch to it thanks to the mixture of broccoli and lettuce, along with the rice, which is delicious to snack on but also very filling, so you can be sure that one bowl will be more than enough.
This isn’t even mentioning the Teriyaki sauce spread over the top of this delightful mixture to add that sweet and slightly tangy flavor that we all love so much.
Perfect as a side dish or as a main meal, this is an easy way to make one of Jack’s main menu options into a delicious vegan-friendly dish.
2. Unchicken Sandwich
Since early 2020, Jack in the Box has been testing out a few plant-based burgers, with their most popular and most well received being the Unchicken Sandwich.
While it is only available in a select few stores, including in Monterey and Reno, it uses a vegan-friendly chicken alternative made from a blend of pea protein isolate, bamboo fibers, egg white, and golden flaxseed.
The breading itself is also vegan friendly and can be bought in either its spicy version, or the original which is a lot milder.
The sandwich also comes with a toasted split top bun, tomatoes and quite a lot of lettuce to add as much crunchiness as possible.
Customers have reported being thoroughly impressed by the Unchicken Sandwich, not only because the thin patty tastes so close to the actual chicken while still being plant-based, but also because if you choose the spicier version, it contains far more of a potent kick to the taste that you just won’t get with the majority of Jack’s other foods which hesitate to make the flavor too spicy.
3. Regular And Seasoned Curly Fries
The good news is that if you’re a fan of fried potatoes, Jack in the Box’s French Fry options are vegan-friendly, without needing to prepare them differently or adding in new ingredients.
Jack’s has been selling their signature French Fries since 1991 and have the perfect blend of being salty, while still retaining a nice amount of crunchiness to the texture and a delicious flavor overall.
While their regular fries are definitely a great option to pick up, either as a side option or on their own, the curly fries are a fun way to make the standard fries even more delicious.
Characterized by their helical shape after being cut by a spiral slicer, Jack’s Curly Fries are seasoned with a little bit of onion powder and a few spices to make them just a little more spicy than usual, making both of these options delicious and light vegan snacks that can be enjoyed on their own or as a side option.
4. Hash Browns
It’s hard to find anyone who would willingly turn down a hash brown, especially when they are as big and delicious as those on the menu in Jack in the Box.
While they are a breakfast option, unlike many other food chains that will put minimal effort into this underrated morning treat, Jack’s makes sure their hash browns are perfectly crispy on the outside with a nice golden brown texture while also being nice and fluffy on the inside.
Not to mention, they are incredibly filling with just one serving adding up to 187 calories, so you can be sure you will be satisfied after just one or two of these deliciously crispy delights.
5. Side Salad
It’s understandable that for many people, the side salad option of a menu may not be the most exciting even when you’re on a strict healthy diet.
However, what makes Jack’s Side Salad really stand out is you won’t just be getting a few carrots and lettuce, but instead a bowl packed full of nutritional ingredients to mix up the taste just enough to where it won’t be stale.
With just one order of a Side Salad, you will get a box full of iceberg lettuce, Romaine lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, and even a few grape tomatoes to make the dish a little more juicy overall.
However, one thing to always switch out if you choose this option is the croutons, since these contain milk.
We recommend switching them out for the low-fat balsamic vinaigrette, which is much healthier and still gives the bowl a much-needed hint of sweetness to make each bite as delicious as possible.
6. Corn Sticks
At just 60 calories in a single serving, Jack’s delightful Corn Sticks are some of the most underrated options on the Jack in the Box menu, providing a surprisingly deep and rich flavor that you just can’t find with similar products from other fast food chains.
Jack clearly put a lot of effort into their corn sticks, which becomes evident when you see just how big each of them are, with a single box essentially being a main meal all on its own for how filling they are to eat.
7. Tree Top Apple Sauce
If you’re a big fan of the sour flavor of apples and want an easy way to get the majority of your recommended Vitamin C intake for the day, Jack’s Tree Top Apple Sauce pouches are made entirely from a mixture of apples, water, apple juice concentrate, and ascorbic acid, making them not only incredibly nutritious but also packed full of that familiar fruity flavor that so many of us love so much.
If there’s one thing anyone who has visited Jack in the Box before knows very well, it’s that they love nothing more than dishing out the sauces on each and every one of their menu options, and if they’re not laying it all over the food itself, they are instead serving the sauce in small pouches for you to enjoy.
This means that Jack’s has a huge selection of sauces to choose from. However, there are some that are much healthier than the others. These are the Jack in the Box sauces you can choose from that are vegan friendly:
- BBQ Dipping Sauce
- French’s Mustard Packet
- Hot Taco Sauce Packet
- Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
- Taco Sauce
- Kikkoman Soy Sauce
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Sweet ‘N Sour
- Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce
9. Vegan-Friendly Drinks
It can often be a much harder challenge and a little trickier finding out whether a particular drink being served from a fast food chain is vegan-friendly compared to the food.
This is primarily because there are so many ingredients to look out for including pepsin, carmine, and the most common offender, gelatine.
Luckily, the majority of Jack in the Box’s drink options do not contain any of these ingredients and are completely vegan-friendly, however there are a few that we would recommend over others that are entirely safe to at least try out.
Jumpin’ Jack’s Splash for example is a slightly fizzy beverage that contains a tremendous amount of fruitiness to ramp its flavor up to a whole new level with it’s mixture of Minute Maid Lemonade and cherry, lime, and raspberry juice.
The Mello Yello is another delicious vegan-friendly option which has a much more distinctive tangy taste owing to the orange juice and citric acid with just a little bit of corn syrup and caffeine to add a little bit of an energetic kick to the overall flavor.
Finally, there is the Gold Peak Classic Blend Tea which uses a mixture of brewed tea, phosphoric acid, aspartame and acesulfame potassium to create a delicate and slightly sweet tea flavor that goes down so well both on it’s own, and as part of a nutritious and hearty meal.
Vegan Misconceptions About Jack In The Box
Over the years there have been some who claim that certain foods from the Jack in the Box menu are actually vegan, however much of the time this is untrue and since the majority of the menu is meat based, it’s always useful to know which of these supposed foods you should instead stay clear of, despite what some people might say.
The worst offender for this is Jack in the Box’s Tacos which several people have been claiming are actually vegan friendly over the last few years. However, this is entirely untrue as each taco uses a particular kind of meat as its base, usually being either bacon or chicken.
The tacos do use textured vegetable protein and defatted soy grits, however they also contain milk and are packed full of cheese, so they should always be avoided when on a vegan diet.
This also is the same for the mini tacos which may be a lot smaller in size and possess fewer ingredients than their counterparts, but are still packed with meat and cheese.
The main reason for this misconception is a rumor that started flying around social media in recent years claiming that Jack in the Box actually used veggie mate in their tacos rather than real beef, however it has since been confirmed by employees that it is actually ground beef mixed with a soy blend, so it’s best not to take this rumor seriously.
This goes the same for the egg rolls which contain pork and anchovy, despite some people claiming these too are vegan friendly.
The misconception for the egg rolls seems to come from people who consider the eggs to be entirely vegan friendly and forget about the other ingredients within the roll itself.
While the decision is usually up to the individual and their view on vegetarianism, many vegans will avoid eggs since they are still an animal product and can often come from hens, geese, ducks and chickens which are being forced to produce them.
Even if someone on a vegan diet were to eat eggs and ensure that they are produced in a moral and ethical manner, the added pork in the egg rolls which gives them their flavor means they are still considered non-friendly for vegans to eat.
Onion Rings & Churros
Despite how much we wish they could be, Jack’s onion rings are also not vegan-friendly, specifically because while they do use panko breadcrumbs as their coating which is vegan friendly, the Jack in the Box Allergen Reference Guide also claims that they use milk as part of the batter too.
This is exactly the same reason the churros are also not vegan-friendly, despite what many people may tell you.
This is because the batter they use contains eggs and milk to make it soft yet also crunchy to bite into, so try not to be fooled if you see anyone on social media preaching that these menu options really are suitable for vegans to enjoy.
Do Jack In The Box Still Sell Vegan Potato Wedges?
If you’ve been to a Jack in the Box at any point in the last decade, you might have noticed their potato wedges.
These vegan-friendly sides were a fan favorite among many customers with their large, unpeeled baked texture that made them incredibly delicious as a light snack to chow down on.
Unfortunately, since 2021 Jack’s signature wedges have been discontinued, with the reason being that the chain saw the “Potential to raise sales” by focusing on upgrading their regular fries, rather than continuing the wedges which were popular, but not as popular as Jack’s French Fries.
Interestingly, while both fast food joints are owned by separate companies, KFC also decided to remove their potato wedges from the menu too, and needless to say these decisions have not gone down well with customers.
Ever since they were discontinued, Jack in the Box has been receiving constant petitions from customers to bring back the wedges, however it seems that the chain instead has their sites set on introducing a brand new type of fries that will essentially replace the beloved potato wedges.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Any Of Jack In The Box’s Desserts Vegan Friendly?
Unfortunately, despite having a wide selection of creamy appetizers on the menu, Jack in the Box currently offer no desserts that are vegan-friendly. We can only hope that in the future they choose to incorporate some gluten-free recipes into their dessert options or a few vegan pies to spice things up a little bit, but as of now, there has been no indication that this is going to happen.
All in all, while there has been a fierce debate for a few decades now on the quality of Jack in the Box’s vegan offerings and how accessible its menu really is, the reality is that much more needs to be added.
While you can still choose from quite a few delicious vegan options, Jack’s is still lagging behind its competition when it comes to plant-based burgers and sandwiches and while they are starting to test some out for the first time, we hope to see a little more in the coming years.