Sonic Drive-In is a relic of America’s rich fast-food history; built with drive-in parking spots where decades ago (and still in a few locations!), your food would be delivered on rollerskates. The burger chain spans 46 states with over 3,500 locations so, your chances of finding a Sonic nearby are much higher than most other fast-food restaurants. Sonic is a nostalgic comfort food haven, but unfortunately, Sonic’s menu is also stuck a few decades behind. While Sonic’s plant-based menu is extremely limited, that doesn’t mean the vegan passengers are completely out of luck!
The main menu consists of beloved fast food items such as hamburgers, fries, and hotdogs, but unlike its competitors, Sonic is working slowly (if at all) to introduce plant-based options for its customers. However, younger consumers steer the market into the new plant-based territory, it is likely that the major fast food chain will pivot its menu to better cater to vegan customers. Currently, one-in-10 Americans avoid eating meat, according to Alliance for Science.
What’s Vegan at Sonic?
This famous fast food joint is a tricky one, but it’s still possible to eat plant-based at Sonic. So, when you pull up to your order screen, there’s no need to panic. Here are our tips on how to order a plant-based meal at Sonic when there are no clear options on the menu screen.
It is also important to note that Sonic’s store policy does not prevent cross-contamination, meaning that some of these items were likely fried or grilled on the same appliances used for meat and dairy menu items.
Everything That’s Vegan-Friendly at Sonic
Build Your Own Plant-Based Sandwich at Sonic
Although Sonic’s menu features zero fully plant-based sandwiches or hot dogs, vegan customers can order a custom sandwich packed with their favorite veggies and topped with their favorite condiments. The menu items at Sonic vary from region to region, so make sure you check with your location about what bread are vegan and what sandwich fillings they offer.
- Avocado (Limited availability)
- Dill Pickle Chips
- Dill Pickle Spears (Limited availability)
- Hatch Green Chiles
- Diced Onion
- Grilled Onions
- Sauerkraut (Limited availability)
- Sport Peppers (Limited availability)
- Sweet Pickle Relish
Condiment and Sauces
- Asian Sweet Chili Wing Sauce
- Hickory BBQ (May contain honey in some locations)
- Buffalo Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
- Grape Jelly
- Salsa de Sonic
- Strawberry Jam
- Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Sweet Relish
Vegan Bread at Sonic
Sonic’s vegan bread option differs from location to location, because the company sources its bread from several distributors. However, when you order your customized sandwich, ask the cashier where the bread is bought from and whether or not it contains dairy products or eggs.
- Hamburger Bun (Possibly containing milk or eggs)
- Hot Dog Buns (Possibly containing milk or eggs)
- Texas Toast (Possibly containing milk or eggs)
- Tortillas (Possibly containing milk or eggs)
- Philly Rolls (Limited availability)
- Bagels (Limited availability)
Vegan Fast Food Sides at Sonic
- Pretzel Twist: Most of the time, Sonic’s signature Pretzel Twists come coated with butter and serve with cheese sauce. But customers can order this tasty snack without any dairy, replacing the cheese sauce with marinara or mustard.
- Onion Rings: While Onion Rings elsewhere typically contain eggs in the batter, Sonic’s famous onion rings use exclusively plant-based ingredients.
- French Fries: Make sure to order a side of fries to accompany your customized Sonic sandwich.
- Tater Tots: Sonic’s crunchy, delicious tater tots are best paired with a sauce – any sauce for that matter. If you love tots, you are in luck!
Vegan-Friendly Drinks at Sonic
Nearly all of Sonic’s delicious slushie flavors are vegan, including the lemon, limeade slush, and plain slushie base. Flavored syrups that are vegan-friendly include:
- Blue Raspberry
- Blue Raspberry
- French Vanilla
Sonic also carries a range of soft drinks from Barq’s Root Beer to Fanta Orange to Coca-Cola products which are all vegan-friendly.
The New Vegan Drive-Thru: America is Hungry for Healthier Food
Vegan meat is appearing on food service menus 1,320 percent more than before 2020, according to a Tastewise report. And a huge contributor to this plant-based shift comes from the fast-food industry. Major fast-food companies including Panda Express and Burger King have introduced new plant-based items to cater to the growing number of vegan customers in the United States. Most recently, McDonald’s (the biggest fast food corporation in the world) has started testing its meatless burger, the McPlant, and restaurants nationwide.
However, Americans are hungrier for more vegan fast food than these chains can provide. Several new plant-based burger chains have teamed up with franchising firms to bring vegan Americans fully plant-based menus, including Plant Power Fast Food, HipCityVeg, and Noomo.
For more plant-based fare near you, visit The Beet’s Find Vegan Near Me articles.