Arm yourself with information (and maybe even a few apples!) before heading out to eat a vegan meal at Applebee’s. Best known for their late-night meat-and-cheese-filled appetizers, meal deals, and super cheap drinks, Applebee’s may not be the optimal option for hungry (or hangry) vegans. But don’t worry, we’ll help you get through this! This guide will show you exactly what you can order that’s vegan at Applebee’s.
Although you can certainly get some grub with your family or friends, it’s fair to say that eating vegan at Applebee’s may be frustrating. At the very least, you can chow down on chips and salsa (with perhaps a salad on the side) along with your brews and booze.
We hope that the Applebee’s philosophy of “Good food, good people” might someday include people who love plant-based foods, too. But for now, let’s see how we can make it work!
Quick Ordering Guide for Vegans
Although plant-based meal options seem to be few and far between, we can try and get creative when it comes to vegan menu choices. Make the most out of eating vegan at Applebee’s by planning ahead and having an idea of what you’re in the mood to munch on. Here are a few veganized meal combinations you can order:
- Simple Salad: Choose a Salad Bowl with no cheese, croutons, or breadstick. Pick a vegan dressing (listed below). Add either fries or red-skinned potatoes for a more filling meal.
- You Can’t Beat a Bowl: Irresist-A-Bowl (Southwest) without the meat. Ask for extra veggies, bean & corn salsa, and guacamole. The Chimichurri sauce is vegan—yay!
- Serve up the Sides: Baked potato (or two!) with no butter or an order of red skin potatoes along with a house salad (no cheese or croutons, add a vegan dressing) and some steamed broccoli, grilled onions, and a side of guacamole.
Politely Pass On These Non-Vegan Menu Items
- Breadsticks (pre-made with butter)
- Onion Rings (milk derivatives in the batter)
- Toasted Brioche Bun (made with both milk and eggs)
- Salad Dressings (except the ones listed below)
Our list of vegan options below will help to sort through the selections and give you a fairly decent dining experience.
Vegan Options at Applebee’s
- Chips & Salsa
- Fries (classic, basket)
- Impossible Burger (at this time only available in NY) – with lettuce cup and tomato, no cheese.
- House Salad (with no cheese or croutons, add vegan-friendly dressing)
- Oriental, Tuscan Garden, or Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad (no chicken or breadstick)
- Southwest Irresist-a-Bowl (with no meat, add a vegan-friendly dressing)
- Baked Potato (ask for no butter)
- Chips & Salsa
- Crispy Red Potatoes
- Fries Basket
- Grilled Onions
- Steamed Broccoli (ask for no butter to be cooked with or added to the broccoli)
Vegan Sauces & Dressings:
- Balsamic Glaze
- Black Bean Corn Salsa
- Champagne Vinaigrette
- Chimichurri Sauce
- Chunky Red Pepper Relish
- Fat-Free Italian
- Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette
- Pico de Gallo
- Sweet & Spicy Sauce
- Assorted Fountain Drinks
- Hot Coffee or Tea
- Hot, Flavored, and Iced Tea
- Flavored Lemonades
- Frozen Lemonades
- Fruit Smoothies (Mango, Wildberry, Strawberry Banana)
- Juice (Apple, Grape, Orange/Tangerine)
- Lemonade and Iced Tea Quenchers
- Bottled Water/Perrier Sparkling Water
NOTE: Applebee’s also offers a large assortment of alcoholic beverages, but the options differ from one location to the next and also from state to state. Though some of the mainstream beer and wine brands are vegan (like Bud, Coors, Heineken, etc.), there are some varieties that are not vegan-friendly within that brand. Please double-check your options on Barnivore.com–the vegan beer, wine, and liquor guide.
Tips for Dining at Applebee’s as a Vegan
- You may want to rethink visiting this restaurant if you are really hungry. There’s nothing so frustrating as going to a restaurant with very few options for vegan food. If they happen to be out of potatoes or lettuce for a salad, you’re going to be sad and stuck. You can rely on chips and salsa to get you through until you get home, but it’s not the best option, you know?
- If your family and friends are truly fired up to go to Applebee’s, take this list with you and hope for the best. If you know you’re going there ahead of time, you can bring a vegan burger (wrapped in some tin foil or a small container), an avocado, or a container of hummus.
- Go there with the idea that it’s a “drinks-with-appetizer” get together. Decide on some awesome alcoholic drinks (or fresh and fruity smoothies) that are vegan-friendly, add some chips & salsa or a basketful of fries with ketchup, and it might just meet your nightly needs.
Helpful Hints When Ordering Vegan at Applebee’s
- Browse the Applebee’s website before ordering.
- If ordering Applebee’s through an online delivery service, make sure you clearly specify any substitutions you would like, especially concerning eggs or cheese. If you’re worried that your request may be overlooked, it might be a better idea to call or go there directly to order.
- Download the Applebee’s Allergen Guide to make sure that you are purchasing a vegan-friendly item. The products offered at Applebee’s may change, even though the PDFs seem to be updated regularly.
- Applebee’s locations offer different items. We highly suggest that you check the Applebee’s website and choose the specific restaurant you’re planning to visit before you go there. While researching the menu, I found items in one state that were not available in another state, or even in different towns within the same state.
Finally, Some Fun Facts About Applebee’s
- The original name for the restaurant was taken from the phone book listing of “Appleby” and chosen over two other possible names, “Cinnamon’s” and “Pepper’s.”
- Applebee’s used to have a drug store theme and was named, “T.J. Applebe’s RX for Edibles and Elixirs.”
- The first restaurant location was in Atlanta, Georgia.
- IHOP and Applebee’s are sibling locations, both owned by Dine Brands Global.
- The tallest Applebee’s building is three stories tall and located in NYC.
Want More Vegan Options at Applebee’s?
Let them know! Your voice matters. Write to them, message them on social media, talk to the manager of your local branch. Trust us, they are listening, and the more they hear it, the faster they will evolve.
How to Order Vegan at Other Chains
Have you found any other options to be veganizable? Did you find something amazing that we missed? Let us know by tagging #worldofvegan and sharing your favorite vegan-at-Applebees creations with all of us!
This article is not sponsored and we are in no way affiliated with Applebee’s. At the time of this article, the foods mentioned above are vegan. Since restaurants constantly update their menus and add or take away items, please keep this in mind when ordering your food. There may be new items that are vegan and not listed or items listed here as vegan, which are no longer vegan. Take care to double-check.