The craving for savory, salty, and alluringly addictive Chinese food can sometimes come up on you without warning. When that happens, we want to be there for you in your hour of need. Our guide on how to order vegan at Panda Express will come in handy at your hungriest moments.
When not only meat, but also animal broth and (most likely) eggs are in the menu offerings, ordering can get ugly. When you’re hangry or, even worse, raveganous (our new word for a ravenous vegan), making a conscious choice can be even more challenging. What can you do to satisfy your starved stomach?
First, take a deep breath. Second, read through this list and take our advice. Lastly, thank the people at Panda Express for offering a few plant-based provisions, but ask that they consider adding more for the masses. Scroll a little further and then order your food, my friend!
How to Navigate the Menu at Panda Express
Luckily, the options for ordering vegan at Panda Express are not as scarily scarce as you would find from McDonald’s. Until this Chinese Kitchen restaurant starts adding more plant-based meat options, here are some solid suggestions on how to order as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Except for sides and beverages, there is pretty much only one option in each category on the menu. So, make it easy on yourself by ordering these items:
- Appetizer: Vegetable Spring Rolls
- Entree: Eggplant Tofu or Beyond the Original Orange Chicken (if available)
- Vegetable: Super Greens
- Side: Choose a rice or noodle bowl (or both, if you’re really hungry)
- Sauces: Any and all!
- Beverage: Your choice
- Dessert: Fortune Cookie
What’s Vegan at Panda Express?
Plant-Based Menu Items (testing for a limited time at select locations):
- Beyond the Original Orange Chicken is now available at 70 locations starting October 27, 2021! (Using Beyond Chicken Tenders)
- Vegetable Spring Rolls (cabbage, celery, carrots, green onions, and Chinese noodles in a wonton wrapper)
NOTE: At some locations, you can add mushrooms, green beans, tofu, or vegetable protein to the spring rolls. The wrappers do not contain eggs.
- Brown Steamed Rice
- Chow Fun (available at select locations)
- Chow Mein (stir-fried noodles with cabbage, onions, and celery)
- White Steamed Rice
- Eggplant Tofu (browned tofu, eggplant, and red bell peppers in a spicy sauce)
- Super Greens (steamed broccoli, kale and cabbage)
- Chili Sauce
- Hot Mustard
- Plum Sauce
- Potsticker Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Fortune Cookie
- Barq’s Root Beer
- Black Tea
- Fountain Drinks (Coca-Cola Brands)
- Fuze Teas (Lemon and Raspberry)
- Glaceau Vitaminwaters
- Gold Peak Teas
- Hi-C Fruit Punch
- Minute Maid Lemonades
- Seagrams’ Ginger Ale
- Sweet Tea
NOT Vegan at Panda Express:
- Hot and Sour Soup – contains eggs
- Fried Rice – contains eggs
- Chocolate Chip Cookies – contains eggs, milk, and butter
NOTE: Most of the foods that are available at Panda Express contain wheat and soy. If you are sensitive or allergic to either of these elements, you might want to avoid visiting this fast food restaurant for now.
Vegan Orange Chicken at Panda Express
The very limited options for vegans at Panda Express are finally turning a corner with the launch of vegan orange chicken! This is only available at some locations right now, but will likely be rolling out nationwide in time.
When Panda Express first tested their vegan orange chicken at a few locations, they sold out before most hungry herbivores had a chance to give it a try. We’re eagerly waiting for them to catch up with the plant-based demand! It’s made with Beyond Meat and looks and tastes crazy-simliar to the Original Orange Chicken (which is not vegan).
Where Can I Get the Vegan Orange Chicken?
You can currently find the locations that carry the Beyond vegan orange chicken using this handy locator tool on the Panda Express website.
Does Panda Express Use Chicken Broth in Their Menu Items?
Are the Noodles at Panda Express Vegan?
Yes! The noodles contain no eggs or other animal products. But, be aware that all of the vegan-friendly food options are cooked in the same wok as foods that contain meat. Panda Express has mentioned that they wipe the woks out well between uses, but they do share the same surface. If you are not comfortable with the possible cross-contamination, it might be best to avoid this fast food restaurant all together.
Helpful Hints When Ordering Vegan at Panda Express
- Browse the Panda Express menu before ordering.
- If ordering Panda Express online or through a delivery service, make sure you clearly specify any substitutions you would like. Especially concerning sauces and meats. If you’re worried that your request may not be honored (or seen by the server at Panda Express), it might be a better idea to go there directly to order.
- Check out the Nutrition and Allergen Information page to make sure that you are purchasing a vegan-friendly item. The menu items offered at Panda Express do change and the informational charts seem to be updated regularly.
- Be careful when new and exciting seasonal products are offered at Panda Express. Double check the allergens and ingredients PDFs to make sure the item is vegan before purchasing.
Creating a Kinder and More Accessible Panda Express
It’s only a matter of time before more vegan options land on the menu for this quick-stop, Chinese takeout restaurant. That’s the direction all the big fast food chains are heading, and Panda Express will soon feel the pressure of adding more plant-based options. But meanwhile, we can always write to, call, or contact the managers of any location to make our requests.
How to Order Vegan at Other Fast Food Chains
We have a whole series of vegan fast food guides to help you find the best options at each location. Take a peek if you’re in need of a quick vegan meal on a road trip or with fast food-loving friends!
- California Pizza Kitchen
- Olive Garden
- Panera Bread
- Long John Silver’s
- Domino’s Pizza
- Ultimate Vegan Fast Food Guide
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-Panda-Express creations with all of us!
This article is not sponsored and we are in no way affiliated with Panda Express. 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 at Panda Express and not listed or items listed here as vegan, which are no longer vegan. Take care to double-check.
Article written by Gina House and edited by Michelle Cehn and Amanda Meth. Please note that this article may contain affiliate links which means shopping through them really helps to support World of Vegan!