Vegan sandwiches at fast-food chains are no longer difficult to come by, but before Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat infiltrated drive-thru culture, vegan restaurants were making their own super-stacked veggie burgers. While vegans and omnivores have raved over the Burger King Impossible Whopper and the Carl’s Jr. Beyond Famous Star (we are still waiting on McDonalds to stop dragging its feet in the US) these 20 plant-based burgers prove vegan joints do it best. From Los Angeles to New York City to local gems in between, vegan handholds are putting the Big Mac to shame. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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1. Le Fou Royale at Es Todo, Los Angeles, CA
True to its name, the physics-defying number of ingredients on this sandwich is bananas. This triple-decker vegan burger is made with three Impossible and Beyond patties and layered with Beyond sausage, pickles, mixed greens, tomatoes, caramelized onions, vegan American and cheddar cheese, and dairy-free Thousand Island dressing—somehow all (barely) contained by two toasted seeded buns. For a burger you might actually get your mouth around, opt for The Cult, which is made with a single Impossible patty and your standard burger toppings of pickles, tomatoes, Thousand Island dressing, vegan cheese, and mixed greens on a potato bun. 

 
 
 
 
 
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2. Double at Monty’s Good Burger, multiple locations, CA
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 local bakery potato bun. Pair with a side of crispy-yet-tender fries and a strawberry shake. 

 
 
 
 
 
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3. Megamouth at Superiority Burger, New York City, NY
This vegetarian sandwich shop is no bigger than a spacious walk-in-closet, but it seems to be on every top-ten list in relation to NYC eats and burgers in general. Available vegan (omit the Munster cheese), the Megamouth features a phenomenal housemade vegetable patty simply paired with tomato, pickles, and iceberg lettuce on a sesame seed bun. Sometimes simplicity can be a standout. 

 
 
 
 
 
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4. 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 is the most gourmet burger on our list. 

 
 
 
 
 
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5. The Mac Daddy at Organix, Los Angeles, CA
Customers have two vegan meat options here—the Impossible Burger or Organix’s own housemade “beefy” patty. When ordering the Mac Daddy, two of these burgers are accompanied by Follow Your Heart American cheese, lettuce, pickles, grilled onions, housemade Thousand Island dressing, and three sesame seed buns (one acts as a carby cushion in the middle). For a slightly simpler sandwich, order the All American. 

 
 
 
 
 
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6. The Big Zac at Plant Power Fast Food, multiple locations
What began as a local San Diego, CA hidden gem has become a popular vegan microchain in Southern California. Each menu item is a solid choice, but if you’re looking for a McDonald’s replica, The Big Zac is where it’s at. Dive into a double-decker burger made with housemade vegan beef patties, Zac sauce, vegan American cheese, lettuce, onions, and pickles. Pair with the animal-style Iconic Fries and a classic Old Fashioned Milkshake of your choice. 

 
 
 
 
 
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7. 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. 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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8. Bac’n Cheezeburger at Arlo’s, Austin, TX
If you live for classic bacon cheeseburgers, get yourself to one of three Arlo’s permanent food stands in Austin. The sandwich boasts a juicy gluten-free seitan patty topped with housemade bac’n, melty cheese, an assortment of condiments (ketchup, mayo, and mustard), onions, pickles, and lettuce. Live by the phrase, “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” and make it a double. 

 
 
 
 
 
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9. Special Sauce Burger at Next Level Burger, multiple locations
With locations in California, Oregon, Washington, New York, and Texas, Next Level Burger is redefining fast food one state at a time. Many of its seven locations can be found in Whole Foods Markets. Skip the hot bar and head to the Next Level register to order the Special Sauce Burger made with a “meaty” patty slathered with special sauce, cheddar and Swiss-style vegan cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato, and red onion stacked between an organic wheat bun.  

 
 
 
 
 
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10. Big WAC at Green New American Vegetarian, Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix’s favorite casual vegan eatery 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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11. Gradient Cheeseburger at The Gradient, Brooklyn, NY
This Brooklyn bar elevates the Big Mac by zushing up its key ingredients with housemade elements—such as in-house pickles. The classic handhold comes with a side of hand-cut fries. For dessert, order the Cookie Dough Trio, because spoonfuls of cookie dough top milkshakes most days. 

 
 
 
 
 
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12. Modern Cheeseburger at Modern Love, Omaha, NB and Brooklyn, NYC
Rest assured, none of the ingredients in the Modern Love Cheeseburger are commercially produced. Bite into this scratch-made bad boy made with a lentil patty, cashew cheddar, tomato, lettuce, red onion, pickles, and fancy sauce and you’re on your way to burger bliss. Bonus: the sandwich comes with your choice of fries, a green salad, or potato salad. 

 
 
 
 
 
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13. Mac Daddy at Homegrown Smoker, Portland, OR
This legendary vegan barbecue joint does more than just soy curls and sides—its burgers are finger-lickin’ good as well. Grab a napkin (or six) and sink your teeth into the Mac Daddy. The melty cheese, barbecue sauce, pickles, and macnocheese, will surely slide off the smokey seitan patty onto your fingers, but it’s worth the mess. 

 
 
 
 
 
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14. The Dirty Secret at J Selby’s, Minneapolis, MN
This vegan restaurant is a solid contributor to Minneapolis’ 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 Beyond Meat patties to mimic this McDonald’s icon. 

 
 
 
 
 
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15. Bacon Ranch Burger at Corn Bread Cafe, Euguene and Springfield, WA
If you’ve never had an oat-based burger patty, the Corn Bread Cafe will convert you. This hefty handhold is comprised of the savory oat patty topped with lettuce, tomato, tempeh bacon, mushrooms, and ranch dressing sandwiched between a grilled burger bun. Order with one of the Fixins—from Mac Uncheese to cheesy grits to the restaurant’s namesake cornbread. 

 
 
 
 
 
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16. Kendall Square at Veggie Galaxy, Cambridge, MA
This vegan diner grabbed the attention of Food Network star Guy Fietti 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 sauce, onion rings, roasted garlic mayo, and baby arugula, this sandwich beats anything we’ve ordered from a drive-thru window. 

 
 
 
 
 
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17. Big Munch at Munchies, Santa Ana, CA
Orange County, CA isn’t necessarily known for its diner culture, but Munchies has recently put the beachside region on the map. The menu is bursting with over-the-top diner-style indulgences, including the Big Munch—a double patty burger coated in vegan America cheese and stacked high with lettuce, pickles, onions, G sauce, and three toasted sesame seed buns. If you have room, add a side of animal-style “Human” Fries. 

 
 
 
 
 
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18. Burger Night at B52, Pittsburgh, PA
Pennsylvania has more than just Philly cheesesteaks. Check out this plant-based Palestinian-American fusion cafe in Pittsburgh for its awesome vegan burgers. The kitchen cranks out a new beefy sandwich every Wednesday, but customers can always count on some variation of vegan meat covered in homemade cheese. Follow the restaurant on Instagram for its latest creation. 

 
 
 
 
 
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19. The Mac Daddy Burger at Vegenation, Las Vegas, NV
Representative of its hometown, this burger is nothing short of “extra.” This southern spin on the Big Mac features a vegan patty topped with mac and cheese, collard greens, gochujang barbecue sauce, and secret sauce. It comes with fries, but the sweet potato tots should not be ignored. 

 
 
 
 
 
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20. HUMBL Burger at HUMBL, Windermere, FL
Celebrity chef and restauranteur Matthew Kenney’s first foray into fast food nailed it with this burger. The complex yet so satisfying 17-ingredient patty is accompanied by creamy cashew cheddar cheese, crisp lettuce, tomato, pickles, herbed aioli, and spicy carrot mustard—all stacked between two fluffy burger buns. Complete your order with a strawberry or Oreo milkshake, and you’ve got yourself an unparalleled burger experience. 

Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and fitness enthusiast living in Orange County, CA.

Photo credit: Modern Love Omaha

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