Vegan Etiquette 4 Rules: How To Vegan Best

The most important rules and principles to planning a vegan-friendly menu. Follow vegan etiquette to prepare a menu that your guests will enjoy. Avoid embarrassment and be an ideal host.

What vegan etiquette is

Vegan etiquette is the set of rules to plan a menu that is appropriate for vegan guests. Such rules include:

  • The allowed foods and ingredients.
  • How to ask about dietary restrictions.
  • How to deal with your guests’ diets.

If you are hosting, respect vegan etiquette to properly plan a menu that your guests will enjoy and to avoid any embarrassments. 

If you are a guest, follow vegan etiquette to politely deal with your hosts and the other guests.

vegan menu rules

Vegan etiquette rules

vegan dietary restrictions

1) Respect vegan dietary restrictions in your menu

In general, a vegan diet is stricter than a vegetarian one. Vegan diets exclude any food derived from animals. There are some stricter or more flexible interpretations. Some vegans may include or exclude some foods due to health, personal, or other concerns.

Meat is not vegan

Any type of meat is not vegan. Regardless of the production method, the animal, or any other factor.

Beef or veal. Pork. Chicken or poultry. Venison. They should all be excluded from a vegan menu. However, substitute meat is allowed. Such as seitan or meat made from vegetables.

Fish and seafood are not vegan

Fish or seafood are commonly excluded from a vegan diet.

Similarly, any product derived from fish or seafood is not vegan. Such as caviar or fish oil.

Dairy products and cheese are not vegan

Milk, dairy products, and cheese are not allowed on a vegan menu. 

In most interpretations, such products are not allowed as they derive from animals. However, milk and dairy substitutes are allowed in a vegan diet. Such as soy milk or almond milk.

Eggs and honey are usually not allowed on a vegan menu

In most cases, vegans do not eat eggs. Similar to dairy products, eggs derive from animals. Thus, they are excluded.

Honey is debated. The stricter interpretation excludes honey. Honey derives from bees, thus it is not vegan. However, other vegans may eat honey.

Vegetables and fruit are always allowed

Most vegans eat all types of vegetables and fruit. 

Some people may exclude some fruit or vegetables. Usually, due to sustainability concerns. Such as avocado or banana. However, these are personal preferences. Almost always not related to a vegan diet.

Grains are ok

In general, vegans can eat any type of grain. Pasta. Couscous. Quinoa. Amaranth. The same applies to bakery products and bread.

However, bread or bakery products are not vegan if they involve any animal product in their making. Fresh pasta made from eggs is not vegan. Croissant made with butter is not vegan.

The same rules apply to pizza. Pizza is vegan. Unless some of the toppings or ingredients are excluded foods. Thus, any pizza with cheese or mozzarella is not vegan.

Condiments are almost always ok

Oil, vinegar, salt, and spices are vegan. 

However, any condiment of animal origin is not vegan. Animal fat is always excluded. Bottarga, fish oil such as anchovy sauce, or similar products are not vegan too.

Sweets and desserts might not be vegan

In general, vegans can eat any type of sweets or dessert. 

However, sweets or desserts are not vegan if they involve any animal product in their making. Pies made with eggs. Desserts that are based on milk or dairy. Such as tiramisù, which is made with mascarpone.

Gelato, ice cream, or milkshakes are not vegan unless they are made without milk.

Drinks and alcohol are usually vegan

A vegan menu allows most beverages. Soft drinks. Beer. Wine. Spirits. 

Cocktails are generally ok. Unless they include some ingredients that vegans do not eat. Such as milk, cream, honey, or eggs.

The same rules apply to coffee or tea. Plain coffee and tea are vegan. Coffee and tea with milk, cream, or honey are not vegan.

2) Etiquette for asking vegan guests about their diet

It is perfect etiquette to ask your guests about their dietary restrictions. 

In written formal invitations, it is sufficient to ask guests to please inform the hosts about any dietary requirements. 

In informal invitations, a simple “do you follow any diet or have any dietary restriction?” works. Another option is to ask if guests avoid any food.

It is against vegan etiquette to ask further questions. Such as why someone is vegan. Or why someone excludes or includes a certain food. 

If you have a genuine curiosity, you may ask such questions. However, it is polite to justify your curiosity. In other words, state why you are curious about it. Be apologetic. Never judge or question the answers you get.

best practices to deal with vegan dietary restrictions

3) Vegan menu planning etiquette

Follow these key principles to deal with vegan guests’ dietary restrictions.

Serve each food on its dedicated plate 

Do not serve multiple foods on the same plate. Instead, try to separate them. Assign a plate to each food or ingredient. Serve condiments and sauces separated from food.

This way you allow vegan guests to pick the foods they can eat. Or to avoid the ones they cannot eat. 

Include safe options 

Many foods are allowed in almost every diet. Such as vegetables and fruit. Plan some safe dishes that almost any guest will be able to eat. As an example, only a few people say no to baked potatoes or salad.

Avoid risky foods

Many foods are not allowed in many diets. Pork meat. Alcohol. Beef. Crustaceans.

If you are unsure about your guests’ diet, play safe. Avoid cooking these foods altogether. Or, at least, plan one or two dishes without them.

4) Vegan guest etiquette

Vegan guests must follow etiquette too. Otherwise, they risk disrespecting or annoying their host and the other guests.

Do not expect the host to guess your diet 

If you do not eat some foods, clearly state it with your host. 

It is bad etiquette to expect a change in the menu based on your needs. Instead, you may ask if there may be some vegan options. Be apologetic in your requests. It is rude to do otherwise. As a guest, you do not want to sound entitled.

Be accommodating. Do not expect the host to accommodate your requests. 

Politely refuse food that you do not eat

If the host serves food that you do not eat, simply avoid it. If the host or another guest explicitly offers such food to you, politely refuse it. It is enough to say “no, thank you”. 

Provide additional detail only if someone asks you. It is good etiquette to be brief. Otherwise, do not annoy others with your dietary restrictions. You do not want to look like you chose a diet only to be interesting.

Do not impose your diet on the other guests

Never expect others to adjust to your diet. Do not expect your hosts to change their menu to accommodate your needs. Similarly, at a restaurant, do not expect the other guests to change their food order. 

vegan etiquette mistakes

Vegan etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the worst vegan etiquette mistakes. 

  • 9/10. Not accommodating vegan dietary restrictions.
  • 8/10. Imposing your diet on others.
  • 7/10. Sharing unsolicited details about your diet.
  • 6/10. Asking personal dietary questions.


  • Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets:
  • The seal of quality for vegan and vegetarian products: