13 Fast Food Restaurants That Provide Kosher Items

The word kosher is Hebrew for "fit" or "proper," but it really means so much more. Many Jewish people adhere to a kosher diet, and the guidelines can get pretty specific. First, kosher rules, called Kashrut, prohibit the consumption of pork or shellfish. Moreover, kosher slaughterhouses take care to ensure that animals (such as cows) are killed quickly and without suffering. Animals are hung post-mortem so that the blood can sufficiently drain from their bodies as it is forbidden to consume the blood of any animal. Combining dairy with meat or poultry is also against kosher dietary standards, as is cross-contamination when preparing these foods, which usually makes eating at busy fast food restaurants too risky.

So where can kosher eaters grab a quick bite? We'll cut right to the chase, most major fast food chains did not make this list because the risk of meat and dairy cross-contamination is high. Anyone who wants to keep strict kosher should continue to avoid non-certified restaurants in the USA, and you may think that there isn't a single fast-food restaurant you can visit. Fortunately, that's not true! Especially along the East Coast, there are more than a handful of certified options for anyone who observes Kashrut. Let's dive in and take a closer look at where you can enjoy several chains serving food that's not just kosher-style, it's really kosher-certified. Here are some of the top fast-food restaurants that provide kosher items.

There is one kosher McDonald's outside of Israel, but it's not in the U.S.

If you've been to Israel, you likely noticed that fast food chains like Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, and McDonald's serve a kosher menu in addition to the well-known food items each chain offers in the U.S. and elsewhere. That's because about two-thirds of Israel's Jewish population adhere to a kosher diet to some extent. Outside of Israel's borders, the presence of a kosher menu from these popular fast food chains all but vanishes, with the exception of one McDonald's in Buenos Aries, Argentina.

Locals and tourists in the Argentinian capital who keep it kosher but still love the occasional fast food meal can visit the all-kosher McDonald's inside the Abasto Shopping Mall. The massive retail hub is home to the only kosher McDonald's not in Israel. You'll still be able to order a Big Mac (a triple version is also available), but it won't have the usual slice of cheese. Chicken nuggets and french fries remain popular menu items, and the McCafé section is packed with a large selection of specialty drinks, pastries, and cakes. Did your fast food craving hit late at night? You're in luck! Similar to many U.S. locations, the McDonald's in the Abasto Shopping Mall stays open until around midnight, but it was recently announced that the location would be closed all day Saturday in observance of Shabbat — that's Hebrew for Sabbath.

Dunkin' is quite kosher-friendly

As far as huge fast food chains go, Dunkin' has made an impressive effort to embrace patrons in America who live a kosher lifestyle. Numerous Dunkin' outposts in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland, and even one in Michigan are certified kosher. In order for any eatery to be certified kosher, the establishment's menu ingredients and food preparation process must be overseen and approved by a qualified Rabbi. The Rabbi ensures that all utensils, cookware, and serve ware are not subject to cross-contamination and that everything served to customers meets the standards of Kashrut. These certified kosher Dunkins are found in regions with a high Jewish population. For example, the two kosher-certified Dunkins in Baltimore, Maryland are located on Reisterstown Road, an area of the city where an estimated 57% of the population is Jewish. Over a dozen of New York City's certified kosher Dunkins are in Brooklyn, home to 600,000 Jewish people, around half of who are Orthodox.

Donuts, muffins, bagels, and cream cheese in a typical Dunkin' aren't kosher, but if you're in a certified kosher location you can order one worry-free. Many Dunkin' regulars can't live without their bacon egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches, but you won't find any pork products in one that's kosher-certified. If you don't live near any certified kosher Dunkins but want to order something anyway, it's best to stick to plain coffee, tea, or a bottled beverage with a kosher-approved label.

Chickies brings kosher fast food to The Garden State

Of all the wonderful comfort foods in existence, fried chicken might be one of the best. If you're following a kosher diet, you won't miss out thanks to Chickies. We know, Chickies is a fast food chain exclusive to New Jersey (with one opening potentially in New York soon), but if you find yourself in the area and enjoy kosher food, give this place a visit. It's all in the name – Chickies is best known for its "K.F.C" — kosher fried chicken that is — and if you're particular about how you eat your chicken, you'll appreciate the variety this small chain offers. Buckets of fried chicken are available in several different sizes while tenders, popcorn chicken, and grilled chicken fingers round things out. There are wings too, which come grilled or fried, smothered in your choice of barbeque or buffalo sauce. The non-chicken options are abundant, from beef and chicken sliders, burgers and hot dogs, to an assortment of subs stuffed with your choice of veggies, housemade sauces, and grilled or fried chicken — there's even pastrami! The best part? It's all kosher. Chickies carries kosher certifications from RCBC in New Jersey's Bergen County and Kof-K in the Teaneck location.

Some Dairy Queens hold kosher certificates

Those living the kosher lifestyle might be hesitant to eat at fast food restaurants unless they have substantial confirmation that at least some items are kosher. As it turns out, several Dairy Queen franchises sell kosher soft serve — and have the certificate to prove it. One instance is the Dairy Queen in East Windsor, Connecticut which was given official kosher certification by the Orthodox Union for its vanilla and chocolate soft serve. This location has kosher cones too! A Dairy Queen in Stamford, Connecticut received kosher certification from the Vaad Hakashrus of Fairfield County (VKFC) for its soft serve.

Since Dairy Queen is a franchise — and a large one at that — not every location upholds the same practices because it's not required the way it is for many corporate chains. In fact, The Kashruth Council of Canada (COR), which oversees kosher certifications for establishments in the Toronto area, stated that the local Dairy Queens have not been kosher-certified. If you want to be sure that the Dairy Queen you're about to order a Blizzard or other soft serve treat from is kosher, look for a certificate posted on the premises or ask to see the labeling on the package. Kosher labels differ from region to region, but one of the widespread labels you will see on kosher-approved food is a circle with a capital "U" inside it. A package label with the "U" followed by "D" indicates a kosher product that contains dairy.

Playa Bowls is a kosher paradise

Want something sweet and kosher that isn't a full-on dessert? Check out Playa Bowls where generous helpings of fruit brims from açaí bowls (the company's signature product), are packed into smoothies, sprinkled over oatmeal, and pressed into juices. Playa Bowls got its start on the beaches of New Jersey in 2014 and has expanded into more than 170 locations. There are 14 Playa Bowls facilities that are certified kosher, four are in New Jersey, one is in Nanuet, New York, there's a single location in Brooklyn, and the other eight are in Manhattan. That's great news for kosher eaters who live in this particular region, but those who don't still have choices.

The company website advises that Playa Bowls has " ... many kosher products in store which include: blueberry flax granola, cacao nibs, chia seeds, brown sugar, blue agave, maple syrup, peanut butter, matcha, coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, almond butter, flax oil, wheatgrass, coconut flakes, frozen pineapple, frozen banana, frozen mango, frozen strawberries, pitaya, playa acai, playa coconut." Not bad! While this may put patrons who follow a kosher diet at ease, the website also notes that, "products may vary store to store, [so] please always verify with store staff".

Kosher eaters have choices at Native Foods

You don't have to be vegan to enjoy restaurants that only serve plant-based items, especially if the meals are as tasty as the ones served at Native Foods, a fast-casual chain with establishments in Southern California, Chicago, and Colorado. The focus on environmental sustainability and locally sourced, natural ingredients have become more pressing in recent times, but Native Foods has touted these ethical practices since 1994 when its first restaurant opened in Palm Springs, California. Oh, and did we mention this place is super kosher-friendly?

Seeing as none of the ingredients used in Native Foods' kitchens contain animal products (that includes honey, which is swapped out for agave nectar), there is no risk of cross-contaminating dairy and meat. This also means that kosher enthusiasts can enjoy goodies like the chicken, bacon & avo club sandwich, or a double cheeseburger because the "meats" are scratch-made from plants like soy or seitan, and the cheese comes from plants too! Diners who aren't so keen on imitation meat won't be left out thanks to options such as the cauliflower po' boy and savory sides that include potato kale soup or vegan mac and cheese. Have concerns about the bread rolls Native Foods uses? The eatery has been known to use kosher buns, but if you have concerns, you can ask someone on the staff.

Krispy Kreme is more kosher than you think

In many ways Krispy Kreme is the anti-Dunkin': an old-fashioned chain that's proud of not changing its ways, but as far as kosher eaters are concerned, this stubbornness works in their favor. As stated in the nutritional information section of krispykreme.com, "All of our doughnuts are ingredient Kosher. Our mix plant in Winston-Salem, NC where the mix is made is certified Kosher. In addition, some of our stores, but not all, have been certified Kosher. Please contact your local shop for the most up-to-date information."

A sentiment like this shows that Krispy Kreme is the exception rather than the rule when it comes to fast food restaurants' genuine consideration for the kosher diet, which is good news since the doughnuts are definitely worth a try. As for the certified kosher Krispy Kreme locations referred to on the company's website, there are a lot — 16 alone are in California, Florida and New York each have nine, and many more are dispersed throughout the nation.

Kosher has a history at Zaro's Family Bakery

Commuters familiar with the major airport and train station terminals of New York and New Jersey probably recognize Zaro's Family Bakery name. In 1927, Joseph Zaro founded his landmark bakery in New York City after arriving in the States from Eastern Europe by way of Ellis Island. By the late 1970s, Zaro's family bakery had opened up shop in the top local commuter hot spots: Grand Central Station, Penn Station, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Today, the family business is in its fourth generation, boasting the same kosher classics at the same commuter destinations that made it famous in the first place.

Zaro's Family Bakery isn't your typical fast-food restaurant. Here, you'll be greeted with a kosher-conscious menu whose bestsellers are challah and rugelach instead of burgers and fries. All of the bakery items sold at Zaro's Family Bakery's numerous locations are prepared at the original location in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx, which has remained in business for nearly 100 years. When packaged, the breads, challahs, bagels, baguettes, and rolls, are marked with a certified kosher symbol. Pre-packaged items from Zaro's Family Bakery are sold in various grocery stores like Big Y, Whole Foods, and Kroger.

Goldberg's Fine Foods is all about Jewish tradition

When Goldberg's Fine Foods opened in Atlanta in 1972 (it went by Goldberg & Son back then), it was a typical New York-style deli where bagels ruled the menu. Years later, the deli was purchased by Wayne Saxe and Howard Aaron who tweaked the name and broadened the menu. Among the various delectable deli classics and daily-baked breaks and bagels is a 100% beef kosher hot dog.

As strict kosher eaters know, kosher hot dogs served in a non-kosher restaurant can be iffy as far as cross-contamination risk goes. Although Goldberg's Fine Foods offers a menu steeped in Jewish heritage, a lot of the burgers and sandwiches combine meat with dairy. Goldberg's Fine Foods does make kosher challah, which is sold at its locations throughout Georgia and in select Costco's nationwide. Goldberg's Fine Foods also offers annual Pesach (known as Passover, in English — the holiday where you don't eat leavened bread) catering, which follows the kosher traditions of the sacred holiday.

PLNT Burger's menu considers several dietary restrictions

It makes sense to assume that vegetarian food is an automatically permissible part of the kosher diet, but that is not always the case. In order for a restaurant to become kosher certified the kitchen must be kashered — or made kosher, through a multi-step, intricate cleaning process that aligns with the laws of Kashrut. PLNT Burger, an east coast vegan chain you may recognize from its locations inside Whole Foods, is kosher certified by the International Kosher Council (IKC) across all of its restaurant spaces. At PLNT Burger, diners can pick from a menu of burgers, chicken or fish sandwiches, chili bowls, chik'n nuggets. Dessert consists of chocolate and vanilla soft serve or a shake — all of it made with oat milk. Not only is everything on the menu at PLNT Burger vegan and totally kosher, but it's also halal — but most kosher food, including meat, is considered halal (per Muslim Matters).

This modern fast food restaurant is the creation of "Top Chef" alum Spike Mendelsohn, who says that "sinking your teeth into a decadent burger has the power to nourish and revitalize the human spirit" (via plntburger.com). Mazel tov to Chef Mendelsohn for spreading good vibes to vegetarians and kosher eaters.

Some Cinnabons have sought out kosher certificates

Cinnabon has been a shopping mall classic for decades, but did you know a handful of locations hold kosher certificates? A Cinnabon in Hackensack, New Jersey was the first to hold a kosher certification. Now, there are also kosher Cinnabons in New Jersey's American Dream Mall and Livingston Mall. Other kosher Cinnabons — some of which are combined with Carvel — include one in Brooklyn, New York, another in West Nyack, New York, and a location in Florida.

Cinnabon's legendary cinnamon buns contain eggs, which are permitted in a kosher diet as long as no traces of blood are found in the yolk. Seeing as Cinnabon is such a large bakery chain, it would be impossible to inspect all of the eggs that go into thousands upon thousands of cinnamon buns. Cinnabon is a franchise, so if the owners of a particular location are interested in becoming kosher, they are encouraged to.

Shouk: vegan, kosher-certified, and environmentally sustainable

Some people don't love eating meat. Those adhering to a kosher or halal diet have significant restrictions on what they can eat, but certain meats are permitted in both ways of life. That said, vegetarianism in Jewish culture dates back centuries due to the expense of meat itself, and in the last couple of decades, Jewish vegetarianism and veganism is on the rise. That's what makes fast food restaurants like Shouk so appreciated by kosher vegans and vegetarians. The D.C./Maryland-based vegan chain celebrates the role of faith in some plant-based lifestyles.

Fresh veggies and grains are used to make Shouk's proudly unprocessed food. Shouk is certified by DC Kosher, which is responsible for certifying the majority of kosher eateries in the area. Serving up an eco-conscious brand of Middle Eastern-style street food, Shouk's signature pitas, stuffed with delights like falafel or savory oyster mushroom variations are a hit. Celebrity chef (and "Top Chef" fan favorite) Carla Hall named the Shouk as her pick for the best burger on the Food Network show, "The Best Thing I Ever Ate," — and she's neither kosher nor vegetarian.

Bravo Kosher Pizza is a New York standout

Kosher pizza joints are scattered throughout New York City's boroughs, but Bravo Kosher Pizza has managed to launch itself into a small — and respectable — chain. After starting in Manhattan in 1985, Bravo Kosher Pizza gained a following for its New York-style pizza, a crispy, thin-crusted delight with a sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes. As years went by, more Bravo Kosher Pizza establishments began cropping up around the city. There are locations in midtown and lower Manhattan, one in Brooklyn, and another in Queens. You don't have to be in New York City to enjoy Bravo's renowned kosher menu though. Recently, new locations opened in the 5 Towns district of Long Island, New York, and in the kosher food hall of New Jersey's American Dream Mall — the same mall that's home to the kosher-friendly Cinnabon and Chickies mentioned on this list.

New York-style pizza is the backbone of most Manhattan-based pizzerias, but items like Sicilian-style slices and pies, housemade pasta, calzones, and sandwiches give Bravo's menu diversity while specialties like tuna pizza and baked ziti pizza earn creativity points. You won't find any meat (or imitation meat) in Bravo Kosher Pizza's kitchens, nor will you see anyone working in the daytime hours on Saturdays. The staff takes the day off to honor Shabbat — though some locations (like the midtown spot) are open Saturday night post-sundown from 10 P.M. to 2 A.M.