In a world where speed and convenience frequently guide our eating decisions, people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity have traditionally felt restricted in their access to fast food options. But times are changing, and a number of well-known fast-food chains are now providing a variety of gluten-free options to meet the demands of this expanding customer base. Regardless of your experience level with gluten-free dining or your recent diagnosis, this guide will assist you in navigating the fast food industry without sacrificing flavor or health. We’ll explore the top gluten-free options, ranging from burgers to burritos, to show that satiating your fast food cravings can be both delicious and inclusive.
First up on this list of the best fast-food restaurants with gluten-free options is Chick-fil-A. Their juicy grilled chicken filet and nuggets are great alternatives to their fried chicken. However, if you’re in the mood for a chicken sandwich, ask them to prepare it on a gluten-free bun made from ancient grains like millet and quinoa. They prepare their fries in a different oil from their chicken, so I recommend enjoying your meal with waffle potato fries. If you prefer a meatless dish, try their Spicy Southwest Salad with a sealed fruit cup on the side. They also have a wide selection of gluten-free salad dressings and sauces to enhance your meal. Check out our list of gluten free items at Chick-Fil-A to see all of your options.
Next up on this list of the best fast-food restaurants with gluten-free options is Chipotle. As far as the Chipotle menu goes, flour tortillas are the only foods listed containing gluten, so it should be easy to avoid by not ordering a burrito or taco. If you’re still in the mood for Chipotle’s zesty flavors, you can create a burrito bowl with any of their meat, cheese, rice, and beans. However, I recommend making one with sofritas, romaine lettuce, pinto beans, and fresh tomato salsa if you’re looking for a healthier entree. Their corn tortillas are gluten-free. However, they may contain small traces of gluten through cross-contamination during cultivation.
Another great fast-food restaurant offering gluten-free options is In-N-Out Burger. Every item on their menu doesn’t contain gluten, except for their hamburger buns. If you’re still craving a mouth-watering hamburger, cheeseburger, or Double-Double Burger, you can ask them to prepare your burger “Protein-Style,” substituting the bun with fresh lettuce. By specifying that you want a gluten-free order, they’ll make sure to use fresh spread on your burger to avoid cross-contamination. Their shakes and French fries are great gluten-free options you can add to your lettuce bun burger order. They also have a wide selection of gluten-free beverages to pair with your meal.
Although their menu offers fewer dining options for anyone with gluten sensitivities, Arby’s has a few gluten-free options you can consider if you’re looking for a quick bite. Most of their meats, like pit-smoked ham and roast beef, are gluten-free, but only if you order it without a bun. They offer lettuce wraps as a gluten-free alternative to their buns if you’re craving a sandwich. If you’re looking for something tasty to pair with your meal, consider ordering a chopped side salad. Unfortunately, Arby’s fries are cooked in the same oil as their crispy chicken, onion rings, and other dishes containing gluten.
I consider Five Guys one of the best fast-food restaurants with gluten-free options because they can let you enjoy their sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs without a bun. Additionally, you can swap out their bun for a lettuce wrap. They prepare their fries in peanut oil, separate from their other fast-food options, so you don’t have to worry about any gluten traces getting into your meal. Likewise, their burger and hot dog toppings don’t have any gluten, so you’re free to customize your food with the toppings of your liking. Their milkshakes are also gluten-free, as long as you don’t add cherry, Oreo cookie pieces, or malted milk.
Sonic’s fast-food options contain several gluten-free ingredients, but finding a gluten-free dish at Sonic can be challenging if you’re staying to eat or taking your food to go. For example, they don’t offer gluten-free buns, so you’ll have to take your burger or hot dog to go and replace it with one at home. They prepare all of their fried and breaded menu items in the same oil, so gluten-free fries and tater tots can become cross-contaminated with other dishes containing gluten. I prefer stopping by here for a refreshing lemonade slush with bananas and M&Ms. Most of their flavored syrup options and slush toppings are gluten-free.
Whenever I’m in the mood for Wendy’s, I usually order their Taco Salad with chili or a baked potato on the side. Unlike some previous entries on this list of the best fast-food restaurants with gluten-free options, they offer a wide selection of salads and sides to enjoy without disrupting your diet. While they don’t offer gluten-free buns for their chicken sandwiches or burgers, you can order them in a lettuce wrap or without a bun and top it with several condiments. If you’re craving a salad for lunch or dinner, consider ordering one without croutons and chicken to keep it gluten-free at Wendy’s. Don’t forget to finish with a Frosty.
If you’re trying to find something gluten-free to eat at Taco Bell, it might be challenging to find options that meet your dietary needs or preferences. If you’re looking for something to eat that’s gluten-free and packed with protein, consider sampling their Power Menu Bowl. It has a sensational blend of seasoned rice, black beans, and salsa. It’s also available with grilled chicken, steak, or veggies. If you prefer something lighter, try their black beans and rice combo. You’ll want to skip their chips with nacho cheese sauce since the sauce contains gluten. Like the other entries on this list, their fountain drinks contain no gluten.
Burger King is another fast-food restaurant with limited gluten-free menu options. Although I usually don’t gravitate towards their menu if I’m in the mood for fast food, they still have a few treats to indulge in if you’re looking for something quick to eat. If you’re still craving their signature Whopper or cheeseburger, you can order one without a bun and enjoy it between two crunchy lettuce leaves. Another option you should consider is their Garden Salad, especially when you substitute its fried chicken with grilled chicken. If you want to treat yourself to a gluten-free treat, consider indulging in their creamy soft serve cup.
Red Robin has great gluten free options, due largely to the fact that they have gluten free buns. This makes it easy to enjoy a lot of the Red Robin menu, because most of their burgers are gluten free as long as you ask for the gluten-free bun. Aside from their burgers, Red Robin has some grilled chicken sandwiches, salads, and even a veggie burger, so if you’re gluten free and vegetarian there are options for you. Their french fries are also free from gluten, so you can enjoy a full meal despite any gluten intolerance!
Last but not least on our list is McDonald’s. Despite their limited number of gluten-free menu items, you can still find tasty things to eat if you crave fast food. Most of their food gets prepared in the same cooking environment, so cross-contamination is possible. If you’re interested in ordering a burger, you can substitute their gluten bun for a lettuce wrap. Another way to keep your burger gluten-free is to leave their Big Mac sauce off your patty. It still retains its beefy flavor, while the lettuce gives it a refreshing crunch. You can’t go wrong with a McFlurry or their salads without crispy chicken if you’re looking for something else.
KFC is among the lowest-ranked contenders on our list of the best fast-food restaurants with gluten-free options because of their lack of variety. All of their chicken contains gluten, so you’ll have to miss out on this restaurant’s primary specialty. However, the only menu items that don’t contain gluten are their salads and sides. When ordering their House or Caesar Salad, leave their croutons and dressing on the side to prevent gluten cross-contamination. I enjoy their salads with BBQ baked beans, applesauce, or mashed potatoes. The gravy that comes with their mashed potatoes contains gluten, so be sure to leave it to the side.
What fast food can you eat gluten-free?
There are several fast-food chains that offer gluten-free options. Some examples include:
Chick-fil-A: The grilled chicken and grilled chicken nuggets are gluten-free. Their fries are also cooked in a separate fryer and are gluten-free.
Chipotle: All items except the flour tortillas are gluten-free.
In-N-Out: You can order any burger “protein style” which replaces the bun with a lettuce wrap.
Arby’s: Offers a gluten-free menu but cross-contamination may be possible.
Wendy’s: Several salads, some sides, and the baked potato are gluten-free.
Always ask and confirm at the restaurant, as preparation practices may vary.
Is anything gluten-free at McDonald’s?
McDonald’s does not have a gluten-free menu and does not certify any menu items as being free from gluten. While some items may not contain gluten ingredients, the risk of cross-contamination is significant due to the fast-paced nature of a McDonald’s kitchen. Therefore, if you have a serious gluten intolerance or Celiac disease, eating at McDonald’s may not be safe.
Are the fries at McDonalds gluten-free?
The French fries at McDonald’s are not officially gluten-free. While the fries themselves do not contain gluten, they are cooked in shared frying oil with other products that contain wheat and could be subject to cross-contamination.
Are Chick-fil-A fries always gluten-free?
Yes, Chick-fil-A’s waffle fries are considered gluten-free. According to the company, their fries are cooked in a separate fryer from their breaded chicken to avoid cross-contamination. However, if you’re extremely sensitive to gluten, it’s always a good idea to notify the restaurant and ask about their specific practices.