If you are on a gluten-free diet because of celiac disease or other health considerations, finding convenient, inexpensive places to eat can be a challenge. Fortunately, in recent years more and more fast-food restaurants have decided to provide gluten-free menu items.
Gluten-Free Meals at Fast Food Restaurants
A number of fast food chains now have special menus that designate foods that are gluten-free. While some chains offer only a few items, at certain restaurants you will be able to enjoy a full meal. The soft drinks, specialty teas and soft serve ice cream that many chains serve are almost always gluten-free, but it is a good idea to check each time you visit a particular location.
If you need help downloading the printable list, check out these helpful tips.
|Restaurant||Gluten Free Items||Prices|
|Arby's||Angus beef, roast beef, roast ham, corned beef, roast turkey, smoked brisket (all without bun), chopped farmhouse turkey salad, chopped side salad, chocolate, jamocha or vanilla shake, most condiments and sauces|| |
$3-6 for meat, depending on size, $2-5 for salads
Hamburger or cheeseburger without bun, Whopper and Whopper Jr. patties, BK Chef's Choice patty, Tendergrill chicken filet (without bun), Garden Fresh salad with Tendergrill chicken, bacon, ham, milk shakes, egg patty, most dipping sauces and condiments, milkshakes, soft serve ice cream with caramel, chocolate fudge or strawberry sauceNOTE: Although Burger King's fries, tacos and sausage patties are gluten free, they caution that they may be fried with foods containing gluten.
|$1-2 for small burger, $4 for chicken, $5 for an entree salad|
|Chick-Fil-A||Char-grilled chicken patty (no bun), grilled nuggets, fruit cup, side salad, Grilled Market salad, coleslaw, waffle fries, yogurt parfait, Fruit-to-go applesauce, Ice Dream dessert, all beverages, BBQ sauce, honey mustard sauce, Polynesian sauce, buttermilk ranch sauce, avocado lime dressing, light Italian dressing, fat free honey Dijon dressing, reduced fat berry balsamic vinaigrette, Chick-Fil-A sauce, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise||$3 for chicken item, $1.50 - $3 for a side, $5- $7 for an entree salad|
|Chipotle||Soft or crispy corn tortilla filled with rice, black or pinto beans, ground beef, seasoned chicken, seasoned steak or pork, salsa, Fajita vegetables, carnitas, shredded cheese, guacamole, sour cream||$6-7 for a burrito or bowl with meat and all toppings|
|Dairy Queen (Click on Gluten Sensitive Guide)||
Chocolate or vanilla soft serve, toppings including hot fudge, marshmallow, caramel, strawberry and peanuts, fruit smoothies, fountain sodas, blended coffee drinks, Arctic Slush drinks, hamburger, cheeseburger, hot dog frank or grilled chicken without bun. Some Blizzards are gluten-free but the mixing machine must be thoroughly cleaned to avoid contamination from Blizzards containing gluten ingredients. Dairy Queen fries are gluten free but may be fried with gluten ingredients.
|$2-4 for a sundae with toppings or a smoothie, $3-5 for a Blizzard, $2-3 for a hamburger or chicken, $2-3 for a hot dog|
|Five Guys||Hamburger patty or hot dog without bun, all toppings (including bacon), French fries, all condiments except fry sauce and malt vinegar||$3 -5 depending on size, burgers $4-8, hot dog $4-6|
|Jack-in-the-Box||Beef sirloin patty or grilled chicken filet without bun, sliced ham or turkey, black beans, blueberry oatmeal muffin, chili, French fries, spicy corn sticks, most condiments, fountain sodas and milkshakes||$4.50 and up for burger or grilled chicken, $1 for value fries, $2-3 for a shake|
|Jamba Juice (click on each menu item to see if it is non-gluten)||Freshly squeezed juices: Great Greens, Apple Ade, Purely Orange, Purely Carrot. All coconut water fruit refreshers, all smoothies and creamy treats except Fit 'n Fruitful smoothies and Tropical Harvest. Most boosts are gluten free except for Quaker Whole Grain and chia seeds. Check with the restaurant for allergen information on seasonal offerings.||$4-6 for a smoothie or creamy treat, $4-5 dollars for freshly squeezed juice|
Hamburger or cheeseburger without bun, condiments (except barbecue sauce, sweet and sour sauce, ranch sauce and Newman's Own Ginger Sesame dressing), side salad, shakes and ice cream, scrambled eggs
NOTE: McDonalds French fries and hash browns contain natural beef flavor which contains hydrolyzed wheat.
$1-2 for small burger, $1-3 for fries or drinks depending on size
|Noodles & Company||Pad Thai as is, rice noodles plain or with marinara sauce or butter and topped with chicken, grilled marinated steak, grilled shrimp or pork, tossed green salad, tomato and cucumber salad, edamame, garden pesto saute with gluten-free fusilli noodles (summertime special, but many locations stock gluten free noodles year round - just ask), Chinese chop salad, Caesar salad or tossed green salad (all without croutons)||$6-8 for a noodle dish, $4.50-6 for an entree salad|
(Panera Bread does not specify gluten-free items on their website. This information comes from celiacdisease.com.)
|The following salads are gluten free (without croutons): Strawberry Poppy Seed with or without chicken, Fuji Apple, Asian Sesame Chicken (without won ton strips), Greek, Caesar with or without chicken, Classic. The following soups are gluten free: vegetarian black bean, creamy tomato (without croutons), vegetarian southwest, fountain sodas, all lattes and frozen drinks, strawberry smoothie, potato chips||$8 and up for a whole salad; $5.50 and up for a half salad, $4-5 for soup, $4 for a smoothie or frozen drink|
|Qdoba (Under "Show me Ingredients", click on Allergen Chart)||Corn tortillas, corn taco shells, shredded beef, chicken, chorizo, ground sirloin, steak, black beans, pinto beans, cheese, grilled vegetables, Fajita vegetables, guacamole, apple sauce, soft drinks, all spice mixes, salsa, sour cream, tortilla soup|| |
$6-7 for a burrito with meat, $4-5 for tacos
|Sonic||Hamburger patty, Philly steak or hot dog without bun, sausage, bacon, sliced ham, egg, French fries, tots, sweet potato tots, all cheese, all sandwich toppings, condiments and sauces, vanilla ice cream; all ice cream add-ins and syrups except Oreo, molten cake, malt powder, graham cracker crumbs, pie crust pieces, brownie bites, cookie dough pieces and ice cream cones. All fountain beverages are gluten-free.||$3.50 and up for burger or cheeseburger, $1.99 for hot dog, $1 for small tots or French fries, $2 and up for shakes|
(Click on an individual food item for allergen information)
Flourless Chewy Chocolate Cookie, Gluten-free Marshmallow Dream Bar, whole grain oatmeal, Greek yogurt parfaits, seasonal fruit blend
Note: According to Starbuck's website, they do not currently provide allergen information for beverages because they cannot guarantee they are allergen free. They advise asking your barista for specific beverage ingredients.
|$3.50-4 for a parfait, $2 for cookie, $3 for oatmeal|
|Subway||Tossed salad with cold cuts, buffalo chicken, chicken and bacon ranch, cheese or vegetables. All cold cuts, roast chicken, cheese and vegetable sandwich toppings (served without bread), tuna, bagged chips, soft drinks||$3-4 for sandwich, $5-7 for salad|
|Taco Bell||Hash brown, side of eggs, chicken, steak or veggie Cantina Bowl, all condiments and sauces except Fire Border sauce and green tomatillo sauce, black beans and rice, pintos and cheese, tostada, Regular and Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch DLTs||$1-2 for DLT tacos, $5 for Cantina Bowl, $1 for a hash brown, $1 for pintos and cheese|
Hamburger, cheeseburger or grilled chicken filet without bun, chili, baked potato, sour cream and chives baked potato, baked potato with bacon and cheese, broccoli and cheese or chili Frosty, Asian cashew chicken salad, BBQ Ranch Chicken salad, Garden side salad (no croutons), Caesar side salad (no croutons), apple pecan salad without pecans; most condiments, beverages and shakes
|$4-7 for a salad, $1-2 for a small burger or chicken filet, $3 for a potato, $2 for chili|
The options above represent the fast food restaurants with the best gluten-free options. While some chains identify their French fries as not containing any gluten ingredients themselves, nearly all chains cook their fries in the same oil as gluten-containing items such as breaded chicken patties. This type of cross-contamination means that the French fries cannot be considered safe for someone on a gluten-free diet.
For example, although the cold-cuts at Subway are themselves gluten-free, they are stored on an open line where gluten sandwich buns are used. Therefore, care must be taken to make sure that the food you order does not come in contact with sandwich buns or other gluten-containing items.
Very few fast restaurants have dedicated gluten-free food prep areas. To limit the risk of cross-contamination, speak with the restaurant manager about your concerns and about how the food is prepared before you order.
Simplify Your Choices
Eating at any restaurant when you are on a gluten-free diet can be difficult at first, but if you follow a few guidelines, your chances of having a safe meal are much greater. Get in the habit of bringing your own hamburger bun or sandwich bread with you when you eat at fast food restaurants. Select a side of fruit and a drink and enjoy a meal that is not much different than one containing gluten.