Best Gluten Free Fast Food Options

Burger King drive thru
Burger King drive thru

Courtesy of Stilfehler at wikivoyage shared [CC-BY-SA-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Fast foods are a popular option when it comes to a busy life. Between work, school, kids and other activities, not everyone has the time to cook or go inside a restaurant. And sometimes you just have a craving for it.

Now if you’re gluten intolerant, you probably think that fast food isn’t an option. In most cases, you’d be right. Having said that, we did find a few gluten free fast food options that you can try. These chains offer foods and beverages for people with gluten sensitivities so that no one is left out.

Gluten free fast food chains

As of this writing, the fast food chains listed below currently provide gluten free options.

Burger King

Burger King (BK) began preparing gluten free meals in 2010, and since 2011 their fries have also become gluten free. According to their Products for Guests with Gluten Sensitivity page, a number of sauces, condiments, dairy and beverage items are also free of gluten.

BK’s main menu (the one you see when you go there) doesn’t make it’s gluten-free menu obvious to customers. If in doubt, ask the restaurant supervisor or manager for guidance, and you’ll probably find a good selection of options to choose from.

Wendy’s

Wendy’s is typically the first choice when it comes to dining out and looking for fast food that’s gluten free. Per Wendy’s Gluten Free page, they offer a huge selection of gluten-safe meals including burgers, baked potatoes, chili and salads. You can also enjoy a range of side orders, beverages, condiments, ice cream and ice cream drinks.

If you order a salad, it’s probably wise to ensure they aren’t served with croutons. You can eat burgers with or without a cheese topping, but stay away from the bun. Wendy’s also cooks gluten free french fries, however, it’s best to ask if they’re cooked in a different oil than other gluten products before you consume them.

Arby’s

Arby’s is a fast food restaurant owned by Wendy’s parent company, and they also offer an extensive gluten free menu. You can enjoy a range of breakfasts, sandwiches, salads, beverages, condiments, dipping sauces and shakes.

Although you have all these options, it’s best to take the usual precautions. For instance, don’t eat the bread with your sandwich, and request that they leave out the croutons in your salad. Unfortunately, Arby’s doesn’t cook their french fries or potato cakes in a different oil so it’s best that you avoid it.

Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A is probably the leading gluten free fast food restaurant at this time. A 5-page menu gluten free menu offers a terrific variety of meals and options, and a detailed list of ingredients is provided for each item. This has been designed for people with all types of food allergies and tolerances. You’ll also find suitable breakfast and main meal options without too much effort here. What stands out with this restaurant is they not only offer a range of meals, but they also provide a large selection of sides too — it’s good to have lots of options.

It’s worth asking about the oil used to cook the tortilla strips, hash browns and waffle potato fries. Most, but perhaps not all, do cook them separately from other gluten foods, but’s best to play it safe when ordering.

Cautions about fast food

Although these chains mentioned in this post offer gluten free options, it helps to be aware of a couple things.

  • Restaurant suppliers can change at any time. This means certain items can stop being gluten free if the new supplier handles the food in a different way. Fast food chains don’t do regular testing to watch for this.
  • Cross contamination with gluten can happen when your food is being prepared in the kitchen. This usually occurs if someone doesn’t change their gloves or use separate utensils after handling a gluten item. If the gluten-free food is fried, it must be made in a different cooking oil then the one used for gluten foods.

Always make sure to let the restaurant know you require gluten-free food so they can take precautions. In some cases, it might be more effective to go inside and let them know you’re gluten sensitive.

If you’re severely gluten intolerant or have celiac disease, we recommend you don’t eat fast food to be absolutely safe.

This gluten free fast food list can change at any time, and you might find a few other options. As of now, McDonald’s changes suppliers too often to be certain of what’s available for the gluten-free community. And KFC doesn’t have anything gluten free to date. You can always ask your favorite chain whether they have gluten-free foods because they might have something to offer. Fortunately, restaurants are becoming aware of the number of people with gluten sensitivities and acting accordingly.

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