If you’re craving some greasy fries or a juicy burger but you’re gluten-free, it can be hard to find fast-food options.

Ronald McDonald might not be showing off a gluten-free menu, but some fast-food chains have upped their gluten-free game. Chains like KFC and Popeyes, which are known for fried items, likely won’t have too many options.

But fear not — some restaurants are hopping on the gluten-free train. We’ve rounded up the top gluten-free fast-food options, and we’ll tell you how fast food stacks up when it comes to gluten contamination.

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Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. If you’re on a gluten-free diet, you’ll need to avoid any products that contain this protein. Wheat products like breads and pastas may be the first to come to mind, but gluten can sometimes pop up in other packaged foods too.

When eating out, it can be difficult to eat gluten-free since sandwiches come on buns and salads often include breaded chicken and croutons. Even if you order your meal without these gluten-containing foods, cross contamination can happen in the kitchen.

As you would at any other restaurant, be mindful of the possibility of cross contamination at fast-food joints. The biggest culprit is frying oil.

Oil is naturally gluten-free, but restaurants may use the same batch of oil to fry a bunch of different foods. Once that oil has been used to fry gluten-containing foods (nuggets, anyone?), it’s def contaminated — and so are the french fries or any other foods that take a dip in the oil afterward.

Even with GF labels, the risk could still be high since the food prep is fast. If you have an allergy, don’t be afraid to ask specifically how your food is cooked and mention that it must be gluten-free.

Telling the staff might help limit cross contamination that can happen if folks touch gluten-containing foods while prepping your meal.

Wondering what you can actually eat? After weighing all the gluten-free options, we’ve broken down what’s available and what’s potentially risky at America’s fave fast-food chains.

Here’s how we evaluated our GF picks:

  • Was there a gluten-free menu? We searched each restaurant’s website and menus to see which options should be gluten-free or are clearly labeled.
  • Best gluten-free options. We looked over the entire menu to see what the options are and whether the most popular menu items are considered gluten-free.
  • Best menu item. What is a well-known or most popular item on the menu? We researched what the GF community loves.
  • Cross-contamination risk. Do they use the same or different fryer oils? How is the food prepared? We looked at processes to note where the risks are.
  • Transparency. Some websites clearly state whether the restaurant is a gluten-free-friendly environment or not, giving a heads-up about fryer oil and cross contamination. We considered what restaurants might be better based on their transparency about GF menu items and cross-contamination practices.

Five Guys

Good news for all the Five Guys fans: You can eat a lot here if you forgo the bun. The website also has a chart for anyone with specific allergies.

Most of the toppings on the menu are gluten-free, and you can get burgers wrapped in lettuce. Most importantly, all fries are cooked in a gluten-free fryer.

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • burgers (no bun or with lettuce wrap)
  • fries
  • plain milkshakes
  • hot dogs (no bun)


Wendy’s doesn’t have a gluten-free menu, but it has a larger number of options than similar fast-food joints. You always have the option to skip the bun for a gluten-free burger. Salads without fried chicken and croutons are also considered gluten-free.

The chain also acknowledges on its website that it’s not considered a gluten-free restaurant but notes items on the menu that contain wheat.

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • taco salad
  • chili
  • variety of baked potatoes with toppings
  • Frosty *cue the balloons and streamers*


Your favorite cow mascot is not considered gluten-free, but there are some options, including a new gluten-free bun. That’s a pretty big deal for a fast-food chain.

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • waffle potato chips (fried in different oil than the breaded chicken)
  • fruit cups
  • side salads
  • added bacon
  • grilled chicken
  • grilled chicken nuggets (not breaded)


Just about everything at Chipotle is gluten-free except the flour tortillas (so sorry, no iconic burritos). Chipotle also has a comprehensive list on its website of all items for anyone with certain allergies or special diets.

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • burrito bowl with any of the toppings, even the famous guacamole (And yes, we know guac costs extra…)
  • corn tortillas

In-N-Out Burger

Good news! Just about all In-N-Out Burger items are gluten-free without the bun! All burgers can be made “protein-style,” which means wrapped in lettuce and free of gluten.

Another plus: The french fries are cooked separately in 100 percent sunflower oil, so they’re perfectly gluten-free for you.

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry shakes
  • french fries
  • hamburger with onion (no bun)
  • cheeseburger (no bun)
  • Double-Double Burger with onion (no bun)

Shake Shack

We have to give Shake Shack mad props for having an in-depth section on its website about allergies, including wheat. It includes descriptions of what has wheat and what might have a trace of wheat.

All fry options have a chance of cross contamination, so you’ll want to ditch the fries.

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • burger patty with gluten-free bun
  • all floats
  • vanilla, chocolate, coffee, strawberry, and peachtree milkshakes

If you’re getting any ice cream, be sure to lose the cone and have it in a cup. But pretty much everything on the menu is full of heavy gluten-containing items.


Arby’s does a good job of keeping its customers aware of which foods contain gluten and which can be easily contaminated. Most of the meals are gluten-free if you skip the bun.

Arby’s does warn customers to avoid any potato-based items, like the Homestyle Fries and Potato Cakes, because they’re fried in the same oil as gluten-containing foods.

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • vanilla and chocolate milkshakes
  • Chopped Farmhouse Salad with roasted turkey
  • sausage and bacon
  • Angus beef (no bun)
  • roast beef (no bun)

Panera Bread

Don’t let the name fool you — Panera Bread has a pretty decent variety of gluten-free menu items and lists them on its website. Unfortunately, no sandwiches are on that list, but all soups and salads can be made without croutons.

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • Baja Warm Grain Bowl
  • Mediterranean Warm Grain Bowl
  • Greek salads
  • Fuji Apple Salad
  • Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken
  • yogurts and oatmeals
  • Southwest Chicken Tortilla Soup

Some favorite GF treats at certain locations include the coconut macaroon and the triple chocolate cookie with walnuts. Shout-out to Panera for having some GF dessert options!


Sonic is another chain without a gluten-free menu, but the chain says all its grilled items are gluten-free (except the buns).

The ice cream is supposedly gluten-free, but keep an eye on any add-ins you get in your shake. You also probably won’t find gluten-free fries or Tater Tots if they’re cooked in the same oil as the breaded items. But some locations may have separate fryers — just ask.

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • hamburgers and hot dogs (without buns)
  • bacon
  • sausage
  • eggs
  • ice cream and shakes (watch the toppings)
  • slushes


This is a tough one. It doesn’t look like you’ll be getting a gluten-free $5 footlong from Subway. The restaurant lists on its website all foods for anyone with allergy sensitivities, but most of the menu includes gluten. Your best bet would be a salad plus most meats or soups.

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • Tomato Basil Soup
  • Broccoli & Cheddar Soup
  • Black Bean Soup
  • Gluten-Free Brownie (certain locations)
  • gluten-free packaged English muffins for breakfast sandwiches (certain locations)

Taco Bell

Taco Bell doesn’t claim that any of its food is gluten-free due to contamination risk during prep. Even though some items are made without gluten, they may be made with the same fryer oil or in the same area as gluten-containing foods, risking gluten exposure.

But the website does include a guide to what should be gluten-free.

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • Power Menu Bowl
  • Black Beans and Rice
  • Crunchy Taco
  • Hash Brown
  • Doritos Locos Tacos


Hello, nostalgic childhood Happy Meals. McDonald’s is one of the first names to come to mind when thinking of fast food. Unfortch, McDonald’s doesn’t have a gluten-free menu — but any burger can be made gluten-free without the bun. Sorry, Sir Mix-a-Lot, perhaps a lettuce wrap instead?

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • burgers without buns
  • most salads (grilled chicken only!)
  • McFlurry with M&Ms
  • yogurt parfait


Well, there’s not much to say here except Kentucky. Fried. Chicken. The menu is solely based on breaded and fried foods, so if you want anything here, it’s gonna have to be a side dish.

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • mashed potatoes
  • corn on the cob
  • coleslaw
  • green beans


Popeyes is known for its famous fried chicken. So, as with KFC, there aren’t too many options to give you the gluten-free love you deserve. But unlike KFC, Popeyes has a bit more variety of sides to choose from.

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • green beans
  • coleslaw
  • Cajun rice
  • red rice and beans

Burger King

The last on our list is one of the most popular fast-food chains in America, Burger King. But don’t get your paper crown out yet, because there isn’t much to celebrate. BK lists on its website the items that are considered gluten-free, but it’s not a gluten-free restaurant.

Here are the best gluten-free options:

  • Whoppers (without a bun)
  • apple slices
  • sausage
  • bacon
  • milkshakes
  • Garden Fresh Salad
  • sundaes

We can’t expect fast-food employees to know everything about allergies or to have psychic abilities to know whether you have one. Different restaurants and employees will prepare and cook their food differently, so even if something is labeled gluten-free, there’s always a chance of cross contamination.

If you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, be sure to let an employee know or talk to a manager beforehand. Don’t be afraid to ask how the food is prepared or cooked.

Some major chains, like McDonald’s, Burger King, or KFC, might not be your best options. But if you do your research and find places like Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, or In-N-Out Burger, you’ll have some pretty good options.

When in doubt, research menus or call the restaurant beforehand to get an idea of what you’re in for and how high of a risk you’ll be taking.