The Best Gluten-Free Fast Food Options in 2024

Published on May 27, 2024 | 0 Comments
gluten-free fast food

On the hunt for delicious gluten-free fast food that won't slow you down? In 2024, the world of gluten-free options has expanded, offering a wide array of choices that are not only convenient but also incredibly satisfying. Whether you're craving a juicy burger, crispy fries or a sweet treat, the best gluten-free fast food restaurants offer plenty of options to help satisfy your cravings while keeping your dietary needs in mind.

With so many fast food chains jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. But fear not — in this article we explore the best gluten-free fast food options, highlighting the top picks from popular chains across the country. From crispy chicken sandwiches to savory salads and everything in between, these gluten-free options are sure to please even the most discerning palate. Get ready to discover your next favorite gluten-free fast food indulgence.

 

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What Are the Best Gluten-Free Fast Food Options?

For individuals with gluten sensitivity, celiac disease or a gluten allergy, navigating fast food options can be tricky due to the risk of cross-contamination. Many restaurants offer gluten-free fast food items but it's important to note that these items are often prepared in the same kitchen as gluten-containing foods. This means there is a risk of gluten cross-contamination, especially in fast-paced kitchens where staff may not always be able to separate gluten-free and gluten-containing ingredients.

Despite this risk, there are still several safe and delicious gluten-free fast food options available. For those looking to avoid gluten, grilled chicken sandwiches or salads without croutons are generally safe choices. It's also a good idea to steer clear of fried foods, as they are often cooked in the same oil as gluten-containing items. Some fast food chains offer gluten-free buns or wraps as an alternative to traditional bread, providing more options for those with gluten sensitivities.

A range of unhealthy gluten-free fast food.
via Canva

16 Best Gluten-Free Fast Food Restaurants

1. Taco Bell

At Taco Bell, there are several gluten-free options available that can be customized to suit your dietary needs. The Power Menu Bowl, Crunchy Taco Supreme, Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco, black beans and rice, and hash browns (during breakfast hours) are all gluten-free choices. Additionally, customers can modify items off the Taco Bell secret menu to make them gluten-free, such as replacing the nachos in the Nachos Bellgrande with potatoes. This allows for a variety of delicious gluten-free fast food options to enjoy at Taco Bell. 

The Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco is a gluten-free choices.
via Taco Bell

2. In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger offers a limited but delicious selection of gluten-free options. One of the best ways to enjoy a gluten-free fast food meal is by ordering what’s known as a protein-style burger off the In-N-Out secret menu. This option replaces the bun with a crisp lettuce wrap, providing a fresh and satisfying alternative. In addition to the protein-style burger, In-N-Out's fries are generally considered safe for those avoiding gluten. However, it's always a good idea to confirm with the staff about the frying process to avoid any potential cross-contamination with gluten-containing items.

One of the best ways to enjoy a gluten-free fast food meal is by ordering what’s known as a protein-style burger
via Canva

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3. Chick-Fil-A

Chick-Fil-A offers several gluten-free fast food options that can be enjoyed by those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. One of the most popular choices is the grilled nuggets, which are bite-sized pieces of grilled chicken breast, flavorful and protein-rich. For those looking for a lighter option, the Spicy Southwest Salad is perfect. Chick-Fil-A also offers a Greek yogurt parfait for breakfast. One of the standout features of Chick-Fil-A is its flexibility when it comes to accommodating dietary needs. Customers can substitute any of the chain's famous chicken sandwiches with a gluten-free bun.

Customers can substitute any of their famous chicken sandwiches with a gluten-free bun.
via Chick-Fil-A

4. Wendy’s

Wendy's caters to gluten-sensitive individuals with a variety of delicious options. Indulge in the classic Frosty, a gluten-free treat that satisfies your sweet cravings. For a savory gluten-free fast food option, try the bacon and cheese baked potato, featuring a fluffy potato topped with crispy bacon and melted cheese. Wendy's chili is another great choice, boasting a flavorful blend of hearty beans, ground beef and spices. The fast food joint also offers flexibility with its burgers, allowing customers to swap out the bun for a lettuce wrap. To make any of the salads gluten-free, simply request no croutons or chicken.

Homemade Loaded Baked Potatoes
via Canva

5. Arby’s

Arby's offers limited options for those following a gluten-free fast food diet. While the classic sandwich buns cannot be substituted for a gluten-free alternative, there are still a few treats to enjoy. Indulge in a chocolate, vanilla or famous jamocha shake, all of which are gluten-free and perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth. It's important to note that Arby's does not have any fried side options that are safe for those with a gluten sensitivity. This is due to the risk of cross-contamination, as all items are fried in the same oil. Therefore, it's best to stick to the shakes or explore other dining options if you're looking for a gluten-free fast food meal at Arby's.

A jamocha shake is a gluten-free fat food option.
via Canva

6. Panera Bread

Panera Bread offers several gluten-free fast food options, although it does not have any gluten-free sandwiches. The menu includes a variety of salads and soups that can be suitable for those avoiding gluten. The Green Goddess Cobb Salad is a refreshing choice, featuring greens, chicken, avocado, tomatoes, bacon, eggs and pickled red onions. The Fuji Apple Salad offers a sweet and savory combination with apples, chicken and nuts. For a heartier option, the Mediterranean Bowl is a flavorful choice with grains, vegetables and hummus. When it comes to soups, Panera Bread has options like the chicken tikka masala soup and the creamy tomato soup, both of which can be enjoyed without the croutons. Additionally, the baked potato soup is a comforting gluten-free fast food choice, especially on a chilly day.

The Green Goddess Cobb Salad is a refreshing choice, featuring greens, chicken, avocado, tomatoes, bacon, eggs and pickled red onions.
via Panera Bread

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7. Five Guys

Five Guys’ fries are a popular choice, as they are cooked in a dedicated fryer that only handles gluten-free items, reducing the risk of cross-contamination. You can also enjoy the Cajun fries. For a sweet treat, Five Guys offers milkshakes that can be made gluten-free by avoiding Oreo pieces and malted mix-ins. If you're in the mood for a burger or hot dog, Five Guys accommodates gluten-free fast food diners by offering any burger or hot dog item wrapped in fresh, crisp lettuce instead of a traditional bun.

Five Guys accommodates gluten-free fast food diners by offering any burger or hot dog item wrapped in fresh, crisp lettuce instead of a traditional bun.
via Five Guys

8. Tropical Smoothie Café

Tropical Smoothie Café offers a variety of gluten-free fast food options for those looking for a healthier meal or snack. Its supergreen Caesar salad can be a good choice, just make sure to request it without the Parmesan crisps. The salad features a blend of nutrient-rich greens and a classic Caesar dressing, providing a satisfying and flavorful option. Another gluten-free option at Tropical Smoothie Café is the kale and apple slaw, a refreshing and crunchy side dish. The combination of crisp kale, sweet apple slices and a tangy dressing makes this a tasty and nutritious choice. For a bit of a kick, try the jalapeño corn. If you're in the mood for something sweet, the maple-kissed sweet potatoes provide a gluten-free option that offers a balance of flavors.

via Tropical Smoothie Café

9. Chipotle

At Chipotle, there are several gluten-free options available, making it a great choice for those on a gluten-free diet. By avoiding the flour tortillas, you can enjoy a variety of gluten-free options such as the Burrito Bowl, Lifestyle Bowl, salad, crunchy tacos and chips. Chipotle's customizable menu allows you to create a delicious gluten-free meal with fresh ingredients to suit your taste. It's always a good idea to inform the staff about your gluten-free fast food requirements to ensure that your meal is prepared safely and without cross-contamination.

Chipotle burrito bowl is a gluten-free fast food.
via Chipotle

10. Checkers

Checkers (or Rally's for those on the West Coast), offers a couple of gluten-free options for those with dietary restrictions. One of the main items that is often considered safe for gluten-free fast food diets is Checkers' classic wings, which come in a variety of sauces. While they are not specifically labeled as gluten-free, they are generally considered wheat-free. Checkers also offers chili, which is typically gluten-free as long as it is not thickened with flour. It's important to note that Checkers does not have a dedicated gluten-free fast food menu or specific gluten-free preparation areas, so there is a risk of cross-contamination. If you have celiac disease or a severe gluten sensitivity, it's best to exercise caution and speak with the staff about your dietary needs.

Topview Bowl of chili con carne
via Canva

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11. Boston Market

When ordering at Boston Market, customers typically choose a main protein, such as the rotisserie chicken or roasted turkey breast, then select from a variety of sides. One of Boston Market’s signature dishes, the rotisserie chicken, is typically safe for those on a gluten-free fast food diet. Cooked to juicy perfection, this chicken is seasoned with herbs and spices, making it a flavorful and satisfying choice. Another gluten-free fast food option is its roasted turkey breast, which is slow-roasted and beautifully seasoned. For sides, the Caesar salad can be made gluten-free by omitting the croutons. Additionally, the sweetcorn is a gluten-free side option that pairs well with any meal.

 One of Boston Market’s signature dishes, the rotisserie chicken, is typically safe for those on a gluten-free fast food diet.
via Boston Market

12. Shake Shack

While Shake Shack’s signature burgers are typically served on potato buns, which contain gluten, Shake Shack also offers gluten-free buns at all its locations. These buns are a great gluten-free fast food option for those looking to enjoy a classic Shake Shack burger without the gluten. In addition to burgers, Shake Shack's classic shake flavors, like chocolate and vanilla, are gluten-free and make for a perfect treat to accompany your meal. It's important to note that the fries are fried in the same oil as other items containing gluten.

Shake Shack's classic shake flavors, like chocolate and vanilla, are gluten-free.
via Shake Shack

13. Sonic Drive-In

Sonic Drive-In offers limited gluten-free options but there are still some choices available for those with gluten sensitivities. While the menu is known for items like burgers and hot dogs served on potato buns, you can request these items without the bun to make them gluten-free. Additionally, the sausage patties, bacon and eggs are gluten-free when ordered without any bread products. For those looking for a sweet treat on their hunt for gluten-free fast food, many of Sonic's shakes are gluten-free but be sure to avoid any toppings that contain it. The famous slushes are also gluten-free, offering a refreshing option on a hot day.

Sausages on a plate with salad.
via Canva

14. Popeye’s

Popeye's may not have a wide array of gluten-free fast food options but there are still some tasty choices available. While the popular fried chicken is off-limits due to the breading, you can still enjoy a variety of sides. The red beans and rice, for example, is a flavorful choice, made with seasoned red beans and rice cooked together with authentic Cajun spices. Another option is coleslaw, a classic side dish made with shredded cabbage and a creamy, tangy dressing. Additionally, you can customize your order to turn many items into gluten-free fast food. For example, you can order any of the burgers or sandwiches without the bun to avoid gluten. While Popeye's may not be the most accommodating for those with gluten sensitivities, there are still ways to enjoy a meal at this popular fast food chain. Always be sure to inform the staff about your dietary restrictions and ask about any potential cross-contamination risks.

A gluten-free option is coleslaw, a classic side dish made with shredded cabbage and a creamy, tangy dressing.
via Canva

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15. KFC

Similar to Popeye’s, KFC’s breaded fried chicken does not have any gluten-free alternatives. However, you can enjoy the chain's mashed potatoes, which are made from real potatoes and are gluten-free when ordered without gravy. The coleslaw is another option, made with shredded cabbage and a creamy dressing. For a vegetable side, you can opt for sweet corn, which is a gluten-free fast food choice. It's important to note that while these menu items are gluten-free, cross-contamination can occur in the kitchen. Be sure to inform the staff about your dietary needs to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.

The mashed potatoes are made from real potatoes and are gluten-free when ordered without gravy.
via Canva

16. Whataburger

At Whataburger, you can ask for simple modifications to make your meal gluten-free. Any burger or sandwich can be made gluten-free by simply removing the bun, allowing you to savor the juicy patties and toppings. The salads, including the Cobb, apple and cranberry, and garden salad, are also gluten-free fast food choices when ordered without the breaded chicken. For a sweet treat, you can indulge in a shake, as long as you skip the malt. Additionally, if you're looking for a light and healthy option, you can opt for the apple slices. 

Salads are good gluten-free fast food choices.
via Canva

Enjoying the best gluten-free fast food options is now more accessible than ever. While there aren’t many chains that offer menus specific to this dietary requirement, many of the best gluten-free fast food restaurants are spots you’re already familiar with. Places like Taco Bell, Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A and Wendy's have options that are safe for those with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. 

That being said, it always pays to speak to the staff first an ensure that your dietary requirements will be met. Depending on the severity of your intolerance, you'll want to avoid any establishents where there's no guarantee against cross contamination. Check off that milestone, however, and by making just a few small modifications to regular menu items, you'll be back to enjoying your gluten-free fast food favorites in no time.

For even more ways to explore your favorite foods, check out other experiences happening on Cozymeal.