Best Gluten-Free Fast Food Options: Top 5 Alternatives Most Recommended By Experts

Eating gluten-free can be challenging when you dine out, whether you have Celiac disease or are jumping on the trend for a different reason. Gluten-free or not, many of us can’t resist the convenience and guilty pleasure of fast food. Fast food chains pose even more of a challenge in finding gluten-free options. Don’t worry; we found the best gluten-free fast food options, so you don’t have to Google the menu before you go. 

Gluten-free diets have become so widespread in the United States it’s hard not to notice that some of our favorite snacks at the grocery store have created their own gluten-free versions. The gluten-free movement was launched for people with Celiac disease, an ailment prohibiting the body from digesting gluten normally and can cause some uncomfortable side effects for sufferers. Celiac patients have good reason to go gluten-free: a regular diet might cause diarrhea or painful bloating, flatulence, and heartburn and can lead to weight loss and malnutrition. The chronic disease can be found in the lining of the small intestine, and since it’s incurable, the gluten-free diet is the best defense. But researchers have made an exciting discovery in tracking Americans who follow gluten-free diets. While an estimated 2.7 million people restrict their diet to gluten-free foods, only 1.76 million Americans suffer from the disease that requires the diet.

Although gluten-free diets have grown popular, they aren’t a smart choice for everyone. A new study, however, finds that eliminating gluten from your diet is not recommended if you’re not a celiac sufferer. Researchers from Columbia University, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard School of Public Health say going gluten-free when you don’t need to is not ideal. For people with celiac disease (0.7% of the U.S. population), gluten causes inflammation and intestinal damage and is linked to coronary heart disease. On the other hand, many people (including 30% of the U.S. population) have chosen to adopt gluten-free diets with the mistaken belief that gluten is unhealthy or dangerous. Doing so also removes the healthy whole grains that can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular health problems.  Researchers looked specifically for a relationship between gluten consumption and an increase in coronary heart disease. After considering other risk factors, the authors concluded there was no meaningful correlation between eating foods with gluten and developing coronary heart disease. This applied to both male and female participants.

If you are considering going gluten-free, consider the reason and if it is the best option for you and your health. If it’s the right option for you, StudyFinds went to 10 expert sites to develop a list of the best gluten-free fast food options. Is there a recipe or combination you want fellow wheat-free fans to know about? Let us know in the comments below!

Chick-Fil-A drive-thru
Chick-Fil-A drive-thru (Photo by Jace Miller on Pixels)

The List: Best Gluten-Free Fast Food Options, According to Experts

1. Chick-fil-A

We are aware of Chick-fil-A’s heavenly chicken nuggets on earth. However, they are breaded and, therefore, not friendly to those with gluten allergies. “CHICK-FIL-A offers grilled chicken nuggets that are mouthwatering, as well as several gluten-free side options that are gluten-free,” says Fast Food Menu Prices

Chick-fil-A has a gluten-free bun, so you can have a grilled chicken sandwich too! The bun comes in a sealed bag, so it is safe. I’m a Celiac shares their go-to order: “8 piece GRILLED nugget meal, with fries, a drink and Polynesian sauce or the grilled chicken salad with Fruit cup. Um GLUTEN FREE Fries!!  Good dipping options! GF bun.”

Chick-fil-A’s unforgettable waffle-shaped fries are kettle-cooked fresh, seasoned lightly with a sprinkle of sea salt, and gluten-free. “The waffle fries come pre-packaged meaning they’re the perfect little snack for on-the-go. Or, you can open them up to enjoy on the side of your meal. Or, you can grab a few bags and stock up for times when you get hit with gluten-free munchies. The bag only contains 220 calories and even three grams of protein, making it a pretty healthy snack choice if you’re trying to be more health-conscious in general,” offers Food For Net.

2. Chipotle

If it’s Mexican-inspired food you crave, you can get your gluten-free fill at Chipotle. “While the flour tortillas at Chipotle have gluten, meaning that burritos and certain tacos are off the menu, everything else at the chain is gluten-free. That means you’ve got the all clear on crunchy corn tacos, burrito bowls with any meat (or non-meat) topping you can imagine, chips and guacamole, and salad (with the dressing),” says Mashed.

While Chipotle does have gluten-free corn tortillas, they may contain small traces of gluten through cross-contamination during cultivation. Restaurant Clicks recommends a specific order: “I recommend making a burrito bowl with sofritas, romaine lettuce, pinto beans, and fresh tomato salsa if you’re looking for a healthier entree.”

Go ahead and get it with extra guacamole. You deserve it for avoiding another flare-up. “Because you can see the food being made and the assembly-line nature of preparation, Chipotle is one of the more truly gluten-free restaurants on this list,” says Healthline.

3. Arby’s

Almost all the meats at Arby’s are gluten-free, including the pit-smoked ham and roast beef; however, you will have to get them without the bun, otherwise you will be consuming gluten. “There are lettuce wraps if you really want a sandwich as a gluten-free alternative, however, apart from this, the only other things to eat on the menu are the sides like a chopped side salad. Even their fries and onion rings are not gluten-free, as they are cooked in the same oil as gluten-containing products,” Whimsy and Spice.

If you’re in the mood for breakfast at Arby’s, they offer some great gluten-free options, like breakfast bacon, a sausage patty, and a scrambled egg patty. “There are plenty of ways to place a delicious, gluten-free fast food order at Arby’s and still get your fill,” promises Eat This, Not That.

Again, as a fast food restaurant, you can make dining at Arby’s enjoyable for a gluten-free meal. Very Well Fit offers another suggestion: “The Farmhouse salad with roast turkey. The chocolate, jamocha swirl, and vanilla shakes also are listed as gluten-free.”

4. Five Guys

If it’s a burger you’re craving, look no further than Five Guys. “While there isn’t a gluten-free bun option at Five Guys, there is a way to get your burger gluten-free and that’s with a lettuce wrap. No, it isn’t quite the same as having a juicy burger on a bun, but it’s the next best thing and sure beats having a burger patty just hanging out on a plate (though if you prefer it that way, you can also get your burger in a bowl),” shares Mashed

Yes, more French fries, and while fries are technically gluten-free by nature, most places cook them in the same gluten-filled oil as the rest of their food. There’s also the risk of cross-contamination due to close proximity of the fries to other foods. “Five Guys cook their French fries in a gluten-free fryer using only peanut oil. So, if you’re avoiding gluten for important medical reasons, this is one place that won’t disappoint you. You can have their fries!” shares Food For Net.

Whimsy and Spice adds that “a Five Guys burger is normally served on a bun but since they wrap it in foil, they can make it without a bun without making a mess. You can even have it with a lettuce bun if you like, and this is the same for their other sandwiches and hot dogs. Likewise, their signature fries are gluten-free and cooked in a dedicated, separate fryer that stops any cross-contamination from happening.”

5. Wendy’s

Going to a drive-through joint for gluten-free options can make people a little nervous. “Fortunately, this fear was misplaced, as Wendy’s offers several options for a quick and easy wheat-free meal. Go for the Strawberry Fields Salad (no chicken) and pair it with a cup of chili,” suggests Fast Food Menu Prices.

This just in! Frosties are gluten-free! I’m a Celiac‘s tried and true order? “Side caesar salad with ranch dressing and baked potato with margarin and sour cream. A bacon cheeseburger with no bun is also a good option if you want more protein. I find that the fries at the newly remodeled stores are typically safe, so just ask if they have a dedicated fryer.”

Wendy’s famous baked potato is also a great gluten-free option, and they can fix it in three ways. “You can get it plain and just add some butter or sour cream as you want. This is a yummy, simple side for any meal. You can also get it made with sour cream and chives, or bacon and cheese. Not only do baked potatoes make a fantastic side dish but they’re pretty filling if you’re looking for a sustainable lunch to keep you going,” says Food For Net.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.


  1. This is a bad article. People with celiac can not and should not eat fast food. Even modest amounts of contamination are negatively impacting their health. There are no exceptions.

    There’s a lot of facts about Celiac disease in this article and you miss the biggest one. These restaurants do not have stations for food prep. Some do not have dedicated fryers. And they are surely not trained on gluten free standards. This article is harmful.

  2. How did In ‘n’ Out not make this list? It is actually my top choice when looking for a safe fast food place. You can order their burgers protein style which replaces the bun with lettuce or you can just order a meat patty by itself. It’s important to tell them there is a gluten allergy on the order so they will change their gloves and cook the meat away from the buns. Their fries and shakes are also gluten free.

  3. This article was written by someone who doesn’t understand what it means to have a sensitivity to gluten. There are other valid reasons to be gluten free than just celiac. I would never have picked this list as great options. Most of these have very limited offerings for someone that is intolerant. There is an emotional side to this also!

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