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How to Eat Gluten-Free at Your Favorite Chain Restaurants

Here are some gluten-free restaurant orders to try next time you're at one of these 10 popular places.
How to Eat Gluten-Free at Your Favorite Chain Restaurants
Courtesy of Outback Steakhouse

Going out to eat on a restrictive diet can be tricky, and that's especially true if you're following a gluten-free diet. Whether you have Celiac disease, a gluten sensitivity, or are just trying to cut back on foods that contain gluten, there are a few things you should know about eating gluten-free when you dine out. You can actually eat gluten-free at fast-food restaurants and chain restaurants—if you know what to order.

Eating gluten-free involves more than just avoiding items on the menu that have bread. You'll also want to look out for things made with malt vinegar, or heavy sauces where flour might be used as a thickening ingredient. It's never a bad idea to tell your waiter you're gluten-free, too—they've probably served other customers with dietary restrictions and can help guide you toward items on the menu that work with your diet.

To get a better idea of how to eat gluten-free at restaurants, we talked to Sandy Wolner, RDN and Pampered Chef food and trend expert, about what to look for on a menu.

"Start with options that you know have naturally gluten-free ingredients," Wolner says. "Eggs and salads are easy go-tos, as long as diners double-check with croutons or other breaded options."

And if you're at a restaurant that offers gluten alternatives, know what to look for there, too. You might find recipes made with chickpea flour, for instance, or you could eat corn tortillas or lettuce wraps.

"Cauliflower/quinoa/chickpea are good gluten-free alternatives for pasta and pizza," Wolner says. "Some people are surprised to know that potatoes and rice are completely safe for those avoiding gluten. Diners can also go for un-breaded meat, corn tortillas, or lettuce wrap options. A great one is a salmon sandwich with lettuce instead of a bun."

Here are some great gluten-free options at 10 popular restaurant chains.

What's gluten-free at Texas Roadhouse?

texas roadhouse sirloin early dine menu
Courtesy of Texas Roadhouse

Many of the menu items at Texas Roadhouse are fried and may contain gluten in the breading, but you can find some gluten-free options there, too. On the appetizer list, for instance, you can take Wolner's advice and choose a naturally gluten-free potato. And if you stick with steak, rather than the breaded chicken, you can have a nice gluten-free dinner. You just won't be able to enjoy the chain's signature breadbasket.

One major caveat to this list: You'll want to ask your server how the food you're ordering is prepared. The Texas Roadhouse website notes that the chain's "gluten-friendly" items aren't necessarily gluten-free, so you'll want to double-check how they're prepared before ordering anything, to avoid cross-contamination. You're always better off being safe, rather than sorry, when it comes to food allergies.

Salads

  • Grilled chicken salad, without croutons and chicken marinade, oil and vinegar dressing
  • Steakhouse filet salad, without croutons, no seasoning on filet, oil and vinegar dressing
  • House salad, no croutons, oil and vinegar dressing

Steaks and Ribs

  • Fort Worth ribeye, no seasoning, no butter
  • Dallas filet, no seasoning, no butter
  • USDA Choice sirloin, no seasoning, no butter
  • New York strip, no seasoning, no butter
  • Bone-in ribeye, no seasoning, no butter
  • Porterhouse T-bone, no seasoning, no butter
  • Steak kabob, no seasoning, no butter, substitute rice with baked potatoes or mashed potatoes
  • Roadkill, no seasoning, no butter
  • Filet medallions, no seasoning, no butter
  • Prime rib, no seasoning, no butter

Combos

  • Grilled chicken with sirloin, no seasoning, no butter, no marinade
  • Chicken Specialties
  • Grilled chicken, no marinade

Country Dinners

  • Country vegetable plate
  • Grilled pork chops, no seasoning, no peppercorn sauce

Dockside Favorites

  • Grilled Salmon

Sides

  • Sweet potato, seasoned only with salt and pepper
  • Fresh vegetables, seasoned only with salt and pepper
  • Baked potato, seasoned only with salt and pepper

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

What's gluten-free at Red Robin?

red robin wedgie burger
Courtesy of Red Robin

Red Robin's website has an option to view menu items sorted out by allergens, including gluten. So you won't have to second-guess what's really gluten-free here. Just know that if any of the burgers catch your eye, you'll have to order them without the bun.

Appetizers

  • Chili Chili cheese fries
  • Sweet potato fries jump starter
  • Creamy spinach and artichoke dip, no white corn tortilla chips
  • Nacho.m.g., no white corn tortilla chips, no queso cheese sauce

Gourmet Burgers

  • The Wedgie burger
  • Bacon cheeseburger with American cheese, no bun
  • Banzai burger, no teriyaki sauce, no bun
  • Bleu Ribbon burger, no onion straws, no Heinz 57 sauce, no bun
  • Burnin' Love burger, no jalapeno coins, no whole fried jalapenos, no bun
  • Burnin' Love chicken, no jalapeno coins, no whole fried jalapenos, no bun
  • Chili Chili cheeseburger, no bun
  • El Ranchero, no BBQ ketchup, no onion straws, no jalapeno ranch dressing, no bun
  • French Onion Ringer, no breaded onion rings, no onion straws, no bun
  • Guacamole Bacon Burger, no bun
  • Impossible Gourmet Burger with American cheese, no bun
  • Keep It Simple burger, no bun
  • Keep It Simple veggie burger, no bun
  • Monster burger with American cheese, no bun
  • Red Robin cheeseburger with American cheese, no bun
  • Royal Red Robin burger, no bun
  • Veggie burger, no bun

Tavern Burgers

  • Big Pig Out tavern burger, no bun
  • Big Taco tavern burger, no bun
  • Four cheese melt with rustic Italian bread
  • Red's Tavern Double, no bun
  • Taco Tavern Double burger, no bun

Finest Burgers

  • Master Cheeseburger, no bun
  • Smoke & Pepper, no bun
  • The Madlove burger, no bun
  • Tuscan salmon, no bun

Other Fun on a Bun

  • California Chicken Burger, no bun
  • Grilled Turkey Burger, no bun
  • Simply Grilled Chicken Burger, no bun

Entrees

  • Ensenada Chicken Platter

Wraps, Sandwiches, & Soups

  • Chili bowl
  • Clamdigger's clam chowder soup bowl
  • Bruschetta chicken burger, no bun

Salads

  • Avo-cobb-o salad, no croutons
  • Bottomless house salad, no croutons
  • Mighty Caesar salad, no croutons
  • Simply grilled chicken salad, no croutons
  • Southwest chicken salad, no croutons

What's gluten-free at Bonefish Grill?

healthiest restaurant dish bonefish grill salmon mango salsa
Courtesy of Bonefish Grill

Like Red Robin, Bonefish Grill offers a gluten-free menu for customers to peruse.

Appetizers

  • Prince Edward Island Mussels Josephine

Soups and Greens

  • Bonefish Cobb salad, no croutons
  • Classic Caesar Salad, no croutons
  • Bonefish house salad
  • Grilled salmon superfood salad, without farro or ancient grains

Grilled Fish

  • Chilean sea bass
  • Baja striped bass
  • Atlantic salmon
  • Rainbow trout
  • Georges Bank Sea Scallops and Shrimp

From the Land

  • Filet Mignon
  • Bone-in ribeye steak
  • Lily's Chicken
  • The Angler's sirloin steak

Seafood Specialties

  • Dynamite-style shrimp
  • Coldwater lobster tails

Brunch

  • Saucy Shrimp & Grits
  • Oscar Omelet
  • California Omelet

Signature and Premium Sides

  • Garlic whipped potatoes
  • Seasonal vegetables
  • Jasmine rice

Desserts

  • Macadamia nut brownie, flourless
  • Seasonal creme brulee

What's gluten-free at Yard House?

Yard house restaurant
Shutterstock

Again, this is one restaurant where you'll want to consult your server if you have Celiac disease. The chain's website states that while there is a gluten-sensitive menu option available, this is "not a gluten-free environment," and there may be cross-contamination in the kitchen. But if you let your server know you have celiac disease, the restaurant should be able to accommodate you.

Soups & Starters

  • Tomato bisque, no crackers, no fried basil garnish
  • Chopped Salad
  • Classic ranch salad, no croutons

Snacks

  • Deviled eggs
  • Chilled edamame
  • Guacamole and chips, sub fresh veggies for chips
  • Hummus served with romaine leaves, no tahini sauce, no pita croutons
  • Hummus Topping—Lamb
  • Hummus Topping—Veggies
  • Roasted beet salad

Appetizers

  • Spicy tuna roll, no wasabi soy sauce
  • Spinach cheese dip, no pita, sub fresh veggies
  • Queso dip, no flour tortillas and chips, sub fresh veggies
  • Bacon chorizo Queso dip

Entree Salads & Bowls

  • Chicken kale Caesar, no croutons
  • Shrimp kale Caesar, no croutons
  • Salmon kale Caesar, no croutons
  • Ahi kale Caesar, no croutons
  • Chicken Cobb
  • Shrimp Cobb
  • Salmon Cobb
  • Red quinoa salad
  • Red quinoa salad with chicken
  • Red quinoa salad with shrimp
  • Red quinoa salad with salmon
  • BBQ chicken salad, no tortilla strips, no fried onions

Sandwiches & Burgers

With each of these options, you'll want to order a lettuce wrap in place of bread, and mixed greens instead of fries.

  • Grilled chicken and avocado sandwich
  • Seared ahi steak sandwich
  • Roasted turkey club
  • Classic cheeseburger
  • BBQ bacon cheddar burger
  • Kurobuta pork burger
  • Black truffle cheeseburger
  • House lamb burger
  • Pepper jack burger
  • Mediterranean lamb burger
  • Mediterranean beef burger
  • Beyond Burger with salad

Street Tacos

Instead of the flour tortillas, sub in two corn tortillas for each taco.

  • Asada taco
  • Tropical chicken taco
  • Blackened shrimp taco

Entrees

  • Ribeye
  • Ribeye and shrimp
  • Pepper-crusted filet
  • Roasted halibut, no soy-miso broth
  • Mediterranean salmon, no tahini sauce
  • Pan-seared ahi, no soy vinaigrette
  • Shrimp zoodle bowl
  • Caprese chicken
  • Spicy Beyond Sausage with Zoodles

Sides

  • Mixed greens, no croutons
  • Chilled edamame
  • Steamed mixed vegetables
  • Fresh fruit
  • Jasmine rice
  • Brown rice
  • Sauteed asparagus
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Wasabi mashed potatoes
  • Parmesan mashed potatoes
  • Spinach mashed potatoes

What's gluten-free at Outback Steakhouse?

healthiest restaurant dish outback steakhouse filet mignon
Courtesy of Outback Steakhouse

Outback's gluten-free menu includes a variety of options, from steaks to salads. You won't be wanting for options at this chain.

Entree Salads

  • Aussie Cobb Salad, no croutons
  • Brisbane Caesar salad, no croutons

Signature Steaks

  • Outback Center-Cut Sirloin
  • Victoria's Filet Mignon
  • Ayers Rock NY strip
  • Ribeye
  • Bone-in natural cut ribeye
  • Melbourne Porterhouse
  • Sirloin & grilled shrimp on the barbie
  • Filet Mignon and Lobster

Straight from the Sea

  • Perfectly grilled salmon
  • Simply grilled tilapia
  • Lobster tails

Chicken, Ribs, & More

  • Alice Springs Chicken
  • Grilled chicken on the barbie
  • Pork porterhouse
  • Baby back ribs
  • Drover's ribs and chicken platter

Freshly Made Potatoes & Sides

  • Homestyle mashed potatoes
  • Baked potato
  • Sweet potato
  • Fresh mixed veggies
  • Fresh seasonal veggie: broccoli
  • House salad, without croutons
  • Caesar salad, without croutons
  • Broccoli and cheese
  • Loaded mashed potatoes
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Blue cheese wedge salad

Dessert

  • Chocolate Thunder from Down Under

What's gluten-free at Carrabba's?

carrabbas chicken bryan with penne pasta on white plate
Courtesy of Carrabba's

You might not think gluten-free meals and Italian cooking can mix. But Carrabba's has a wide variety of options on its gluten-free menu, including some pasta.

Small Plates & Appetizers

  • Grilled asparagus with prosciutto
  • Tomato Caprese with fresh burrata

Soups & Salads

  • Mama Mandola's Sicilian chicken soup
  • Minestrone soup
  • Soup and salad combo
  • Italian salad
  • Johnny Rocco salad
  • Italian side salad
  • House side salad

Pasta

  • Linguine Positano
  • Shrimp & Scallop Linguine Alla Vodka
  • Fettuccine Carrabba
  • Spaghetti Pomodoro
  • Spaghetti Bolognese
  • Fettuccine Weesie

Chicken, Pork, & Veal

  • Tuscan Grilled Chicken
  • Tuscan-Grilled Ribeye
  • Chicken Bryan
  • Chicken Marsala
  • Pollo Rosa Maria

Steaks & Chops

Tuscan-Grilled filet
Tuscan-Grilled pork chop

Seafood

  • Wood-Grilled tilapia
  • Tomato basil salmon
  • Simply grilled Mahi

Combinations

  • The Johnny
  • Chicken Trio

Sides

  • Sauteed broccoli
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Garlic mashed potatoes

What's gluten-free at Maggiano's?

Maggiano's Mini Creme Brulee
Maggiano's Little Italy/Facebook

Another classic American chain, Maggiano's is famous for its family-style pasta dishes. Fortunately for gluten-free diners, the chain does offer gluten-free pasta. Maggiano's doesn't have a gluten-free menu on its website, though, so you should double-check that any salad dressings or cream sauces you might order are truly gluten-free, just in case. And if you have Celiac disease, it's also worth asking your server if the crispy pancetta is made in the same fryer as gluten-containing dishes, because you don't want to risk cross-contamination.

Starters

  • Prince Edward Island Steamed Mussels
  • Tomato Caprese
  • Sausage & Peppers

Salads

  • Maggiano's salad
  • Caesar salad
  • Spinach salad
  • Chopped salad
  • Italian tossed salad, no croutons
  • Grilled salmon salad, no croutons
  • Grilled Chicken Caprese salad, no croutons

Steak & Veal

  • Beef Tenderloin medallions, without crispy onions
  • Denver steak
  • Filet Mignon and asparagus risotto
  • Center-cut filet mignon
  • Prime ribeye
  • Braised beef contadina

Sides

  • Garlic spinach
  • Roasted garlic broccoli
  • Fresh-grilled asparagus

Classic Pasta

  • Spaghetti with gluten-free pasta
  • Baked Ziti with gluten-free pasta
  • Fettucini alfredo with gluten-free pasta

Chef's Features

  • Double-cut pork chop

Chicken

  • Chicken Piccata with gluten-free pasta
  • Chicken Marsala with gluten-free pasta
  • Chicken Francese
  • Chicken Saltimbocca with gluten-free pasta

Seafood

  • Salmon lemon and herb, without orzo
  • Shrimp Fra Diavolo with gluten-free pasta
  • Linguine and clams with gluten-free pasta
  • Linguine di Mare with gluten-free pasta
  • Tuscan Shrimp and Chicken with gluten-free pasta
  • Shrimp Scampi with gluten-free pasta

Dessert

  • Creme Brulee

What's gluten-free at Cracker Barrel?

cracker barrel good morning breakfast
Courtesy of Cracker Barrel

With a menu that includes options like dumplings and pancakes, Cracker Barrel isn't the best place to go if you have a gluten-sensitivity. But if you order foods that are naturally gluten-free and inform your server of your food allergies—especially if you have Celiac disease—they should be able to accommodate you.

And while Cracker Barrel's list of food allergens is helpful, you should still take this list in stride. It's always best to check with your server (and the chef, if possible) to make sure these items are truly gluten-free.

Breakfast

  • Southwestern Sausage Hash n' Eggs
  • Southwestern Scramble
  • Good Morning Breakfast
  • Fresh Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait Breakfast, no granola
  • Fried Apples
  • Fresh Seasonal Fruit
  • Fresh Apple Slices
  • Two Eggs
  • Two Scrambled Egg Whites
  • Turkey Sausage Patties
  • Smoked Sausage Patties
  • Thick-Sliced Bacon
  • Sugar-Cured Ham
  • Country Ham
  • Grilled Pork Chop
  • Grits

Lunch/Dinner

  • Grilled Country Pork Chops
  • Lemon Pepper Grilled Rainbow Trout
  • Ribeye Steak
  • Farm-Raised Grilled Catfish
  • Farm-Raised Fried Catfish
  • Grilled Sirloin Steak
  • Grilled Chicken Tenderloins
  • Sugar-Cured Ham
  • Hickory-Smoked Country Ham
  • Apple Cider BBQ Chicken Breast
  • Country Vegetable Plate

Sides

  • Baked Potato
  • Baked Sweet Potato
  • Bowl of Pinto Beans
  • Bowl of Turnip Greens
  • Beans n' Greens
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Homestyle Fries
  • Sweet Whole Baby Carrots
  • Whole Kernel Corn
  • Country Green Beans
  • Mixed Green Side Salad, Plain
  • Brussel Sprouts n' Kale Salad
  • Cole Slaw
  • Fresh Seasonal Fruit
  • Fresh Apple Slices
  • Fried Apples
  • Boiled Cabbage
  • Lima Beans
  • Sweet Potato Casserole

What's gluten-free at LongHorn Steakhouse?

longhorn steakhouse grilled salmon salad
Colleen R./Yelp

As with some of the other restaurants on this list, LongHorn Steakhouse's menu is aimed toward gluten-sensitive guests, as the kitchens aren't gluten-free. But if you have Celiac disease, you can tell your server, and they'll help make sure your meal is prepared safely.

Salads

  • Blue Ridge Wedge Salad
  • Farm Fresh Field Greens with Chicken, Shrimp, or Sirloin
  • LongHorn Caesar Salad with Chicken, Shrimp, or Sirloin
  • Grilled Salmon Salad (mixed green or Caesar, without marinade)
  • 7-Pepper Salad
  • Mixed Green Salad
  • Caesar Salad
  • Grilled Chicken and Strawberry Salad with Vinaigrette
  • Strawberry and Pecan Salad with Vinaigrette

Burgers/Sandwiches

  • Steakhouse Bacon Burger, without bun
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich, without bun

Chicken

  • Parmesan-Crusted Chicken, without breadcrumbs

Ribs & Chops

  • Baby Back Ribs
  • Country Pork Chops

Seafood

  • LongHorn Salmon, without marinade
  • Flo's Filet and Lobster Tail
  • Renegade Sirloin and Redrock Grilled Shrimp
  • Redrock Grilled Shrimp
  • Lobster Tail

Legendary Steaks

  • Flo's Filet
  • Outlaw Ribeye
  • NY Strip
  • The LongHorn
  • Prime Rib
  • Flat Iron Steak
  • Ribeye
  • Renegade Sirloin
  • Fire-Grilled T-Bone
  • Delmonico

Sides

  • Baked Potato
  • Loaded Baked Potato
  • Sweet Potato
  • Sauteed Mushrooms
  • Sauteed Mushrooms & Onions
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Fresh Steamed Asparagus
  • Seasoned Rice
  • Fresh-Steamed Broccoli
  • Fire-Grilled Corn on the Cob
  • Loaded Potato Soup
  • Shrimp and Lobster Chowder
  • Parmesan-Creamed Spinach

Dessert

  • Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

What's gluten-free at Bob Evans?

Bob evans rise and shine - healthiest restaurant order
Courtesy of Bob Evans

It's not easy, but you can find gluten-free menu items at Bob Evans. As always, let your waiter know you're gluten-free, especially if you're not sure about a certain sauce or fried item.

Breakfast

  • Steak Omelet
  • Border Scramble Omelet
  • Goat Cheese Veggie Omelet
  • Western Omelet
  • Pot Roast Hash
  • Golden Cornmeal Mush
  • Bacon
  • Bacon Bits
  • Ham
  • Sausage Links
  • Sausage Patties
  • Turkey Sausage Links
  • Fruit
  • Grits
  • Hashbrowns
  • Homefries
  • Oatmeal

Entrees

  • Lemon Pepper Sole
  • Chicken Cobb Salad
  • Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad
  • Wildfire Grilled Chicken Salad
  • Burger Patty
  • Pot Roast
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Slow-Roasted Chicken
  • Grilled Salmon
  • Slow-roasted Turkey
  • Sliced Turkey

Sides

  • Buttered Corn
  • Cranberry Relish
  • Baked Potato
  • Loaded Baked Potato
  • Buttered Broccoli
  • Glazed Carrots
  • Cornmeal Mush
  • French Fries
  • Grits
  • Hash Browns
  • Home Fries
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Beef Vegetable Soup

Dessert

  • Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Caramel Sundae
  • Chocolate Fudge Sundae
  • Whipped Cream
  • Chocolate Whipped Cream

Now that you know a little more about what to expect, you can order gluten-free at restaurants with ease.

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Meghan De Maria
Meghan De Maria is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food, product, and restaurant coverage. Read more