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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Gluten-Free Fast Food Menu Items

Why yes, it's more than just salads!
The Ultimate Guide to the Best Gluten-Free Fast Food Menu ItemsCourtesy of Chick-fil-A

If you've recently adopted a gluten-free diet, there's one important thing to note: that doesn't mean that you can never go out to eat again. More and more restaurants are actually catering specifically to patrons who are seeking gluten-free grub.

"There are so many wonderful options that will allow you to feel included in the dining experience. Grilled lean protein, such as chicken and fish, over a bed of greens such as spinach, are always a great option. Hamburgers wrapped in lettuce are now widely available so you can still satisfy your burger craving, too," says Alyssa Sparks, a holistic nutritionist and Pilates expert, in Los Angeles, California.

Still, because most major chain restaurants prepare ingredients in the same areas (say, frying potatoes in the same oil as flour-breaded chicken), cross-contamination can come into play during any stage of the preparation process. And many items you might think are GF actually aren't, explains nutritionist Rania Batayneh, M.P.H., the owner of Essential Nutrition for You and the author of The One One One Diet.

"Fast food is generally full of hidden ingredients, so if you are following a gluten-free diet, even some french fries are not gluten-free (although they should naturally be)," she says. "Surprisingly, not all salad dressings and breakfast oatmeal options may not be gluten-free, too."

"When you decide where to dine, keep that in mind and don't be afraid to ask when you arrive what your best options are," Sparks suggests.

As a starter pack, keep reading for our complete roundup of the best gluten-free options at some of the most popular fast food restaurants across the country.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

What's Gluten-Free at McDonald's?

International mcdonalds restaurant Shutterstock

Seek out the golden arches for dozens of gluten-free fast food menu items. While McDonald's doesn't share a complete gluten-free menu anymore, because "cross-contact with gluten items does exist," they do list wheat as an allergen in their nutrition guide to allow diners to select components that don't contain gluten.

Breakfast

  • Fruit and Maple Oatmeal
  • Fruit and Yogurt Parfait (Without Low-Fat Crunchy Granola)
  • Egg Patty
  • Ham Slice
  • Sausage Patty
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Thick-Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon Slice

Meats

  • Burger Patty
  • Artisan Grilled Chicken Filet

Salads

  • Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad
  • Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad
  • Side Salad

Sides and Snacks

  • Apple Slices
  • Yoplait® GO-GURT® Low Fat Strawberry Yogurt

Desserts

  • McFlurry® with M&M's® Candies
  • Chocolate Shake
  • Strawberry Shake
  • Vanilla Shake
  • Hot Fudge Sundae
  • Hot Caramel Sundae
  • Strawberry Sundae
  • Reduced-Fat Vanilla Ice Cream (In a Cup Instead of a Cone)
  • Caramel Frappé
  • Mocha Frappé
  • Strawberry Banana Smoothie
  • Mango Pineapple Smoothie

What's Gluten-Free at Arby's?

Arbys exterior Shutterstock

While the curly fries don't fit this list (womp-womp), there are plenty of ways to horse around and build a gluten-free fast food order at Arby's.

Breakfast

  • Breakfast Bacon
  • Sausage Patty
  • Scrambled Egg Patty

Meats

  • Angus Beef
  • Corned Beef
  • Pepper Bacon
  • Roast Beef
  • Pit-Smoked Ham
  • Roast Turkey
  • Smoked Brisket

Salads

  • Chopped Farmhouse Salad — Roast Turkey
  • Chopped Side Salad

Sides and Snacks

  • Tree Top® Applesauce

Sauces and Condiments

  • Bronco Berry Sauce®
  • Buffalo Dipping Sauce
  • Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Ranch Dipping Sauce
  • Tangy Barbeque Sauce
  • American Cheese (Processed Slice)
  • Arby's Sauce®
  • Cheddar Cheese Sauce (Contains maltodextrin from a corn source)
  • Cheddar Cheese (Sharp Slice)
  • Cheddar Cheese (Shredded)
  • Dijon Honey Mustard Sandwich Sauce
  • Horsey Sauce®
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Parmesan
  • Peppercorn Ranch Sauce
  • Peppers & Onions
  • Red Ranch Sauce
  • Sauerkraut
  • Smoky Q Sauce
  • Spicy Brown Honey Mustard Sauce
  • Spicy Three Pepper® Sauce
  • Swiss Cheese (Natural Slice)
  • Swiss Cheese (Processed Slice)
  • Thousand Island Spread
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
  • Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
  • Dijon Honey Mustard Dressing
  • Light Italian Dressing

Desserts

  • Jamocha Shake
  • Chocolate Shake
  • Vanilla Shake

What's Gluten-Free at Burger King?

burger king restaurant exterior Shutterstock

Slip on your crown: There are plenty of no-wheat options available at BK.

Breakfast

  • Bacon Slice
  • Ham Slice
  • Egg Patty
  • Sausage Patty

Meats

  • WHOPPER® Patty
  • WHOPPER JR.® Patty
  • Hamburger Patty
  • TENDERGRILL® Chicken Filet

Salads

  • Garden Fresh Salad with Apple and Cranberry with TENDERGRILL® Chicken

Sides

  • French Fries
  • BK® Fresh Apple Slices

Sauces and Condiments

  • Chocolate Fudge Sauce
  • Tartar Sauce
  • Apple Cider Vinaigrette
  • Lite Honey Balsamic
  • Avocado Ranch Dressing
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced Onions
  • Carrot
  • Sliced Tomato
  • Spring Mix Romaine
  • Breakfast Syrup
  • Grape Jam
  • Honey Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Strawberry Jam
  • Sliced Pickles
  • Processed American Cheese
  • Three Cheese Blend

Desserts

  • Mocha Frappe
  • Caramel Frappe
  • Tropical Mango Smoothie
  • Strawberry Banana Smoothie
  • Chocolate Shake
  • Vanilla Shake
  • Strawberry Shake
  • Soft Serve in a Cup
  • Caramel Sundae
  • Chocolate Fudge Sundae
  • Strawberry Sundae

What's Gluten-Free at Chick-Fil-A?

Chick fil a restaurant Shutterstock

Get your "fil" at this chicken chain with some of their gluten-free fast food orders.

Breakfast

  • Bacon Slice
  • Sausage Patty
  • Hash Browns

Meats

  • Grilled Chicken Filet on Gluten-Free Bun
  • Grilled Nuggets

Salads

  • Grilled Market Salad
  • Spicy Southwest
  • Side Salad

Sides

  • Fruit Cup
  • Superfood Side
  • Waffle Potato Fries™
  • Cinnamon Applesauce (Buddy Fruits®)
  • Greek Yogurt Parfait

Sauces and Condiments

  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Honey Mustard Sauce
  • Honey Roasted BBQ Sauce
  • Polynesian Sauce
  • Zesty Buffalo Sauce
  • Chick-fil-A® Sauce
  • Garlic & Herb Ranch Dressing
  • Creamy Salsa Dressing
  • Avocado Lime Ranch dressing
  • Zesty Apple Cider Vinaigrette
  • Chili Lime Vinaigrette
  • Light Italian Dressing
  • Light Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Fat-Free Honey Mustard Dressing

Desserts

  • Chocolate Milkshake
  • Strawberry Milkshake
  • Vanilla Milkshake
  • Frosted Coffee
  • Frosted Lemonade
  • Frosted Key Lime

What's Gluten-Free at Chipotle?

Chipotle restaurant Shutterstock

Wrap up your dinner dilemma with this complete guide to gluten-free Chipotle ingredients. "I love a bowl of grilled chicken with black beans, lettuce, and a variety of salsas to act as my dressing," Sparks says of dining gluten-free at this burrito shop.

Proteins

  • Barbacoa
  • Black Beans
  • Carnitas
  • Chicken
  • Chorizo
  • Pinto Beans
  • Sofritas
  • Steak

Tortillas

  • Crispy Corn Tortilla
  • Tortilla Chips

Sides

  • Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice
  • Cilantro-Lime White Rice

Sauces and Condiments

  • Fresh Tomato Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Queso
  • Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Sour Cream
  • Tomatillo-Green Chili Salsa
  • Tomatillo Red-Chili Salsa
  • Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette

What's Gluten-Free at KFC?

kfc restaurant exterior Shutterstock

The secret-recipe 11-herb-and-spice batter isn't the best, and neither are the rest of their meat products (sorry, you can't eat the seasoning blend). Still, there are still a handful of gluten-free vegetarian items to cluck about at KFC.

Salads

  • Caesar Side Salad
  • House Side Salad

Sides

  • Coleslaw
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Green Beans
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Potato Salad
  • Sweet Kernel Corn

Sauces and Condiments

  • Heinz Buttermilk Dressing
  • Hidden Valley The Original Ranch Fat-Free Dressing
  • KFC® Creamy Parmesan Caesar Dressing
  • Marzetti Light Italian Dressing
  • Buttermilk Ranch Dipping Sauce Cup
  • Colonel's Buttery Spread
  • Creamy Buffalo Dipping Sauce Cup
  • Finger Lickin' Good™ Dipping Sauce Cup
  • Grape Jelly Packet
  • Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce Cup
  • Honey Sauce Packet
  • Ketchup
  • Lemon Juice Packet
  • Strawberry Jam Packet
  • Summertime BBQ Dipping Sauce Cup
  • Sweet N Tangy Dipping Sauce Cup

What's Gluten-Free at Panera Bread?

Panera bread Shutterstock

Who knew a restaurant with "bread" in the name could still have ingredients and menu items without wheat?

Breakfast

  • Steel Cut Oatmeal with Almonds, Quinoa & Honey
  • Steel Cut Oatmeal with Blueberries, Granola & Cinnamon Crunch Topping
  • Steel Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries, Pecans & Cinnamon Crunch Topping
  • Greek Yogurt with Mixed Berries

Salads

  • Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with Chicken
  • Greek Salad
  • Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken
  • Modern Greek Salad with Quinoa
  • Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken
  • Southwest Chile Lime Ranch Salad with Chicken
  • Caesar Salad (Without Croutons)
  • Caesar Salad with Chicken (Without Croutons)

Soups

  • Summer Corn ChowderBaked Potato Soup
  • Vegetarian Creamy Tomato Soup (Without Croutons)

Sides and Snacks

  • Panera Bread Potato Chips
  • Apple
  • Fruit Cup

Desserts

  • Smoothies
  • Triple Chocolate Cookie with Walnuts
  • Coconut Macaroon

What's Gluten-Free at Wendy's?

wendys Shutterstock

Chill out: the classic Frosty fits the bill as a gluten-free fast food menu item at Wendy's! But similar to McDonald's, they only disclose which ingredients list wheat as an allergen rather than providing a GF menu, so we did the sleuthing for you.

Breakfast

  • Sausage Patty
  • Applewood Smoked Bacon
  • Egg Patty
  • Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal
  • Plain Oatmeal

Meats

  • Hamburger Patty

Salads

  • Apple Pecan Chicken Salad
  • Harvest Chicken Salad
  • Parmesan Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad
  • Taco Salad
  • Caesar Side Salad (Without Croutons)
  • Garden Side Salad (Without Croutons)

Sides and Snacks

  • Apple Bites
  • Chili
  • Plain Baked Potato
  • Sour Cream and Chive Baked Potato
  • Bacon Cheese Baked Potato
  • Chili and Cheese Baked Potato
  • Cheese Baked Potato

Desserts

  • Classic Chocolate Frosty®
  • Vanilla Frosty®

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