Are you curious about the Chick-Fil-A gluten-free menu?
Look no further, I'm breaking down their menu and gluten-free options in this blog post to help you eat there.
So if you're like me and have celiac disease, or you avoid gluten for another health-related reason, you'll know what to expect the next time you drive past a Chick-Fil-A and need a quick bite. Keep reading!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure page for more information. Thanks! Please note if you choose to not dine at Chick-Fil-A for personal/political reasons, I completely understand. I am offering this as a resource for celiacs as our options with fast food are limited.
About This Blog Post
In this blog post, I'm sharing what you can expect when dining gluten-free at Chick-Fil-A, including what items on their menu have been listed as gluten-free, as well as how they typically handle food allergies. Remember, Chick-Fil-A is one of those few celiac-friendly restaurants that can be an option for you, but is not a guarantee of celiac safety. There are no guarantees when dining out with celiac disease.
Disclaimer: Please double check and do your own research when dining out with celiac disease. Everyone’s experience with celiac disease is different. What works for me may not work for you. My positive experience at a restaurant could be the opposite for you. Restaurants and businesses can change. Use your own judgment and only eat where you feel safe doing so.
- About This Blog Post
- What To Say When Ordering Chick-Fil-A
- Questions To Ask At Chick-Fil-A
- Why Chick-Fil-A Could Be Difficult
- Gluten-Free Menu At Chick-Fil-A
- Are the waffle fries gluten-free at Chick-Fil-A?
- Are the sauces gluten-free at Chick-Fil-A?
- Are the salad dressings gluten-free at Chick-Fil-A?
- Are the drinks at Chick-Fil-A gluten-free?
- Are the Treats/Sweets at Chick-Fil-A gluten-free?
- What I Order at Chick-Fil-A With Celiac Disease
- More Information About Gluten-Free Chick-Fil-A
- Final Thoughts on Eating Gluten-Free At Chick-Fil-A
Gluten-Free Food at Chick-Fil-A
Chick-Fil-A, while not exactly popular in many political groups, is a popular choice for many celiacs due to their large number of gluten-free options. Chick-Fil-A is one of the most common fast food restaurants and has locations in 49 US states. Because of this, Chick-Fil-A can be a promising place for celiacs when traveling, needing a quick snack/meal, or when road tripping across the United States.
And while of course, they have a disclaimer in there that they cannot guarantee that anything will be completely free of gluten due to the nature of their restaurants being, well, full of gluten-containing items, there are still many items on the menu that are gluten-free, and some that are specifically labeled as safe from cross-contact as they arrive sealed to Chick-Fil-A restaurants (Such as their gluten-free buns).
In my experience, I've never had an issue eating at Chick-Fil-A in 14 years of having celiac disease. The staff is extremely polite and well-trained to make sure to serve you quickly and efficiently. They always note "Allergy" on my order and are willing to answer questions if I have them.
To give an example: Recently, I had ordered a some fries at a Chick-Fil-A in New Hampshire on the same ticket that my husband ordered a chicken sandwich (he does not have celiac). I was waiting for our food while Dylan found a table when the manager called out my name. She saw that the order was noted for an allergy with celiac and was confused based on the order of the chicken sandwich, which she knew was clearly not gluten-free! I explained that was for my husband, and if we could have my fries in a separate bag that would be great. She did just that, and I appreciated her double checking with me.
What To Say When Ordering Chick-Fil-A
As I recommend to all of my clients for dining out with celiac, you want to make sure to clarify what gluten-free means when you order.
Unfortunately, due to the presence of fad dieters, gluten-friendly and gluten sensitive menus, people with celiac disease struggle to be taken seriously when dining in restaurants. If you've ever dealt with this before, you are not alone, and I totally understand your frustration.
Based on my 14+ years with celiac disease and 4 restaurant allergen trainings (ServSafe, Always Food Safe, FARE, and GREAT Training) I suggest using the words "severe gluten allergy" when dining out, and then clarifying celiac disease. This will usually trigger protocols to help prevent cross-contact from happening (But always clarify what you need).
While celiac disease is not a true food allergy, but an autoimmune condition, we have to speak the language so we can avoid getting sick. If you struggle with what to say when communicating with servers about cross-contact, check out my Restaurant Masterclass, where I teach you my 3-step strategy for avoiding gluten exposures when dining out.
Questions To Ask At Chick-Fil-A
Remember, depending on the location, the size of the restaurant (Such as if it's a regular, stand alone Chick-Fil-A, or one in an airport/mall), and the staff, they might have different protocols than what you are used to. Always double check - it never hurts to ask.
You may want to consider asking (Note: this is not an exhaustive list)
Do you have gluten-free buns? And those are sealed in plastic, right?
Are your fries fried in a dedicated fryer? Nothing else goes in there except the waffle fries?
Does anything go on the grill besides the grilled chicken filets & nuggets?
Can you change your gloves before preparing my meal?
Could you please make a note on my order this is for an allergy?
Could you please place my food in a separate bag?
And of course, always be polite and show gratitude for any server taking extra time or consideration for your meal. It goes a long way!
Why Chick-Fil-A Could Be Difficult
Keep in mind that Chick-Fil-A is a fast food restaurant, and they are usually very busy. I've rarely been to a Chick-Fil-A that didn't have a line of people waiting inside, or a line of cars in the drive-thru. Their goal is to quickly and efficiently serve as many people as possible. And what this means for you with celiac disease, is you have to get comfortable taking up more time and space, or be willing to compromise on your order if you don't think they'll have time to properly prepare it for you. (Please note I mean compromise on what you plan to eat, such as ordering a soda instead of a milkshake, and not on your safety. Don't compromise your celiac safety!)
Due to the business of the restaurant and the nature of their fast-paced environment, they might be so swamped with orders or customers that they may not have time to provide proper protocols for you. For example, if you wanted to order a Chocolate Milkshake (labeled GF on their Allergen Menu here) you'd need for them to thoroughly clean the blender and any equipment, wash their hands, wipe down the surfaces, and change gloves before preparing it for you (which are all reasonable cross-contact prevention requests, as some of their other milkshake items contain gluten, such as Cookies & Cream). And this could be tough for them if they are super busy. So this is where you will need to make a judgment call and decide if it's worth it to you to do this.
You could also consider going at a quieter time, when there are less customers, and the restaurant isn't so swamped. Servers might be able to take more consideration and time for your request if they aren't scrambling to do a million things at once. And they might be less likely to make a mistake.
Gluten-Free Menu At Chick-Fil-A
All of the information listed below has been taken directly from the Chick-Fil-A website which can be found here. Please note I am only listing the options on their regular dine-in or carry-out menu, and not their catering menu. That information can also be found on their website.
To read the specific nutrition and allergen menu which I used as a reference, please click here: Chick-Fil-A Nutrition & Allergen Menu Matrix
Gluten-Free Packaged Items At Chick-Fil-A
The following items arrive sealed to the Chick-Fil-A restaurant, meaning there is no possible cross-contact. Of course, once these items are opened, all bets are off.
Gluten-free bun. The Chick-Fil-A gluten-free bun is made from sorghum, amaranth, millet, quinoa, and teff. It's sealed in plastic and can be a great side option to have with grilled nuggets to make your own sandwich. I don't particularly like the flavor too much, but as my friend Phil of Phil Hates Gluten says, "It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be somethin'!"
Drinks: Honest Kids Appley Ever After Organic Juice Drink, Milk, Simply Orange Orange Juice
Snacks: Cinnamon Apple Sauce (Buddy Fruits), Waffle Potato Chips
Chick-Fil-A Gluten-Free Breakfast Items
The following breakfast items at the Chick-Fil-A restaurants are listed as free of gluten, but you would need to clarify about cross-contact & preparation.
Hash Browns: Hash Browns, Hash Browns Scramble Bowls with Grilled Fillet or Sausage
Meat: Bacon slice, sausage patty, grilled breakfast filet
Fruit Cup: Fruit cups are gluten-free.
Greek Yogurt Parfait: Please be aware there is a parfait with granola and another with cookie crumbs. The cookie crumbs option is obviously not safe. The granola parfait option is listed as gluten-free, but please be advised it does contain oats, so proceed with caution.
Chick-Fil-A Gluten-Free Lunch & Dinner Items
The following lunch & dinner items at the Chick-Fil-A restaurants are listed as free of gluten, but you would need to clarify about cross-contact & preparation.
Chicken: Grilled Chicken filet (no bun or sub gluten-free bun) or grilled nuggets (8 or 12 count), grilled nugget kid's meal. Double check to prevent cross-contact about the grill & preparation.
Sandwich Toppings: Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles, All Cheeses
Salads: Market Salad, Cobb Salad, or Spicy Southwest Salad with Grilled Nuggets, Grilled Fillet, or no chicken
Side Salads: Side Salad, Kale Crunch Side Salad
Kids Meal: 5-piece grilled nuggets, Buddy Fruits Apple Sauce
Are the waffle fries gluten-free at Chick-Fil-A?
Waffle Potato Fries: Yes, but always ask about the fryer. The beloved waffle fries of Chick-Fil-A are listed as gluten-free as they typically have a dedicated fryer only for fries. But remember to always double check to make sure. I've tried reaching out to Chick-Fil-A or getting an official confirmation about their fryers, but have been unsuccessful. So, the general consensus in the celiac community is that yes, they are typically gluten-free and celiac safe, but always confirm. A simple "Are your waffle fries in a dedicated fryer?" can quickly tell you the answer.
Please be aware that in smaller Chick-Fil-A locations, such as in mall or airports, this might not be the case due to space constraints. This is where asking is super important to ask about the fryer, so never assume!
Are the sauces gluten-free at Chick-Fil-A?
Yes. All of the sauces at Chick-Fil-A are listed as gluten-free EXCEPT for their Sweet & Spicy Siracha Sauce.
Are the salad dressings gluten-free at Chick-Fil-A?
Yes. All of the salad dressings are listed as gluten-free.
Are the drinks at Chick-Fil-A gluten-free?
Yes. All drinks and beverages at Chick-Fil-A are listed as gluten-free. These include soft drinks/sodas, coffee, lemonade, iced tea, milk, and juice.
Are the Treats/Sweets at Chick-Fil-A gluten-free?
A few of them are listed as gluten-free:
Frosted Drinks: Frosted Coffee & Lemonade
Milkshakes: Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry
Ice Cream: Icedream Cup
Please be aware that milkshakes and frosted drinks could be a source of cross-contact due to the blender/machine. This is where you'd want to ask about cross-contact prevention, such as washing the blender in hot soapy water, changing gloves, wiping down prep areas, etc.
What I Order at Chick-Fil-A With Celiac Disease
Breakfast: Fruit Cup with a side of Waffle Fries & Ranch Dressing
Lunch or Dinner: Grilled Nuggets with a Gluten-Free Buns and Waffle Fries, or Market Salad (plain, or with grilled filet or grilled nuggets) with Dressing of choice
Snack: Waffle Fries, Lemonade, Apple Sauce, Potato Chips
More Information About Gluten-Free Chick-Fil-A
For more information about allergens & ingredients at Chick-Fil-A, you can reference their entire allergen menu here.
Final Thoughts on Eating Gluten-Free At Chick-Fil-A
Phew! That was a lot to go through, but I hope it was helpful for you to eat gluten-free at Chick-Fil-A. Remember, this is a fast food restaurant, meaning they are moving at a quick pace. Be sure to use your judgment on how you feel about dining there and what you are ordering. When in doubt, always double check about how the food is prepared, especially in a smaller location like an airport or mall. Chick-Fil-A can be a great option on the go, but don't forget, they are closed on Sundays!
Looking for more tips on dining out with celiac disease?
Check out these five mistakes to avoid in any restaurant with celiac.
Discover what to eat at other fast casual restaurants are celiac-friendly, like Jersey Mikes and In-N-Out!
Get comfortable on speaking up for yourself with my top 5 tips for self-advocacy.
Discover 100+ gluten-free recipes, travel guides, and resources on the blog right here.
Do you eat at Chick-Fil-A with celiac disease?
What's your go-to gluten-free menu item?
Let me know in the comments below