This post about eating gluten-free at Sonic Drive-In is sponsored by Nima Sensor and contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures and disclaimers for details on how I work with brands.
I have to be upfront and honest with you because you’d expect nothing less of me. I have NEVER eaten nor considered eating at Sonic Drive-In. It just doesn’t feel like my jam.
However, a few months ago, I shared a post on Instagram that talked about my love of French fries, and how I despise restaurants for cooking naturally gluten-free fries in their shared fryers with gluten, rendering my favorite junk food no longer free from gluten.
A few of of my followers told me that Sonic Drive-In had French fries cooked in a dedicated fry cooker. My heart skipped a beat. Could it be true? I love French fries. So I’m willing to give any restaurant a try where I can get ’em gluten-free.
Sure enough, I looked at Sonic’s website, and, right there on its Allergen Guide, it shows that the fries do not contain wheat or gluten. The fried tots, as well, are not cooked in a shared fryer and are considered free from gluten, again, according to Sonic’s Allergen Guide.
This French fry discovery made me curious about what’s gluten-free at Sonic Drive-In. It convinced me to go in for a test-drive.
In this post, I’ll discuss what is (and isn’t) gluten-free at Sonic Drive-In as well as share the results of my Nima Sensor tests with you.
A Nima Sensor is a portable gluten detecting device that you can use to test a small portion of your food for gluten. It is sensitive enough to detect gluten that might contaminate a French fry if it had been cooked in a shared fryer (such as a fryer used to cook French fries AND breaded chicken nuggets).
Related Article: 13 Things You Need to Know about the Nima Sensor
Please note the Nima Sensor has a few limitations, which I discuss at length in this article.
What’s Gluten-Free at Sonic Drive-In?
Before I talk about what’s gluten-free at Sonic Drive-In, I have to tell you I had no idea how big this fast-food chain was before writing this post. According to Sonic Drive-In, there are more than 3,500 Sonic restaurants in 44 states in the U.S. Wow!
I also didn’t realize that you eat your Sonic order in your car. You place your order at a covered drive-in stall, order through an intercom speaker, and then your food is delivered by a carhop. This was all foreign yet very entertaining to me!
Before ordering, YOU MUST ASK if your Sonic has a dedicated fryer that only cooks French fries and tater tots. It’s pretty standard that it should have that, but I went to two Sonic restaurants and got two different answers.
One told me this, “I’m pretty sure we cook other things in the fryer besides fries.” Hard pass. I then drove to a second location where they assured me their “fry fryer” only cooked fries and taters. Never assume every location abides by the same standards or procedures. Never!!
Without further delay, here are the items listed on Sonic Drive-In’s allergen guide that do not contain wheat or gluten. If I used my Nima Sensor to test the menu item, I included the information (and photo) as well:
French Fries: As discussed earlier, French fries at Sonic are cooked in a dedicated fryer according to the Allergen Guide, HOWEVER, it is important to ask if this is the case at each restaurant.
Remember, restaurants are run differently at different locations, so always confirm so you know for sure your Sonic has safe fries and tots for you.
Tots: Just like the French fries, the potato tots do not contain any gluteny ingredients. Just to confirm, Nima was all smiles when I tested them.
Grilled Items: It looks like all grilled items – including hamburgers, hot dogs, bacon, breakfast sausage patties, egg, philly cheese steak, sliced ham and grilled chicken breast – are all free from gluten. I do not see one item on the grill menu that contains gluten, so the grill should be, for all intents and purposes, free from cross contamination.
I did not test the burger for gluten. Honestly, I wasn’t impressed with the burger anyway to give it much thought. When you order it without a bun, it looks sad. Really sad. And they didn’t even give me a fork! (I had to ask for one… twice.)
Condiments: All condiments and condiment packets are free from gluten.
Flavor Add-In and Syrups: I’m assuming these flavor add-ins and syrups go in the milkshakes. So this must mean milkshakes are free from gluten – yay!
Frozen Treats: All ice creams and frozen treats are free from gluten, minus the cone. I did not order any frozen treats during my visit.
AVOID: Obviously, avoid all bread items (buns, pretzels, biscuits and tortillas) contain gluten and should be avoided. Also avoid the chili and gravy as they both contain gluten.
Related Article: How Did 20 Restaurants Fare Against the Nima Sensor?
Nima Sensor Pique Your Interest?
If you’re wondering how you can get your hands on a Nima Sensor, you’ll be excited to hear that they are exclusively and conveniently sold on Amazon. This means if you’re a Prime member, you’ll get your Nima Sensor with free shipping and fast (likely two days!).
Please note that Nima Sensors are VERY popular and occasionally are on backorder. Please be patient if you want one. That’ said, it’s worth the wait just to get your hands on one.
I’ve been using my Nima Sensor to test a ton of restaurants around town over the past three years. Please check out my Nima Tested archives to see what restaurants I’ve tested and how they each fared.
You also can watch me test Sonic for gluten using my Nima Sensor Live on Facebook:
Thank you Nima Sensor for sponsoring this post and allowing me to share important information about eating out safely with my readers. I think we can all agree that Nima gives us the transparency we desperately need when it comes to eating out safely.