This post about what’s gluten-free at Chick-fil-a contains affiliate links.
Can you eat gluten-free at Chick-fil-a?
I’ve always thought I could safely eat gluten-free at Chick-fil-a, but I wanted to proof. Of course I could have just taken Chick-fil-a’s word on it, but I wanted to know for sure (or at least as sure as I can be).
That’s why when the folks at Nima Sensor sent me a Nima sensor to test drive, I moseyed on over to Chick-fil-a, ordered some grilled nuggets and waffle fries, and sat down to do my first Nima Sensor test on Facebook Live at a restaurant.
Before I went to Chick-fil-a, I wanted to double check what I’ve always known – that the the grilled nuggets are gluten-free and the waffle fries are cooked in a dedicated fryer (not cross contaminated in a deep fryer shared with gluteny things). I’ve alway felt comfortable to eat gluten-free at Chick-fil-a, but I decided to double check the allergen menu before I did my experiment.
According to the Chick-fil-a Allergen Menu online, the grilled nuggets and fries do not contain wheat or gluten. Other items without gluten in them include the hashbrowns (just check about the fryer, not sure about that one), the Grilled Market Salad, the Spicy Southwest Salad, the fruit cup, the Greek yogurt parfait with granola (just check if granola has oats in it), and a side salad. Some of the milkshakes are noted to be gluten-free, but I believe they may be highly cross contaminated in the milkshake machines that also mix gluteny bits of candy.
Since first publishing this post, Chick-fil-a has added a grilled chicken sandwich (with gluten-free bun) to its gluten-free menu – exciting!
When I arrived at Chick-fil-a, I did my usual protocol.
I first asked the server if he had an allergen menu available (just to double check things again at that specific location). He didn’t have it, but assured me that the grilled nuggets and fries were indeed gluten-free and the fries are cooked in a dedicated fryer. (After the Facebook Live video aired, I reached out to Chick-fil-a online and they replied, “The Waffle Potato Fries are cooked in canola oil in a separate fryer from the one used for the filets cooked in peanut oil.”)
Next I told him I was gluten-free and requested “allergy prep.” He said there is a button he can push on the register that will alert the staff that I have an “allergy,” and will allow him to type in the allergy, which he did. He said they will change their gloves before handling my food. Nice touch, Chick-fil-a!
When my grilled nuggets and fries arrived (on a separate tray than the rest of my family’s order), the same server said to me the standard mumbo-jumbo – that the food was not make in an allergen free environment so there is always risk of cross contamination. That line, while an important CYA disclosure for the company, always puts just a tad bit of doubt in my head.
But today I came armed with a Nima Sensor. This nifty tool gives me one additional clue into whether or not these grilled nuggets and waffle fries that I was about to eat are truly free from gluten.
I decided to do the test on Facebook Live so everyone could watch things unfold in real time. I could feel everyone watching rooting for Nima to give us a smiley face (the smiley face means there’s no gluten in the product and it is safe).
More than 6,000 people have watched this video on Facebook Live!
I’ll give you a little hint – here is the verdict on the grilled nuggets. Nima is all smiles! You’ll have to watch the video to find out the verdict on the waffle fries – I know you’re curious!
I went back to Chick-fil-a after it launched its new gluten-free grilled chicken sandwich with gluten-free bun. The bun comes wrapped in plastic and the chicken and vegetables come in a secured plastic container (vs. wrapped in paper). Everything appears to have been prepared separately and safely gluten-free.
And I have some good news to report!
Everything came back with a smiley face on my Nima Sensor.
You can watch my second round of Nima Sensor tests at Chick-fil-a in this Facebook Live video:
A Few Things to Know about the Nima Sensor
I only tested a pea-sized sample of each food item. This information gave me a little clue in my quest to know if this food is safe for me to eat. However, I must add that it is not definitive. I cannot say with 100 percent certainty that you can safely eat gluten-free at Chick-fil-a every time nor at every location.
Every Chick-Fil-A and experience will be different. The Nima Sensor is not a replacement for common sense, asking good questions, and doing your own due diligence.
These are my opinions and findings based on my person research and knowledge. I am not giving advice, nor am I a medical doctor.
Want a Nima Sensor of Your Own?
I highly recommend investing in this tool if you are extremely sensitive to gluten. It’s a lifesaver in so many ways!
I want to know what you think.
How do you feel about eating gluten-free at Chick-fil-a now? Will you invest in a Nima Sensor?
Please leave me a comment and let me know!
Oh, and what should I Nima test next? Please give me suggestions in the comments section.