Love Chick-fil-a but can’t tolerate gluten? In this post, I’ll discuss the gluten-free options available at Chick-fil-a and reveal the results of my Nima Sensor tests of various gluten-free menu items. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
Did you know that you can order several items gluten free at Chick-fil-a, including the waffle fries, and still maintain a strict gluten-free diet?
This is exciting new for the millions of us with celiac disease and gluten intolerance who cannot eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and sometimes oats.
In this article, I’ll share with you what you can eat at Chick-fil-a when you can’t eat gluten, how to order to ensure a safe, gluten-free experience, and which gluten-free menu items at Chick-fil-a passed the Nima Sensor test.
The Nima Sensor is a portable gluten-detecting device that enables you to test a small portion of your food for hidden gluten. You can learn more about the Nima Sensor in this article, 13 Things to Know About the Nima Sensor.
Please note that Nima Sensor went out of business in 2020, however, it was revived in September 2021 by a company called Nima Partners.
What’s Gluten Free at Chick-fil-a?
After looking over the Chick-fil-a Allergen Menu, you’ll see that there are quite a few items that do not contain gluten or wheat. I will go over that list in a bit.
First, however, you must know that there is always an inherent risk of cross contamination when you eat out, and Chick-fil-a is not a dedicated gluten-free restaurant nor does it maintain dedicated gluten-free spaces.
Chick-fil-a writes on its website, “Due to the handcrafted nature of our food, variations in our supplier ingredients, and our use of shared cooking and preparation areas, we cannot ensure that our food is free from any allergens. Products containing wheat, egg, soy and milk are all made in our kitchens. There could be other potential allergens not addressed here. Please consult the ingredients on each product prior to consuming.”
However, I know you can get a safe, gluten-free meal at Chick-fil-a if you order right and communicate your needs fully.
Let’s discuss what is gluten-free at Chick-fil-a.
First and most importantly, according to the Chick-fil-a Allergen Menu online, the French fries do not contain wheat or gluten, and they are cooked in a dedicated French fry fryer. (Read: Are French Fries Gluten Free?)
In fact, most Chick-fil-a restaurants only cook the restaurant’s signature waffle fries in a dedicated French fry fryer using 100% refined peanut oil. Nothing else is cooked in the French fry fryer, but of course, inquire at your local Chick-fil-a to confirm it has a dedicated French fry fryer.
Items without gluten include:
- French fries (waffle fries)
- Fruit cup
- Grilled Chicken Nuggets
- Grilled Chicken Fillet with gluten-free bun (by request)
- Grilled Market Salad (excludes toppings)
- Hashbrowns (inquire how they’re cooked)
- Kale Crunch Side
- Side salad
- Spicy Southwest Salad (excludes toppings)
This is what the grilled chicken breast looks like when served on a gluten-free bun.
How to Order
When you arrive at Chick-fil-a, tell your server you have a “gluten allergy” (I know gluten is not an allergen, but restaurants know how to handle allergies.) My server told me there is a button he pushes on the cash register that alerts the staff to allergy orders. This will signal to the servers to change their gloves prior to handling your order.
Also be sure to ask your server to confirm that the restaurant as a dedicated gluten-free French fry fryer and gluten-free buns before ordering these items.
Testing Chick-fil-a for Hidden Gluten
I ordered grilled nuggets and waffle fries and they arrived on a separate tray from the rest of my family’s order.
The same server said to me the standard mumbo-jumbo upon delivering my food. He said that the food was not made in an allergen-free environment so there is always risk of cross contamination. That sentence, while an important disclosure for the company, always puts just a tad bit of doubt in my head.
That day, however, I came armed with my Nima Sensor. This portable gluten-detecting device allows me to test a small piece of my food for hidden gluten. It has its limitations, but it’s still an amazing device.
(1) Grilled Nuggets: I tested the grilled nuggets for hidden gluten and Nima did not find any gluten (smile = no gluten found).
(2) Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Gluten-Free Bun:
The grilled chicken sandwich comes in one container, and the gluten-free bun comes wrapped in plastic in a separate container. Everything appears to have been prepared separately and safely gluten free.
The Nima Sensor was all smiles again. No gluten found.
(3) French Fries
I do not have a picture of my Nima Sensor test of the French fries, but the Nima Sensor was all smiles, and I’ve tested the fries on several occasions during several visit.
You can watch me test all of these items for hidden gluten in this video, which I recorded live.
I’ve tested dozens of restaurants for hidden gluten, including Five Guys, Panera, The Cheesecake Factory, Red Robin and more! Check out my Eating Out library for more restaurant reviews and tests.
Please consider reading my ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Eating Out Gluten Free if eating out is a source of angst for you. I’ll teach you how to do it as successfully as possible.
You can also get my book, Dear Gluten, It’s Not Me, It’s You, for more information about following a gluten-free lifestyle, including tons of information about eating out and traveling while gluten free.
I encourage you to invest in a gluten-detecting device. A few to research include Nima Sensor, ALLIS Sensor and The Allergy Amulet. Not all of these companies have gluten-detecting devices available at the time this article was last updated.
Finally, you might enjoy this article, 5 Things I Wish Restaurants Knew About Gluten Free. I offer advice to restaurants on how they can step up their gluten-free game!