This post about Wendy’s gluten-free menu contains affiliate links and makes reference to a sponsored Facebook Live segment. Please see my disclosures for more information.
Wendy’s gluten-free menu has quite a few options for the gluten-challenged diner. Wendy’s has locations almost everywhere, so, in a pinch, it’s nice to have a fast-food option to turn to.
Now mind you, I don’t like fast food. I prefer healthier, cleaner alternatives. That said, I’ve driven through the entire state of Kansas more times than I care to mention, and sometimes the only restaurant you can find is either a McDonald’s or a Wendy’s. While I usually resort to eating my own gluten-free snacks at this point, in a pinch, I would order something at Wendy’s.
What You CAN Eat at Wendy’s
Here’s what you can eat gluten-free at Wendy’s (remember, there is always a risk of cross contamination):
First of all, the salads can be prepared gluten-free at Wendy’s, however, Wendy’s recommends you get it without croutons (of course) and without grilled chicken. Wait, no chicken? That sucks.
Wendy’s says on its website, “Our grilled chicken is gluten-free prior to being sliced and/or placed on the salad/sandwich; however, since the same cutting board is used to cut our breaded chicken breasts, and the same tongs may be used to handle our breaded chicken, gluten cross contamination may occur.”
You can ask for clean tongs to be used to handle your chicken (and offer to slice it yourself) or simply order a hamburger patty or applewood smoked bacon atop your salad instead. These options are gluten-free and less risky. You can also top your salad with many of the salad dressings (most are GF, inquire inside) and tortilla chips (which make a nice crouton substitute).
I think I’ll just pass on the salads altogether at this point…
Baked Potato and Chili:
Second, if you don’t want a salad (and I don’t blame you!), you can order what I would order at Wendy’s – a baked potato topped with chili (and cheese – optional). Yep, you can eat both of those things, no problem, and they are the least likely sources of cross contamination. (You can see what happened – scroll down – when I tested the chili cheese potato for gluten.)
If you like to top your baked potato with the cheese sauce, you’re in luck because the cheese sauce is gluten-free too, and so is the sour cream and bacon toppings too. (See my Nima Sensor tests below.)
And for dessert, you can enjoy the famous Wendy’s Frosty (both chocolate and vanilla Frosty’s are gluten-free – thank goodness Wendy’s didn’t screw that up!). You can see below what the Nima Sensor said when I tested the Frosty for gluten.
A Word about Wendy’s French Fries
Now for the bad news. Besides not being able to eat grilled chicken atop your salad, you also can’t eat the French fries at Wendy’s. I know, I know, this is terrible news, right?
Unfortunately Wendy’s says it does not have a dedicated fryer, so its fries are cooked in the same oil as its breaded items. This means the French fries are off limits if you’re serious about your gluten-free diet (and you should be).
Don’t you just hate when you can’t eat the fries?!? I listed this as one of my 15 struggles only gluten-free people will understand.
Wendy’s Gluten-Free Menu Isn’t My Favorite
So as you can see, Wendy’s gluten-free menu is limited. You can’t eat the grilled chicken on your salad, nor the fries, so you’re pretty much left with a baked potato and chili (which isn’t a horrible option, just a limited one) for your meal, and a Frosty for dessert.
I used my Nima Sensor to test a few things at Wendy’s on Facebook Live. You can watch my tests and see the results below.
Please keep in mind that the Nima Sensor is testing the exact pea-sized amount of food I put in the test capsule. This does not guarantee you will get identical results when you test these items at another Wendy’s location (or even at this same location on another day).
I highly recommend you get a Nima Sensor of your own, this way, every time you eat out, you can check your food for hidden gluten. I discuss the Nima Sensor’s benefits and limitations in detail in this article.
Strategies for Eating Out Gluten-Free
If you like to eat out often – like me – you need to be careful in how you approach things when you’re on a strict gluten-free diet. I personally believe there is a way to minimize your risk of gluten exposure when eating out gluten-free (a risk is always present though).
To help those of you who enjoy eating out (like me!), I created this ebook, Eating Out Gluten-Free. It’s chocked full of information about how to order so you’re taken seriously, questions to ask your server, what’s gluten-free (and not gluten-free) at popular restaurants (did you know pasta water is often reused?), and overall strategies for staying gluten-free while still maintaining a social life. Get more details on how to eat out gluten-free in my ebook.