Few fast food restaurants offer gluten-free options that are safe for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. In this post, I’ll share what’s gluten free at Wendy’s, as well as put several of Wendy’s gluten-free menu options to the hidden gluten test. Is this fast food restaurant safe for someone with celiac disease? Is its food gluten free? Read on to learn more. Please note this post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
Wendy’s gluten-free menu has quite a few options for the gluten-challenged diner.
And because Wendy’s has locations almost everywhere, it’s nice to know there are options at Wendy’s that the gluten-free community can turn to in a pinch.
Now mind you, fast food isn’t the best food for someone on a gluten-free diet. I personally think if you must eat fast food, it might be better to look for options at Chipotle and Chick-fil-a vs. Wendy’s.
That said, sometimes the only restaurant you can find, in a pinch, is Wendy’s. And that’s why it’s nice to know there are a few options you can safely enjoy.
In this post, I’ll share what’s gluten free at Wendy’s as well as reveal how a few of the gluten-free menu items fared when put to the Nima Sensor test.
The Nima Sensor is a portable gluten detecting device. You simply put a small piece of your food in the single-use Nima test capsule and wait 1-2 minutes for Nima to reveal if it finds gluten or not.
What’s Gluten Free at Wendy’s?
According to Wendy’s allergen menu, the following items do not contain gluten:
Most salads can be prepared gluten free at Wendy’s, however, Wendy’s recommends you order your salad without croutons (of course) and without grilled chicken. Wait, no chicken? That sucks.
Wendy’s says on its website (before it took down the link), “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), but I personally think that’s too risky. I say 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 gluten free, inquire at Wendy’s and see list below).
Salads that can be made gluten free:
- Apple Pecan Chicken Salad (without chicken)
- Asian Cashew Chicken Salad (without chicken)
- BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad (without chicken)
- Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad (without chicken, no croutons)
- Strawberry Fields Salad (without chicken)
- Taco Salad
- BBQ Ranch Dressing
- Light Spicy Asian Chili Vinaigrette
- Pomegranate Vinaigrette
- Lemon Garlic Caesar Dressing
- Ranch Dressing
- Light Honey French Dressing
- Italian Vinaigrette Dressing
- Light Ranch Dressing
- Thousand Island Dressing
- Spicy Roasted Cashews
- Roasted Pecans
- Sunflower Seeds
(2) Baked Potato and Chili:
If you don’t want a salad (and I don’t blame you!), you can order a baked potato topped with chili and cheese (optional). You can eat both of these menu items, no problem, and, in my opinion, both options offer a low risk of cross contamination.
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.
Here are the baked potato, sides and condiments that are gluten free:
- Baked Potato
- Sour Cream & Chives Potato
- Bacon & Cheese Baked Potato
- Broccoli & Cheese Baked Potato
- Cheese Baked Potato
- Chili & Cheese Baked Potato
- American Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese Sauce
- Asiago Cheese
- Light Sour Cream
- Butter Spread
Finally, for dessert, you can enjoy the famous Wendy’s Frosty (both chocolate and vanilla Frosty’s are gluten free). You can see below what the Nima Sensor said when I tested the Frosty for hidden gluten.
What about Wendy’s French Fries?
Now for the bad news. The French fries at Wendy’s contain gluten.
Unfortunately Wendy’s does not have a dedicated fryer, so its fries are cooked in the same oil as its breaded menu 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?!? The good news is there are many restaurants that offer gluten-free French fries and I detail them all in this article, Are French Fries Gluten Free?
Testing Wendy’s for Hidden Gluten
I decided to test the few menu items at Wendy’s for hidden gluten. I filmed myself doing the tests live, and you can watch them in this video:
Please keep in mind that the Nima Sensor is testing the exact pea-sized piece of food I put into the test capsule, not the entire dish.
This means the Nima Sensor cannot guarantee the entire dish is gluten free, nor can I guarantee that you will get identical results when you test these same items at another Wendy’s location (or even at this same location on another day).
(1) Frosty: The Nima Sensor says the chocolate frosty at Wendy’s is free from gluten, as evident by the smiley face on the display.
(2) Baked Potato with Chili and Cheese: The Nima Sensor says that the chili cheese baked potato is a-okay to eat when you need to eat gluten free at Wendy’s.
(3) Cheese Sauce: I checked the cheese sauce separately from the baked potato and chili – just in case. Nima is all smiles again.
Strategies for Eating Out
If you like to eat out often – like me – you need to be careful in how you approach the process 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 (a risk is always present though).
To help you eat out safely, I recommend reading, The Ultimate Guide to Eating Out Gluten-Free. It’s chocked full of information about:
- How to order so you’re taken seriously
- What questions you need to ask your server
- What’s gluten free (and not gluten free) at popular restaurants
- Pro tricks to sniff out gluten (i.e., did you know pasta water is often used to cook wheat noodles and gluten-free noodles?)
- Overall strategies to ensure you don’t get accidentally glutened
If you’re looking for more detailed information about living gluten free, I encourage you to check out my book, Dear Gluten, It’s Not Me, It’s You. This book will guide you through the process of breaking up with gluten and healing your body in the aftermath of the breakup.
Enjoy these articles to help you live your best gluten-free life!
- Gluten-Free Safe Dining Card – free download
- How Did 20 Restaurants Fare When Tested for Hidden Gluten?
- 21 Struggles Only Gluten-Free People Will Understand
- 10 Surprising Myths about Celiac Disease and the Gluten-Free Diet
- Is Panera’s Gluten-Free Menu Really Safe?
- What’s Gluten Free at the Cheesecake Factory?
- How to Eat Gluten Free at Chipotle