Red Robin is a favorite restaurant for our family, and it’s a restaurant I feel safe eating gluten free. In this post, I’ll discuss Red Robin’s gluten-free menu as well as advise you on how to order and what to eat. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosures.
My family loves Red Robin and with good reason. There are plenty of family-friendly foods on the menu all at a great price.
However, what really matters is that Mom (me) can eat at Red Robin too. It’s no fun when you visit a restaurant only to find out you can’t eat there or there are only two gluten-free items to choose from. I have celiac disease and feel comfortable eating at Red Robin, and there are plenty of gluten-free options to choose from.
On top of being able to eat safely at Red Robin, I also like eating there. Red Robin has really good French fries. Sometimes I just want to order the French fries (and nothing else) and call it a day. You know you do too!
In this article, I’ll share with you the following information to help you navigate Red Robin’s gluten-free offerings:
- What items are on Red Robin’s gluten-free menu
- Tips to eating gluten free at Red Robin (safely)
- Red Robin’s allergy-friendly practices
- How Red Robin fared when put to the Nima Sensor test
Red Robin’s Gluten-Free Menu
Red Robin has a diverse gluten-free menu. You can view the entire, up-to-date allergen-friendly menu on its website. Let’s discuss some of the highlights on Red Robin’s gluten-free menu:
French Fries: French fries are at the top of my list because you can get the best steak-cut French fries around at Red Robin. When you order fries, ask for them to be gluten free. They will cook them fresh for you in a dedicated gluten-free fryer. If you don’t ask for them to be gluten free, they will be cooked in the regular fryer where they also cook foods full of gluten.
The fries will typically come out with a purple toothpick in them to signal that they are gluten free. You can enjoy the chili cheese fries appetizer and sweet potato fries as well. Be sure to request they are prepared gluten free.
Burgers: Of course no visit to Red Robin would be complete without a burger, after all, Red Robin is known for its burgers. You can order a burger with a gluten-free bun (not the best tasting bun to be honest) or generously lettuce-wrapped (recommended and delicious).
My choice beef burger is the Wedgie Burger (without bacon). It a lettuce-wrapped burger topped with guacamole, tomatoes and red onion. My choice meatless burger is the Impossible Burger (lettuce-wrapped).
Impossible Burgers were reformulated in January 2019 (known as Impossible Burger 2.0) to be 100 percent gluten free. It is made with soy protein vs. wheat protein (aka, gluten). The Impossible Burger has the same taste and texture of a legit burger, making it nearly indistinguishable from a regular burger. (Read more about Gluten-Free Plant-Based Proteins.)
You can order pretty much any burger on the menu with a gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap. Some may require a few substitutions or omissions to be fully gluten-free compliant, so check with your server for details.
Chicken burgers, turkey burgers and veggie burgers also can be made gluten free with a bun swap.
Entrees: There are only two entrees that can be made gluten free at Red Red Robin: (1) the Ensenada Chicken Platter, and (2) the Sear-ious Salmon with no sides. I don’t know many people who visit Red Robin for the entrees, so it’s no biggie that I can’t eat most of ’em.
Soups: You can order the French onion soup (with no croutons), the clamdiggers clam chowder, and the chili if you’re in the mood for soup. All are gluten free.
Salads: The Avo-Cobb-O Salad (no croutons), Bottomless House Salad (no croutons), Mighty Caesar Salad (no croutons), Simply Grilled Chicken Salad (no croutons), and Southwest Chicken Salad (no jalapeno coins), can all be made gluten free. I’m pretty sure all dressings (or at least the majority of them) are gluten free; inquire with your server to be certain.
The Red Robin Seasoning: In the past, Red Robin’s seasoning was not labeled gluten free so most of us avoided it. However, Red Robin says on its website that its seasoning is indeed gluten free, and it’s labeled as such on each carton. (Scroll down to see how the seasoning fared when put to the Nima Sensor test.)
Tips to Eating Gluten-Free at Red Robin
Here are a few tips to ensuring a safe, gluten-free meal at Red Robin:
(1) Disclose AND Express the Seriousness of Your “Allergy”: In my experiences, Red Robin has taken my “allergy” requests seriously. That said, never assume your waiter understands what gluten free means. Explain that you cannot eat gluten and that you take your diet seriously. This will help ensure your order is prepared safely.
Notice a difference between these two ways of ordering:
a. I’d like a burger, lettuce-wrapped with fries.
b. I’d like a gluten-free burger, lettuce-wrapped with fries. Can you make sure everything on my plate is gluten free and prepared with clean hands and in gluten-free workspaces? I’m very serious about eating gluten free and get sick if any gluten comes in contact with my food. Thank you.
Editor’s Note: Yes, I know celiac disease and gluten sensitivities are not allergies. However, I recommend using the word “allergy” because restaurants understand it. Read: Is Gluten Allergy Real?
(2) Look for Clues: Red Robin’s gluten-free dishes will almost always come out with a purple stick inserted in it. This signals that the item is gluten-free. It’s a comforting feeling when I see that purple stick.
(3) Always Check the In-Store Menu: Red Robin’s gluten-free menu can change; always ask to view the latest gluten-free menu before you order.
(4) Ask About the Fryer: In every Red Robin I’ve been in, there has been a dedicated gluten-free fryer for the French fries. Ask if the fries at your Red Robin are cooked in a dedicated fryer, just to be sure.
How Red Robin Handles Gluten-Free Orders
In case you’re not convinced that Red Robin handles gluten free right, here are a few proof points to help you feel more comfortable.
According to the Red Robin website, once you place your “allergen” order, the following process is put into place:
- Your server will alert the kitchen staff of the allergen order.
- The kitchen staff will use the designated purple allergen kit and tools to create your meal. The final meal will be identified with a purple pick so the server is aware that this is the allergen meal and it was prepared using the Red Robin allergen procedures.
- The entire kit and all the tools are washed, rinsed and sanitized prior to the next use.
Red Robin says, “Our team members are trained using our Allergen Program Standard procedures when they are hired and their knowledge is validated with a quiz. Our kitchen staff and our servers are also asked questions by our third-party auditing company to verify and test their allergen knowledge four times per year. Twice a day, managers visually inspect that the allergy tools are clean and in good condition.”
As demonstrated, Red Robin is serious about serving the gluten-free and allergy communities.
Red Robin vs. Nima Sensor
I brought my trusty Nima Sensor to Red Robin to put a few things to the gluten test. The Nima Sensor is a portable gluten detecting device that allows you to test your food for gluten. The company temporarily went out of business in 2020, but returned in 2021 and is going strong under new ownership.
To test your food for hidden gluten, put a small piece of it into the single-use test capsule and place the capsule inside your Nima Sensor. Wait about two minutes and voila!, Nima will either display a smiley face (it didn’t find gluten) or a wheat symbol (it found gluten).
I tested several items on Red Robin’s gluten-free menu over the years and wanted to share the results with you in this single post. Here is proof of how everything stood up when put to the Nima Sensor test:
Impossible Burger: The Impossible Burger is so delicious, and you would never know this is a meatless burger. I like my burger lettuce wrapped and my husband likes it on a gluten-free bun. Both the patty and bun (tested separately), tested a-okay with Nima.
And here is what the Impossible Burger looked like lettuce wrapped and with a bite taken out of it (sorry, I couldn’t wait to take the picture so I ate it before I snapped this).
Wedgie Burger: Nima is again all smiles. Yay Wedgie Burger!
Red Robin Seasoning: Nima is all smiles again! This seasoning mix is gluten free.
French Fries: Yep, French fries are gluten free when specified as gluten free and fried in the restaurant’s dedicated French fry fryer.
Need Help Eating Out Gluten Free?
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.
I also encourage you to visit my Eating Out Library to see how other restaurants fared when tested for hidden gluten.
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!