Chipotle is one of my favorite restaurants. I eat there all the time without compromising my gluten-free diet. It’s easy to get a tasty, gluten-free meal at Chipotle, but you still must take a few precautions to avoid getting glutened. In this post, I’ll share what’s gluten-free at Chipotle and how to successfully place your order. I’ll also share the results of my hidden gluten test. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
I often find myself at Chipotle. I love the food and my kids love it too. It’s an easy, go-to place that our entire family loves, both gluten-free eaters and gluten eaters alike.
There are plenty of gluten-free options at Chipotle too, and, with a little knowledge and know-how, you can mitigate your risk of cross contamination when eating at the fast casual restaurant.
While I eat at Chipotle often and feel fine, I decided to put the restaurant to the gluten detecting test with my trusty Nima Sensor. (Please note that as of October 2020, the Nima Sensor is no longer available for purchase. You can read more about what happened to the company in this article Did the Nima Sensor Go Out of Business?)
What’s Gluten-Free at Chipotle
Before I put Chipotle to the hidden gluten test, I first want to share what items at Chipotle do not contain any gluten ingredients.
Fortunately, just about everything on the menu is gluten free except for the flour tortillas, according to Chipotle’s allergen menu.
The following menu items are listed as gluten free:
- Black Beans
- Carne Asada
- Cauliflower Rice – NEW
- Chips (tortilla chips)
- Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice
- Cilantro-Lime White Rice
- Crispy Corn Tortilla
- Fajita Vegetables
- Fresh Tomato Salsa
- Monterey Jack Cheese
- Pinto Beans
- Queso Blanco
- Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa
- Romaine Lettuce
- Sour Cream
- Supergreens Lettuce Blend
- Tomatillo Green-Chili Salsa
- Tomatillo Red-Chili Salsa
- Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette
Any of these items can be combined to make yourself a tasty salad or filling burrito bowl.
Related Reading: Can You Safely Eat Gluten Free at Chick-Fil-A?
The Potential for Cross Contamination at Chipotle
While much of the menu at Chipotle is considered gluten free (except for the flour tortillas), this doesn’t mean you can eat at the restaurant free and clear.
In fact, the flour tortillas are a key ingredient in the large burritos Chipotle makes for its customers, and the flour from those tortillas are everywhere.
This is why the main point of concern when eating at Chipotle is cross contamination. Cross contamination occurs when a gluten-free item comes in contact with bits of gluten during the preparation or handling process.
To minimize your risk of cross contamination at Chipotle, follow these precautions:
Ask the server to change his or her gloves. Once they change gloves, make sure they don’t handle the flour tortillas.
Order a bowl. You can enjoy a hearty burrito bowl or light salad. Avoid the burritos and anything that would be prepared in the tortilla presses.
Ask for fresh ingredients. The staff can help you get fresh, untouched ingredients for your bowl. I’m usually fine with them scooping all sorts of ingredients into my bowl, but what I’m not fine with is the cheese and lettuce. Have you ever noticed how they grab those items with their hands vs. spoons? Request fresh lettuce and cheese taken from untouched containers. They always have containers in the back they can pull from.
Putting Chipotle to the Hidden Gluten Test
I used my Nima Sensor to put several Chipotle menu items to the hidden gluten test. The items I tested included:
- The chicken burrito bowl with brown rice, chicken, fajita vegetables, black beans, shredded cheese, tomatoes and lettuce.
- The chips and queso.
Here’s what my gluten detecting device found:
In the burrito bowl, I put a small sample of the chicken, beans and cheese into the Nima Sensor. Nima Sensor smiled at me, which means it did not detect gluten- nice!
I then tested a chip and it, too, came back negative for gluten. Nima is all smiles. There’s no gluten in Chipotle’s chips – whew!
The queso, interestingly enough, came back with the wheat symbol and the message, “Gluten Found.” While the queso has no gluten in it, it’s possible the spot I tested was cross contaminated with gluten as there are flour tortillas present on the food assembly line.
UPDATE: I tested the cauliflower rice for hidden gluten and the Nima was all smiles – no gluten found.
How to Order Gluten Free at Chipotle
When you order at Chipotle, it is important to disclose that you cannot eat gluten, and ask the staff member to change his or her gloves.
You can then order anything on the menu except the flour tortillas (although I’m a bit wary of the queso now).
Related Reading: What’s Gluten-Free at Wendy’s
Two items I’m also wary of cross contamination are the cheese and lettuce. Again, the staff use their hands to grab those items, whereas the rest of the items are dished out with a spoon.
When I order at Chipotle, I always ask for the cheese and lettuce to be taken from a fresh source, and the staff has always obliged this request.
Watch me test my food for hidden gluten in this video:
You can feel confident eating gluten free at Chipotle. Almost every menu item is gluten free (except for the flour tortillas), and, by asking the staff to change gloves and get you fresh ingredients from the back, you can minimize your risk of cross contamination and accidental gluten exposure.
Other Restaurant Tests
Like to eat out? Read these articles:
- What’s Gluten Free at the Cheesecake Factory?
- How Did 20 Restaurants Fare When Tested for Hidden Gluten?
- What’s Gluten Free at the Olive Garden?
- 7 Ways to Recover from an Accidental Gluten Exposure
Want to eat out like a gluten-free champ? Download my ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Eating Out Gluten Free, to help you eat out more safely when following a strict gluten free diet.