Got a hankering for french fries and need a list of restaurants with gluten-free french fries or more specifically, celiac-safe french fries? This is your post.
Before we talk about restaurants with gluten-free french fries, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Aren’t french fries just fried potatoes? Doesn’t that make them gluten-free?
Yes, and no. French fries are fried potatoes and if we stop there, then yes they are gluten-free. However, things get complicated fast.
First, some restaurants and even food producers coat their french fries in flour or batter for a crispier fry. Coating french fries in flour or batter makes them not gluten-free. For example, some of the Target brand frozen french fries are coated in wheat flour and are not gluten-free. Alternatively, another example is McDonald’s french fries which are coated in wheat beef flavoring in the USA, making them not gluten-free.
Second, even if fries aren’t made with gluten-containing flour or batter, if they are fried in the same fryer as foods that are, then they are not safe due to cross-contact.
Meaning if someone is frying breaded onion rings in the same fryer as fries, those french fries are now not gluten-free anymore due to cross-contact
So French Fries are gluten-free if they just potatoes and salt and they aren’t fried in the same fryer as gluten containing products. French fries are NOT gluten-free if they are flavored, breaded, or coated with gluten ingredients or have been fried in oil that has fried gluten.
Here is where things get a little trickier.
If you have celiac disease, any gluten-free food sharing a fryer with gluten-containing food is not considered gluten-free or celiac-safe. So if gluten-free food shares a fryer with not gluten-free food, it is not safe for people with celiac.
However, the story might be different if you have non-celiac gluten-sensitivity. People with non-celiac gluten-sensitivity have a wide range of varying gluten-exposure tolerance levels.
So some people with non-celiac gluten-sensitivity might be fine with french fries sharing a fryer and some may not.
It really just depends. Check out my post on the difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance to learn more.
Now that we’ve cleared the air over french fries, where can you buy gluten-free french fries? You can buy them from some restaurants and grocery stores.
Here is a list of restaurants that prepare their french fries in a dedicated fryer and are safe for people with celiac disease.
(disclaimer – always double check before ordering that the fries are made in a dedicated fryer)
Five Guys has gluten-free fries made in a dedicated fryer.
You can also order a burger wrapped in lettuce here, just be sure to let them know you have celiac disease and need them to change their gloves when the prepare your order. Typically you’re able to watch them go through the entire process of cooking your food so you can watch for cross-contact if it makes you feel better.
BONUS: they have free peanuts to eat while you wait!
Penn Station is my favorite place to get gluten-free fries made in a dedicated fryer. Sometimes they will give you extra fries than the container you bought and that is always a treat. Just like Five Guys, you can watch them prepare them to make sure no cross-contact occurs. Unfortunately, they don’t have gluten-free sandwich options as I write this.
I used to stop by Penn Station in high school for fresh fried fries weekly… the memories.
If you’re cool to dine in, Red Robins is a great place to get celiac-safe french fries.
They have separate dedicated fryer for gluten-free fries (but you have to request it) and on top of that, they have bottomless french fries. Pay a little extra and you can have bottomless sweet potato fries (my favorite!).
They also have a vast gluten-free menu and have a strong allergen protocol. The Red Robins I have been to make sure to mark the gluten-free food before it arrives to you.
I have yet to find a Wendy’s with a dedicated fryer for their french fries, but apparently some locations have one.
If you’re curious about the Wendy’s around you, call and ask to see if they fry anything else in the fryer they fry the french fries in.
Their political stances aside… Chick-Fil-A does usually cook their waffle fries in a dedicated fryer (but make sure to check with your location).
You can also order a gluten-free chicken sandwich here that comes disassembled.
In-N-Out Burger has gluten-free fries made in a dedicated fryer. Make sure when you order you let them know you have a gluten allergy to make sure they take the proper precautions when serving you your fries.
So we talked about the restaurants that have gluten-free fries, what about restaurants that definitely don’t have safe french fries? Below are common restaurants and the status of their fries.
Moral of the story, ask if you’re unsure about the gluten-free status of the fries!
Want to skip the cutting and prep? Below are some gluten-free frozen french fry options you just throw on a pan and bake!
Need help with finding safe options when dining out? Check out my 50+ page Gluten-Free Restaurant dining guide!