Gluten-free diets have been on a rise over the past few years and people are looking for alternatives like gluten-free buns for instance. In this article, we will go through some fast food chains that offer gluten free buns and other gluten free options.
Why Is Gluten Bad for Our Health?
Gluten is a protein found mostly in wheat, rye, and barley. It can also be found in oats and other grains. Gluten can also be found in fast food chain sandwiches or hamburger bun. But, is gluten really bad for our health?
Our body has enzymes that help break down food, one of these enzymes is called Protease. However, Protease can break down most proteins and grains, except gluten.
Some people can also acquire celiac disease, an autoimmune disease. This disease can damage your intestines and can cause other symptoms like diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal pain, bloating and gas, constipation, nausea, and vomiting.
The amount of people diagnosed with the Celiac disease has increased drastically due to the variety of research studies, diagnostic tests, and awareness which have also contributed to the increase in gluten-free dieting.
What are Gluten Free Buns?
Gluten helps make dough elastic or chewy (which is why it’s often used in bread). People who are allergic to gluten may not be able to digest products with gluten, like buns, croutons, or breaded chicken nuggets that are usually located at fast-food restaurants.
Due to a lot of health implications and symptoms, that is where gluten-free buns became an idea and started to become popular. Different types of buns are currently available, some are baked and others are found in pre-packaged mixes. The dough is always made with gluten-free ingredients.
What Are the Ingredients of a Gluten-Free Bun?
A gluten free bun can be made by substituting wheat, barley, and rye with different starches like cornstarch, rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato flour. You can now make gluten-free bread at home if you have these ingredients.
This is great when you have a family member, guest, or friend that has gluten intolerance coming over for dinner or a quick bite. Anyone who suffers from celiac disease can now enjoy bread!
Gluten-Free Buns at Fast Food Restaurants
Gluten-free options are becoming pretty popular with restaurants these days, especially fast food restaurants. There’s a lot more availability and variety, too.
Here is a list of fast food restaurants that offer gluten-free options:
- Chick Fil A (has gluten free hamburger buns and french fries)
- Shake Shack (gluten free burger bun)
- Five Guys (gluten free french fries)
- Sonic Drive-In (gluten free french fries)
- Culver’s (gluten-free bun)
- Subway (gluten-free bun)
- Whataburger (gluten-free fries)
- In-N-Out Burger
- Jimmy John’s
- Carl’s Jr
- Jersey Mike’s
Best Restaurants with Gluten Free Options
Chick Fil A
Chick-Fil-A is known for its chicken sandwiches and salads, but they are now also offering gluten-free options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Chick-Fil-A is one of the best fast food restaurant for gluten-sensitive customers. Their menu is extensive and they offer a wide variety of gluten-free options. And they are not just limited to sandwiches. They offer a wide variety of snacks, salads, and other delicious items, they even have gluten-free buns available.
Other items include:
- Waffle Fries (has a separate fryer)
- Fruit Cups
- Side Salads
- Grilled Chicken
- Grilled Chicken Nuggets
It can be difficult to find gluten-free choices at Five Guys, but don’t worry! I reviewed the finest of the Five Guys dish and discovered the greatest gluten-free options. So, whether you’re looking for conventional french fries or a burger, Five Guys has gluten-free options. Check out our article for more information on Five Guys’ gluten-free menu selections.
Some gluten free items include:
- Burgers (opt for lettuce wrap)
- Fries (has separate fryer)
- Hot dogs (no hot dog buns)
We all know that most Wendy’s items are not completely gluten free. However, Wendy’s has various gluten free options that are made with quality ingredients like potatoes, bacon, sausage, sauces, condiments, and other veggies. Wendy’s is still considered one of the top restaurants to provide gluten free options.
These options include:
- Taco Salad
- Baked Potatoes
- Caesar Side Salad (no croutons)
- Vanilla and chocolate frosty
Shake Shack is always a place where you can indulge. They’ve recently introduced a gluten-free bun, so even if you’re gluten sensitive you can still feel good about your indulgence. They may not be the best option for eating out when you’re on a gluten-free diet. However, they do offer a selection of gluten free options that are safe to eat.
Shake Shack’s best gluten-free options include:
- All burgers with Gluten-free buns
- All floats
- Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, peach tree, and coffee milkshakes
Sonic Drive-In is an American fast food company that specializes in American cuisines, such as hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, and drinks. Sonic’s menu also includes a wide variety of gluten-free food options.
We all know that gluten-free lifestyle has been on a rise here in the United States, but Sonic Drive-In has already adopted to this lifestyle by providing gluten-free items on its menu. They even have a separate fryer for their French fries and hopefully, soon they’ll provide gluten free hamburger buns!
Here is the list of their best gluten-free items:
- Hamburgers (no buns)
- Hot dogs (no buns)
- Ice cream and shakes (watch out for the toppings)
In-N-Out is also considered the best fast food chain that provides gluten-free options. Why? Because you can customize all of their burgers into a protein style (without buns) and you can opt for a lettuce wrap. They also serve gluten-free fries that are cooked in a separate fryer with sunflower oil.
Here are the best gluten-free options:
- Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry Shakes
- Hamburger (no buns)
- Cheeseburger (no buns)
- Double-double burger (no buns)
- French Fries (fried in a separate fryer)
Arby’s is a fast food restaurant that offers an assortment of sandwiches in rolls, beverages, and salads. They also serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The employees at Arby’s are always happy to answer questions about the ingredients in their food and how they can accommodate those with food allergies or dietary restrictions. As of now, they don’t offer gluten free hamburger bun but you can still order their burgers without the buns.
Here are Arby’s best gluten-free options:
- Chocolate and vanilla milkshakes
- Farmhouse Salad with Roasted Turkey meat
- Roast Beef (no buns, no rolls)
- Angus beef burger (no buns, no rolls)
- Sausage and Bacon
Jimmy John’s has been one of the first major chains to offer a wide range of gluten-free options in their stores, which is a testament to their commitment to providing an inclusive dining experience for all customers. All of their sandwiches can be made gluten-free. They might not offer gluten-free bread but you can get their sandwiches “Unwich” style – lettuce wrapped sandwich!
Jimmy John’s top Unwich picks include:
- Spicy East Coast Italian
- Billy Club
- Italian Night Club
- Hunter’s Club
- Country Club
- Beach Club
- Jimmy Cubano
The best thing about Culver’s is that they also offer gluten-free bread! That’s really good news because most fast-food chains don’t offer it, this means that Culver’s really make effort in catering to its customers with gluten intolerance. All of their butter burgers can be made with wheat-free buns.
Here are Culver’s best gluten-free options:
- Frozen Custard
- All burgers (gluten-free bread)
- Grilled chicken sandwich (gluten-free buns)
- Cranberry Bacon Bleu Salad
- Georges Chili
- Side Salad
Carl’s Jr. is also one of the fast food chains that offer a wide variety of gluten-free items. Fast food chains may not be the best if you’re looking for gluten-free items, but Carl’s Jr. is taking it seriously when it comes to customers with dietary restrictions. Most fast food restaurants don’t have a separate fryer but Carl’s Jr. has a dedicated fryer for their French fries and other gluten-free items.
Here are Carl’s Jr.’s most ordered gluten-free items:
- All burgers (no buns – opt for a lettuce wrap)
- Natural cut fries (cooked in a dedicated fryer)
- Side Salad
- Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry Ice Cream Shakes
Hardee’s offers a wide variety of burgers, chicken sandwiches, and sides. But are they gluten-free? Unfortunately, most of their burgers contain gluten and it all came from the buns. Hardee’s does not offer any gluten free hamburger buns, however, all of their burger and sandwiches can be ordered in lettuce wrap which will make them gluten-free!
Hardee’s best gluten-free items include:
- Original Thickburger (no buns)
- Bacon Cheese Thickburger
- Original Angus Beef Burger
- Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich
- Beef and Chicken Bowl
- Side Salad
- Mashed Potatoes
- Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry Ice Cream Shakes
Whataburger is also a famous burger chain in the US. They are known for serving varieties of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. But are they gluten free though? These items can be made gluten-free with a few modifications. Just like the other restaurants, removing the buns from the burgers and sandwiches, croutons from the salads, and more.
Whataburger’s top gluten-free items include:
- Whataburger Classic (no buns)
- Double Meat Whataburger (no buns)
- Bacon and Cheese Whataburger (no buns)
- Grilled Chicken sandwich (no buns)
- Apple and Cranberry Salad
- French Fries (most location has dedicated fryer – be sure to verify first)
- Hash Brown Sticks/
- Dr. Pepper, Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry Shakes
Almost all of Chipotle’s menu items are gluten-free except for their flour tortillas. You can also request for them to change their gloves in preparing your food.
Chipotle’s gluten-free items includes:
- Soft or Crispy Corn Tortilla
- Beans (Black & Pinto)
- Cilantro-Lime Rice (White & Brown)
- All Meats
- All Salsas
- Fajita Vegetables
- Romaine Lettuce
- Sour Cream
Don’t be fooled by the name: Panera Bread has a great selection of gluten-free menu options on its webpage, you can also check its nutrition facts. However, they don’t offer gluten-free buns, but you can still order their soups, bowls, and salads without the croutons.
Panera’s gluten-free options include:
- Mediterranean Warm Grain Bowl
- Baja Warm Grain Bowl
- Fuji Apple Salad
- Greek salads
- Yogurts and oatmeal
- Green Goddess Cobb Salad (with grilled chicken)
- Southwest Chicken Tortilla Soup
Subway also made a significant effort to cater to the needs of customers with dietary restrictions. Subway gluten-free options are available to customers in the United States and Canada. Customers can choose from a variety of gluten-free options such as:
- Gluten-Free Bread
- Breakfast Items
- Fresh Melts
- Gluten-Free Subs
- Protein Bowls
- Condiments and Extras
Jersey Mike’s is one of the more gluten-free friendly fast food restaurants out there. They are incredibly obliging in providing gluten-free dishes such as:
- Hot Subs
- Cold Subs
- Breakfast Sandwiches
All of Jersey Mike’s subs and breakfast sandwiches are made with gluten-free bread!
Some famous fast food chains, like McDonald’s, KFC, or Burger King, are not your best options for gluten-free items. The restaurants listed above are the top chains to offer gluten-free items, like Chick-fil-A and Culver’s which has gluten-free burger buns and a dedicated fryer for their French Fries.
Regardless of which fast food chain you decide to dine in, always keep in mind the risk of cross-contamination, no matter how gluten-free those items are. It can still be risky, as some employees may not be properly trained in preventing it.
Homemade Gluten-Free Flour Recipe
If you’re still having second thoughts in purchasing a gluten-free burger, how about making your own?
You can definitely make it at home, with a simple and easy-to-follow recipe that doesn’t use dairy and will bake into fluffy bread. It’s perfect for your next sandwich or lunch. This is also perfect if you’re on a vegan lifestyle because it can also be made dairy free. These buns are made with simple ingredients like cornstarch, tapioca starch, potato flour, rice flour, yeast, and more.
Here is a list of Gluten Free Flour options:
- Brown Rice Flour
- White Rice Flour
- Chickpea Flour or Garbanzo Flour(Dry chickpeas)
- Amaranth Flour (a native plant in Mesoamerica)
- Chia Flour (ground chia seeds)
- Corn Flour (finely ground, dried corn)
- Potato Flour (cooked and dried potatoes, ground into a fine)
- Hemp Flour (hemp seeds)Millet Flour (Millet seeds)
- Oat Flour (rolled oats)
- Tapioca Flour (dried cassava root, ground into a fine)
- Quinoa Flour (dried quinoa seeds)
- Sorghum Flour (grain kernel of sorghum, ground into a fine)
- Almond Flour (blanched almonds, ground into a fine)
- Sesame Flour (sesame seed)
Gluten Free Flour Blend Recipe:
- 2 cups of white rice flour (290 grams) + 1 cup of tapioca flour (115 grams) + 1 cup of potato starch (120 grams) + 2 teaspoons of xanthan gum (optional) + 2 tablespoons of baking powder + 2 teaspoons of salt
- 2 cups of white rice flour (290 grams) + 1 cup of millet flour (120 grams) + 1 cup of tapioca flour (115 grams) + 1 cup potato starch (120 grams) + 4 teaspoons of xanthan gum (optional) + 2 tablespoons of baking powder + 2 teaspoons of salt
Directions: Combine these flour blend recipes, starches, salt, and baking powder in a bowl or a zipper bag. Make sure it’s stored in an airtight glass jar or container. Shake it before each use, to ensure all ingredients are mixed properly, especially the ingredients that are settled at the bottom of the container.
Overall, having gluten-free buns as an alternative to a regular hamburger bun is great! It gives people diagnosed with celiac disease another chance to enjoy bread. And for those not diagnosed, a gluten free bun is the perfect alternative for those who want to try something new.
It’s surprising how fast-food chains are adapting to this demand. The fast food chain listed above is offering not just one or two but a wide variety of providing gluten free items. We will keep updating the list of restaurants if we find new ones that offer gluten free items. I hope this article has been useful so far. Thanks for reading!