By Hayley Simpson / Last Modified On March 13, 2023
With a gluten-free lifestyle, you might think you have to give up all the good stuff. But we’re here to reassure you that this definitely isn’t the case.
Today, we’re shining the spotlight on good old french fries and answering the burning question: Are french fries gluten-free?
Keep reading to discover which of your favorite fast food restaurants and frozen varieties offer gluten-free french fries. We also conquer all those FAQs we’re sure are buzzing around your brain.
Are French Fries Gluten-Free?
The short answer? Yes. Fries are made from potatoes, which are naturally gluten-free. They’re also typically baked or deep-fried in oil (which is another gluten-free ingredient).
But gluten in french fries boils down to two things: ingredients and preparation.
For example, beer-battered french fries are on the “naughty list” since most beer contains glutinous wheat, rye, or barley. Many seasoned varieties are also on that list because their seasoning includes gluten. Furthermore, some restaurants coat their fries in wheat flour to make them crispier.
At home, it’s easy to make your french fries gluten-free. But in the outside world, cross-contamination is a major concern. Some restaurants fry french fries in a deep fryer alongside breaded items like chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, and onion rings. If that’s the case, the oil will be contaminated with gluten.
Your best course of action is to double-check at every fast-food restaurant and specifically ask staff whether the fries are prepared in an exclusively gluten-free fryer.
The good news is that many fast-food chains are adapting and using separate gluten-free fryers nowadays. You can even get gluten-free burgers and fries at Disneyland!
Which Fast Food French Fries Are Gluten-Free?
No matter where you are in the world, it pays to ask staff before ordering your meals. Many fast-food restaurants and chains have hopped on the gluten-free train and use dedicated gluten-free fryers for their fried items, including:
- Hopdoddy Burger Bar: Yes, they cook their fries in a separate fryer.
- Red Robin: You’ll need to put in a request but staff will cook their famous steak fries in their dedicated gluten-free fryer.
- In-N-Out Burger: Rejoice! This popular chain cooks their gluten-free french fries in a separate fryer using sunflower oil.
- Ted’s Montana Grill: I bet you’re glad to know that their delicious hand-cut fries are cooked in a dedicated fryer.
- Five Guys Burgers & Fries: They cook their hand-cut fries in a dedicated fryer using peanut oil.
- Chick-Fil-A: They cook their signature waffle fries in a separate fryer using peanut oil.
- Honest Burger: This is a popular UK chain. Their french fries and onion rings are cooked in the same separate gluten-free fryer.
- Larkburger: For Colorado locals here, Larkburger also offers onion rings and fries cooked in the same dedicated gluten-free fryer.
However, some chain locations have separate fryers and others don’t. Be sure to double-check when you go to the following restaurants:
- Burger King
- Dairy Queen
- Sonic Drive-Thru (Note: Ask staff as most stores have a dedicated gluten-free fryer for their fries and tater tots).
Which Fast Food French Fries Aren’t Gluten-Free?
There are plenty of places to get your gluten-free fries fix, but several fast food restaurants cook theirs in a shared fryer. If you’re on the hunt, avoid these places:
- McDonald’s (sorry, folks).
- KFC (basically their entire menu includes gluten).
- Popeye’s (see above).
- Shake Shack
- Raising Cane’s
- Carl’s Jr.
- White Castle
We’ve determined above which of your favorite fast-food joints may offer gluten-free french fries. But here’s a quick hit list:
Do McDonald's Fries Have Gluten?
Are McDonald’s fries gluten-free? Unfortunately, no. McDonald’s cooks theirs in a shared fryer, alongside other glutinous items (like their chicken nuggets). This means they’re not suitable for people on a strict gluten-free diet.
Are Burger King Fries Gluten-Free?
Some Burger King fries are gluten-free. You’ll need to confirm with the individual outlet whether a separate gluten-free fryer is used. Some do and some don’t.
Are KFC Fries Gluten-Free?
KFC is one of the least gluten-friendly fast-food restaurants. Their fries are cooked in a shared fryer with the fried chicken. In fact, the only available gluten-free items are sides like green beans, coleslaw, potatoes, and corn.
Which Frozen French Fries Are Gluten-Free?
These days, there are plenty of gluten-free fries to make at home, thanks to these brands.
Ore-Ida is our top pick. Available in most grocery stores, they label their frozen french fries as gluten-free. Spoiler: Their tater tots are also labeled gluten-free. You’re welcome!
- Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Seasoned Crinkles French Fries Fried Frozen Potatoes
- Ore-Ida Frozen Golden Tater Tots
- Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Tater Tots Seasoned Shredded Potatoes Frozen Snacks
- Ore-Ida Country Style French Fries Seasoned Frozen Potatoes with Skins
- Ore-Ida Golden Thick Cut Steak French Fries Fried Frozen Potatoes
You’ll find McCain fries in restaurants worldwide. In fact, McCain takes credit for one out of every three french fries consumed around the world. While they don’t label their products as gluten-free, their product labels clearly state whether any ingredients contain gluten. Just keep your eyes peeled.
Focus on their traditional fries (including classic-cut, crinkle-cut, smiles, and steak-cut fries). None of these include gluten-containing ingredients. You’ll want to avoid the seasoned, extra crispy, and beer-battered fries. These include either wheat flour or barley.
Grown In Idaho
Grown in Idaho frozen french fries don’t contain added gluten, but because they’re produced in a shared facility, they can’t be labeled as gluten-free. However, their packaging always states whether there are any traces of gluten. Do a double-check before picking up your next packet.
Red Robin frozen french fries don’t contain gluten or a wheat allergen statement. Because of shared facilities, they can’t officially be labeled as gluten-free.
Cascadian Farm is well-known for its organic products. They offer crinkle-cut and straight-cut french fries, as well as shredded potatoes and sweet potatoes. While each product is organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free, because of shared facilities they aren’t labeled gluten-free.
You’ll want to avoid their seasoned frozen fries as they do contain wheat. On the flip side, their plain fries are gluten-free.
While Alexia Foods frozen french fries are made in a shared facility, they’re prepared on dedicated gluten-free equipment. According to their website, if the product contains any gluten, “it will be called out on the packaging after the ingredient list. If you have an allergy or sensitivity, we'd suggest checking the packaging each time you purchase it for the most recent list of ingredients and information.”
Tips to Avoid Cross-Contamination of French Fries
Here are some tips to help you on your gluten-free journey:
- At home, have a dedicated gluten-free area. It should be stocked with clean cooking equipment and utensils.
- At the grocery store, double-check the frozen fries package. If there’s a gluten-free label or no traces of gluten, you’re good to go.
- When dining out, always voice your concerns. Ask whether the fries are cooked in a shared fryer with other breaded items. If the answer is yes, stick to non-fried food (if possible).
- Request pre-packaged condiments when dining out. This allows you to read the label and double-check there’s no gluten.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Potatoes Gluten-Free?
Yes, potatoes are gluten-free. Therefore, french fries are gluten-free unless they include a glutinous coating or are prepared in a shared fryer.
Do Sweet Potato Fries Have Gluten?
Just like ordinary fries, sweet potato fries are gluten-free. They’re made with gluten-free sweet potatoes fried in oil. And just like normal french fries, their gluten-free status depends on ingredients and preparation. They must be fried in a dedicated fryer with no breading or coating.
Few fast-food chains offer gluten-free sweet potato fries. Red Robin is an option though. They cook their sweet potato fries in a dedicated fryer. As mentioned above, always ask staff for this service, as it isn’t automatically offered. For home options, Ore Ida offers gluten-free sweet potato fries.
What Fast Food Chains Have Gluten-Free Options?
Many of the fast-food chains and restaurants mentioned above offer more than just gluten-free french fries. Here are some other gluten-free fast-food suggestions:
- Red Robin has a gluten-free menu with burgers and fries.
- Chick-Fil-A offers gluten-free hash browns and nuggets to go with their waffle fries.
- Five Guys has bunless burgers and gluten-free french fries.
- In-N-Out has gluten-free burgers and french fries.
When Are French Fries Not Gluten-Free?
French fries aren’t gluten-free when:
- They’re prepared in a fryer with other products containing gluten.
- Their batter and/or accompanying serving sauce contain gluten.
- There’s cross-contamination involved in the preparation process.
Can I Eat Fries on a Gluten-Free Diet?
Yes, you can eat french fries on a gluten-free diet. Stick with the aforementioned brands and restaurants, follow our tips, or make your own at home.
DIY Gluten-Free Fries
Is it just me, or do you have a sudden craving for fast food, too? Here are some at-home recipes to get you started:
- Gluten-free chicken tenders
- Homemade gluten-free hamburger buns
- Gluten-free onion rings
- Parmesan and dill roasted red potatoes
- Gluten-free fish and chips
Ready to take your gluten-free cooking to the next level? Udemy offers several gluten-free cooking classes for cooks of all levels.
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