By/ Last Modified On October 29, 2023
As someone with celiac disease, a gluten allergy, or gluten intolerance, you probably “Live Outside the Bun” already. But sometimes, you want something sinfully cheesy, crispy, and gooey. I’m here to answer the popular question, “Does Taco Bell have gluten-free options?”
From tacos to nachos to sauces, here’s what you need to know before pulling up to the drive-thru window!
Are Taco Bell Gluten-Free Options Available?
Taco Bell states: “Some items are made without gluten-containing ingredients but are prepared in common kitchen areas (including common fryer oil) risking gluten exposure. Taco Bell® does not recommend products for customers with celiac disease. Customers with gluten sensitivities should exercise judgment when ordering.”
This means that Taco Bell food products cannot guarantee that detectable amounts of gluten fall below 20 parts per million (ppm), an FDA requirement. Even if ingredient information appears to be celiac-friendly, every cooking utensil and surface should be considered cross-contaminated.
If you only have a gluten sensitivity, there are ways to skirt a more serious situation. If you suffer from an allergy or celiac disease, I recommend avoiding eating at Taco Bell altogether.
Celiac-Friendly Options at Taco Bell
Technically, the only celiac-friendly items at Taco Bell are the beverages:
- Fountain drinks: Pepsi, Gatorade, Dole, Brisk, etc.
- Freezes: Island Blue Raspberry, Island Strawberry, Mountain Dew Baja Blast, and Wild Strawberry.
- Coffee: Black Coffee, Hot Cinnabon Delights, Iced Coffee, Iced Cinnabon Delights
Gluten-Free Options at Taco Bell
Taco Bell is famous for its endlessly customizable menu, and there are plenty of ways for people with light gluten sensitivities to enjoy Taco Bell’s gluten-free menu.
- Black Beans
- Mexican Rice
- Pinto Beans
- Crunchy Tacos
- Supreme Crunchy Tacos
- Doritos Locos Tacos
- Power Bowls
Taco Bell Products That Aren’t Gluten-Free
Obviously, if a product has a flour tortilla base, it cannot be gluten-free. But the following Taco Bell items should also be avoided if you’re looking to limit your gluten intake:
- Soft tacos
- Rolled Tacos
- Mexican Pizzas
- Nacho Fries
- Fiesta Potatoes
- Cinnamon & Strawberry Twists
- Cinnabon Delights
Top Tip: To create delicious Taco Bell-inspired food at home, I personally recommend upgrading your appliances. An Instant Pot provides sauces and meats with a deeper flavor, and air fryers provide crispier, crunchier textures in minutes!
Are Taco Bell Tacos Gluten-Free?
Understandably, soft taco shells are off-limits because their main ingredient is wheat. If you can eat small amounts of gluten without experiencing severe reactions, you might consider ordering hard shell tacos or Doritos Locos tacos. They’re technically gluten-free, even though the cooking spaces are cross-contaminated.
Related: Check out our homemade and gluten-free corn tortilla recipe.
Are Doritos Locos Tacos Gluten-Free?
While only one variety of Doritos is gluten-free, this doesn’t apply to Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos taco shells! In addition to eating regular hard shell tacos, gluten-sensitive diners can feel free to snack on Doritos Locos Tacos – without the nacho cheese sauce.
Are Taco Bell Tortilla Chips Gluten-Free?
Are the chips at Taco Bell gluten-free? While they don’t include any wheat properties, they’re cooked in a shared fryer with gluten-containing foods.
After researching countless sites, I couldn’t find a definitive answer about whether Taco Bell’s nacho cheese sauce was gluten-free.
Related: Make gluten-free nachos at home!
Which Taco Bell Sauces Are Celiac Friendly?
Taco Bell is famous for its lineup of zesty foods, so you’ll undoubtedly want to add some sauce to your order. Two sauce packets are definitely gluten-free:
- Mild Sauce
- Hot Sauce
Which Sauces May Contain Gluten?
Many of Taco Bell’s sauces contain vague ingredients like modified food starch, spices, and yeast. While many appear on Taco Bell’s gluten-free menu, it’s impossible to guarantee where these ingredients were sourced. That means I won’t recommend them for people with celiac disease or gluten allergies.
The following sauces either include wheat, yeast, or ingredients of an undetermined source (e.g., natural flavors):
- Nacho Cheese Sauce
- Diablo Sauce
- Fire Sauce
- Green Tomatillo Sauce
- Red Sauce
- Creamy Jalapeno Sauce
- Pepper Jack Sauce
- Pizza Sauce
Related: You can make your own gluten-free red enchilada sauce at home!
Are Taco Bell Rice Bowls Gluten-Free?
While the company lists them on its gluten-free menu, Taco Bell’s rice dishes do contain modified food starch of an unknown origin. Therefore, I advise using caution before eating at one of their franchises. If you have a mild gluten intolerance, you might be able to eat one of their Power Menu Bowls (e.g., chicken, steak, veggie) without too much of an issue.
Can I Get a Gluten-Free Breakfast at Taco Bell?
There’s no 100% gluten-free breakfast option at Taco Bell, but it might be fine if you have a mild reaction to gluten. The only gluten-free item on the breakfast menu – without customization – is the hash brown. However, they’re cooked in the same fryer as the Cinnabon Delights.
Like most orders at this fast food giant, you can ask staff to use hard shell tacos instead of soft tortillas. This would drastically reduce the amount of gluten in your order.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Celiacs Eat Taco Bell?
Due to kitchen cross-contamination, Taco Bell states that it “does not recommend products for customers with celiac disease. Customers with gluten sensitivities should exercise judgment when ordering.” Beverages are the only items that are safe for celiacs to consume.
Is Taco Bell’s Crunch Taco Gluten-Free?
Technically, the food products used in Taco Bell’s hard shell tacos are gluten-free. That said, due to cross-contamination issues, they aren’t considered safe for people with celiac disease.
Do Taco Bell Chips Have Gluten?
The ingredients used in Taco Bell nacho chips are gluten-free: White ground corn, water, calcium propionate, fumaric acid, sorbic acid, cellulose gum, sodium propionate, and salt. However, they are fried in canola and/or vegetable oil – in shared fryers with glutinous items.
Are Taco Bell Cinnamon Twists Gluten-Free?
The main ingredient in Taco Bell’s Cinnamon Twists is wheat flour. Therefore, they are not gluten-free options.
Fast Food Restaurants Don’t Have to Be Off Limits!
While Taco Bell’s gluten-free options might be extremely limited – and celiacs won’t find anything to eat – that doesn’t mean dining at other fast food restaurants is off-limits. Eating GF can certainly be a struggle, but our site is here to make the process easier, safer, and more delicious!
About the Author:
Tenley Haraldson is a Gluten-Free Palate writer and VentureKite SEO editor. Thanks to her gluten intolerance and passion for cooking, Tenley is an expert when it comes to gluten-free ingredients and recipes. A Wisconsinite at heart, she believes that cheese makes everything better.