By/ Last Modified On November 22, 2023
If you’re someone with celiac disease or gluten allergies, dining out at fast food restaurants is often a daunting task. You already know that McDonald’s is one of the world’s most popular fast food options, best known for its classic items like french fries, hamburgers, and milkshakes.
So, do McDonald's gluten-free options exist? Here, we'll explore what McDonald's has to offer for gluten-free diners and provide a comprehensive list of gluten-free items available at this popular fast-food chain.
Is There a McDonald’s Gluten-Free Menu?
At the time of publication, a gluten-free menu at McDonald’s doesn’t exist – and none of its products are certified gluten-free. You can discover more about McDonald’s nutritional information here.
Is There Anything Gluten-Free at McDonald’s?
While some McDonald’s items might be comprised of gluten-free ingredients, all of the food is prepared in shared cooking areas (using the same equipment and utensils). This means truly gluten-free options at McDonald’s are non-existent.
For individuals with celiac disease or severe gluten allergies, even the smallest amount of gluten can pose health risks. If you’re a person with these conditions, we advise against ordering food from McDonald’s.
Gluten-Free Items at McDonald’s
So, this fast food giant doesn’t have a certified gluten-free menu. That means eating a celiac-friendly diet isn’t totally possible. However, there are still options for those looking to limit their intake and for people with minor sensitivities to gluten. These items will likely have traces of gluten due to cross-contamination.
Note: McDonald's offerings also vary by location and country. For more specific questions about food allergies and cross-contamination, check with your local franchise for more details.
McDonald’s burger meat is 100% beef, meaning that there are no fillers or preservatives. They are only seasoned with salt and pepper.
While they don’t currently offer gluten-free buns, you can request your burger to be served in a lettuce wrap. If the establishment doesn’t offer lettuce wraps, you can simply ask for the burger to be served without the bun.
Gluten-free burger options include – but aren’t limited to:
- Cheeseburgers & Hamburgers
- Big Macs
- Quarter & Double Pounders with Cheese
Related: Looking to make your fries taste like the “real thing”? Upgrade your kitchen skills with an air fryer!
While McDonald’s breakfast items typically contain gluten, you can customize your breakfast to make it gluten-free by omitting items like English muffins, griddle cakes, or biscuits.
It’s not unheard of for people to order options like Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit without the biscuit. Why not try a Sausage Burrito without the tortilla, too?
Related: Easy Gluten-Free Drop Biscuits
As the most popular fast food restaurant in the US, McDonald’s offers a variety of dipping sauces that can enhance your meal. Gluten-free dipping sauce options include Ketchup, Mustard, Honey Mustard, Creamy Ranch, Spicy Buffalo, Honey, Tartar, and Mayonnaise.
Due to the risk of gluten, we recommend using packets for mayonnaise-based sauces whenever possible. This applies to Tartar Sauce, Mayonnaise, and Big Mac Sauce.
If you have a sweet tooth, McDonald’s offers several gluten-free sweets and treats. That said, there’s a very good chance that they’ve been in contact with glutinous ingredients and prep surfaces.
Gluten-free sweets include:
- McFlurry with M&M’s
- Shakes (Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry)
- Sundaes (Hot Fudge, Hot Caramel Sundae)
- Vanilla ice cream in a dish
- Apple slices
McDonald’s gluten-free items extend to their wide selection of gluten-free beverages. The following are all considered safe for a gluten-free diet: Coca-Cola soft drinks, frozen Coca-Cola products, sweet tea, orange juice, apple juice, 1% milk, and chocolate milk.
In addition to their Famous Premium Roast Coffee, most McCafe coffee drinks are gluten-free. However, due to potential cross-contamination issues, drinks that are mixed in shared equipment should be avoided by people with celiac disease or gluten allergies.
McCafe drinks that are gluten-free include:
- Iced Coffee
- Hot & Iced Macchiato
- Hot & Iced Mocha
- Hot & Iced Latte
- Hot Chocolate
- Smoothies (Strawberry Banana, Mango Pineapple)
Caramel, Mocha, and French Vanilla coffee syrup flavors are also available. These flavors are safe for people with celiac disease.
Does McDonald’s Sell Gluten-Free Salads?
For years, McDonald’s salads were the only celiac-friendly food option offered nationwide. Unfortunately, the fast food giant removed them during the COVID pandemic, citing worker shortages and higher prep time requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are McDonald’s Fries Gluten-Free?
While McDonald’s fries are incredibly popular, they’re definitely not gluten-free. Upon first glance, the ingredients seem safe enough. Unfortunately, the natural beef flavor used in McDonald’s fries contains wheat, rendering them unsuitable for individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. However, McDonald’s fries are prepared in a dedicated fryer, eliminating the risk of cross-contamination.
Related: Looking for celiac-friendly French fries at fast food places? We’ve got you covered.
Are McDonald’s Chicken Sandwiches Gluten-Free?
Because the breading contains wheat, none of the chicken sandwiches can be considered gluten-free. This is also true for the Filet-o-Fish sandwich.
Is There Gluten in a Big Mac?
While the Big Mac patties don’t contain gluten, the bun contains gluten. Ordering a Big Mac without the bun can technically be considered gluten-free, but it will almost certainly be cross-contaminated in the preparation process.
Are McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets Gluten-Free?
McDonald's Chicken McNuggets are coated in a breading that includes wheat flour. Individuals with celiac disease or severe gluten allergies should avoid McNuggets.
Do Mcdonald’s Burgers Contain Gluten?
McDonald’s burger patties are made with 100% beef, and salt and pepper are the only seasonings used. This makes patties gluten-free, but all of the kitchen surfaces are cross-contaminated with gluten (even if you order them without a bun). At the time of publication, no gluten-free buns are available.
The Bottom Line
While McDonald’s caters to hundreds of millions of customers every year, it’s not the ideal choice for people with serious gluten restrictions. Even if an item is free of wheat, barley, malt, and rye, cross-contamination is a substantial risk.
While McDonald’s gluten-free options are lacking, there are plenty of great fast food restaurants that cater to a gluten-free diet. Seek out establishments that have created dedicated gluten-free menus, ensure safe kitchen practices, and satisfy your cravings!