Is McDonald’s Gluten-Free?

No, it’s not recommended for celiacs to dine at McDonald’s. Even though there’s a selection of gluten-free items, the risk of gluten contamination on their kitchen is extremely high.

Want a quick grab of juicy burger and crispy chicken? You’re probably considering McDonald’s. But as a celiac, you’re wondering, ‘Is McDonald’s gluten-free?’ 

It’s a valid concern, knowing how busy the kitchen of this famous fast-food. And while McDonald’s has some gluten-free menu items, celiacs are not advised to dine here, mainly if concerned about gluten-free living. 

Do you want to learn more? Let’s explore your options and potential pitfalls when eating at McDonald’s.

What is McDonald’s Best-Known For

A tray with a selection of McDonald's food

Happy Meals? McDonald’s French Fries? Ice Cream Sundaes? Do these stuff make your mouth water? 

Well, I get you! McDonald’s has established its name for being renowned for fast food worldwide. Thanks to their intense marketing, almost everyone has tried dining at McDonald’s.

But the question is: “Are they celiac-friendly and a good option for people with gluten allergy?”

Fortunately, they have some gluten-free food. However, the risk of gluten contamination is extremely high. So, if you have severe gluten sensitivity, I don’t advise this fast-food chain as you’ll likely eat gluten because of cross-contamination. 

Can Celiacs Eat at McDonald’s

An image of McDonald's menu board

While there’s no McDonald’s gluten-free menu, you can still find a few items that don’t contain wheat or gluten-based ingredients. 

However, caution is advised due to the risk of cross-contamination in the kitchen. Although known for its fast and convenient service, McDonald’s is not a gluten-free facility.

For individuals with Celiac disease, this can pose a severe problem. Even minute traces of gluten can trigger symptoms. 

That’s why you must exercise caution when eating at McDonald’s. If your gluten intolerance is severe, opting for a restaurant that offers certified gluten-free options might be safer.

Best Gluten-Free Options at McDonald’s

You’re in for a treat as we delve into the best gluten-free options at McDonald’s.

We’ll explore the beverages, desserts, salads, and breakfast items safe for those avoiding gluten.


A pair of McDonald's beverages

Want some refresher? Well, you’re in luck because most McDonald’s beverages are gluten-free.

But remember, it’s always wise to double-check, especially with seasonal or limited-time drinks. 

As you explore McDonald’s menu, here’s a guide to help you:

  1. Sodas: They’re universally gluten-free.
  2. Coffee: McDonald’s regular and iced coffees are gluten-free. Be cautious with flavored coffees and lattes.
  3. Milkshakes: Typically, these are gluten-free, but cross-contamination could occur with the equipment used.

Remember, cross-contamination is possible in any restaurant that isn’t 100% gluten-free. So, if you’re highly sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease, it’s best to exercise caution when ordering any item.


A photograph of McDonald's soft-serve ice cream

It’s a delight to know that several dessert options, such as soft-serve ice cream and sundaes, are generally safe for those avoiding wheat products. 

Here’s a quick guide for you:

  1. Soft-Serve Ice Cream: This is typically gluten-free. However, avoid the cone as it contains gluten.
  2. Sundaes: Order these without any mix-ins to be safe. The toppings are generally gluten-free.
  3. McFlurries: The ice cream base is gluten-free, but the mix-ins and the cookie pieces are not.
  4. Fruit ‘N Yogurt Parfait: This is gluten-free when ordered without granola.

While McDonald’s provides these options, it’s crucial to exercise caution due to potential cross-contamination.


A bowl of McDonald's southwest grilled chicken salad

If you want to eat gluten-free at McDonald’s, their salad selection is your safest bet. 

But remember to ask for them without croutons and request dressings that don’t contain wheat products. Also, communicating your dietary needs to the staff to prevent cross-contamination is essential.

Here are some steps to ensure a safer dining experience:

  1. Specify your gluten intolerance: Be clear about your dietary restrictions.
  2. Order wisely: Opt for the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad or the Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken Salad, which are gluten-free.
  3. Double-check your order: Ensure no croutons or gluten-containing dressings have been added.
  4. Be vigilant: Cross-contamination can happen, so if you’re highly sensitive or have celiac disease, you may want to skip McDonald’s.

What To Avoid At McDonalds

You’re probably familiar with McDonald’s popular items like juicy burgers and crispy breaded chicken. But if you’re trying to maintain a gluten-free diet, you must approach these favorites cautiously. 

Studies have shown that, while their tantalizing tastes may tempt you, they contain gluten and are often prepared in environments where cross-contamination can occur.

McDonald’s Burger

a tray of McDonald's food with big mac, french fries and a drink

Does the natural beef flavor and juiciness of McDonald’s burger tantalize you? You must know that all McDonald’s burgers are served with gluten-containing buns. 

And sadly, they don’t offer gluten-free buns as a substitute. You might consider ordering a burger without the bun would solve the problem, but it’s not that simple.

Cross-contamination is a real concern in McDonald’s kitchens due to the widespread use of gluten in many products. Even a seemingly safe, bun-less burger could have come in contact with gluten during preparation.

Breaded Chicken

An image of McDonald's chicken and french fries

You’re likely drawn to the crispy, flavorful coating that makes these items simply irresistible. 

But if you’re managing gluten sensitivities or celiac disease, knowing these breaded products aren’t your best choice is vital.

McDonald’s breads their chicken, which unfortunately means these items contain gluten. 

Remember, it’s not just about the chicken itself, but what it’s breaded with that matters. The risk of cross-contamination in the kitchen also poses a potential problem.

Can You Order Burgers Without Buns at McDonald’s

Sure, you can ask for a burger without the bun at McDonald’s. But be aware of potential cross-contamination during preparation.

McDonald’s is full of gluten-containing items, so while they can accommodate your request, it doesn’t guarantee a gluten-free meal. The burger patty may come into contact with gluten-containing elements on the grill or utensils.

Also, the toppings may not be entirely safe. Some sauces and condiments contain gluten, and gloves for handling bread could cross-contaminate your food.

Alternative Gluten-Free Fast Food

An image of Chick-fil-A's food

You’re probably wondering if other fast food alternatives cater to a gluten-free lifestyle.

Let’s explore these three popular chains to see how they offer gluten-free options.


Chick-fil-A does offer more gluten-free options. They have grilled chicken and a gluten-free bun for their sandwiches. 

If you’re conscious about your dietary choices, you’ll appreciate that Chick-fil-A does a commendable job catering to gluten-sensitive patrons. 

Their vast array of gluten-free offerings doesn’t only stop at the grilled chicken and gluten-free bun. You’ll find that their menu includes a variety of other dishes, too.

Their allergen guide, readily available on their website, is helpful. It details all the ingredients used so you can make an informed decision. 


If you’re looking for more gluten-free options, Chipotle might be a great choice. 

Unlike McDonald’s, Chipotle takes pride in offering a wide range of customizable bowls and burritos that can be tailored to fit a gluten-free diet. They’ve even gone the extra mile by providing a designated gluten-free menu on their website, making planning your meals easier.


In Arby’s, you’ll find a few items that won’t interfere with your dietary restrictions. 

They offer bun-less roast beef sandwiches and some sides suitable for those with dietary restrictions. Request roast beef without the bun if you’re craving a traditional sandwich.

Remember always to check the ingredients of the sauces and sides, as some may contain gluten. Arby’s tries to provide options for their gluten-sensitive customers, but they can’t guarantee a completely gluten-free environment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Mcdonald’s Offer a Dedicated Gluten-Free Menu?

No, you won’t find a dedicated gluten-free menu at McDonald’s. They have some gluten-free items. But be aware of cross-contamination that can happen.

Is the Oil Used for Frying at McDonald’s Contaminated With Gluten?

Yes, the oil McDonald’s uses for frying could be contaminated with gluten due to shared fryers. You’d have to be cautious if you’re extremely sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease.

Is McDonald’s French Fries Gluten-Free?

Sadly, McDonald’s french fries are unsafe for you despite being naturally gluten-free. McDonald’s has no separate fryer to cook fries, so it’ll most likely be contaminated with gluten.


So, is McDonald’s gluten-free?

Well, you can find some gluten-free options at McDonald’s, but they’re limited. But most importantly,  it’s crucial to remember that their kitchens handle gluten-containing products, so cross-contamination risks are extremely high.

Want to know more about the gluten content in other food and drinks? Check out my full list here: What Is Gluten In?

Other Gluten-Free Restaurant

John Benedict
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