Whether you suffer from celiac disease or are just looking to reduce the amount of gluten in your diet, finding foods that work within your limitations can be extremely challenging. Not only do you have the ingredients themselves to worry about, but the environments that they’re prepared in and what they could have come into contact with.

Wendy’s is famous for their hamburgers and chicken nuggets, neither of which fits the gluten free bill. However, most assume that their chili is safe to eat since it contains no “bready” ingredients.

Is Wendy’s chili gluten free?

Wendy’s chili has no wheat ingredients and is thus technically gluten-free. The only listed allergens, according to their website, are soy and milk. However, there is always the potential for cross-contamination in a commercial kitchen.

According to Wendy’s website, their chili contains the following:

Chili Base (Chili Sauce [Water, Tomato Paste, Tomatoes (Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Calcium Chloride), Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Chili Pepper, Spices, Flavor Enhancer (Dextrose, Salt, Yeast Extract, Modified Corn Starch), Citric Acid, Garlic Powder, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Onion Powder, Xanthan Gum], Onions, Celery, Green Peppers), Water, Ground Beef (Beef, Salt), Chili Beans (Prepared Pink Beans, Prepared Red Kidney Beans), Soy Lecithin.

Wendy’s Website

Still wondering about what else you can eat at Wendy’s and other fast food places? Keep on reading!

What foods are gluten-free at Wendy’s?

If you have celiac disease or are otherwise very, very sensitive to gluten in all forms (including cross contamination) there are just a few things you can safely eat at Wendy’s. 

While the potential for contamination always exists in any kitchen environment, Wendy’s Frosties are pretty safe since they aren’t really prepared near any gluten-containing foods. Yes, that’s right, both chocolate and vanilla Frosties are gluten free! The crave-able frozen treat is the go-to for many gluten intolerant customers and probably poses the least risk of touching anything else in the restaurant. 

Their new breakfast menu also has a few exciting gluten free options including their sausage and bacon breakfast bowls. These can be paired with some homestyle potatoes (kind of like home fries) and some apple bites for a well-rounded meal. 

As we mentioned, chili is also gluten free and is one of the heartier, potentially meal-replacing menu items available to someone who can’t eat gluten. Their baked potatoes are also a cult favorite, and you can even get the ones with sour cream and chives or chili, bacon, and cheese! 

The fries at Wendy’s do not contain gluten themselves, but you should ask about their fryer situation if you’re sensitive to cross contamination. In some restaurants, they may be fried in the same oil as wheat-containing foods. 

Another possible contamination issue comes up with their salads. You can always ask for no croutons, but double check that they aren’t premade with them already on there. Simply picking them off won’t do you any favors! One exception is the taco salad, which is fine just as is. 

Does Wendy’s have a gluten-free bun?

Sadly, Wendy’s does not offer a gluten free bun. It would be great to be able to enjoy one of their great sandwiches in, well, sandwich form, but it seems that we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, you can always order the sandwich without any bun. Be sure to politely inform the person taking your order that you have a gluten allergy. 

What are some gluten free fast food options?

There isn’t a huge amount of gluten free stuff to be found on most fast food menus. What they do have to offer could also be contaminated in the shared work environment. Also, not all restaurants post clear gluten free or wheat allergen markers on their menus, so it can make finding food very difficult. 

One place that I feel excels at allergen labeling and handling is Chipotle. While they aren’t your typical fast food place, they are definitely a fast casual chain that you can find just about anywhere. They also have one of the most celiac-friendly menus out there; only one of their foods contains gluten (the flour tortilla). As such, you can rest assured that everything else you eat will be wheat-free.

Since most of their employees handle tortillas when serving customers, you will probably have to ask that they change gloves. Also, not all of their toppings have a serving spoon, some are just served by the handful. This means that they have been touched after someone has touched a tortilla. For this reason, if you’re very sensitive to cross contamination it may not be the best choice. 

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What is healthy at Wendy’s?

Fast food isn’t synonymous with health food, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some health-conscious choices when you’re eating out.  At Wendy’s, the chili is actually one of the healthier items available. The small size has only 160 calories and even has 14 grams of protein. 

They also offer apple slices, which are of course very healthy. The standard baked potato, while high in carbs, has some plant based protein and zero grams of fat. 

For a lower calorie sandwich option, check out the Junior Burger. Coming in at just 240 calories, 25 grams of carbs, and 14 grams of protein, this smaller version of Wendy’s famous burger should satisfy your cravings just fine. They also now have grilled chicken sandwiches with tasty toppings like avocado (and bacon). 

If you’re looking to cut calories, definitely avoid any of the larger burgers (particularly those with bacon) as they are super dense in fats. Frosties are also a no-no due to their high sugar content. 

What restaurants can I eat at on Keto?

Fast food is certainly high in fat, but not necessarily low in carbs. In general, you’ll want to order any sandwiches without a bun for starters. Some places offer lettuce wraps, but in most cases you probably won’t be able to get one. 

Grilled chicken sandwiches with no bun are great choices, like McDonald’s Artisan sandwich. Even an egg sandwich with no bread is pretty decent, and in some cases you can skate by with getting cheese or bacon on it!

At Mexican places, you’ll definitely need to skip the rice and probably the sour cream and cheese as well. They do have the added benefit of having lots of meat options available, and you can add salsas or guacamole for some extra flavor and healthy fat. 

Related Questions:

Is Wendy’s chili Keto friendly?

The keto diet is designed to minimize carbohydrates. Wendy’s chili, according to their nutrition information, has 21 grams of carbs in a small cup and 30 grams of carbs in a large cup. Some people set their own specific numbers when it comes to how many carbs they want to aim for in a day, but these numbers are pretty high for a side dish of food. 

Is Wendy’s grilled chicken gluten free?

The chicken itself is gluten free, but Wendy’s explicitly states, in all capital letters, that “GRILLED, HOMESTYLE, AND SPICY CHICKEN BREASTS ARE CUT ON A COMMON CUTTING BOARD, WHICH RESULTS IN CROSS-CONTACT WITH WHEAT AND SOY ALLERGENS”. 

Clearly, they want everyone to know that if you’re extremely sensitive to gluten cross contamination, you should probably stay away from any chicken.