Are Checkers and Rally’s fries gluten-free?

Quick Answer

Most Checkers and Rally’s fries are gluten-free, but there are some important caveats. The standard fries at Checkers and Rally’s are made from potatoes, vegetable oil, and salt, none of which contain gluten. However, cross-contamination is possible in the frying oil, so Checkers and Rally’s cannot guarantee their fries are 100% gluten-free. People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should exercise caution when ordering fries. The seasoning salt used on the fries may also contain gluten.

Ingredients in Checkers and Rally’s Fries

The primary ingredients in standard Checkers and Rally’s fries are:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable oil (canola, palm, soybean, or sunflower)
  • Salt

None of these ingredients naturally contain gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Potatoes, vegetable oils, and salt are all naturally gluten-free.

However, even though the core ingredients in the fries are gluten-free, cross-contamination is possible during the preparation and cooking process.

Risk of Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination occurs when gluten-containing foods come into contact with gluten-free foods, transferring gluten to the gluten-free food.

In the case of fries, the oil used for frying can be a source of cross-contamination. If items containing gluten like breaded chicken or fried fish are cooked in the same fryer oil as the french fries, trace amounts of gluten can get transferred to the fries.

Checkers and Rally’s use shared fryers for all of their fried menu items. They cannot guarantee the fries will be completely free of cross-contamination.

Other Sources of Gluten

In addition to the frying oil, the seasoning salt used on Checkers and Rally’s fries could also contain gluten. The seasoning blend contains spices like paprika, garlic, and onion powder, which should be gluten-free. However, some seasoning mixes also contain wheat flour or malt vinegar that may introduce gluten.

Checkers and Rally’s have not confirmed whether their seasoning salt blend is gluten-free or not. Those with celiac disease or sensitivity should avoid the seasoned fries or request them unseasoned.

Are Checkers and Rally’s Fries Gluten-Free?

Based on the ingredients, standard Checkers and Rally’s fries should be gluten-free. However, due to the potential for cross-contamination in the fryers and uncertainty about seasonings, Checkers and Rally’s do not claim or guarantee that their fries are 100% gluten-free.

On their allergen information page, Checkers and Rally’s state:

Checkers & Rally’s menu items are prepared in common kitchens with the risk of gluten exposure. We cannot guarantee any menu item is completely free of gluten or any allergen. Guests are encouraged to consider this information in light of their individual requirements.

So in summary:

  • The core potatoes, oil, and salt used to make the fries are naturally gluten-free.
  • Shared fryers and seasonings introduce risk of cross-contamination.
  • Checkers and Rally’s do not claim their fries are gluten-free.
  • Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should exercise caution when eating the fries.

Steps to Minimize Gluten Exposure

If you need to avoid gluten, here are some tips for minimizing exposure risk when eating Checkers and Rally’s fries:

  • Request that your fries are cooked in fresh, uncontaminated oil. However, there is still a chance of gluten exposure.
  • Order your fries without seasoning to avoid the risk from seasonings.
  • Notify the staff about your gluten allergy or sensitivity when ordering.
  • Inspect your fries upon receiving your order to look for signs of cross-contamination like breading.

Despite these precautions, the only way to completely eliminate the risk of gluten exposure is to avoid eating Checkers and Rally’s fries if you have celiac disease or a wheat allergy. For those with milder gluten sensitivity, the fries may be tolerable when ordered unseasoned with precautions taken.

Gluten-Free Fries at Checkers and Rally’s

Beyond the standard french fries, Checkers and Rally’s also offer sweet potato fries. Sweet potato fries have a lower risk of gluten cross-contamination since they are typically cooked in separate fryer oil than the standard fries.

The basic sweet potato fries only have two ingredients: sweet potatoes and oil. This makes them unlikely to contain gluten. However, they could still pick up traces of gluten from cooking alongside breaded menu items. Your safest bet is to order sweet potato fries without seasoning.

Checkers and Rally’s used to advertise a gluten-free french fry option called Fryloons. These were specifically prepared to avoid cross-contamination. However, Fryloons have been discontinued and are no longer available on their menu.

Gluten-Free Options at Checkers and Rally’s

In addition to fries, other menu items at Checkers and Rally’s that may be good gluten-free choices include:

  • Burgers or sandwiches served wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun
  • Salads with gluten-free dressing
  • Milkshakes made with soft serve ice cream and no malt flavoring
  • Never Ever Frozen Beef Hot Dogs with no bun

Those with celiac disease or wheat allergies will still need to take precautions against cross-contamination when ordering at Checkers and Rally’s. But some menu items can be modified to make them gluten-free.

Carefully review ingredient labels and ask questions to restaurant staff when unsure about an item’s gluten status. And as always, explain your dietary needs related to gluten when placing your order.

Other Fast Food Chains with Gluten-Free Fries

Some fast food chains explicitly state that their fries are gluten-free on menus and allergen guides:

Restaurant Chain Fry Description
In-N-Out Their fries are made from potatoes, oil, and salt only. They have separate fryers from gluten-containing items.
Chick-fil-A Chick-fil-A’s waffle fries are prepared in 100% refined peanut oil in separate fryers.
Smashburger Smashburger’s Classic Smash fries are fried in a dedicated fryer and contain potato, oil, and salt.

These chains have strict procedures to avoid cross-contamination of fries, so they can confidently claim gluten-free status. Checkers and Rally’s have more variable practices, so cannot make the same guarantee.

Tips for Eating Gluten-Free at Fast Food Restaurants

Here are some general tips for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity when eating at fast food chains like Checkers and Rally’s:

  • Research the menu thoroughly online before ordering. Look for allergen guides.
  • Stick to basic foods like salads, grilled meats, and plain baked potatoes.
  • Avoid breaded and fried items unless the chain has gluten-free preparation.
  • Request food prep surfaces, utensils, and gloves to be cleaned before handling your food.
  • Ask about shared fryers, seasonings, marinades, and sauces.
  • Customize orders by leaving off buns, croutons, sauces, etc.
  • Let the staff know the severity of your gluten allergy when ordering.
  • Inspect your meal when served to confirm preparation accuracy.

With extra care and caution, those avoiding gluten can often build a safe fast food meal. But there will always be some risk of cross-contamination when a kitchen is not 100% gluten-free. Listen to your body and discontinue eating anything that causes symptoms.

Gluten-Related Conditions and Symptoms

Gluten triggers negative health effects primarily in people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity:

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack its own tissues when gluten is ingested. The damage occurs primarily in the small intestine.

  • Estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.
  • Caused by an immune reaction to gliadin, a gluten protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
  • Hallmark symptom is gastrointestinal distress like diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain.
  • Also associated with long-term complications like nutrient deficiencies, osteoporosis, and certain cancers if untreated.
  • Treatment involves a strict gluten-free diet for life to manage symptoms and prevent further damage.

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) involves a range of gluten-related symptoms without the intestinal damage seen in celiac disease.

  • Estimated to affect 6-13% of the population.
  • Symptoms may include bloating, abdominal discomfort, “foggy mind,” fatigue, and headaches.
  • No blood test or biomarkers available for diagnosis. NCGS is identified through symptom improvement on a gluten-free diet.
  • Not life-threatening but can significantly impact quality of life. Avoiding gluten helps manage symptoms.

For those with celiac disease and NCGS, ingesting even small amounts of gluten can trigger symptoms and health problems. That makes it essential to closely control gluten intake by avoiding foods and cross-contamination risks.

Should You Go Gluten-Free?

Outside of medical necessity, gluten-free diets have gained popularity in recent years. Proponents claim reducing or eliminating gluten offers health benefits like reduced inflammation, more energy, clearer thinking, and weight loss.

However, there is a lack of evidence that gluten causes negative effects in people without gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.

Going gluten-free when you don’t need to medically can result in:

  • Reduced intake of beneficial whole grains like wheat, rye, and barley
  • Lower fiber intake
  • Missing out on nutrients like iron, folate, niacin, thiamine, and fiber provided by fortified gluten-containing products
  • Higher grocery costs associated with specialty gluten-free products

Unless you have celiac disease, a confirmed wheat allergy, or symptoms that improve when gluten is removed, there is likely no harm or benefit to excluding gluten from your diet.

Focus instead on an overall healthy diet and lifestyle, not gluten avoidance, for optimal wellness if you do not have gluten-related medical issues.


Checkers and Rally’s fries have a low risk of gluten cross-contamination based on their ingredients, but cannot be considered gluten-free due to shared fryers and seasonings. Those with celiac disease or NCGS should exercise caution when eating fries from Checkers and Rally’s. Opting for unseasoned sweet potato fries reduces gluten risk.

Carefully reviewing ingredients, asking questions, and requesting special preparation can help those avoiding gluten navigate fast food menus safely. But there will always be some degree of uncertainty about gluten cross-contamination when multiple menu items are prepared in the same kitchen. Celiac and gluten sensitivity patients must weigh the risks and make the best choices possible when eating out.

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