Are Culvers crinkle cut fries gluten-free?

Gluten-free dining can be challenging, but many fast food restaurants offer gluten-free options. Culver’s is a popular Midwest chain known for its ButterBurgers and frozen custard. But can you enjoy Culver’s signature crinkle cut fries if you are gluten-free? Here is a quick overview of whether Culver’s crinkle cut fries are gluten-free:

The Short Answer

Yes, Culver’s crinkle cut fries are gluten-free. Culver’s states that their crinkle cut fries are prepared in a dedicated fryer and are made without wheat. However, there is still a risk of cross-contamination with other menu items containing gluten. Individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should exercise caution when ordering.

Are Fries Naturally Gluten-Free?

Potatoes are naturally gluten-free. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It is not present naturally in potatoes. Therefore, french fries made from purely potatoes and frying oil should not contain any gluten.

However, many restaurants add batter or flour to their fries, or fry them in shared fryers. These factors can introduce trace amounts of gluten through cross-contamination. Plain potatoes may be gluten-free, but restaurant fries require further investigation.

Culver’s Crinkle Cut Fries Ingredients

According to the Culver’s website, their crinkle cut fries contain just three simple ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable oil (canola, soybean, and/or sunflower oil)
  • Dextrose (added to maintain color)

The key point here is that Culver’s fries do not contain any wheat-based ingredients. They are made from plain potatoes, frying oil, and a small amount of dextrose. Dextrose is a sugar derived from corn and is gluten-free.

So in terms of ingredients, Culver’s crinkle cut fries check out as gluten-free. But that’s not the whole story…

Risk of Cross-Contamination

Although the fries themselves do not contain gluten, they still have a chance of coming into contact with it during food preparation and service.

Here are some ways Culver’s crinkle cut fries could get cross-contaminated:

  • Shared fryer oil – Other menu items containing gluten like breaded foods may be fried in the same oil.
  • Shared cooking surfaces – Fries could touch work surfaces or utensils that handled gluten.
  • Errors by staff – Mistakes in food prep like using a contaminated basket to fry fries.

To reduce risks, Culver’s states they use dedicated fryers for the crinkle cut fries that only fry potato items. However, human error can never be completely eliminated in commercial kitchens.

What Culver’s Says About Gluten-Free Fries

On their website allergen information page, Culver’s states:

“Our crinkle cut fries are prepared in a dedicated fryer and are made without wheat.”

This is reassuring for gluten-free diners. Dedicated fryers reduce the chance of cross-contact with wheat-based products.

Culver’s also confirms the fries are made without wheat-based ingredients. This rules out the fries themselves as a source of gluten.

However, Culver’s includes a disclaimer:

“We do not recommend this product for guests with celiac disease. While we work hard to ensure no cross-contact with items containing gluten, it remains a possibility in our restaurants.”

This reflects the practical reality that commercial kitchens cannot be made 100% gluten-free. There is always a small risk of cross-contamination.

Should You Eat Culver’s Crinkle Cut Fries on a Gluten-Free Diet?

Individuals managing celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should use their own judgment on whether to consume Culver’s crinkle cut fries. Here are some points to consider in your personal risk assessment:

  • Culver’s uses dedicated fryers, reducing cross-contact risks.
  • The ingredients are gluten-free, with no wheat-based batter.
  • Culver’s openly advises those with celiac to exercise caution.
  • There have been no gluten-related complaints reported with the fries so far.
  • Trace amounts of gluten can make some diners ill. How sensitive are you?

In their allergen guide, Culver’s recommends guests with food allergies and intolerances visit the restaurant during non-peak hours to discuss ingredients and preparation with management. You can also call your local Culver’s ahead of time with any questions.

Being upfront about your celiac or gluten intolerance allows Culver’s staff to take extra precautions in the kitchen when preparing your order.

Tips for Ordering Gluten-Free at Culver’s

Here are some best practices for ordering Culver’s crinkle cut fries or other gluten-free menu items:

  • Look for dedicated fryers in restaurants. Ask staff how they avoid cross-contact.
  • Only order plain fries. Avoid fry seasonings that could contain gluten.
  • Request fries to be cooked fresh and served in a clean basket.
  • Avoid ordering fries during peak hours when kitchens are busiest.
  • Tell staff you need to avoid gluten due to an allergy.
  • Check labels and allergen info for shakes, custard, sauces, etc.
  • Know the high-risk menu items like breaded foods. Opt for grilled options.

With proactive ordering, you can feel comfortable indulging in Culver’s crispy crinkle cut fries on a gluten-free diet. Just remain vigilant and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Culver’s Gluten-Free Menu Items

Beyond fries, Culver’s offers other gluten-free friendly options:

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Get any fresh chicken sandwich held in a gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap. Choose plain grilled chicken or top it with approved gluten-free toppings.

Crispy Chicken Sandwich

The crispy chicken itself is gluten-free, since it is not breaded. Order it gluten-free by skipping the bun and having it over a salad or lettuce wrap instead.


Build your own burger on a gluten-free bun with gluten-free cheese and toppings. The plain beef patties are gluten-free. Specify no seasonings.


Fountain drinks, iced tea, milkshakes, and Culver’s custard shakes are generally gluten-free. But always check labels and allergen info. Some flavorings could contain gluten.


The coleslaw, beans, mashed potatoes, chili, and some salads are other gluten-free friendly sides at Culver’s. Again, confirm no croutons or wheat-based ingredients were added.

Gluten-Free Dining at Culver’s: The Verdict

Culver’s makes positive efforts to accommodate gluten-free guests. Their crinkle cut fries can be considered gluten-free, but may not meet the needs of more sensitive diners. Using dedicated fryers and being transparent about allergen risks are steps in the right direction.

Individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can enjoy tasty meals at Culver’s, as long as they take proactive precautions. Stick to whole, unbreaded ingredients cooked fresh and hold the bun. With smart ordering, you can satisfy your cravings for ButterBurgers and sweet frozen custard while maintaining your gluten-free diet. Just stay vigilant and enjoy the crinkle cut fries at your own discretion.

Question Answer
Are Culver’s crinkle cut fries gluten-free? Yes, Culver’s states their crinkle cut fries are prepared in dedicated fryers and made without wheat. But there is still a risk of cross-contamination.
What 3 ingredients are in Culver’s crinkle cut fries? Potatoes, vegetable oil, and dextrose.
Why does Culver’s not recommend their fries for celiacs? While Culver’s uses dedicated fryers, trace gluten contamination can still occur in restaurant kitchens.
What tips help gluten-free diners at Culver’s? Go during off-peak hours, ask about dedicated fryers, order plain items in gluten-free buns, and confirm ingredients.
What other gluten-free menu items does Culver’s offer? Grilled chicken sandwiches, burgers without buns, some salads, chili, beans, mashed potatoes, custard, drinks, etc. Check labels.


Culver’s crinkle cut fries can be considered gluten-free, but some precautions are needed for customers with celiac disease or sensitivity. Culver’s uses dedicated fryers and the fries themselves contain no wheat. But the possibility of trace contamination still exists in their kitchens.

In general, diners following a gluten-free diet can eat at Culver’s. They offer grilled meats, sandwiches over lettuce, plain burgers in gluten-free buns, fries, salads, and frozen custard shakes. Always confirm ingredients and preparation methods with restaurant staff. With smart ordering, you can safely enjoy classic Culver’s menu items while avoiding gluten exposure.

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