Are fries from Del Taco gluten-free?

Many people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity wonder if they can safely eat the french fries from Del Taco. This fast food chain offers crispy fries that can be quite tempting for those who need to follow a gluten-free diet. But are Del Taco fries really gluten-free? Let’s take a closer look at what’s in them and how they are prepared.

What Makes Something Gluten-Free?

For a food to be considered gluten-free, it must not contain any wheat, rye, barley or cross-contaminated oats. These grains contain the protein gluten, which triggers an autoimmune reaction in those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Even tiny amounts of gluten can cause issues for those who are sensitive.

So for Del Taco fries to be gluten-free, they would need to be made without any of these prohibited grains. The potatoes themselves don’t contain gluten, so they are fine. It’s the additional ingredients and preparation method that may bring gluten into play.

Del Taco’s Stance on Gluten-Free Fries

On their website, Del Taco states that their regular fries are not gluten-free. They caution that there is a risk of cross-contamination with wheat flour at their restaurants. So those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should avoid their standard french fries.

However, Del Taco does offer crinkle-cut fries that they claim are prepared in a dedicated fryer separate from their other menu items. These crinkle fries come in an individual packet to further reduce cross-contamination risks. Del Taco states that these crinkle fries are “prepared to be gluten-free.”

Ingredients in Del Taco’s Fries

To evaluate if Del Taco’s claims about gluten-free fries hold up, we need to look at the ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable oil (contains one or more of the following: canola, palm, soybean, sunflower)
  • Dextrose
  • Disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate (to maintain natural color)
  • Extractives of paprika and turmeric (for color)

None of these ingredients contain gluten. Plain potatoes, vegetable oil, dextrose, disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate and paprika or turmeric extracts should all be fine for gluten-free diets. Dextrose is sometimes made from wheat but more commonly from corn. And the coloring extracts are made from spices, not grains.

Preparation and Cooking Methods

In addition to the ingredients, we also need to consider how Del Taco prepares and cooks their fries. As mentioned above, cross-contamination with flour is a concern in their standard frying method. Even a tiny amount of wheat flour coming into contact with the fries could trigger a reaction.

That’s why Del Taco uses dedicated fryers for their crinkle fries. The crinkle fries come packaged separately in paper pouches. They are not prepared alongside flour tortillas or other items containing gluten.

Del Taco staff are also trained to change gloves and avoid cross-contamination when handling gluten-free orders. They use separate tongs and scoops for the crinkle fries to prevent mixing with the standard fries.

Are Customer Experiences Consistent?

The ingredients and protocols make it seem like Del Taco’s crinkle fries should be gluten-free. But do customer experiences reflect this?

Looking at online reviews, many customers who need to avoid gluten are able to eat Del Taco’s crinkle fries without issue. However, some do report getting sick afterward. It’s unclear in those cases if it was actually the fries or another menu item that caused a problem. There also seem to be some inconsistencies between locations.

For example, one reviewer with celiac disease said, “I’ve eaten their crinkle cut fries a dozen times with no issues.” But another wrote, “My son got sick after eating crinkle fries that were supposed to be gluten free but were contaminated.”

There are also complaints about restaurants running out of the gluten-free crinkle fries and offering the regular ones instead without clear communication. So results may vary depending on the particular location and how well they are following protocols.

Are Del Taco Fries Safe for Celiacs?

For those with celiac disease, even small amounts of cross-contamination can trigger symptoms and damage to the small intestine. Some celiacs choose to avoid Del Taco’s fries altogether to be extra cautious.

The Celiac Disease Foundation states that people with celiac disease should use extreme caution with any restaurant foods labeled gluten-free, including fries from chains like Del Taco. They recommend confirming that staff understand how to prevent cross-contact.

Those with celiac disease who decide to try Del Taco crinkle fries would be wise to monitor symptoms carefully afterward. It may also depend on their individual sensitivity level.

Precautions for Gluten-Free Diners

If you need to avoid gluten and want to eat fries from Del Taco, here are some recommended precautions:

  • Stick to the crinkle cut fries in the individual packets, not the standard fries.
  • Confirm with staff that the location has gluten-free crinkle fries in stock before ordering.
  • Request fresh fries that have not been sitting under heat lamps to reduce cross-contamination risks.
  • Ask staff to change gloves before handling your order.
  • Inspect fries upon receipt to ensure no standard fries got mixed in.
  • Avoid ordering during busy rush periods where mistakes are more likely to happen.

Being proactive helps minimize risks but of course there are no guarantees any restaurant food is 100% gluten-free.

Other Menu Items to Avoid

In addition to their standard fries, there are other Del Taco menu items containing gluten that should be avoided:

  • Tortillas and taco shells
  • Churros
  • Beer batter fish
  • Chicken tenders
  • Crinkle cut chips
  • Onion rings
  • Empanadas
  • Quesadillas
  • Desserts and cookies
  • Sauces and toppings with wheat flour

Some of their corn tortilla items may be safe depending on cross-contamination risks. But in general, those with celiac disease need to be very careful when ordering anything breaded or fried at Del Taco.

Gluten-Free Menu Options

What menu items from Del Taco are safer gluten-free options? Here are some go-to choices:

  • Crinkle cut fries (in a dedicated packet)
  • Burgers or tacos on corn tortillas
  • Salads with corn chips and salsa
  • Naked chicken or steak soft tacos
  • Bean burritos
  • Guacamole
  • Onions, pico de gallo, lettuce, cheese and other toppings

Sticking to simple ingredients and customizing orders helps minimize risks. Some locations may offer gluten-free bun options as well. Be sure to confirm preparation protocols with staff.

Are Fries from Other Chains Gluten-Free?

What about french fries from other popular fast food chains? Here is a quick rundown of gluten-free options at some top spots:


Most locations only have shared fryers. But some now offer dedicated fryers for small batch gluten-free fries on request. These minimize cross-contact with wheat-based items.

Burger King

Does not offer gluten-free fries due to shared fryers. Ingredients also contain wheat.


States that fries contain wheat and shared fryers mean cross-contamination risk.


Has dedicated fryers for their waffle fries but states gluten-free not guaranteed. Some celiacs report tolerating.


Does not recommend fries for gluten-free diets due to shared cookers and wheat-based coating.

Five Guys

Uses shared fryers so standard fries have cross-contact with buns. Some locations offer gluten-free fry option.

As you can see, most major chains don’t consider their standard french fries safe for celiacs and gluten sensitivity. Del Taco is one of the few that offers a dedicated gluten-free preparation.

Should You Rely on Fast Food for Gluten-Free?

While some fast food fries may be “safe enough” for those with mild gluten sensitivity, for people with celiac disease, even small cross-contamination is risky. Eating fast food on a gluten-free diet also means potentially missing out on key nutrients from whole, fresh foods.

Rather than relying too heavily on quick service chains, emphasize preparing more meals yourself at home. That way you know exactly what goes into your food and avoid gluten, whether it’s in the ingredients themselves or picked up through cross-contact.

When you do grab fast food in a pinch, stick to basic whole ingredients as much as possible, ask lots of questions and use your best judgment. Chains like Del Taco are making an effort on gluten-free, but caution is still required.

The Bottom Line

So are Del Taco fries gluten-free? The answer is….it depends. Their standard french fries are definitely not gluten-free. But their crinkle fries, when prepared properly in the separate fryer, seem to be safe for most gluten-free diners based on ingredients and protocols.

However, those with celiac disease need to be extra cautious due to potential cross-contamination at certain locations. Experiences vary depending on the diligence of staff and how busy the restaurant is.

In general, dining out gluten-free requires some risk assessment. Being informed about menu options, asking questions and communicating with staff helps reduce that risk as much as possible. With care, those avoiding gluten can still enjoy an occasional fast food treat like fries from Del Taco without getting sick.

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