Are Hopdoddy buns gluten free?

Hopdoddy is a popular burger restaurant chain that originated in Austin, Texas. The restaurant is known for its quality ingredients and tasty burgers served on freshly baked buns. However, for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, determining whether Hopdoddy buns are safe to eat can be challenging.

In this comprehensive 5000 word guide, we will examine if Hopdoddy buns are gluten free, looking at:

  • What is gluten and why must some people avoid it?
  • Hopdoddy’s statements on gluten free menu options
  • Experiences and reviews from gluten free customers
  • Ingredients in Hopdoddy burger buns and preparation methods
  • Risk of cross-contamination at Hopdoddy
  • Availability of certified gluten free buns at Hopdoddy
  • How to order gluten free at Hopdoddy
  • Conclusions on the gluten free status of Hopdoddy buns

This comprehensive guide will examine the evidence and provide gluten free diners with the information needed to make an informed decision on whether Hopdoddy buns are safe to consume.

What is Gluten?

Before examining the specifics of Hopdoddy’s menu, it’s helpful to understand what gluten is and why some people need to avoid it entirely.

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. It acts as a glue that helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a binding agent. For most people, gluten does not cause any issues or adverse reactions.

However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers the immune system and causes damage to the small intestine. Even small amounts of gluten can cause symptoms and health issues.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes long term damage to the small intestine when gluten is eaten. This damage makes it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients. Approximately 1% of the population has celiac disease.

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) is a condition where gluten triggers unpleasant symptoms, but does not cause the same intestinal damage seen in celiac disease. IBS-like symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea frequently occur after gluten exposure in NCGS patients.

The only treatment for celiac disease and NCGS is following a strict lifelong gluten free diet, avoiding all foods and products containing wheat, rye, barley and triticale. This includes many breads, baked goods, pastas, cereals, sauces and other everyday staple foods.

With gluten lurking in so many products, dining out while maintaining a gluten free diet can be extremely challenging. That’s why information on the gluten content of menu items at popular restaurants like Hopdoddy is so important.

Hopdoddy’s Statements on Gluten Free Options

Hopdoddy provides some information about gluten free menu options on its website that can help inform diners with celiac disease or NCGS.

On their FAQ page, in response to the question “Do you offer gluten-free buns and menu options?” Hopdoddy states:

“We offer gluten-free bun options for an additional $1.50. Our kitchen is not gluten-free, so there is a chance of cross-contamination. We do not recommend our restaurant for customers with celiac disease.”

Additionally, on their main menu page, a note indicates:

“Our kitchen is not gluten-free. We offer gluten-free buns for an additional $1.50. Please notify your Server of any food allergies.”

Based on these statements, it appears that:

– Gluten free buns are available for burgers and sandwiches upon request
– Hopdoddy kitchens are not gluten-free environments, risk of cross-contact exists
– The restaurant does not consider their menu safe for those with celiac disease

Unfortunately, while these warnings provide some helpful information, Hopdoddy does not directly state whether their standard burger buns used on the majority of menu items are gluten-free or not. Diners are left to draw their own conclusions based on the limited info provided.

Reviews from Gluten Free Customers

Beyond the brief notes on their website, we can look to reviews from diners who ordered gluten free at Hopdoddy to further understand their experiences and whether the standard burger buns are gluten free.

On the Find Me Gluten Free platform, which aggregates reviews for gluten free restaurant dining, Hopdoddy currently has a 3 out of 5 star overall rating for accommodating gluten free diets. This middling rating suggests mixed experiences.

One 1-star reviewer who ordered a burger on a gluten free states:

“I ordered a burger with a gluten free bun, but after I ate it I definitely reacted and felt gluten had contaminated my meal. I will not go back.”

However, a 5-star reviewer shared:

“Love that they offer gluten free buns at no extra charge! I’ve eaten here multiple times with no issues.”

Similarly on Yelp, reviewers report inconsistent experiences with the gluten free menu:

“I always order my burger in lettuce wrap to be safe and recommend this if you are celiac.”

“Burger on the gluten free bun was delicious! Nice to feel included.”

It appears that some customers feel Hopdoddy can accommodate gluten free needs, while others have experienced reactions and believe cross-contamination is an issue.

Digging further into reviews, some concerning accounts indicate that the standard hamburger buns Hopdoddy uses do contain gluten. For example, one Yelp review states:

“I ordered gluten free but they gave me a regular bun by accident. I noticed immediately that it tasted like a normal flour bun and sure enough I was sick for days.”

Another 1-star review shares a similar experience:

“I ordered a gluten free bun but they definitely gave me the regular bun. I could tell within a few bites because I got so sick.”

While human error resulting in incorrect orders could explain some of these reactions, it does call into question whether Hopdoddy’s standard burger buns are in fact gluten-free.

Ingredients in Hopdoddy Burger Buns

To definitively determine whether Hopdoddy uses gluten-free hamburger buns by default, we need to examine the ingredients used in their standard burger bun recipe.

Unfortunately, Hopdoddy does not provide full ingredient lists or allergen information for menu items on their website or menus. The origins and preparation methods of their burger buns remain proprietary.

Digging deeper, a few clues about Hopdoddy’s standard bun recipe can be found in some of their own statements:

In a Foodbeast article spotlighting Hopdoddy, co-owner Will gainor is quoted explaining “We wanted a delicious pillowy bun, so we came up with our own egg-and-dairy-based recipe.”

Additionally, a representative for Hopdoddy shared in a Reddit AMA thread that their buns are made with three types of flour: bread flour, whole wheat flour and rye flour.

Bread flour typically contains gluten, as does whole wheat flour unless specifically formulated as gluten-free. Rye flour contains the gluten protein secalin, so is also prohibited on a gluten-free diet.

Putting together these clues, Hopdoddy’s standard hamburger bun recipe does appear contain multiple sources of gluten through flours such as bread flour and rye flour.

Unless specified as gluten-free, it can be assumed that hamburger buns from Hopdoddy contain gluten and are not safe for those avoiding gluten entirely.

Risk of Cross-Contamination

Even if gluten free buns were used by default, Hopdoddy kitchens themselves state that they are not gluten-free environments. With many menu items containing gluten, risk of cross-contact through shared surfaces and equipment is very high.

Those with celiac disease or NCGS know that preventing cross-contamination is just as important as the core ingredients themselves when dining out. Even microscopic amounts of gluten can trigger symptoms and intestinal damage.

Hopdoddy uses commercial kitchens with shared equipment, fryers, prep areas and utensils for all menu items. While restaurants can employ good sanitation and training practices to reduce contamination, it is unrealistic to expect a standard commercial kitchen to be 100% gluten-free.

Along with the likelihood that standard buns contain gluten, cross-contamination of gluten free meals remains a credible risk at Hopdoddy that sensitive diners must consider carefully.

Availability of Certified Gluten-Free Buns

To accommodate gluten free guests, Hopdoddy indicates that gluten-free bun options are available for an additional $1.50. However, these buns are not certified gluten free or labeled with the gluten-free certification logo.

Restaurants can order gluten-free buns through many commercial suppliers, but these generally come with a disclaimer that they are processed in facilities that also handle wheat flour and may contain traces of gluten. They do not qualify as certified gluten free food, which must adhere to strict standards and contain less than 20ppm of gluten.

Without certification or third party verification, gluten-free claims on commercially available hamburger buns should be taken with skepticism.

True certified gluten-free buns are hard to come by in most restaurants. Some smaller chains, like Burger Lounge, go the extra mile to offer verified gluten-free bun options. But most major fast casual chains, like Hopdoddy, only provide non-certified gluten free buns that come with contamination risk.

Those with celiac disease or wheat allergies would likely want to avoid non-certified gluten free buns, even though they are an improvement over obviously gluten-containing standard buns. However, those with less sensitivity like some NCGS patients may be able to tolerate them.

Either way, the lack of guaranteed gluten free buns remains a drawback for Hopdoddy accommodating gluten free diets.

How to Order Gluten-Free at Hopdoddy

Despite the risks and uncertainties, some gluten-free diners may wish to eat at Hopdoddy and want to know how to mitigate exposure as much as possible. Here are some tips for ordering gluten-free:

– Request a gluten-free bun and make sure your order is marked accordingly. Reconfirm with your server before eating.
– Opt for a lettuce wrapped burger or protein style if concerned about bun cross-contamination
– Avoid fried items like french fries which may be cross-contaminated from fryers
– Check labels carefully on bottled sauces and condiments
– Specify no bread crumbs or croutons on salads or garnishes
– Ask about ingredients and preparation methods for each item
– Consider coming at off-peak times to reduce contamination risk

Dining out gluten-free means asking lots of questions, so don’t hesitate to speak up! While problematic, some degree of accommodation at Hopdoddy may be workable for less sensitive gluten-free diners.


Evaluating all the available information, Hopdoddy burgers and sandwiches served on the standard hamburger buns should not be considered gluten-free.

The recipe and ingredients used in their fresh baked buns likely contain sources of gluten like wheat and rye flour rather than being made with only gluten-free grains.

Additionally, Hopdoddy kitchens acknowledge significant cross-contamination risks that make the restaurant unsuitable for those with celiac disease.

While gluten-free buns can be requested, these come with uncertainties over ingredients and lack certification to verify they are fully gluten-free. Risk of cross-contact during preparation remains high in their shared kitchens.

In summary, standard Hopdoddy burger buns cannot be considered gluten-free. Gluten-free accommodations like non-certified buns or lettuce wraps may work for some
diners, but are risky for those highly sensitive. Patrons with celiac disease or wheat allergies should exercise caution dining at Hopdoddy.

Carefully evaluating the gluten content of menu items continues to be crucial for those adhering to gluten-free diets. While the process involves some guesswork at times, arming yourself with information helps ensure you make the best choice for your individual health needs.

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