Are MOOYAH milkshakes gluten-free?

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people choosing to avoid gluten for medical reasons or simply as a lifestyle choice. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, adhering to a strict gluten-free diet is essential to avoid adverse health effects. When dining out or choosing prepared foods, it’s important for gluten-sensitive individuals to be aware of which menu items contain gluten and which are safely gluten-free.

One food that often comes into question is milkshakes from the restaurant chain MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes. MOOYAH is known for its extensive variety of creative burger options and its rich, hand-spun milkshakes made with real ice cream. But can those with gluten intolerance enjoy MOOYAH’s milkshakes without worry? Are MOOYAH’s milkshakes gluten-free?

What is Gluten and Why Do Some People Need to Avoid It?

Before diving into the gluten content of MOOYAH’s milkshakes, it’s important to understand what exactly gluten is and why some people need to eliminate it from their diets.

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. 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 health effects. However, for those with certain medical conditions like celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten can trigger the immune system and cause damage to the small intestine.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation and damage to the small intestine when gluten is ingested. This damage prevents the body from properly absorbing nutrients. Symptoms of celiac disease may include diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, fatigue, and weight loss. The only treatment for celiac disease is adhering to a strict lifelong gluten-free diet. Even small amounts of gluten can cause issues for those with celiac disease.

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity involves having a reaction to gluten that is similar to celiac disease but without the immune response and intestinal damage. Symptoms can include bloating, headaches, fatigue, and digestive issues when gluten is consumed. As with celiac disease, the only treatment is removing gluten from the diet.

For those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, avoiding gluten is key to managing symptoms and preventing further complications. This means paying close attention to the ingredients in all foods and drinks consumed.

Gluten Content of Dairy Products Like Milkshakes

When considering whether a food item like a milkshake is gluten-free, it’s important to understand both the main ingredients as well as secondary ingredients that may add trace amounts of gluten.

The base ingredients of milkshakes are typically milk and ice cream. Milk has no naturally occurring gluten, making dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt safe for gluten-free diets as long as they do not contain added ingredients that contain gluten.

Ice cream and milkshakes also typically use some type of flavoring or inclusions like cookies, candies, or chocolate syrups. This is where gluten can potentially be introduced if ingredients derived from wheat, rye, or barley are used.

For example, here are some potential sources of gluten in milkshake ingredients:

– Cookie dough or crushed cookies containing wheat flour
– Malt or malt flavoring derived from barley
– Brownie or cake pieces made with flour
– Flavor syrups or extracts containing malt or unspecified starch thickeners
– Stabilizing additives like wheat flour or maltodextrin

So while dairy products are naturally gluten-free, the many additional ingredients used to create flavored milkshakes introduce the risk of gluten. Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity need to be aware of all ingredients in a milkshake to determine if it’s safe to consume.

Ingredients in MOOYAH Milkshakes

Now that we understand the potential sources of gluten in milkshakes, what about the specific milkshakes made by MOOYAH?

Here is an overview of the main ingredients and process used by MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes in making their milkshakes:

– The milkshake base is ice cream. MOOYAH uses 100% real ice cream in their shakes.

– They offer both classic flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, as well as specialty flavors including cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, peanut butter, and banana.

– Flavorings include things like real strawberries, banana, peanut butter, chocolate sauce, and Oreo cookie pieces when applicable.

– No malt or malt flavoring is used.

– Milkshakes can be customized by adding mix-ins like candy pieces or additional sauces.

– All milkshakes are made without gluten-containing ingredients except in certain flavored sauces and candy mix-ins.

– Customers with gluten intolerance can request no candy or sauce add-ins.

Based on this overview of the milkshake ingredients and process at MOOYAH, it appears that most standard milkshake flavors are gluten-free. The basic ingredients of ice cream, milk, and flavorings like fruit and peanut butter do not contain gluten.

However, those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity need to be more cautious when choosing specialty flavors, candy add-ins, and additional sauces. Communicating with the staff about gluten-free needs is key for anyone with high sensitivity.

Verifying Gluten-Free Claims with MOOYAH

To get definitive confirmation about the gluten content of their milkshakes, I contacted MOOYAH Burger’s customer service department directly.

According to their representative, all of MOOYAH’s classic milkshake flavors are gluten-free including vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, cookies and cream, mint chocolate chip, peanut butter, and banana. These are made without any gluten-containing ingredients.

They cannot guarantee that specialty sauces and candy add-ins are gluten-free, as many contain cookie pieces, malt, and starches derived from gluten sources. Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should customize their milkshakes by requesting no candy or additional sauces and sticking with the classic gluten-free flavors for safety.

The MOOYAH representative I spoke with also advised that guests can request to see ingredient labels and allergen information for any menu items to help verify gluten content. Their managers are trained to assist guests with finding gluten-free menu options as well.

So in summary, the classic milkshake flavors from MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes can be safely consumed on a gluten-free diet. Customizing by avoiding specialty sauces and candies is recommended for those with celiac disease or high sensitivity. Checking labels and asking questions when ordering is key to verifying gluten content.

Tips for Ordering Gluten-Free at MOOYAH

Here are some tips for customers wishing to order gluten-free menu options at MOOYAH:

– Ask to see the ingredients list and allergen information for milkshakes and other menu items. Verify no gluten sources are listed.

– Stick to the basic classic milkshake flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Avoid specialty sauces and flavorings.

– Customize milkshakes by asking for no candy pieces or additional syrups, as these likely contain gluten.

– Be aware that cookies used in flavors like cookies and cream contain gluten. Opt for other gluten-free flavors.

– Check that burgers are served on gluten-free buns if needed. MOOYAH has gluten-free bun options.

– Verify fries are prepared only in dedicated fryer oil and not mixed with breaded items.

– Ask about ingredients and preparation methods for salad dressings, spices, and sauces. Ensure no gluten.

– Request that any toppings, sauces, or items that come into contact with your food are prepared separately to prevent cross-contact.

– Tell staff you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance when ordering. They can take extra care with your order.

Being informed, asking questions, and customizing your order is key to safely eating gluten-free at any restaurant including MOOYAH. With some modifications, many menu items like their classic milkshakes can be part of a gluten-free diet.

Milkshake Alternatives at Other Gluten-Free Restaurant Chains

In addition to the gluten-free milkshakes at MOOYAH, here are some other restaurant chains that offer milkshakes safe for gluten-free diets:

In-N-Out Burger

– Milkshakes are made with real ice cream and milk
– Classic flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry are gluten-free
– Shakes can be customized by asking for no add-ins like malt powder or cookie pieces

Steak ‘n Shake

– All classic hand-dipped milkshakes are gluten-free
– Flavors include chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and cookies and cream
– Take care with specialty shakes that may contain cookie pieces

Ruby’s Diner

– Milkshakes are made with soft serve ice cream and milk
– Ruby’s confirms their shakes do not contain malt or gluten ingredients
– Flavors such as vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry are gluten-free

Baskin Robbins

– Most of their classic milkshake flavors are gluten-free
– Avoid flavor add-ins like cookies or cake pieces with gluten
– Ice cream and gelato shakes are safe gluten-free options

The majority of basic milkshakes from chain restaurants contain no gluten ingredients. Those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can enjoy milkshakes from gluten-free restaurants by customizing orders and verifying preparation methods.

Are Homemade Milkshakes Gluten-Free?

Making milkshakes at home is another way those on a gluten-free diet can still enjoy these sweet treats. Here are some tips for keeping homemade milkshakes gluten-free:

– Choose gluten-free ice cream. Many brands clearly label gluten-free options.

– Use milk substitutes like lactose-free milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or rice milk. Opt for unsweetened varieties.

– Mix in pureed real fruit like banana or strawberry for flavor.

– Add gluten-free cookie crumbles or chocolate chips if desired. Enjoy Life, Oreo, and Hershey’s brands offer gluten-free options.

– Use extracts like vanilla or almond extract instead of flavor syrups, which may contain gluten.

– Sweeten shakes with honey, maple syrup, or sugar instead of malted milk powder.

– Try making shakes in a blender for a thicker, smoother texture without additives.

– Look for gluten-free milkshake mix packets from brands like Carnation Breakfast Essentials.

– Use dedicated equipment and thoroughly clean blenders to avoid cross-contact with gluten.

With tasty gluten-free ingredients and proper precautions, homemade milkshakes can be enjoyed on a gluten-free diet. Experiment with favorite fruits, extracts, and custom add-ins.

The Bottom Line: How to Order Gluten-Free Milkshakes

Here is a summary of tips for ordering milkshakes gluten-free:

– Verify basic shake flavors at restaurants are made without gluten-containing ingredients

– Avoid flavored syrups, malt powders, cookie/cake pieces, and candy mixes with gluten

– Customize by asking for no gluten-containing add-ins and sticking to classic flavors

– Review ingredient lists and allergen info for shakes and mix-ins before ordering

– Ask about preparation methods and gluten-free practices if highly sensitive

– Opt for milkshakes from chains that offer gluten-free alternatives

– Make customized shakes at home using gluten-free ingredients

– Communicate with staff about gluten intolerance when ordering at restaurants

With the proper precautions, those avoiding gluten can still enjoy delicious milkshakes from restaurants like MOOYAH or homemade. Being an informed consumer, asking questions, and customizing orders makes it possible to indulge in milkshakes safely on a gluten-free diet.


Eating gluten-free does not mean having to miss out on favorite treats like milkshakes. By understanding ingredients, verifying preparation methods, and customizing orders, those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can enjoy milkshakes from many restaurants.

MOOYAH’s classic ice cream shakes made without candy or sauces are an option for gluten-free diets. At home, additional precautions when using equipment and ingredients make homemade milkshakes possible as well. With the right modifications, milkshakes can still be on the menu for anyone avoiding gluten.

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