Are nacho fries gluten-free from Taco Bell?

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people opting to avoid gluten for medical reasons or personal preferences. For those following a gluten-free diet, dining out can present challenges, as many menu items at restaurants contain gluten. One popular fast food item that often gets questioned is Taco Bell’s nacho fries.

Taco Bell first released nacho fries as a limited-time offer in January 2018. Due to popular demand, the crispy, cheese-dusted fries have returned for additional limited runs since then. Fans love the bold Mexican spice flavors and cheesy goodness of nacho fries. However, for those avoiding gluten, a key question arises: Are nacho fries gluten-free?

The answer is yes, nacho fries from Taco Bell are gluten-free. Keep reading to learn more about Taco Bell’s nacho fries ingredients, preparation, and how to order them gluten-free.

Are the Ingredients in Nacho Fries Gluten-Free?

According to Taco Bell, the main ingredients in their nacho fries are:

– Potatoes
– Vegetable Oil (canola oil and/or sunflower oil)
– Rice Flour
– Salt
– Dextrose
– Spices
– Onion Powder
– Tomato Powder
– Garlic Powder
– Paprika Extractives
– Citric Acid

None of these ingredients contain gluten. The rice flour used as a dusting agent is certified gluten-free.

The fries are cooked in dedicated fryers separate from other menu items containing gluten, like taco shells. This avoids any cross-contact risk.

When the fries are served “loaded” with toppings, the added ingredients are also free of gluten:

– Nacho cheese sauce
– Seasoned beef
– Pico de gallo
– Red strips
– Chipotle sauce

Therefore, nacho fries on their own and “loaded” nacho fries are inherently gluten-free based on the ingredients.

What About Potential Cross-Contamination?

While the nacho fries ingredients themselves do not contain gluten, some people who are highly sensitive want to know about potential cross-contamination risk during preparation and serving.

According to Taco Bell, they take steps to prevent cross-contamination with gluten-containing ingredients:

– Nacho fries are cooked in dedicated fryers separate from flour tortillas and other items with gluten.
– Employees change gloves between preparing allergen-containing foods and gluten-free items.
– Employees use dedicated tongs when frying and plating the fries.
– Work surfaces are cleaned between preparing items with different allergens.

However, their kitchens are not completely gluten-free environments. So there is a small chance of cross-contact.

For customers with celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity, cross-contamination may still be a concern. In those cases, check with your local Taco Bell to learn more about their procedures. Some locations may have specific protocols in place to prevent cross-contact better.

How to Order Nacho Fries Gluten-Free

To order gluten-free nacho fries from Taco Bell:

– Request them without any added toppings, sauces, or seasonings, which may contain gluten. Nacho fries on their own are gluten-free.
– Verify that they are served to you in a container without any contact with gluten-containing menu items.
– Ask that employees change gloves, use dedicated fry tongs, and avoid cross-contamination with other items when preparing and serving your order.
– Double check your order when you receive it to ensure no unwanted additions.
– Tell the cashier or manager about your gluten allergy so they can take proper precautions in the kitchen.

Some Taco Bell locations may have specific protocols in place for gluten-free orders. Ask about their process before placing your order.

Being upfront about your gluten allergy and any sensitivities to cross-contact is key to getting a safely prepared order. With good communication and diligence, you can enjoy nacho fries from Taco Bell gluten-free.

Should You Trust Taco Bell for Gluten-Free?

Taco Bell states that they take steps to avoid cross-contamination and prepare gluten-free orders safely. However, as a fast food restaurant with shared cooking and preparation areas, there is always some risk involved for gluten-sensitive individuals.

Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to trust Taco Bell for gluten-free fries and other menu items:

The Positives

– Dedicated fryers for nacho fries avoid mixing with flour tortillas
– Employees are trained on allergen procedures
– Restaurants must follow corporate gluten-free preparation policies
– Taco Bell offers transparency online about ingredients and prep

Potential Issues

– Risk of human error in busy, high-volume kitchens
– Variability between different locations and staff
– Limited space and shared surfaces increase cross-contact risk
– Employees may not always thoroughly understand gluten-free needs

Steps You Can Take

If you decide to order gluten-free from Taco Bell:

– Ask questions about their specific safety procedures
– Request fresh, clean gloves and utensils
– Check your order thoroughly before eating
– Start with a small order to test handling at that location
– Provide feedback to managers when issues arise

Being an informed and engaged customer can go a long way in increasing the care taken with your order.

Gluten-Free Options at Taco Bell

Beyond nacho fries, Taco Bell has compiled a list of menu items that are gluten-free when prepared properly:

– Beefy 5-Layer Burrito (without tortilla)
– Power Menu Bowl (without tortilla strips)
– Chicken, steak, or veggie soft tacos (in a gluten-free tortilla)
– Corn tortilla tacos and burritos
– Crunchy Tacos (in a gluten-free tortilla)
– Bean Burrito (in a gluten-free tortilla)
– Power Burrito (in a gluten-free tortilla)
– Fresco Menu Items
– Chips and guacamole
– Cinnamon Twists
– Caramel Apple Empanada

Taco Bell also offers certified gluten-free tortillas upon request so you can make many standard menu items gluten-free. Talk to employees at your location to see if they have these tortillas available.

When ordering any gluten-free item, always mention your allergy and request fresh gloves, utensils, and containers to limit cross-contact.

Gluten-Free Fries at Other Fast Food Chains

Taco Bell isn’t the only fast food restaurant with gluten-free fries options. Here are some other places where you can find fries free from gluten:


– Offers dedicated fryers for their fries
– Cooks fries in a pure canola oil blend with no wheat
– Fry ingredients are gluten-free
– Uses a Russet potato variety that is gluten-free
– Employs procedures to avoid cross-contact

Five Guys

– Fries are cooked in peanut oil, with gluten-free ingredients
– Offers Cajun spice rub without gluten
– No breaded items share fryers
– Uses Russet potato variety gluten-free

In-N-Out Burger

– Cooks fries in dedicated gluten-free oil
– Fry ingredients do not contain gluten
– Associates change gloves between gluten and non-gluten orders
– Potatoes come from gluten-free J.R. Simplot company


– Cooks fries in refined peanut oil
– All equipment and utensils are washed between orders
– Potatoes are gluten-free variety

When ordering fries at any restaurant, always confirm the fryer is dedicated gluten-free and ask about procedures to prevent cross-contact with kitchen tools and serving containers.

Gluten-Free Frying Oils

For french fries to be truly gluten-free, not only do the potato and seasonings need to be free of gluten, but the frying oil itself needs to avoid ingredients like wheat.

Here are some common frying oils that are gluten-free:

– Peanut oil
– Canola oil
– Sunflower oil
– Safflower oil
– Avocado oil
– Rice bran oil

These oil options don’t contain wheat or other gluten sources. However, oil quality can degrade over time, so restaurants need diligent filtration and frequent oil change practices for the safest results.

If you are very sensitive to trace amounts of gluten, using dedicated Fry Daddy electric fryers with fresh oil at home may be the best bet for avoiding even small risks of cross-contact.

Gluten-Free Dips and Toppings

Plain fries on their own can get boring after a while. Adding some dips and toppings can spice things up. Here are some gluten-free ideas:


Ketchup BBQ sauce
Mayonnaise Salsa
Guacamole Sour cream
Hummus Nacho cheese


– Sea salt
– Black pepper
– Paprika
– Onion powder
– Garlic powder
– Chili powder
– Cayenne pepper


– Bacon bits
– Shredded cheese
– Sliced avocado
– Caramelized onions
– Jalapenos
– Sauted mushrooms

Get creative with combining dips, spices, herbs, cheeses, and produce to invent your own signature gluten-free fry flavor!

Gluten-Free Fries Recipe

For the best gluten-free results, you can make fries at home using a few simple ingredients:


– 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into strips
– 2 cups peanut oil or canola oil, for frying
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/4 teaspoon pepper
– 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder


1. Cut peeled potatoes into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick fry strips. Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels.
2. Heat oil to 350°F in deep pot or Fry Daddy. Use cooking thermometer.
3. Fry potatoes in batches for 5-7 minutes until golden brown.
4. Drain fries on paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
5. Serve hot with your choice of gluten-free dipping sauces and toppings.

Making your own fries allows you to control the ingredients and avoid any cross-contact concerns. Fry up a batch for your next gluten-free meal!

Are Nacho Fries Healthy?

While nacho fries from Taco Bell and other fast food chains are gluten-free, are they actually healthy? Let’s take a look at the nutrition facts.

One order of Taco Bell nacho fries contains:

– **Calories:** 460
– **Fat:** 25 g
– **Carbs:** 53 g
– **Protein:** 7 g

The high fat and carb counts come from deep frying in oil. There is also a high amount of sodium at 830 mg per serving.

However, nacho fries provide some nutritious benefits as well. Potatoes are a vegetable full of vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6, and iron. Adding beans, salsa, avocado, or other veggies as toppings boosts the nutritional value.

Compared to items like burgers and shakes, nacho fries are lower in saturated fat and provide more vitamins and minerals. But they are still a high calorie indulgence food.

Occasional nacho fry enjoyment can fit into a balanced diet. Just be mindful of portion size and accompanying ingredients. For a healthier take, make baked “fries” at home using fresh oil and less salt.

The Bottom Line on Taco Bell Nacho Fries

When prepared properly in clean oil and served in containers that avoid cross-contact, nacho fries from Taco Bell are gluten-free and safe for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Stick to the plain fries without added toppings and thoroughly check your order before eating. Ask about dedicated fryers and prep procedures. Be aware that human error occurs, especially in busy kitchens.

While not the healthiest menu option, occasional nacho fry enjoyment can work in a balanced gluten-free diet. Be choosy about the accompaniments you add to control calories, fat, and sodium.

With proper precautions, Taco Bell’s nacho fries can be a delicious gluten-free fast food fix. Use your best judgment deciding when and where to order them based on your comfort level and past experiences at that restaurant location.

Overall, by starting a dialogue with employees about safe preparation, nacho fries lovers can feel better about enjoying this crave-worthy gluten-free treat from Taco Bell!

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