Are Outback Aussie fries gluten-free?

Quick Answer

Yes, Outback Aussie fries are gluten-free. Outback Steakhouse states that their Aussie fries are made from potatoes that are cut in-house daily and cooked in a dedicated fryer. Since potatoes don’t naturally contain gluten and the fries are fried in a dedicated fryer, Outback’s Aussie fries can be considered gluten-free. However, those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should still exercise caution due to potential cross-contamination.

What are Aussie fries?

Aussie fries are the signature french fries served at Outback Steakhouse restaurants. They feature thick-cut potato wedges that are seasoned with Outback’s proprietary blend of spices.

Outback Steakhouse describes their Aussie fries as “iconic thick-cut fries seasoned with our very own blend of secret spices”. The fries are cut fresh in-house every day from whole Idaho russet potatoes. They are then cooked in a dedicated fryer so they don’t come into contact with any other menu items.

The fries are served hot in a red-checkered paper bucket alongside Outback’s signature ketchup for dipping. Aussie fries are Outback’s version of thick-cut steak fries that are a popular menu item at their restaurants.

Are potatoes naturally gluten-free?

Yes, potatoes are naturally gluten-free.

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. It acts as a glue that helps food maintain its shape. Potatoes are tubers, which means they grow underground. They do not naturally contain gluten.

The only potential sources of gluten in potatoes would be:

– Cross-contamination: This could happen if potatoes come into contact with gluten-containing ingredients during growing, harvesting, processing, or cooking.

– Added ingredients: Some potato products have other ingredients added to them like wheat flour that can contain gluten. Plain potatoes by themselves are gluten-free.

So unmodified whole potatoes that are grown and prepared without cross-contamination do not contain gluten. This includes potatoes sold fresh as well as products made from plain potatoes like french fries and potato chips prepared in dedicated fryers.

Are Outback’s fries prepared safely for celiacs?

Outback states that their Aussie fries are cooked in dedicated fryers that only fry potatoes and do not come into contact with other menu items. This process helps avoid cross-contamination from gluten-containing foods.

However, those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should still use caution when eating the fries due to the potential for trace amounts of gluten from these factors:

– Fryer oil: Even with dedicated fryers, there is a chance for contamination if the same fryer oil is used to cook other battered menu items containing gluten.

– Fryer cleaning: If the fryer is not thoroughly cleaned between uses, traces of battered foods could get into the fryer oil and transfer to the fries.

– Food prep: If employees use the same surfaces or utensils to prepare gluten-free and gluten-containing menu items, cross-contact may occur.

– Airborne particles: Batter particles could travel through the air from other types of frying in the kitchen and get into the fryer.

So while Outback’s protocols reduce the risk of gluten exposure, they do not completely eliminate it. People with celiac disease need to avoid any exposure to gluten, even tiny amounts. So there is no way for Outback to guarantee the fries will be 100% gluten-free for highly sensitive individuals.

What does Outback say about gluten and fries?

On its website, Outback Steakhouse states:

“Our Aussie Fries are cut from potatoes every morning and cooked to a golden perfection in their own separate fryer. Our process virtually eliminates cross contact with other foods containing gluten.”

The key phrases here are “separate fryer” and “virtually eliminates cross contact”. Outback acknowledges that having a dedicated fryer minimizes but does not fully eliminate the possibility of gluten exposure.

Outback’s online allergen menu lists Aussie fries as being made without gluten-containing ingredients:

“Aussie Fries
Ingredients: Potatoes, Vegetable Oil (contains one or more of the following: Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Citric Acid, Dimethylpolysiloxane).”

So Outback officially classifies their Aussie fries as gluten-free. But they advise those with celiac disease or sensitivity to use their own judgment.

Should you rely on restaurants to provide gluten-free food?

People with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity should use caution when eating at restaurants, even when menu items are labeled as gluten-free. Here are some tips when ordering:

– Tell your server you need 100% gluten-free food. Make sure they understand the severity of your condition.

– Verify that items are prepared without cross-contamination. Ask specific questions about food prep and kitchen protocols.

– Request that your meal be cooked in a clean pan or on a clean part of the grill.

– Check that utensils and work surfaces are cleaned before preparing your food.

– Ask for sauces, toppings, and dressings to be served on the side.

– Make sure fried foods use dedicated, uncontaminated oil.

– Avoid busy times when kitchen staff may be rushed and more likely to make a mistake.

– Consider the risks of eating from salad bars, buffets, shared serving platters, etc. where cross-contact is hard to control.

If you don’t feel fully confident in the restaurant’s practices, it’s safest to avoid high-risk menu items and stick to unprocessed foods like plain grilled meats, salads, fruits, and vegetables. Notify staff of any issues to help them improve their food prep and service.

Should you get gluten-free items from fast food chains?

Fast food chains like Outback Steakhouse often have standard kitchen practices and equipment in place to reduce cross-contamination of gluten-free menu items. However, the bustling environment also increases the risks.

According to Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), factors that can contribute to gluten cross-contact in fast food restaurants include:

– Shared storage, prep, and cooking equipment
– Limited staff training on gluten and celiac disease
– Rushed food prep during busy times
– Complex menus using many ingredients

For these reasons, GIG recommends only getting gluten-free menu items from fast food chains occasionally. When you do indulge, stick to basic foods like salads, fruits, veggies, and unbreaded grilled meats.

In the case of Outback’s Aussie fries, you could reasonably eat them as an occasional gluten-free treat. But those with celiac disease would be wise to avoid making a daily habit of it.

What about cross-reactive ingredients?

In addition to gluten, some people need to avoid ingredients that can cross-react with gluten during digestion. This includes:

– Wheat
– Barley
– Rye
– Oats

Outback’s Aussie fries do not contain any of these grains or grain derivatives. Potatoes and canola oil do not cross-react with gluten.

However, their fries are cooked in shared vegetable oil that may be derived from corn or soybeans. People with gluten sensitivity are sometimes advised to eliminate corn and soy as well. But the small amounts in frying oil are unlikely to cause a reaction.

Of course, those with food sensitivities should eliminate any suspect ingredients from their diet. When it comes to the Outback’s Aussie fries, cross-reactive ingredients are not a major concern.

Are other Outback menu items gluten-free?

Outback Steakhouse states that they offer several gluten-free menu options:

– Butcher’s Cut Filet Mignon – Charbroiled beef filet.

– Victoria’s Filet Mignon – Charbroiled beef filet topped with sautéed garlic mushrooms and red wine demi-glace.

– Wood-Grilled Salmon – Grilled salmon fillet seasoned with a blend of savory herbs.

– Alice Springs Chicken – Grilled chicken breast topped with sautéed mushrooms, crisp bacon, melted cheese and honey mustard.

– Grilled Shrimp on the Barbie – Seasoned grilled shrimp served on a stick.

– Aussie Wings – Grilled chicken wings tossed in a tangy barbecue sauce or spicy Buffalo sauce.

– Garden Salad / Caesar Salad – Fresh greens with vegetables, cheese, croutons and dressing served on the side. Request no croutons.

– Fresh Seasonal Fruit – Assorted fresh fruit.

– Steamed Seasonal Vegetables – Steamed broccoli, squash, zucchini and peppers. Request no butter.

Those are some of the naturally gluten-free choices listed on their special menu for gluten-sensitive guests. However, it’s still important to verify the ingredients and preparation methods with your server when ordering.

Should kids with celiac disease eat Outback fries?

Children with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity have developing bodies and brains that are extra sensitive to small amounts of gluten. Parents should take extra precautions when feeding them restaurant food.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, ingesting even tiny traces of gluten can damage a child’s small intestine and impact nutrient absorption needed for growth. They advise parents to be very strict about limiting gluten exposure from restaurants.

Kids often love french fries, so Outback’s Aussie fries may seem like a good gluten-free option. However, the risks of cross-contamination from the kitchen should still be seriously weighed.

Here are some recommended guidelines from celiac experts when considering restaurant fries for kids:

– Stick to national chains with dedicated fryers and staff training like Outback. Local “mom and pop” restaurants are riskier.

– Always thoroughly question staff to evaluate if prep areas and procedures are truly gluten-free. Don’t just rely on menu labels.

– Make sure fries don’t share oil with breaded foods. Oil should be changed frequently.

– Visit the restaurant during off-peak times when the kitchen is less hectic.

– Limit fries to only occasional indulgences, not daily orders.

– Closely watch kids for any symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, skin rashes etc. after eating fries and report them to your doctor.

With proper precautions, Outback fries may be an ok gluten-free treat. But diligence is required to protect sensitive little bodies. Fried potatoes from restaurants should not be a regular part of a child’s strict gluten-free diet.

Should adults with celiac disease eat Outback fries?

Adults with celiac disease also need to completely avoid gluten exposure from restaurant fries, although they may be less sensitive than children.

According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, adults have increased risks when eating gluten, including:

– Symptoms: Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, “brain fog”, joint pain and skin issues can flare up.

– Malabsorption: Nutrients like iron, folate, calcium and fat may not be properly absorbed, causing deficiencies.

– Bone loss: Osteoporosis risk increases with ongoing malabsorption.

– Cancers: Intestinal lymphoma risk is elevated. Regular gluten ingestion also increases esophageal, small bowel and some other cancer risks.

– Other diseases: Issues like infertility, miscarriage, neurological conditions and other autoimmune disorders become more likely.

So while an adult celiac body may tolerate occasional trace gluten better than a child’s, the cumulative effects of repeated exposure can be significant. Strict adherence to a 100% gluten-free diet is essential for long-term health.

This means dining at restaurants like Outback that use shared kitchens and equipment does carry a degree of risk. Enjoying their Aussie fries should be an occasional treat, not a regular gluten-free meal option. Carefully weigh whether the convenience is worth the potential gluten exposure.

Tips for ordering Aussie fries

If you decide to indulge in Outback’s iconic Aussie fries as an infrequent gluten-free treat, here are some tips to minimize cross-contamination risks:

– Tell your server you need 100% gluten-free preparation due to celiac disease or sensitivity. Make sure they understand the seriousness.

– Ask what steps they take to avoid cross-contact of fries with gluten. Evaluate if the measures seem sufficient.

– Request that your fries come straight from the dedicated fryer in fresh oil. Avoid busy rush times where oil is older.

– Verify the fryer oil is not also used for breaded foods. Make sure fryer is thoroughly cleaned between uses.

– Ask for fries to be cooked first before any other menu orders if possible to avoid airborne particles.

– Specify that you need the fries placed in a clean container, not one that may have had gluten exposure.

– Be polite but insistent on safe preparation. Make the server repeat your order back to confirm understanding.

– Visually inspect fries when served. Return them if you notice any breading or questionable pieces.

– Have medications or supplements handy in case of a reaction afterwards.

Exercising caution helps minimize risks when ordering Aussie fries. But there is no way to guarantee 100% gluten-free when kitchen cross-contact can occur. Only you can weigh the risks vs. reward in consuming an occasional treat.


Outback Steakhouse’s Aussie fries provide a tasty gluten-free menu option when craving a classic thick-cut french fry. Outback states that the potato wedges are cut and cooked in dedicated fryers so they do not directly contact gluten.

However, the realities of commercial kitchen practices mean there is always some risk of cross-contamination from shared surfaces, utensils, and oils. Those with celiac disease or sensitivity still need to use extreme caution when consuming Outback fries due to the potential for trace gluten exposure.

Ingesting restaurant fries should only be an occasional indulgence. Children and others highly sensitive to gluten would be wise to avoid them altogether to eliminate risks. Always thoroughly question restaurant staff on their preparation procedures before deciding if menu items are safe to consume.

When dining out, the only way to ensure 100% gluten-free food is to stick to whole, unprocessed choices like grilled meats, fruits and vegetables. But for those who understand and accept the risks, Outback Aussie fries can provide a special inflammatory gluten-free treat from time to time.

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