Can IN N OUT be gluten-free?

In-N-Out Burger is a popular fast food chain known for its simple, made-to-order burgers, fries, and shakes. However, for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, eating at In-N-Out can be challenging due to potential cross-contamination with gluten.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. It acts as a glue that helps food maintain its shape and texture. For most people, gluten doesn’t cause any issues. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, even small amounts of gluten can trigger symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and fatigue. Over time, eating gluten can damage the small intestine and lead to serious complications like malnutrition, osteoporosis, infertility, and intestinal cancers. The only treatment for celiac disease is to follow a strict lifelong gluten-free diet.

Gluten at In-N-Out

While In-N-Out does not offer any certified gluten-free menu options, they do allow for some customization to reduce gluten exposure. Here are some considerations when ordering:


In-N-Out burger buns and hamburger rolls contain wheat and barley, making them off-limits for a gluten-free diet. However, burgers can be ordered “protein style” with lettuce wraps instead of buns. This eliminates the main source of gluten.

French Fries

French fries are made from potatoes that are deep-fried in vegetable oil. Potatoes are naturally gluten-free, but the oil used for frying could be contaminated. In-N-Out fries are prepared in a dedicated fryer separate from other menu items, reducing but not eliminating risk.


Certain In-N-Out burger sauces like spread and ketchup are gluten-free. However, other sauces like the honey mustard and ranch dressings likely contain gluten. To be safe, opt for burgers without sauce or only use the gluten-free spread.


Milkshakes at In-N-Out are made with soft serve that contains wheat. They also include malt powder which contains barley. For a gluten-free option, order a soda float made with gluten-free soda and ice cream.

Fry Seasoning

The seasoning applied to In-N-Out’s fries contains wheat flour, making it unsafe for celiacs. Request fries without seasoning to avoid this source of gluten.


Even gluten-free menu items could be cross-contaminated during preparation and serving. In-N-Out crew members prepare all food in the same area and do not take extra precautions for allergies. Gluten could transfer from buns to lettuce wraps, fries, counters, utensils, and hands.

Is In-N-Out Safe for Celiacs?

Despite some customization, the risk of gluten exposure at In-N-Out remains quite high for those with celiac disease or wheat allergy. Traces of gluten can trigger symptoms,intestinal damage, and other health issues. Most celiac experts recommend avoiding In-N-Out and other traditional quick service restaurants that are not certified gluten-free.

For celiacs following a strict gluten-free diet, the biggest risks at In-N-Out come from:

– Shared food prep areas and equipment

– Fry oil potentially contaminated with gluten

– Buns and rolls containing gluten

– Sauces and shakes with gluten ingredients

– Fries seasoned with wheat flour

– Lack of staff training on gluten cross-contact

While some modifications like lettuce wraps and plain fries may seem safe, it only takes a small amount of cross-contamination to cause issues for gluten-sensitive individuals. Overall, erring on the side of caution and avoiding In-N-Out is the safest option.

Tips for Eating Gluten-Free at In-N-Out

If you do choose to eat at In-N-Out Burger with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, here are some tips to reduce risk:

– Order a burger protein style in a lettuce wrap

– Choose gluten-free spread instead of sauce

– Ask for fries without seasoning

– Opt for drinks like soda, juice, milk, and coffee

– Check labels before using any sauces and condiments

– Request a freshly cleaned prep area and new gloves

– Avoid busy times when kitchen contamination is more likely

– Look for visible signs of cross-contact like stray buns

– Know that there is still some level of gluten risk

Being vigilant and asking detailed questions about prep and ingredients can help minimize exposure. However, it may be best to save In-N-Out for occasional treats in small doses if tolerated. Relying on it too frequently is risky for maintaining intestinal health. Safer options would be certified gluten-free restaurants with dedicated kitchens and trained staff.

Gluten-Free Fast Food Options

While challenging, getting gluten-free fast food is possible with the right choices:


Salads with gluten-free dressing are a good option at many chains, just avoid croutons and other toppings with gluten ingredients.

Grilled Chicken

A plain grilled chicken sandwich without a bun is an easy gluten-free choice.

Burgers Without Buns

Bunless burgers wrapped in lettuce are tasty. Just skip burger sauces that may contain gluten.


Dedicated fryers make fries a better choice than other fried items that share oil with breaded foods.

Gluten-Free Buns

Some chains like Red Robin offer gluten-free buns, allowing you to order burgers and sandwiches more safely.


Most ice cream, milkshakes, and other dairy items are gluten-free unless they contain cookie or candy mix-ins.

Reading menus carefully and asking questions is key to finding gluten-free fast food options. Being prepared with your own gluten-free condiments and buns helps too.

Is In-N-Out Gluten-Free Certified?

No, In-N-Out is not certified gluten-free and does not claim to offer gluten-free menu options. They advise guests with food allergies to consume their products at their own risk. Unlike other chains, In-N-Out has not implemented robust gluten-free training programs orkitchen protocols. They also do not promise to avoid cross-contact or offer dedicated preparation areas.

Some fast food chains like Burger King have specific gluten-free training and items that are certified by groups like the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG). However, In-N-Out has not taken these steps to accommodate gluten-free diners. Their kitchen operations remain high-risk for celiac disease. Relying on menu customizations provides some reduction but not full elimination of gluten exposure.

In-N-Out Allergen Statement

On their website, In-N-Out provides this allergen statement:

“Most menu items we serve contain or may come into contact with common allergens, including wheat, soy, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and others. We cannot guarantee that any of our products are free from allergens. Customers with food allergies need to exercise judgement after reviewing our ingredients and preparation steps.”

They go on to say:

“Variations in supplier ingredients and recipes may occur. Therefore, we make no guarantees regarding the allergen content of individual food products.”

This shows In-N-Out acknowledges major allergen risks across their menu, including wheat from their buns, rolls, seasoning, and shakes. They call out the need for awareness and caution for food allergies like celiac disease. Their variability and lack of guarantees makes this restaurant chain unsuitable and unsafe for those requiring completely gluten-free meals.

In-N-Out Gluten-Free Menu Options

The only menu items at In-N-Out that can potentially be made gluten-free with customization include:

Protein Style Burgers

Burgers come with a gluten-containing bun by default. Ordering protein style replaces the bun with lettuce leaves to remove this major source of gluten.


When ordered without seasoning, fries cooked in dedicated fryers are theoretically gluten-free. But cross-contact still occurs.


Fountain sodas are gluten-free drinks. Opt for fresh beverages instead of the machines to reduce cross-contact from cup stacking.

Milk and Juice

Plain milk and juices are gluten-free. Customers sensitive to cross-contact should request fresh pours rather than dispensed.

Coffee and Hot Tea

Regular drip coffee and standard hot tea bags avoid gluten. Specify no powdered creamer or flavored syrups that may contain gluten.

Ice Cream Floats

Made with ice cream and soda, floats can be assembled gluten-free by avoiding contaminated equipment and ingredients.

Gluten-Free Side Dishes or Desserts

None. In-N-Out does not offer any gluten-free side dishes, desserts, or specialty items beyond modified main dishes.

So the possibilities are extremely limited for gluten-free eating. Most menu items contain gluten or risk cross-contamination during preparation and service.

What About Gluten-Free Buns?

Guests cannot supply their own gluten-free buns or bread at In-N-Out. Like most restaurants, they only allow items bought directly from their own suppliers for safety and quality reasons. Bringing your own food into their restaurants is prohibited.

Some In-N-Out fans petition for the chain to offer gluten-free bun options. However, so far In-N-Out has not chosen to provide gluten-free buns or rolls on their menu.

Until gluten-free buns become available, lettuce wraps remain the only alternative to normal burger buns containing gluten. Those highly sensitive should avoid In-N-Out buns and rolls altogether due to airborne wheat risk in the kitchen.

Is In-N-Out Celiac Friendly?

In general, In-N-Out is not considered a very celiac or gluten allergy friendly restaurant option. Their kitchen design,employee training, and menu development do not focus on preventing cross-contamination or accommodating food allergies.

While In-N-Out does suggest some menu customizations, they admit ingredients change frequently. They also do not guarantee allergen-free preparation. This leaves much uncertainty for customers needing to strictly avoid even traces of gluten.

For those newly diagnosed with celiac disease, In-N-Out may be a challengingfavorite to give up. Being extra cautious with orders and toppings can help reduce gluten exposure. However, many experts recommend finding replacements that are dedicated gluten-free establishments.

Over time, proactively choosing certified gluten-free restaurants helps reset your sense of taste and preferences. Focusing less on restricting former favorites and more on discovering new exciting options prevents feeling deprived.

In-N-Out Gluten Allergy Training

In-N-Out does not provide formal gluten allergy training for its employees like some other chains. Staff are not taught how to avoid cross-contamination when preparing gluten-free orders.

Without proper kitchen protocols, the risks of gluten exposure increase. Well-intentioned customization requests can easily be negated by using contaminated gloves, fryers, counters, and utensils.

Ideally, those with celiac disease or wheat allergy should look for restaurants whose staff receive explicit instruction on safely handling gluten-free meals. While many In-N-Out employees try their best to accommodate, they lack that specialized training.

Being Gluten-Free at In-N-Out

If you do not have celiac disease or wheat allergy, but simply want to eat gluten-free, In-N-Out may present less risk. Those without medical necessity can often tolerate occasional exposure to small hidden gluten amounts. You may be able to order certain menu items and just stay vigilant for obvious gluten ingredients.

However, people with celiac disease require strict and total avoidance of gluten. For those who must follow a 100% gluten-free diet for medical reasons, it remains very challenging to eat safely at In-N-Out. Despite modifications, the many opportunities for cross-contact make In-N-Out an unreliable choice for sensitive groups.

Is In-N-Out Safe for People with Wheat Allergies?

In-N-Out is not considered safe for people with wheat allergies or celiac disease. Their kitchens and staff are not equipped to prevent contamination of wheat across menu items.

The only way to reasonably ensure your meal is wheat-free is to avoid restaurants that use wheat flour regularly. Finding establishments that offer dedicated gluten-free menus is a safer choice. Attempting to order wheat-free items in traditional kitchens like In-N-Out exposes you to unnecessary risk.

If you want to eat at In-N-Out despite a wheat allergy, take thorough precautions:

– Carefully vet ingredients of menu items for wheat
– Ask staff detailed questions about prep procedures
– Avoid busy meal times with more contamination
– Bring your own wheat-free buns, sauces, and condiments
– Wipe down tables, trays, and seats before sitting
– Check food for signs of exposure like stray bread crumbs
– Wash hands before and after eating

However, there is no way to fully eliminate the chance of reacting to traces of wheat flour in the air, on surfaces, utensils, and equipment. Proceed with extreme caution and awareness of the inherent risks involved.

In-N-Out Gluten Allergy Policy

In-N-Out does not have a formal gluten allergy policy beyond their general allergen statement covered earlier. They acknowledge that allergens like wheat gluten are common risks across their menu products.

However, they do not specify procedures for handling gluten-free orders differently. There are no guarantees of allergen-free preparation or service areas. Crew members are not trained in safely customizing meals for gluten allergies.

Essentially, those with celiac disease or wheat allergy must fend for themselves when ordering. In-N-Out accepts no liability for reactions to any menu items. Guests with food allergies are advised to consume food at their own judgement and risk.

This informal policy keeps responsibility on the customer to navigate menu choices safely. It allows In-N-Out to continue operating as usual without implementing special prep areas, sanitation, or staff certification processes.

Should You Trust In-N-Out for Gluten-Free?

It comes down to your own comfort level with risk. But in general, most celiac disease and food allergy experts recommend avoiding any restaurant without clear gluten-free processes. The lack of guarantees, staff training, and allergen policies at In-N-Out make eating there questionable and dangerous for gluten disorders.

While In-N-Out meets consumer demand for delicious fast food, they have not yet invested in meeting medical dietary needs for allergens like gluten. Their kitchen design and workflows simply introduce too much opportunity for cross-contact.

Until In-N-Out implements more rigorous food allergy protocols and training, those with celiac disease or wheat allergy must use extreme caution and dine at their own risk. For true gluten-free peace of mind, choose certified gluten-free restaurants instead.

Is In-N-Out Celiac Friendly: The Verdict

In summary, In-N-Out Burger restaurants today remain unsafe and extremely challenging for those requiring a celiac gluten-free diet. Attempting to order gluten-free menu options provides some reduction but not elimination of risk.

For those with medical necessity, the lack of staff training, prevention protocols, certified menus, and gluten cross-contact make In-N-Out an unreliable choice. Potential for trace gluten exposure still persists despite customization efforts.

While tempted by memories of favorite fast food, people with newly diagnosed celiac disease should err strongly on the side of caution. Look for celiac-friendly restaurants with strict certification and training standards instead. Over time, you can discover new favorite gluten-free comfort foods.

With rising diagnoses of celiac disease and wheat allergy, consumer demand continues pressuring brands like In-N-Out to improve allergen policies. But until significant changes are enacted, their traditional kitchen operations cannot be considered gluten-free friendly.

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