Do Red Robin french fries have gluten?

Red Robin is a popular burger restaurant chain that serves burgers, shakes, and of course, french fries. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, knowing whether menu items contain gluten is extremely important. In the case of french fries, the answer is not always straightforward. There are many factors that determine if french fries have gluten or not. This article will examine if Red Robin french fries contain gluten and the reasons behind it.

Do Red Robin Fries Contain Gluten?

The short answer is that some Red Robin fries may contain gluten while others do not. Red Robin has both dedicated fryers and shared fryers in their restaurants. Fries fried in a dedicated gluten-free fryer do not contain gluten. However, fries cooked in shared fryers are at risk for cross-contact with gluten-containing foods like breaded chicken strips or fried cheese curds.

So whether Red Robin fries have gluten depends entirely on the type of fryer used to cook them. The only way to know for sure is to ask your server which fryer the fries are cooked in. Be aware that staff knowledge varies, so you may need to double-check with a manager to get the right information.

Why Could French Fries Have Gluten?

There are a few reasons why french fries, including those from Red Robin, could contain traces of gluten:

1. Batter or Breading

Some french fry recipes call for a light batter or breading on the fries before frying. This coating helps the fries get extra crispy and browned. However, batters and breadings often contain gluten from wheat flour. So any fries cooked with a coating like this would not be gluten-free.

2. Shared Fryer Oil

Many restaurants use shared fryers to cook different menu items. Gluten-free fries cooked in oil shared with breaded foods like chicken strips can pick up traces of gluten. Even if Red Robin fries don’t have batter, shared fryer oil is a risk for cross-contact.

3. Dredging Ingredients

Some restaurants add seasonings or dredging blends to their french fries. These mixtures may have gluten-containing ingredients like wheat flour. Cross-contact can occur if seasonings go from dredging bins onto gluten-free fries.

4. Utensils and Tools

Shared utensils are another way fries can pick up traces of gluten in restaurant kitchens. Using the same scoops, tongs, or baskets for gluten and gluten-free foods creates cross-contact. Proper cleaning and dedicated utensils are needed to keep gluten-free fries safe.

How Red Robin Makes Gluten-Free Fries

Red Robin has specific procedures in place to provide gluten-free french fries in their restaurants. Here is an overview of how they make dedicated gluten-free fries:

– Use a separate gluten-free fryer only for gluten-free foods. The fryer oil is filtered and changed frequently to prevent cross-contact.

– Follow protocols for washing and sanitizing fryer baskets before cooking gluten-free fries. Baskets should never go directly from regular fries into the gluten-free fryer.

– Use dedicated gluten-free utensils like scoops and tongs to handle fries. Utensils only touch gluten-free foods and are sanitized regularly.

– Cook gluten-free fries from raw potatoes. No batter or breading is applied to the fries before frying.

– Use salt as the only seasoning on gluten-free fries. No seasonings with gluten-containing ingredients are added.

– Store gluten-free fries separately from other fries before and after cooking.

Following these strict procedures allows Red Robin to safely prepare gluten-free french fries for guests with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Cross-Contact Risks at Red Robin

While Red Robin has good gluten-free practices in place, there are still risks of cross-contact with gluten in their restaurants:

– Variation in staff training at different locations. Some employees may not follow GF protocols properly.

– Potential for gluten-containing batter or breading getting into the GF fryer oil.

– Shared surfaces where fries are salted and served allowing contact with gluten.

– Airborne flour particles from cooking breaded foods settling onto GF fries during service.

These risks show that even restaurants with a dedicated gluten-free menu can sometimes have issues. Checking on kitchen protocols and cross-contact prevention steps is advised when dining out gluten-free.

How to Order Gluten-Free Fries at Red Robin

To get gluten-free french fries at Red Robin, be sure to follow these steps when ordering:

– Ask your server if they have dedicated gluten-free fryers. Not all locations do.

– Specify that you need gluten-free fries cooked in the dedicated gluten-free fryer only.

– Request that staff change gloves before handling your fries to prevent cross-contact.

– Check that staff use clean, sanitized tools and follow proper protocols for gluten-free orders.

– Avoid ordering gluten-free fries during busy times, as kitchen mistakes are more likely to happen.

– Ask for fries without seasoning or salt on the side to prevent cross-contact from dredging ingredients.

Taking these precautions helps prevent gluten exposure when ordering supposedly gluten-free menu items at restaurants. Don’t be afraid to nicely double-check steps the staff is taking to keep your food safe.

Ingredient Issues

In addition to cross-contact, the ingredients themselves used to make fries could contain gluten. Here are a few things to be aware of:

– Hydrolyzed wheat protein – Used in some potato preservatives and anti-caking agents. Contains gluten.

– Malt vinegar or malt flavoring – Derived from barley and contains gluten. Sometimes used as a seasoning for fries.

– Shared oil – Can pick up flour particles from fried foods containing gluten.

– Batter – Wheat flour is a common ingredient used in fry batters. Makes fries unsafe for gluten-free diets.

So even with a dedicated fryer, gluten can make its way into french fries in less obvious ways. That’s why checking on both ingredients and preparation protocols is key for gluten-free dining.

Nutrition Facts for Red Robin French Fries

If you can safely eat Red Robin fries without gluten issues, here are the nutrition facts per serving:

Nutrition Facts Per Serving
Calories 460
Fat 24g
Carbohydrates 53g
Protein 4g
Sodium 730mg

Like most fried sides, Red Robin fries are high in fat and sodium. But they make a tasty indulgence in moderation for those who can enjoy gluten-free fries cooked safely.

Gluten-Free Fries from Other Chains

Red Robin isn’t the only chain taking steps to provide gluten-free french fries:

– **McDonald’s** – Uses a separate fryer for fries but risk of cross-contact from sharing oil filtration systems.

– **Burger King** – Does not have dedicated fryers but fries tested below 20ppm of gluten.

– **Wendy’s** – Has a separate fryer protocol but risk of cross-contact still exists.

– **Chick-fil-A** – Uses completely separate fryer oil and filtration system for gluten-free fries.

As you can see, protocols vary widely between chains. Policies can even differ at franchises of the same brand. Your safest bet is always to check with the restaurant each time you visit to ensure their gluten-free procedures meet your needs.

Making Fries Gluten-Free at Home

Cooking your own gluten-free french fries at home lets you control all the ingredients and prevent cross-contact completely. Here are some tips:

– Choose plain potatoes and rinse well before cutting. Avoid potato products with questionable ingredients.

– Use a dedicated gluten-free fryer or pot just for gluten-free cooking.

– Fry fries in oil filtered of all flour particles from other foods.

– Season fries only with salt or gluten-free seasoning blends.

– Use clean utensils and dishes that haven’t touched gluten-containing foods.

Making gluten-free fries at home takes a little extra care. But you can enjoy tasty fries cooked safely without the uncertainties that come with dining out.

Gluten-Free Dipping Sauces

What good are fries without dipping sauce? Here are some gluten-free ideas:

– Ketchup, mustard, mayo, and BBQ sauce are naturally gluten-free.

– Ranch dressing made with gluten-free ingredients.

– Guacamole made fresh or pre-made with certified gluten-free brands.

– Hummus seasoned with garlic, lemon, and other gluten-free flavors.

– Salsa made with fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and spices.

– Cheese sauces made with a gluten-free roux and no wheat flour.

With so many options, you can certainly find delicious gluten-free dipping sauces to pair with your fries!

Are Sweet Potato Fries Gluten-Free?

Sweet potato fries have risen in popularity right alongside traditional french fries. But are they safe for gluten-free diets?

The answer is yes – sweet potato fries are naturally gluten-free. Sweet potatoes do not inherently contain gluten. However, there are still two important things to consider:

1. Cross-contact when cooking. Sweet potato fries can pick up traces of gluten if cooked in shared oil or pans with breaded items.

2. Added ingredients. Some restaurants add batter or flour-based spices to sweet potato fries. So always check on preparation methods and ingredients before eating them.

With vigilance about cross-contact and awareness of ingredients, both regular and sweet potato french fries can be part of a gluten-free diet.


When dining at Red Robin, enjoying gluten-free french fries comes down to how the fries are cooked. Fries must be fried in a dedicated gluten-free fryer with filtered oil to avoid cross-contact. Even then, ingredient add-ins and kitchen protocols must be checked to ensure no gluten gets into the fries.

Asking questions, communicating with staff, and understanding shared kitchen risks are key to safely eating fries from Red Robin with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. While gluten-free french fries are possible, caution is still required when ordering at restaurants with shared cooking spaces.

Leave a Comment