Does Chick-fil-A have dairy in their chicken?

Quick Answer

Chick-fil-A’s original chicken sandwich and nuggets do not contain dairy as ingredients. However, some menu items like their chicken salad and grilled chicken club do contain dairy from ingredients like cheese and ranch dressing. Chick-fil-A prepares their fried chicken in peanut oil, not butter or other dairy products. Their classic fried chicken sandwich and nuggets are dairy-free. But those with dairy allergies need to check the full ingredients for menu items with sauces or other add-ons that may contain milk, cream, or cheese.

Ingredients in Original Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich and Nuggets

The original Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich and nuggets consist of just a few basic ingredients:

  • Chicken
  • Peanut oil
  • Flour, typically wheat flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Seasonings

None of those ingredients contain dairy derivatives. Chick-fil-A states their chicken is marinated in a special seasoning blend. While the full recipe is proprietary, there are no dairy ingredients in the marinade according to Chick-fil-A.

So in summary, the core chicken sandwich and nuggets do not contain any dairy ingredients like milk, cream, butter, cheese, or yogurt. The chicken is breaded with flour and seasoning, then cooked in 100% refined peanut oil.

Why Chick-fil-A Fries in Peanut Oil

Many fried chicken restaurants use butter, margarine, or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to fry their chicken. But Chick-fil-A specifically uses no dairy products and fries only in refined peanut oil.

The reasons they fry in peanut oil include:

  • Peanut oil has a high smoke point of 450°F. This high heat enables the outer breading to quickly seal and cook without overheating the inner chicken meat.
  • The taste is neutral. Peanut oil has very little flavor, so it does not impart other tastes into the chicken.
  • Peanut allergy friendly. Peanut oil is highly refined, which removes the peanut proteins that cause allergic reactions.
  • Health benefits. Peanut oil is low in saturated fat and high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

Frying in pure peanut oil enables Chick-fil-A to produce juicy, crunchy chicken with a lightly breaded exterior and neutral flavor profile. Their chickens are never cooked in butter, margarine or other dairy ingredients.

Menu Items with Dairy Ingredients

While the core chicken items are dairy-free, some other Chick-fil-A menu choices do contain milk, cream, cheese or yogurt ingredients.

Examples of menu options with dairy include:

  • Chicken Salad Sandwich – contains egg, cheese and cream
  • Grilled Chicken Club – has cheese
  • Salads with chicken – ranch or other creamy dressings
  • Chicken Soup – uses cream as an ingredient
  • Milkshakes
  • Ice cream cones
  • Yogurt parfaits
  • Cheese slices

So if you have dairy allergies or intolerances, you need to modify your order at Chick-fil-A. Stick with the original chicken sandwiches, nuggets, and waffle fries if you need to completely avoid milk ingredients. Or review the detailed ingredients for salads, soups, desserts and specialty sandwiches to see if they work for your diet.

How to Order Dairy-Free at Chick-fil-A

Here are some tips for ordering dairy-free meals at Chick-fil-A:

  • Choose the original chicken sandwich or nuggets
  • Order waffle fries as your side
  • Opt for sauces like barbecue, honey mustard and Chick-fil-A sauce. Avoid cream-based sauces.
  • For salads, request no cheese or creamy dressings. Ask for olive oil and vinegar instead.
  • Skip milkshakes, ice cream and yogurt menu items
  • Ask about ingredient lists for unfamiliar menu options
  • Mention any dairy allergies to staff when ordering

Being aware of ingredients and clearly communicating any dietary needs with the staff will help you enjoy truly dairy-free meals at Chick-fil-A restaurants.

Are There Any Risks of Dairy Cross-Contamination?

Chick-fil-A kitchens take many precautions to avoid cross-contamination for allergens like dairy:

  • Separate prep areas for allergen-free items
  • Thorough cleaning procedures between prep
  • Dedicated fryers for fried chicken and waffle fries
  • Staff training on allergen awareness

However, there is still a minor risk of trace amounts of dairy contacting your food during prep. Milk, cheese and butter are used in various recipes there. So extremely sensitive individuals could potentially react.

If you have severe dairy allergies, it’s safest to speak to the restaurant manager about precautions before ordering. They may be able to take extra steps to minimize any risk if needed.

What About the Multigrain Brioche Bun?

Chick-fil-A recently introduced a multigrain brioche style bun as an alternative to the original white bun. Fortunately, the brioche bun is dairy-free.

Brioche refers to a style of bread that is light, fluffy, and slightly sweet. Traditional versions may contain milk or butter. But Chick-fil-A has specially formulated their brioche recipe to be vegan friendly.

The multigrain brioche bun includes:

  • Unbleached enriched wheat flour
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Yeast
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • Multigrain blend

No dairy, eggs or animal products are used. So you can enjoy the new multigrain brioche bun with the classic chicken items free of milk concerns.

Can You Get Dairy-Free Sauces and Dressings?

Chick-fil-A offers several condiment and dressing options that help customize your sandwiches, salads, and nuggets. Here are some of the popular dairy-free sauces you can request:

  • Barbeque sauce
  • Honey mustard
  • Sweet & spicy sriracha
  • Zesty buffalo
  • Hot buffalo
  • Chick-fil-A sauce
  • Honey roasted BBQ sauce
  • Garden herb ranch (made with olive oil)

Avoid the following dairy-based sauces:

  • Creamy salsa
  • Creamy ranch
  • Pepper jack cheese sauce

For salads, olive oil and vinegar are good dairy-free substitutes for creamy dressings. You can also ask for lemon juice as an option.

Reviewing the Chick-fil-A allergen guide can help determine which sauces are safe if you have milk allergies or lactose intolerance. And the staff is generally happy to answer questions about dairy in their dressings upon request.

What Desserts Can You Eat There Without Dairy?

If you want to enjoy something sweet at Chick-fil-A without the dairy, there are a couple options:

  • Icedream® – Chick-fil-A’s dairy-free “ice cream” substitute made from coconut oil. Available in vanilla and chocolate flavors.
  • Frosted Lemonade – The classic lemonade blended with ice and sugar. A refreshing treat without milk products.
  • Fresh Fruit Cup – Bite-sized pieces of fresh apples, strawberries, and blueberries.

All of their milkshakes, ice cream cones, and yogurt-based treats contain dairy. The frosted coffee drink also has cream added. But the icedream, frosted lemonade, and fruit cups make nice dairy-free sweets at Chick-fil-A.

Does Chick-fil-A Have Vegan Options?

Chick-fil-A has expanded their menu in recent years to add more vegan choices. While niche, there are a few plant-based options without any animal ingredients:

  • Waffle Potato Fries
  • Fruit Cup
  • Vegetable Wrap with hummus dressing
  • Hash browns
  • Icedream non-dairy frozen dessert

Their multigrain brioche-style bun is also vegan friendly. And you can customize a salad or wrap using only vegetable toppings and oil & vinegar dressing.

While still sparse, the growing vegan selections make it a bit easier to eat dairy and meat-free at Chick-fil-A. Just double check labels and ingredients since many items have hidden cheese, cream or egg-based ingredients.


In summary, the original Chick-fil-A chicken items like sandwiches, nuggets and strips do not contain any dairy ingredients. They fry their chicken in 100% peanut oil. Some menu options like salads, soups and desserts do include dairy, so check item descriptions carefully if you have milk allergies. While cross-contamination is unlikely with good precautions, those extremely sensitive should inform staff to be extra careful. Overall Chick-fil-A is quite accommodating to various dietary restrictions, and has a handful of vegan choices too now. So you can enjoy their signature chicken free of dairy concerns. Just customize your order and sauces mindfully.

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