Is Chipotle Brisket Bowl gluten free?

Yes, the Chipotle Brisket Bowl can be made gluten free by customizing the order. The brisket, rice, beans, salsa, and other standard ingredients are naturally gluten-free. However, Chipotle uses shared equipment and prep areas, so cross-contamination is possible.

What is in the Chipotle Brisket Bowl?

The Chipotle Brisket Bowl typically contains the following ingredients:

  • Smoked brisket
  • Cilantro-lime rice
  • Pinto or black beans
  • Tomato salsa
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce

All of these ingredients are naturally gluten-free. The brisket is smoked, the rice and beans are made from gluten-free grains, the salsas and vegetables contain no gluten, and the shredded cheese is typically Monterey jack which does not contain gluten.

Is the Chipotle menu gluten-free friendly?

In general, the Chipotle menu is gluten-free friendly because most items are made from naturally gluten-free ingredients like rice, beans, meat, vegetables, and cheese. However, gluten-containing ingredients are also used in the restaurant, so cross-contamination is a risk.

Here are some tips for ordering gluten-free at Chipotle:

  • Choose corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas
  • Avoid flour tortilla bowls
  • Choose gluten-free toppings like salsa, cheese, lettuce, rice, beans, and meat
  • Avoid toppings like chips, which may be cross-contaminated
  • Request new gloves before your order is prepared

Following these guidelines when customizing your order can help minimize exposure to gluten. But it’s important to note that cross-contamination can still occur.

Why could the Brisket Bowl contain gluten?

Even though the Brisket Bowl ingredients are naturally gluten-free, here are some ways gluten could make its way into the dish:

  • Shared equipment: The rice, beans, salsa, and other toppings are prepared in shared equipment and prep areas in the restaurant. Utensils used for flour tortillas may come into contact with the gluten-free ingredients.
  • Shared serving lines: The bowls move down the same serving line as flour tortillas and other products containing gluten.
  • Airborne flour particles: Tiny particles of flour in the air from tortillas being prepared may settle onto the gluten-free ingredients.
  • Handling errors: An employee may accidentally add an ingredient with gluten, or use the wrong utensils.

For these reasons, Chipotle can’t guarantee a 100% gluten-free environment. But following gluten-free ordering guidelines can help reduce cross-contact as much as possible.

What menu items should be avoided?

Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should avoid flour tortillas and flour tortilla bowls when ordering at Chipotle. Other items that may contain gluten include:

  • Chips
  • Charred tomato salsa
  • Barbacoa
  • Sofritas
  • Beer

The chips are fried in shared fryers. The charred tomato salsa contains wheat. The barbacoa and sofritas may be cross-contaminated during preparation. And the beer contains gluten from the barley used to brew it.

Sticking to naturally gluten-free menu items like meat, rice, beans, cheese, and salsas made fresh daily can help minimize gluten exposure.

What about cross-contamination?

Cross-contamination is the biggest concern when ordering gluten-free at Chipotle. Even if an item doesn’t contain gluten ingredients, it could pick up traces of gluten during handling and preparation:

  • An employee uses the same gloved hands or utensils to handle both flour and corn tortillas.
  • Salsa is prepared in a shared work station that was just used to make flour tortillas.
  • Rice scoops rest in bins next to flour tortillas, picking up airborne particles.
  • The lettuce bins and utensils sit next to items with gluten.

Even tiny crumbs or traces of flour can be an issue for those highly sensitive. That’s why gluten-free customers need to be very cautious when ordering.

What precautions does Chipotle take?

Chipotle does train employees on gluten-free procedures and take some precautions, including:

  • Changing gloves between handling flour and corn tortillas
  • Keeping flour and corn tortillas separated behind the line
  • Separating utensils and bins for certain ingredients
  • Cleaning work surfaces between preparing flour and gluten-free items

However, shared equipment and prep areas are still used. And human errors can always occur in busy restaurant environments. So Chipotle does not claim its food is 100% gluten-free.

Should you request special precautions?

Yes, those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should inform the employee preparing their order that they need to avoid cross-contact with gluten. Some tips include:

  • Ask the employee to wash hands, change gloves, and gather new utensils
  • Request that all ingredients come from unopened containers or the backs of bins
  • Ask the employee to clean the tongs and wipe down any prep surfaces
  • Avoid going during busy rush periods when kitchen contamination is more likely

While these requests can’t guarantee zero exposure, they may reduce the risk. Some Chipotle locations are better than others when it comes to accommodating gluten-free orders, so it helps to find one that seems to follow good practices.

Does Chipotle offer gluten-free training?

Yes, Chipotle employees do go through training on gluten-free procedures. Their food safety and prep training programs cover topics like:

  • Identifying gluten-containing menu items
  • Using dedicated kitchen tools and prep areas for gluten-free items
  • Changing gloves between flour and corn tortillas
  • Cleaning surfaces thoroughly before gluten-free preparation
  • Using fresh unopened bags of rice and other toppings
  • Taking care to avoid cross-contamination

However, day-to-day practices can vary depending on the specific location. So training alone doesn’t guarantee consistent safety for gluten-free customers. It’s still important to verify that the employees understand how to avoid cross-contact for each order.

What about Chipotle’s gluten-free menu?

Chipotle does not have a separate gluten-free menu. But they do offer a few tips on their website for ordering gluten-free meals. Their recommendations include:

  • Choose corn over flour tortillas
  • Skip flour tortilla bowls and chips
  • Stick to foods like salsa, meat, rice, beans, and cheese
  • Review ingredient labels and allergen info for sauces
  • Ask employees to change gloves and avoid cross-contamination

So while Chipotle doesn’t advertise specific gluten-free combos, their standard menu items can be customized to be gluten-free. Their online allergen guide outlines which foods are naturally free of gluten ingredients.

Is Chipotle safe for celiac disease?

Most experts advise those with celiac disease to avoid eating at Chipotle. The risk of cross-contamination from shared surfaces, utensils, and prep areas is very high in their kitchens.

Some celiacs may feel comfortable eating there if they take thorough precautions: ordering rice bowls with simple meat and veggie toppings, asking employees to change gloves, and inspecting ingredients. But extreme caution is required.

For those highly sensitive, the uncertainties make Chipotle an unsafe choice. Getting “glutened” from traces of flour can cause severe symptoms and intestinal damage for those with celiac.

Is Chipotle safe for gluten sensitivity?

Those with gluten sensitivity or intolerance may fare better at Chipotle. While cross-contamination is still a risk, the presence of small amounts of gluten may not immediately cause adverse reactions for those who are not as sensitive.

Gluten sensitive diners should still take precautions like asking employees to change gloves, avoiding flour tortillas, and inspecting ingredients. But some may be able to tolerate the potential trace amounts of gluten due to shared kitchen tools and prep areas.

Can you get a gluten allergy menu at Chipotle?

No, Chipotle does not offer a separate gluten “allergy” menu. Guests need to be familiar with the standard ingredients and build a gluten-free meal by choosing naturally gluten-free foods.

Those with gluten-related conditions need to customize their bowl, salad, or tacos using corn tortillas, cilantro-lime rice, black or pinto beans, meat, fajita veggies, salsa, cheese or lettuce. Then request any additional precautions.

Does Chipotle have gluten-free certification?

No, Chipotle restaurants are not certified gluten-free. They do not meet the standards required for certification programs like the Gluten Intolerance Group’s Gluten-Free Food Service (GFFS) certification.

To be certified gluten-free, restaurants must follow very strict protocols to prevent cross-contamination, like having entirely separate gluten-free prep areas. Chipotle’s shared kitchens and equipment mean they cannot meet the requirements for official GF certification.

Should you trust the “gluten-free” label at Chipotle?

Chipotle does not label any menu items as gluten-free. However, some employees may tell customers that certain dishes can be prepared gluten-free.

In general, it’s safer not to trust these verbal “gluten-free” labels. Unless you watch your entire order being prepared safely, a labeling error or cross-contamination could still occur. Your best bet is to customize your own bowl using ingredients you know are gluten-free.

Can you get glutened from cross-contamination at Chipotle?

Yes, cross-contamination is the top concern when ordering gluten-free at Chipotle. Even tiny amounts of flour or wheat from shared utensils, prep areas, and employee hands can contaminate an otherwise gluten-free meal.

Getting “glutened” from this trace gluten exposure can cause side effects like nausea, stomach pain, headaches, fatigue, and diarrhea in those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

To reduce this risk, gluten-free diners need to carefully craft their orders, ask for fresh ingredients and clean tools, and confirm employees understand how to avoid cross-contact with wheat.

What are the best gluten-free options at Chipotle?

These menu items are naturally gluten-free at Chipotle:

Protein Base Toppings
Chicken, steak, carnitas, barbacoa, brisket Cilantro-lime rice, black beans, pinto beans Salsa, tomato, corn, cheese, lettuce

These can be combined to create bowls, salads, and tacos. Just be sure to avoid flour tortillas, chips, and other cross-contaminated foods.

What are the worst gluten-free options?

Menu items to avoid due to high gluten cross-contamination risk include:

  • Flour tortillas and flour tortilla bowls
  • Corn tortilla chips
  • Barbacoa
  • Sofritas
  • Pre-made salsas like tomatillo green salsa

Flour tortillas obviously contain gluten. But the corn chips are fried in shared oil, barbacoa and sofritas may pick up traces of gluten during prep, and certain salsas sit in shared containers. Play it safe by avoiding these.

What questions should you ask the staff about gluten?

Important questions to ask Chipotle employees when ordering gluten-free include:

  • Can you please change your gloves and use fresh utensils?
  • Can you use ingredients only from new unopened containers?
  • Can you clean the tongs and any surfaces before preparing my order?
  • At what step do you typically change gloves between flour and corn tortillas?
  • Do you receive regular training on avoiding gluten cross-contact?

Their answers can help you gauge how aware they are of gluten-free protocols. Don’t be afraid to kindly ask them to take extra care in preparing your meal.


The Chipotle Brisket Bowl can be customized to be gluten-free by avoiding flour tortillas and ingredients that may be cross-contaminated. But diners with celiac disease need to be extremely cautious due to shared equipment and prep areas.

Chipotle does not claim to be 100% gluten-free. By being familiar with the menu, asking employees to change gloves and tools, and inspecting your order, you can reduce exposure as much as possible. But there is no guarantee at busy fast-casual restaurants.

Those highly sensitive to gluten may want to avoid eating at Chipotle altogether due to the risks. But some with gluten sensitivity can tolerate small amounts and may feel comfortable eating there occasionally with proper precautions.

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