Is Panera soup gluten free?

Quick Answer

Most Panera soups are gluten free, but some contain gluten. Panera has a gluten free menu that lists which soups are gluten free and which contain gluten. Some popular gluten free soups at Panera include the Broccoli Cheddar soup, Chicken Noodle soup, and Ten Vegetable soup. However, soups like the Creamy Tomato soup contain gluten. So it’s important to check the gluten free menu or ask if you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity.

In Depth Answer

For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, eating at restaurants like Panera can be tricky. While many menu items are naturally gluten free, some contain hidden sources of gluten that can cause issues.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It acts as a glue that holds food together and often gives it a chewy texture. For most people, gluten is harmless. But for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers an autoimmune reaction that damages the small intestine. Even small amounts of gluten can cause symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, brain fog, and more.

The only treatment for celiac disease is following a strict 100% gluten free diet. This means reading every ingredient label carefully and avoiding cross-contamination with gluten. Eating at restaurants that serve gluten containing items can increase the risk of cross-contamination.

That’s why it’s so important to know what menu items are safely gluten free at places like Panera. So let’s take a look at what soups contain gluten and which ones are gluten free.

Gluten Free Soups at Panera

The good news is that MOST of Panera’s soups are gluten free. Panera has an excellent allergen menu that lists all soups that are safe for a gluten free diet.

Here are some of the gluten free soup options at Panera:

  • Broccoli Cheddar Soup
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
  • Ten Vegetable Soup
  • Creamy Tomato Soup (seasonal)
  • Black Bean Soup
  • Vegetable Soup

As long as you stick to the soups designated gluten free, you should be safe. Panera prepares their gluten free soups in dedicated gluten free kettles and stocks to avoid cross-contamination. Employees use fresh utensils and gloves when handling gluten free soups.

Some additional tips when ordering gluten free soup at Panera:

– Ask for your soup without bread on top or croutons
– Request a gluten free bread bowl instead of regular bread bowl
– Avoid added baguette slices or bread crumbs
– Check for gluten free crackers if requesting soup with a side
– Let the staff know you need a gluten free meal

As long as you customize your order to be gluten free, Panera has measures in place to safely accommodate celiac and gluten free diets.

Soups with Gluten at Panera

While Panera has many gluten free options, there are also some soups that contain gluten.

Here are the Panera soups that are NOT gluten free:

  • Bistro French Onion Soup
  • Creamy Tomato Soup
  • Loaded Potato Soup
  • Broccoli Cheese Soup
  • Chicken Tortilla Soup

These soups contain wheat-based ingredients like flour, barley, bread crumbs, pasta, or roux. Some soups may also be thickened with wheat-based starches.

So it’s very important to avoid these options if you have celiac disease or a sensitivity. Even small amounts of gluten from thickening agents can be an issue. Make sure to stick to the designated gluten free soup list to stay safe.

Tips for Ordering Gluten Free Soup at Panera

Here are some additional tips for safely navigating the soup choices at Panera with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity:

  • Review the allergen menu before ordering and know which soups are gluten free
  • Tell the staff you need a gluten free meal
  • Ask for soup without croutons or bread topping
  • Request a gluten free bread bowl
  • Ask about shared equipment and risk of cross-contamination
  • Customize your order – leave off crackers or baguette slices
  • Ask if soup broths are made with wheat-based starch
  • Consider lower risk choices like broth based soups
  • Check labels each time you visit as ingredients may change

Being informed and customizing your order is key for safe gluten free dining at restaurants like Panera. Cross-contamination is always a possibility, so consider the risks of items like cream soups thickened with wheat starch. Opting for broth-based soups may be a lower risk choice overall.

Panera Gluten Free Menu

Panera is generally acclaimed for their gluten free accommodations compared to many other restaurant chains. They have an extensive gluten free menu listing safe options for every meal.

Here’s an overview of the Panera gluten free menu:


  • Gluten Free Steel Cut Oatmeal
  • Gluten Free Granola Parfait
  • Egg Sandwiches without bread or biscuit

Salads & Bowls

  • Salad bases like lettuce, kale, romaine
  • Dressings like balsamic, Greek, fuji apple
  • Proteins like chicken, tofu, steak

Sandwiches & Panini

  • Select bread and baguette options
  • Gluten free wraps
  • Sandwich proteins without bread


  • Gluten free crust
  • Customize toppings

Mac & Cheese

  • Gluten free pasta options


  • Chicken noodle
  • Ten vegetable
  • Cream of chicken & rice
  • Broth-based options

So in summary, Panera has gluten free bread, pizza crust, pasta, proteins, dressings and soups to build a meal. Just pay close attention to the ingredients and risk of cross-contamination with your order.

Are Panera Ingredients Gluten Free?

When ordering gluten free at restaurants, it’s not just about the main ingredients. Cross-contamination can occur from shared equipment, utensils, and prep surfaces. Many menu items also contain thickening agents, flavorings, and other hidden sources of gluten.

Some examples of ingredients that may contain gluten at Panera include:

  • Bread crumbs
  • Croutons
  • Soy Sauce
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Malt Vinegar
  • Modified food starch
  • Artificial color
  • Stabilizers and emulsifiers
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Natural flavors

So while the main ingredients like chicken or lettuce may be gluten free, it’s important to dig deeper. That’s why it’s always best to reference the gluten free menu listings and customize your order. Ask the staff about potential cross-contamination issues as well. This reduces your risk of getting “glutened.”

Is Panera Safe for Celiacs?

For those with celiac disease, no restaurant can be considered 100% safe. There is always some degree of risk for cross-contamination when gluten is prepared in the same facility.

However, Panera is regarded as one of the safer restaurant choices for celiacs. They earn high marks for their gluten free training, dedicated prep areas, and gluten free menu options.

Here are some of the celiac-friendly practices at Panera:

  • Extensive staff training on gluten free protocols
  • Separate gluten free prep surfaces and storage
  • Color-coded utensils and gloves to prevent cross-contamination
  • Dedicated gluten free soup kettles
  • Gluten free menu identifies safer choices
  • Ingredients and supplier lists available for review

Studies have also tested gluten free Panera meals and found very low levels of gluten. Over 95% of samples tested below 5-10 ppm, which is considered gluten free.

For these reasons, Panera is regarded as a relatively “celiac safe” establishment compared to many others. But there is no such thing as zero risk. Using your best judgment is always important with celiac disease dining out.

Panera Gluten Free Reviews

Most customer reviews praise Panera’s gluten free accommodations. They report positive experiences ordering customized gluten free meals.

Here are examples of positive Panera gluten free reviews:

  • “I always feel safe eating at Panera. Their staff is very knowledgeable about gluten free diets and take cross-contamination seriously.”
  • “I love that I can eat bread again thanks to Panera’s gluten free baguettes. It makes me feel normal going out to eat with friends.”
  • “Panera has so many hearty and flavorful gluten free options – way more choices than most other restaurants.”
  • “As a celiac, I appreciate that Panera trains their staff on food allergies. I feel safe eating there without getting sick.”
  • “Eating out is so much less stressful knowing I have a go-to place like Panera that gets gluten free dining right.”

However, isolated incidents of cross-contamination reactions have been reported when staff fails to follow proper protocols. Some reviews also report inconsistent experiences between different locations. As with any restaurant, experiences can vary.

But overall, Panera earns widespread praise for serving safe and tasty gluten free meals in a comfortable environment for those with celiac disease and food allergies.

Is Panera Gluten Free Bread Really Gluten Free?

Panera offers gluten free baguettes and sandwich bread that are popular options for gluten free diets. But some people question if these breads are truly gluten free, especially for celiac disease.

According to Panera, their gluten free bread options are:

  • Verified below 20 ppm gluten
  • Bake in separate pans from gluten bread
  • Stored in separate bags and served in separate baskets
  • Prepped with designated color-coded utensils

Testing has shown Panera’s gluten free bread is accurately labeled. One study found 95% of samples contained less than 5-10 ppm gluten.

However, isolated incidents have been reported of people reacting to the bread. This could result from:

  • Cross-contamination from toaster ovens
  • Tracing amounts of gluten in certain batches
  • Gluten exposure from handling/processing

So while the bread itself tests reliably gluten free, trace contamination is still possible. Those highly sensitive should use best judgment. But overall, Panera’s bread gets high marks for safety.

Final Thoughts

In summary, eating gluten free at Panera entails:

  • Reviewing the gluten free menu to identify safe soups
  • Customizing orders by leaving off croutons, crackers etc.
  • Asking about gluten free prep procedures
  • Opting for lower-risk broth-based soups
  • Being aware that risks exist, especially for celiac diners

While Panera is considered above average in gluten free accommodations, always use your best judgment when dining out. By being an informed advocate for your diet, you can enjoy delicious gluten free meals from Panera worrying less about cross-contamination. Just check their website and menus regularly, since ingredients and practices can change over time.

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