Is there anything gluten-free at McDonald’s breakfast?

Quick Answers

Yes, there are some gluten-free options available at McDonald’s for breakfast. The main gluten-free items include:

  • Egg McMuffin without the English muffin
  • Sausage or bacon ordered without biscuit or English muffin
  • Fruit & Maple Oatmeal without brown sugar topping
  • Yogurt Parfait
  • Hash browns
  • Coffee and tea drinks without flavor syrups

However, it’s important to note that McDonald’s does not claim to be a gluten-free environment. There is a risk of cross-contamination as they use shared equipment and preparation areas. Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should exercise caution.

Breakfast Menu Overview

The McDonald’s breakfast menu includes a variety of hot sandwich options, biscuits, muffins, oatmeal, yogurt, hash browns, coffee, juice, and more.

Many of the bread products at McDonald’s contain gluten, including:

  • English muffins
  • Biscuits
  • Pancakes
  • McGriddles

So the key to ordering gluten-free is avoiding those bready carriers and keeping the meal centered around naturally gluten-free foods like eggs, meats, potatoes, oatmeal, yogurt, and fruit.

Some McDonald’s locations also serve breakfast bowls, which feature the sandwich fillings atop hash browns, tomatoes, and lettuce without the bun.

Hot Sandwiches

The Egg McMuffin and other hot sandwiches can be modified to be gluten-free by ordering without the English muffin or biscuit. For example:

  • Egg McMuffin – Hold the English muffin
  • Sausage McMuffin – Hold the English muffin
  • Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit – Hold the biscuit

This leaves you with just the egg, cheese, and meat. You can also ask for gluten-free grilled breakfast sandwich, which comes with eggs, cheese, and meat on lettuce leaves instead of a bun.

Keep in mind that the folded egg used in Egg McMuffins contains wheat, so those with celiac disease should avoid it. Stick to the round eggs for gluten-free.

Sausages, Bacon, Ham

The sausage patties, bacon strips, ham slices, and Canadian bacon rounds at McDonald’s are naturally gluten-free. Order them by themselves, without a biscuit or English muffin.

You can also add them onto a gluten free grilled breakfast sandwich or into the fruit and maple oatmeal (without brown sugar topping).

Hash Browns

A McDonald’s staple, the classic hash brown patties are gluten-free. However, for those highly sensitive, keep in mind they are cooked in shared fryers. Ask about dedicated fryers for the best assurance.

Fruit & Maple Oatmeal

The oatmeal is gluten-free, but avoid the brown sugar topping, which contains barley malt. Stick to the plain oatmeal with your choice of fruit, like strawberries or blueberries, and maple syrup.

Yogurt Parfait

The yogurt parfait comes with vanilla yogurt, strawberries, and blueberries. It’s naturally gluten-free. Top it off with some extra fruit for added nutrition.


Plain coffee and tea are gluten-free at McDonald’s. Avoid any flavor syrups, which likely contain gluten. Opt for drinks like:

  • Regular coffee
  • Hot tea
  • Iced coffee
  • Orange juice
  • Apple juice
  • Milk

Be sure to verify milk and creamer options too. Some flavored creamers may contain gluten. Stick to plain dairy for the most reliability.

Cross-Contamination Risks

While the above items are naturally free from gluten-containing ingredients, there is still a risk of cross-contamination occurring in the McDonald’s prep and service areas.

Some key points:

  • English muffins and biscuits containing gluten are prepared in the same areas.
  • The same grills are used for hash browns, sandwiches with buns, and grilled breakfast bowls.
  • Many McDonald’s locations do not have dedicated fryers.
  • Workers use the same tongs and preparation tools across all menu items.
  • There is limited awareness or special protocols for allergies.

So those with celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity should exercise caution when ordering. While items may be gluten-free in their basic form, traces of gluten could end up in the final food due to cross-contact.

Tips for Safest Eating

If you need to strictly avoid any gluten exposure, keep these tips in mind when ordering breakfast at McDonald’s:

  • Ask about dedicated fryers and prep tools. Some locations may have separate friers or tongs they can use.
  • Request new gloves before handling your food.
  • Opt for the plain grilled breakfast sandwich with dedicated grill tools.
  • Stick to items cooked from raw state like eggs and hash browns.
  • Avoid folded eggs and anything that touches shared grills.
  • Skip the oatmeal if concerned about shared prep tools.
  • Check labels and verify ingredients for creamers, syrups, etc.

Being upfront with the manager on duty about your allergy needs can help ensure proper precautions are taken in the kitchen. But there are never any guarantees at a busy fast food chain using shared equipment.

What About Lunch/Dinner Menu Items?

While this article is focused on breakfast, those looking for gluten-free options can find some choices on the McDonald’s lunch/dinner menu as well. Some examples include:

  • Burgers without the bun
  • Salads with gluten-free dressings
  • French fries
  • Apple slices
  • Yogurt parfait
  • Plain hamburger patties
  • Chicken tenders or nuggets

Again, the same cross-contamination risks apply. But with some modifications and ingredient vetting, you can likely find a meal combination that works for your needs.

Is McDonald’s Moving Toward Gluten-Free?

Many customers ask if McDonald’s will eventually offer certified gluten-free menu options. At this time, there are no announcements about adding a dedicated gluten-free section.

The challenges of preventing cross-contact at such a large chain with shared kitchen tools make it difficult to implement a full gluten-free program. It would require major operational changes, training, and procedures to safely prepare gluten-free items secluded from other menu items.

Some speculate they may test gluten-free buns or breakfast sandwiches in certain regions at some point. But it is not a chain-wide priority focus for now.

Instead, those seeking gluten-free fast food may have better luck at smaller chains specifically catering to food allergies and special diets. For example:

  • EAT Pure Foods
  • Gluten Free Cafe
  • Glutino Pizzeria
  • Nekter Juice Bar

These restaurants build their systems around allergen-free practices from the start. So they offer safer options for gluten-free diners.

McDonald’s does seem to be making small steps, such as removing artificial preservatives and offering more customization. But a certified gluten-free menu is not predicted in the immediate future.

Should You Trust McDonald’s for Gluten-Free?

At the end of the day, those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity have to weigh the risks and benefits of eating at McDonald’s.

On one hand, the convenience and familiarity can be appealing, especially when traveling or in a pinch. With some modifications, it may be possible to find something safe on the breakfast menu.

But there are no guarantees about cross-contact, even if you take precautions. Their kitchen practices leave opportunity for gluten exposure.

So it comes down to your comfort level and past experiences eating at McDonald’s. Some find they tolerate simple grilled meats and hash browns just fine. Others get sick no matter what they order.

In general, those newly diagnosed or highly sensitive should steer clear from the start. Individual tolerance varies and can change over time.

If you do dine at McDonald’s, listen to your body and be alert for any symptoms after. Discontinue eating there if you have any negative reactions. And consider safer options like dedicated gluten free chains where possible.

The Bottom Line

While not certified gluten-free, McDonald’s breakfast menu does offer some modified options if needed in a pinch. Stick to basics like eggs, meats, potatoes, yogurt, oatmeal without toppings, and plain beverages.

But those highly sensitive should use extreme caution due to uncontrolled cross-contact with kitchen tools and prep areas. Dedicated gluten-free restaurants will provide the safest experience.

Gluten-Free Breakfast Tips

Finding quick and nourishing gluten-free breakfasts on busy mornings can be a challenge. Here are some tips and ideas:

Cook in Bulk

Make a big batch of gluten-free oats, chia pudding, or egg cups on your day off. Portion into individual servings and heat as needed throughout the week.

Prep Ahead

Hard boil eggs and prep veggie slices, sausage patties, or bacon strips ahead of time. Keep in the fridge and combine with eggs, potatoes, and cheese for fast breakfast bowls.

Overnight Oats

Combine oats, chia seeds, nut milk and toppings in a jar. Refrigerate overnight. Wake up to creamy ready-to-eat oatmeal.


Blend nut milk, fruit, greens, nut butter, and protein powder for an on-the-go meal. Pour into a portable cup and enjoy in the car if needed.

Breakfast Sandwiches

Use gluten-free bread, English muffins, or bagels as the base. Load up with eggs, cheese, meat and veggies for a satisfying sandwich.

Yogurt Parfaits

Layer gluten-free granola, yogurt, and fresh fruit in a jar or portable cup for customized flavor and nutrition.

Protein Bars

Seek brands made with truly gluten-free oats, nuts, seeds, and minimal ingredients. Grab a bar for days when you’re really pressed for time.

Purchase Prepared Foods

Buy ready-to-eat hard boiled eggs, pre-cooked bacon, gluten-free muffins, or cereal for quick breakfasts. Look for quality brands to avoid preservatives.

With a little planning and smart grocery shopping, you can enjoy tasty gluten-free morning meals even on busy schedules.

Gluten-Free Dining Out Tips

If you need to avoid gluten, here are some helpful tips for safely eating out for breakfast or other meals:

  • Research the menu online first and call ahead with questions
  • Explain your needs thoroughly to restaurant staff
  • Ask about ingredients, food prep, and risk of cross-contact
  • Request food be prepared in clean pans with fresh utensils
  • Verify ingredients and preparation details with your server
  • Check that condiments, dressings, and sauces are gluten-free
  • Ask for plain fresh foods instead of breads or fried items
  • Politely send back any food you didn’t order or have questions about

Following a gluten-free diet requires extra care and effort eating out. But being well-prepared with questions and an understanding of menu options will help ensure you have a safe, healthy meal.

Gluten-Free Living Tips

Here are some other tips for living well gluten-free:

  • Cook more meals at home using naturally gluten-free ingredients
  • Find simple swaps for favorite glutenous foods like bread, pasta, and baked goods
  • Carefully read food labels and only buy products marked gluten-free
  • Learn hidden sources of gluten like soy sauce and salad dressings
  • Join online or in-person support groups to exchange tips
  • Educate friends and family about your dietary needs
  • Bring your own snacks or dishes to potlucks and parties
  • Travel with gluten-free bars, cereals or other foods when needed
  • Tell servers about dietary needs when ordering at restaurants
  • Find dedicated gluten-free grocers and eateries in your area

Following a gluten-free diet can be challenging at first. But with the right knowledge and preparation, you can find new favorite foods and still enjoy delicious meals and social gatherings.


While not specifically catered to gluten-free diets, McDonald’s breakfast menu does present some low-risk options to accommodate restrictions when needed. The simplest choices include grilled meats, plain eggs, yogurt, fruit, hash browns, and basic beverages.

However, those highly sensitive must take precautions, as cross-contact with gluten-containing menu items can occur in shared prep areas. Dedicated gluten-free chains will offer the safest experience.

With proper planning and an understanding of ingredients, most people avoiding gluten can construct a reasonable McDonald’s breakfast in a pinch. But caution is still advised, especially for those newly diagnosed or with severe reactions.

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