What is gluten-free at McDonald’s for breakfast?

McDonald’s has made great strides in recent years to expand their gluten-free options, especially for breakfast. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, being able to grab a quick gluten-free meal on-the-go can be challenging. Thankfully, there are more possibilities now at the popular fast food chain. While McDonald’s does not have a completely gluten-free menu, they do offer various breakfast items that are gluten-free when customized. By understanding what can be modified and what to avoid, you can enjoy your favorite McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches and more without the gluten.

What is Gluten?

Before jumping into the gluten-free offerings at McDonald’s, let’s quickly go over what gluten is exactly. Gluten is a protein found in various grains like wheat, barley, and rye. For those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers an immune response in the body causing inflammation and damage to the small intestine. Even small amounts of gluten can cause issues, so it must be avoided completely. Some common symptoms of gluten exposure include:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rashes

The only treatment for celiac disease is a strict lifelong gluten-free diet. For non-celiac gluten sensitivity, a gluten-free diet is also recommended to manage symptoms. This makes knowing what you can and cannot eat at restaurants crucial.

Gluten-Free Choices at McDonald’s for Breakfast

The good news is that McDonald’s has plenty of gluten-free options to choose from in the mornings. Here are some of the main offerings to consider when eating breakfast at McDonald’s gluten-free:

Hash Browns

The basic McDonald’s hash brown patty is gluten-free. You just have to make sure to avoid the seasoned version, as that contains wheat flour. Stick to the plain hash browns, and you can enjoy them to your heart’s content gluten-free.

Yogurt Parfait

The yogurt parfaits at McDonald’s are a great gluten-free option. They are made with low-fat vanilla yogurt and topped with strawberries or blueberries, delivering a tasty and satisfying breakfast. Just verify that your location offers the fresh fruit topping rather than granola, as the granola contains gluten.

Fruit & Maple Oatmeal

The fruit and maple oatmeal is gluten-free at McDonald’s. Oatmeal is naturally gluten-free, so as long as no gluten-containing toppings or mix-ins are added, the McDonald’s oatmeal bowls make for a warm and comforting morning meal. You can request them plain or customize with fruit toppings.

Egg McMuffin without Muffin

One of the most popular secret menu items at McDonald’s for those eating gluten-free is to order an Egg McMuffin without the English muffin. The egg, Canadian bacon, and cheese are all gluten-free. You can either eat it open-faced or wrapped in lettuce leaves.

Scrambled Eggs

The fluffy scrambled eggs served at McDonald’s are gluten-free. You can order them alone or combine them with gluten-free meats and vegetables for a custom gluten-free breakfast sandwich.

Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit without Biscuit

Like the Egg McMuffin, you have the option to order a Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit without the biscuit. Removing the biscuit leaves you with a plate of gluten-free bacon, eggs, and cheese. Feel free to ask for an extra side of eggs or bacon to help fill you up.

Sausage Burrito without Tortilla

The sausage inside a McDonald’s sausage burrito is gluten-free. Ask for one without the flour tortilla to make it gluten-free. You can eat it as a sausage scramble bowl or use lettuce leaves to wrap up the fillings.

Side of Fruit

McDonald’s offers fresh apple slices, so this makes for a simple gluten-free side to complete your breakfast plate.

Foods to Avoid

While the above items can all be prepared gluten-free, there are some definite foods to avoid when eating at McDonald’s if you are sensitive to gluten. Here are some of the main culprits:

  • Biscuits – All biscuits contain gluten
  • English Muffins – The English Muffins used for sandwiches contain gluten
  • Burger Buns – The Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, and hamburger buns have gluten
  • Tortillas – The tortillas used for wraps have gluten
  • French Fries – While fries are typically gluten-free, McDonald’s fries have trace amounts of gluten from the frying oil
  • Chicken McNuggets – The batter on the Chicken McNuggets contains gluten
  • Filet-O-Fish – The fish sandwich and the Fish McBites are battered and fried, so not gluten-free
  • McGriddles – These breakfast sandwiches with pancake buns have gluten
  • Cinnamon Melts – The cinnamon roll-inspired treats have gluten
  • Muffins – The baked muffins offered at some locations are not gluten-free

Of course, the other major consideration is cross-contamination. Since McDonald’s uses shared fryers and prep areas, there is always risk of cross-contact with gluten. Make sure to clearly order your meal as gluten-free so that servers take extra care in preparation.

Tips for Eating Gluten-Free at McDonald’s

By being well-prepared, you can feel confident eating gluten-free when grabbing breakfast on-the-go at McDonald’s. Here are some useful tips:

  • Review the menu online first and know your order ahead of time
  • Stick to basic whole foods like eggs, fruit, and oatmeal
  • Ask for new gloves or uncontaminated kitchen tools
  • Request items without the bun or tortilla
  • Check labels for soups, salads, and dressings
  • Avoid French fries and other fried items
  • Be aware that breakfast meats may contain fillers or seasonings
  • Seek out dedicated fryers if highly sensitive to cross-contact
  • Come at off-peak hours if concerned about cross-contamination

The McDonald’s app and website also have allergen filters you can use to view their gluten-free options. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about prep and menu items when ordering. With the right modifications and menu choices, you can indulge worry-free.

Gluten-Free Breakfast Sandwich Ideas

While not everything can be made gluten-free when ordering from the McDonald’s menu, you do have options. Try out these winning gluten-free combinations for a satisfying McDonald’s breakfast sandwich experience:

The Classic

  • Egg
  • Canadian Bacon
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce Bun

This McDonald’s take on a classic Egg McMuffin is hands-down one of the most craveable options. The ingredients are simple but tasty.

The All-American

  • Egg
  • Bacon
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce Bun

For a heartier sandwich, swap out the Canadian bacon for plentiful strips of crispy McDonald’s bacon along with your egg and cheese.

The Sausage Lover

  • Egg
  • Sausage Patty
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce Bun

The savory sausage patty pairs perfectly with fluffy eggs and melty cheese between lettuce leaves or bacon.

The Veggie

  • Egg
  • Hash Browns
  • Cheese
  • Lettuce Bun

For a vegetarian take, add a hash brown inside along with the egg and cheese. Crunchy and satisfying.

The Breakfast BLT

  • Bacon
  • Egg
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato

Incorporate some veggies by adding on fresh lettuce and tomato to bacon and eggs for a BLT twist.

The Protein Pack

  • Bacon
  • Egg
  • Sausage
  • Cheese

Can’t choose just one breakfast meat? Get the best of everything with bacon, sausage, egg, and cheese atop lettuce leaves.

Smoothies, Juices, Coffee & More

In addition to solid breakfast foods, McDonald’s also offers various gluten-free beverages to help wash it all down:

  • Coffee
  • Orange Juice
  • Apple Juice
  • Low-fat Milk
  • Bottled Water
  • Smoothies without malt powder added

Be sure to check the ingredients on the McCafe Frappes and smoothies, as some contain malt or barley that are not gluten-free. Overall, you have plenty of gluten-free options for hot and cold beverages to complement your meal.

Regional & International Options

Since McDonald’s has locations worldwide, the gluten-free choices can vary slightly depending on where you are dining. Here is a look at some of the regional and international menu items that can be prepared gluten-free:


  • McMuffins without English muffin
  • Smoothees without malt
  • Oatmeal
  • McDonald’s Hash Browns


  • Porridge
  • Bacon Roll without roll
  • Egg & Cheese Muffin without muffin
  • Pancakes without butter


  • McMuffins without English muffins
  • Hotcakes without butter
  • Hash Browns
  • Scrambled eggs


  • Scrambled eggs
  • Bacon without bread
  • Sides like fruit or yogurt

No matter what part of the world you find yourself in, the naturally gluten-free basics like eggs, fruits, yogurts, and hash browns are your best bets for anxiety-free dining.

Breakfast Menu at McDonald’s: What’s Gluten Free? (Table)

Breakfast Item Gluten-Free? How to Make Gluten-Free
Hash Browns Yes Avoid seasoned version
Yogurt Parfait Yes Select fruit topping
Fruit & Maple Oatmeal Yes Plain or fruit topping
Egg McMuffin Customizable Without English muffin
Scrambled Eggs Yes Plain eggs
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit Customizable Without biscuit
Sausage Burrito Customizable Without tortilla
Apple Slices Yes Plain slices
Biscuits No Contain gluten
English Muffins No Contain gluten
Burger Buns No Contain gluten
Tortillas No Contain gluten
French Fries No Cross-contamination

Gluten-Free Dining Tips

In addition to what you order, following some key tips can make your McDonald’s experience less stressful and reduce the chance of gluten exposure:

  • Go during off-peak hours when restaurants are less rushed.
  • Start your order by stating you need to order gluten-free.
  • Ask for new gloves and cleaned prep areas.
  • Opt for plain whole foods like eggs and fruit when possible.
  • Avoid fried menu items due to cross-contamination.
  • Request sauces and condiments on the side.
  • Use the online menu and app to pinpoint gluten-free choices.
  • Politely ask questions about ingredients or preparation if unsure.
  • Thank staff for helping accommodate your needs.

With the right modifications and smart ordering, you can still enjoy the convenience of this popular fast food chain. Their efforts to accommodate gluten-free diets have come a long way.


If you follow a gluten-free diet, McDonald’s may not be your first thought when it comes to grabbing breakfast on-the-go. However, with a little planning and customization, you do have various options to choose from off their breakfast menu. Items like hash browns, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, eggs, bacon, and fruit can all be prepared gluten-free.

While McDonald’s does contain gluten across their menu, they are making progress in accommodating special dietary needs. By avoiding biscuits, muffins, fried foods, and other high-risk items, you can order a tasty gluten-free breakfast sandwich or meal. With plenty of customization possible using whole ingredients, you can satisfy your McDonald’s craving without the gluten. Pay close attention when ordering, ask questions, and take necessary precautions to limit cross-contact.

Overall, dining gluten-free at McDonald’s is very possible. Their efforts to improve allergen awareness and offer more choices reflects changing consumer needs. Just be sure to double check labels and ingredients, stick to basics like eggs and fruit, and maintain open communication with staff. With the right modifications, you can safely enjoy hash browns, egg sandwiches, yogurts, and more from their breakfast menu while living gluten-free.

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