What is gluten-free from Taco Johns?

For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, dining out can be challenging. With so many menu items containing gluten, it can be difficult to find safe options when eating at restaurants. Taco John’s, a popular Tex-Mex fast food chain, does offer some gluten-free choices for customers avoiding gluten. In this article, we’ll take a look at what gluten-free items are available at Taco John’s, how the restaurant works to avoid cross-contamination, and some tips for safely eating gluten-free at this chain.

What Gluten-Free Items are on the Menu?

Fortunately, Taco John’s menu does include several gluten-free options:

  • Corn tortilla shells and chips
  • Rice
  • Refried beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Black beans
  • Bell peppers
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Cheese
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Corn taco shells
  • Soft flour tortillas (if requested gluten-free)

With these ingredients, customers can build customized tacos, burritos, salads, nachos, and other menu items that are gluten-free. Some specific gluten-free options include:

  • Tacos with corn tortilla shells, meat, beans, salsa, cheese, etc.
  • Burritos with rice, beans, meat, cheese, etc. wrapped in foil instead of a tortilla
  • Salads with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, meat, beans, salsa, guacamole, etc.
  • Nachos with corn chips, beans, cheese, salsa, guacamole, etc.
  • Potatoes without seasoning

It’s important to note that while these menu items are gluten-free, cross-contamination is possible in the restaurant environment. Customers with celiac disease or sensitivity should mention their dietary needs to restaurant staff.

How Does Taco John’s Avoid Cross-Contamination?

According to Taco John’s, their restaurants take certain precautions to avoid cross-contamination for guests who are sensitive to gluten:

  • Employees change gloves and wash hands when preparing gluten-free orders.
  • Work spaces and utensils are thoroughly cleaned before preparing gluten-free items.
  • Gluten-free orders are prepared using separate, designated containers kept apart from other ingredients.
  • Corn tortillas and taco shells are kept on separate trays from flour tortillas.

However, their kitchens are not completely gluten-free environments. Flour tortillas and breaded menu items containing gluten are fried in the same fryers as corn chips, for example. So there is still a chance of cross-contact for those who are highly sensitive.

Tips for Eating Gluten-Free at Taco John’s

If you follow a gluten-free diet, here are some tips to help you safely order at Taco John’s:

  • Review the menu online first and come prepared with gluten-free options in mind.
  • Tell the cashier you need a gluten-free meal when ordering. Emphasize that you have an allergy.
  • Request any tacos or burritos be prepared with corn tortillas.
  • Ask for potatoes or rice plain with no seasoning, which may contain gluten.
  • Opt for burrito bowls or salads without tortillas or shells.
  • Avoid flour tortillas, even if requested gluten-free, due to cross-contamination concerns.
  • Check that soft corn taco shells are used rather than hard, which may be contaminated.
  • Request corn chips rather than tortilla chips, which are fried separately.
  • Ask for lettuce wraps or foil instead of tortillas.
  • Verify food prep surfaces and utensils were cleaned before your meal was prepared.
  • Pass on sauces, seasonings, and toppings unless you can confirm they are gluten-free.

With planning and clear communication, people who are gluten-free can enjoy tasty Tex-Mex favorites at Taco John’s. Being aware of menu options, potential cross-contamination issues, and safe substitutes helps customers get a safe, healthy meal.

Popular Gluten-Free Orders

Some of the most popular gluten-free orders at Taco John’s include:

  • Soft corn taco shells filled with meat, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes
  • Nachos with corn chips, beans, salsa, guacamole, sour cream
  • Potato olés seasoned with just salt
  • Burrito bowls with rice, beans, meat, salsa, cheese
  • Salads topped with meat, guacamole, salsa, beans
  • Corn chips and salsa
  • Plain soft corn or crispy corn taco shells

These modified menu items allow gluten-free diners to enjoy the Tex-Mex flavors they crave without the risk of getting sick from gluten exposure.

Nutrition Information on Popular Gluten-Free Items

Many customers with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity also focus on the nutritional content of gluten-free menu options. Here is the nutrition information on some popular gluten-free choices at Taco John’s:

Gluten-Free Item Calories Fat Carbs Protein
Soft Corn Taco Shell 70 3g 12g 2g
Nachos with Beans & Cheese 510 26g 46g 18g
Potato Olés 110 3g 20g 2g
Burrito Bowl with Rice, Beans, Meat 485 12g 57g 25g

As you can see, while gluten-free menu items remove the risks of gluten, the nutritional content varies. Some lower calorie options include soft taco shells, potatoes olés, and burrito bowls without toppings like cheese and sour cream. Those with celiac disease should consider the complete nutritional profile of gluten-free choices at Taco John’s.

What About Desserts and Drinks?

Finding gluten-free desserts and beverages can also be tricky for those eating gluten-free. Here are some tips on gluten-free options for drinks and sweets at Taco John’s:


  • Sodas, teas, and lemonade are gluten-free
  • Ask for drinks without added syrups, which may contain gluten
  • Water and milk are safe gluten-free options
  • Avoid beer and mixed drinks containing malt, whiskey, etc. with gluten ingredients


  • Churros likely contain gluten and should be avoided
  • Baked goods like cinnamon twists and apple empanadas contain gluten and should be avoided
  • Ice cream and sorbet are good gluten-free dessert choices

So people eating gluten-free should stick to basic beverages like sodas, milk, water. And for dessert, sorbet or ice cream make the safest options compared to baked goods with gluten ingredients.

Is Taco John’s a Good Gluten-Free Option Overall?

For fast food Tex-Mex cuisine, Taco John’s offers more gluten-free choices than many other chains. With corn tortillas, tacos, burritos, rice, beans, and salad options, those avoiding gluten have ample menu selections. However, there is still some risk of cross-contamination from shared cooking and prep areas. Taco John’s kitchens are not completely gluten-free.

Those with celiac disease or wheat allergies may want to exercise extreme caution. While the risk is reduced, trace amounts of gluten could still be present even in options listed as gluten-free. For those simply avoiding gluten, not for medical reasons, the menu choices and precautions taken by Taco John’s make it one of the better fast food choices available. But it’s still important to confirm gluten-free preparation with restaurant staff to reduce the risk of cross-contact.

Overall, Taco John’s is able to accommodate gluten-free diets better than many similar chains. By building your own tacos, burritos, salads, and nachos using naturally gluten-free ingredients, those avoiding gluten have many options. Just be sure to clearly communicate with staff to get your meal specially prepared to reduce cross-contamination. With smart ordering, Taco John’s can be a reasonably safe option for gluten-free fast food.

Gluten-Free Dining Guide for Eating at Taco John’s

Here is a quick gluten-free dining guide when eating at Taco John’s:

  • Avoid flour tortillas, baked goods, breaded items, desserts with gluten ingredients
  • Build tacos, burritos, nachos, salads with corn products instead of flour
  • Request plain rice or potatoes with no seasoning
  • Get corn chips instead of tortilla chips
  • Use lettuce wraps or bowls instead of tortillas
  • Ask staff to change gloves, wash hands, and use clean surfaces
  • Ensure corn shells and chips are cooked separately from flour products
  • Verify sauces, seasonings, and toppings are gluten-free
  • Opt for basic drinks like sodas, water, milk without added syrups
  • Choose ice cream or sorbet for gluten-free dessert

Following these guidelines when ordering at Taco John’s will help you build a tasty, gluten-free Tex-Mex meal that is safe for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. With some planning and an understanding of potential cross-contamination risks, you can safely satisfy your cravings for Tex-Mex favorites from this chain.


Taco John’s does menu several gluten-free options including corn taco shells, burrito bowls, salads, rice, beans, meats, and more. However, the shared cooking environment does pose some risk of cross-contact and trace gluten for those highly sensitive. By customizing orders using naturally gluten-free ingredients and verifying gluten-free prep with restaurant staff, patrons who are gluten-free can usually enjoy Tex-Mex cuisine safely at Taco John’s. While not completely gluten-free, the chain accommodates gluten-free diets relatively well compared to other similar fast food restaurants. With proper precautions when ordering and transparency about dietary needs, Taco John’s can be considered one of the better fast food options for gluten-free diners.

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