Find out what menu items from Chilis do not contain gluten and what to know about gluten-free options from fast food restaurants.
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If you enjoy going to Chilis restaurants with your family or friends, you may have wondered what menu items are going to work with your gluten-free diet. After all, going to restaurants while you avoid gluten can sometimes be tricky, if not downright impossible.
In this post, we’re going to talk about Chilis restaurants, what their stance is on gluten-free menu items, and what you need to know about cross contamination at this restaurant and others when dining out.
If you’ve been looking for a short list of gluten-free foods from Chilis restaurants, I hope this information helps you to make easy choices next time you’re looking for a restaurant to visit, or which food to pick from the Chilis menu.
Before we get into the details of Chilis, let’s get on the same page about what gluten is and where you can generally find it hiding in restaurants and menu items.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
Gluten is naturally occurring, and therefore is impossible to strip away from the grain. If a grain naturally has gluten in it, there’s no way to make that food gluten-free.
Where can you find gluten in food?
Gluten is often found in the form of wheat and grain products, like bread, flour, or crackers. It can also be found as a binding ingredient, an ingredient added for texture like to make a food more crispy, or as a thickening agent.
Where can you find gluten in many restaurants?
Depending on the restaurant you’re visiting, you may find gluten in a variety of places. Hamburger buns, the breading of crispy chicken sandwiches or chicken nuggets, some French fries, salad dressings, croutons on salad, and chili or soup options.
At some restaurants, gluten can be found in dessert menu items as well. Cookie or candy bites in ice cream contain gluten, as well as ice cream cones.
Where gluten is found in the menu items will vary from restaurant to restaurant. That’s why it’s always a good idea to review menus from home, and see if you can find any allergen information before you get to the restaurant itself.
Being able to review nutritional information and allergen statements before visiting a restaurant can be the difference between ordering something that you think is safe for your gluten-free diet and getting sick, and being knowledgeable about what specific menu items you’ll be able to eat without any worries of later reactions.
Chilis allergen statement
Chilis doesn’t have an official all-up allergen statement, but on their most recent (as of October 2021) allergen/vegetarian/vegan matrix that is used for their servers and staff, they do have a few notes that are worth sharing.
“Notice before placing your order please inform your manager if a person in your party has a food allergy.”
Within the document itself, it says “Cross contact denotes fried items; fried items should NOT be consumed if you have a food allergy due to use of shared fryers.”
This is helpful for customers who have food allergies or food sensitivities, so we are aware that cross contamination is very possible in Chilis restaurants and there’s really no workarounds to make these dishes that are made in fryers safe for a gluten-free diet.
What to know about cross contamination at restaurants
Most restaurants are not considered gluten free establishments so it’s useful to keep this in mind when making decisions about where to go and what to order.
It’s important to know that even if a restaurant claims that their menu items do not contain gluten, that the possibility and probability of gluten in their products is going to be high if there is even one menu item with gluten available.
Depending on your level of sensitivity to gluten, this can be make or break information for you. If you are Celiac and are allergic to trace amounts of gluten, you’ll likely want to avoid most restaurants that offer any bread products or French fries that are cooked in a shared fryer with other gluten-containing ingredients.
If you are not sensitive to gluten at the trace level and have adverse reactions to gluten due to a food intolerance, you may decide that these trace amounts of gluten from cross contamination are worth risking for a quick, easy, and convenient food option.
Being aware of how you have reacted to gluten in your diet in the past and how much gluten it takes for your body to react is useful knowledge when it comes to situations like these. Use your best judgment about what you know about your body, how you react to gluten, and what the risks are for you specifically.
Gluten-free Restaurant Menu Items
There are a few menu items from Chilis that do not have wheat or gluten ingredients, however many of these are cooked in the shared fryer with other ingredients that do.
Let’s go through some of these options, so you know what your potential options are and you can make a decision that’s best for you and your body. I’ll note the menu items that have cross contact with a (C) for you to find easily in the list.
Use your best judgment based on what you know about your level of sensitivity to gluten to help you decide what to eat.
Since I also follow a dairy-free diet and you might too, I’ve noted those without milk ingredients in this list as well. These items are marked with an asterisk (*) and are both without wheat or milk ingredients.
All information about Chilis allergens was found on their Allergen PDF.
Well, For Starters
All items are marked with a cross contact note.
- Bone-In Wings – Buffalo (C)
- Bone-In Wings – Honey Chipotle (C)
- Bone-In Wings – House BBQ (C)
- Tostada Chips & Salsa* (C)
None of these items are safe for a gluten-free diet.
Texas-Size Baby Back Ribs without Side Fries
- Dry Rub*
- House BBQ*
Big Mouth Burgers without Side Fries
- Alex’s Santa Fe Burger without Bun
- Bacon Rancher Burger without Bun
- BBQ Brisket Burger without Bun
- Big Bacon BBQ Burger without Bun
- Just Bacon Burger without Bun
- Mushroom Swiss Burger without Bun
- Oldtimer Burger without Bun
- Queso Burger with Tortilla Strips without Bun (C)
- Secret Sauce Burger without Bun
Fajitas with Corn Tortillas
- Grilled Chicken
Fresh Mex Bowls with Tortilla Strips
- Chipotle Chicken Bowl (C)
- Chipotle Shrimp Bowl (C)
- 6 oz or 10 oz Sirloin with Grilled Avocado (C)
- Ancho Salmon (C)
- Margarita Grilled Chicken (C)
- Cilantro-Lime Carne Asada without tortillas (C)
- Classic Ribeye (C)
- Classic 6 oz or 10 oz Sirloin (C)
- Grilled Chicken Dippers with Ranch (C)
- Corn on the Cob
- Corn Kernels
- Mandarin Oranges
- Mashed Potatoes
- Salad with Ranch
- Steamed Broccoli
- Caesar Salad without Croutons
- House Salad without Croutons
- House Salad without Croutons – Add Grilled Chicken
- House Salad without Croutons – Add Ancho Salmon (C)
- House Salad without Croutons – Add Shrimp
- Sante Fe Grilled Chicken Salad with Tortilla Strips (C)
- Avocado Ranch
- Bleu Cheese
- Caesar Dressing
- Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Honey Mustard
- Sante Fe
- Thousand Island
Soups + Chili
- Loaded Baked Potato
- The Original Chili (C)
- The Original Chili without Cheese (C)
Smokehouse Combos without Sides
- Baby Back Ribs
- Jalapeño-Cheddar Smoked Sausage
- Grilled Asparagus
- Black Beans
- French Fries (C)
- Loaded Mashed Potatoes
- Mexican Rice
- Roasted Street Corn
- Steamed Broccoli
- Sweet Corn on the Cob
If you’ve been wondering if there are any gluten-free options available at Chilis restaurants, I hope this post has helped you get some clarity on what might be good choices for you and your diet. Know that Chilis does not claim that any of their food is gluten-free and that there is a chance for cross contamination with most of their food items.
More Gluten-free Restaurant Menu Items
If you’re looking at other popular restaurants and wondering what gluten-free menu items they offer, be sure to check out my Gluten-free Restaurant Guide. I’ve outlined all the gluten-free options from 45+ popular restaurants and fast food chains.
- Gluten-free Fast Food: Options from Major Chains
- Gluten and Dairy-free Diet: 4 Restaurant Tips
- Applebee’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Arby’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Blaze Pizza Gluten-free Menu Items
- Boston Market Gluten-free Menu Items
- Buffalo Wild Wings Gluten-free Menu Items
- Burger King Gluten-free Menu Items
- California Pizza Kitchen Gluten-free Menu Items
- Cheesecake Factory Gluten-free Menu Items
- Chick-Fil-A Gluten-free Menu Items
- Chilis Gluten-free Menu Items
- Chipotle Gluten-free Menu Items
- Cracker Barrel Gluten-free Menu Items
- Crumbl Cookies Gluten-free Menu Items
- Culver’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Denny’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Domino’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Dunkin Donuts Gluten-free Menu Items
- Einstein Bros Bagels Gluten-free Menu Items
- Firehouse Subs Gluten-free Menu Items
- First Watch Gluten-free Menu Items
- Five Guys Gluten-free Menu Items
- IHOP Gluten-free Menu Items
- Jack In The Box Gluten-free Menu Items
- Jimmy John’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- KFC Gluten-free Menu Items
- Little Caesar’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Longhorn Steakhouse Gluten-free Menu Items
- McDonald’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- MOD Pizza Gluten-free Menu Items
- Nothing Bundt Cakes Gluten-free Menu Items
- Olive Garden Gluten-free Menu Items
- Outback Steakhouse Gluten-free Menu Items
- Panda Express Gluten-free Menu Items
- Panera Gluten-free Menu Items
- Papa Johns Gluten-free Menu Items
- Papa Murphy’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- P.F. Chang’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Pizza Hut Gluten-free Menu Items
- Qdoba Gluten-free Menu Items
- Red Lobster Gluten-free Menu Items
- Red Robin Gluten-free Menu Items
- Ruby Tuesday Gluten-free Menu Items
- Shake Shack Gluten-free Menu Items
- Smashburger Gluten-free Menu Items
- Sonic Gluten-free Menu Items
- Starbucks Gluten-free Menu Items
- Subway Gluten-free Menu Items
- Taco Bell Gluten-free Menu Items
- Texas Roadhouse Gluten-free Menu Items
- Wendy’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Whataburger Gluten-free Menu Items
- Wingstop Gluten-free Menu Items