Find out what menu items from Red Lobster do not contain gluten and what you need to know about their gluten-free options.
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If you enjoy seafood and going out to a restaurant with consistent menus no matter where you find yourself, you have likely been to a Red Lobster before.
This restaurant is known for their lobster, shrimp scampi, and even some cheddar biscuits. But if you follow a gluten-free diet, you may have wondered if those biscuits – and other menu items – are actually safe for folks who avoid gluten.
In this post, we’re going to answer that question and a few more. Let’s do a deep dive into the Red Lobster menu, plus talk about how they handle allergens in their kitchens, and what you can expect as a customer of this restaurant while avoiding gluten.
Before we dive in, let’s make sure that we’re all on the same page as it relates to what gluten is, where you can find it, and where you’re most likely to encounter it at any restaurant.
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 can be found in the form of wheat and grain products, like bread or flour in the more obvious places.
You can also find gluten 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 restaurants?
Depending on the restaurant you’re visiting, you may find gluten in a variety of places.
At many restaurants, there will be gluten in 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 other restaurants, you’ll find gluten in flour in sauces, in pizza or other pastry dough, pasta, and as a thickener in some soups.
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.
Being knowledgeable about what specific menu items you’ll be able to eat without any worries of later reactions is crucial to sticking with your gluten-free diet.
Red Lobster allergen statement
According to the Red Lobster website, this is what the restaurant has to say about how they handle allergens:
“Due to the risk of cross-contact in our kitchens, we cannot guarantee that any item is free of any allergen. Because items cooked in our fryer or on our grill may come in contact with all allergens, we have identified those for you.
Information below does not include accompaniments, dressings and dipping sauces unless specified.”
What you need to know about the gluten-free options at Red Lobster
Red Lobster offers a food allergy wizard on their website that allows you to choose the allergens that you avoid to help you narrow down the menu items to only those that will work for you.
You can choose from the following options: crustacean shellfish, eggs, fish, gluten, milk, molluscan shellfish, peanuts, soy, sulfites, tree nuts, and wheat.
This type of tool is especially useful if you have more than one food intolerance or allergy in addition to avoiding gluten.
Red Lobster makes it clear that none of the items on their menu are considered truly gluten-free, just without gluten.
The difference here is that they are aware that there is a high chance for cross contamination with gluten in the kitchens, with the use of shared spaces, equipment, and utensils.
Keep this in mind before visiting this restaurant and before making a choice from their menu.
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.
Red Lobster Gluten-free Menu Items
Red Lobster’s website has a Food Allergy Wizard that allows you to check the allergens you’re looking to avoid, then provides a list of menu items that may work for your diet.
The items listed here are those that the restaurant claims to have no gluten ingredients, but do have the chance for cross contamination.
The food allergy wizard on the Red Lobster website shows the menu items that have the potential for cross contamination with gluten.
Those will be marked below with an asterisk (*) so you have the most information possible to make a choice about what to order from this restaurant.
Ultimate Endless Shrimp
- Garlic Shrimp Scampi*
- Signature Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail*
- Live Maine Lobster (1 ¼ lb Steamed)*
- Perfectly Grilled Fish – Atlantic Salmon*
- Perfectly Grilled Fish – Rainbow Trout*
- Salmon New Orleans*
- Steak: Filet Mignon*
- Steak: Sirloin*
- Steak: NY Strip*
- Surf & Turf: Maine Lobster Tail & 7 oz Sirloin*
Create Your Own Combination
- Wood-Grilled Salmon*
- Atlantic Salmon (Blackened)*
- Atlantic Salmon (Grilled)*
- Atlantic Salmon (Oven-Broiled)*
- Bay Scallops (Broiled)*
- Garlic Shrimp Scampi*
- Wild-Caught Flounder (Broiled)*
- Steak-and-Lobster Wednesday*
- Garlic Shrimp Scampi Add-On*
- Maine Lobster Tail Add-On*
- Baked Potato
- Loaded Baked Potato
- Mashed Potatoes
- Sea-Salted Fries*
- Seasoned Broccoli
Weekday Lunch Specials
- Broiled Wild-Caught Flounder – Lunch*
- Garlic Shrimp Scampi – Lunch*
- Grilled Atlantic Salmon – Lunch*
- Salmon New Orleans (Half)*
- Casco Bay Cooler – Cherry Wave Slushy
- Casco Bay Cooler – Peachy Breezy Smoothie
- Casco Bay Cooler – Raspberry Bay Smoothie
- Casco Bay Cooler – Sunset Strawberry Smoothie
- Kids Fruit
- Kids Garlic-Grilled Shrimp*
- Kids Juice
- Kids Lemonade
- Kids Milk 1%
- Kids Petite Maine Lobster Tail*
- Kids Raspberry Lemonade
- Kids Surf’s Up Sundae
Dressings & Condiments
- 100% Pure Melted Butter
- Add Butter to Baked Potato
- Add Sour Cream to Baked Potato
- BBQ Sauce
- Blue Cheese Sauce
- Caesar Dressing
- Cocktail Sauce
- French Dressing
- Honey Mustard Dressing
- Pico de Gallo
- Pina Colada Sauce
- Ranch Dressing
- Tartar Sauce
- Thousand Island Dressing
Beverages – Cocktails
- Peach Margarita – Frozen or Rocks
- Raspberry Margarita – Frozen or Rocks
Beverages – Nonalcoholic
- Boston Iced Tea – Classic Cranberry
- Boston Iced Tea – Peach
- Boston Iced Tea – Raspberry
- Dr Pepper
- Fruit Smoothie – Peach
- Fruit Smoothie – Raspberry
- Fruit Smoothie – Strawberry
- Hand-Crafted Lemonade – Classic Lemonade
- Hand-Crafted Lemonade – Strawberry
- Iced Tea
Family Meals & Platters
- Create Your Own Family Feast – Shrimp Scampi*
- Family Baked Potatoes with Butter and Sour Cream
- Family French Fries*
- Family Mashed Potatoes
- Family Seasoned Broccoli
- Shrimp Scampi Family Meal*
If you’re looking for a restaurant to visit for dinner tonight or for an upcoming get together with friends and family, you may find a few options at Red Lobster that don’t have any gluten ingredients in them.
That said, the restaurant is very clear that most of their dishes have the potential for cross contamination in their kitchens, so keep this in mind before visiting and ordering.
Do what’s best for your body, knowing what your reactions are to gluten even at trace amounts from cross contact.
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
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- Blaze Pizza Gluten-free Menu Items
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- Einstein Bros Bagels Gluten-free Menu Items
- Firehouse Subs 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
- 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
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- Red Lobster Gluten-free Menu Items
- Red Robin Gluten-free Menu Items
- Ruby Tuesday Gluten-free Menu Items
- Shake Shack Gluten-free Menu Items
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