Find out what menu items from Sonic do not contain gluten and what you need to know about their gluten-free options.
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Do you love the food from Sonic? The burgers, fries, and popular drinks are well known for many folks who love the experience of this drive thru fast food restaurant.
So many people love this fast food option for their unique drinks and slushes, as well as their 2 for $5 menu.
If you follow a gluten-free diet, you know that finding fast food options can be tricky – and frankly, impossible – sometimes.
That’s why we’re doing a deep dive into the menu of this popular fast food chain to find out what you can enjoy on a gluten-free diet from Sonic.
We’ll also talk about what you need to know about how they handle allergens in their kitchens, as well as specific menu items that don’t contain any gluten or wheat ingredients.
Plus we’ll review where you can find gluten in many other restaurants as well as what you should know about cross contamination.
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 fast food 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 fast food 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.
Sonic allergen statement
According to the Sonic website on their Allergen Information PDF available from their website, here is what they have to say about allergens, including gluten, in their restaurants.
“(…) Persons who are allergic to certain food substances are warned not to rely upon this allergen guide as a medical guide for allergens. Products containing allergens (e.g., peanuts, fish, eggs, milk, soy, wheat, tree nuts, shellfish, etc.) are used in the restaurants and may come in contact with other foods and drinks.
Fried foods may be exposed to gluten and allergens. Because all products may have come in contact with a trace amount of animal-derived ingredients, no menu items have been certified as vegetarian.
Allergen information was current at the time of publication but may change without notice when product formulations, ingredients or suppliers change.”
There is another note on this document stating the following:
“Certain Sonic fresh bread products may have different ingredients because Sonic Drive-Ins purchase from local bakeries whose ingredients and allergens may vary. Ingredients in the following bread products include wheat, milk or egg in any combination and other allergens: hamburger buns, wheat buns, hot dog buns and Texas toast.”
There is also this warning for folks who are gluten-free:
“Warning: Fried foods may be exposed to gluten and allergens. Fryer oil may come in contact with items containing milk, egg, fish, shellfish, soy, wheat and gluten because fried items are not always fried in designated stations.
Blended/Mixed drinks and frozen desserts may come in contact with milk, egg, soy, wheat, gluten, peanuts and tree nuts. Bun oil is added in toasting or cooking hamburger buns, wheat buns, Texas toast, eggs, grilled onions and grilled peppers. All grilled items may come in contact with bun oil.”
What you need to know about the gluten-free options at Sonic
Sonic makes it clear in their allergen statement that the ingredients used may vary from location to location, but some things do remain consistent.
The biggest takeaway is that they do not follow any protocols to keep foods that contain gluten away from foods that do not.
This means that if you’re ordering from a Sonic and want to make sure what you order is gluten-free, the chances are going to be quite slim as almost everything is susceptible to cross contamination.
With a shared kitchen, utensils, and fryer oil, it’s almost a guarantee that anything you order from the Sonic menu will contain at least some gluten from cross contamination.
The safest options will likely be fountain drinks, so use your best judgment when ordering from this fast food restaurant.
What to know about cross contamination at restaurants
Most fast food and carryout 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 fast food 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 fast food 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.
Sonic Gluten-free Menu Items
There aren’t very many options from Sonic that do not contain gluten. The menu items listed here are not considered gluten-free by the company, as they are quite likely to have some kind of gluten cross contamination from other ingredients in the kitchen.
These menu items are listed by Sonic on their website as not containing any gluten or wheat ingredients.
Use your best judgment to decide if any of these menu items will work for you based on what you know about your level of sensitivity to gluten and how your body reacts.
None of the Bread Items menu options from Sonic are considered gluten-free.
- American Cheese (Sliced)
- Cheddar Cheese (Shredded)
- Cheddar Cheese Sauce
- White American Cheese (Shredded)
- Zesty Cheese Sauce
- Buffalo Sauce
- Celery Salt
- Hickory BBQ
- Honey BBQ Sauce
- Ranch Dressing
- Salt/Pepper Blend
- Tartar Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
- Coffee Creamer
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Grape Jelly
- Honey Mustard
- Lemon Juice
- Light Mayonnaise
- Salsa de Sonic
- Signature Cheese Sauce
- Signature Sauce
- Strawberry Jam
- Sugar Substitute
- Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Sweet Relish
- 1% Milk
- Barq’s Root Beer
- Big Red
- Canada Dry Ginger Ale
- Coca-Cola Zero Sugar
- Cold Brew Iced Coffee
- Diet Coke
- Diet Dr Pepper
- Dr Pepper
- Fanta Orange
- Fresh Brewed Sweet Tea
- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Hot Coffee
- Hi-C Fruit Punch
- Hot Chocolate
- Mello Yello
- Minute Maid Apple Juice Box
- Minute Maid Orange Juice
- Sonic Wave Bottled Water
- Sprite Zero
- Sun Drop
Flavor Add-ins & Syrups
- Blackberry Sugar-Free Syrup
- Blue Coconut Syrup
- Blue Raspberry Syrup
- Cherry Syrup
- Diet Cherry Sugar-Free Syrup
- French Vanilla Syrup
- Grape Syrup
- Mango Sugar-Free Syrup
- Peach Sugar-Free Syrup
- Raspberry Sugar-Free Syrup
Frozen & Ice Cream Items
- Ice Cream (Vanilla)
- Lemonade Slush
- Limeade Slush
- Plain Slush Base
- 6″ Halal Hot Dog
- 6″ Hot Dog (All Beef)
- 12″Hot Dog (Pork & Beef)
- Breakfast Sausage Crumbles
- Breakfast Sausage Patty
- Grilled Chicken Breast
- Grilled Onions
- Halal Hamburger Patty (2 oz)
- Halal Hamburger Patty (4 oz)
- Hamburger Patty (2 oz)
- Hamburger Patty (4 oz)
- Sirloin Steak
- Veggie Burger Patty
Oil & Shortening
- Bun Oil
- Fryer Shortening
- Liquid Margarine
- Fritos Corn Chips
- Tree Top Applesauce
- Dill Pickle Chips
- Dill Pickle Spears
- Hatch Green Chiles
- Diced Onion
- Sport Peppers
- Sweet Pickle Relish
Toppings & Add-Ins
- Butterfinger Pieces
- Fresh Banana
- M&M’s Minis Chocolate Candies
- Maraschino Cherries
- Peanut Butter Topping
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- Snickers Bars
- Strawberry Topping
- Whipped Topping
If you enjoy eating at Sonic and have wondered if this is going to continue to be a good choice for you while you’re on a gluten-free diet, I hope this information has been helpful for you.
Most menu items contain gluten or are susceptible to cross contamination with other gluten-containing ingredients in the kitchens.
Use your best judgment based on what you know about how you can handle trace amounts of gluten to decide if this is a good fast food restaurant for you – and what options you can safely order.
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
- Culver’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Denny’s Gluten-free Menu Items
- Dunkin Donuts Gluten-free Menu Items
- 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
- 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