What to Eat at Chipotle When You Have Food Allergies

The restaurant chain actually works well for many allergies

Chipotle
Chipotle. Scott Eisen / Stringer / Getty Images

Chipotle Mexican Grill, which is known for its fresh ingredients and made-to-order food items, can work very well as a fast food option for people who have food allergies.

The restaurant chain does not use any eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish or fish as ingredients in its food, therefore eliminating the possibility of contact or ingestion of those five out of the "big eight" allergens. Therefore, people who struggle with an allergy to one of those five foods should be able to eat at Chipotle with few problems.

Chipotle, which boasts more than 2,000 locations, mainly in the United States, also says it does not use mustard or sesame as ingredients in any of its food items.

Its locations do use milk, soy and wheat/gluten, the remaining three "big eight" allergens. Some Chipotle menu items also include corn. However, the chain has a decent reputation for serving people with allergies, so if you're allergic to one or more of those foods, read on for some menu options and ordering strategies that might work for you.

Milk Allergy-Friendly Foods 

There are only two menu items that contain milk products available at Chipotle: cheese and sour cream. The bad news is, they're in almost everything.

Chipotle uses either cheese or sour cream—or often, both—in almost all of its menu items, including burritos, bowls, crispy corn tacos, soft corn tacos, soft flour tacos, and salads. Chips and salsa, along with chips and guacamole, are the exceptions.

However, if you don't want sour cream or cheese, just ask your server and that person will omit the dairy. You also might want to ask your server to change into fresh gloves.

There are no milk-based ingredients in any of the meats, beans, taco shells, chips or tortillas.

Soy Allergy-Friendly Foods 

Chipotle caters to the vegetarian and vegan community and so offers a vegan meat substitute option in the form of sofritas a blend of organic, shredded tofu, peppers, and spices.

You can use this meat substitute in any of the restaurant chain's entree items, including tacos, burritos, and bowls.

Since tofu contains soy, anyone who's allergic to soy will need to avoid the sofritos. Other than the sofritos, though, Chipotle says it doesn't use any soy ingredients in its other foods and ingredients.

Wheat Allergy-Friendly Foods 

The fast-food chain has only one wheat-containing item: its soft flour tortilla, used in its burritos and tacos. Nothing else on its menu contains wheat or gluten.

If you need to avoid wheat, you can steer clear of the flour tortilla and instead choose a corn tortilla taco, a bowl or a salad. The bowl and salad don't contain any grain items. You also should consider asking your server to change gloves to eliminate the chances of wheat/gluten cross-contamination, since many people do order the wheat-containing tortilla.

Chipotle's chips, guacamole, and salsa all are safe for those with wheat allergies. If you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, however, you should avoid the beer on the menu, since that contains barley (a gluten grain).

Sulfite Allergy-Friendly Foods 

For those who need to avoid sulfites, Chipotle lists only four items that contain sulfite ingredients: the soft flour tortilla, sofritas, quesos, and the vinaigrette dressing.

Steer clear of those four items (you can substitute a corn tortilla taco for the flour tortilla) and you should be fine.

A Word from Verywell

When it comes to quick-service restaurants, Chipotle is a great alternative: the restaurant chain doesn't use five out of the eight most common allergens, and its food is easily customized, making it a simple task to alter menu items to eliminate milk, wheat, or soy ingredients from your meal.

Chipotle warns that any of its allergenic food items can come into contact with your food since it doesn't have dedicated allergen-free kitchen spaces to prepare allergy meals.

It also notes that even though it doesn't use eggs, mustard, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, shellfish, or fish as ingredients in its menu items, it can't guarantee the complete absence of those allergens from its foods, since it gets ingredients from outside suppliers.

To guard against cross-contact with foods to which you're allergic, you can ask for a manager to prepare your meal.

Source:

Chipotle Allergens and Special Diet chart.

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