Wendy’s chili has changed the way we think about fast food; it brings that hearty comfort food into our lives without having to dirty the pan.
If you’re looking to get your fix this winter season, or any time of the year, you are probably wondering, is Wendy’s chili gluten-free?
After examining the menu and ingredients list, I’m here to bring you good news. Wendy’s chili is indeed gluten-free.
What’s in Wendy’s Chili?
Before you dive into a bowl of chili, let’s check out the ingredients list. Wendy’s chili includes:
- Chili Base
- Green Peppers
- Ground Beef
- Chili Beans (Prepared Pinto Beans, Prepared Red Kidney Beans)
- Soy Lecithin
As you can see from the above picture, the allergens and ingredients label clearly shows there is no wheat in the chili. However, Wendy’s does state cross-contamination can occur during production.
If you have an allergy to wheat or extreme gluten sensitivity, I suggest exercising caution before consuming the product.
How is Wendy’s Chili Made?
Wendy’s has been serving chili since they first opened their doors in Columbus, Ohio, in 1969. Wendy’s makes their chili in house at each restaurant. We know this hearty soup includes beef, beans, vegetables, and spices, but how exactly is it made?
The beef was once ground, but when it enters the pot of chili, it is coming from a pre-cooked hamburger. It is said that this is where much of the flavor comes from. Instead of the meat just being fried in a pan, it is flamed on the grill.
As Wendy’s is still a fast-food restaurant and the burgers are grilled fresh, sometimes if the restaurant is experiencing a rush, they may over-prepare, and not all of the patties thrown on the grill end up going to use. Instead of tossing these burgers away, they refrigerate them and use the meat to make chili.
Some people may not like the idea of leftover burgers entering their chili, but I’m all for reducing waste.
Check out the process of Wendy’s chili and its nutritional information.
Does Wendy’s Have a Gluten-Free Menu
Wendy’s does not offer a certified gluten-free menu; however, they indicate all allergies on their menu and website. Wendy’s lists the eight major food allergens as defined by the US Food and Drug Administration. These include milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy.
You can navigate your way through and find out which items are gluten-free. A few of these items include:
- Baked Potato
- Bacon and Cheese Baked Potato
- Taco Salad
- Apple Bites
- Chocolate Frosty
- Vanilla Frosty
Several salads do not contain gluten, but the site states that the meat is sliced on a common cutting board, which can result in cross-contamination.
These salads include the southwest avocado salad and the apple pecan salad. If you are extremely sensitive to gluten, have celiac disease, or have a wheat allergy, I recommend staying away from these items.
How To Spice Up Your Gluten-Free Options
If you’re looking for a little flare in your meal while keeping it gluten-free, try some of the below tricks.
First, let’s make that hearty chili even more filling by adding chives, sour cream, and cheese. You can also turn that baked potato from a side dish to an entree by topping it with chili and cheese or cheese and bacon.
Were you hoping to eat a burger? Ask Wendy’s employees to change their gloves and order a burger without the bun. Add a baked potato to your order and eat the two items together.
If these options don’t pique your interest, I have some alternatives.
Wendy’s Chili Alternatives
Depending on where you are located in the United States, you may have a Culvers nearby. This is a great gluten-free alternative if Wendy’s Chili isn’t for you. Culvers clearly lists the allergens on their website. Unlike Wendy’s, they also label gluten and not just wheat.
Their website also allows you to filter out the allergen you would like to avoid, making it easier to navigate their menu and discover what foods are suitable for you to consume.
Make Your Own
I know, part of getting fast food is the convenience. However, you can make chili in your spare time and freeze it in individual serving-size containers. When you know you’ll have a busy day, pull the chili out to defrost and pop it in the microwave on your way out the door.
This will require a bit of planning but will help you when you’re in a time crunch and will ensure you won’t have any cross-contamination issues. The chili will last three to four days in your fridge after defrosting.
After scoping out the menu and checking the ingredients list, we can see that Wendy’s chili is gluten-free. However, they can not be sure of cross-contamination, so it is best to use your judgment before consuming.
Trying culvers chili or making your own at home are two great alternatives. For more tips on eating fast food on a gluten-free diet, check out Gone Gluten!