When looking for gluten-free food, the much-loved fast-food restaurant Popeyes probably doesn’t spring to mind immediately.
However, although the gluten-free options on Popeye’s menu are quite sparse, there are a few meals and sides you can eat safely.
In recent years, awareness has grown surrounding Celiac disease and naturally occurring issues related to gluten sensitivities.
Therefore, restaurants have started to take heed and began adding gluten-free foods to their menus.
After all, just because you can’t eat gluten shouldn’t mean you have to give up on treating yourself at your favorite fast-food chain now and again!
Thankfully, many fast food restaurants now offer great-tasting gluten-free options. But, although it is easier to find gluten-free foods than ever before, it is still trickier than it really should be.
Moreover, many of these food items tend to be more expensive.
But, the tides seem to be turning with fast-food chains, such as Popeye’s, starting to offer several gluten-free options on their menus at prices that won’t make you cry.
In today’s post, we will be finding out the best gluten-free food to order at Popeyes. Whilst there are still slim pickings in this department, you still have the choice of some delicious sides and snacks.
So, let’s get started so you can visit Popeye’s today and treat yourself!
Gluten-Free Food Available At Popeyes
1. Cajun Rice
Just because you’re gluten-free, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on Popeyes Louisiana favorites!
When you think of gluten food, you probably imagine those associated with carbohydrates, like pasta and bread.
And, when it comes to rice, many people also believe this is unsuitable for those with gluten allergies. The good news is that all types of rice are gluten-free, including Popeye’s famous Cajun rice.
Also known as “dirty rice” because of its less than desirable color, this rice can be ordered as a gluten-free side at Popeyes.
It has a highly savory flavor and includes long-grain rice that can fill you up pretty quickly.
Most of its flavor, though, comes from the ingredients it is cooked with, such as onions, ground beef, chicken gizzards, and bell peppers.
Of course, you may not be able to eat the fried chicken at Popeyes, as there is gluten in its breadcrumbs. If so, this rice is a great substitute!
It will still give you that meaty flavor and satisfy any cravings you may have for fried chicken or other meats.
2. Corn On The Cob
Tasty and filling, you can’t go wrong with Popeye’s corn on the cob! As with the restaurant’s Cajun rice, this corn will fill you up thanks to its carb-heavy nature.
Not only that, but it’s a great snack to give you energy for the day ahead. And, of course, it will not make you sick as it is gluten-free.
Don’t expect the corn to come out slathered in butter or char-grilled. This is the perfect accompaniment to the various chicken dishes at Popeyes (see also ‘20 Top Banana Cocktails‘).
In fact, ordering the corn on the cob will give your dish some additional sweetness.
Although Popeye’s corn can be described as a little “bland,” you can add some seasoning to it to spice things up a bit. Pop to Popeyes and try it for yourself! It’s well worth the visit.
3. Apple Sauce
If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat or want something sweet to end your meal, Popeye’s applesauce is a must!
Yes, applesauce may not be the first food you think of when you want a snack, but if you have a gluten intolerance, this is a great way to add sweetness to your dish.
If you have any hungry kids, add some apple sauce to their kid’s meal and we’re sure it will go down a treat.
Also, for any hungry bellies, the 2 grams of fiber inside this apple sauce should keep those rumbling feelings away for some time.
This is ideal for people who are in a rush and need something quick to line their stomachs.
But, if you get to sit down for a hearty, full meal, finish it off with some of Popeye’s gluten-free apple sauce for the perfect sweet ending.
4. Naked Chicken Tenders
There are no gluten ingredients found in Popeyes Naked Chicken Tenders.
However, when ordering these delicious treats, you need to make sure they are not cross-contaminated with anything that does contain gluten.
Unfortunately, Popeyes has come under some scrutiny in the past for prepping gluten-free items with all other foods.
So, inform the staff at Popeyes beforehand so they can be sure they take the necessary precautions whilst preparing your food.
If these are made correctly and safely, all we can see is “enjoy!” As with most chicken items on the Popeyes menu, their Naked Chicken Tenders are mouth-watering and will fill your belly for at least a few hours.
As you can probably tell already, most of the gluten-free foods at Popeyes do not come in the form of full meals. Instead, they tend to be side dishes. The same applies to its coleslaw.
The coleslaw at Popeyes is extremely popular and fresh-tasting. When ordered alongside the restaurant’s fried chicken, it is the perfect sidekick to the greasiness.
But, you can order it as a snack on its own too, and, maybe surprisingly, it tastes great as a solo artist!
Even with mayonnaise in its ingredients, Popeye’s coleslaw is much lighter than the majority of foods on the Popeyes menu. It is also lighter on your gut so you won’t walk away feeling bloated.
Other ingredients in this slaw include peppers, onions, carrots, and cabbage.
So, although it may not be enough to give you your recommended daily intake of veggies, Popeye’s coleslaw is a refreshing change to the greasy, yet tasty, items elsewhere on the menu.
6. Red Beans & Rice
The Red Beans & Rice found on Popeye’s menu is another popular gluten-free option you should try.
You can order it as a side or enjoy it as a small dinner, but don’t expect it to fill you if you’re feeling very hungry.
It’s all about quality over quantity with this dish. Yes, it may be small but it’s certainly big in flavor!
Smokey, fatty, savory, and relatively filling, Popeye’s red beans & rice come with bacon, garlic, and onions, resulting in a highly flavorsome dish.
As we have said – just because you can’t have gluten doesn’t mean you have to forego delicious flavors!
It’s not only food you need to think of when looking for gluten-free options.
Some drinks contain gluten so you must make sure whatever you’re ordering is safe to consume if you have a gluten intolerance.
From beer to mixers, and some coffees to chocolate milk, many drinks can contain gluten, but, thankfully, Popeye’s has a range of soft drinks that are gluten-free.
On the whole, most soft drinks tend to be gluten-free, but here is a list of the drinks that are safe to drink if you suffer from Celiac disease or have gluten sensitivities:
- Diet Coke
- Diet Pepsi
- Dr. Pepper
- Orange Juice
- Hawaiian Punch
- Mountain Dew (see also ‘The Best Mountain Dew Cocktail Recipes‘)
- Fanta (Orange and Strawberry)
- Tea (Sweet and Unsweetened)
None of these include any wheat or gluten ingredients and are the perfect drink to go alongside any Popeye’s meal or snack.
You need to think about the condiments and sauces you want to add to your food, as well as the main ingredients.
Fortunately, Popeyes offers a wide range of gluten-free sauces. However, there are currently no gluten-free foods to dip into these sauces.
The gluten-free sauces are:
- Sweet Heat
- Cocktail Sauce
- Creamy Horseradish
- Blackened Ranch
- Mardi Gras Mustard
Depending on what dish you order, these sauces are incredibly versatile, and can make even the blandest foods come to life!
Tips On Finding Gluten-Free Food At Popeyes
Although Popeyes’ provides customers with a gluten-free menu, some branches may be a little slack when it comes to cooking and preparing gluten-free food.
Therefore, you will need to do a little research before heading to a particular Popeyes to ensure they are preparing gluten-free foods safely and properly.
Here are some tips on what to do to get gluten-free food at Popeyes.
Check What Food They Serve
Find out what food is served and if they adhere to special requests at the Popeyes restaurant you plan to visit.
Too often, many fast-food restaurants cross-contaminate gluten and gluten-free food. Ring ahead and ask if they prepare their gluten-free food separately from gluten-filled foods.
When you’re at the restaurant, make sure you inform the staff of your dietary requirements. Even if the restaurant sticks to strict food preparation protocols, it’s worth mentioning, just in case.
Tell them that any amount of gluten can have serious effects on your health.
Therefore, the cooks and staff will be sure to take significant precautionary measures to avoid any gluten getting near or in your meal.
Order Simple Dishes
If you’re a little unsure about what is gluten-free and what isn’t, you should err on the side of caution.
By this, we mean that you should opt for simpler dishes that you are sure are prepared with gluten-free ingredients. Take a look at our list above for reminders.
If you order food but are then in doubt about where it is gluten-free, just leave it. No food is worth risking your health over, no matter how tasty it may look.
Here are the main things to do when visiting Popeyes if you have gluten sensitivities:
- Ask for the gluten-free menu
- Ask how they prepare their gluten-free food (don’t be shy – check whether they follow the strict protocols around arranging gluten-free food)
- Inform the staff clearly about your gluten intolerance or Celiac disease
- Ask for one chef to prepare your food to avoid cross-contamination (you can even ask to talk to the chef to explain how your meal should be prepared)
- Ensure you are given clean utensils
- Ask for fresh ingredients to be used to ensure no contact has been made with gluten already
It’s not easy finding gluten-free food at fast-food restaurants, and the same applies to Popeyes. But, there are some options to choose from.
If you’re ever unsure about whether your food is gluten-free or not, though, simply leave it.
Thanks for reading.