What to Eat at Chipotle With Food Allergies and Intolerances

Chipotle offers many gluten-free and lactose-free options

Chipotle restaurant exterior
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 with food allergies or intolerances.

The fast casual restaurant chain does not use peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, or fish as ingredients in any of its food, eliminating the possibility of contact with four of the eight major food allergens. Eggs are also not used except at locations where breakfast is served.

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

The restaurant chain does, however, use milk, soy, and wheat/gluten, the remaining three major food allergens. Some Chipotle menu items also include corn.

Chipotle has a decent reputation for serving people with food allergies. So if you have allergies or intolerances, read on to learn more about menu items and ordering strategies that can keep you safe from any unwanted food reactions.

Milk Allergy-Friendly Foods

If you have a milk allergy or lactose intolerance, the good news is that there are only three menu items that contain dairy products at Chipotle:

  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • Queso fresco cheese
  • Sour cream

The bad news is that 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 with salsa or chips with guacamole are two menu items where no dairy is involved.

If you don't want sour cream or cheese, ask your server to omit them. You may also want to ask your server to change into fresh gloves before preparing your food to prevent cross-contamination.

In terms of individual food items, there are no milk-based ingredients in any of their meats, beans, taco shells, chips, or tortillas.

Soy Allergy-Friendly Foods 

Chipotle caters to the vegetarian and vegan community and offers a vegan meat substitute in the form of sofritas. Sofritas are a popular protein option at Chipotle that are made of tofu that has been braised in spices, chipotle chilies, tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

Clearly, people with a soy allergy need to avoid tofu.

In its place, you can choose fajita vegetables and/or pinto beans if you are vegetarian or vegan or any of its meats (barbacoa, carnitas, chicken) if you are not.

Wheat Allergy-Friendly Foods

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

If you need to avoid wheat/gluten because you have a wheat allergy, celiac disease, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you can choose a corn tortilla taco, a bowl, or a salad instead. The bowls and salad don't contain any grain items.

People with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity should avoid ordering beer which contains barley (a gluten grain).

As with dairy products, you can ask your server to change their gloves before serving you to eliminate the chances of wheat/gluten cross-contamination.

How to Avoid Cross-Contamination at Chipotle

To reduce the risk of cross-contamination at Chipotle:

  • Look at the menu online before arriving to select "safe" food items.
  • Visit during off-peak hours when the service won't be rushed.
  • Advise your server or the location manager of your food concerns when you arrive.
  • Ask your server to change their gloves before serving you.
  • Ask the server to use a fresh set of utensils (tongs, spoons) to serve you.

Sulfite Allergy-Friendly Foods

For people with a sulfite allergy or intolerance, Chipotle lists only four food items that contain sulfite in their ingredients:

  • Soft flour tortilla
  • Sofritas
  • Queso fresco
  • Honey vinaigrette dressing

Steer clear of those four items (substituting a corn tortilla for the flour tortilla) and you should be fine. In place of the vinaigrette dressing, you can try dressing your salad with the tomatillo green-chili salsa.

Summary

Chipotle does not use peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, or fish in any of its food, making it safe for people with those food allergies.

It does, however, have menu items that contain dairy, soy, and wheat/gluten. There are ways to work around these foods—substituting flour tortillas for corn tortillas, for example, or asking your server to skip the cheese or sour cream.

A Word From Verywell

When it comes to eating at fast-casual restaurants, Chipotle is a great option for people living with certain food allergies or intolerances.

With that said, Chipotle warns that it does not operate allergen-free kitchens so cross-contamination is always a possibility. In addition, the restaurant chain cannot guarantee the complete absence of allergens from its foods, since it gets ingredients from outside suppliers.

If you have a history of a severe allergic reaction to dairy, wheat, or soy or have extreme gluten sensitivity, it is still possible to eat at Chipotle. But, you need to take extra effort to choose the right food items and advise your server (or location manager) of your issues.

While Chipotle employees are trained in safe food handling, it is in your interest to watch over the preparation of your food and to intervene when necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does Chipotle use soy oil?

    Chipotle has a non-GMO (genetically modified organism) policy and switched from soybean oil to sunflower oil in 2015. Soybean oil is one of the top four genetically modified oils next to canola, corn, and cottonseed oil.

  • Does Chipotle have vegan options?

    It's easy to eat vegan at Chipotle. Of the 53 food items on the Chipotle menu, no less than 44 are vegan. This includes their popular sofritas made of tofu, spice, chipotle chilis, peppers, and onions.

  • What are Chipotle chips made of?

    Chipotle chips are made of 100% corn and fried in 100% sunflower oil. The chips are then tossed in a liberal amount of salt and fresh lime juice.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. What you need to know about food allergies.

  2. National Public Radio. Why we can't take Chipotle's GMO announcement all that seriously.

  3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. GMO crops, animal food, and beyond.