Wondering what you can eat at Panera when you’re gluten free? Let’s break down their cross contamination policies and menu options so you can make an informed decision on whether you want to go, and what is safe to order.
Panera Bread is a café-bakery chain with locations across the United States and Canada. They’re well known for their fresh bread, soups, and pastries.
Unfortunately, Panera does not offer gluten-free bread or pastries. They do, however, offer a range of other gf options on their menu for those who feel comfortable with their preparation methods (more on that below).
GOOD NEWS! You can make your own Panera Bread 10 Vegetable Soup Recipe right at home! It’s easy and sooo good.
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ARE PANERA GLUTEN FREE MENU ITEMS SAFE FOR CELIACS?
Panera has a list of gluten-conscious menu options including soups, bowls, salads, smoothies, and oatmeal, but all of these options come with a pretty clear disclaimer.
“Panera Bread’s gluten-conscious menu items are prepared in the same kitchen as our gluten-containing menu items. While we’re happy to make your order just the way you want, we can’t guarantee that there will be no cross-contact between ingredients. If you have celiac disease, a heightened gluten intolerance, or a wheat allergy, please consult with your doctor on the specifics of your gluten-free diet.”PaneraBread.com
Although cross contamination is clearly a risk when eating at Panera, it might be reassuring to know that bread dough and many of their other baked goods are made in specialized facilities across the country, then shipped to individual restaurants for baking.
This means that there isn’t flour flying everywhere, but also that baked goods are being baked, warmed, and cooled which leads to traces of gluten throughout the kitchen.
BOTTOM LINE: If you have celiac disease or are sensitive to cross contamination, Panera is probably not a safe spot for you to eat due to risk of cross contamination.
If you’re choosing a gluten-free lifestyle for personal reasons or a minor allergy, intolerance, or medical condition that isn’t affected by cross contamination, you can still enjoy a delicious meal at Panera.
If you decide to eat at Panera and are sensitive to cross contact, be sure to let them know you have celiac disease or a gluten allergy before ordering and ask them to change gloves and possibly get ingredients from the back where they haven’t come into contact with other ingredients like croutons.
PANERA GLUTEN CONSCIOUS MENU
The following menu items are listed on Panera’s gluten-conscious menu on their website as of 4.5.2023. Be sure to check with your specific restaurant as menu items can vary by location and can be changed at any time.
- Chicken Tikka Masala Soup
- Turkey Chili
- Green Goddess Cobb Salad
- Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken
- Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken
- Greek Salad
- Greek Salad with Chicken
- Tomato Basil Cucumber Salad
- Seasonal Greens Salad
- Seasonal Greens with Chicken
- Baja Bowl with Chicken
- Baja Bowl
- Mediterranean Bowl with Chicken
- Mediterranean Bowl
I am hesitant to add these, as Panera does not use gluten free oats, and oats come with a high risk of cross contamination during the growing, harvesting, and packaging process because they’re often grown alongside wheat.
However, these menu items are listed on their gluten-conscious menu so I’m adding them here.
- Greek Yogurt with Mixed Berries Parfait
- Steel Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries and Pecans (has a may contain warning in their allergen guide)
- Strawberry Banana Smoothie
- Green Passion Smoothie
- Mango Smoothie
- Peach and Blueberry Smoothie with Almond Milk
- Strawberry Smoothie
Panera offers a variety of gluten free entrees and sides for their kids meals. Remember that there is always a risk of cross contamination at Panera.
- Kids Chicken Tikka Masala Soup
- Kids Creamy Tomato Soup (order without croutons)
- Kids Turkey Chili
- Strawberry yogurt
- Mixed berry yogurt
Sides & Other Items
- Fruit cup
- Hard boiled egg
- Pickle spear
- Over easy egg or scrambled egg
- Kettle Chips
- Caffe Latte
- Caramel Latte
- Madagascar Vanilla Latte
- Chai Tea Latte
- Cinnamon Crunch Latte
- Chocolate Latte
- Hot Chocolate
- Frozen Chocolate Cold Brew
- Frozen Caramel Cold Brew
- Regular Cold Brew
- Madagascar Vanilla Cream Cold Brew
- Madagascar Vanilla Almond Cold Brew
- Passion Papaya Green Tea (Iced)
- Coffee/Decaf Coffee
- Seasonal Iced Teas – Black Tea / Sweet Black Tea
- Agave Lemonade
- Strawberry Lemon Mint Flavored Energy Lemonade
- Fuji Apple Cranberry Flavored Energy Lemonade
- Mango Yuzu Citrus Flavored Energy Lemonade
Modifying Menu Items
Additional menu items can be modified to be gluten free. Don’t be afraid to ask your server if something can be made gluten free by leaving off croutons or swapping dressing.
Here are a few foods not listed on the gluten free menu that could be modified to be gluten free:
- Caesar salad (order without croutons)
- Creamy Tomato Soup (order without croutons)
GLUTEN CONTAINING FOODS
Here is a list of all the gluten-containing foods at Panera:
- All bagels and breads
- All baked goods
- All sandwiches
- All flatbread pizzas
- Asian Sesame Salad
- BBQ Salad
- Caesar Salad (although the Caesar dressing is gluten free)
- Citrus Asian Crunch Salad
- Tangerine soy ginger dressing
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Broccoli cheddar soup
- Ten Vegetable Soup
- Bistro French Onion with Cheese & Croutons
- Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup
- Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice Soup (thickened with wheat flour)
- Vegetarian Creamy Tomato with Croutons
- Mac and Cheese
- Teriyaki Chicken & Broccoli Bowl
- Baked Potato Soup
PANERA ALLERGEN INFO
If you have other food allergies or sensitivities like we do, you’ll appreciate that Panera has a separate allergen guide. You can view the entire guide here.
A NOTE ON OATS
Oats are a hot topic in the gluten free community, and for good reason. While oats are naturally gluten free, they are often contaminated by wheat during the growing and harvesting process (you can read more about oats in my gluten free guide for beginners)
When you’re ordering a menu item containing oats (such as a yogurt parfait or steel cut oats at Panera), you’ll want to know if the oats are safe for you to consume.
Panera does not use gluten free oats in their products, so while they have two oat-based items on their gluten conscious menu, I absolutely would not recommend them to someone who needs to eat gluten free for medical reasons.
PANERA GLUTEN FREE VEGAN OPTIONS?
- Baja Bowl (order without feta or yogurt)
- Mediterranean Bowl (order without feta or yogurt)
- Green Goddess Cobb Salad (order without chicken and gorgonzola)
- Greek Salad (order without feta)
- Peach and Blueberry Smoothie
- Steel Cut Oatmeal with Strawberries and Pecans
If you’re vegan, I’ve got some great recipes for you! You’ll love my Chocolate Brownie Protein Balls and super soft Gluten Free and Vegan Sugar Cookies! And almost all the recipes in my new cookbook How to Make Gluten Free Bread That Actually Tastes Good can be made without dairy and eggs-check it out on Amazon.
Do Panera kettle chips have gluten?
No, Panera chips do not contain any gluten ingredients but their website states that there is a possibility of cross contamination during the production process.
Are Panera warm bowls gluten free?
Yes, Panera’s new warm grain bowls are all free from gluten-containing ingredients with the exception of the teriyaki chicken and broccoli. There is a risk of cross contamination so they’re not for those with celiac disease or a severe allergy.
Does Panera salad dressing have gluten?
According to their website, all Panera salad dressings are gluten free, with the exception of the ginger vinaigrette, lemon vinaigrette, and tangerine soy ginger dressing
Is Panera broccoli cheddar soup gluten free?
Sadly, Panera’s broccoli cheese soup contains wheat flour and therefore is not gluten free.
What does gluten conscious mean?
Gluten conscious and gluten friendly are interchangeable terms used to describe food items that don’t contain gluten-containing ingredients, but probably aren’t considered safe for someone with celiac disease or a severe allergy.