What Is Gluten-Free at Taco Bell? – Healthy Tips 2022

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what is gluten-free in taco bell

Taco Bell is one of the largest and most popular Mexican restaurant chains. This restaurant has been around since the sixties and has a varied menu that offers many options to people with different dietary needs. 

If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you’re probably wondering what is gluten-free at Taco Bell.

Taco Bell doesn’t claim gluten-free for any of its foods. There are several gluten-free options at Taco Bell, including Chicken Power Menu Bowl, Veggies Power Menu Bowl, and Black Beans and Rice. These foods are made without gluten-containing ingredients but come into contact with gluten.

These Taco Bell gluten-free items could get cross-contaminated in a shared kitchen and aren’t safe for people with celiac disease. Keep reading to learn if Taco Bell offers menu items that are actually safe for people following a gluten-free diet. 

Is Taco Bell Gluten-Free?

None of the food items on the Taco Bell menu are marked as gluten-free. Taco Bell doesn’t make any claims that any of its food is gluten-free. 

Some Taco Bell items are made without gluten-containing ingredients but are prepared in common kitchen areas using a shared fryer. This puts the food prepared in Taco Bell at a high risk of cross-contamination.

This popular restaurant chain doesn’t recommend its product to people diagnosed with celiac disease. Furthermore, customers with gluten sensitivities should exercise caution when ordering from Taco Bell’s menu. 

Items on Taco Bell’s Menu that Are Gluten-Free

gluten free products in taco bell

Despite its popularity, Taco Bell doesn’t provide a dedicated gluten-free menu for customers following a gluten-free diet. 

If you suffer from a gluten-related disorder and decide to eat at a local Taco Bell, please be aware that there is a high risk of cross-contamination. Even those food items that are naturally gluten-free could come into contact with gluten-containing foods and become cross-contaminated. 

Listed below are Taco Bell food options that aren’t prepared using gluten-containing ingredients:

1. Chicken Power Menu Bowl 

The Chicken Power Menu Bowl is packed with over 20 grams of protein and has 460 calories. This recipe is made using naturally gluten-free ingredients, including:

  • Seasoned rice
  • Grilled chicken
  • Black beans
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado ranch sauce

According to allergen information provided by Taco Bell, the Chicken Power Menu Bowl is free of gluten, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, and MSG. This healthy bowl contains eggs and milk, so it isn’t a safe option for lactose-intolerant people. 

Although this dish is made without gluten-containing ingredients, it can become cross-contaminated during the cooking process and contain a trace amount of gluten.

2. Steak Power Menu Bowl

The Steak Power Menu Bowl is another healthy and nutritious option with 20 grams of protein and less than 560 calories per serving. This protein-packed dish is naturally gluten-free and made with the following ingredients:

  • Seasoned rice
  • Grilled steak
  • Black beans
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Avocado ranch sauce

The allergen information for the Steak Power Menu Bowl lists eggs and milk as common allergens. According to this information, this dish doesn’t contain gluten, fish, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, or MSG.

People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities should know that this dish is prepared in a shared kitchen where it can come into contact with gluten-containing foods. 

3. Veggie Power Menu Bowl

The Veggie Power Menu Bowl is a vegetarian-friendly dish that contains only 420 calories per serving. Taco Bell made this healthy veggie bowl using naturally gluten-free ingredients like:

  • Seasoned rice
  • Black beans
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Avocado ranch sauce

The Veggie Power Menu Bowl contains eggs and milk, which make this dish unsuitable for lactose-intolerant people and vegans. Like the chicken and steak Power Menu Bowl, the Veggie Bowl is free of gluten, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, wheat, and MSG.

The Veggie Power Menu Bowl can contain trace amounts of gluten because it’s prepared on the same surfaces as gluten-containing foods. 

4. Beans and Rice

Beans and rice are a popular Taco Bell side dish that can be upgraded with add-ons and sauces. Without the add-ons, this dish contains only 160 calories and is made without gluten-containing ingredients. 

Although seasoned rice and black beans are naturally gluten-free, this side dish is prepared in the same kitchen area, using the same equipment as when cooking gluten-containing ingredients. 

Taco Bell can’t guarantee that cross-contact with gluten won’t happen and can’t assume any responsibility for a person’s food allergy or sensitivity. 

5. Black Beans

Taco Bell’s black beans are another popular side dish. Black beans are naturally gluten-free and safe for people with gluten-related disorders. 

This side dish contains only 50 calories per serving and is made using the following ingredients: 

  • Black beans
  • Water
  • Onion
  • Canola oil
  • Seasoning (water, dextrose, salt, natural flavor, corn starch, corn oil, onion powder, garlic powder, turmeric)
  • Modified corn starch
  • Chili powder
  • Garlic
  • Onion

Although prepared using gluten-free ingredients, Taco Bell’s black beans can be cross-contaminated with gluten during the cooking process. People with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities may experience adverse reactions eating something that contains trace amounts of gluten.

6. Pintos ‘n Cheese 

Like other dishes from our list, Pintos ‘n Cheese is made without gluten-containing ingredients. This tasty side dish contains 170 calories per serving and is safe for vegetarians. 

Taco Bell states that the following ingredients are used when preparing Pintos ‘n Cheese:

Red Sauce

  • Water
  • Seasoning (maltodextrin, modified corn starch, paprika, salt, tomato powder, spices, natural flavors, paprika vegetable color, onion powder, xanthan gum, malic acid, vitamin C, citric acid, torula yeast)

Refried Beans

  • Pinto beans
  • Soybean oil
  • Seasoning (salt, sugar, spice, beat powder vegetable color, natural flavors, sunflower oil, maltodextrin, corn flour, trehalose, modified cornstarch)

Three Cheese Blend

  • Low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Pasteurized process Monterey Jack and American cheese with peppers (cultured milk, cultured part-skim milk, water, cream, salt, sodium citrate, jalapeno peppers, sodium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic acid, color added, annatto and paprika extract blend, enzymes)
  • Anticaking agents (potato starch, cornstarch, powdered cellulose)
  • Milk

Pintos ‘n Cheese’s allergen information lists only milk as the common allergen. The same information state that this side dish doesn’t contain gluten, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soy, or MSG. 

Despite being made with gluten-free ingredients, Pintos ‘n Cheese isn’t labeled as gluten-free and may contain trace amounts of gluten. Taco Bell doesn’t recommend this side dish or any other food item from its menu to people diagnosed with celiac disease. 

7. Hash Brown

Taco Bell hash browns are a breakfast staple. Suitable for vegetarians, these hash browns are made without gluten-containing ingredients, including:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable oil (canola, corn, cottonseed, soybean, and/or sunflower oil)
  • Salt
  • Dextrose

These hash browns contain 160 calories per serving and go great with spicy diablo or hot sauces. Although made from gluten-free ingredients, Taco Bell hash browns are fried in a shared fryer with gluten-containing Cinnamon Delights. 

Hash browns likely become cross-contaminated with gluten particles during the frying process, making them unsafe for people with gluten-related disorders. 

Are Taco Bell Shells Gluten-Free?

No, Taco Bell Shells aren’t gluten-free. Taco Bell shells are made with naturally gluten-free ingredients, including ground corn, vegetable oil (soybean, corn, and/or cottonseed oil), and oat fiber. 

While none of these ingredients contain gluten, it’s a commonly known fact that oats are highly cross-contaminated with gluten. Oats are grown in rotation with wheat and are harvested with the same equipment used to harvest wheat. 

In most cases, oats are processed in the same facilities as gluten-containing grains like wheat, rye, and barley. This increases the likelihood of oats becoming cross-contaminated and containing trace amounts of gluten which can be problematic for people with celiac disease. 

Is there Gluten in Taco Bell Meat?

Taco Bell beef meat contains corn-based thickeners and oats and is likely cross-contaminated with gluten. Oats are naturally gluten-free, but the way they are grown, harvested and processed places them at a higher risk of cross-contamination. 

If you have celiac disease, avoid ordering food at fast food restaurants with a high risk of cross-contamination. And for occasions when you want to eat out, look for restaurants that provide a gluten-free menu for customers following a gluten-free diet.

Conclusion

Taco Bell is one of the most popular Mexican restaurant chains worldwide. If you’re craving Mexican food, chances are that the nearest Taco Bell isn’t far.

Taco Bell expanded its menu and offers more than tacos and quesadillas. While Taco Bell makes something for everyone, none of its food items are labeled gluten-free, and the restaurant chain doesn’t make a gluten-free claim. 

Several options from Taco Bell’s menu are made using gluten-free ingredients. Still, all those foods are prepared in the same kitchen as gluten-containing foods, using a shared fryer and other cooking equipment. 

This increases the risk of gluten exposure, making Taco Bell’s food unsafe for people with celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders. 

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