Panera Bread Bakery and Cafe

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Shawn emailed us to say that, “Panera Bread Restaurants do a great job of listing their ingredients on the website.”

Likewise, Onna had praise for the Panera Bread options, “I’ve heard several of the breads and soups at Panera are vegan, and so would be suitable for dairy-free!”

However, viewer Kris expressed concern, “Panera pulled down all their ingredient information from the website and replaced it with a blanket statement – basically the typical CYA …can’t guarantee recipes haven’t been changed and cross-contamination has not taken place. Dairy-free people (especially those with allergies) should know this immediately!”

Fortunately, Panera Bread has rectified the situation. It appears from our latest look (2014) that all of the menu items on the Panera Bread website now have full ingredient lists and allergen statements. But of course, cross-contamination concerns should always be addressed at the time of service at any restaurant if severe allergies are a concern for you.

Panera Bread is a fast casual restaurant chain with a wide range of bakery fresh goodies, sandwiches, soups, and salads. Many of the menu items at Panera Bread can be customized to be dairy-free by simply asking for no cheese (most of their breads are dairy-free) and they offer several dairy-free salads (Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad pictured below) and even some pumpkin muffins that appear to be made without any milk ingredients. They reportedly also provide almond milk as an option for coffee drinks.

Website: www.panerabread.com

Full ingredient and allergen listings for each menu item (online) make Panera Bread a great find for special diets.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

20 Comments

  1. Took my newly dairy-free daughter to Panera this morning for breakfast. The only allergen information they had handy for the customer was for peanuts/tree nuts. The cashier was very nice and helped us by looking up the food items in a giant binder. My daughter ended up settling for a blueberry bagel, as all of the sandwiches have dairy. A pleasant note, Panera offers almond milk (for an additional fee, but still…) as an option for lattes.

  2. It may be that Panera Bread once posted ingredients on their web site. But when I checked on 7/23/2015, ingredients were not posted. As far as nutritional information is concerned, all I found were calories, and macro-nutrients. Nowhere could I find allergen information – just a blanket policy statement. There was an “Eat Well Your Way” section of the menu that listed Vegan items. But there were no breads listed on the Vegan menu. As far as I can tell, a person with a dairy allergy would be limited to a few menu items that include: Steel-Cut oatmeal, a Green Passion Power Smoothie, Salad (without chicken, cheese, or croutons), Low-fat Vegetarian Garden Vegetable Soup, and Low-fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup. Also, soups follow a daily rotation, so it’s possible that soup may not be an option on a given day.

    • Hi Steve, I just checked again and saw ingredients, allergens, etc on every menu item that I looked on via their website. As one other reader mentioned, perhaps you are looking at their mobile site. Via PC, everything is there.

    • I just visited Panera and the menu was extremely limited for vegan – all breads contain dairy :/- but I had a great server who helped me put a salad together that I could eat – I got it without the chicken since processed meats usually contain some form of lactic acid … No cheese or vinaigrette either

  3. There is just a blanket statement on allergens and not even ingredient lists available, and these links do not go to anything helpful. Makes me not want to eat here if they can’t publicize their info. I guess I will go and ask to see the binder.

    • Hi Alicia, I just double checked again, all ingredients are listed on their website for all the menu items that I clicked on (looked at some soups, breads, etc.)! Make sure you scroll down.

    • I was thinking the same thing as you, so I decided to see if – on the off chance – there were two different versions of the website.

      My guess is that, like me, you’ve been checking Panera’s mobile site. Turns out that while their mobile site is completely useless for allergen info, they do in fact provide tons of info on their desktop site.

      Hope this helps with all of the confusion!

  4. I recently went to Panera to get soup for dinner and they listed on the giant in store menu which soups were vegan and had a big binder for employees to check ingredients and even offered to let me look through it. I got a yummy black bean soup with an apple on the side. Some of their breads are vegan, but I was in a rush and didn’t have time to look through the binder, that’s why I went with fruit. My experience was that the employees and manager were very accommodating even though they were busy. I was happy.

    • That is disappointing! Is that in restaurant? On the website they still list full ingredients and an allergen alert for each product. They even note that cross-contamination is a possibility for many allergens.

  5. they’ve made it really complicated to find something to eat. too bad, I was going to try them. I’m GF and DF, was so looking forward to the tortilla soup… will go somewhere else now. They don’t want me, I don’t want them….

  6. Andrea Stonecipher on

    I have multiple food allergies and have always appreciated that Panera was the one fast food chain I could easily check ingredients. However, it looks like they may have removed the ingredient list from their website. Any ideas?

    • If you go into their store and ask to see the allergen binder, it still lists out all of the ingredients present in each food item. Most stores keep this binder pretty up to date, and the Panera online chat people are pretty good about fixing things if your local Paneras have let their binder get outdated.

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