Last Update in August 2021! Applebee’s has made some improvements for dairy-free diners over the years. They have several dairy-free salad dressings, and they even boast a few regular mains with no substitutions needed. But we dug deeper to uncover those special order options too. Our dairy-free menu guide includes appetizers, salads, main dishes, and sides available at Applebee’s.
Applebee’s Dairy-Free Menu Guide with Custom Order Options
The vegan options at Applebee’s are still limited. A few years back, they began testing an Impossible Burger on their menu in New York locations. It hasn’t really taken hold. But Applebee’s does have a mostly meaty selection for dairy-free diners. In many cases, you need to custom order slightly. We’ve included those notes to make the process easier for you.
Important Note: Applebee’s allergen menu has flip-flopped a bit due to the “butter” they use. The margarine they sourced did contain dairy, but then they changed it for a dairy-free brand. Now their menu shows both. And of course, it’s possible that some regional managers might opt to source real butter. Before placing your order, confirm if any “butter” is used and if it’s safe for your needs.
- Chips & Salsa (not on the appetizer menu separately, but available)
- Chips & Guacamole (not on the appetizer menu, but available)
- Boneless Wings, Plain or with Classic Hot Buffalo, Extra Hot Buffalo, Honey BBQ, Honey Pepper, or Sweet Asian Chile Sauce (no dressing)
- Double Crunch Bone-In Wings, Plain or with Classic Hot Buffalo, Extra Hot Buffalo, Honey BBQ, Honey Pepper, or Sweet Asian Chile Sauce (no dressing)
- Brew Pub Pretzels with Honey Mustard Dip (no beer cheese dip)
Heads Up! The slaw on the Grilled Chicken Wonton Tacos at Applebee’s contains milk. The Breadsticks themselves are dairy-free, but they do use a garlic butter sauce that contains a small amount of milk. Sorry, the Onion Rings contain whey! All of the dressings they typically serve with the wings contain milk, but you can request a dressing from the options below, or simply an extra side of the wing sauce.
- Tuscan Garden Chicken Salad
- Grilled Chicken Salad (no cheese, no breadstick)
- House Salad (no cheese; see crouton note below)
- Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad (no breadstick, sub dairy-free dressing)
- Strawberry Balsamic Chicken Salad (no breadstick)
Dairy-Free Salad Dressings: Dijon Honey Mustard, Fat Free Italian, Honey French, Lemon Olive Oil Vinaigrette, Thousand Island
Heads Up! The croutons at Applebee’s appear to be dairy-free, but verify before ordering. The Oriental Dressing surprisingly contains dairy.
Steaks & Ribs
- Applebee’s Riblets Plate with Honey BBQ or Sweet Asian Chile (order dairy-free sides)
- Double-Glazed Baby Back Ribs with Honey BBQ or Sweet Asian Chile (order dairy-free sides)
- 6 oz. Top Sirloin (order dairy-free sides)
- 8 oz. Top Sirloin (order dairy-free sides)
- 12 oz. Ribeye (order dairy-free sides)
Heads Up! Be sure that no dairy butter is used for grilling the meat. This isn’t standard practice with Applebee’s, but individual locations can take liberties. They have used a dairy-free butter alternative in the past, which they might still use for grilling.
- Grilled Chicken Breast (order dairy-free sides)
Heads Up! The Chicken Tenders and Bourbon Street Chicken at Applebee’s do contain milk. The Fiesta Lime Chicken meal might be dairy-free without cheese and ranch sauce, check with your server.
- Grilled Salmon
- Blackened Cajun Salmon (no butter, order dairy-free sides)
- Blackened Shrimp (no butter; this is available as an add-on, not an entrée)
Heads Up! The Fish & Chips and Double Crunch Shrimp at Applebee’s do contain dairy in the batter.
- Southwest Chicken Bowl
- Tex-Mex Shrimp Bowl
Burgers, Sandwiches & Wraps
- Classic Burger (see Heads Up! below)
- Clubhouse Grille (no cheese; see Heads Up! below)
- Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad Wrap (sub dairy-free dressing)
Substitutions and Add-Ons: You can substitute a lettuce wrap for the bun, their Chicken Breast Patty for the Burger, or add Bacon or another Burger Patty to your burger.
Heads Up! The butter alternative used on their buns and bread is still dairy-free by ingredients, and their buns are still showing as dairy-free by ingredients. BUT, Applebee’s now lists their burgers and sandwiches as all containing milk. We contacted a representative of Applebee’s, and they let us know, “Milk was added to the allergens due to a potential temporary product substitution for the brioche bun for national supply shortages.” It seems some locations still have the dairy-free brioche buns, while some have the temporary substitution. Check at your location to verify which bun is available if you want a dairy-free burger. Or, you can opt for a lettuce wrap. Note, the Whiskey Sauce on the Whiskey Bacon Burger does contain real butter.
Sides & Extras
- Classic Fries
- Baked Potato (plain, no toppings)
- Steamed Broccoli (no butter)
- Spanish Rice (not on the menu separately, but available)
Heads Up! The Garlicky Green Beans, Cole Slaw, and Onion Rings do contain milk. All of the Applebee’s Soups also contain dairy. The Breadsticks themselves are dairy-free, but they do use a garlic butter sauce that contains a small amount of milk. You might be able to order them without the butter sauce.
- Honey BBQ Sauce
- Honey Dijon Mustard
- House-Made Pico De Gallo
- Marinara Sauce
- Kids Corn Dog
- Kids Chicken Taco (no cheese)
- Kids Burger (no cheese; see Heads Up! in Burger section above)
- Kids Grilled Chicken Pasta (sub marinara sauce, no cheese)
Heads Up! The Chicken Tenders do contain milk in the batter.
Fruit Smoothies (also in Kids Sizes)
- Mango Smoothie
- Strawberry Banana Smoothie
- Wildberry Smoothie
This Post is for Informational Purposes Only
Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation. This post is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as advice.
There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.
Please note that every location of a chain restaurant has different management and different staff, and some are individually owned. Some ingredients might be sourced locally, or liberties might be taken in preparation. Always verify that an item is safe for your needs before ordering.
Where to Find Applebee’s Restaurants
Applebee’s has over 2000 locations, mostly in the United States, but a smattering of restaurants in 15 other countries. See the website below for addresses, hours, and online ordering.