We are slowly updating our dairy-free listings for restaurants (it’s a lot of work!), and I’ve just finished Chili’s for you to peruse and enjoy. We’ve got a friendly list of options below, and have answered all of the FAQs we could think of.
Chili’s Serves These Dairy-Free & Vegan Menu Items With a Few Caveats
I recommend checking all of the details, especially if you are dealing with a severe food allergy. Remember that potential allergen cross contamination is always a risk in kitchens! Ask to speak with a manager, if needed, before ordering.
What is Dairy-Free at Chili’s?
- Appetizers to share include Bottomless Tostada Chips & Salsa, Fresh Guacamole & Chips, and Fried Pickles without Ranch Dressing, TD Crispy Chicken Crispers without Dressing , and TD Original Chicken Crispers® without Honey Mustard. But these all have a cross-contact allergen warning for shared fryers.
- Their Texas-size Baby Back Ribs are milk-free, including the Dry Rub, Original, Honey Chipotle, and House BBQ. In fact, they’re made without all top allergens, except soy. But this is the ribs only – see further down for the Side options.
- Their Smokehouse Brisket is also made without all top allergens, except soy.
- The Burgers hold a few options. They state that their Burger Buns are milk-free and egg-free, and that The Old Timer Burger is dairy-free as is. The Alex’s Santa Fe Burger and Chili’s Chili Burger appear to be milk-free when ordered without the cheese. However the latter is fried and thus has a cross-contact warning. And I would verify that they do not butter the buns.
- For Burger Add-Ons and Substitutions, you can choose the Turkey Patty, Bacon, Avocado Slices, Fresh Guacamole, Honey Chipotle Sauce, Pickles, Salsa, Wing Sauce, and The Original Chili without milk. But be warned that the Black Bean Patty contains milk, and is not vegan.
- All varieties of Chili’s Fajitas contain milk.
- On the Fresh Mex menu, Ranchero Chicken Tacos without Cheese and the Prime Rib Bowl without Aioli and Cheese are milk-free, but the latter has a cross contact warning for shared fryers.
- The Guiltless Grill offers a few poultry options. The Grilled Chicken Salad without Cheese, Mango-Chile Chicken, and Margarita Grilled Chicken are dairy-free. But the Margarita version does have a cross-contact warning.
- Their Original, Crispy, and Honey Chipotle Hand Battered Crispers are dairy-free and egg-free by ingredients, but cooked in that shared fryer. You will also want to order them with Honey-Mustard (contains egg), House BBQ, or BBQ Sauce.
- From the Kids Menu, the Burger Bites, Grilled Chicken Bites, Original Ribs, Corn on the Cob, Fries, Steamed Broccoli, Mandarin Oranges, and Fresh Pineapple are dairy-free and egg-free items.
- At last check, their Lunch Combos didn’t have dairy-free options.
- But the Salads include a few great dairy-free options. They are the Caribbean Salad, Grilled Chicken Salad without Cheese, and Santa Fe Chicken Salad with Spicy Grilled Chicken but without Ranch. You can order the House Salad without Cheese, Croutons, and Dressing, but that might be just lettuce!
- In terms of Salad Dressings, the Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette and Honey Lime Vinaigrette are dairy-free and egg-free. The creamier Honey Lime, Honey-Mustard, Santa Fe, and Thousand Island dressings are dairy-free, but do contain egg.
- The Soups at Chili’s all contain dairy, but you can order the Original Chili without Cheese.
- The dairy-free Sides at Chili’s include Garlic Dill Pickles, Fries (made in shared fryers), Asparagus & Garlic Roasted Tomatoes, Black Beans, Coleslaw, Mexican Rice, Steamed Broccoli, and Sweet Corn on the Cob (but not the Roasted Street Corn). They’re all made without top allergens, too, with the exception of the Coleslaw, which contains egg.
- Unfortunately, Chili’s has no dairy-free Dessert options.
I did include shared fryer warnings above, but Chili’s also posts the following:
During normal kitchen operations involving shared cooking and preparation areas, the possibility exists for food items to come in contact with other food products. For example, fried items are identified with a ‘•’ under the cross-contact column of the guide because of the use of shared fryers between foods. For this reason we advise guests with food allergies to avoid all fried foods.
What Oil Does Chili’s Use for Frying?
They use soybean oil, and I want to make sure you know a couple of things. Since they use highly refined soybean oil, they do not have to disclaim it on the allergen menu. So any fried items are fried in soybean oil, even if they do not state that they contain soy. Also, Chili’s does not prohibit GMOs from their suppliers, and they have indicated that the soybean oil they use is most likely GM.
Does Chili’s Have Any Vegan Menu Items?
The following are vegan by ingredients, but the fried items are made in a shared fryer where milk and other animal ingredients may be present.
- Bottomless Tostada Chips & Salsa
- Fresh Guacamole & Chips
- Fried Pickles without Ranch Dressing
- Mexican Rice & Black Beans
- Caribbean Salad ordered with Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette
- House Side Salad without Croutons and Cheese, ordered with Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Garlic Dill Pickles
- Asparagus & Garlic Roasted Tomatoes
- Steamed Broccoli
- Sweet Corn on the Cob
- Avocado Slices
- Flour Tortillas
- Corn Tortillas
- BBQ Sauce
- House BBQ Sauce
- Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette
Does Chili’s Have An Allergen Menu?
Yes, the information above was obtained from their Allergen Menu and disclaimers. You can view this allergen menu effective February 18, 2019. Let us know in the comments if this link breaks or there is an update!
And several readers have let us know they’ve had great experiences with Chili’s service.
Just wanted to suggest Chili’s as a preferred restaurant. We went with our son who has many allergies. They were able to print out their ingredients list for each of their menu items so we could review the hidden dairy sources before we ordered! ~ Kristi
Chili’s is another restaurant with a great allergen menu and the servers I’ve had seem very familiar with it. They have a separate page/menu of all the available options for each allergen. Very easy. ~ Christina
Tony and I have also had good luck dining at this casual chain. The staff has been very accommodating, and their electronic menu at the table made it easy to find dairy-free and gluten-free meals. We’ve heard rumor that their allergy-friendliness is an overall corporate policy, not location by location. But it’s still best to call ahead just to make sure.
Where to Find Chili’s
This Tex-Mex bar & grill chain has over 1500 locations worldwide. The bulk of their restaurants are in the U.S., but they do have outposts in Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. See their website below for locations, hours, and online to-go ordering.