Updated 2020! El Pollo Loco, Inc. is a fast food chain specializing in Mexican-style grilled chicken. They have several hundred restaurants, but are mostly located in the Southwestern U.S. They do not have an allergen chart, but do have some other special diet information online. They’ve also added new chickenless vegan menu items, which you can read more about below.
We also contacted them directly to find out the dairy-free options. They were very responsive in the past, which enabled us to compile this general list of options. Unfortunately, in 2020 they didn’t want to go to the effort. So the list below is from 2018, but not much has changed on their core menu. There are many more dairy-free options on the menu if you special order no cheese and no sour cream. But double check in store to make sure these options are still dairy free. We’ve always found their restaurant staff very helpful.
No Dairy (Milk-Based) Ingredients (see disclaimer below)
Please Note: The following list was provided in 2018. Their staff is compiling a new 2020 list for us, but then decided it was too much work for them. Nonetheless, most of the options below are still available. Many menu items can be ordered dairy-free at El Pollo Loco if you ask them to hold the cheese, sour cream, and dressing (substitute the vinaigrette listed below).
- Meats & Meat Alternatives – Flame Grilled Chicken, Mexican Chicken, Vegan Chickenless Pollo
- Entrees – Chicken Taquitos, Taco al Carbon, Pollo Bowl, Avocado Bacon Tostada Salad, Vegan Chickenless Pollo Burrito, Vegan Chickenless Pollo Taco
- Sides – Pinto Beans, Coleslaw, Steamed Broccoli (without margarine), Flour Tortillas, Corn Tortillas
- Condiments – Salsas, Citrus Vinaigrette
- Dessert – Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Their customer service specifically stated “The chocolate chip cookies do not list dairy as an allergen alert.”)
Other Allergen Notes
- We received a message from a concerned viewer about soy. They had heard that all chicken from El Pollo Loco is marinated in oil that contains hydrolyzed soybean oil. However, we contacted the company directly, and their customer service promptly responded, “No, it is just marinated in fruit juices, herbs and spice.” They confirmed that their chicken is soy-free.
- El Pollo Loco also has Gluten Information available online.
News: El Pollo Loco Offers Chickenless Vegan Menu Items Nationwide
July 2020 – Early in 2020, El Pollo Loco launched their Chickenless Pollo, but it wasn’t vegan since it was simmered in a sauce that contained a small amount of egg. So they went back to the kitchen, and created a non-GMO soy “chicken” that is simmered in egg-free adobo sauce. The new Chickenless Pollo is now certified vegan, by the American Vegetarian Association, and available at their restaurants throughout the U.S.
El Pollo Loco’s menu now includes two full vegan options: the Vegan Chickenless Pollo Taco and the Vegan Chickenless Pollo Burrito. Vegan diners can also ask staff to “Make it Vegan” when ordering other menu items with Chickenless Pollo, and they will hold all dairy products (cheese and Creamy Cilantro Dressing).
More Details from El Pollo Loco
Restaurant Website: www.elpolloloco.com
*The above information was supplied by a Go Dairy Free viewer, is not representative of our own findings, and should be used for informational purposes only. Ingredients and menu offerings are constantly changing in the food service industry, and can be subject to interpretation. For this reason, Go Dairy Free does not guarantee nor take responsibility for the accuracy of this information. If severe allergies or intolerances are a concern, contact the restaurant directly before purchasing or consuming one of their products. Cross-contamination of potential food allergens should always be considered a possibility in a fast food restaurant.
Last Updated: January 6, 2020
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Pretty darn good dairy-free food
Many times, when we’ve been running about town, my husband and I have popped into El Pollo Loco (usually with coupon in hand!). I’m pretty loyal to their salads, which are always boisterous, have a generous amount of chicken and even avocado. If I get a bowl with beans and rice, I’m usually a bit too full, but my husband likes the Pollo Bowl. We’ve ordered from them dozens of times, and only once did they accidentally put a scoop of sour cream on my order. They were apologetic, and immediately started a brand new order. Their ingredients are segregated fairly well, but like with any fast food restaurant, I would be leery with a very severe milk allergy.