Wendy’s – From Dairy-Free Burgers to Chicken Nuggets

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Eat Dairy Free - Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and SweetsUpdated 2021! Wendy’s is one of the largest burger chains in North America. The bulk of their restaurants are in the U.S. and Canada, but there are some other locations in South America, Asia, and beyond.

For the U.S. and Canada, Wendy’s allergen information is available via their interactive menu and upon request. However, they no longer update an allergen chart online. So it took a bit of sleuthing to update our dairy-free list this year! The specifics listed are from the U.S. allergen details, but I’ve also included a link to Canada’s interactive menu below. It is possible for menu items and ingredients to vary between countries.

Wendy's Dairy-Free Menu Guide with Allergen Notes

No Dairy (Milk-Based) Ingredients (see disclaimer below)

Unfortunately, Wendy’s is a bit of a hot mess with their allergen information and for dairy-free customers. In trying to be overly cautious, they mislead and confuse consumers. They label some items that don’t contain milk (ie Chili and Egg) as containing milk due to potential cross-contamination on the grill. But then other items made on those same grills (ie hamburger and sausage patties) just have cross-contamination warnings, and do not state contains milk. We’ve done our best to organize it!

Menu Items

  • Burgers (see Allergen Notes) – Dave’s Hamburgers (no cheese), Baconators (no cheese), Big Bacon Classic Burgers (no cheese), Double Stack Burgers (no cheese), Jr. Hamburger, Jr. Bacon Burger (no cheese), Jr. Deluxe Burger (no cheese), Kids Hamburger
  • Chicken (see Allergen Notes) – Crispy Chicken Nuggets, Spicy Chicken Nuggets, Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Classic Chicken Sandwich, Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Crispy Chicken BLT (no cheese)
  • Breakfast Sandwiches (see Allergen Notes) – Breakfast Baconator (no cheese)
  • Sides – Seasoned Potatoes (see Allergen Notes), French Fries (see Allergen Notes), Plain Baked Potato, Chili (see Allergen Notes), Apple Bites
  • Dipping Sauces (see Allergen Notes) – Barbecue, Creamy Sriracha, Honey Mustard, Side of S’Awesome, Sweet & Sour

Components to Help Customize Your Order at Wendy’s

  • Proteins (see Allergen Notes) – Applewood Smoked Bacon, Jr. Hamburger Patty, Hamburger Patty, Classic Chicken Breast (fried), Spicy Chicken Breast (fried), Crispy Chicken Patty (fried), Breakfast Chicken Fillet (fried), Sausage Patty
  • Breads (see Allergen Notes) – Premium Bun, Sandwich Bun, Pretzel Bun
  • Toppings – Jalapeno Slices, Crinkle Cut Pickles, Lettuce, Spring Mix, Sweet Onion, Tomato, Avocado, Chives
  • Sauces – Smoky Jalapeno Sauce, Smoky Honey Mustard Sauce, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Mustard, Signature Salsa
  • Salad Dressings – Pomegranate Vinaigrette
  • Other Items – Apple Pecan Spring Mix Salad Blend, Taco Chips, Saltine Crackers

Allergen Notes

  • In the past, Wendy’s only cooked dairy-free items in their fryer, but this changed in January 2019. They launched an onion tangler topping that contains a milk allergen.  The onion tanglers are finished in Wendy’s fryers and may introduce a milk allergen to other items that are fried in the same oil. This may include their French fries and all fried chicken menu items. It does not mean those items contain milk as an ingredient, but they now have potential cross-contamination risk.
  • They also have potential cross-contamination issues with the hamburger patties (also used in the chili) due to cheeseburgers cooked on the same grill. That is why the Chili is confusingly labeled as “contains milk” according their customer service – not because it contains any actual milk ingredients.
  • Recently, Wendy’s added a “contains milk” statement to their Grilled Chicken Breast and Egg. We were told this wasn’t because they contain dairy (both are milk-free by ingredients). BUT, they are cooked with an oil that contains milk.
  • According to Wendy’s, their buns are toasted in a common toaster with products that contain Egg, Milk, and Soy (their Breakfast Buns, Biscuits, and Croissants all contain milk). Untoasted buns are available upon request. But according to Wendy’s, they still use common cutting boards.
  • The roasted nuts used on Wendy’s salads do contain milk, as does the grilled chicken (see note above) and their base salad blend (contains cheese). So it’s tricky to order a dairy-free salad from them. If you must, use their apple pecan salad blend, and build from there using the component options above.

Wendy's Dairy-Free Menu Guide with Allergen Notes

More Details from Wendy’s

Allergen Disclaimer from Wendy’s: We provide known instances of allergens; however, please understand that cross contact is possible due to common handling and preparation areas in our restaurants. We are unable to guarantee that any menu item can be completely free of allergens. Customers with allergies and sensitivities should exercise judgment when ordering.

Restaurant Websites: www.wendys.com (US) and www.wendys.com/en-ca/home (Canada)

*The above information was supplied by the corresponding restaurant via their website, customer service, or other published nutritional information.  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: February 10, 2020

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3.5 out of 5 stars (based on 4 reviews)
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Rate Your Dairy-Free Experience with this Restaurant

What Others Are Saying ...

Plain baked potato

Rated 4 out of 5
February 13, 2021

My daughter got me a plain baked potato. Not sure if she said dairy-free. Received buttery spread & sour cream. Sour cream shows milk. Spread ingredients too small to read.

Pam

Response from Go Dairy Free

It sounds like they gave you the sour cream potato. The Plain Baked Potato is literally just a potato -> https://order.wendys.com/product/30469/plain-baked-potato?referrer=category%2F103%2Ffries-sides – she shouldn’t have had to say dairy-free. Their Buttery Spread does contain milk.
It is helpful if you let the manager at the location know of the error, so they pay better attention to orders.

For real?

Rated 4 out of 5
April 30, 2020

So Wendy’s chicken nuggets has no milk in its batter? That’s a true blessing if it’s true, Wendy’s will be my first choice in fast food from now if confirmed . Please follow up.

Karen

Response from Go Dairy Free

Please see the post above, and last update date, which was recent. You can use the link provided to confirm if you are concerned.

Bread has dairy

Rated 1 out of 5
February 12, 2020

I was at the drive-thru in California and asked whether the burger bun has dairy and they told me that it does.

Kay

Response from Go Dairy Free

Please read the full post above, including the allergen notes. This information is current, and explains why some staff may say that or be required to say that. The bun itself does not contain dairy according to the company’s current allergen and ingredient information. But there is a potential cross-contamination issue.

The missing link to all menus

Rated 5 out of 5
January 22, 2020

Ever have to deal with a dairy allergy? I have a Very severe allergy and I trust the content of this service with helping me navigate nearly all restaurant menus. I’d pay for an app. like this. How can I help fund this work?

Jose

Response from Go Dairy Free

You are welcome to reach out to us via our contact us page Jose -> https://www.godairyfree.org/contact-us

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food 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, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

18 Comments

  1. I would like to find out if the nuggets are truly dairy free and the french fries are truly dairy free also the honey mustard….it’s it also dairy free?

  2. As per the container ingredients their new S’awesome (tangy mayo-based sauce), which is excellent, only contains eggs, no milk. I don’t know about their new tenders (as opposed to the standard nuggets)–would appreciate more info if anyone has it.

  3. Hello there,

    To clarify, is it safe to order their double or triple sandwiches with no cheese? Considering one has done the work to see if the the bun also does not contain dairy ingredients.

    • I would not recommend any fast food as “safe” if you are talking about severe food allergies. This is something you would have to speak with the company about and address with the employees when ordering.

  4. Stephanie Jensen on

    Something must have changed between 2013 and now. Their fries don’t have dairy. The fryers don’t have any dairy products in them. Unless their website is already outdated, their chickens don’t have dairy. My favorite part of the restaurant is that they have the allergen poster, so I don’t have to print stuff out or look online just before going out.

    • Hi, Stephanie,

      I don’t eat at Wendy’s so I’m glad to hear about those posters! They sound very helpful. We’ve double checked the online allergy listings and updated them where appropriate. Thanks for your comments!

  5. Wendy’s allergy menu says the breaded crispy chicken, spicy chicken, and ultimate grilled have milk in them.

    • I just now checked two different allergen menus for Wendy’s and both said that those menu items did not have milk in them. I would take another look Johnny.

        • Jessica Williams on

          I just found this out today. I hadn’t eaten there in years, and ate a burger there yesterday, was so sick to my stomach. I thought maybe it was the cheese (processed), but it wasn’t…it’s the whey in the buns that had my tummy doing flip flops!

  6. What about the kids crispy chicken sand which or their nugget products? Couldn’t find any product info, could it have been in the batter?

  7. Wendy’s fries do contain dairy according to their website and store nutrition poster

    • Hi, Melissa,

      As noted above, Wendy’s fries are cooked in the same oil as ingredients that contain dairy, but the fries themselves are dairy free according to their website.

  8. I just wanted to clarify the opening statement regarding Wendy’s using the same spoon to spread ketchup and mayo. Wendy’s does not use utensil for spreading of condiments. All condiments are kept in squeezable bottles. All condiments are squeezed in the form of a “W” on the bun. Each ingredient container does not come in contact with any other. Other than that, great job.