Updated January 2023! Years ago, we added dozens of chain restaurants, beyond fast food, to Go Dairy Free. But I didn’t post about Olive Garden because their dairy-free options were so paltry. Over time, they’ve added just enough choices (mostly due to recipe changes) to pique our interest. So we’ve added this dairy-free menu guide, which also includes the vegan choices and gluten-free picks. Yes, the unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks deal is on limits! And you can sidestep all that butter, cream, and cheese with the menu selections below.
Olive Garden Dairy-Free Menu Guide with Vegan & Gluten-Free Options
This menu guide includes dairy-free menu options first, followed by custom order components. Be aware of special order requirements in parentheses () next to the menu items, and see the Heads Up notes to help fill in the blanks. Please note that this guide is for the U.S. locations. Options may vary in other countries.
Other Allergen & Dietary Notes: There are no peanuts or tree nuts used in the menu items below. We have noted which items contain egg or soy. We have labeled all items made without gluten below as “gluten-free” for reading ease. But keep in mind they do use a lot of gluten at Olive Garden, so there is risk for cross contamination. For vegan options, see the Vegan Menu Guide at the bottom of this post.
Soup, Salad & Breadsticks
- Breadstick with Garlic Topping (contains soy)
- Minestrone Soup (contains soy)
- Pasta Fagioli Soup (contains soy)
- Salad with Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar (no croutons, no dressing) (gluten-free)
Heads Up! The Signature Italian Dressing at Olive Garden does contain milk. But they do offer olive oil and vinegar for dressing your salad. And yes, those Olive Garden breadsticks are dairy free! They use a vegan margarine for the coating, not butter!
Heads Up! All appetizers at Olive Garden do contain milk.
Create our Own Pasta
Choose Plain Pasta:
- Angel Hair
- Small Shells
- Gluten-Free Rotini (contains egg)
- Marinara (contains soy; gluten-free)
- Meat Sauce (contains soy; gluten-free)
- Tomato Sauce (contains soy; gluten-free)
- Grilled Chicken (gluten-free)
- Italian Sausage (gluten-free)
- Sautéed Shrimp (gluten-free)
Heads Up! Their fried-type of chicken and the meatballs contain dairy. Their Meat Sauce, which is dairy-free, is made with ground beef and their Italian sausage.
- Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce (contains soy)
- Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (contains soy)
- Gluten Sensitive Rotini Pasta with Marinara (contains egg, soy; gluten-free)
- Gluten Sensitive Rotini Pasta with Meat Sauce (contains egg, soy; gluten-free)
Heads Up! You can add Shrimp, Grilled Chicken, or Italian Sausage to any of these entrees. It’s essentially the same as the create-your-own pasta options. Their Grilled Salmon and Sirloin are prepared with garlic herb butter. Depending on the location, you can request these without dairy, served with simple steamed broccoli, and cooked in a separate fry pan, if needed.
- Chicken Fingers & Pasta
Heads Up! You can ask about a cheese-free pepperoni pizza. Their pepperoni is dairy-free, their tomato sauce is dairy-free, and their pizza crust is likely the same as the breadstick dough.
Fryer Note: The Chicken Fingers are likely cooked in a shared fryer. Ask at your location if you are concerned about potential cross-contamination. They use canola oil or frying at Olive Garden.
- French Fries
- Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce
Fryer Note: The French Fries are likely cooked in a shared fryer. Ask at your location if you are concerned about potential cross-contamination. They use canola oil or frying at Olive Garden.
Heads Up! Unfortunately, the only dairy-free dessert item on the Olive Garden menu is raspberry sauce topping!
Olive Garden Vegan Menu Guide
- Breadstick with Garlic Topping
- Minestrone Soup
- Famous House Salad with Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar (no croutons, no dressing)
- Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce
- Pasta, Angel Hair
- Pasta, Fettuccine
- Pasta, Rigatoni
- Pasta, Small Shells
- Pasta, Spaghetti
- Marinara Sauce
- Tomato Sauce
- Raspeberry Sauce
This Post is for Informational Purposes Only
Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, food sourcing, and restaurant protocols are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure 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.
Each location of a chain restaurant has different management and staff, and some might have different owners. This means differences in processes, ingredients used, menu options, and food sourcing can occur. Always verify the safety of your order for your needs at your current location.
Where to Find Olive Garden
Olive Garden operates nearly 900 restaurants around the world, but most of their locations are in the U.S. You can also find them in Canada, Brazil, El Salvador, UAE, Kuwait, Mexico, and Panama. See their website below for addresses, hours, allergen menus, and contact information.
Average Reader Review
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What Others Are Saying ...
Never knew I'm glad I do
I love olive garden it’s always been hard for me to go and enjoy myself and just go crazy. But I just found this thing on the dairy free menu. Thank you so very much. It’s been a crazy journey for myself being lactose intolerant. I didn’t turn lactose intolerant until the age of 23 I’m 46 now. As I’ve learned it seems that I’m the only one out of my entire family that is lactose intolerant. So I can really go to one of them and ask so it’s all been trial and error for me. When I first started one this road I thought something was horrible wrong with me. I made a Dr appointment I was so sick I had so many tests done I was poke jabed stuck from every side. I even had surgery scheduled to see what was going on. Thank God it was the weekend because that’s how I figured it out. What a crazy road. But olive garden is the best around
I do feel that the servers need better informed on the dairy free things it would help.
Accommodated to dairy free. Just wish you had a vegan cream sauce
Accommodated to dairy free. I just wish you had a dairy free cream sauce
Dairy free diet
I have dairy problems sent I was born so I am so very grateful that I can go out to eat my family and I can still in joy myself I was just there tonight 4 dinner very yummy food I eggplant 🍆
Italian Donuts....dairy free?
I have a dairy allergy. Have been getting the Zeppoli/Italian donuts for dessert for years. Raspberry sauce. I was told these are dairy free. Have never gotten sick from them. Did this change? Do they now have dairy?
Response from Go Dairy Free
For at least a few years they have contained dairy. That said, it’s possible that your location sources an option locally that is dairy-free.
Restaurant is great, but you said the grilled chicken has diary when in fact it does not have dairy. Other than that restaurant was great and review was helpful.
Response from Go Dairy Free
Yes, thank you. They updated their menu and allergen guide after our last update. We have completed a current update!
Had Minestrone soup, house salad with Croutons
Paying the price for eating Minestrone soup and salad at Olive Garden tonight! Wheezing and lung congestion! Hopefully I won’t pay a higher price later tonight! My regrets! Next time I will say pass on this restaurant as there is such a limited menu! Tried to satisfy my 88 year old mother that is tired of her lockdown at the assisted living home.
Dairy Free Meatballs Please!
I’ve enjoyed eating dairy-free at Olive Garden a few times now. I usually get some sort of pasta with the meat sauce; I’m not vegan, just have a milk protein allergy. So yesterday I decided a little more meat was in order and asked for 3 meatballs. Found out this morning at the mirror that I’d obviously gotten into some dairy somewhere. Googled, found your site, and the culprit is the meatballs. Oh well, live and learn! Also, if you are eating in the restaurant, they usually bring the salad already tossed with their signature dressing. The dressing is NOT dairy-free, so you’ll need to ask them to bring it on the side.
A great option for multiple food allergies
My daughter is allergic to milk, egg and peanut. She loves Olive Garden. We have always had a good experience and on several occasions a manager has checked on us without our prompting to make sure she is well cared for. She loves the breadsticks and always orders pasta with olive oil and garlic with an Italian sausage. Would definitely recommend
French Onion Soup is not “Obviously dairy-free.” Many French Onion Soups are loaded with butter from sautéing the onions and the bullion, which if they use a cube, has dairy in most of them.
I appreciate your concern Bec, but I think you might be reading out of context. I stated that French onion soup was, because of the ingredients listed. Not that all French onion soups are.
Regarding Sweet Tomatoes, I have mixed feelings as well. I am dairy-free, and my wife is gluten-free, both due to fairly extreme reactions to each, respectively. I did find a pretty good variety of dairy-free options, but identifying them, especially in the soup selections., was more than a challenge. They have somewhat cryptic labels on the selections, like “V”, “VE”, and “VG”. This may not be exact secret codes, but they are not intuitive as to what each one means. Here in Arizona, where many of the employees are Mexican and have a limited English vocabulary, it became especially complicated in clarifying what is safe for us to eat. One very-friendly, but English-limited employee did bring us a book to look up what items we had questions about, but the book was out-dated, and did not have several of the specific soups in questions listed. For a “healthy alternative” type of restaurant/buffet, Sweet Tomatoes seems to be dropping the ball in catering to their target market.
Thank you so much for sharing this Scott. Very concerning and good to know for many.