Red Lobster Shells Out Some Simple Dairy-Free Options


Updated 2020! Butter is big at this international seafood shack. They also defy longstanding culinary rules, and drench many of their dishes in cheese and/or creamy sauces. So this post certainly isn’t a recommendation, but is intended as a helpful guide if you are dairy free and find yourself at a Red Lobster.

Red Lobster Dairy-Free Menu Guide - details on what's dairy-free for custom orders too.

Dairy-Free Menu Guide to Red Lobster

Years ago, Red Lobster toyed with creating some allergy-friendly menu items, and even put together an allergen chart. But their interest in attracting food allergic diners waned. They even stopped making some of their most popular menu items that are naturally dairy free.

Consequently, Red Lobster is mostly about custom ordering for dairy-free customers. Their current online information is dated. We had hoped to get an update from them, but 2020 is proving to be a tricky year. They said, “this information is currently unavailable due to limited resources during this public health emergency.” For now, these current menu items had previously been reported as dairy free.


  • Fish ordered Blackened, Broiled, or Grilled* (verify with the type of fish before ordering)
  • Snow Crab Legs*
  • Oven-Broiled Bay Scallops*
  • Petite Lobster Tail*
  • Live Maine Lobster – Steamed*
  • Chicken Fingers*

Golden-Fried Note: There is contradiction on the “golden-fried” items. They list “golden-fried fish” as containing dairy, but specific varieties of golden-fried fish (like catfish and flounder) as not containing dairy. Inquire if interested in these menu items, but know that they are likely cooked in a shared fryer with other dairy-containing items.*

And the Steaks? They’re all listed as containing dairy. It’s likely that they use butter to cook them. You might be able to make a dairy-free special request on their steaks.*

How About the Shrimp? They used to offer a signature shrimp cocktail, which was dairy free, but we’re no longer seeing it on the menu. They did use a poaching technique that was dairy-free, and grilled shrimp is available. These items might be dairy-free, so inquire if interested.*


  • Baked Potato (no toppings)
  • French Fries*
  • Coleslaw

Note: They have had dairy-free vegetables, like broccoli and asparagus, in the past. Check with the staff to find out if they can accommodate some dairy-free vegetables either on the menu or on request.

Sauces & Dressings

  • Tartar Sauce
  • Cocktail Sauce
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Champagne Vinaigrette
  • Honey Mustard Dressing
  • Thousand Island Dressing

*These items are noted as “risk of possible contamination due to cooking method.”

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.

Red Lobster Dairy-Free Menu Guide - details on what's dairy-free for custom orders too.

Where to Find Red Lobster

They have over 700 locations worldwide. The menu items might vary across countries. The above list is from their U.S. information, which is where the majority of their restaurants are located. See the website below for addresses, hours, and contact information.

Website: (for Canada:

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About Author

Alisa is the founder of, 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.

1 Comment

  1. Stephanie Jensen on

    I have been to two locations in my state and had good experiences both times. While there isn’t a lot on the menu that is available, they make up for that in great customer service. The allergen menu shows the items without any alterations. For example, the side salad is shown as having dairy in it. I was confused, and almost didn’t have a salad the first time. When the server went to get the salad, he realized that it must have been the crouton, and put them on the side. I was impressed. When I went to a second location, the server let me know that they could get me the broccoli without butter. That is very helpful. I recommend them.