Panera Gluten-Free Menu Items (Restaurant Guide)

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Panera is known for its breads and baked goods, so if you want to avoid gluten in your diet, you might think the bakery-cafe doesn’t have any options for you. Although this fast casual restaurant doesn’t have any gluten free breads, its menu does have quite a few nutrient-rich and filling options that don’t list wheat as an allergen—I was pleasantly surprised by how many choices there are for people who are trying to eat a gluten free diet. 

gluten free panera items

However, like so many other chain restaurants, Panera does use a shared kitchen to prepare all its dishes, which means there’s some risk of gluten contamination with any menu option—even the ones that don’t list wheat as an allergen (read Panera’s full statement below).

If you can’t risk exposure to any level of gluten contamination, it’s safest not to eat at chains like Panera. If you’re not sure, it’s always a good idea to ask your healthcare provider. 

Read my full Panera gluten free guide to find out what to order on your next trip to this popular fast food chain. 

Top Gluten Free Menu Items At Panera

gluten free panera items

Panera does have a “Gluten Conscious” section of its menu, but when I was doing my research for this article, the only item listed is the Mexican street corn chowder. However, Panera does have quite a few other dishes that don’t list wheat as an ingredient or allergen. Here’s a list of those items: 

  • Mexican street corn chowder
  • Green goddess chicken cobb salad
  • Southwest chicken ranch salad
  • Strawberry poppyseed chicken salad
  • Fuji apple chicken salad
  • Greek salad
  • Greek salad with chicken
  • Ranch cobb salad
  • Summer fruit cup 
  • Panera brand potato chips

Note that the “Pick Two” soup and salad option comes with a side of bread, so if you order this combo and want to avoid gluten, you’ll want to ask for no bread on the side. Also keep in mind that the menu may vary from location to location, as well as change seasonally. 

fuji apple chicken salad
Fuji Apple Chicken Salad

Easy Modifications to Make Panera Menu Items Gluten Free

If you order online, Panera’s website makes it easy to make a range of customizations to its menu items, or you can ask for these modifications in the store. For example, if I want to remove croutons from a salad when ordering online, you can click the “Customize” button and remove the croutons. 

Here’s a list of menu options at Panera that can be easily modified to be gluten free, and how to order them. 

  • Caesar salad, no croutons
  • Caesar salad with chicken, no croutons 
  • Mediterranean chicken greens salad, no farro & rice blend
  • Mediterranean greens salad, no farro & rice blend
  • Balsamic chicken greens salad, no farro & rice blend
  • Balsamic greens salad, no farro & rice blend
  • Creamy tomato soup, no croutons

If you really miss croutons on your salads or soups, you can use Mama Knows Gluten Free’s recipe to make your own homemade gluten free croutons. (It might even be worth it to you to bring a small baggie of them with you to add onto your salads when you eat out!)

tomato soup
Creamy Tomato Soup – No Croutons

How to Modify Sandwiches at Panera to Make Them Gluten Free

If you want to order a sandwich at Panera without bread, it’s easy to do so in person or on the phone—the point of sale system has an option to help facilitate this kind of request. On a recent trip to Panera, the employee taking my order had no issue putting in a tuna sandwich order without bread, although she did kindly point out that the cost for a sandwich with no bread is the same price. When I’ve ordered this way, the contents of my sandwich came in a salad container. 

However, it’s a little bit more complicated to get a sandwich without bread when placing an order online. I found that you don’t have the option to remove “bread” from a sandwich when you click the “Customize” button. However, Panera’s online menu also has an place to “Add Special Instructions.” This is where you can request a sandwich without bread. 

I prefer to order a salad and/or soup instead of a breadless sandwich at Panera, and the others I spoke with tended to agree. “The inside of the sandwich isn’t really the best part of Panera,” one friend who follows a strict gluten free diet told me, who also says her preferred order is a salad at Panera. The two main exceptions are the tuna sandwich, no bread (which in my experience comes with a generous portion of tuna on top of tomatoes and bed of arugula) and breakfast sandwiches. 

In any case, here are some of the sandwiches you can request without bread: 

  • Ciabatta sausage, egg and cheese sandwich, no bread
  • Garden avo and egg white sandwich, no bread
  • Asiago sausage and egg sandwich, no bread
  • Chipotle chicken, egg and avo sandwich, no ciabatta
  • Brioche bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, no bread
  • Ciabatta egg and cheese sandwich, no bread
  • Chicken bacon rancher, no bread
  • Ciabatta cheesesteak, no bread 
  • Chipotle chicken avo melt, no cheese
  • Frontega chicken sandwich, no bread
  • Italiano sandwich, no bread
  • Smokehouse BBQ chicken sandwich, no bread
  • Spicy Buffalo chicken melt, no bread
  • Grilled chicken and avo BLT, no bread
  • Turkey and cheddar sandwich, no bread
  • Tuna salad sandwich, no bread
  • Bravo club, no bread

I don’t recommend ordering the bacon avo melt, the green goddess Caprese melt or grilled cheese without bread, because the main filling in these sandwiches is just cheese—they wouldn’t make for a satisfying meal. Similarly, I think you’re better off ordering a salad than a tomato basil BLT without bread or Mediterranean veggie sandwich without bread. 

corn chowder
Street Corn Chowder

Gluten Free Drinks At Panera

If you’re looking to add a sweet treat without wheat to your meal at Panera, a smoothie or a fancy flavored coffee is your best option (my favorite is the mango smoothie). Most of the drinks on Panera’s menu are gluten free, including: 

  • Soda
  • Plain coffee drinks
  • Mango yuzu citrus charged lemonade
  • Strawberry lemon mint charged lemonade
  • Blood orange charged splash 
  • Bottled passion fruit papaya green tea
  • Hazelnut coffee
  • Iced tea
  • Agave lemonade 
  • Passion papaya iced green tea
  • Frozen strawberry lemonade
  • Strawberry banana smoothie
  • Mango smoothie
  • Strawberry smoothie
  • Chai tea latte (hot or iced)
  • Caramel latte (hot or iced)
  • Madagascar vanilla latte (hot or iced)

Panera Official Gluten Statement

Like most chain restaurants, there’s a risk of small amounts of gluten making their way into dishes that don’t otherwise have wheat or gluten listed as an ingredient. Here’s the official statement about the risk of contamination from Panera’s website: 

Disclaimer: Panera Bread’s gluten-conscious menu items are prepared in the same kitchen as our gluten-containing menu items. While we’re happy to make your order just the way you want, we can’t guarantee that there will be no cross-contact between ingredients. If you have celiac disease, a heightened gluten intolerance, or a wheat allergy, please consult with your doctor on the specifics of your gluten-free diet.

green goddess cobb salad
Green Goddess Chicken Cobb Salad

What to Avoid 

As I mentioned earlier, Panera does not offer gluten free bread or baked goods, which means that just about anything in the “Bakery” portion of the menu is off limits for people who avoid eating wheat. Similarly, the sandwiches, mac and cheese, and soups served in bread bowls all contain gluten.

Some of the soups that list wheat as an ingredient include the broccoli cheddar soup, bistro French onion soup, the chicken noodle soup, and the cream of chicken and wild rice soup (consider checking out our gluten free cream of chicken soup recipe as an alternative).


Does Panera gave gluten free bread? 

No, at this time Panera does not have gluten free bread. 

Is Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup gluten free?

No, Panera’s broccoli cheddar soup is not gluten free. The seasoning used in this soup lists “Enriched Wheat Flour” as an ingredient.

Does Panera have gluten free bowls?

Panera previously offered warm grain bowls, some of which were gluten free. However, this option is no longer on the menu.

Other Gluten Free Menu Guides

We are on a mission to analyze all the popular restaurants near you for what is and isn’t gluten-free. If you have a restaurant you want us to visit, please let us know! You can contact us or send us a DM on Instagram. Here are other guides we have written so far:

Photos: Julianne Tripp Hillian

About Margaret Badore

Margaret Badore is a journalist who has covered food, science, and health topics for over 15 years. Her work has been published by Forbes, Treehugger, Diets In Review, Civil Eats, and Tales Of The Cocktail. She’s also a mom and her husband is lactose intolerant, so she knows how important it is to get all the ingredients right when it comes to feeding your family. She earned her masters in journalism from Columbia University and her undergraduate degree in writing from Sarah Lawrence College.

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