Applebee’s Gluten-Free Menu Review

Applebee’s Gluten-Free Review
Applebee’s Gluten-Free Review

We are on day 1 of our road trip to the University of North Carolina for the girl’s basketball camp trip. I am the female chaperone and my husband, the assistant varsity coach and the head coach are chaperones as well. It’s going to be really tough on this trip because there are 17 of us trying to find somewhere to eat while on the road. Fortunately, I’m not the only one with celiac disease so we are making sure we stop places where we can get something to eat. I packed tons of snack foods for the road to be sure Melissa and I were never starving and could have snacks throughout the drive.

Originally, we were going to stop at Outback but the girls were concerned about spending too much on dinner so we ended up at Applebee’s. I did a quick google search to make sure they could accommodate us and it turns out their website was very allergen friendly. They have an extensive, multi-page list of allergens and safe foods for all the different types of food problems.

There are numerous gluten-free options to pick from. Melissa chose the fiesta lime chicken and I had the margarita chicken and shrimp. I explained to our waitress and she assured me she would let the kitchen know of our special dietary needs. I’m always skeptical at chain places so I kept my fingers crossed. One of the other athletes said, “do you get nervous when you eat out?” My reply, “every time.” It’s even more nerve-wracking with a large order of 17 because of the higher risk of a mistake.

The food was just okay. I think I’ve become a food snob since going gluten-free. It’s hard when you focus on eating fresh, whole, yummy foods to go back to eating the quick, fix processed foods. Applebee’s isn’t somewhere I frequented prior to going gluten-free so it really wasn’t a treat to go there tonight.

I didn’t get sick from eating there, my belly felt a little weird but I think it was from the sodium and quality of foods.

Overall, I would say if you are stuck and end up at Applebee’s, you have options. Just make sure you are VERY CLEAR to your server and pay attention to what you order and what shows up on your plate.

I will also say Applebee’s tweeted me right away and said to make sure I informed my server of my dietary needs and were responsive when I said I was going to eat a gluten-free meal there.

But, as always, you can never be 100% safe when eating out. There is always room for human error so it’s critical we keep our guard up, eyes open and stay educated.


  1.  Karen Simon says:

    I completely understand. I was a bit of a food snob before going gluten-free, but now it is so much worse! I already didn’t eat any meat except chicken. I don’t like processed stuff either. I tried Chili’s recently and won’t go back there. I got a salad and I honestly wouldn’t have given that to my dog. I have the best luck at non-chain holes in the wall that serve some type of international food and just make sure I know the food well and ask LOTS of questions!

  2.  Paula says:

    My biggest fear: someone will intentionally contaminate the food, because they don’t think Celiac Disease or any reaction to food will “hurt” you.


  3.  Sandy says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience, Rebecca. I haven’t been to Applebee’s since going GF in 2007 and never expected they could accommodate. I’m glad to know it is an easy option if I’m in a group who wants to go there! I know what you mean about fresh. My family tells me daily my food is better than any restaurant. Not to brag, but cooking fresh, healthy, lean and tasty is always a winner!


  4.  Cynthia says:

    I’m not a huge fan of Applebee’s either, but I live in a small town and it is one of the only family friendly restaurants in town. With celiac and IBS, I can’t eat gluten, soy, dairy or fructose. The thing I appreciate is they have a page for each allergen, if you ask for it. I was able to cross compare the 3 pages until I found something I could eat. Kind of a pain, but at least I’m able to eat out once in a while!


  5.  Jessica says:

    I love applebees menu :). I like that they have an appetizer and meal an do there two for 20


  6.  Amy says:

    The last 2 times that I went to Applebees, even after explaining my Celiac, my food came out with a piece of TX toast on top of it! Haven’t been back since and don’t plan on ever going again


    •  Rebecca says:

      Did you write to their corporate office? They have been very responsive on twitter & asked another unhappy guest to send them feedback via their website.


  7.  Wil says:

    Thank you for the review of Applebee’s. I am traveling with my family and was needing a safe place to eat. Their web site threw me off a bit with their warnings about cross contamination but that is probably a legal requirment. I am so happy everything worked for you and I’ll let you know how my experience was when I get home in a week.