Short Answer: With an increasing number of peanut-allergic customers, most fast food restaurants have stopped frying their food in peanut oil. There are only a few chains that still use peanut oil — namely Chick-fil-A, Five Guys, Jimmy John’s, and Subway. However, there are several chains, including McDonald’s and Burger King, still use some peanut or tree nut products, most commonly in desserts. Below, we have the details of which fast-food restaurants use peanut oil, which ones use other peanut products, and which ones don’t use any peanut products at all.
If you have a peanut allergy and are considering visiting a fast food restaurant near you, we have a few things to consider:
- Many restaurants don’t carry any peanut products at all, but some sell products manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts or tree nuts.
- Even though most restaurants require peanut products and other allergens to be separate from other food products, if your allergy is severe, you may want to speak with the staff about the potential of cross-contamination before ordering your food.
- Many fast food chains are franchises. While they are required to follow the rules set out by corporate, there is a chance that some may not adhere to every regulation, meaning that even if corporate requires its stores to refrain from using peanut oil or peanut products, some franchises may disobey that rule.
It’s always a good idea to check the website for allergen information, call the restaurant, and/or make sure the staff is aware of your allergy before you order to avoid cross-contamination or accidental exposure to allergens. The FDA exempts labeling highly-refined peanut oil as an allergen since some peanut-allergic individuals can safely consume it, so it can be hard to spot the restaurants that do still use peanut oil. We researched and contacted the major U.S. fast food chains to find out which do and do not use peanut oil.
Fast Food Restaurants That Use Peanut Oil
While the number of peanut oil users has decreased, there are still a few fast food restaurants that choose to cook with peanut oil because it is considered to be a healthier frying option. Such chains include:
- Chick-fil-A: Uses peanut oil on its breaded chicken; you can, however, order grilled chicken as a substitute, and the waffle fries are fried in canola oil
- Five Guys: Uses peanut oil to fry its french fries
- Jimmy John’s: Uses peanut oil on its kettle-cooked Jimmy Chips
- Subway: Uses peanut oil for carved turkey
Fast Food Restaurants That Use Other Peanut Products
The restaurants listed below use other types of oils in their fried products such as corn oil, soybean oil, or vegetable oil as opposed to peanut oil, but they do sell other items that contain peanuts. Most often, peanuts appear in desserts like milkshakes, cookies, brownies, and pies. Some restaurants offer a general statement that peanuts are used in their restaurants while other restaurants identify which specific items on their menu contain peanuts — you can call the restaurant or ask the staff before ordering to be sure.
- Burger King
- Dairy Queen
- Jason’s Deli
Fast Food Restaurants That Don’t Use Any Peanut Products
Many restaurants have omitted the use of peanut products altogether, but as mentioned previously, some products at the listed restaurants may be manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts or tree nuts (we note this wherever applicable.)
- Arby’s (Some products are manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts or tree nuts.)
- Carl’s Jr. (Ice cream and other products used in their shakes and malts may be processed in facilities where there are peanuts or tree nuts.)
- Del Taco
- Jack in the Box (The New York-style Cheesecake is manufactured on shared equipment with peanuts and tree nuts.)
- Moe’s Southwest Grill
- Quiznos (Certain dessert items are processed in a facility with peanuts and tree nuts.)
- Taco Bell
- Wendy’s (While Wendy’s does not use peanuts, it does use tree nuts in certain menu items. Wendy’s website states that cross-contact is possible, and Wendy’s is unable to guarantee any menu item will be completely free of allergens, including peanut allergies.)