Few fast-food restaurants use peanut oil anymore — only Chick-fil-A, Five Guys, Jimmy John’s, and Subway do, based on our research. With an increasing number of peanut-allergic customers, most chains have stopped frying their food in peanut oil. Many, 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.
Before diving into which restaurants do and do not use peanut products, we have a few safety tips to consider when dining out at your local fast-food restaurants with a peanut allergy:
- 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, you should speak with the staff about the potential of cross-contamination before ordering your food.
- Many of these chains are franchises. While they are required to follow the rules set out by corporate, there is a chance that some do not stick to every rule, 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 call the restaurant before visiting, check the website for allergen information, or make sure the staff is aware of your allergy at the beginning of your visit 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. If you’re worried about it, don’t depend on labeling — be sure to ask.
Fast-Food Restaurants That Use Peanut Oil
While the number of peanut oil users has decreased, there are still a hand-full of fast-food restaurants that choose to cook with peanut oil because it is considered to be a healthier frying option.
- Chick-fil-A: Chick-fil-A uses peanut oil on its breaded chicken. You can, however, order grilled chicken — and the famous waffle fries are cooked in canola oil. (Chick-fil-A Allergens)
- Five Guys: Five Guys uses peanut oil on its french fries. (Five Guys Allergens)
- Jimmy John’s: Jimmy John’s uses peanut oil on its kettle-cooked Jimmy Chips. (Jimmy John’s Allergens)
- Subway: Subway uses peanut oil on carved turkey. (Subway Allergens)
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 shakes, cookies, brownies, and pies. In addition to us calling and confirming with the corporate offices of these restaurants on the type of cooking oil used, each restaurant posts their nutrition/allergens menu online. Some restaurants, such as Cookout, offer a general statement that peanuts are used in their restaurants while other restaurants identify which specific items on their menu contain peanuts.
- Burger King (Burger King Nutrition Facts)
- Cookout (Cookout Menu and Nutrition Facts)
- Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen Nutrition Facts)
- Jason’s Deli (Jason’s Deli Nutrition Facts)
- KFC (KFC Nutrition Facts)
- McDonald’s (McDonald’s Q&A)
- Panera (Panera Nutrition Facts)
- Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (Popeyes Nutrition Facts and Allergens)
- Qdoba (Qdoba Allergens)
- Sonic (Sonic Allergens)
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. Please take note of which restaurants have publicly identified that this applies to some of their products.
- Arby’s: As we have previously reported, some products are manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts or tree nuts. (Arby’s Nutrition Facts)
- Bojangles’ (Bojangles’ Nutrition Facts)
- 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. (Carl’s Jr. Ingredients Guide)
- Chipotle (Chipotle Allergens)
- Del Taco (Del Taco Allergens)
- Hardee’s (Hardee’s Ingredients)
- In-N-Out (In-N-Out Allergens)
- Jack in the Box: The New York style Cheesecake is manufactured on shared equipment with peanuts and tree nuts. (Jack in the Box Allergens)
- Moe’s (Moe’s Nutrition)
- Quiznos: Certain dessert items are processed in a facility with peanuts and tree nuts. (Quizno’s Allergens)
- Taco Bell (Taco Bell Ingredients)
- 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. (Wendy’s Nutrition and Health Information)
The use of peanut oil as a frying substance at fast-food restaurants is becoming less and less popular due to the high volume of peanut allergies in the United States. If you or a family member have a peanut allergy, you have many options for getting delicious fast-food at places like Chipotle, In-N-Out, or Taco Bell that don’t use any peanut products. As always, it’s advised to double check with your local restaurant about the details of their cooking products and protocol.