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Are grown in Idaho shoestring fries gluten free?

The Short Answer

Most shoestring fries grown and produced in Idaho are gluten-free. This is because shoestring fries are generally made from potatoes, oil or fat for frying, and salt. Potatoes do not contain gluten naturally. However, there is a small risk of cross-contamination during growing, harvesting, processing, cooking or serving that could introduce trace amounts of gluten. Those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should inquire directly with the restaurant or manufacturer to confirm that their strict gluten-free standards are followed.

What Makes Shoestring Fries Gluten Free?

Shoestring fries are thin strips of potato that have been deep fried. The main ingredients are:

  • Potatoes
  • Frying oil or fat
  • Salt

Potatoes are a naturally gluten-free food. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. It does not occur naturally in potatoes.

The other ingredients – frying oil, salt – are also naturally free of gluten. Therefore, a basic recipe for shoestring fries contains no gluten-containing ingredients.

Risk of Cross-Contamination

Although the shoestring fry ingredients themselves are gluten-free, there is a small chance they could be contaminated with gluten during growing, harvesting, processing or cooking:

  • If potatoes are grown in a field rotated with gluten-containing grains like wheat
  • If potatoes are processed on shared equipment that also processes wheat-based foods
  • If the fries are cooked in shared fryer oil with breaded foods
  • If they are handled by kitchen staff who also handle gluten-containing menu items

For this reason, shoestring fries cooked in a restaurant kitchen are considered higher risk than those prepared by a gluten-free manufacturer with dedicated equipment and strict protocols.

Certified Gluten-Free Brands

Many brands that make shoestring fries now voluntarily get their products certified gluten-free to provide assurance to consumers. This involves rigorous testing protocols to limit any gluten cross-contact to under 10-20 parts per million.

Some gluten-free certified shoestring fry brands include:

  • Alexia
  • Ore-Ida
  • McCain
  • Trader Joe’s

Checking for a credible gluten-free certification logo on the packaging is the best way to verify the item is suitable for a gluten-free diet when selecting store-bought shoestring fries.

Precautions for Celiac / Gluten Sensitivity

For those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, even tiny amounts of gluten exposure can cause issues.

They will need to take extra precautions around shoestring fries, such as:

  • Ask the restaurant directly about ingredients and preparation processes.
  • Check that dedicated, uncontaminated fryer oil is used.
  • Request a fresh batch made in clean oil, served on a clean plate.
  • Look for gluten-free certification from the manufacturer when buying pre-made fries.

Being vigilant about potential cross-contamination is important for those who are highly sensitive.

Are Idaho Shoestring Fries Any Safer?

Idaho is famous for producing top quality potatoes used in shoestring fries, hash browns and other potato products.

However, being made in Idaho does not automatically make the fries gluten-free or safer in terms of avoiding contamination.

Still, some popular fry brands made in Idaho such as Ore-Ida take steps to avoid gluten cross-contact by:

  • Sourcing potatoes from gluten-free dedicated farmers.
  • Using separate equipment and fryer oil from gluten-containing foods.
  • Getting audited for compliance with gluten-free standards.

So there can be more assurances around major brands of Idaho shoestring fries, but it is still advisable for celiacs and gluten-sensitive individuals to check closely first.


Shoestring fries made from potatoes, salt and frying oil are inherently gluten-free. However, the risk of trace gluten contamination during growing and processing means caution is needed for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Leading potato shoestring fry brands from Idaho go to extra efforts to avoid cross-contact. But those with gluten issues should still verify the gluten-free status directly with manufacturers or restaurants before eating. Overall, Idaho shoestring fries can be considered gluten-free, but sensitivities vary so individuals should check labels and policies first.