Wingstop is a popular chicken wing restaurant chain that is known for its original hot chicken wings. Many customers wonder if Wingstop’s signature original hot wings are gluten-free, especially those who follow a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can cause adverse health effects like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting and fatigue. That’s why it’s important for these individuals to closely monitor their gluten intake and avoid consuming gluten-containing ingredients.
So what’s the verdict on Wingstop’s popular original hot wings? Are they gluten-free and safe to eat for those avoiding gluten? Let’s take a detailed look at the ingredients and preparation methods to find out.
Examining Wingstop’s Original Hot Wings Ingredients
According to Wingstop’s website, the original hot wings consist of the following main ingredients:
– Chicken wings sections and drumettes
– Wingstop Original Hot seasoning blend
– Wingstop ranch dressing
– Celery sticks
– Blue cheese dressing
Right off the bat, the chicken wing sections and drumettes themselves are naturally gluten-free. Chicken, like all pure meats, does not contain gluten.
The potential culprits for gluten are the Original Hot seasoning blend and the dipping sauces provided on the side like ranch, blue cheese and other flavors.
Wingstop’s Original Hot Seasoning
According to the ingredient list provided on Wingstop’s website, the Original Hot seasoning contains:
– Aged cayenne red peppers
– Distilled vinegar
– Canola oil
– Natural flavorings
– Garlic powder
– Onion powder
– Citric acid
After thoroughly reviewing this list, there are no ingredients derived from gluten-containing grains. Plain distilled vinegar, salt, oils, spices, onions, garlic and citric acid are naturally gluten-free. The natural flavors could potentially contain gluten, but Wingstop has confirmed that all their flavorings used across their restaurants are gluten-free.
So the Original Hot seasoning blend itself does not contain any gluten.
Ranch and Blue Cheese Dressings
The dipping sauces provided alongside the wings could still contain gluten though. According to Wingstop, the ranch and blue cheese dressings are store-bought and not prepared from scratch at their restaurants.
The nutrition information on Wingstop’s website indicates that the ranch dressing is Ken’s Steakhouse Ranch. The ingredients list for Ken’s Steakhouse Ranch does not contain any gluten sources.
Similarly, the blue cheese dressing is listed as Marzetti Classic Blue Cheese. Marzetti Classic Blue Cheese dressing is also formulated to be gluten-free.
Now that we have established the original hot wings and sauces themselves are gluten-free based on ingredients, what about potential cross-contact during preparation and cooking?
Wingstop kitchens also handle breaded, gluten-containing items like chicken tenders. So there is some risk of gluten cross-contact through shared fryers or utensils.
However, Wingstop states on their website that the fryers used for the original wings are separate from the fryers used for breaded menu items. The hot wings also come sealed in a separate container or wrapper than gluten items.
They also have protocols in place for changing gloves, proper sanitation and washing hands between handling different menu items. Employees are trained to avoid cross-contact between gluten and gluten-free foods.
Wingstop’s commitment to serving gluten-free wings is further backed up by gluten-free certifications. Their original wings have been certified gluten-free by organizations like the Celiac Support Association and the Gluten Intolerance Group.
These trusted organizations have rigorously audited Wingstop’s ingredients, suppliers, protocols and preparation methods before deeming the original wings as gluten-free. The Celiac Support Association certification means less than 10ppm gluten.
Ordering Tips for Gluten-Free
While the original hot wings themselves are gluten-free, here are some tips when ordering for a gluten-free meal:
– Opt for celery sticks and certified gluten-free ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping. Other Wingstop sauces may contain gluten.
– Avoid breaded items like chicken tenders, which are cooked in separate fryers. Stick to the bone-in wings for gluten-free.
– Request a change of gloves if you are extra sensitive. Wingstop advertises this option for guests with allergies.
– For sides, the fresh-cut fries are also gluten-free and cooked in separate fryers. Steer clear of breaded sides.
– Be sure to confirm with your server that your order will be prepared gluten-free. Ask about any modifications needed.
– Check labels each time you visit in case ingredients for dressings or sauces change.
Based on careful evaluation of the ingredients lists, preparation methods and gluten-free certifications, Wingstop’s original hot wings can be considered gluten-free. The chicken wings themselves, signature seasoning and dipping sauces provided contain no gluten sources.
Wingstop also takes steps to avoid cross-contact through using separate fryers and training staff appropriately. Following basic ordering tips like avoiding breaded items and asking for change of gloves minimizes any potential trace gluten.
So in summary – yes, Wingstop’s popular original hot wings can be safely enjoyed on a gluten-free diet. Those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance do not need to miss out on these spicy signature wings. Just be sure to customize your order and double check on each visit for continued peace of mind.
Here is the nutrition information for 6 original hot wings from Wingstop (with no dipping sauce):
As you can see, while high in protein, Wingstop’s original hot wings are quite high in calories, fat and sodium. Be mindful of your portion sizes if you are closely monitoring these nutrients.
Low Carb Keto Diet
Wingstop’s original wings are a great option if you are following a low carb or ketogenic diet. With only 3g of net carbs and no sugar, these spicy wings fit perfectly into a keto meal plan.
Some important tips for staying low carb when eating at Wingstop:
– Avoid breaded wings or boneless wings, which likely contain flour or starch coatings. Stick with the classic bone-in wings.
– Skip high carb dipping sauces like Teriyaki, Mango Habanero or Hawaiian. Opt for more keto-friendly options like Buffalo, Louisiana Rub or Plain Naked.
– Choose fresh-cut fries as a lower carb side over options like rolls or cornbread. Or opt for a side salad or veggies.
– Watch carb counts if adding dressings or extra sauces. Some flavors like Mango Habanero have added sugars.
– For drinks, stick to unsweetened iced tea, water, or diet soda. Avoid sweet cocktails, juices, and regular fountain sodas.
– Be mindful of portion sizes. It’s easy to overdo calories, carbs, and protein when eating high fat wings.
The Whole30 diet eliminates added sugars, grains, dairy, legumes, and artificial ingredients. How do Wingstop’s original hot wings fit into the Whole30 guidelines?
The plain wings themselves align perfectly with Whole30, since they contain only chicken, oil and spices. However, some adjustments are needed with the dipping sauces:
– Ranch dressing likely contains dairy as a primary ingredient. Request olive oil based ranch if available, or avoid entirely.
– Blue cheese dressing is off limits due to dairy. Opt for substituting extra buffalo sauce or oil and vinegar instead.
– Celery and carrots are great Whole30 compliant vegetable dippers.
– Additional Wingstop sauces like Louisiana Rub and Lemon Pepper are also dairy-free and can be used. But sweeter flavors like Mango Habanero likely contain added sugars.
Sticking to the plain, undressed wings and oil-and-vinegar based dipping sauce is your best bet for staying true to the Whole30 guidelines. Avoid anything breaded, creamy dressings, or sweet dipping sauces.
Wingstop can make for a fun kid-friendly meal, with a few health-conscious modifications:
– Choose the naked or plain wings to avoid overly spicy flavors. Or try one of the milder rubs like Lemon Pepper.
– Opt for carrots, apple slices, or orange wedges as a healthier vegetable dipper instead of fries.
-For dipping sauce, ask for ranch or blue cheese on the side and use sparingly. Or substitute ketchup or barbecue sauce for a kid-friendly option.
– Avoid sugary sodas and juices. Stick to milk, water, or diluted fruit juice.
– Share a small order of 3-4 wings as part of a balanced meal with veggies and healthy grains or starch.
– Use the opportunity to teach about proteins like chicken and trying new foods. Make it an interactive, learning experience.
– Bring Wet Wipes and napkins to promote independent eating and cleanup skills.
Wingstop can be enjoyed occasionally as part of an overall nutritious diet for kids. Focus on the protein-rich wings, go light on sugary dipping sauces, pair with vegetables, and use it as a learning experience!
Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Here are some tips for enjoying Wingstop’s wings safely during pregnancy or breastfeeding:
– Opt for wings cooked well-done to minimize risk of foodborne illness. Avoid raw or undercooked chicken.
– Stick to milder spice levels to avoid potential heartburn or indigestion from heavy spicing.
– Dip with caution – blue cheese dressing should be avoided due to risk of listeria contamination in unpasteurized cheese.
– Avoid sharing or double dipping with other household members to reduce spread of germs.
– Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated and prevent constipation, which is common during pregnancy.
– Be mindful of excess sodium, fat and calories.Aim for no more than the recommended serving size.
– Get permission from your doctor, especially if you have gestational diabetes or blood pressure concerns.
Overall, Wingstop wings are safe to consume during pregnancy and breastfeeding with proper handling and preparation. Focus on food safety, manage portions, and avoid very spicy flavors or unpasteurized soft cheeses.
Those with food allergies must exercise caution when eating at restaurants like Wingstop where there is risk of cross-contact.
Some tips for those with food allergies:
– Alert the staff to your allergy and ask about any menu items cooked separately away from the allergen.
– Request new gloves, utensils and surfaces for prep.
– For severe allergies like shellfish, avoid eating at Wingstop due to heavier risk of cross-contact. Opt for a restaurant that doesn’t serve your allergen at all.
– Carefully review the labels and ingredients lists for your order each time, even if items were previously safe. Recipes can change over time.
– Carry emergency epinephrine if you have a known severe food allergy. Use with any first signs of anaphylaxis reaction.
– Having a bite before leaving the restaurant allows you to immediately address any reaction.
Those with celiac disease or severe gluten allergies should exercise caution due to fried food prep areas. Opt for grilled chicken wings if available to minimize cross-contact risks.
Vegetarian and Vegan Options
As a chicken wing centric restaurant, Wingstop does not offer any vegetarian or vegan wings or meat substitutes. However, there are some modifications possible to create a veggie friendly meal:
– Substitute the bone-in wings for cauliflower wings. Wingstop offers seasoned, crispy fried cauliflower “wings” that can be paired with any of their sauces.
– Build a salad with lettuce greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and celery. Top with vinegar or olive oil based dressing.
– Enjoy a side of Wingstop fries as your entree, skipping the chicken wings. Opt for oil and vinegar as a dipping sauce.
– A veggie platter of fresh carrot sticks, celery, cucumbers and ranch dip also makes a lighter meal.
– Modify one of Wingstop’s sandwiches by omitting the chicken and getting it as a wrap in a lettuce leaf or gluten-free bun instead. Load up with veggies.
– Check ahead to see if black bean or quinoa veggie burgers are available as a protein swap on sandwiches.
While the menu is chicken focused, it is possible to cobble together satisfying vegetarian-friendly options at Wingstop. Focus on sides and sauces for a dipping spread, cauliflower wings or modified sandwiches.
Low Sodium Options
Wingstop wings are quite high in sodium, with a 6-wing serving containing 1,860mg sodium. Here are some tips for reducing sodium:
– Opt for the plain naked wings with no seasoning blend. Or request low sodium seasoning if available.
– Avoid very salty dipping sauces like Soy Garlic and Louisiana Rub. Choose lighter options like lemon pepper or buffalo.
– Skip the blue cheese dressing, which is very high in sodium. Use ranch sparingly, or just lemon wedges.
– For sides, choose raw vegetable sticks and fresh-cut fries over seasoned waffle fries or potato salad.
– Ask for grilled wings instead of heavily breaded and fried wings, to reduce sodium.
– Share your wings with a friend to cut your portion of sodium in half. Or take half home for later.
– Drink plenty of water before, during and after your meal to help flush out excess sodium.
Following these tips can help significantly reduce the amount of sodium when enjoying Wingstop’s wings, while still satisfying your spicy wing craving. Moderation and preparation adjustments are key.
Wingstop’s popular original hot wings make for a tempting meal or game day snack, especially for those watching their gluten intake or following a low carb diet like keto. While the classic bone-in wings are certified gluten-free and low in carbs when enjoyed naked, some care should still be taken for those with allergies or diet restrictions. Following the tips provided, from choosing healthier dipping sauces to modifying your sides and customizing your order, allows nearly anyone to find a way to enjoy Wingstop’s wings on their particular eating plan. So fire up your tastebuds for these fan favorite spicy, gluten-free wings. Just be mindful of your individual dietary needs.