How to Eat at Arby’s and Be Dairy-Free

Is arby's dairy free

Do you love Arby’s but are lactose-intolerant or living dairy free?

Does finding menu items suitable for you sound overwhelming?

We don’t blame you if you don’t want to take on the monumental task of combing through the menu for dairy/lactose-free options.

You’re in luck. We’ve already done the work for you. We carefully examined every menu item at Arby’s so that you don’t have to.

Here’s the lowdown on what is dairy-free, lactose-free, and what you should avoid.

Table of Contents

Arby’s Meats, Are They Dairy Free?

Arby’s slogan is “we have the meats.” Meats generally tend to be dairy and lactose-free, but sometimes there are sneaky additives.

Which meats are safe to eat, and which ones are not?

Dairy Free and Safe to Eat:

The meats in the list below do not contain any dairy. Generally, they are safe to eat for lactose-intolerant people. If you have a dairy allergy, it’s essential to watch out for cross-contamination. 

Here are meats that are generally safe to eat (by themselves):

  • Arby’s Q (entire sandwich)
  • Breakfast Bacon
  • Corned Beef
  • Genoa Salami
  • Gyro Meat
  • Pepper bacon
  • Pepperoni
  • Pit-smoked Ham
  • Prime-cut Chicken Tenders
  • Roast Beef
  • Roast Turkey
  • Smoked Brisket

You do need to be careful about what you pair these meats with to avoid lactose and dairy.

Sneaky Meats:

Not all meat is dairy-free.

A few sneaky Arby’s meats that contain milk products are:

  • Prime-cut Chicken Tenders
  • Sausage Patty
  • Scrambled Egg Patty
  • Buffalo Chicken Tenders
  • Crispy Chicken Patty

Side Dishes

Arby’s has delicious side dishes, and many are dairy-free. However, there are a few that seem like they wouldn’t have dairy, but they do. Here’s a rundown of which is which.

Dairy-Free:

Here are some dairy-free side dishes at Arby’s:

  • Curly Fries
  • Homestyle Fries
  • Potato Cakes

These options are suitable for lactose-intolerant people, but you need to be careful if you have a dairy-allergy. Arby’s uses the same oil to fry some dairy products.

Sneaky Dairy Sides:

  • Crispy Onions
  • Jalapeno Bites
  • Loaded Curly Fries
  • Steakhouse Onion Rings

These items may seem like they wouldn’t contain dairy, but they do. Proceed with caution. Any other side not listed on either list contains dairy.

Bread/Buns

Bread and buns can be tricky territory. While most bread does not contain dairy, many sneak it in. If you’re not sure which bread is safe to eat, stay tuned.

Safe to Eat Bread:

Most Arby’s bread is safe to eat, particularly their buns and rolls. Here is everything that does not contain any dairy:

  • Harvest Wheat Bun
  • Hearty Grain Wrap
  • Honey Wheat Bread
  • Onion Roll
  • Sesame Seed Bun
  • Sourdough Breakfast Bread
  • Split Top and Star Cut Bun
  • Sub Roll

Arby’s Bread With Sneaky Dairy:

If you are avoiding milk products, there are a few sneaky items to avoid:

  • Breakfast Biscuits
  • Croissants
  • Flatbreads

Sauces

Arby’s is known for having a TON of tasty sauce options. While many sauces have dairy (such as ranch) that aren’t on this list, there are quite a few in the grey area.

Safe Sauces:

If you can’t eat dairy or lactose, there are a lot of options for you. These sauces jazz up your sandwiches and make excellent dips for your fries.

Here’s a list of all the delicious, dairy-free sauces that you can eat at Arby’s:

  • Arby’s Sauce
  • Bronco Berry
  • Bourbon BBQ
  • Honey Mustard
  • Horsey
  • Ketchup
  • Marinara
  • Mayo
  • Red Ranch Sauce (surprisingly no dairy)
  • Red wine vinaigrette
  • Roasted Garlic Aoli
  • Smokey Q Sauce
  • Spicy Brown Mustard Sauce
  • Spicy Three Pepper Sauce
  • Tangy BBQ
  • Tartar
  • Thousand Island Spread

Sneaky Sauces:

While most sauces are safe for you to eat, a few have sneaky dairy in them. Ones that seem like they would be okay but contain dairy include:

  • Buffalo Dipping Sauce
  • Gyro Sauce
  • Robust Marinara
  • Spicy Buffalo Sauce
  • Steakhouse Peppercorn Sauce

Dressings

Most people come to Arby’s for the sandwiches, but their salads are also popular. Diners have a choice of four different salad dressings. Can you eat these dressings in peace?

Safe Dressings:

Lucky for you, three out of the four Arby’s dressings are dairy-free. That means that you can enjoy most of their salads without worrying.

Here are three dressings that are safe to eat:

  • Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Light Italian
  • Dijon Honey Mustard Dressing/Dipping sauce

Contains Dairy:

However, one dressing is a no-no if you can’t eat dairy or are lactose-intolerant. The buttermilk ranch at Arby’s does contain dairy, so it isn’t safe to eat. Parmesan peppercorn ranch also has dairy and isn’t suitable for a dairy-free diet.

Desserts

Desserts are rough territory for people who have dairy allergies and/or are lactose-intolerant. Arby’s has seven desserts on their menu. All of them contain dairy.

These desserts include:

  • Apple Turnover
  • Cherry Turnover
  • Jamocha Shake
  • Salted Caramel and Chocolate Cookie
  • Triple Chocolate Cookie
  • Ultimate Chocolate Shake
  • Vanilla Shake

While the shakes are no surprise, you need to watch out for the turnovers. These items do not always contain dairy, but at Arby’s, they have whey.  While whey makes up less than 2% of the total dish, and some people may be okay with that, you need to be very careful.

Arby’s Lactose-Free, But Not Dairy-Free

Lactose and dairy-free are two completely different things. Some menu items may be okay for lactose-intolerant people that may not be suitable for a dairy allergy.

Let’s talk cheese.

Cheese is dairy, but not all cheese has lactose.

Many of Arby’s menu items contain cheese, so it can be hard to avoid.

Let’s sort out which ones are safe and which ones you should avoid.

Which Arby’s Cheeses Are Naturally Lactose-Free?

If you’re lactose-intolerant, you’re in luck at Arby’s.

Naturally lactose-free cheeses that Arby’s offers:

  • Cheddar (sliced and shredded)
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Provolone Cheese
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese Slices
  • Smoked Gouda
  • Swiss Cheese

Arby’s Cheeses to Avoid:

While most of the cheese menu is okay to eat, few kinds of cheese typically have high lactose levels. These include:

  • American Cheese
  • Cheddar Cheese Sauce (contains milk)
  • Mozzarella Cheese

Food for Thought

While many of the individual ingredients mentioned above do not contain dairy or lactose, you need to be careful because many are in dishes containing dairy.  

An Arby’s sandwich might be a mix of meat, cheese, bread, and a sauce, and any one of those ingredients may contain dairy.

You can use this list as a guide to making choosing Arby’s menu items more manageable but always double-check since menu items update frequently.

Hopefully, with this guide, you can enjoy all of the tasty dairy-free and lactose-free menu items that Arby’s has to offer worry-free!

Check out Arby’s full menu and ingredient list here.

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