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Gluten-free at Tim Horton

by Allergy Guy

Gluten-free at Tim Hortons, is this possible?  Tim Hortons specializes in gluten filled food such as doughnuts and cookies, so is there anything you can eat it Tim Horton’s?

I called their head office to find out and this article is about what I learned.
Surprisingly, there is food that you can eat gluten-free at Tim Hortons.  Caveat: this according to Tim Hortons themselves, and someone has left a comment saying the food is not gluten free.  See note at bottom of article.   Caution: food could be cross contaminated.  Because everything is made in an open concept kitchen, there is no guarantee that foods that have no wheat added are really and truly gluten-free.

According to Chloe at Tim Horton’s guest services, the soups are all gluten-free.  You can order the French onion soup broth only, no crust.  This doesn’t sound like a great option.  However, hearty potato bacon, turkey and wild rice, and creamy sun-dried tomato soups are all okay.  Chili is okay to.

The yogurt with fruit is a good bet also.

For breakfast, hash browns, eggs, bacon and sausage are all okay.  She suggested that the hash browns could be used to make a kind of sandwich with the eggs and bacon in between.  That’s a good idea!

I asked further about cross-contamination.  She cited using the same rag to clean items with gluten and then items without gluten, such as cooking utensils.  Also, someone may use gloved hands to touch something with gluten and then something that should be gluten-free.  Foods go down the same conveyor belt.  It is unclear how doughnuts going down the same belt would contaminate chili, for example, since each should be properly enclosed in a container.  However, I asked further she cited proprietary protection for not giving further details.

In conclusion, Tim Hortons has some reduced gluten food possibilites, although like most restaurants, one cannot be sure that it is truly gluten-free.  See note below.

Important Note:According to one of our readers who has left a comment below, cross-contamination makes Tim Hortons unsuitable for celiacs.  Further more, some of the soups contain barely, which contains gluten, so basically, the folks at Tim Hortons are clueless about gluten-free.  Eating here is not recommended if you are avoiding wheat or gluten.

Have you tried to eat gluten-free food at Tim Horton’s?  What was your experience?  Please leave a comment.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shardin July 16, 2013 at 19:25

There is no such thing as gluten-free at Tim Horton’s, simply based on how their “kitchen” is set up. And I don’t think the lady you spoke to knew that “gluten-free” is NOT synonymous with “wheat free”.

I have seen celiacs reporting receiving reactions from anything there, including the non-flavored coffee. I am here because I’m currently trying to find out exactly what’s in their hash browns. I ate a couple this morning after hearing they were gluten-free and I’ve been having a reaction all day. Now, they could have a seasoning in it that caused the reaction, OR (more possible) they cooked them in the exact same toaster that they stick their, muffins, biscuits, and buns in to toast them.

Some of the soups that are mentioned contain barley, which contains gluten. Vanilla extract, caramel flavour, any type of malt flavoring, hydrolyzed yeast extract, and a great number of seasonings might contain gluten.

Their ONLY 100% GF item they have (their new coconut macaroons) contains as much sugar as a can of Coke in two cookies, and are so sweet I never want to eat one again.

Nope, Tim Horton’s is not safe for a celiac.

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2 Allergy Guy July 31, 2013 at 11:56

Thanks for your feedback, I will update the article accordingly.

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