Does Red Lobster Use Peanut Oil for Frying and Cooking?

Updated February 2024! Butter is big at this international seafood shack. They also defy longstanding culinary rules, and drench many of their fish dishes in cheese and/or creamy sauces. Still, Red Lobster has a lot of dairy-free options, both on the menu and by making a simple custom order. We have them all detailed below, along with allergen notes and a petite vegan menu guide.

Red Lobster is one of the most popular casual dining restaurant chains, known for seafood dishes like lobster, shrimp, and clam chowder. With a wide selection of fried appetizers and entrées, many diners wonder what type of oil Red Lobster uses in their kitchens. Specifically, a common question is: does Red Lobster use peanut oil for frying and cooking?

Red Lobster’s Stance on Peanut Oil

According to Red Lobster, their kitchens do not use peanut oil for meal preparation. Their website states that they use a blend of canola oil corn oil soybean oil, and sunflower oil for frying and cooking. While they don’t specifically list peanut oil, they also cannot guarantee their food is completely free from all allergens.

Red Lobster aims to accommodate guests with food allergies, including peanut and tree nut allergies However, cross-contamination is always a possibility in commercial kitchens The best practice is to inform your server of any allergies before ordering so proper precautions can be taken.

Oils Typically Used by Red Lobster

Without peanut oil, what oils does Red Lobster use? Here are the typical frying and cooking oils found in Red Lobster kitchens

  • Canola oil: Made from rapeseed, known for its neutral flavor. With a high smoke point, it’s suitable for frying and cooking at high heat.

  • Corn oil: Made from corn kernels, with a mild flavor. It has a high smoke point and is commonly used for frying fast food items.

  • Soybean oil: Derived from soybeans. It has relatively low saturated fat compared to other oils. Provides neutral flavor.

  • Sunflower oil: Extracted from sunflower seeds. It is low in saturated fat with subtle flavor. Good for frying and baking.

This blend of oils allows Red Lobster to choose the right oil for different cooking methods and menu items. It provides versatility in the kitchen without the allergen risk of peanut oil.

Why Restaurants Avoid Peanut Oil

Most major restaurants avoid using peanut oil, even those serving American classics like fried chicken tenders, fries, and onion rings. There are a few reasons the food service industry tends to avoid peanut oil:

  • Peanut allergies: Peanuts are one of the most common food allergen triggers, so using peanut oil introduces unnecessary risk.

  • Cross-contamination: If peanut oil is used in the kitchen, the possibility of cross-contact with peanut-allergic guests via shared fryers and cooking tools is high.

  • Higher cost: Peanut oil is significantly more expensive than oils like canola, soy, and corn oil. Restaurants operate on tight budgets and tend to opt for more affordable oil options.

  • Availability: Since most restaurants avoid peanut oil, it may be more difficult for supply chains to source. Higher-volume oils like canola oil are more readily available.

  • Versatility: Blends of neutral-flavored oils are inherently more versatile in the kitchen than the bolder, nuttier flavor of peanut oil.

Dining at Red Lobster with Peanut Allergies

Those with peanut and nut allergies can dine at Red Lobster but should take precautions:

  • Tell your server about any food allergies or sensitivities before placing your order. Make them aware so they can take extra care.

  • Ask about preparation methods. Request items be cooked in separate, clean oil without prior peanut exposure.

  • Avoid fried items cooked in shared fryers. Opt for grilled, broiled, or baked options to reduce cross-contact.

  • Quiz your server about recipes and menu items that contain peanuts or tree nuts as ingredients. Avoid ones with traces of allergens.

  • Carry emergency medication like an EpiPen in case of accidental exposure and reaction.

  • Speak to a manager if concerned your allergy needs are not properly accommodated.

While cross-contamination can never be fully ruled out, informing staff is key to a safer dining experience. Some opt to enjoy Red Lobster’s famous Cheddar Bay biscuits as a peanut-free snack just to be extra careful!

Customer Experiences and Perceptions

Despite their official position avoiding peanut oil, some customers still speculate about the oil used at Red Lobster:

  • Some claim food “tastes like” it is fried in peanut oil, though tastes are subjective. Without seeing the kitchen firsthand, it’s impossible to tell.

  • Those with peanut allergies often report safely eating fried items after informing staff of allergies. But negative reactions do occasionally occur.

  • Some customers insist on only eating grilled items to eliminate any risk of cross-contact from fryers. It gives them greater peace of mind.

  • Many reviewers with peanut allergies thank Red Lobster staff for taking extra time to ensure safe and aware preparation of their meal.

While perceptions vary, informed diners with peanut allergies can work with staff to have the safest, most enjoyable meal possible. Cross-contamination is always a possibility at any restaurant, so caution is advised.

Key Takeaways on Oil Use at Red Lobster

To summarize key points on whether one of America’s largest casual dining chains uses peanut oil:

  • Red Lobster officially states they cook with canola, corn, soybean, and sunflower oils – not peanut oil.

  • They cannot 100% guarantee allergens like peanuts won’t come into contact with food during preparation.

  • Diners with peanut and nut allergies should inform servers of their condition before ordering.

  • Avoiding fried foods and requesting separate cooking oil reduces, but doesn’t eliminate, the risk of reactions to allergens.

  • While peanut oil isn’t used, the oil blend does contain common allergen soy as an ingredient.

Hopefully this overview provides clarity on the types of oils used and how diners with allergies can approach eating at Red Lobster. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask your server detailed questions to make the safest choices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I request food be cooked in specific oil at Red Lobster?

You can make special requests, but the kitchen primarily uses the house blend of canola, corn, soy, and sunflower oils. Bringing your own oil is prohibited.

What menu items are guaranteed peanut/nut-free?

Nothing can be guaranteed free of cross-contamination, but items without peanuts/tree nuts as direct ingredients are safer bets. Avoid baked goods and fried foods.

Is Red Lobster safe for those with peanut/nut allergies?

Diners with allergies can eat at Red Lobster but should take precautions. Informing staff and choosing non-fried dishes reduces risk. Carrying emergency medication in case of reaction is advised.

Does Red Lobster have dedicated fryers for specific allergens?

Most locations do not have separate allergen-specific fryers. However, informing kitchen staff of allergies prompts them to take extra precautions in preparing your order.

What type of oil is healthiest at Red Lobster?

The canola oil and sunflower oil used by Red Lobster are healthier choices compared to more saturated fats like palm oil or partially hydrogenated oil. Grilled fish or shrimp avoids oil altogether.

Can Red Lobster guarantee no cross-contamination of allergens?

No, they cannot make guarantees about cross-contamination in their open kitchens. Traces of allergens like nuts or wheat may come into contact with food during prep. Let your server know of any allergies.

Does Red Lobster have allergy protocols and training?

Yes, Red Lobster trains staff on allergen awareness and has protocols in place to handle allergy requests. But execution varies by location, so direct communication with your server is key.

So although their signature biscuits may taste buttery, you can breathe easy knowing Red Lobster keeps peanut oil out of their kitchens. With proper precautions, those with peanut and nut allergies can also enjoy the tong-crackin’ flavors.

does red lobster use peanut oil

Chicken & Steak Entrees

  • Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders (contains gluten)
  • Maple-Bacon Chicken (contains gluten, soy)
  • Baked Potato (no toppings)
  • Crispy Brussels Sprouts (contains gluten, soy)
  • Coleslaw (contains egg)
  • House Salad (no cheese, no croutons, dairy-free dressing)
  • Orzo Rice (contains gluten)
  • Sea-Salted Fries
  • Chicken Tenders (contains gluten)
  • Grilled Chicken (ensure no butter)
  • French Fries
  • Fruit
  • Casco Bay Cooler – Cherry Wave Slushy
  • Lemonade, Regular and Raspberry
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Cocktail Sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Marinara Sauce (contains gluten)
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Tartar Sauce (contains egg)

Dairy-Free Menu Guide to Red Lobster with Allergen & Vegan Notes

Special order requirements are written in parentheses () next to the menu items. The Heads Up notes can help you fill in the blanks. Please note that this guide is for the U. S. locations. Options may vary in other countries. We’ve included a few notes for Canada, but there might be additional differences.

  • Black Tiger Shrimp Cocktail
  • Crispy Dragon Calamari (contains egg, gluten, soy)
  • The Sesame Soy Salmon Bowl has soy and gluten in it (see “Heads Up” below).
  • Atlantic Salmon, Roasted
  • Crab Your Way with Honey Sriracha (contains soy)
  • Garlic Shrimp Scampi (ensure no butter)

We Finally Know Why Red Lobster Is So Cheap

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