Gluten-free Ingredients

Need a refresher on the gluten free diet? These grains are safe: rice, soy, corn, potatoes, tapioca, buckwheat, arrowroot, amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum and teff. When plain, you can also eat: fruits, vegetables, milk, meat, eggs, beans, oil, wine and distilled alcohols like vodka and gin.

As for what’s off limits, “no wheat, rye, barley and (mainstream) oats” in practice means, no (wheat) flour, pasta, croutons, bread, cookies, and “hidden” gluten sources like soy sauce, beer, and licorice. (But don’t despair, there ARE specialty gluten free versions of these products available!) Beyond these basics, even the most experienced shopper can be stumped by mysterious ingredients like “guar gum.”

The ingredient list below is for products manufactured and labeled for sale in the United States. We hope this ingredient list will make label-reading easier than ever, for both new and experienced GF shoppers!

These Ingredients Have Gluten:

  • Barley
  • Beer
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Dextrimaltose
  • Durum
  • Einkorn
  • Farina
  • Graham Flour
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Kamut
  • Licorice
  • Malt (e.g. malt extract, malt flavoring, malt vinegar)
  • Matzo (matzoh)
  • Oats (except for specifically labeled gluten-free oats)
  • Rye
  • Seitan
  • Semolina
  • Soy Sauce
  • Spelt
  • Tabbouleh
  • Triticale
  • Wheat
  • Wheat Bran
  • Wheat Germ

These Ingredients Might Have Gluten, Depending on the Manufacturer:

  • Baking Powder
  • Dextrins
  • Mustard Flour
  • Rice Syrup

These Ingredients are Gluten-Free:

  • Agar-Agar
  • Alcohol, Distilled
  • Algin
  • Amaranth
  • Annatto
  • Arabic Gum
  • Arrowroot
  • Artificial Colors
  • Artificial Flavoring
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Aspartame
  • Beta Carotene
  • BHA
  • BHT
  • Buckwheat
  • Calcium Disodium EDTA
  • Caprylic Acid
  • Caramel Color
  • Carboxymethylcellulose
  • Carnauba Wax
  • Carob Bean
  • Carrageenan
  • Casein
  • Cellulose Gum
  • Citric Acid
  • Corn
  • Corn Gluten
  • Corn Syrup
  • Corn Syrup Solids
  • Cornstarch
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Dextrose
  • Flax
  • Fructose
  • Fumaric Acid
  • Gelatin
  • Gin
  • Glucose
  • Glucose Syrup
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Glutinous Rice
  • Glycerides
  • Glycol
  • Guar Gum
  • Gum Arabic
  • Hydrolyzed Corn Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
  • Inulin
  • Invert Sugar
  • Lactic Acid
  • Lactose
  • Lecitin
  • Malic Acid
  • Maltitol
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Mannitol
  • Millet
  • Molasses
  • Mono and Diglycerides
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  • Natural Colors
  • Natural Flavors
  • Potato
  • Polysorbates
  • Psyllium
  • Quinoa
  • Rennet
  • Rice
  • Rice Malt
  • Rum
  • Saccharin
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Sodium Nitrate
  • Sodium Nitrite
  • Sodium Sulphite
  • Sorbate
  • Sorbic Acid
  • Sorbitol
  • Sorghum
  • Soy
  • Starch (on labels, this refers to cornstarch)
  • Stevia
  • Sucralose
  • Sucrose
  • Sulfites
  • Tapioca
  • Tartaric Acid
  • Teff
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Vanilla Flavoring
  • Vanillin
  • Vinegar (All EXCEPT malt vinegar)
  • Vodka
  • Whey
  • Wine
  • Xantham Gum
  • Xylitol
  • Yeast (All EXCEPT brewer’s yeast)

This list is cribbed from The Essential Gluten Free Grocery Guide. Special thanks to dietitian Shelley Case for help compiling and editing the list.

17 thoughts on “Gluten-free Ingredients”

  1. Hi I am new at having celiacs I read your safe list. I do not understand how you can say artificial color, artificial flavor, msg, caramel coloring are all gluten-free. Don’t you have to check with the company because they can be derived from rye? I am confused. Thanks Diane

  2. Diane,

    Of the items you list, the only one that _might_ contain gluten (from barley, not rye) is caramel color. However, it’s been established that the bulk of caramel color is made from corn, which is safe. Further, if you start asking companies about ingredients that have no reason to be unsafe, they’ll tell you they can’t guarantee anything because a) they can’t vouch for their suppliers, and b) they don’t test their finished product. This practice has caused people to label as unsafe many foods that are completely nonproblematic. (This is not to say you should never contact manufacturers, but do so about things that might reasonably be called into question.) You might want to subscribe to the magazine Gluten-Free Living–they publish many good science-based articles on the reasons why highly processed ingredients may be gf, even when they are derived from wheat, rye, or barley. (http://glutenfreeliving.com/)

  3. There is a gluten free soy sauce available at Walmart. It is their store brand. (they also have a GF terriyaki sauce)

  4. Hi! I have a question about licorice. I understand that licorice candies that have wheat or wheat starch as an ingredient would contain gluten, but what about the herb licorice root, which is an ingredient in some herbal teas? Is licorice root gluten free?

  5. Wal-Mart now has new packaging for their store-brand products. Their soy sauce, at least the one sold in AZ, states on the label that it is now made with wheat along with soy. It still pays to read the labels, especially if they change the packaging (which means they may also have changed manufacturer). However, some Wal-Marts now carry La Choy Teriyaki sauce, which does not contain wheat.

  6. Rick… hoping you got your answer already. Stash boasts on their website that all of their teas are gluten free, including my personal favorite: Licorice Spice. Enjoy!

  7. please let all your GF readers know that wal-mart is now listing gluten traces in all the products that have previously been GF. i called and got no response. Also, wal mart brand instant rice is NOT GF, and Starbucks told me that they will not claim GF on drinks anymore.

    very dissapointing esperiences

  8. For those who miss Soy Sauce there are two other alternatives besides the NON SOY SAUCE mentioned above. I try to avoid hydrolized ingredients like the ones in NON SOY SAUCE so i have opted to use either San J Organic Tamari — wheat free soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos. Both are from Soy sources but are GF.

    Diane — I hear what you are saying. I tell my clients that you really have to decide for yourself what you are and are not going to eat. I do this for myself as well. At first I avoided EVERYTHING except vegetables, safe (family grown) meats, and rice. After a few months I started SLOWLY adding in alternative grain products and carefully reading labels. The goal for each person should be health and wellness. For me, this is not just living GF, but choosing to avoid glutamates of all kinds (MSG and derivatives) High fructose corn syrup, trans fats, hydrolyzed oils, etc. So — when someone asks for my personal avoid list they get all kinds of things besides gluten products. The bottom line is that we are all individuals and what works to produce health and wellness in one person may not be a magic formula for another. TRUST YOUR GUT….literally!

  9. Diane: I agree with Tanya about trusting your gut. It will tell you if you have made a mistake in what you are ingesting. When you are new, it is like learning another whole language that you have no idea what it is or what they are talking about. I was diagnosed almost 2 years ago and I still have trouble. I purchased a book called “Living Gluten Free Answer Book” Practical Answers to 275 of your Most Pressing Questions. The author is Suzanne Bowland. Excellent Book to read, especially when you are new.

  10. hi, i was diagnosed with celiac at age 2, I’m now 20 yrs old. the gluten free diet has always been a trick, as with any other food allergy. it’s always intresting to see where my day takes me…i came across your site and was delighted to see a whole stack of things celiac’s don’t need to worry about and things that they need to be careful with. my only concern though, is that you declare that vodka is safe for celiacs, which in reality, it needs to be double checked. see, Russian vodka is completely safe, as it is made from potatoes, but something like Smirnoff vodka is not safe at all, as it is made from wheat grain. just thought I’d put it out there!!
    thanks again for this list, as I’ve said …I’ve been celiac for 18 yrs now, but it’s still nice to have that handy little list to remind me of the good foods i can have in my life.

  11. Ashley,

    Vodka is safe as long as it is distilled. The distillation process removes all impurities including gluten.

  12. Maltodextrin gives me the same symptoms as gluten intolerance; does anyone else have this issue? I was surprised to see it on the gluten free list.

  13. Hi, I want to ask the below raw materials/ingredients is it gluten free:-

    1) Ginseng
    2) Caster Sugar
    3) Chrysanthemum
    4) Red bean
    5) orange Peel

    Thank you.

  14. I made stuffing using Gluten free cornbread for my son in law. It was really good in fact he wasn’t the only one eating it. You definitely want to bake it in advance and dry it out well. I ended up putting the chunks of cornbread into the oven on low to dry them.

  15. Before you switch to a gluten-free diet make sure to consult your family and your doctor first. If you eliminate wheat from the diet, make sure to replace it with a healthy, naturally gluten-free grain. You should also balanced the diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.

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