The first thing I did after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease was come home, throw open the cupboards, and ask the universe: “is this gluten-free???” Because lord knows my doctor wasn’t very helpful. After waking up from my scope he told me I had Celiac Disease, needed to eat gluten-free, and to contact a nutritionist if I had any questions. Good luck and goodbye. Ummm…WHAT?! (By the way, you can read about how I went gluten-free in my-ebook and/or my post on Living with Celiac Disease, aka going gluten-free when you really don’t want to!)
Five years later I’ve definitely gotten it figured out, and get such a kick helping those new to the gluten-free lifestyle figure out what they can and cannot eat on a gluten-free diet. Because I’ve been there, in the trenches so to speak. Sick, in pain, and scared to eat. Not knowing who or what foods I could trust.
Last year I joined a gluten-free Facebook group that provides peer-to-peer support for those newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance or allergy. I see a ton of “can I eat this?!” and “is this product gluten-free?” and I basically want to spend all my time answering these poor, hungry people’s questions because, like I said, I’ve been there.
I thought if the members of the G-free Facebook group have a lot of the same questions you, dear reader, might too! Or maybe you have a friend or family member that needs help and, in that case, I – we – would be so thankful if you passed this post on.
The following “Is It Gluten Free?” questions are ones I commonly see asked around the web, both from people who need to eat gluten-free and those who live with or cook for someone who is gluten-free. We’re going beyond the knowledge that foods like unprocessed meats, beans, and fresh fruits and vegetables are gluten-free, to more questionable foods and products.
If you don’t see a food or product your curious about below, let me know and I’ll add it to the list!
First, a few notes:
- Always read the labels on gluten-free products you’re buying and eating. YOU must be YOUR OWN advocate. An example that comes to mind is that Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire sauce is gluten-free in the US, but not in Canada. Do not blindly buy something that you are told is gluten-free without double checking yourself.
- If a product is labeled gluten-free but doesn’t have the Certified Gluten-Free symbol, ab-so-LUTELY read the label. It’s only happened a couple of times, but I have seen products labeled gluten-free with gluten-containing ingredients in the ingredient list.
- As with anything in life, there are always exceptions. Tomatoes for example are inherently gluten-free, though canned tomatoes can be processed on lines shared with gluten-containing products, therefore rendering them NOT gluten-free. Therefore, read labels, read labels, read labels. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on a produt label, visit the company’s website or give them a call.
Ok, let’s get this Q&A session started!
Are Cheerios Gluten Free?
Depends on who you ask. :) The company says yes but the hundreds of accounts I’ve read of people getting sick after eating Cheerios leads me to say no, Cheerios are NOT gluten-free. The oats used to make Cheerios are not grown nor processed in a way that removes enough gluten-containing grains to not cause a reaction in those with Celiac Disease or a severe gluten intolerance. I use Nature’s Path Whole O’s for my O-related recipe needs.
Are Oats Gluten Free?
Oats are inherently gluten-free though they are commonly grown in fields that rotate gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, and/or rye. For this reason I only buy oats from GF Harvest to use in my oatmeals and oatmeal bars, as they’re grown in dedicated oat fields and processed and packaged in dedicated gluten-free facilities (ie the Purity Protocol way.)
Is Coffee Gluten Free?
Coffee beans are gluten-free, though flavored coffee might not be. Checking packaging and/or the company’s website for more information. I drink Cameron’s Coffee and City Girl Coffee.
Is Soy Sauce Gluten Free?
No. Traditional soy sauce is brewed with wheat, and is not gluten free. Tamari is soy sauce brewed with little to no wheat, so look for Gluten Free Tamari as your gluten free soy sauce replacement. Some brands market their gluten free tamari as Gluten Free Soy Sauce, which personally I wish they wouldn’t because it can be confusing, but as long as your product is labeled Gluten Free Tamari or Gluten Free Soy Sauce (and you double check the label!) you should be good to go. San-J is my go to brand!
Are Potatoes Gluten-Free?
My Dad asks me this all the time. :) Yes, plain potatoes are gluten-free! All fruits and vegetables are gluten-free.
Are Potato Chips Gluten Free?
Ah, the exception to the potato rule. Most plain potato chips are gluten-free – but again, always check product labels first. I eat Lay’s potato chips when I need a fix. Many flavored potato chips are not gluten-free so again, check labels.
Is Sourdough Bread Gluten Free?
NO! This question gets asked a lot. Sourdough bread, if made with wheat flour, is not gluten-free. Some people claim they can eat sourdough bread because it’s fermented (still can’t wrap my mind around why that would cause it to be GF,) but if you have Celiac Disease, traditional sourdough bread is a hard no. The exception to this rule is gluten-free sourdough bread made with gluten-free grains. Costco sells a gluten-free sourdough bread by BFree that I really like!
Is Corn Starch Gluten-Free?
Corn is a gluten-free grain so corn starch is gluten-free. The only time you’d run into trouble is if the company packages corn starch on lines shared with gluten-containing products. Check labels. I use Argo Corn Starch.
Is Almond Flour Gluten Free?
Nuts are gluten-free so yes, almond flour is gluten-free (and makes great cookies and muffins, too!) Check packaging to ensure there is no risk for cross contamination during packaging. I use Bob’s Red Mill and HyVee brand almond flour.
Are Tootsie Rolls Gluten Free?
Yes, and I happily raid the boys’ booty from parades and holidays for them. :) At the time of this writing, March 2019, all Tootsie Roll products are gluten-free.
Are Oreos Gluten Free?
Regular Oreos are not gluten free, but shockingly they are VEGAN! No cream was harmed in the making of the cream filling, bahahaha. I use KinniToos “oreos” for desserts that call for chocolate sandwich cookies, like my Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Dirt Cake. Trader Joe’s also has a gluten-free version of their Joe-Joe’s, though I haven’t tried them and can’t vouch for how safe they are.
Updated to add: Name brand Gluten Free Oreos were launched in January 2021!
Is Rum Gluten Free?
From all my research over the years, spiced and flavored rums tend to fall in the “maybe” category so I opt for plain rum and have yet to have an issue. I use Bacardi in recipes like my Best-Ever Sangria.
Are Cheetos Gluten Free?
YAASSSS!!! Original and jalapeno-cheddar are road trip staples.
Is Whey Gluten Free?
Yes. Whey is a protein found in milk and thus is gluten-free. Be careful if you’re buying whey-based protein powders for example, ensuring that no gluten has been added to the final product.
Is Rice Gluten Free?
Yes, rice is gluten-free. Check packaging to ensure that no cross contamination has happened during processing/packaging. I buy Lundberg Farms products to use in all my rice-based dishes like Cheesy Chicken Burrito Skillet.
Is Vinegar Gluten Free?
Malt vinegar is not gluten-free, but apple cider vinegar, red and white wine vinegars, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and distilled white vinegars are gluten-free. I use Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, Marukan Rice Vinegar, Heinz distilled white, and Alessi for the rest. Always check labels as some flavored vinegars can contain barley/malt.
Is Wheat Grass Gluten Free?
Pure wheat grass is harvested before the seed kernel has formed and thus should be gluten-free BUT, unless you’re harvesting wheat grass yourself it’s impossible to know if not a SINGLE grass has formed a seed and contaminated the crop. I steer clear.
Are Panko Bread Crumbs Gluten Free?
No. I’ve seen some gluten-free versions of panko bread crumbs at the store but I pulverize Rice Chex in my food processor to make a gluten-free version with the same crunch panko typically provides. They work great for breading chicken fingers or mozzarella bites!
Is Cassava Flour Gluten Free?
Cassava flour is made from the cassava/yuca root, and is gluten-free. I use Otto’s Cassava Flour.
Is Naan Gluten Free?
Naan is traditionally made with white or whole wheat flour, and is not gluten-free. MyBread has a gluten-free pita product that comes close though, and makes great flat-bread pizzas.
Is Coca-Cola Gluten Free?
Yes! I have not had pop even semi-regularly for several years but a couple weeks ago I got a completely random craving for Coca-Cola and it seriously hit the spot.
Is Beer Gluten Free?
Beers made from gluten-free grains like rice or sorghum are gluten-free. Speaking from experience, “gluten-removed” beers like Omission are NOT gluten-free – at least not enough for someone with Celiac Disease. I like Holidaily GF Beer out of Golden, CO, though I mostly opt for ciders or spiked seltzers like Truly if I want something bubbly.
Are Girl Scout Cookies Gluten Free?
Some are! During the 2018-19 season the Girl Scouts are selling Caramel Chocolate Chip and Toffee-tastic gluten-free cookies. I’m picking up two boxes of the Caramel Chocolate Chip cookies from a friend’s daughter this weekend and can’t wait to dig in. In case you need a Thin Mint fix, my nut-free Chocolate Peppermint Puppy Chow is a dead ringer for the real thing.
Are Rice Krispie Treats Gluten Free?
Kellogg’s used to sell gluten-free Rice Krispies — as regular Rice Krispies contain malt flavoring which contains gluten — but discontinued it due to low demand. That said, store-bought Rice Krispies-branded Rice Krispie Treats are NOT gluten-free. We use Erewhon Brown Crispy Rice cereal for making marshmallow crispy treats and bars at home.
Is Smirnoff Ice Gluten Free?
NO. Smirnoff Ice is a malt beverage and therefore not gluten-free.
Are Snickers Gluten Free?
Mercifully, YES! Snickers were one of my pregnancy cravings with Cameron and I ate, um, a lot of them. Note: original Snickers bars are gluten-free though not all of their spin offs are – holiday-shaped Snickers, etc. Mars will always call out allergens on product labels.
Are Egg Noodles Gluten Free?
Traditionally no, as egg noodles are made with wheat flour. That said, there are several gluten-free egg noodle products on the market right now – I like Cappello’s, RP’s, and Jovial for store-bought options. Nothing beats my homemade gluten-free egg noodles though!
Is Chex Mix Gluten Free?
Store-bought Chex Mix is NOT gluten-free as it contains Wheat Chex and gluten-containing flavorings. Homemade Chex Mix IS gluten-free, however, and a cinch to make!
Are Chickpeas Gluten Free?
Yes. Beans and legumes are gluten-free.
Are Chia Seeds Gluten Free?
Chia seeds, like all other seeds, are gluten-free. I add them to all my breakfast bar recipes, overnight oatmeal parfaits, smoothies, and chunky granolas too. Check labels for information about possible cross contamination. I use Bob’s Red Mill and HyVee brand chia seeds.
Is Oat Milk Gluten-Free?
It should be, yes, but it also depends on where the company sources their oats from because of the cross contamination issues I wrote about earlier. Oatly uses certified gluten-free oats for their oat milk.
Any other questions? Lay ’em on me!
Hannah whitlock 05.21.2020
What kind of doritoes are gf?
How about ice cream? Which brands do you consider gluten free?
Halo Top has several great, certified GF ice creams!
I just discovered that malt-o-meal brand rice krispies are now gluten free. Those are the giant bags of cereal. So they are very cheap. We are so happy in my house now! If you google you can look at the label.
Love this post. I need to bookmark it for the next time one of my non-celiac friends starts quizzing me on what I can and can’t eat. It always floors me which things people are surprised I can eat (I mean seriously, why on earth would vegetables have gluten?).
I don’t know if you’ve tried it, but there is a brewery in St Paul that has some great GF beer too! Burning Brothers is a must stop whenever we are up north.
Yes!! Love me some Burning Brothers! It was one of the first non gluten removed beers I tried years ago and I was so happy to have a “real” tasting beer that was made with GF grains (aka completely safe.) We also love Sociable Cider Works when we’re up for a visit! :)
Cheryl Goodman 04.02.2019
I have been diagnosed with celiac disease, but gluten does cause me great muscle and joint pain as well as a burning sensation. So I feel much better eating gluten free. I’m wondering if you noticed a weight gain when you went gluten free. I did. Do you eat the gluten free crackers at all. I’m trying to stay away from those because of the carbs and hidden sugars. Thoughts? Thanks.. Cheryl
Hi Cheryl! I gained a lot of weight after I started eating gluten free (which is a good thing because I had lost a TON while sick before getting diagnosed.) It’s a good thing – it means your body is able to absorb nutrients again and use them! I love Simple Mills almond flour crackers, and Van’s crackers!
Love this post! (Well, I love all your posts, but this one especially!) We’ve been dealing with some type of food allergy with my 10 year old, but haven’t been able to narrow it down. She doesn’t have the “typical” symptoms of any specific allergy, so we are kind of stumped right now. And our pediatrician sounds like your doctor. “Well, food allergies are so hard to diagnose and allergy testing isn’t always accurate, so you can try to figure it out on your own. Good luck!” Grrr
UGH! So frustrating. I hope you and your daughter find answers very, very soon. ??