“Are These Common Ingredients Gluten-Free?”

Is it GF

It’s a question we get asked at least a few times daily at the bakery.  Well, now you no longer have to wonder!  We’ve put together a list of 15 common ingredients and their gluten-free status.  Of course, feel free to leave a comment if there are any other ingredients you’re curious about.  And as always: happy baking!

YES—These ingredients are always 100% gluten-free:

  1. Rice – YES. We started with an easy one.  Rice is a favorite for making just about anything gluten-free!
  2. Cocoa Powder – YES. Pure cocoa powders should be gluten-free (and the best quality ones will even be dairy-free). Hot chocolate mixes are totally different; always double check for gluten-containing additives, like malt.
  3. Cornmeal – YES. Cornmeal is an excellent substitute in gluten-free recipes. Cross-contamination can happen, though; so make sure to use gluten-free cornmeal.
  4. Potato Starch – YES.  No one here but us potatoes!  Potato starch, as well as corn starch, is great for gluten-free recipes, especially as a thickener.
  5. Buckwheat – YES. Talk about confusing!  Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat in the slightest. Actually, it’s not even a grain! It’s a flowering plant most closely related to rhubarb.  And 100% gluten-free!
  6. Quinoa – YES. This popular seed (you thought it was a grain again, didn’t you?) from South America is a wonderful source of protein.  You might even experiment with quinoa flour in your baking!
  7. Extracts – YES. Most flavoring extracts are alcohol based and distilled.  Therefore, they will be gluten-free regardless of the starting material.

MAYBE—These ingredient might be gluten-free; check labels first:

  1. Oatmeal – MAYBE. Oatmeal itself doesn’t contain gluten, but nearly all oats processed in the United States share a facility with gluten-containing grains.  Be sure to look for specifically labeled gluten-free oatmeal.
  2. Marshmallows – MAYBE. This is a tricky one, as some marshmallow brands are made with gluten-containing starches.  The origin of the starch may not be listed on the package, so play it safe and look for labeled gluten-free marshmallows.
  3. Powdered Sugar – MAYBE. Just like marshmallows, some brands of powdered sugar have a gluten-containing starch on the ingredient list. Read labels carefully and get a gluten-free labeled product if possible.
  4. Baking Powder – MAYBE.  Baking soda usually includes an anti-clumping ingredient, and some brands prefer to use wheat starch for this purpose.  Read labels, or choose a specifically-labeled gluten-free brand.
  5. Vinegar – MAYBE. Distilled vinegars are gluten-free; even if they are distilled from grains, any gluten will be removed in the process. There are a few vinegars varieties that still have wheat protein, such as malt vinegar. Always read labels thoroughly.
  6. Cooking Spray – MAYBE.  Some sprays marketed for baking having added wheat flour.  Be sure to choose a spray made from pure oil.

NO—These ingredients are never gluten-free; find a substitute:

  1. Soy Sauce – NO. Yea, we were surprised at this one too.  In addition to soybeans, soy sauce is traditionally made with fermented wheat.  There are now plenty of good gluten-free options available.
  2. Spelt – NO. Even though Spelt has a reputation as a “health” food, it’s an ancestor of wheat and therefore not gluten-free.  Beware anyone who tries to tell you otherwise!

2 comments on ““Are These Common Ingredients Gluten-Free?”

  1. For soy sauce options I love to use Bragg’s Soy Seasoning. They also have a great raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar!

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