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:
- Rice – YES. We started with an easy one. Rice is a favorite for making just about anything gluten-free!
- 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.
- Cornmeal – YES. Cornmeal is an excellent substitute in gluten-free recipes. Cross-contamination can happen, though; so make sure to use gluten-free cornmeal.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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!