30 Processed Foods that are Usually Gluten Free

image Last week as I read comments and tweets, I was freshly reminded of how difficult it can be when you first start on the gluten-free diet.  It takes time to learn what you can eat, and while I don’t recommend a diet high in processed foods, they are a fact of life for many of us.  I’m also reminded that people starting on a gluten-free diet are of all ages and with varying degrees of cooking skills.

If you are new to this diet, walking through a grocery store can be overwhelming. The first thing you should know is that all fresh fruits and vegetables are gluten free.  They are also delicious and healthy.  There are other fresh food options like milk and eggs, but that’s not what this post is about.  This post is for those of you who walk down the isles of condiments and wonder if you can eat any of it.

This list is a bit tricky for a couple of reasons:

  1. These items usually do not have gluten in the ingredients.  That does not mean they never do.  You have to read labels.
  • Even when an item does not have gluten in the ingredients, it can have cross contamination.  People are on a gluten-free diet for different reasons.  If you have celiac disease or for some other reason need to avoid cross contamination, some of these items may not be a good choice for you.  Items that I believe run a high risk of cross contamination (like mainstream cereals) are not on this list at all.  When reading labels, look for allergy statements about being produced in a facility that makes wheat products.

So here you have it.  A list of processed foods that are likely to be gluten free.


  • peanut butter
  • jelly
  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • Italian or vinaigrette dressing (many others are too)
  • mayonnaise


  • plain corn tortilla chips
  • plain potato chips
  • popcorn
  • nuts
  • hummus
  • rice cakes
  • corn tortillas


  • spaghetti sauce
  • plain vegetables
  • plain fruit
  • fruit cups
  • applesauce
  • salsa
  • beans


  • herbs/spices (single ingredient)
  • sugar
  • baking soda/powder
  • plain rice (all types such as Jasmine, basmati, etc.)
  • dried beans
  • cooking oil


  • soda
  • juice
  • plain coffee
  • plain tea

Other posts that might be of interest:

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  1. Daniel Bingham says

    Great list! When Shel and I first went gluten free it was a real pain figuring out what we could and couldn't eat. We had a head start because her mom had been gluten free for 10+ years and helped us by giving us a list of ingredients to look for on the labels. Still it felt a bit like walking a mine field. Something like this always helps. It's unbelievable the way gluten can sneak into places it has no right to be!

  2. Heather @CeliacFamily says

    Great list for those just getting started, or for those who want to have GF food for a friend.

  3. Allison says

    Thank you! My oldest 2 sons and I were diagnosed last week (my youngest is only 8 months old so he hasn't been tested yet). I am completely overwhelmed and have spent much of the last 5 days crying tears of frustration trying to figure out where to start and what to eat. I look forward to reading your blog.

  4. judi says

    My granddaughter has celiac and has been doing ok she has just finished her first
    block in the nurseing program and said she was told by a instructor who also has celiac not to drink soda, cola or your dark soda. Something with the carmel coloring, does anyone know anything about this? On the list soda is listed and it got my mind wondering. Thanks so much.

    • Jill says

      Depending on the source of the caramel coloring ingredients, it may or may not have gluten in it. US sources are now GF, outside of US, no guarantees of GF status. My system doesn’t handle caramel coloring in foods well, but I don’t seem to have a problem with colas. Go figure! I do know that if I travel outside of the US, I won’t be drinking any colas because I won’t know the source of their caramel coloring ingredients.

      Also, I have found that when I contact manufacturers about the source of some of their ingredients, such as caramel coloring, I get a non-commital run-around that tells me that they can’t 100% guarantee their product to be GF and therefore I will have to use my own best judgement about consuming it. I have put many items back on the store shelf due to that non-answer.

      For the person questioning about oats, I have found that Irish oats such as McCann’s are safe for me to eat. Irish oats are not grown near wheat fields and are not harvested by or processed on the same equipment that handles wheat. That makes them a winner in my book!

      • says

        Jill, you are right about caramel color–it is gluten free in the US. I have to disagree with you on the oats though. I used McCann’s Irish oats before certified gluten-free brands were available. Sometimes it made me sick, sometimes it didn’t I understood why when a study was done regarding the amount of gluten in mainstream oats. McCanns oats tested between 3 ppm and 725 ppm. You can read more about it here: http://www.glutenfreedietitian.com/newsletter/gluten-free-oats/

        Thanks for your input!

        • Jill says


          Thanks so much for that informative link! It looks like I’ve had the “luck of the Irish” with me so far in my occasional consumption of McCann’s oats. I think I’m going to switch to a certified gf oat producer so I don’t press my luck too hard. :)


  5. Colleen M. says

    Thanks for this great list. When I first went GF it was so overwhelming. Now when I buy processed foods I limit it to four ingredients or fewer and that’s it. If it longer than that, I usually skip buying it.

  6. Laura says

    so far, only pasta/spaghetti/sauces with BEEF are a problem for gluten. There seems to be an issue if they add meat. My guess is that they include flour to thicken.

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