Beef broth is a common ingredient used for savory cooking but, is beef broth gluten-free? In this article, you will learn which ingredients to look out for and take a look at a few popular brands of gluten-free beef broth.
When you start a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, you will quickly get the hang of reading labels on everything you consume; there always seems to be that one surprising ingredient that contains gluten. Beef broth and beef bouillon are no exception! Never assume something is a gluten-free; always double-check the product label!
There are a few ingredients in commercial beef broth, stock, or bone broth that could contain gluten, but rest assured there are ample gluten-free product options at grocery stores. On the other hand, be more wary of beef bouillon, because many of them do contain wheat.
What is Beef Broth?
Beef broth is a flavorful cooking liquid made from simmering meat, bones, vegetables, and herbs in water until all the flavor has been extracted from the ingredients. The liquid is then strained from the remaining ingredients. Beef broth is a great way to add depth of flavor to delicious recipes, such soups, stews, and roasts.
What is Beef Bouillon?
Beef bouillon is a dehydrated form of beef broth, often sold in a cube or powdered form. Bouillon can be dissolved in water to make instant beef broth or added to savory recipes for an enhanced depth of flavor.
Many people prefer to use bouillon because it is more cost effective. It also has a longer shelf life than store-bought broths or stocks.
Is Beef Broth Gluten-Free?
Most store-bought beef broth is gluten-free but be wary of red flag ingredients that may come from sources of gluten. Always take a look at the ingredients list and allergen statement before deciding which broth to buy. A beef broth with a gluten-free claim is likely your safest option.
Is Beef Bouillon Gluten-Free?
Not always. Beef bouillon is an ingredient that often contains wheat. You must read ingredient labels on all bouillon and look for a gluten-free claim. Knorr, Herb-Ox, Orrington Farms, and BOU are brands that label gluten-free flavors and are transparent about ingredients that may contain gluten.
Is Homemade Beef Broth Gluten-Free?
Likely, yes. Most recipes for homemade broth or beef stock are made with naturally gluten-free ingredients, such as meat, bones, vegetables, and water. Always ensure the environment in which they are made is gluten-free though. This would include using clean pots and utensils to make the broth.
Red Flag Ingredients
There are some common ingredients found in store-bought beef broth that could be hiding gluten. These ingredients may or may not be gluten-free. They are:
- Yeast Extract or Autolyzed Yeast Extract
- Natural Flavor
Natural flavors can also be derived from wheat, barley, or malt in some instances, although not as common.
If you see these ingredients, you should avoid the product, see if a grain source is listed, or look for a gluten-free claim on the label.
Rarely you may see wheat, barley, or barley malt listed on the list of ingredients. In this case, you should absolutely avoid that product.
May Contain Wheat
Aside from the the red flag ingredients, the most common issue you'll find on beef broth is a contains statement, such as "may contain wheat" or "made on shared equipment with wheat."
These statements fall under the food allergen labeling laws known as FALCPA. FALCPA requires food manufacturers to label food products that contain a protein from a major food allergen. Though, a "may contain" statement is voluntary and not required. This is the manufacturer voluntarily telling you that this product has not been produced in a dedicated facility.
In the future, it is always a good idea to cross reference allergen statements you see at the store by visiting the manufacturer's website because you could be avoiding some products unnecessarily.
If you call the manufacturer or visit the retailer's page, they may share more product information, such as how it is made or the procedures for cleaning equipment between product runs.
List of Gluten-Free Beef Broth Brands
Below is a list of some of the gluten-free beef broths you may find at your grocery store. There are likely even more brands available or information could change, so use this for reference purposes only.
- College Inn has a list of gluten-free broths and stocks, including Beef Broth & Less Sodium Beef Broth.
- Imagine broths are gluten-free.
- Kettle & Fire beef bone broth and lemongrass ginger beef bone broth are gluten-free.
- Kitchen Basics
- Pacific Foods
- Swanson has a range of gluten-free broths, stocks, and bone broth that are verified to be gluten-free.
Again, it is always a good idea to double-check labels to verify that ingredients or gluten-free claims have not changed.
Private Label Brands
Many private label brands do offer gluten-free beef broth, but it can be hit or miss. For this reason, it is best to look for a gluten-free claim on the packaging and/or an allergen statement.
Private label brands may be producing a wide range of private label products on shared equipment. In this case, you may be more likely to find a cautionary allergen warning of "may contain wheat".
Look for a Gluten-free Claim
While there are many companies that offer gluten-free beef broth, there are some unsafe products on the market. For this reason, you should never assume that beef broth, stock, bone broth, or beef bouillon is gluten-free.
When it comes to buying beef broth, or even chicken broth for that matter, a good option is to look for a gluten-free claim on the label, especially if you are on a very strict gluten-free diet. This will ensure that the company has validated that the broth is below 20ppm of gluten, even if the broth contains yeast extract or is processed in a facility with wheat.
Let us know in the comments what you learned about broth today! Do you have a go-to brand for gluten-free broth?
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Disclaimer: The information in this article is the personal opinion of the author and for educational purposes only. This is not medical or nutritional advice. Please consult a doctor or medical professional before making changes to your diet or regarding any health related decisions. Ingredient information was accurate at the time of posting but should always be verified by the consumer by checking the product ingredient label for the most up to date information.