Ever stand in the grocery aisle wondering, is bouillon is gluten-free? In this article, you will learn which red-flag ingredients to look out for and take a look at a few popular brands to find out if they carry gluten-free bouillon.
Scan the bouillon section of your local grocery store and you'll probably stand there a little confused as to which bouillon you can safely buy. That's because bouillon is a tricky food when it comes to the gluten-free diet. At first thought, most wouldn't even consider that bouillon would contain wheat in the first place but the fact is, some of them do! Also, bouillons tend to contain several red-flag ingredients, that may or may not be derived from wheat or barley. This reiterates the importance of reading labels and doing product research when on a strict gluten-free diet.
Ingredients to Look Out For
There are several ingredients in any bouillon cube or powder that could be harboring gluten. Some of the possible gluten-containing ingredients you may find are:
- Wheat proteins
- Yeast Extract or Autolyzed Yeast Extract
- Natural Flavors
Aside from containing actual wheat, these other ingredients may or may not be gluten-free. For example, yeast extract may contain gluten from barley and should only be consumed if labeled gluten-free. Natural flavors can be derived from wheat, barley, or malt in some instances, although not as common.
If you see these ingredients, you should:
- Avoid the product.
- In the case of yeast extract or natural flavors, see if a grain source is listed or look for a gluten-free claim on the label.
Popular Bouillon Brands
Let's take a closer look at the most popular bouillon brands and see what each company has to say about the gluten-free status of their products.
No. While Better Than Bouillon used to be labeled gluten-free, they have since changed their stance. They no longer make gluten-free claims upon any Better Than Bouillon Food Bases.
Yes, BOU chicken, vegetable, and beef bouillon cubes are gluten-free.
Yes, if labeled gluten-free.
Knorr recommends consumers read the label each time before buying any product. If gluten is present, it is clearly listed in plain language on the ingredient label (i.e., wheat flour, rye, barley, oats, and malt). Since product formulations change from time to time, they do not publish a list of gluten-free flavors.
No. Beef and chicken flavors both contain wheat. According to Maggi, unless a product is labeled gluten-free, it has not been validated to be gluten-free.
Yes. Orrington farms offers products that are gluten-free. In fact, they have many gluten-free options, including beef, chicken, ham, vegetable, French onion, gravy mixes, and vegan options. Look for the gluten-free label on their packaging.
No. The beef bouillon contains wheat. The chicken bouillon does not have a gluten-free claim and it contains yeast extract, so it should be avoided.
Best Gluten-free Bouillon Options
When it comes to bouillon, the safest options are items with a gluten-free label. Many bouillon cubes and powders contain wheat and other questionable ingredients, such as yeast extract, that may come from glutenous grains.
So even if a bouillon does not contain wheat, if it is not labeled gluten-free, it may be hard to tell if you can trust the product unless you visit the company website for more information. In most cases, if the product is not labeled gluten-free, the company is also not validating that it is safe to eat.
Currently, the safest brands offering gluten-free bouillons are Knorr, Herb-Ox, Orrington Farms, and BOU because each of these brands will label gluten-free flavors and are very transparent about ingredients that may contain gluten.
Do you have a go-to brand of bouillon? Is there another brand you'd like more information on? Drop it in the comments!
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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.