Ah, chicken broth. It’s the perfect base for soups, stews, and gravies, and it adds a depth of flavour to just about anything it touches. But for those of us on a gluten-free diet, the question remains: is chicken broth gluten free? Unfortunately, it's not a straight-forward answer. Let's break it down!
The short answer is that chicken broth can be gluten-free, but it depends on the ingredients within the broth itself.
Some chicken broths have hidden gluten in them, making the broth not gluten-free.
Read on for all the details or use the buttons below to jump to where you want to go.
- 🍞What is Gluten?
- 🐔Is Chicken Broth Gluten-Free?
- 📝Common Ingredients in Store Bought Chicken Broth
- 🙋♀️How to choose a gluten-free chicken broth
- ✅Gluten-Free Chicken Broth Options
- 😄Gluten Free Chicken Bouillon Options
- 🍽️Chicken broth at restaurants
- 😄Is Chicken Broth Safe for Gluten-Free Diets?
- Want more?
- More Gluten-Free Resources
- 💬 Comments
🍞What is Gluten?
First, let’s talk gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
For people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or wheat allergy, consuming gluten can cause a whole bunch of symptoms.
Reactions to gluten can involve the immune system (celiac disease) and cause damage to the lining of the small intestine.
Symptoms of gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity can range from digestive issues to skin rash to fatigue or "brain fog".
If you think you might be gluten intolerant, check out this post for more on the signs and symptoms of gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity.
So, naturally, if you think you're sensitive to gluten, you're gonna want to:
- One, follow a gluten-free diet and
- Two, have a pretty good idea on which foods and ingredients are safe to consume - and which ones aren't
And chicken broth is one of those ingredients where you might think it doesn't have gluten (I didn't at first!) but it could be a sneaky source of gluten.
🐔Is Chicken Broth Gluten-Free?
Homemade chicken broth made from scratch with a whole chicken, vegetables and seasoning is typically gluten-free.
Of course, like other foods and recipes, making it yourself at home lets you be in control of gluten containing ingredients, if any.
Pre-packaged chicken broth or bouillon cubes may contain gluten-containing ingredients like wheat flour or yeast extract, made from barley.
- The flour found in some chicken broth brands is added as a thickener or used to enhance the flavour of the chicken broth.
- The yeast extract is added to enhance the flavour of the soup broth.
What you can do is read the ingredient labels of your store bought broth carefully to see if there is in fact "yeast" added.
Sometimes it's listed as "yeast extract (from barley)".
📝Common Ingredients in Store Bought Chicken Broth
Although the ingredients in chicken broth will vary brand to brand, here are some of the most common ingredients you may find on the label:
- 🐔Chicken: The main ingredient in chicken broth is typically chicken, which provides the flavour and nutrients.
- 💦Water: Chicken broth is typically made by simmering chicken and vegetables in water, so water is also an important ingredient.
- 🥕Vegetables: Many chicken broths include vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery to add flavour and that awesome chicken broth smell.
- 🧂Salt: Salt is often added to chicken broth to bump up the flavour.
- 💛Natural Flavours: Some brands may add natural flavours, such as yeast extract (which may contain gluten if made from barely), to boost the taste of the broth.
- 😋Chicken Fat: Some chicken broths may contain chicken fat, which can add flavour and richness to the broth.
- 🌿Spices and Herbs: To add depth of flavour, some chicken broths may include spices and herbs like thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves.
So where's the gluten?
Some store-bought chicken broths may also contain gluten-containing ingredients like wheat flour or barley.
It's so important to always read the label and ingredient list carefully to make sure that the product is gluten-free, especially if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
🙋♀️How to choose a gluten-free chicken broth
Look for products that are labeled as “gluten-free,” or that don’t contain any wheat, barley, or rye.
Some brands also offer low-sodium or organic options, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.
✅Gluten-Free Chicken Broth Options
There's quite a few store-bought gluten-free chicken broth options available in most grocery stores or through Amazon.
Here's some popular brands:
- Pacific Foods: Pacific Foods offers a range of organic and gluten-free chicken broths, including their Organic Free-Range Chicken Broth, Organic Low-Sodium Chicken Broth, and Organic Bone Broth Chicken with Ginger.
- Imagine: Imagine offers a variety of gluten-free chicken broths, including their Organic Free-Range Chicken Broth and Organic Low-Sodium Chicken Broth. They also have a line of bone broths, including their Organic Free-Range Chicken Bone Broth and Organic Low-Sodium Chicken Bone Broth.
- Swanson: Swanson offers several gluten-free chicken broth options, including their Natural Goodness Chicken Broth and Unsalted Chicken Broth. They also have a line of Sipping Bone Broths that are gluten-free, including their Chicken Bone Broth with Ginger and Turmeric and Chicken Bone Broth with Lemon and Rosemary.
- Kitchen Basics: Kitchen Basics offers several gluten-free chicken broth options, including their Original Chicken Bone Broth, Unsalted Chicken Stock, and Organic Chicken Stock.
- College Inn: College Inn offers several gluten-free chicken broth options, including their Chicken Broth, 33% Less Sodium Chicken Broth, and Organic Chicken Broth.
😄Gluten Free Chicken Bouillon Options
Gluten-free bouillon is also a great option to use in making soups, stews or adding flavour when you're cooking rice or quinoa.
Here's a few brands of gluten-free bouillon to check out. They're available in most grocery stores or online at places like Amazon.
- Better than Bouillon: Better than Bouillon offers a wide variety of gluten-free bouillon flavours, including chicken, beef, vegetable, and mushroom. Their products are made with real ingredients and contain no added MSG.
- Knorr: Knorr offers several gluten-free bouillon options, including their Homestyle Chicken Stock, Beef Stock, and Vegetable Stock. They also have a line of concentrated liquid bouillon called Flavour Boost that's gluten-free.
- Massel: Massel offers a range of gluten-free bouillon flavours, including chicken, beef, vegetable, and mushroom. Their products are vegan, GMO-free, and contain no added MSG.
- Edward & Sons: Edward & Sons offers several gluten-free bouillon options, including their Not-Chick'n Bouillon Cubes and Not-Beef Bouillon Cubes. Their products are vegan and non-GMO.
- Orrington Farms: Orrington Farms offers several gluten-free bouillon options, including their Chicken Flavoured Broth Base & Seasoning, Beef Flavoured Broth Base & Seasoning, and Vegetable Flavoured Broth Base & Seasoning.
- Luda: Luda Foods has a range of gluten-free bouillons available including chicken, beef vegetable and vegan as well.
If you want to know WHAT to eat when you first go gluten-free, check out this Gluten Free Diet Plan for Beginners (PDF download).
🍽️Chicken broth at restaurants
It's a bit tricky to know if restaurant-made chicken broth is gluten-free, because it'll often have other seasonings and ingredients that may be hidden sources of gluten.
When you're eating out and you don't know if a dish has chicken broth that's gluten-free, don’t be afraid to ask your server or the chef.
They should be able to give you a list of ingredients or help you pick something else that's completely a gluten-free.
😄Is Chicken Broth Safe for Gluten-Free Diets?
Chicken broth can be a safe food for people following a gluten-free diet. The trick is to read the ingredient list and know WHERE hidden gluten is found.
Then you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to eat something!
Although typically chicken broth does not contain large amounts of gluten ingredients, many do have flavour-enhancers or thickeners that are wheat-based.
Find a brand of chicken broth you love that's gluten free from the list above or try making your own! Here's a recipe from Taryn at Hot Pan Kitchen for Gluten-Free Chicken Stock.
Check out more resources below and if you're just getting started with gluten-free diets, be sure to grab this list of What Not to Eat With Gluten Intolerance (PDF list)
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