15 Common Foods Containing Gluten

by Ella

Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, plays a crucial role in providing elasticity and chewiness to baked goods. However, for individuals with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or wheat allergies, consuming gluten can lead to severe health issues. This article explores 15 common foods containing gluten, helping you make informed dietary choices.

15 Common Foods Containing Gluten

1. Bread and Baked Goods

Wheat-Based Breads


Wheat is a staple ingredient in many types of bread, including white, whole wheat, multigrain, and sourdough. The gluten in wheat gives bread its structure and chewy texture.


Pastries and Cakes


Pastries, cakes, and other baked goods often contain a mixture of wheat flour, barley, and rye. Gluten provides the desired rise and texture in these products.


Muffins and Bagels

Muffins, bagels, and similar baked items are typically made from wheat flour, making them a significant source of gluten. Specialty items like croissants and Danish pastries also fall into this category.

2. Pasta and Noodles

Traditional Pasta

Traditional pasta, including spaghetti, macaroni, and lasagna, is usually made from durum wheat. The gluten in durum wheat gives pasta its firm texture.

Asian Noodles

Many Asian noodles, such as udon, ramen, and chow mein, are made from wheat flour and therefore contain gluten. While rice noodles are gluten-free, it’s essential to verify the ingredients.

3. Cereals and Granola

Wheat-Based Cereals

Many breakfast cereals, especially those made from wheat or containing malt flavoring, are not gluten-free. Common examples include bran flakes, shredded wheat, and wheat germ cereals.

Granola and Muesli

Granola and muesli often contain oats that are processed in facilities handling wheat, barley, and rye, leading to cross-contamination. Additionally, malt extract used as a sweetener contains gluten.

4. Pizza and Savory Pies

Traditional Pizza Crust

Traditional pizza dough is made from wheat flour, making it a significant source of gluten. Gluten-free pizza options are available, but traditional crusts are off-limits for those avoiding gluten.

Meat Pies and Quiches

Savory pies, including meat pies and quiches, often use wheat flour for the crust, making them unsuitable for gluten-free diets. Checking for gluten-free alternatives is necessary.

5. Sauces and Condiments

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce, a common ingredient in many dishes, often contains wheat, making it a source of gluten. Tamari is a gluten-free alternative to traditional soy sauce.

Gravies and Thickened Sauces

Gravies and sauces thickened with wheat flour are prevalent in many cuisines. Cornstarch or arrowroot powder can be used as gluten-free thickening agents.

6. Beer and Malt Beverages

Traditional Beer

Beer is typically brewed from barley, which contains gluten. While gluten-free beers are available, traditional beers are not suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.

Malt Beverages

Malt beverages, including certain sodas and alcoholic drinks, are made from barley malt. It’s essential to check labels for gluten content in these products.

7. Processed Meats

Sausages and Hot Dogs

Sausages and hot dogs often contain fillers and binders made from wheat flour, making them a hidden source of gluten. Look for gluten-free labels when purchasing these products.

Deli Meats

Some deli meats are processed with wheat-derived ingredients or are subject to cross-contamination. Always verify the gluten-free status with manufacturers.

8. Snacks and Chips

Flavored Chips

Flavored chips can contain gluten due to the seasoning and flavoring agents used. It’s crucial to read ingredient lists and opt for plain chips if necessary.

Pretzels and Crackers

Pretzels and many types of crackers are made from wheat flour, making them significant sources of gluten. Gluten-free alternatives are available for those avoiding gluten.

9. Breakfast Foods

Pancakes and Waffles

Traditional pancakes and waffles are made from wheat flour. Gluten-free mixes and recipes can be used as alternatives.

French Toast

French toast is typically made with wheat bread, making it unsuitable for gluten-free diets. Gluten-free bread can be used to create a gluten-free version.

10. Candy and Sweets

Licorice and Malt Candies

Licorice and candies containing malt extract are sources of gluten. Always check ingredient lists for gluten-containing additives.

Certain Chocolate Bars

Some chocolate bars contain gluten due to added ingredients like wafer or malt flavoring. Opt for gluten-free labeled chocolate to avoid gluten.

11. Soups and Broths

Cream-Based Soups

Cream-based soups often use flour as a thickener, introducing gluten into the dish. Gluten-free soups use alternative thickeners like cornstarch.

Instant Soup Mixes

Many instant soup mixes contain wheat-based noodles or thickening agents, making them unsuitable for gluten-free diets. Always check labels for gluten content.

12. Salad Dressings and Marinades

Creamy Dressings

Creamy dressings, such as ranch or Caesar, can contain gluten due to the use of wheat-based thickeners or additives. Gluten-free dressings are available as alternatives.

Pre-Made Marinades

Pre-made marinades might contain soy sauce or other gluten-containing ingredients. Homemade marinades with gluten-free ingredients are a safer option.

13. Breading and Coatings

Breaded Meats

Breaded meats, such as chicken tenders or fish sticks, are typically coated in wheat flour or breadcrumbs, making them a source of gluten. Gluten-free breading options are available.

Tempura and Battered Foods

Tempura and battered foods, common in Asian cuisine, are usually made with wheat flour. Look for gluten-free batter recipes or dishes.

14. Energy Bars and Snacks

Granola Bars

Granola bars often contain oats that may be cross-contaminated with gluten or include other gluten-containing ingredients like barley malt.

Protein Bars
Protein bars can contain gluten in the form of wheat flour, malt, or other additives. Always check the packaging for gluten-free certification.

15. Processed and Packaged Foods

Instant Noodles

Instant noodles, including cup noodles and ramen, typically contain wheat flour. Gluten-free instant noodles are available as an alternative.

Packaged Meals

Many packaged meals, especially those with sauces or breaded components, contain gluten. Reading ingredient lists and opting for gluten-free labeled products is essential.

See Also: 6 Possible Reasons for Sudden Weight Gain on Keto


Navigating a gluten-free diet requires careful attention to ingredient lists and labels. The foods listed above are common sources of gluten, and being aware of them can help you make informed choices to maintain a gluten-free lifestyle. Gluten-free alternatives are widely available, making it easier to enjoy your favorite foods without compromising your health.



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