Are canned soups gluten-free?

Many people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity wonder if canned soups are safe to eat. Canned soups can be a quick and convenient meal, but it’s important to check the ingredients carefully. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. People with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity experience digestive symptoms and damage to the small intestine when they eat gluten. So whether canned soups are gluten-free or not is an important consideration.

Quick Answers

Here are quick answers to common questions about canned soups and gluten:

  • Not all canned soups are gluten-free. You have to read the label.
  • Broths are usually gluten-free, but cream-based soups often contain wheat flour.
  • Watch out for croutons, pasta, and barley in soups. These contain gluten.
  • Soups labeled “gluten-free” must legally contain less than 20 ppm of gluten.
  • Some soup brands like Pacific Foods offer a wide variety of gluten-free canned soups.

Reading the Ingredients Label

The key to determining if a canned soup is gluten-free is to carefully read the ingredients list on the label. Words like “wheat”, “barley” and “rye” indicate the presence of gluten. However, it’s important to know that ingredients like modified food starch, malt flavoring, and malt vinegar can also contain gluten. Oats are naturally gluten-free but are often contaminated with wheat during growing and processing. So if you see oats, oatmeal or oat fiber on the label, contact the manufacturer to ensure the item is uncontaminated.

Some soup varieties like chicken noodle are obvious sources of gluten from ingredients like wheat noodles. But gluten can lurk in unexpected places too. Thickening agents like wheat flour are commonly added to cream-based soups like cream of mushroom. Flavorings like soy sauce often contain wheat too. Barley is a common ingredient in vegetable beef and minestrone soups. Watch for croutons containing wheat or flavorful mixes containing gluten that are added to some canned soups.

Cross-contamination is also a concern during manufacturing. So even a soup with only naturally gluten-free ingredients could pick up traces of gluten during the production process. Opting for brands made in dedicated gluten-free facilities when possible reduces this risk.

Gluten-Free Labeling

If a canned soup states it is “gluten-free” on the label, it must legally contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. This is considered a safe level for most people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. However, the gluten-free label is voluntary. Some brands producing gluten-free foods don’t label them this way. So don’t rely solely on the gluten-free claim. Checking the ingredients is still important.

Testing for Gluten

If you’re highly sensitive to gluten, you may want to test your soups for presence of the protein. Gluten test strips and kits are available to detect levels under 20 ppm. This provides added assurance beyond reading labels. You can test the liquid soup base and any solid ingredients separately. Contacting the soup manufacturer directly for their gluten testing protocols is another option.

Gluten-Free Friendly Soup Brands

Many soup manufacturers now produce varieties that are free of gluten-containing ingredients. Here are some of the top gluten-free canned soup brands:

  • Pacific Foods – Offers organic broths, creamy soups, chili, and more. Products are labeled gluten-free and made in a dedicated facility.
  • Amy’s Kitchen – Amy’s has a line of gluten-free canned soups including vegetable, lentil, baked potato, and chicken noodle made with rice noodles.
  • Campbell’s – Select varieties like chicken noodle, tomato, and cream of mushroom labeled gluten-free.
  • Progresso – Some Progresso soups are gluten-free like their chicken noodle, chicken gumbo, and roasted red pepper bisque.
  • Imagine Foods – Organic broths and creamy soups that are all certified gluten-free.

See the ingredients list and allergen information on the manufacturer’s website for their most up-to-date information on gluten-free status. Call them if you have any questions. For homemade soup, choose gluten-free stocks and cook without wheat flour or pasta.

Gluten-Containing Ingredients to Avoid

When looking for gluten-free canned soups, watch out for ingredients like:

  • Wheat or wheat flour
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Pasta or egg noodles
  • Malt or malt flavoring
  • Oats (unless labeled gluten-free)
  • Couscous
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Soy sauce or teriyaki sauce
  • Ale or beer

Modified food starch could be made from wheat too. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer to verify ingredients. Opting for soups made in dedicated gluten-free facilities further reduces risk of gluten cross-contamination.

Tips for Following a Gluten-Free Diet

Eating gluten-free goes beyond just checking labels. Here are some tips for following a gluten-free diet when choosing canned soups and other foods:

  • Get to know hidden sources of gluten like soy sauce, salad dressings, and flavorings.
  • Look for “gluten-free” on labels for added assurance.
  • Check labels each time you buy as ingredients can change.
  • Call manufacturers with any questions about ingredients or production.
  • Choose certified gluten-free when possible for added peace of mind.
  • Cook more dishes at home where you control all ingredients.
  • Look for dedicated gluten-free facilities to reduce cross-contamination risks.
  • Join a celiac support group to get product recommendations from other gluten-free consumers.

Following a strict gluten-free diet is challenging but possible with diligence reading labels, asking questions, and choosing reliable brands. Support and guidance from your gluten-free community helps greatly too.

Homemade Gluten-Free Soup Options

Making your own gluten-free soup allows you to control all the ingredients. Here are some recipe ideas:

  • Chicken noodle soup – Use rice noodles or gluten-free pasta instead of wheat noodles.
  • Vegetable soup – Sauté veggies like carrots, onions, potatoes, greens, and beans in broth.
  • Chili – Make with ground turkey or beef, tomatoes, beans, onion, garlic, and spices.
  • Cream soup – Puree roasted veggies into creamy soup without flour-based thickeners.
  • Split pea soup – Simmer split peas with onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and broth.
  • Minestrone – Use rice pasta, lots of veggies, beans, and tomato broth.

Opt for corn starch instead of wheat flour to thicken homemade soups. Check all ingredients like stocks for gluten sources. Use fresh ingredients and avoid unknown mixes. Soup freezes well, so make big batches to enjoy later.

Gluten-Free Canned Soup Options

Here is an overview of some gluten-free canned soup varieties to look for:


  • Chicken broth
  • Beef broth
  • Vegetable broth

Broths typically only contain meat/veggies and seasonings. Verify no gluten-containing thickeners.

Cream Soups

  • Cream of celery
  • Cream of mushroom
  • Cream of chicken

Avoid those thickened with wheat flour. Opt for soups made with corn starch instead.


  • New England clam chowder
  • Corn chowder
  • Potato chowder

Ensure no thickening with wheat flour. Check for gluten-free crackers if included.

Bean & Vegetable

  • Minestrone
  • Lentil
  • Split pea
  • Tomato bisque
  • Vegetable medley

Avoid pasta, barley, wheat-based thickeners. Check for hidden ingredients like flavorings.


  • Beef stew
  • Chicken stew
  • Chili

Ensure thickened only with corn starch, not wheat flour. Verify seasoning mixes are gluten-free.


In summary, canned soups can be part of a gluten-free diet but ingredients must be checked closely. Many brands now offer gluten-free varieties. Look for dedicated soup facilities and labels stating “gluten-free” for further assurance. Call manufacturers with any questions. Homemade soup lets you control all ingredients. Following these tips helps make the gluten-free soup search easier.

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