Are Goya empanada discs gluten free?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. For people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can cause adverse health effects. As a result, these individuals must follow a strict gluten-free diet and avoid foods containing gluten.

Goya is a major food manufacturer that produces a variety of Hispanic foods and ingredients. Their product line includes empanada discs, which are round dough sheets used to make empanadas. Empanadas are filled pastries common in Latin American cuisines.

Quick Answer

Most Goya empanada discs are not gluten-free certified and likely contain gluten. However, Goya does offer cornmeal empanada discs that are naturally gluten-free.

Are Goya empanada discs made with wheat flour?

Many Goya empanada discs are made with wheat flour, which contains gluten. Specifically, their Classic Empanada Discs, Mini Empanada Discs, and Guava Empanada Discs are all made with wheat flour, according to the ingredients lists printed on the packaging.

Wheat flour is the main ingredient used to make the dough for these empanada discs. Therefore, these products clearly contain gluten.

Ingredients in Goya’s Classic Empanada Discs

The ingredients listed for Goya’s Classic Empanada Discs are:

  • Wheat flour
  • Water
  • Vegetable shortening (palm oil, soybean oil)
  • Contains 2% or less of: sugar, salt, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate, sodium metabisulfite.

Ingredients in Goya’s Mini Empanada Discs

The ingredients listed for Goya’s Mini Empanada Discs are:

  • Wheat flour
  • Water
  • Soybean oil
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Calcium sulfate
  • Sodium metabisulfite.

Ingredients in Goya’s Guava Empanada Discs

The ingredients listed for Goya’s Guava Empanada Discs are:

  • Wheat flour
  • Water
  • Guava paste
  • Palm oil
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Calcium sulfate
  • Natural flavors.

Are any Goya empanada discs gluten-free?

Goya does offer one variety of empanada discs that are gluten-free – their Cornmeal Empanada Discs.

Unlike their other empanada discs, the Cornmeal Empanada Discs do not contain any wheat flour. Instead, they are made with cornmeal, which is naturally gluten-free.

Ingredients in Goya’s Cornmeal Empanada Discs

The ingredients listed for Goya’s Cornmeal Empanada Discs are:

  • Cornmeal
  • Water
  • Contains less than 2% of: vegetable oil (palm oil, soybean oil), salt, sugar, baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, cornstarch, monocalcium phosphate).

Since these empanada discs do not contain any gluten-containing grains, they can be considered gluten-free.

Are Goya empanada discs certified gluten-free?

No, Goya empanada discs are not certified gluten-free. The Cornmeal Empanada Discs may be gluten-free based on the ingredients, but Goya does not label them as “gluten-free” or provide any certification.

Products certified gluten-free have been tested to verify they meet the FDA requirements of less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. Goya has not labeled any of their empanada discs as certified gluten-free.

What if empanada discs don’t list wheat as an ingredient?

Just because an empanada disc product does not list wheat or wheat flour in the ingredients does not necessarily mean it is gluten-free. Some discs may be made with other gluten-containing flours, like barley or rye.

Additionally, products can contain traces of gluten due to cross-contamination during manufacturing, even when wheat is not directly added as an ingredient. Cross-contamination is a particular concern in facilities that also handle significant amounts of wheat.

For a product to be definitively gluten-free, it needs to be both made without gluten-containing ingredients and processed to avoid cross-contamination. That’s why gluten-free certification is the only way to be 100% sure a product is gluten-free.

Are there other gluten-free empanada disc brands?

Yes, there are a few other brands that offer gluten-free empanada discs:

  • Ole Mexican Foods – Gluten Free Empanada Wrappers
  • Calidad – Gluten-Free Empanada Discs
  • Nancy’s Empanadas – Gluten-Free Empanada Wraps

These brands clearly label their gluten-free options and note they are produced in gluten-free facilities. Some are also certified gluten-free to verify the claims. Checking for a gluten-free label is the safest approach when selecting empanada discs.

How to find gluten-free empanada discs

Here are some tips for finding empanada discs that are gluten-free:

  • Check the ingredients list and look for wheat flour, barley, rye, or other gluten-containing grains.
  • Look for a “gluten-free” label on the packaging.
  • See if the product is certified gluten-free by an organization like GFCO.
  • Stick to brands that specialize in gluten-free foods and operate gluten-free facilities.
  • Call the manufacturer if in doubt and ask about their gluten-free procedures.

Empanada discs made with cornmeal, cassava flour, or other naturally gluten-free flours are less likely to contain gluten. But confirmation from the manufacturer is still advised since cross-contamination is a risk.

Are there risks of cross-contamination with Goya empanada discs?

Yes, there is a risk of cross-contamination with Goya empanada discs, even the cornmeal version. This is because:

  • Goya products are made in shared facilities that also process wheat.
  • The equipment and production lines are likely used for both gluten-containing and gluten-free products.
  • Goya does not claim to follow any special gluten-free protocols or sanitation procedures.

For individuals highly sensitive to gluten, even small amounts of cross-contamination can trigger a reaction. The lack of certification or designation of Goya’s facilities as gluten-free means cross-contamination cannot be ruled out.

What is gluten cross-contamination?

Gluten cross-contamination refers to the presence of gluten in a product due to contact with gluten-containing foods during harvesting, manufacturing, processing, transportation or storage. This can include:

  • Shared equipment – Using the same machinery for gluten-containing and gluten-free foods
  • Shared facilities – Producing gluten-free products in facilities that also process gluten foods
  • Shared ingredients – Using common ingredients bins for gluten and gluten-free foods
  • Airborne particles – Gluten dust particles spreading through the air into gluten-free items

Even tiny amounts invisible to the eye can trigger reactions in sensitive individuals. Strict procedures are required throughout the supply chain to prevent cross-contamination of gluten-free items.

Symptoms of a gluten cross-contamination reaction

Reactions to gluten cross-contamination can include:

  • Bloating, gas, and abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea, constipation
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rashes
  • Joint pain
  • Mood issues like anxiety, depression

Symptoms typically begin hours to days after ingesting the contaminated food and vary based on individual sensitivity. Consult a doctor if a reaction is suspected.

Precautions when using Goya empanada discs

Individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should take the following precautions with Goya empanada discs:

  • Avoid the classic, mini, and guava empanada discs that contain wheat flour.
  • The cornmeal version may be safe, but risk of cross-contamination still exists.
  • Contact Goya to inquire about their manufacturing procedures before consuming.
  • Look for an alternative like a certified gluten-free brand if highly sensitive.
  • Examine discs carefully and do not use any that appear cracked or damaged.
  • Thoroughly clean surfaces, pans, grills before and after use to prevent cross-contact.

Speaking to a doctor knowledgeable about gluten-related conditions can help assess individual risk tolerance for products like Goya empanada discs.

Are there gluten-free empanada filling options?

Yes, there are many delicious filling options for gluten-free empanadas, including:

Savory empanada fillings:

  • Shredded chicken, beef, or pork
  • Refried beans or black beans
  • Cheese like queso fresco or queso Oaxaca
  • Sauteed vegetables like spinach, kale
  • Onions, peppers, mushrooms
  • Corn, hominy
  • Olives, sun-dried tomatoes

Sweet empanada fillings:

  • Guava or guava paste
  • Apples, pineapple, mango
  • Raisins, coconut flakes
  • Sweetened mascarpone, ricotta or cottage cheese
  • Pumpkin, sweet potato, butternut squash
  • Dulce de leche
  • Coconut custard

When preparing fillings, check ingredient labels carefully to ensure all components are gluten-free. Some common items like sauce mixes, broths and seasoned rice can contain gluten.

Tips for baking gluten-free empanadas

Follow these tips for safely baking gluten-free empanadas at home:

  • Prepare work surfaces – Cover countertops with new parchment paper or thoroughly clean before use.
  • Avoid contamination – Only handle gluten-free discs and fillings in the kitchen during prep.
  • Use separate tools – Designate gluten-free utensils, pots, pans, towels, etc.
  • Seal carefully – Fold and crimp empanadas tightly so no filling leaks.
  • Freeze extras – Freeze uncooked empanadas in airtight containers for later.
  • Clean up thoroughly – Wash all surfaces, utensils, textiles after baking.

Taking precautions can help prevent the finished empanadas from getting contaminated with traces of gluten.

Are Goya empanada discs nutritious?

Goya empanada discs can be part of a nutritious diet when paired with healthy fillings. Here is a comparison of the nutrition facts for two popular varieties – the Classic Empanada Discs and the Cornmeal Empanada Discs:

Goya Classic Empanada Discs

Serving size: 1 disc (30g)

  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 2g
  • Carbs: 22g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Fiber: 1g

Made with refined wheat flour, these discs are higher in carbohydrates. They provide some fiber, but not as much as whole grain options. Overall, a decent source of energy when eaten in moderation.

Goya Cornmeal Empanada Discs

Serving size: 1 disc (30g)

  • Calories: 100
  • Fat: 2g
  • Carbs: 18g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Fiber: 2g

With cornmeal as the first ingredient, these discs are slightly lower in carbs and calories. They contain more fiber thanks to the whole grain cornmeal. The overall nutritional value is comparable to the classic version.

For added nutrition, fill the empanadas with lean proteins, veggies, beans, and fresh cheeses. Avoid fatty, salty fillings to keep them well-balanced.

Are there gluten-free empanada alternatives?

For those avoiding gluten, here are some alternative gluten-free options besides empanadas:

  • Tamales – Made with corn husks or banana leaves instead of wheat dough.
  • Pupusas – Thick corn tortillas stuffed with fillings.
  • Arepas – Grilled or baked cornmeal cakes.
  • Tacos – Corn tortillas or lettuce wraps instead of flour tortillas.
  • Quesadillas – Made with corn tortillas or cassava flour tortillas.

Many Latin American dishes can be adapted to gluten-free recipes. Corn tortillas, cassava, plantains are staple naturally gluten-free ingredients. With some creativity, you can enjoy the flavors of empanadas in a gluten-free format.


In summary, most Goya empanada discs contain gluten due to being made with wheat flour. The exception is the cornmeal variety, which is likely gluten-free based on ingredients but not certified. Individuals with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity should use caution with Goya empanada discs due to the risk of cross-contamination. Choosing certified gluten-free brands of empanada discs is the safest option for gluten-free diets. With the right gluten-free discs and fillings, it’s possible to prepare delicious empanadas that are safe for those avoiding gluten.

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