Are Nabisco animal crackers gluten-free?

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people choosing to avoid gluten for medical reasons or simply as a lifestyle choice. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, sticking to a strict gluten-free diet is essential to manage symptoms and prevent complications. For others, eliminating gluten is seen as a way to generally improve health, lose weight, or treat conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.

Whatever the reason for following a gluten-free diet, it poses challenges when it comes to finding suitable packaged and processed foods to eat. Pre-packaged snacks like cookies, crackers, and cereals often contain sources of gluten like wheat, barley, and rye. This leads many gluten-free consumers to wonder if beloved snack foods like Nabisco’s classic Animal Crackers are safe to eat on a gluten-free diet.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in grains like wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. It acts as a “glue” that helps foods like bread maintain their shape and texture. For most people, gluten poses no issues and can be consumed without problems.

However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the immune system reacts to gluten and causes damage to the small intestine. This can lead to symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue, and in children, failure to thrive and poor growth. The only treatment for gluten-related disorders is adhering to a strict lifelong gluten-free diet.

This means reading labels carefully and avoiding foods that contain wheat, rye, barley, and related grains. Oats are naturally gluten-free but are often contaminated with gluten during growing and processing, so gluten-free oats are recommended.

Are Original Nabisco Animal Crackers Gluten-Free?

Nabisco’s classic Animal Crackers have been around since 1902. The simple cookies are lightly sweet with a crisp, distinctive texture. The traditional shapes like elephants, lions, and bears make them popular for kids’ lunchboxes and snacks. But can you enjoy these nostalgic cookies if you are gluten-free?

Unfortunately, original Nabisco Animal Crackers are not gluten-free. According to the ingredients list, they contain wheat flour. Wheat flour contains gluten, so these cookies are off-limits for anyone following a strict gluten-free diet.

Some key facts about gluten and original Nabisco Animal Crackers:

– Wheat flour is the second ingredient listed after sugar.

– The variety of wheat used is not specified but most likely contains gluten.

– No claims of being gluten-free or produced in a gluten-free facility.

– No testing for gluten content is mentioned.

– Produced on shared equipment with other wheat-based Nabisco products.

So if you need or choose to be 100% gluten-free, unfortunately the classic Animal Crackers won’t work for you. You’ll have to check the label and pass them by. But read on for some gluten-free friendly options you can enjoy instead!

Gluten-Free Options from Nabisco

The good news is that Nabisco has heard consumer demand and now offers some gluten-free cookie choices. Two varieties of Animal Crackers are currently available:

Nabisco Gluten Free Animal Crackers

Nabisco has formulated a gluten-free version of their iconic Animal Crackers. These are made without wheat, barley, rye, or oats. The ingredients replace wheat flour with rice flour and potatoes.

Key facts about Nabisco Gluten Free Animal Crackers:

– No wheat, barley, rye or oats

– Made with rice flour and potato starch

– Gluten-free claim clearly stated on package

– Uses a dedicated gluten-free manufacturing facility

– No gluten ingredients used on same equipment

So if you miss the whimsical animals and light crisp texture of original Animal Crackers, you can now enjoy the gluten-free version without worry. They provide a safer option for those with celiac disease and others avoiding gluten.

Nabisco Barnum’s Animals Gluten Free Cookies

Nabisco also produces another gluten-free animal cracker variety, Barnum’s Animals Gluten Free. These are similar but contain a few different ingredients.

Key facts about Nabisco Barnum’s Animals Gluten Free:

– No wheat, barley, rye or oats

– Made with brown rice flour and tapioca starch

– Certified gluten-free; tested at less than 5 PPM

– Uses dedicated gluten-free equipment

– Slightly different taste and texture than original

The Barnum’s gluten-free edition provides another safe option for enjoying crispy animal-shaped cookies. You can feel confident buying either gluten-free variety from Nabisco knowing careful steps are taken to avoid cross-contamination.

Other Brands of Gluten-Free Animal Crackers

In addition to the two gluten-free versions of Animal Crackers made by Nabisco, there are a few other brands producing similar gluten-free animal-shaped cookies. Here are a few top options:

Anna’s Gluten Free Animal Crackers

– Made by well-known gluten-free brand

– Rice flour base

– Free of wheat, rye, barley, oats

– Dedicated GF facility

– Similar light, crispy texture

Mary’s Gone Crackers Gluten Free Animal Crackers

– Uses brown rice, quinoa, flax

– Certified gluten-free; tested < 5 PPM - Peanut-free, dairy-free, kosher - Slightly different, nutty flavor

EnviroKidz Organic Gluten Free Animal Cookies

– Uses organic ingredients

– Rice flour, potato starch, tapioca

– Cerified gluten-free; tested < 5 PPM - No artificial anything So there are several trusted brands producing gluten-free animal crackers to choose from. Depending on your preferences, you may want to try a few different ones to find your new favorite!

What About Homemade Gluten-Free Animal Crackers?

Another option for recreating the fun of animal crackers at home is to make them yourself using gluten-free flours and ingredients. There are numerous gluten-free animal cracker recipes available using ingredients like:

– Gluten-free oat flour
– Brown or white rice flour
– Tapioca starch or flour
– Potato starch
– Sweet rice flour
– Almond flour
– Coconut flour

Advantages of homemade gluten-free animal crackers include:

– Control ingredients to avoid cross-contamination
– Customize to your own dietary needs
– Make fun shapes like dinosaurs or zoo animals
– Adjust consistency and crispness

Challenges of homemade may include:

– Finding right flour blend for taste/texture
– Achieving thin, crisp texture
– Cutting detailed animal shapes
– Shorter shelf life than store-bought

So while it requires some trial-and-error, baking your own gluten-free animal crackers is a creative option. Kids would likely enjoy helping cut out and decorate fun shapes.

Are Other Nabisco Products Gluten-Free?

Beyond Animal Crackers, some consumers wonder if other popular Nabisco products are gluten-free or safe to eat on a gluten-free diet. Here is a quick rundown of a few top Nabisco offerings:


Original Oreos contain wheat flour and barley malt extract. They are not gluten-free. However, Nabisco released a gluten-free Oreo in 2015 using rice flour, tapioca starch, and other gluten-free ingredients. The gluten-free Oreos are produced in a dedicated facility.

Chips Ahoy

Standard Chips Ahoy cookies contain wheat flour and barley malt extract. They are not gluten-free. However, gluten-free Chips Ahoy are also now available, made with sorghum flour, rice flour, and tapioca starch.

Ritz Crackers

Like Animal Crackers, Ritz now offers several gluten-free versions:

– Nabisco Gluten Free Ritz crackers

– Ritz Gluten Free Rice Thins

Both are produced separately from standard Ritz to prevent cross-contamination.

Teddy Grahams

Regular Teddy Grahams contain wheat flour. A gluten-free cinnamon variety is available, made with corn flour and other gluten-free starches.

Honey Maid Grahams

These classic square graham crackers contain wheat flour. Honey Maid does not currently offer any certified gluten-free options.


Made with traditional wheat flour, standard Triscuit crackers are not gluten-free. However, a brown rice variety of Triscuit Thin Crisps was launched in 2020 using gluten-free ingredients.

Finding Other Gluten-Free Cookie and Cracker Options

In addition to the Nabisco products mentioned, there are now many brands producing gluten-free cookies, crackers, baked goods, and other snacks. Some top options include:

Canyon Bakehouse

Offers gluten-free bread, bagels, muffins, and more. Includes gluten-free crackers and cookies.


Specializes in gluten-free and allergy-friendly foods. Carries cookies, donuts, bread, pretzels.


Gluten-free brand offering snacks like crackers, cookies, cereals, and bars.


Makes gluten-free cakes, cookies, muffins, and baking mixes.

Pamela’s Products

Line includes gluten-free snacks like fig bars, chocolate chip cookies, and biscotti.

The world of gluten-free specialty products continues to expand. With some label reading and research, you can likely find replacement gluten-free cookies or crackers to substitute for family favorites. Online retailers and health food stores are great resources to discover new gluten-free brands and products.

Precautions When Eliminating Gluten

When transitioning to a gluten-free diet for medical reasons, there are some key precautions to take. Be sure to:

– Check labels carefully for any hidden sources of gluten

– Watch out for cross-contamination in processing

– Choose certified gluten-free when possible

– Check medications and supplements for gluten fillers

– Read up on hidden sources like soy sauce and salad dressings

And remember celiac disease requires adherence to a strict gluten-free diet without cheating occasional gluten exposures. For true gluten sensitivity, find the level of gluten avoidance that allows you to feel your best.


While classic Nabisco Animal Crackers contain wheat and are not gluten-free friendly, there are now several delicious gluten-free options to choose from. Nabisco’s own gluten-free Animal Crackers provide a safe alternative, as do other brands making similar cookies. For an even more custom creation, try baking your own gluten-free animal crackers at home.

With the right ingredients and care to avoid cross-contamination, you or your children can continue to enjoy this whimsical classic treat even on a gluten-free diet. Check labels carefully, research reputable brands, and you’ll find there are now many gluten-free versions of favorite cookies, crackers, and snacks out there.

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