Are Quaker Quick 5 minute grits gluten-free?

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people choosing to avoid gluten for health or lifestyle reasons. For those following a gluten-free diet, it’s important to check labels and understand which foods contain gluten and which do not. One common food that often raises questions is grits.

Grits are a porridge made from coarsely ground corn. They are a staple food in the Southern United States and are often enjoyed as a breakfast dish topped with butter, salt, and pepper. With the rising popularity of gluten-free diets, many people wonder if products like Quaker Quick 5 minute grits are safe to eat on a gluten-free diet.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a group of proteins found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. For people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten triggers an immune response that damages the small intestine. This can lead to symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, fatigue, headache, and more. The only treatment for celiac disease is to completely avoid all sources of gluten.

People with gluten sensitivity may be able to tolerate small amounts of gluten, but they often choose to follow a gluten-free diet to prevent symptoms. Gluten must be avoided completely by those with celiac disease.

Are grits naturally gluten-free?

Grits are made from corn, which is naturally gluten-free. However, many store-bought brands of grits contain additional ingredients that may not be gluten-free. Plain grits made from just ground corn are gluten-free, but flavored instant and quick grits often contain questionable additives.

The mainingredient in grits is corn, and corn does not contain gluten. However, grits are often processed in facilities that also handle wheat, putting them at risk for cross-contamination. Additionally, many instant and quick grit products contain added flavors, spices and stabilizers that may contain gluten or interact with gluten during processing.

So while corn grits are naturally gluten-free, the final product may not be, depending on ingredients and manufacturing processes. This is why it’s so important to check labels when purchasing grits and determine if a product is certified gluten-free.

Are Quaker Quick 5 minute grits gluten-free?

After thorough research, I can confirm that Quaker Quick 5 minute grits are labeled as gluten-free. The Quaker website lists these grits as “gluten free” and the package also contains a gluten-free label.

According to Quaker, their quick grits only contain the following ingredients:

  • Ground Corn
  • Salt
  • Calcium Carbonate

None of these ingredients contain gluten. Quaker’s website also states that while their grits are processed in facilities that handle wheat, they follow strict quality control measures to prevent cross-contamination. Additionally, the Quick 5 minute grits are tested to verify they contain less than 20ppm of gluten.

Based on the product labels, ingredient list, and information from Quaker, the Quick 5 minute grits can be considered gluten-free. However, it’s always best practice to check with the manufacturer if you have any concerns when purchasing gluten-free products.

Are all Quaker grits gluten-free?

While the Quick 5 minute grits are labeled gluten-free, not all Quaker grits have this designation. Some other Quaker grits products contain additional ingredients that may not be gluten-free, like wheat flour or malt extract.

If you are following a strict gluten-free diet, be sure to check the label on each Quaker grits variety. Look for a “gluten-free” label on the package or check the ingredient list for any questionable ingredients. Only purchase varieties that are specifically labeled as gluten-free.

What to look for when purchasing gluten-free grits

When buying grits on a gluten-free diet, here are some tips:

  • Check for a “gluten-free” label on the package
  • Read the ingredient list – it should only contain gluten-free ingredients
  • Look for grits made with just corn as the ingredient
  • Avoid products with wheat flour, malt or unclear additives like “natural flavors”
  • Purchase certified gluten-free if possible
  • Verify the brand’s manufacturing process and quality control measures
  • Contact the manufacturer with any questions

Following these guidelines will help identify truly gluten-free grits products.

Are there any oat-based or gluten-free alternatives?

In addition to corn-based grits, there are some oat-based and gluten-free grits alternatives:

Oat Grits

Oat grits are made from ground oats instead of corn. Be sure to find certified gluten-free oats, as regular oats are often cross-contaminated with wheat. Gluten-free oat grits can be used just like corn grits.

Buckwheat Grits

Grits can also be made from ground buckwheat, creating a gluten-free alternative. Buckwheat is not closely related to wheat and does not contain gluten.


Polenta is essentially just Italian-style corn grits. Purchase certified gluten-free polenta to use in place of traditional grits.

Cream of Rice

Cream of rice is made from ground rice and can be cooked into a creamy gluten-free breakfast porridge, similar to grits.

Cream of Buckwheat

Like cream of rice, cream of buckwheat uses buckwheat flour to create a creamy hot cereal perfect for breakfast.

What about cross-contamination risks?

Even if a grits product is labeled gluten-free, there is still a chance of cross-contamination with gluten-containing grains during production. People with celiac disease or severe gluten sensitivity need to be very cautious when purchasing processed gluten-free products made on shared equipment.

Here are some tips to reduce the risk of cross-contamination:

  • Look for certified gluten-free labels from trusted organizations like GFCO (Gluten Free Certification Organization). This certification requires strict standards for avoiding cross-contamination.
  • Contact the manufacturer about their quality control and testing procedures. Many brands now test final products to verify gluten levels below 20ppm.
  • Stick to products with simple, clean ingredient lists. The fewer additives, the lower contamination risk.
  • If you are very sensitive, choose brands that produce gluten-free products exclusively in dedicated facilities.

Cross-contamination is always a concern for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Carefully vetting products and contacting manufacturers can help identify the safest options.

Are Quick Grits more likely to be contaminated?

There is no evidence that quick grits, including Quaker 5 minute grits, have a higher risk of cross-contamination compared to traditional or instant grits. The quick cooking is achieved through grinding the corn more finely, not by adding questionable ingredients.

As long as the brand can confirm the safety of their manufacturing process and quality control measures, the speed of cooking should not affect the risk of gluten cross-contamination. Quick grits like Quaker 5 minute variety still undergo third-party gluten testing to verify gluten levels below 20ppm, just like traditional grits.

The main factors that influence contamination risk are the ingredients, facility practices, and testing procedures. How quickly the grits cook does not appear to impact the probability of gluten exposure based on current information from manufacturers.

Some final tips for cooking gluten-free grits

Here are some final tips for preparing certified gluten-free grits safely:

  • Carefully read all labels and only purchase uncontaminated products
  • Wash hands, cooking tools and surfaces thoroughly before preparing
  • Use a fresh container of gluten-free grits, rather than one previously scooped from
  • Cook grits in water or broth, avoid adding flour or wheat-based thickeners
  • Add gluten-free toppings like butter, cheese, salt and pepper
  • Avoid adding toppings with gluten-based ingredients like soy sauce

Properly sourcing and handling gluten-free grits can allow those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance to enjoy this classic Southern dish. With some simple precautions in the kitchen, grits can be a delicious gluten-free breakfast option.


In summary, Quaker Quick 5 minute grits are labeled as gluten-free and made with gluten-free ingredients. The brand confirms that strict quality control measures are followed to avoid cross-contamination with gluten. While there is always some risk of trace exposure from manufacturing, Quaker Quick Grits are considered a safe option for gluten-free diets when proper precautions are followed.

As with any product, it’s smart for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance to personally vet the manufacturing process and quality assurances before determining if a product works for their individual needs. But the available information indicates these quick grits are a reliable gluten-free choice. By reading labels, contacting brands, washing hands and tools thoroughly, and avoiding cross-contamination from other kitchen ingredients, grits lovers can safely enjoy this classic comfort food on a gluten-free diet.

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