Gluten free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people adopting a gluten free lifestyle for health or dietary reasons. For those who follow a strict gluten free diet, figuring out what foods are safe to eat while grocery shopping or eating out can be challenging. With the holiday season coming up, one question that frequently arises is whether retailers like Costco offer gluten free versions of seasonal baked goods like pumpkin pie.
What is gluten and gluten free?
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. It acts as a glue that helps food maintain its shape, acting as a structural component in many baked goods. People with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity can experience negative health effects if they eat gluten. This leads many to follow a strict gluten free diet, avoiding any foods containing gluten.
Gluten free diets eliminate foods and ingredients that contain gluten. This includes obvious sources like bread, pasta and baked goods made with wheat flour. It also includes less obvious foods where wheat or barley byproducts are used as additives or flavorings. On a gluten free diet, you need to read ingredient labels carefully and look for gluten free labels on packaged foods to determine what’s safe to consume.
What foods are typically not gluten free?
Here are some examples of foods that typically contain gluten:
- Breads, baked goods and crackers made with wheat flour
- Pasta, cereal and other grain products containing wheat, barley or rye
- Beer and malt beverages
- Foods containing wheat-based thickeners and stabilizers
- Soy sauce and other condiments made with wheat
- Processed lunch meats containing wheat-based fillers
- Fried foods battered with flour
- Imitation meats made with seitan (wheat gluten)
So gluten free eaters need to avoid these products and instead choose gluten free substituted like pasta, crackers, bread and baked goods made with alternate flours like rice, almond, coconut or other gluten free grains.
What makes a food product gluten free?
For a food product to be considered gluten free, it must meet the following requirements:
- No ingredients that are derived from gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, rye or triticale
- No trace amounts of cross-contamination from gluten during manufacturing or processing
- Contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten
Any detectable traces of gluten could cause issues for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. That’s why verified gluten free products adhere to such stringent standards when it comes to cross-contamination.
What kind of gluten free food does Costco sell?
Costco stores aim to offer a wide selection of products for various diets and food restrictions, including gluten free. Here are some examples of the types of gluten free foods available at Costco warehouses and online:
- Gluten free bread, bagels, muffins and other baked goods
- Gluten free pasta, pizza crusts and tortillas
- Gluten free crackers, pretzels, chips and snack foods
- Gluten free baking mixes, flours and ingredients
- Gluten free oats, cereals and granola
- Gluten free cookies, bars, cakes and desserts
- Gluten free frozen meals and prepared foods
- Gluten free shelf-stable items like beans, tomatoes, tuna, etc.
- Gluten free vitamins and supplements
Their selection varies by location and season. Around the holidays, Costco typically expands their selection of gluten free bakery products and seasonal items.
Does Costco sell fresh gluten free bakery items?
Many Costco locations offer fresh bakery products and feature rotating seasonal items. They sell popular fresh baked goods like:
- Other pastries and sweet treats
While they have dedicated production areas for gluten free baked goods, there is still risk of cross-contamination from other wheat-based items made in the same bakery area. So individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity may want to exercise caution.
Does Costco sell frozen gluten free baked goods?
In addition to fresh bakery products, many Costco locations also stock frozen gluten free baked goods. These are produced by dedicated gluten free brands and sold frozen for convenience. Some examples of the types of gluten free baked goods they sell frozen include:
- Gluten free bagels
- Gluten free bread and buns
- Gluten free muffins
- Gluten free waffles and pancakes
- Gluten free cookies
- Gluten free brownies and blondies
- Gluten free pizza crusts
- Gluten free pie crusts and phyllo dough
One major benefit of the frozen items is that they are produced in facilities dedicated to gluten free manufacturing, avoiding any risk of cross-contamination that can occur with fresh in-store bakery products.
Does Costco sell gluten free pumpkin pie?
With Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up, one of the most frequent questions is whether Costco sells gluten free pumpkin pie. The traditional pumpkin pie recipe contains wheat flour in the crust. But there are a few options for gluten free pumpkin pie at Costco:
Fresh bakery gluten free pumpkin pie
Some Costco locations offer fresh gluten free pumpkin pie from their bakeries during the holiday season. These are intended to be gluten free but are made in shared bakery facilities, so risk of trace gluten contamination exists. Individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity may want to use caution with fresh bakery pies.
Frozen gluten free pumpkin pie
A safer option is to choose a frozen gluten free pumpkin pie made by a dedicated gluten free company. Costco often stocks these frozen options from brands like Against the Grain, Wholly Wholesome, and Namaste Foods in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas when demand for pumpkin pie is highest.
Gluten free pumpkin pie filling with separate crust
Costco also sells gluten free pumpkin pie filling in cans, produced by brands like One Potato and Woodstock Farms. This allows you to use your own gluten free pie crust. Options for gluten free pie crust include pre-made frozen crusts or using a gluten free flour blend to make a crust from scratch.
How to find out if your local Costco sells gluten free pumpkin pie
The availability of fresh and frozen gluten free pumpkin pie can vary by location and season. Here are some tips for finding out what your local Costco has in stock:
- Check your in-warehouse bakery and frozen food aisles in person
- Ask customer service or the bakery directly if they offer any gluten free pumpkin pie options
- Call ahead to ask if gluten free pumpkin pie is available before making a trip
- Check the Costco website for your location’s monthly coupon book to see if any gluten free pies are on sale
- Look up the weekly warehouse bakery menu using the Costco app or website
- Ask about gluten free options on Costco social media pages
- Browse the dedicated gluten free section on Costco.com for mail order options
With some advance planning, you should be able to find a gluten free pumpkin pie option at your local Costco warehouse or on Costco.com to enjoy this classic holiday treat while sticking to your gluten free diet.
Tips for finding gluten free foods at Costco
When shopping for gluten free foods at any big box store like Costco, keep these tips in mind:
- Check for dedicated gluten free sections. Many warehouses have an area specifically for gluten free foods.
- Look for the certified gluten free label on packaged products.
- For fresh bakery items, ask about risk of cross-contamination.
- Look for major gluten free brands you recognize.
- For unfamiliar brands, check the ingredients and allergen info.
- Compare unit prices to find the most economical gluten free options.
- Ask customer service or the bakery for recommendations.
- Consider ordering gluten free items online for convenient delivery.
With some extra care reading labels and asking questions, you can successfully shop gluten free at Costco. The low prices and bulk sizes make it an affordable way to stock up on a variety of gluten free groceries, snacks and baked goods for your dietary needs.
Delicious gluten free desserts you can make without pumpkin pie
Pumpkin pie is a classic dessert for fall and winter holidays. But if you can’t find a gluten free pumpkin pie that works for your diet, there are plenty of other delicious gluten free desserts you can make instead. Here are some tasty ideas:
Gluten Free Apple Pie
For a fun twist, make a gluten free apple pie using dairy free butter, gluten free flour and a prepared pie crust. Fill it with sliced apples tossed in cinnamon and sugar. You can make it in a traditional pie plate or individual ramekins.
Gluten Free Pecan Pie
Pecan pie is naturally gluten free when made with a gluten free crust. Make one piled high with pecans and oozing with corn syrup, brown sugar and butter for a sweet southern classic.
Gluten Free Cheesecake
A creamy gluten free cheesecake is delicious plain or with fruit topping. Make a graham cracker crust using gluten free crackers or opt for a nut-based crust instead.
Gluten Free Brownies
Fudgy gluten free brownies with chocolate chips or walnuts are perfect for dessert or a holiday party. Serve them warm with ice cream for extra decadence.
Gluten Free Gingerbread
For a seasonal treat, make soft gluten free gingerbread cutouts decorated with royal icing. They look so cute decorated like little holiday characters.
Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
One of the best parts of the holidays is decorating sugar cookies. Make adorable gluten free sugar cookies cut into fun shapes and go wild decorating with frosting and sprinkles.
Finding gluten free pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner can take some extra effort, but Costco offers a few good options. Check your local Costco bakery or frozen section for fresh and frozen gluten free pumpkin pies. You can also buy canned pumpkin pie filling and use your own gluten free crust. With some simple ingredient swaps and dedicated gluten free brands, you can still enjoy delicious pie this holiday season even when eating gluten free.