Is all Annie’s mac and cheese gluten-free?

Annie’s is a popular brand of boxed macaroni and cheese that offers both gluten-free and regular varieties. With so many options to choose from, it can get confusing figuring out which Annie’s mac and cheese products are gluten-free and which contain gluten.

Quick Answer

No, not all Annie’s mac and cheese is gluten-free. Annie’s has specific gluten-free mac and cheese products that are certified gluten-free. However, many of Annie’s traditional mac and cheese products contain wheat and are not gluten-free.

Overview of Annie’s Mac and Cheese

Annie’s makes a wide variety of boxed macaroni and cheese products including shells, elbows, spirals, and more. They offer products ranging from classic cheddar to unique flavors like bunny pasta and white cheddar mac. While some Annie’s products are gluten-free, others contain wheat or wheat ingredients:

  • Gluten-Free: Certified gluten-free products made with gluten-free pasta
  • Regular: Products containing wheat pasta or wheat ingredients

When shopping for Annie’s mac and cheese, it’s essential to read labels carefully to check for gluten-free certification. Presence of wheat in the ingredients list or allergen statement indicates the product is not gluten-free.

Identifying Annie’s Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese

Annie’s gluten-free mac and cheese products are clearly labeled “gluten free” on the front of the box. They are made with gluten-free rice or corn pasta and do not contain any wheat ingredients. These certified gluten-free varieties include:

  • Rice Pasta Mac
  • White Cheddar Rice Pasta
  • Shells & White Cheddar Mac
  • Cheddar Bunnies

The gluten-free products do not contain wheat, barley, rye or oats. Annie’s works with the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) to ensure proper procedures are followed to avoid gluten cross-contamination.

Spotting Gluten on Ingredient Lists

Reading the ingredient list on the back of packages is the best way to identify if an Annie’s product is gluten-free. Gluten-containing grains to look out for include:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Malt extract or flavoring
  • Oats (unless certified gluten-free)

Any Annie’s mac and cheese product listing these ingredients contains gluten and is not suitable for a gluten-free diet.

Allergen Statements

The allergen statement below the ingredient list also identifies if an Annie’s product contains wheat. This statement calls out all major food allergens. If wheat is not included, this signals a gluten-free product.

For example:

  • Gluten-free product: Contains milk and soy.
  • Regular product: Contains wheat, milk and soy.

Reading both the ingredients and allergen statement ensures an Annie’s mac and cheese is truly gluten-free.

Cross-Contamination Risks

Even if made with gluten-free ingredients, cross-contamination is a concern in facilities that also process gluten-containing foods. Annie’s takes steps to avoid this:

  • Gluten-free items are produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility.
  • All equipment and surfaces are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before production.
  • Testing is conducted to verify no gluten cross-contamination.

Following gluten-free protocols and certification guidelines minimizes risks. But those highly sensitive should note there still could be trace amounts of gluten.

What About Organic and Regular Annie’s Mac and Cheese?

Both organic and regular Annie’s macaroni and cheese products likely contain gluten and wheat unless labeled gluten-free. Examples include:

  • Original Shells & Real Aged Cheddar
  • Classic Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese
  • Organic Classic Cheddar Mac & Cheese

While these do not have gluten-free claims, some may be made with gluten-free pasta. It’s still essential to check the ingredients and allergen statements to confirm gluten content.

Macaroni and Cheese Flavor Varieties

Annie’s offers their mac and cheese products in a variety of fun flavors and shapes like:

  • Bunny Pasta
  • Deluxe Cheddar Cheese Sauce
  • White Cheddar Spirals

Flavor or shape alone does not indicate if a product is gluten-free. As always, examine the label for gluten-free certification and check the ingredients/allergen statements when unsure.

Multi-Serve vs Single-Serve Mac and Cheese

Annie’s sells their macaroni and cheese both as multi-serve family-size boxes and convenient microwavable cups.

Examples of single-serve cups include:

  • Original Macaroni & Cheese
  • White Cheddar Mac
  • Cheddar Bunnies

The same rules apply to both formats. Gluten-free claims must be present no matter if it’s a multi-serve box, single cup, or variety pack.

Annie’s Microwavable Macaroni and Cheese

Microwavable cups offer an easy lunch option. But keep in mind that only certified gluten-free cups are appropriate if avoiding gluten. Examples include:

  • Rice Mac and Cheese
  • Rice Mac and Cheese with White Cheddar

Other microwave cups likely contain gluten, so verify before purchasing.

Annie’s Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese Mixes

In addition to packaged mac and cheese, Annie’s makes gluten-free mixes packaged in bags. These include:

  • Gluten Free Rice Pasta Cheddar
  • Gluten Free Creamy Deluxe Rice Pasta

The user provides milk, butter and their own gluten-free pasta with these mixes. This makes for a fresh gluten-free homemade meal.

Annie’s Organic Mac and Cheese

Just because a product says organic does not mean it’s also gluten-free. Examples of organic Annie’s mac and cheese with wheat/gluten include:

  • Organic Bernie-O’s
  • Organic Cheddar Bunnies

The organic line has several certified gluten-free varieties too like Organic Gluten Free Rice Pasta Mac & Cheese.

Tips for Cooking Gluten-Free Annie’s Mac and Cheese

A few quick tips for safely preparing certified gluten-free Annie’s mac and cheese:

  • Carefully check label to ensure product is gluten-free.
  • Verify ingredients to ensure no hidden gluten sources.
  • Use fresh water and clean cookware to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Stir and serve with utensils that haven’t touched gluten.

Taking steps to prevent cross-contact ensures your meal stays gluten-free.

Where to Buy Annie’s Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese

You can find a variety of Annie’s gluten-free macaroni and cheese products in major grocery stores and online retailers including:

  • Whole Foods
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Amazon

Check Annie’s store locator to find gluten-free products near you.

Dining Out Tips

When dining out, be cautious ordering mac and cheese unless you can verify it’s gluten-free. Pasta dishes are high-risk for cross-contact. Check with your server and request to see ingredient lists to ensure gluten-free preparation.

Gluten-Free Substitutions

If your favorite Annie’s mac and cheese contains gluten, try using a certified gluten-free product instead. Some good swaps include:

  • Annie’s Gluten Free Rice Pasta Mac and Cheese
  • Banza Chickpea Pasta
  • Barilla Protein+ Gluten Free Pasta

There are also many tasty gluten-free mac and cheese recipes to try made from scratch.

Should You Try Annie’s Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese?

If you follow a gluten-free diet, Annie’s certified gluten-free macaroni and cheese products are generally considered safe. They offer convenient gluten-free options that taste great. Just be sure to double check labels and follow proper precautions to avoid cross-contamination at home.

With so many varieties and flavors, read packaging carefully to ensure the product is gluten-free before purchasing. This ensures you safely enjoy Annie’s mac and cheese on your gluten-free diet.

The Bottom Line

Not all Annie’s mac and cheese products are gluten-free. Only varieties with a “gluten-free” claim on the packaging that avoid wheat ingredients are suitable. Carefully checking labels is crucial since many classic Annie’s products do contain gluten. Selecting certified gluten-free Annie’s mac and cheese gives you peace of mind that you can safely enjoy a bowl of cheesy pasta.

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