Is all Jimmy Dean sausage 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 following a gluten free diet, it can be tricky to find convenient breakfast and lunch options that are safe to eat. Jimmy Dean is a popular brand of pre-cooked frozen sausage, sandwich, bowl, and breakfast items that can be found in most grocery stores. With so many great tasting options, Jimmy Dean products can seem like an easy gluten free choice. But are all Jimmy Dean sausage products actually gluten free? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Some people cannot tolerate gluten due to medical conditions like celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. For those with gluten related disorders, consuming gluten can cause gastrointestinal distress, malabsorption of nutrients, and damage to the small intestine. The only treatment for gluten disorders is strict adherence to a 100% gluten free diet. This means reading labels carefully and avoiding any products that contain wheat, barley, rye, and even oats that may be cross-contaminated.

Even small amounts of gluten from cross-contamination can cause issues for those who are highly sensitive. That’s why it’s so important for those adhering to a gluten free diet to choose truly gluten free options that are produced and packaged in a facility free from gluten exposure.

What Jimmy Dean Products Contain Gluten?

After carefully reviewing the ingredients lists of all Jimmy Dean’s fresh and frozen sausage, deli meat, sandwiches, bowls, and breakfast products, it appears that many of their items do contain gluten or wheat-based ingredients. Here are some examples of Jimmy Dean products that are not gluten-free:

Fresh Pork Sausage Rolls

– Original Pork Sausage Rolls
– Maple Flavored Pork Sausage Rolls
– Hot Pork Sausage Rolls

These fresh pork sausage rolls contain wheat flour as a binding agent.

Fresh Turkey Sausage Links

– Sweet Italian Turkey Sausage Links
– Hot Turkey Sausage Links
– Maple Flavored Turkey Sausage Links

These fresh turkey sausage links contain wheat flour.

Pre-cooked Sausage Links and Patties

– Original Pork Sausage Links
– Turkey Sausage Patties
– Jalapeño Cheddar Sausage Links
– Apple Maple Chicken Sausage Links

The pre-cooked sausage links and patties contain textured wheat protein, wheat flour, or whole wheat breadcrumbs.

Del Real Chicken Apple Sausage

Contains wheat flour.

Oven Roasted Chicken Sausage

Contains wheat flour.

Lean Pork Italian Sausage

Contains wheat flour and wheat gluten.

Fully Cooked Sausage Links and Patties

– Original Pork Links
– Original Turkey Links
– Turkey Maple Links
– Hot & Spicy Links
– Original Beef Sausage Patties

These fully cooked sausages contain wheat flour.

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Croissants

The croissants and biscuits used for these breakfast sandwiches contain wheat flour.

Sausage Biscuit Sandwiches

The biscuits contain wheat flour.

Sausage, Egg & Cheese Bowls

While the sausage crumbles are gluten free, these bowls contain wheat flour in the biscuit topping.

Sausage Gravy

The milk gravy mix has wheat flour as the thickening agent.

Labeling Notes

It’s important to note that on some Jimmy Dean product labels, wheat or gluten containing ingredients are called out underneath the “Contains” allergen statement. However, on other products the allergen statement only lists more general terms like “cereal proteins” or “starch.”

According to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), manufactures must list any of the top 8 food allergens (wheat, soy, milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, and peanuts) clearly on labels. Terms like “starch” or “cereal proteins” do not provide clear information on which grains are included. Those who need to avoid gluten cannot rely on these generic statements and must carefully read the ingredients list.

Are Any Jimmy Dean Sausages Gluten Free?

After a careful review of all ingredients lists, there are a few Jimmy Dean sausage products that do appear to be gluten-free:

Fresh Pork Sausage Meat

– 1 lb Roll Original Pork Sausage
– 1 lb Roll Hot Pork Sausage

The Jimmy Dean fresh pork sausage meat in the chub packaging does not contain any wheat ingredients. However, it’s important to note that these products are produced in a facility that also processes wheat-containing foods. Individual tolerance levels vary, but for celiacs and others highly sensitive, these may not be considered gluten-free due to cross-contact concerns. Those with less sensitivity may be able to tolerate these particular fresh sausage meats.

Fully Cooked Pork Sausage Crumbles

The ingredient list for the fully cooked frozen pork sausage crumbles also does not indicate the presence of any wheat-based ingredients. Like the fresh chubs, these frozen crumbles are produced on shared equipment alongside gluten containing products. For those highly sensitive, cross-contact is still a risk.

Thick Cut Bacon

Jimmy Dean’s Thick Cut Bacon ingredients appear to be gluten-free. No wheat-based additives are listed. As pork is the only ingredient, most should be able to safely consume this bacon regardless of gluten concerns. However, the shared equipment factor still applies here as well.

Pancake on a Stick

Surprisingly, this sweet packaged breakfast item lists gluten free flour in the ingredients! The pancake batter is made with a blend of rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch instead of wheat flour. The sausage inside the pancake pop is the fully cooked crumbles, meaning the pancake on a stick avoids any direct gluten-containing ingredients. Cross-contact is possible during manufacturing. Those highly sensitive should exercise caution, but most gluten-free consumers should be able to safely eat this product.

Why Some Jimmy Dean Sausages Contain Gluten

Wheat flour, wheat gluten, and textured wheat protein are common binders, fillers, and extenders used in many brands of commercial sausage products. These wheat-based additives help to emulsify the meat, keep sausage moist during cooking, and allow meat mixtures to hold their shape and form. Wheat imparts the stretchy, bindable texture that gives sausage it’s characteristic chew and bite. Manufacturer’s add wheat protein to keep production costs lower as well.

Most Jimmey Dean fresh sausages and pre-cooked sausages contain these wheat-based additives. Only a few select products like the fresh chubs, frozen crumbles, bacon, and pancake sticks utilize corn starch, rice flour, or no starch binders in the ingredient list.

Risk of Cross-Contamination

Even if a particular Jimmy Dean sausage product does not directly contain wheat-based ingredients, cross-contamination during manufacturing is a concern for gluten-free consumers.

The company’s allergen statement notes that all Jimmy Dean products are produced in facilities that also handle wheat ingredients. Shared equipment, processing areas, and production lines increase the risk of gluten exposure through cross-contact.

Those who are highly sensitive to trace gluten, like celiacs, generally need to avoid products with these types of allergen warnings. Individual tolerance levels vary, but for optimal health and safety, extreme caution is advised when selecting any products made alongside gluten-containing items.

Is Jimmy Dean Producing Any Certified Gluten-Free Sausages?

At this time, none of the Jimmy Dean sausage varieties are certified gluten-free or labeled as gluten-free foods. The company’s allergen statements indicate wheat flour and shared equipment are used in manufacturing facilities. Without dedicated gluten-free production lines and 3rd party certification, celiacs and others with high sensitivity need to avoid these products completely.

A customer service representative for Jimmy Dean has confirmed that the brand currently has no certified gluten-free sausage options available. Consumers have repeatedly reached out requesting gluten-free alternatives, but the company has not announced any plans to introduce specialty gluten-free items at this time.

Hope still remains that Jimmy Dean may expand into gluten-free choices down the road based on increasing consumer demand. Dedicated production facilities and certification would be required to provide consumers with truly gluten-free Jimmy Dean sausage options.

Safer Gluten-Free Breakfast Alternatives

While authentic Jimmy Dean sausage is off the table for now, those seeking tasty gluten-free breakfast meats do have several safer options:

Look for Certified Gluten-Free Brands

Seeking out brands that are certified gluten-free and produced in dedicated facilities is the best option for celiacs and others who are highly sensitive. Choosing certified gluten-free sausage ensures that diligent protocols are in place to avoid any cross-contact with gluten. Some examples of reputable gluten-free breakfast meat brands include Pederson’s Natural Farms, Teton Waters Ranch, and Wellshire Farms.

Choose Single-Ingredient Meats

Opting for raw meats without fillers, binders or seasonings is another safe bet. Single ingredient proteins like pork breakfast sausage, chicken sausage, bacon, or ham avoid the need for wheat-based additives. Then you can customize seasonings at home based on dietary needs. Brands like Applegate, Carl Buddig, and Niman Ranch offer high quality, gluten-free deli meats.

Cook Your Own Homemade Sausage

Making DIY breakfast sausage at home using gluten-free ingredients ensures you control exactly what goes into each batch. Combining ground pork, salt, sage, pepper, garlic powder, and a binder like rice flour or xanthan gum allows you to re-create Jimmy Dean style sausage safely. Browse gluten-free cookbooks and food blogs for trusted recipes.

Is Jimmy Dean Likely to Go Gluten-Free in the Future?

While there are currently no certified gluten-free options in the Jimmy Dean product lineup, consumer demand for specialty gluten-free foods continues to grow exponentially. Major food brands are taking notice and investing in gluten-free research and facilities.

General Mills now produces many beloved products like Cheerios certified gluten-free. Nestle has introduced gluten-free options for favorites like DiGiorno pizza and Stouffer’s meals. Hormel Food’s Applegate brand offers numerous gluten-free deli meats and sausages. ConAgra has announced plans to renovate facilities to accommodate gluten-free foods.

With its huge brand popularity and distribution, Jimmy Dean has the scale and resources to successfully launch dedicated gluten-free items if desired. Removing wheat binders would allow the signature flavors and quality consumers love in a gluten-free version. The company already possesses the marketing power and fanbase needed to promote new specialty products.

While the company has yet to announce definitive plans to introduce gluten-free sausage, consumer voices have power to drive change. Those hoping for gluten-free choices can contact Jimmy Dean directly to politely request gluten-free options. Enough interest and feedback may compel the company to hear the demand and expand offerings to serve this growing demographic. Time will tell if the brand decides to tap into this lucrative gluten-free market down the road.

The Bottom Line

After a comprehensive review of all ingredients, at this time the vast majority of Jimmy Dean’s sausage and breakfast offerings unfortunately contain gluten. Only a small few items like the fresh chub sausage, frozen sausage crumbles, thick cut bacon, and pancakes on a stick appear potentially gluten-free based on ingredients alone. However, due to the high risk of cross-contamination on shared lines, even these products may not be truly safe for celiacs or gluten-sensitive individuals.

Jimmy Dean has yet to launch any certified gluten-free sausage products or manufacture items in a dedicated facility at this time. Those adhering to a strict gluten-free diet should avoid Jimmy Dean breakfast meats and instead opt for certified gluten-free brands, single ingredient fresh meats, or homemade sausage. While gluten-free demand continues rising, for now those hoping for specialty Jimmy Dean sausage will need to explore other options. Carefully checking labels, understanding advisory statements, and calling brands with any questions remains key to safely navigating the gluten-free diet.


In summary, at this time the vast majority of Jimmy Dean sausage products contain gluten-based ingredients and are manufactured on shared equipment alongside wheat-containing items. This makes them unsuitable for those with celiac disease or strict gluten intolerance. A few select items may be tolerated based on individual sensitivity levels, but no Jimmy Dean sausages can currently be considered certified gluten-free. Those wishing to enjoy the brand’s signature taste and convenience will need to await potential gluten-free offerings in the future. In the meantime, consumers seeking gluten-free breakfast meats can explore dedicated brands, single ingredient fresh meats, and homemade sausage as safer alternatives. Carefully reading labels and understanding manufacturing practices remains paramount for all with gluten-related disorders. With vigilance and proper choices, those adhering to gluten-free diets can still enjoy tasty and satisfying breakfast options.

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