Is beef consomme gluten free?

Yes, beef consomme is generally considered gluten free. Consomme is a clear soup made by simmering beef, vegetables, and spices to extract their flavors, then straining the liquid. It does not contain any wheat, barley, rye or other gluten-containing ingredients.

What is beef consomme?

Beef consomme is a broth that is made by simmering beef, mirepoix (a mix of carrots, celery, and onions), tomato paste, and seasonings in water. This mixture is slowly simmered for several hours which concentrates the flavors and extracts the nutrients from the beef and vegetables. The liquid is then strained to remove all the solids, leaving behind a clear, flavorful broth.

Traditionally, consomme gets its clarity from a process called clarification. Egg whites are whisked together and added to the strained liquid, then gently simmered. The egg whites coagulate and form a raft on the surface that traps particles and impurities. This raft is discarded once cooked, leaving behind a crystal clear consomme.

Consomme can be served as a broth on its own, or used as a base for other soups. It has a rich, beefy, slightly sweet flavor from the cooked down vegetables. The straining process removes all traces of gluten-containing ingredients like pasta or grains.

Common ingredients in beef consomme

The main ingredients in traditional beef consomme are:

  • Beef – usually a cut with connective tissue such as chuck or shank
  • Mirepoix – carrots, celery, onions
  • Tomato paste
  • Water or broth
  • Herbs and spices – bay leaves, thyme, parsley, black peppercorns
  • Egg whites (optional for clarification)

Consomme recipes do not contain any wheat, barley, rye or other gluten-containing ingredients. The only potential source of gluten would be if a wheat-based broth was used in place of water. However, most consomme recipes call for water or homemade beef broth.

Is beef broth gluten free?

Beef broth by itself is naturally gluten free. True beef broth is made by simmering bones, meat, and vegetables in water which extracts their flavors and nutrients. It does not contain any gluten-based grains.

However, some commercial beef broths or stocks may contain additives or seasonings that contain gluten. These can include:

  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Soy sauce or tamari (unless labeled gluten free)
  • Maltodextrin
  • Modified food starch
  • Flavorings or seasonings containing wheat, barley, rye, or malt

Checking the label on store-bought beef broth is important to look for potential gluten-containing additives. Making beef broth from scratch at home guarantees it will be gluten free.

What ingredients make something gluten free?

A food or dish is considered gluten free if it contains no wheat, barley, rye or related grains, which are sources of a protein called gluten. There are a few key things to look for:

  • No wheat – this includes all wheat varieties and derivatives like durum, semolina, spelt, and wheat berries
  • No barley
  • No rye
  • No malt – often derived from barley
  • No oats – unless certified gluten free. Oats can be contaminated with wheat in growing and processing.

On food labels, look for the absence of these grains in the ingredients list. Call outs like “gluten free” can also help identify foods safe for a gluten free diet.

Some other ingredients that can indicate the presence of gluten include:

  • Malt vinegar
  • Soy sauce or tamari (unless labeled gluten free)
  • Flour or starch (unless from gluten free grains like rice)
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Flavorings and seasonings with potential sources of gluten

Potential sources of gluten in soup

When making soup from scratch, avoid ingredients with wheat, barley, rye, and malt. Watch out for potential sources of gluten including:

  • Grains – wheat noodles, barley, rye bread croutons
  • Thickeners – roux made with wheat flour, cornstarch that contains gluten
  • Broth bases – bouillon cubes or broth concentrates with maltodextrin or wheat-based ingredients
  • Soy sauce and tamari (unless labeled gluten free)
  • Malt vinegar
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Commercial soup bases or broths with gluten-containing additives

Check all ingredient labels carefully if using any prepared ingredients in homemade soup. Opt for naturally gluten free whole foods whenever possible.

Is consomme gluten free?

Yes, traditional beef consomme is gluten free. By definition, consomme is a clear soup that has been clarified using egg whites. This process removes any particles, including potential sources of gluten:

  1. Beef and mirepoix are simmered with herbs and spices to extract flavors
  2. The resulting broth is strained to remove solids
  3. Egg whites are whisked and added to the strained broth
  4. The broth is simmered gently. Egg whites coagulate and rise to the surface in a raft, trapping impurities
  5. Once cooked, the raft is discarded along with any traces of gluten
  6. The resulting consomme is strained again. This leaves a crystal clear, gluten free broth

The main consomme ingredients – beef, carrots, celery, onion – do not contain gluten. As long as the broth itself is gluten free, the clarification process removes any potential trace gluten, resulting in a gluten free consomme.

Is canned consomme gluten free?

Commercially canned consomme may or may not be gluten free. Some brands clarify their broths using egg whites, following the traditional recipe. However, other mass-produced versions can take shortcuts and use wheat flour or maltodextrin for clarification instead.

Check the ingredients list on canned consomme to see if wheat, barley, rye or related ingredients are listed. Words like “clarified with wheat flour” would indicate the presence of gluten. Reputable gluten free brands will be certified and labeled as such.

When in doubt, it is safer to make homemade consomme using traditional gluten free ingredients and the egg white clarification method. This guarantees no gluten cross-contamination.

Is consomme safe in a gluten free diet?

Properly prepared beef consomme made according to a traditional recipe can be safely included in a gluten free diet. The clarification process helps remove any traces of gluten from the initial ingredients.

However, there are a few precautions those following a gluten free diet should take with consomme:

  • Review ingredients if purchasing canned consomme and look for a gluten free label
  • Make consomme from scratch at home using certified gluten free broth
  • Use traditionally gluten free ingredients like carrots, celery, onion, and tomato paste
  • Allow broth to simmer for several hours to concentrate flavors and extract gluten
  • Clarify using egg whites only to remove any remaining gluten particles
  • Avoid thickeners like wheat flour or maltodextrin

Consuming homemade consomme made with care to avoid gluten should be safe. Those with celiac disease or serious gluten sensitivity should take extra care to prevent any cross-contamination.

Is all purpose flour gluten free?

No, all purpose flour is not gluten free. All purpose flour is made from wheat, which contains the proteins glutenin and gliadin. When mixed with water, these proteins form gluten.

There are several varieties of wheat flour that are considered all purpose:

  • Bleached all purpose flour – Made from hard wheat with the bran and germ removed. Treated with chemicals to whiten it.
  • Unbleached all purpose flour – Made from hard wheat. Does not undergo bleaching.
  • White whole wheat flour – Made from hard white wheat which lacks colored bran. Contains more nutrients than regular all purpose.

All types of all purpose flour contain gluten and are not suitable for gluten free baking. Replacing all purpose flour requires a blend of several gluten free flours such as rice, tapioca, potato starch, and xanthan gum to replicate the binding qualities of gluten.

Gluten free substitute for all purpose flour

There are many recipes for homemade gluten free flour blends to substitute for all purpose flour in baking. A basic blend combines:

  • 2 parts white rice flour
  • 2/3 part potato starch
  • 1/3 part tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (for every 1 cup of flour blend)

This mix mimics the texture of all purpose flour. Other gluten free flours like almond, coconut or sorghum flour can also be incorporated.

There are also several brands of pre-made gluten free flour blends that are conveniently premixed and formulated for easy baking. Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur, and Pillsbury all make gluten free all purpose baking mixes.

What thickens consomme?

There are a few traditional ways consomme can be thickened after clarification:

  • Egg yolks – Temper hot consomme into whisked egg yolks to gently thicken without curdling.
  • Arrowroot – Mix arrowroot powder with a small amount of consomme until smooth, then stir into hot broth.
  • Rice flour – Make a slurry with rice flour and cold water. Slowly whisk slurry into simmering consomme.
  • Vegetable puree – Purée cooked vegetables with broth and blend back into consommé.

Traditional French consomme is thickened at the end with egg yolks. Rice flour or arrowroot are good gluten free choices. Vegetables like carrots, celery root, potatoes or tomatoes can also add body.

Ingredients to avoid that contain gluten include:

  • Wheat flour
  • Barley, rye or wheat starches
  • Maltodextrin
  • Roux – butter and wheat flour mixture

When in doubt, stick to pure egg yolks, rice flour, arrowroot or pureed vegetables for thickening gluten free consomme.


In conclusion, properly prepared beef consomme is generally considered gluten free. By following a traditional recipe, using gluten free broth, and clarifying with egg whites, consomme can be safely consumed on a gluten free diet. When buying commercially canned consomme, be sure to read labels carefully and look for a certified gluten free product. Homemade consomme allows control over all ingredients for a gluten free result.

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