Is Ezekiel English muffins gluten free?

Gluten free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, both for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and for those simply looking to avoid gluten for other health reasons. For those following a gluten free diet, finding tasty, convenient gluten free bread products can be challenging. One brand that has become popular is Ezekiel bread, which offers loaves, buns, and English muffins. But are Ezekiel English muffins actually gluten free? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. For most people, gluten does not cause any issues. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers an autoimmune reaction that damages the small intestine. This can cause gastrointestinal symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. The only treatment for celiac disease is to follow a strict lifelong gluten free diet.

People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity may also need to avoid gluten to prevent gastrointestinal issues. In addition, some people follow a gluten free diet because they believe it improves energy, digestion, inflammation, or other health markers, though the evidence for this is mixed.

What Makes a Food Gluten Free?

For a food to be considered gluten free, it must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. This is the limit that has been determined to be safe for the majority of those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. Checking labels for a “gluten free” certification helps ensure products do not exceed this limit.

It’s important to understand that there is no such thing as “mostly” gluten free. Even tiny amounts of gluten from cross contamination can trigger issues for those who are sensitive. This makes oats and wheat-based products questionable, even if processed to reduce gluten content, since cross contamination is common. For this reason, choosing certified gluten free oat or wheat products is recommended.

About Ezekiel Bread and English Muffins

Ezekiel bread is a sprouted whole grain bread made from wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt. It is marketed as a healthy, fiber and protein-rich alternative to traditional bread. Ezekiel English muffins follow the same formula.

While Ezekiel contains some gluten-containing grains like wheat and barley, the sprouting process is believed to make the gluten present less allergenic. However, Ezekiel bread and English muffins are not considered gluten free.

Sprouted Grains

The key characteristic of Ezekiel products is the use of sprouted grains. Sprouting is a process where whole grains begin to germinate, which activates enzymes and is thought to increase nutrition. Specifically, sprouting may:

  • Increase vitamin and mineral content
  • Improve digestibility of proteins and starches
  • Increase fiber content
  • Produce natural vitamins C and B
  • Break down anti-nutrients like phytic acid
  • Neutralize enzyme inhibitors

The sprouting process does appear to create changes in the gluten content of wheat and barley grains. One study found up to a 30% reduction in gluten content after germination and sprouting of wheat kernels. However, sprouted grains are not gluten free.

Gluten Content of Ezekiel Bread

Though the sprouting process may alter gluten, Ezekiel bread still contains gluten from wheat and barley and is not considered gluten free or safe for those with celiac disease.

One review tested the gluten content of Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread. They found it contained nearly 800 ppm of gluten, well above the 20 ppm cut off to be labeled gluten free. This indicates that, even with sprouting, the finished bread still contains significant gluten content.

Are Ezekiel English Muffins Gluten Free?

Based on the available evidence, Ezekiel English muffins also contain gluten and are not gluten free. Since they are made using a similar sprouted whole grain formula as the bread, the English muffins likely have similar amounts of gluten from wheat and barley.

The Food and Drug Administration requires foods labeled “gluten free” to be third party tested to verify they contain less than 20 ppm of gluten. Ezekiel English muffins do not claim to be gluten free or provide any gluten testing documentation.

On their website, Ezekiel bread specifically states their products are not gluten free:

“Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Products do contain gluten and are NOT gluten-free. People with gluten sensitivities should exercise caution in using our products.”

This applies to all their sprouted grain products, including the English muffins.

Reasons the Ezekiel Brand Cannot Claim Gluten Free

There are a few reasons why Ezekiel bread and English muffins are not labeled or advertised as gluten free:

Contains Gluten-Containing Grains

Ezekiel products are made with wheat and barley, two grains that naturally contain the gluten protein. While sprouting may alter gluten content, it does not get rid of gluten completely.

Risk of Cross-Contamination

Even if Ezekiel could reduce gluten content below 20 ppm through sprouting methods, there would be risk of cross contamination from other gluten-containing grains processed in the same facilities. Strict procedures would need to be in place.

No Third Party Gluten Testing

Ezekiel would need to provide validated third party lab test results proving gluten content below 20 ppm. Currently no such testing is available. Without this, they cannot legally label products gluten free.

May Contain Trace Amounts

For individuals with celiac disease, even trace amounts of gluten can trigger issues. The brand advises caution, indicating they cannot guarantee an absolute zero amount of gluten despite sprouting.

Potential Issues with Ezekiel for Gluten Sensitivities

While the sprouting process may alter the gluten content of Ezekiel products, they still contain wheat, barley, and gluten protein. Individual reactions will vary, but potential issues include:

Intestinal Damage

In those with celiac disease, any gluten exposure can cause damage to the small intestine villi. This can undermine the healing process and cause symptoms.


Gluten can trigger systemic inflammation in gluten sensitive individuals. Even small amounts may cause this reaction.

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits are common when gluten sensitive individuals ingest gluten.

Fatigue and Headaches

Eating gluten products may cause fatigue, headaches, brain fog, and mood issues in those with sensitivities.

Skin Conditions

Rashes, eczema, and skin inflammation are other possible reactions to gluten for sensitive individuals.

So while sprouting may provide some benefits to gluten content, Ezekiel products should not be considered safe for those who must follow a strict gluten free diet due to celiac or gluten sensitivity.

Other Gluten-Containing Grains in Ezekiel

In addition to wheat and barley, Ezekiel products contain other gluten-containing grains:


Spelt is an ancient relative of wheat. Though it contains slightly less gluten than modern wheat, spelt still contains gluten and is unsafe for celiacs.


Kamut is a grain trademarked brand name for Khorasan wheat. Since it is a form of wheat, Kamut contains gluten.


Some Ezekiel products contain oats. While oats are naturally gluten free, many are cross contaminated with wheat or barley. Only certified gluten free oats are considered safe. Ezekiel does not specify using gluten free oats.

So in products like Ezekiel English muffins that contain wheat, barley, spelt, and potentially oats or kamut, gluten exposure is likely high.

Other Considerations for Gluten and Ezekiel Products

A few other factors to keep in mind when evaluating whether Ezekiel products may work for gluten sensitivities:

Amount Consumed

Smaller servings may be tolerated better than large servings in those moderately sensitive. Large muffins or multiple slices of bread may cause issues.

Individual Reactions

Our immune systems respond uniquely. Some may react while others do not when exposed to the same low gluten amounts.

Manufacturing Processes

How thoroughly ingredients are sprouted, processed, transported, and packaged also impacts potential cross contamination. Protocols likely vary.

Other Food Sensitivities

Besides gluten, some may react to proteins in grains like corn, soy, yeast, or nuts also present in Ezekiel products.

So while a serving of Ezekiel sprouted bread or English muffins may be tolerated fine by some gluten sensitive individuals, for those with celiac disease or who are highly reactive, consuming them could still cause issues. Proceeding with caution is wise.

Better Gluten Free Bread Alternatives

Rather than taking a chance with Ezekiel products, individuals requiring a gluten free diet may want to consider some dedicated gluten free bread brands instead, including:

Canyon Bakehouse

Canyon Bakehouse offers a range of gluten free breads, bagels, buns, and muffins, including options made with ancient grains like teff, amaranth, quinoa, millet, and sorghum. Their products are certified gluten free to less than 20 ppm.


Schar specializes in gluten free baked goods including breads, bagels, rolls, and muffins. Their products are labeled gluten free and made from gluten free grains and seeds.


Udi’s is one of the most widely available gluten free bakery brands. They offer gluten free sandwich bread, English muffins, bagels, buns, pizza crust, and baking mixes made with gluten free flours, seeds, and fibers.


A Canadian brand, Kinnikinnick features gluten free breads, donuts, cereals, and mixes made from rice, tapioca, buckwheat, teff, sorghum, and other gluten free grains.

Manna Bread

Manna Bread is a dedicated gluten free bakery offering breads, bagels, buns, rolls, and pizza shells made from gluten free grains, starches, flours and seeds.

Sticking with certified gluten free brands ensures products are safely below the FDA gluten free threshold of less than 20 ppm. This avoids the uncertainties with Ezekiel and other products that may contain traces of gluten.

Should You Try Ezekiel Products?

Whether to experiment with Ezekiel breads or English muffins is an individual choice that depends on your level of gluten sensitivity:

Celiac or Highly Sensitive

Avoid – Even sprouted, Ezekiel likely contains too much gluten to be safe. Stick with labeled gluten free foods only to prevent reactions.

Moderately Sensitive

Try Carefully – A serving may be tolerated, especially if less reactive. But gluten reactions are still possible.

Mildly Sensitive

Possibly Safe – A single muffin or slice of bread may be fine for those with mild sensitivities, but monitor symptoms closely.

Not Sensitive

Likely Fine – If you do not have celiac disease or a diagnosed gluten issue, Ezekiel can be part of a varied healthy diet.

Certainly sprouted Ezekiel products provide nutrition benefits compared to refined flour breads. But proceed with caution if requiring strict gluten avoidance, since they still contain wheat, barley and gluten. Labeled gluten free alternatives are recommended for those highly sensitive.

Cooking and Baking with Ezekiel Bread

If you find you can tolerate Ezekiel sprouted whole grain breads well enough, they can be used in recipes and for sandwiches similar to regular bread:


Use Ezekiel bread for toast, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, and sliders. The sprouted bread makes a more nutrient dense alternative to white bread.

French Toast

For breakfast, use Ezekiel bread for gluten free French toast. Creamy chia pudding also makes a great topping.

Bread Crumbs

Make your own gluten free bread crumbs from Ezekiel loaves. Use them to coat chicken, fish, or vegetables or for casseroles.


Craft homemade stuffing with Ezekiel bread cubes for holidays like Thanksgiving. Sauté onions and celery and season with sage, thyme, broth, and eggs.


Toss bread cubes in oil and spices to bake as crunchy salad croutons. Garlic, onion powder, parsley, salt, and pepper add flavor.


Grill or toast Ezekiel slices and top with diced tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and cheeses for easy gluten free bruschetta appetizers.

So while not gluten free, sprouted Ezekiel bread can still be used creatively in recipes. Just be cautious if gluten sensitive and monitor food amounts and symptoms.

Finding Other Gluten Free Sprouted Grains

If you wish to avoid potential issues with gluten content in Ezekiel products, look for alternative sprouted grain breads that are gluten free certified:

Manna Bread Sprouted

Manna Bread Sprouted is a certified gluten free line of breads and bagels made from sprouted brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and millet.

Angelic Bakehouse Sprouted Multigrain

Angelic Bakehouse offers sprouted gluten free bread options like 7-Sprouted Multigrain made with sprouted sorghum, millet, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, teff, and brown rice.


LiveGfree has a sprouted brown rice gluten free bread. It is made with sprouted brown and sweet rice flours.

Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery

Rudi’s Organic Bakery has a Spelt-Rice gluten free bread that includes sprouted brown rice and sprouted spelt fiber for nutrition.

These brands use gluten free ancient grains that are sprouted and avoid wheat, barley, rye, and conventional oats at risk for cross contamination.

The Bottom Line

While Ezekiel sprouted whole grain English muffins and bread contain less gluten than regular flour breads, they still contain gluten based on ingredients like wheat, barley, spelt, and potentially oats. For this reason, Ezekiel products do NOT meet the requirements to be labeled gluten free and are not recommended for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, who should stick to certified gluten free alternatives for safety. Individuals who do not have gluten issues can continue to enjoy Ezekiel bread as part of an overall healthy diet. Proceed with caution, monitor symptoms carefully, and choose plain labeled gluten free products if following a strict gluten free diet.

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