Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people adopting them for medical or lifestyle reasons. For those avoiding gluten, reading ingredient labels carefully is essential to stay compliant with the diet. With so many products on grocery store shelves containing gluten, finding convenient gluten-free options can be a challenge. Canned chili is a popular item that many brands produce in different varieties. Understanding which canned chili options are gluten-free friendly can make meal planning much easier.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. For those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten triggers an immune response that damages the small intestine. This can lead to symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue and headaches. The only treatment for celiac disease is strictly following a 100% gluten-free diet. For those avoiding gluten for other reasons, like managing irritable bowel syndrome or autism spectrum disorder symptoms, a gluten-free or reduced gluten diet may also be beneficial.
Why check canned chili for gluten?
While plain meat and beans may seem innocuous, canned chili often contains thickening agents and flavorings that can contain gluten. Wheat flour, wheat starch, barley malt extract, maltodextrin and soy sauce are common gluten-containing ingredients used in many commercially prepared foods, including canned chili. Reading the ingredient list carefully and understanding potential hidden sources of gluten is the only way to determine if a product is truly gluten-free.
Hidden sources of gluten in canned chili
In addition to obvious gluten grains like wheat, barley and rye, there are many hidden sources of gluten to watch out for in canned chili:
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein
- Modified food starch (unless specified gluten-free)
- Maltodextrin (usually from wheat)
- Soy sauce or tamari (unless specified gluten-free)
- Natural flavors (may contain gluten)
- Spices and seasonings (may be contaminated with gluten)
Is Hormel Chili turkey with beans gluten-free?
After careful inspection of the ingredients list, Hormel Chili turkey with beans can be considered gluten-free. The only ingredients listed on the label are:
- Chili pepper
- Natural flavor
None of these listed ingredients contain gluten. Hormel does not use any thickening agents like wheat flour or questionable natural flavors in this product. The spices are also gluten-free.
According to Hormel’s allergen information, this product does not contain any wheat, barley, rye or their derivatives. Hormel states that none of their turkey or veggie chili varieties contain gluten.
So turkey chili lovers with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can safely enjoy Hormel chili turkey with beans! Always be sure to check the label each time you purchase it to ensure no recipe changes have occurred.
Other gluten-free Hormel chili varieties
In addition to the turkey with beans variety, Hormel makes several other canned chili options that are labeled gluten-free:
- Chili with beans – no turkey
- Turkey chili no beans
- Turkey chili with beans – lower sodium
- Vegetarian chili with beans
- Vegetarian chili no beans
Those with other food allergies or sensitivities should always carefully inspect the ingredients list for each specific product. For example, the regular chili with beans contains beef while the vegetarian varieties contain textured vegetable protein. But they all have gluten-free status from Hormel. Their allergen information states that none of their chili ingredients come from sources containing gluten.
Call or email company with questions
If ever in doubt about an ingredient or a product, it never hurts to call the company directly to inquire. Food manufacturers have entire departments dedicated to handling consumer questions and concerns. Don’t hesitate to call or email them if you need clarification or reassurance about the gluten-free status of one of their products.
Is generic canned chili gluten-free?
Generic or store brand canned chili may also be free of gluten ingredients. But it requires even more careful label reading since gluten-containing thickeners are commonly added. Very few store brands provide any allergen information on their websites. Your safest bet is choosing a brand like Hormel that plainly states their chili varieties are gluten-free. But if you do opt for generic chili to save money, thoroughly inspect the ingredient list looking for any of the hidden gluten sources mentioned earlier in this article.
What about homemade chili?
When prepared at home from scratch, chili can easily be made gluten-free. By choosing corn or chickpea flour instead of wheat flour as a thickener, using plain tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, and avoiding soy sauce, chili can be made completely gluten-free. Spices and seasonings should also be checked to make sure they have no gluten from wheat, barley or rye. As long as 100% certified gluten-free ingredients are used, homemade chili can be delicious and safe for those avoiding gluten.
Tips for preparing Hormel turkey chili
Once you’ve confirmed Hormel turkey chili with beans is gluten-free, you likely can’t wait to enjoy it! Here are some serving tips:
- Serve chili over baked potatoes, sweet potatoes or cauliflower rice
- Top with shredded cheese, Greek yogurt or avocado
- Pair with corn bread or gluten-free crackers
- Mix in extra vegetables like corn, carrots or zucchini
- Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro
- Make chili dogs on gluten-free hot dog buns
The possibilities are endless for how to serve up hearty bowls of Hormel’s gluten-free turkey bean chili! Freeze any extras in individual containers for quick reheatable meals later on.
Is turkey or beef chili more gluten-free?
Both Hormel’s turkey and traditional beef chilis are labeled gluten-free. Neither variety contains any thickeners, wheat ingredients or soy. The turkey chili offers a lighter meat option, while the beef chili provides that classic, hearty flavor. But those avoiding gluten can rest assured that both varieties from Hormel have been produced to avoid gluten cross-contact.
Some individuals report more gastrointestinal issues from red meat than poultry. So turkey chili may be easier to digest for those sensitive to beef. However, beef is not inherently less gluten-free than turkey as long as processing and manufacturing procedures are followed to prevent cross-contamination.
Other gluten-free chili options
While Hormel offers the most varieties of canned chili marked gluten-free, there are a few other brands producing gluten-free chili as well:
- Amy’s Organic Chili – no beans
- Campbell’s Chunky Chili – various flavors
- Stagg Chili
- Wolf Brand Homestyle Chili
Always check labels since formulations can change. For absolute certainty, look for a gluten-free certification logo from organizations like GFCO, GFSI or NSF Gluten-Free. Also reach out to the manufacturer if questions remain about shared equipment with gluten-containing products.
Are beans naturally gluten-free?
Beans like pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans and cannellini beans are naturally gluten-free legumes. Gluten grains like wheat, barley and rye are entirely different botanically from leguminous beans. If consuming plain, unseasoned beans without any additives, they will be gluten-free. Rinsing canned beans thoroughly before use can also help remove any sauces or seasonings that may introduce gluten cross-contamination.
Some exceptions to look out for:
- Canned baked beans often contain wheat or molasses as ingredients.
- Beans cooked in a shared production facility with wheat-based foods.
- Beans flavored with malt vinegar or soy sauce.
As long as unsavory beans without gluten-based ingredients are chosen, beans can be safely enjoyed on a gluten-free diet. Checking for a gluten-free certification logo provides extra assurance.
Is chili gluten-free for a wheat allergy or celiac disease?
For those with a wheat allergy or celiac disease, it is especially important to ensure any ingested chili is entirely gluten-free. Even small traces of gluten can trigger severe reactions or intestinal damage. Sticking with certified gluten-free labeled chili provides more certainty that wheat cross-contamination was prevented.
Calling the manufacturer is always advised when a wheat allergy or celiac diagnosis is involved. They can provide detailed information on manufacturing procedures to determine risk levels. Many companies maintain separate gluten-free production lines and stringent sanitation protocols to accommodate consumers with celiac disease who cannot tolerate any wheat exposure.
When preparing chili at home, be extra diligent about ingredient labels, cleaning cookware thoroughly before use and preventing any cross-contact with wheat-based foods during storage or cooking. With meticulous care taken to avoid trace gluten, chili can be safe for those with celiac disease or wheat allergies.
Can children eat Hormel turkey chili?
According to Hormel’s website, their turkey chili is designed to be a flavorful but mild chili for the whole family to enjoy. The turkey chili contains no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. It is an excellent source of protein, providing 10g per serving.
Of course, it is always wise to check with your pediatrician before introducing new foods. But most children who tolerate beans and spicy flavors well should have no issues eating Hormel turkey chili. Make sure your child does not have any food intolerances or allergies prior to serving.
Some tips for serving chili to kids:
– Start with a small portion until you observe how they tolerate spicy food.
– Blow on each spoonful if the chili seems too hot for them.
– Top with shredded cheddar cheese to help counteract the spice.
– Mix in some brown rice or whole grain pasta.
– Garnish with sour cream or Greek yogurt.
The bean and turkey combination offers lasting energy for active children. Just take care not to add any gluten-containing toppings or crackers on their portion if gluten needs to be avoided.
Is chili allowed on a Paleo, Whole30 or AIP diet?
Certain therapeutic diets like the Paleo, Whole30 or Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet restrict beans and legumes. This means standard chili would not comply with those meal plans. However, modifications can be made to the chili ingredients to make the dish compatible:
– Use a Paleo chili base made with tomatoes, peppers, spices and meat or poultry.
– Skip the beans or replace them with roasted vegetables like carrots, bell peppers or butternut squash for a similar hearty texture.
– Thicken the chili with arrowroot starch instead of corn or wheat flour.
– Use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce for flavoring.
– Garnish with avocado, fresh herbs and lime juice.
While traditional chili recipes contain nightshade vegetables and beans, ingredient substitutions can provide a satisfying chili-inspired meal for those on elimination diets. Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized nutrition advice.
Can vegans or vegetarians eat Hormel chili?
Those following a vegan or vegetarian diet requiring avoidance of animal products can enjoy Hormel’s turkey or vegetarian chili varieties. The vegetarian chili contains textured vegetable protein instead of ground meat. It provides 10g of plant-based protein per serving.
Vegans need to take care avoiding the cheese and sour cream toppings sometimes added to chili. Opt for plant-based alternatives instead. Guacamole, roasted sweet potatoes, or fresh salsa make delicious vegan chili topper choices.
With so many canned chilis containing meat, it can be challenging for vegetarians and vegans to find convenient options. Hormel provides great-tasting, shelf-stable chili that plant-based eaters can keep stocked in the pantry.
Gluten-free chili recipes to try
While Hormel canned chili offers a quick gluten-free meal solution, making chili from scratch can be fun and allows for total control over ingredients. Here are some tasty chili recipes to try that are naturally gluten-free:
Turkey White Chili
An easy, creamy white chili made with ground turkey, white beans, green chiles and spices. Top with avocado and cilantro.
Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
Chicken breast, black beans, corn, bell pepper and zesty spices cooked low and slow in the crockpot. Top with cheese and tortilla chips.
A regional chili style made without beans but with an array of Mediterranean-inspired spices like cinnamon, allspice, and clove. Often served over spaghetti.
For a seasonal fall twist, make chili with canned pumpkin puree, black beans, and warm spices like cumin, paprika and cayenne.
Vegan Lentil Chili
Hearty chili loaded with protein thanks to French lentils and walnuts. Round out the flavors with chili powder, smoked paprika and cocoa powder.
The variations are endless for homemade chili. Play around with different meats, bean combinations and spice blends to discover new favorite gluten-free recipes.
Is chili gluten-free at restaurants?
Dining out with food allergies or celiac disease can feel challenging. But with proper precautions, those avoiding gluten can safely enjoy restaurant chili. Here are some tips:
– Review the restaurant’s allergen menu and see if they designate certain chilis as gluten-free. Many chains now specify gluten-free items.
– Ask if the chili contains hydrolyzed wheat protein, wheat flour, soy sauce or other gluten-based thickeners.
– Request that no croutons, crackers or bread be added on top which could contaminate the chili.
– Ensure utensils used for stirring and serving your chili have not come into contact with gluten-containing foods.
– At a salad bar, avoid cross-contamination by using newly opened containers and spoons.
– With takeout orders, verify chili was not cooked in shared fryers with breaded foods.
While dining out does introduce some additional risks, being vigilant enables those avoiding gluten to enjoy chili from restaurants safely. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to wait staff and chefs to ensure proper precautions are taken.
Chili makes for a warm, comforting meal year-round. With so many potential sources of hidden gluten in packaged and homemade versions, double checking ingredients is imperative for anyone following a gluten-free diet. Hormel’s labeling of their turkey, veggie and traditional chilis as gluten-free provides a reliable canned option. When preparing chili at home, use naturally gluten-free ingredients and avoid cross-contamination for maximum safety. With proper diligence reading labels and contacting manufacturers with any questions, chili lovers can keep enjoying one of their favorite foods gluten-free.