Is McCormick Thick and Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix gluten-free?

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people choosing to eliminate gluten from their diets for medical reasons or simply as a lifestyle choice. For those following a gluten-free diet, checking labels and understanding ingredients is crucial to ensure you are consuming truly gluten-free products.

One popular product that many gluten-free consumers are curious about is McCormick’s Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix. With its rich tomato flavor and blend of herbs and spices, this sauce mix can transform a basic pasta dinner into something special. But is it safe for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity? Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients and manufacturing process to find out.

What is gluten?

Before determining if a product contains gluten, it’s important to understand what exactly gluten is. Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. It acts as a “glue” that helps foods maintain their shape and texture. Gluten provides the elasticity and chewiness we associate with many bread products.

For most people, gluten poses no health concerns. But 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 more. The only treatment is a strict lifelong gluten-free diet.

What ingredients typically contain gluten?

In addition to the obvious sources like wheat flour, bread crumbs and pasta, gluten can be found in many unexpected places. Here are some common ingredients that contain gluten:

  • Barley, rye, triticale, wheat
  • Malt, malt flavoring, malt vinegar
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce
  • Gravy, sauce mixes
  • Imitation meats
  • Stuffing, dressing

As you can see, many condiments, seasonings and prepared foods with multiple ingredients may contain gluten. It’s crucial to always check the label when purchasing processed foods.

Examining the Ingredients in McCormick’s Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix

Now that we understand what gluten is and where it can hide in foods, let’s take a look at the ingredients list and manufacturing information for McCormick’s Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix:


  • Tomato powder
  • Corn starch
  • Sugar
  • Garlic powder
  • Chicken fat
  • Vinegar powder
  • Parsley flakes
  • Cayenne red pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Basil powder
  • Oregano leaves
  • Chicken bouillon
  • Citric acid
  • Garlic powder
  • Natural flavor

The ingredients list for McCormick’s Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix does not contain any ingredients derived from wheat, barley, rye or triticale. This is a good sign that the product is gluten-free.

Some key points:

– No wheat flour, breadcrumbs or obvious gluten-containing ingredients
– Corn starch is used instead of wheat-derived thickeners
– No malt vinegar or malt flavoring

However, it’s always important to look at more than just the ingredients list to determine if cross-contamination is a concern.

Manufacturing and Processing

According to McCormick’s website, this product is produced in a facility that is free from wheat and gluten. McCormick states that the facility has controls in place to prevent cross-contamination from any gluten-containing ingredients.

Additionally, McCormick performs final product testing on all gluten-free items to confirm they contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten. This is the accepted standard for labeling products “gluten-free” in many countries.


McCormick’s Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix is certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG), an organization that independently tests products to verify they meet regulations for gluten-free labeling.

The GIG certification confirms that this sauce mix contains less than 10 ppm of gluten and the manufacturing facility has proper controls in place to prevent cross-contamination.

Is it safe for celiacs and gluten sensitivity?

Based on an analysis of the ingredients list, manufacturing information and third-party certification, McCormick’s Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix appears to be a safe gluten-free option for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • No inherently gluten-containing ingredients
  • Produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility
  • Routine final product testing shows less than 20 ppm of gluten
  • Third-party certification by the GIG

Of course, it’s always best to check with your doctor to discuss introducing new foods or products into your gluten-free diet. But based on all available information, McCormick’s Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix should be a safe gluten-free choice.

Tips for preparing gluten-free pasta meals with McCormick sauce mix

If you’ve determined McCormick’s Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix is suitable for your gluten-free diet, here are some tips for preparing delicious gluten-free pasta meals:

Use certified gluten-free pasta

Be sure to choose pasta made from gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa, corn or a blend. Check that the pasta is certified gluten-free and produced in a facility free from wheat/gluten. Some trustworthy brands include Barilla, Ronzoni, DeLallo, Bionaturae, Ancient Harvest and Jovial.

Avoid cross-contamination

Be very careful to avoid any cross-contamination when preparing your pasta meal. Use a separate colander for gluten-free pasta. Make sure your pots, utensils and work surfaces are thoroughly cleaned before use. Don’t reuse any water that regular wheat pasta was cooked in.

Add extra ingredients

While McCormick sauce mix has a delicious flavor all on its own, you can add some height to your dish by blending in extra ingredients. Lean ground beef, Italian chicken sausage, sautéed mushrooms, red pepper flakes, diced zucchini, and wilted spinach all pair well with the McCormick sauce.

Experiment with spices

Don’t be afraid to add a pinch of extra spices to transform the flavor. Ground nutmeg, crushed red pepper and dried parsley are all tasty additions. Garlic powder and onion powder can also be added for an extra punch.

Make it creamy

For a creamy sauce, stir in a bit of full fat coconut milk, lactose-free milk or your milk alternative of choice when heating the sauce. You can also add a spoonful of dairy-free buttery spread or olive oil for richness.

Top it off

Finish the dish with a garnish of nutritional yeast, dairy-free Parmesan, fresh basil or Italian parsley. Gluten-free breadcrumbs add a nice crunch.

Gluten-Free Pasta Recipes with McCormick Sauce

To inspire your meal planning, here are 3 delicious recipes using gluten-free pasta and McCormick Thick & Zesty Sauce Mix:

One Pot Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles

  • 8oz gluten-free spaghetti or zucchini noodles
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or broth
  • 1 packet McCormick sauce mix
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté shrimp and garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in wine or broth and McCormick sauce mix. Bring to a simmer.
  3. Add pasta and cook according to package directions, stirring frequently, until pasta is al dente.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges.

Loaded Zucchini Lasagna Bake

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef or Italian sausage
  • 3 cups sliced zucchini
  • 24oz jar pasta sauce
  • 15oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 packet McCormick sauce mix
  • 8oz shredded mozzarella, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Cook ground beef or sausage until no longer pink. Drain if needed.
  3. In a bowl, mix ricotta, egg, McCormick sauce mix and 1/2 cup mozzarella.
  4. Layer half each of the meat sauce, sliced zucchini, pasta sauce and ricotta mixture in baking dish.
  5. Repeat layers.
  6. Top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.
  7. Bake 35 minutes until hot and bubbly.
  8. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting to serve.

Chicken Florentine Pasta Bake

  • 8oz gluten-free penne pasta
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 1 (10oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 packet McCormick sauce mix
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease an 8×8 baking dish.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente.
  3. In a bowl, mix chicken, spinach, cottage cheese, McCormick sauce and 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  4. Drain pasta and stir into chicken mixture.
  5. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
  6. Bake 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Is McCormick Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix gluten-free? The verdict.

Based on a thorough analysis of the ingredients, manufacturing processes and third-party certifications, McCormick’s Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix can be considered gluten-free. It contains no wheat or gluten-based ingredients, is produced in a dedicated facility, and is third-party tested to assure less than 10ppm of gluten.

By pairing this gluten-free certified sauce mix with certified gluten-free pasta and ingredients, you can enjoy delicious Italian meals that are safe for those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Be sure to take steps to prevent cross-contamination when preparing your dish.

With some creative additions like vegetables, herbs and spices, McCormick’s sauce mix can be transformed into spectacular gluten-free pasta bakes, skillet dinners, and more. Enjoy gluten-free Italian comfort food at its best!

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