Is there a spaghetti sauce that is gluten-free?

Gluten-free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, with more and more people eliminating gluten for health or personal reasons. For those who love pasta but must avoid gluten, finding a tasty gluten-free spaghetti sauce can be a challenge. The good news is that there are many delicious gluten-free pasta sauce options available today.

In this comprehensive guide, we will answer common questions about gluten-free spaghetti sauces, provide tips for choosing a quality sauce, and recommend some of the top brands and recipes to try. Whether you need to avoid gluten due to celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or simply want to try going gluten-free, you don’t have to give up enjoying a hearty bowl of saucy pasta. Read on to discover how easy and delicious gluten-free spaghetti can be!

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. For most people, gluten does not cause any issues or negative health effects. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can trigger a range of unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the small intestine when gluten is eaten. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity leads to symptoms like digestion problems, fatigue, joint pain, and skin rashes after gluten consumption. The only treatment for celiac patients is strictly and permanently avoiding all foods and products containing gluten. About 1% of the population has celiac disease, while non-celiac gluten sensitivity may affect up to 13% of people.

Many consumers who do not have gluten-related medical conditions are going gluten-free in an effort to achieve health goals like losing weight, reducing inflammation, or simply trying an alternative diet. Whether you need to be gluten-free for medical reasons or by personal choice, removing gluten from your diet means learning to navigate food labels carefully and being aware of hidden gluten sources. With some adjustments to shopping habits and cooking techniques, it is possible to follow a gluten-free diet deliciously.

Why do gluten-free eaters need special spaghetti sauce?

For gluten-free pasta lovers, finding a pasta sauce that does not contain gluten is essential. Most traditional spaghetti sauces and pasta sauces contain wheat flour or wheat ingredients like breadcrumbs as thickeners. Some brands even add malt or barley extracts for additional flavor. Even small amounts of gluten can cause issues for those with celiac disease or sensitivities.

Reading labels carefully and contacting manufacturers directly about sourcing is important when selecting a gluten-free pasta sauce. Some sauces may be labeled “wheat-free” but still contain barley or rye sources of gluten. Ideally, a gluten-free spaghetti sauce will be certified gluten-free, meaning the brand has tested the product to verify it meets regulated standards for gluten-free labeling.

In addition to avoiding wheat and gluten-containing ingredients, shoppers with celiac disease need to be cautious about possible cross-contamination during manufacturing. Even a sauce made without glutenous ingredients could pick up traces of gluten during processing on shared equipment. For maximum safety, look for brands that are certified gluten-free from facilities that do not handle any wheat or gluten.

What to look for in a good gluten-free spaghetti sauce

A gluten-free spaghetti sauce needs to meet several standards to be considered high-quality. Here are some key things to look for when evaluating sauce options:

  • Certified gluten-free – Look for sauces that are certified gluten-free by GFCO, an independent organization that ensures products meet the FDA gluten-free labeling standard of less than 20ppm of gluten.
  • No wheat or gluten-containing ingredients – Avoid sauces listing wheat, barley, rye or malt on the label.
  • Produced in a gluten-free facility – Choose brands manufactured in dedicated gluten-free facilities to reduce cross-contamination risks.
  • High-quality ingredients – Look for sauces with pureed vegetables, olive oil, quality herbs and spices. Avoid gums, fillers or artificial flavors.
  • Great taste and texture – A gluten-free sauce should taste fresh and flavorful, not bland or watery.
  • Versatility – Can the sauce be used for pasta, pizza, lasagna, dipping? Versatility is convenient.
  • Good value – Gluten-free specialty products can be pricier but quality sauces don’t have to break the bank.

Taking a few minutes to read labels and understand what each sauce offers will ensure you choose one that is both gluten-free and delicious. Don’t settle – with so many excellent options today, celiac, gluten-sensitive and gluten-free eaters can all enjoy great-tasting pasta sauce.

Popular store-bought gluten-free pasta sauce brands

If you don’t have time to make homemade sauce, there are many store-bought brands offering high-quality gluten-free pasta sauces:


Classico is one of the most widely available and affordable gluten-free jarred sauce brands. They offer certification by GFCO and note manufacture in a gluten-free facility. Flavorful choices like Marinara, Spicy Red Pepper, Alfredo, and Organic Tomato Basil are all gluten-free.

Dei Fratelli

Specializing in Italian products, Dei Fratelli has a range of sauces in squeeze bottles ideal for topping pizza. Choices like Marinara, Bolognese, Rose Sauce, and White Sauce are all certified gluten-free.

Victoria Fine Foods

Victoria is known for its organic pasta sauces made with quality ingredients like olive oil and San Marzano tomatoes. Gluten-free varieties include Marinara, Tomato Basil, and Spicy Marinara.

Rao’s Homemade

For a premium option, Rao’s traditionalslow-simmered saucesmade with ingredients imported from Italy offer an authentic taste. The certified gluten-free sauces come in Marinara, Arrabiata, Pomodoro, and other flavors.

Francesco Rinaldi

Part of the Newman’s Own brand, Francesco Rinaldi makes a range of gluten-free pasta sauces including Marinara, Garden Tomato, Creamy Parmesan Alfredo, and Creamy Cheddar Cheese Sauce.


The popular pasta maker Barilla has a line of gluten-free pasta sauces, most in distinctive squeeze pouches. Flavors like Marinara, Tomato & Basil, and Alfredo are certified gluten-free to 20ppm.

Amy’s Kitchen

Known for its range of organic, gluten-free convenience foods, Amy’s offers jarred pasta sauce options like Marinara, Mushroom, and Creamy Tomato Soup. All are certified gluten-free.

Fody Foods

Fody specializes in condiments free from common allergens, including a Tomato Basil pasta sauce and zesty Arrabbiata sauce that are both gluten-free and low FODMAP.

Tips for finding gluten-free spaghetti sauces in grocery stores

Your local market likely has several good gluten-free sauce choices, but they can often be tricky to locate. Here are some tips for hunting down pasta sauces when shopping:

  • Check manufacturer websites to see if they offer gluten-free options before shopping. Many have online product finders.
  • Look in the health food section or gluten-free aisle if the store has one.
  • Carefully read the ingredients list and labels for any mention of wheat, barley, rye or malt.
  • Search for the certified gluten-free seals from organizations like GFCO.
  • Ask store management if they have a list of gluten-free options or can do a product search.
  • Don’t just look in the pasta aisle – sometimes brands put gluten-free items in other sections.
  • Shop online or order through grocery pickup/delivery if in-store searching gets frustrating.

With some perseverance and label-reading, almost any supermarket can yield some good gluten-free finds. You can also shop at natural food stores which often have broader gluten-free selections.

Delicious recipes for homemade gluten-free spaghetti sauce

Making your own gluten-free sauce at home lets you control all the ingredients while customizing flavors to your taste. Here are a few tasty homemade sauce recipes to try:

Basic Marinara Sauce

Ingredients Instructions
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp black pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp sugar
  • Small bunch fresh basil, chopped
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove from heat. Add chopped basil and stir through.
  4. Use immersion blender to puree to desired smoothness.
  5. Simmer 5 more minutes before serving.

This easy marinara comes together quickly with pantry staples. Pureeing makes a silky sauce.

Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce

Ingredients Instructions
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-3 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1⁄2 tsp dried oregano
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook 2 minutes.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes, oregano and salt. Simmer 15 minutes.
  3. For chunky sauce, mash tomatoes to desired consistency with a potato masher. For smooth, use an immersion blender to puree as needed.

This simple arrabbiata gets its kick from red pepper flakes. Add more or less to suit your desired heat level.

Creamy Tomato Vodka Sauce

Ingredients Instructions
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1⁄4 cup vodka
  • 3⁄4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1⁄2 tsp salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  2. Add vodka and simmer 2 minutes to reduce slightly.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Stir and simmer 10 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to low. Slowly stir in cream until mixed. Heat through but do not boil.
  5. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Vodka adds depth and cream makes this sauce rich. Perfect over fettuccine or gnocchi.

Pesto Cream Sauce

Ingredients Instructions
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1⁄2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Blend basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan, lemon juice and salt in food processor or blender into a smooth paste.
  2. Transfer pesto to saucepan. Gently heat over low.
  3. Slowly whisk in heavy cream until thoroughly incorporated and warm.
  4. Do not boil. Serve over pasta.

Homemade pesto mixed with cream makes a rich, flavorful sauce. Use dairy-free cream for a vegan version.


While traditional pasta sauces often contain gluten, there are now many excellent pre-made and homemade gluten-free sauce options for those on restricted diets. With quality ingredients, authentic flavors, and intelligent labeling, gluten-free spaghetti sauces have come a long way. Just be sure to check certification, read labels closely and contact manufacturers if needed. With planning and creativity in the kitchen, pasta night can stay on the menu for gluten-free households. Whether you need to avoid gluten for medical reasons or by choice, the possibilities for delicious gluten-free pasta creations are endless.

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