What grocery store items are gluten-free?

Quick Answer

Many common grocery items are naturally gluten-free, including fruits, vegetables, fresh meats, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, milk, and pure oils. There are also specialty gluten-free versions of many products like bread, pasta, crackers, cereals, baking mixes, etc. When shopping, check labels to confirm items are certified gluten-free and be aware of potential cross-contamination. Safe gluten-free bets are items marked gluten-free or certified by an organization like GFCO.

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 cause symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, headaches, and more. The only treatment is a strict lifelong gluten-free diet.

Naturally Gluten-Free Foods

Many single-ingredient, whole foods are naturally gluten-free:

Fruits and Vegetables

All fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables are gluten-free, including:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Citrus fruits
  • Grapes
  • Melons
  • Pineapple
  • Avocados
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Squash
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Kale

Meat, Poultry, Fish, and Eggs

All fresh meats, poultry, fish, and eggs are naturally gluten-free, including:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Duck
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Shrimp
  • Trout
  • Eggs


Plain milk, plain yogurt, cheeses, and butter are gluten-free. But flavored, low-fat, and fat-free dairy products may have added gluten:

  • Plain milk
  • Plain yogurt
  • All natural cheeses
  • Butter

Nuts, Seeds, Beans, and Legumes

All plain nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes are gluten-free, including:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Beans (kidney, pinto, black, etc.)
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas

Oils and Vinegars

Pure oils like olive oil, vegetable oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and vinegars are gluten-free. Avoid flavored oils, which may contain gluten.

Gluten-Free Grains and Starches

Naturally gluten-free grains and starches include:

  • Rice (brown, white, wild, basmati, etc.)
  • Corn
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Buckwheat
  • Sorghum
  • Teff
  • Arrowroot
  • Tapioca
  • Cassava
  • Potato starch
  • Rice flour
  • Corn flour

Look for certified gluten-free oats, as regular oats are often cross-contaminated with wheat.

Specialty Gluten-Free Products

Many grocery stores now carry specialty gluten-free versions of popular foods:

Bread and Bakery Items

  • Breads
  • Bagels
  • Pizza crust
  • Pasta
  • Crackers
  • Cookies
  • Muffins
  • Cakes
  • Donuts
  • Pies

Breakfast Foods

  • Cereals
  • Granola
  • Pancake mix
  • Waffles

Snacks and Packaged Foods

  • Chips
  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Crackers
  • Protein bars
  • Soup mixes
  • Frozen meals

Cooking Ingredients

  • Flours
  • Baking mixes
  • Xanthan gum
  • Extracts
  • Broth
  • Sauces
  • Dressings

Always check the label on packaged foods to confirm they are certified gluten-free. Key things to look for include:

  • A “gluten-free” claim
  • No ingredients derived from wheat, rye, barley, or malt
  • No questionable ingredients like “natural flavors”
  • Manufactured in a dedicated gluten-free facility
  • Certified by GFCO or another third-party organization

High-Risk Foods

Some foods are higher risk for gluten cross-contamination:


Regular oats are often cross-contaminated with wheat during growing and processing. Only purchase oats labeled “gluten-free” to ensure purity.

Beans, Legumes, and Lentils

Beans and lentils are naturally gluten-free but may be contaminated during processing. Opt for certified gluten-free varieties when possible. Rinse well before cooking.

Spices and Seasonings

Pure herbs are gluten-free but spice blends may contain gluten from fillers or cross-contamination. Check labels or stick to brands marked gluten-free.

French Fries and Hash Browns

Most restaurants coat fries and hash browns in flour to aid browning. Request plain or a dedicated fryer.

Checking Labels

Carefully read food labels and watch for potentially gluten-containing ingredients like:

  • Wheat or wheat derivatives (malt, flour, bran, starch, etc.)
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Malt
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Modified food starch
  • Natural flavors

Avoid any item with an ambiguous ingredient list. Stick to products marked gluten-free or certified by GFCO, NSF, or Coeliac UK.

Cross-Contamination Risks

Gluten cross-contamination can easily occur:

  • During food manufacturing on shared equipment
  • When ingredients are processed in facilities that also handle wheat
  • Through unsanitary preparation by food handlers
  • Via crumbs in toasters, on countertops, etc.

To avoid cross-contamination:

  • Choose certified gluten-free products verified in dedicated facilities
  • Wash hands, cookware, and cooking surfaces before prepping gluten-free items
  • Use separate cookware and prep tools for gluten-free cooking
  • Grill or pan-fry meats and veggies instead of deep-frying in shared oil
  • Purchase a separate gluten-free toaster

Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Tips

Follow these tips for safe gluten-free grocery shopping:

  • Shop bulk bins for gluten-free grains and nuts
  • Stick to produce and fresh meat/seafood departments
  • Read labels carefully every time you shop
  • Avoid packaged baked goods aisles
  • Look for gluten-free brands or specialty sections
  • Choose minimally processed items with recognizable ingredients
  • Beware higher risk foods like sauces, seasonings, and fried items
  • Designate certain shelves or areas of the pantry gluten-free
  • Shop at stores with dedicated gluten-free preparation areas if possible
  • Wash all produce thoroughly at home

With caution, planning, and smart label reading, many tasty gluten-free grocery options are available. Over time, shopping and label scanning becomes second nature.

Safe Gluten-Free Grocery List

Use this checklist for safe gluten-free grocery shopping:

Category Gluten-Free Options
Produce All fresh fruits and vegetables
Meat/Poultry Fresh or frozen beef, chicken, pork, lamb, etc.
Seafood Fresh or frozen fish, shrimp, scallops, etc.
Dairy Milk, plain yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream
Eggs and Meat Alternatives Eggs, dried beans, lentils, chickpeas
Frozen Foods Plain vegetables, fruit, GF frozen meals
Canned Goods Broth, tomatoes, beans, fruits packed in juice
Baking GF flours, starches, xanthan gum, baking powder
Snacks Plain nuts, seeds, popcorn, potato chips, tortilla chips
Condiments Olive oil, vinegars, mustard, GF tamari, spices
Beverages Water, coffee, tea, juice, soda, GF beer
Sweets Jams, honey, dark chocolate, candy (verify GF)
Miscellaneous Rice, quinoa, buckwheat, certified GF oats


From fresh produce and proteins to specialty flours and prepared foods, safe gluten-free grocery options abound. Focus on naturally GF whole foods, read labels diligently, verify manufacturing procedures, and learn how to spot hidden sources of gluten. With care and knowledge, living gluten-free is achievable through any grocery store.

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