What kind of breakfast sausage is gluten-free?

Gluten-free diets are becoming increasingly popular, especially for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. When following a gluten-free diet, it’s important to pay close attention to ingredients, as many foods contain traces of gluten. One breakfast staple that often contains gluten is sausage, making finding a gluten-free option a necessity for those avoiding gluten.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. It helps foods maintain their shape and texture, which is why it’s commonly added to foods. For most people, consuming gluten is not a problem. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten can cause serious health issues and must be avoided.

Those with celiac disease have an autoimmune reaction when they consume gluten, causing damage to the small intestine. This can lead to a variety of digestive symptoms as well as malnutrition if left untreated. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity causes similar digestive problems when gluten is consumed, but without the same autoimmune response and intestinal damage seen in celiac disease.

The only treatment for celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity is following a strict lifelong gluten-free diet. This means avoiding any product containing wheat, rye, barley and triticale. It also requires checking the ingredients list of all packaged foods, as gluten is commonly added as a thickener, stabilizer and flavor enhancer.

Why Check Sausage for Gluten?

When most people think of foods containing gluten, bread and pasta likely come to mind first. However, gluten can be found hiding in all types of foods, including some that are unexpected. One of these common hidden sources of gluten is breakfast sausage.

Sausage often contains fillers and binders to add bulk and hold the meat together. Common fillers are breadcrumbs or flour, both of which contain gluten. Some sausage contain oats, barley or rye for flavor, which also contain gluten. The spices added to sausage can also be a source of hidden gluten. For those following a gluten-free diet, it’s crucial to double check the ingredients of any sausage before consuming.

What to Look for When Buying Gluten-Free Sausage

When scanning the sausage options at your grocery store, there are a few key things to look for to determine if a sausage is gluten-free:

  • Check for a “gluten-free” label on the packaging. This indicates the product has been tested to verify it meets the FDA requirements to be labelled gluten-free.
  • Read the ingredient list and look for wheat, rye, barley, oats or malt. Avoid any sausage containing these.
  • Look for sausages with corn, rice or potato flour instead of wheat flour.
  • Seek out brands that specialize in gluten-free products. They are less likely to have cross-contamination with gluten.
  • If in doubt, contact the manufacturer to ask about their gluten-free protocols.

Also be aware that “wheat-free” or “no gluten ingredients” labels do not guarantee the sausage is gluten-free. Reading the ingredients is still important with these products, as cross-contamination may occur during processing.

Popular Brands of Gluten-Free Breakfast Sausage

Many mainstream sausage brands now offer gluten-free options. Here are some of the most widely available national brands of gluten-free breakfast sausage:

Jimmy Dean

Jimmy Dean, owned by Tyson Foods, provides a line of gluten-free breakfast sausage links and patties. They are made with turkey and pork, and use rice flour and potato starch instead of wheat. Jimmy Dean gluten-free sausage can be found in the frozen section at many grocery stores.


Aidells makes gluten-free chicken apple sausage and chicken pineapple sausage. They contain chicken thigh meat with apples or pineapples and are seasoned with gluten-free spices. Aidells gluten-free sausages can be found with other Aidells products or in the gluten-free section at many grocers.


Eckrich brand Smok-Y Cheddar Breakfast Sausage is certified gluten-free. It contains pork, chicken and beef smoked sausage with cheddar cheese. Eckrich sausage is available at many major grocery chains nationwide.

Pederson’s Natural Farms

Pederson’s offers gluten-free breakfast sausage in a few different varieties including sweet Italian chicken sausage, spicy Italian pork sausage, and maple breakfast sausage. They can be found in the gluten-free freezer section of many grocery stores.


Applegate Organics makes a line of gluten-free breakfast sausage patties and links. Flavors include sun-dried tomato basil turkey sausage and sweet Italian chicken and turkey sausage. They are widely available at major grocery retailers.

Other Tips for Finding Gluten-Free Breakfast Sausage

In addition to checking big brand names, here are some other ideas for sourcing gluten-free breakfast sausage:

  • Check your local natural grocer or food co-ops, which often have gluten-free specialty products.
  • Look for gluten-free sausage at farmer’s markets from local meat producers.
  • Seek out gluten-free brands online if you can’t find options in stores.
  • Buy plain pork sausage and add gluten-free seasonings yourself.
  • Make sausage patties from ground turkey, chicken or pork plus gluten-free binders.

With so many gluten-free options now available, preparing a tasty sausage breakfast is easy. Just be diligent about thoroughly reading labels and seeking out specialty products to find the right gluten-free sausage for your needs.

Gluten-Free Sausage Recipes

Once you’ve found a quality gluten-free sausage, the possibilities for breakfast recipes are endless. Here are a few delicious sausage recipes to start your day off right on a gluten-free diet:

Homemade Breakfast Sandwiches

Start with gluten-free English muffins and add a fried egg, slice of dairy-free cheese and gluten-free sausage patty. This sandwich can be wrapped in foil and heated in the oven for an easy hot breakfast to go.

Sheet Pan Breakfast Hash

Cook potatoes, peppers and onions in the oven along with Bratwurst or Italian chicken sausage. Top with fried eggs for a hearty and satisfying meal.

Breakfast Casserole

In a baking dish, combine eggs, cottage cheese, sautéed veggies and gluten-free sausage. Top with shredded dairy-free cheese and bake until set for a crowd-pleasing brunch.

Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

Make a simple gravy with crumbled breakfast sausage and non-dairy milk. Serve over warmed gluten-free biscuits for a comforting southern classic.

Sausage Balls

For a quick breakfast appetizer, combine gluten-free biscuit mix, shredded cheese and sausage in mini muffin tins. Bake until golden brown and serve with egg slices.

Breakfast Pizza

Use gluten-free pizza dough as the crust and top with scrambled eggs, sausage crumbles, cheese, spinach and mushrooms for an easy morning meal.

Breakfast Quesadillas

Fill a tortilla with scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, peppers, onions and cheese. Fold in half and cook in a skillet for a fast gluten-free option.

Gluten-Free Sausage for Other Meals

While breakfast recipes are an obvious choice, gluten-free sausage can also be used to add flavor to all sorts of dishes. Here are some ideas for using it at other meals:

  • Pasta dishes – Slice up Italian chicken sausage to toss with gluten-free pasta, veggies and marinara sauce.
  • Pizza – Use sausage crumbles as a protein-packed topping for gluten-free pizza.
  • Soups and stews – Add cut up sausage to bean soups, chili or vegetable stew.
  • Kabobs – Alternate chunks of sausage with veggies and fruit for a fun dinner off the grill.
  • Stuffed peppers – Mix sausage with rice and stuff into baked bell peppers for an easy weeknight meal.
  • Quesadillas – Fill tortillas with sausage, cheese and sautéed onions and peppers.
  • Breakfast for dinner – When you need a quick and comforting meal, breakfast foods like sausage fit the bill.

Key Takeaways on Gluten-Free Breakfast Sausage

Here are the key tips to remember when searching for a gluten-free breakfast sausage:

  • Read ingredient lists carefully to check for wheat, barley, rye or oats.
  • Look for brands that specialize in gluten-free products.
  • Seek third party gluten-free certification for assurance.
  • Contact the manufacturer if uncertain about gluten-free status.
  • Popular national brands like Jimmy Dean now offer gluten-free sausage.
  • Shop gluten-free aisles at grocery stores or online for more variety.
  • Use gluten-free sausage in creative breakfast dishes, as well as other meals.

With so many tasty options to choose from, there’s no need to miss out on the classic breakfast sausage flavors you love. A little label reading and brand research make it easy to find just the right gluten-free sausage to start your day off right.


Following a gluten-free diet presents challenges, especially when it comes to finding convenient and tasty breakfast options. But with the growing variety of gluten-free products now available, preparing gluten-free sausage dishes for breakfast is certainly possible. The keys are carefully inspecting ingredients, seeking out specialty brands, and using gluten-free sausages creatively in your favorite recipes. With the right gluten-free sausage choice, you can enjoy all the classic flavors and nutrition of a hearty breakfast without the gluten. A delicious gluten-free sausage goes a long way in making the morning meal feel special and satisfying even with dietary restrictions.

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