What seasonings have gluten in them?

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. For people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can cause serious health issues. Many common seasonings and spice mixes contain gluten, so it’s important for people avoiding gluten to read labels carefully.

In the opening section, we’ll answer some key questions about gluten in seasonings:

What are some common sources of gluten in seasonings?

Some of the most common sources of gluten in seasoning blends include:

– Wheat flour – Often added as an anti-caking agent or thickening agent
– Malt vinegar – Made from barley malt
– Soy sauce – Usually contains wheat
– Teriyaki sauce – Typically contains soy sauce and/or wheat
– Modified food starch – Can be made from wheat
– Artificial colorings – May use wheat/gluten as a carrier
– Fillers – Binders like wheat fiber are sometimes used in herbs and spices

Which specific seasoning blends tend to contain gluten?

Some seasoning mixes that often contain gluten sources like wheat flour or soy sauce include:

– Seasoned salt blends
– Taco seasoning
– Ranch dressing mixes
– Gravy mixes
– Marinades and stir-fry sauces
– Steak seasonings
– Chili seasoning blends
– Cajun seasoning blends
– Jerk seasoning
– Barbecue rubs and sauces
– Teriyaki glazes or stir-fry sauces
– Meat tenderizers

What about common single-ingredient herbs and spices?

Pure single-ingredient herbs and spices are generally gluten-free, including:

– Oregano
– Basil
– Thyme
– Rosemary
– Sage
– Chili powder
– Curry powder
– Cumin
– Paprika
– Cayenne
– Salt
– Pepper
– Cinnamon
– Nutmeg
– Ginger
– Garlic powder
– Onion powder

However, it’s still important to check labels to confirm no gluten sources have been added, especially for garlic powder and onion powder which may have anti-caking agents.

Are there any hidden sources of gluten in seasoning blends?

A few hidden sources of gluten to watch out for include:

– Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) – May be derived from wheat
– Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP) – Also potentially from wheat
– Autolyzed yeast extract – Contains barley or wheat sources
– Maltodextrin – Sometimes made from barley
– Natural flavors – Can be from barley or wheat

So even if a seasoning blend seems innocuous, these hidden ingredients could add traces of gluten. Always check the label!

What steps can you take to avoid gluten from seasonings?

To reduce your risk of consuming unwanted gluten from seasonings:

– Check labels carefully for any mention of wheat, barley, rye, malt, starch or proteins.
– Look for certified gluten-free labels from trusted organizations.
– When in doubt, contact the manufacturer for more details on their production process and ingredients.
– Stick to pure single-ingredient spices and herbs, and make your own spice mixes.
– Choose liquid and vinegar-based marinades and sauces over powdered versions which may have fillers.


Many popular seasoning blends and sauces contain hidden sources of gluten like wheat flour, soy sauce and malt vinegar. Reading labels carefully and knowing which ingredients to watch out for can help identify problem products. Opting for pure herbs, spices, vinegars and gluten-free certified products are safer choices for anyone avoiding gluten. With some adjustments, you can still add flavor to meals while steering clear of unwanted gluten in seasonings.

Gluten-Containing Ingredients to Avoid in Seasonings

Here is a summary of some of the most common gluten-containing ingredients to watch out for on spice and seasoning labels:


– Wheat
– Wheat flour
– Barley
– Rye
– Oats (may be cross-contaminated with wheat)
– Malt (usually barley malt)

Thickeners and Fillers

– Modified food starch (may be from wheat)
– Food starch (may be from wheat)
– Dextrin (can come from wheat or barley)
– Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
– Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP)


– Soy sauce
– Teriyaki sauce
– Malt vinegar
– Natural flavors (may come from barley or wheat)
– Caramel color (may be made with barley malt)
– Autolyzed yeast (contains barley or wheat)


– Maltodextrin (sometimes wheat-based)
– Artificial colorings (may use wheat or gluten as carrier)

Being vigilant about scanning ingredient lists for these problematic ingredients is key to identifying seasoning blends that contain gluten.

Spices and Seasonings That are Generally Gluten-Free

While blended seasoning mixes often contain questionable ingredients, there are still plenty of single-ingredient spices and herb options that are naturally gluten-free:


– Oregano
– Basil
– Rosemary
– Sage
– Thyme
– Mint
– Marjoram
– Tarragon
– Bay leaves
– Dill
– Chives
– Parsley
– Cilantro


– Chili powder
– Paprika
– Turmeric
– Cayenne pepper
– Cumin
– Garlic powder
– Onion powder
– Salt
– Pepper
– Cinnamon
– Nutmeg
– Ginger
– Cloves

Salt Alternatives

– Sea salt
– Himalayan pink salt
– Celery salt
– Garlic salt
– Onion salt
– Lemon pepper

Sticking to these single-ingredient flavor boosters is the safest bet for avoiding gluten from seasonings. You can combine them to make your own custom spice blends.

Homemade Gluten-Free Seasoning Mix Ideas

Creating your own gluten-free seasoning mixes at home grants you control over all the ingredients. Here are some tasty combinations to try:

Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning

– 2 tablespoons chili powder
– 1 tablespoon cumin
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon onion powder
– 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
– 1/2 teaspoon paprika
– 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– 1 teaspoon sea salt

Mix together and store in an airtight container. Use 2-3 tablespoons per pound of ground beef or turkey to season taco meat.

Gluten-Free Italian Seasoning

– 2 tablespoons dried basil
– 2 tablespoons dried oregano
– 1 tablespoon dried thyme
– 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
– 1 tablespoon dried sage
– 1 tablespoon garlic powder
– 2 teaspoons onion powder
– 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients and transfer to a sealed spice jar. Shake well before each use. Sprinkle over pasta, pizza, sauces, meats and vegetables.

Gluten-Free Ranch Seasoning Mix

– 1 tablespoon dried parsley
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– 1 teaspoon onion powder
– 1 teaspoon dried dill
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon pepper
– 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Whisk together and store in an airtight container. Use about 1-2 tablespoons per 1 cup of mayonnaise or Greek yogurt to make homemade ranch dressing.

Gluten-Free Jerk Seasoning

– 2 tablespoons thyme
– 2 teaspoons allspice
– 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
– 1 teaspoon black pepper
– 1 teaspoon onion powder
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1/2 teaspoon ginger

Mix ingredients together and coat on chicken, beef or pork before grilling or baking.

Safe Gluten-Free Brands of Seasoning Blends

If you don’t have time to blend your own custom spice mixes, there are some great brand-name seasoning products that are tested gluten-free:

McCormick Gluten-Free Products

– McCormick Garlic Powder
– McCormick Onion Powder
– McCormick Paprika
– McCormick Black Pepper
– McCormick Parsley Flakes
– McCormick Basil Leaves
– McCormick Oregano Leaves
– McCormick Crushed Red Pepper
– McCormick Ground Cinnamon
– McCormick Ground Ginger
– McCormick Cream of Tartar

Spice Islands Gluten-Free Products

– Spice Islands Garlic Powder
– Spice Islands Onion Powder
– Spice Islands Cayenne Pepper
– Spice Islands Chili Powder
– Spice Islands Cumin
– Spice Islands Oregano
– Spice Islands Crushed Red Pepper
– Spice Islands Basil
– Spice Islands Black Pepper
– Spice Islands Himalayan Pink Salt

Mrs. Dash Original Blend

This salt-free blend contains onion, garlic, lemon pepper, oregano, basil, marjoram, thyme and black pepper. Use it to season meats, eggs, vegetables and more.

Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

This robust Louisiana Creole-style seasoning contains ingredients like red pepper, black pepper, garlic, onion and spices. It’s a flavorful way to jazz up seafood, poultry, rice and more.

Always verify with the manufacturer that any blended seasoning product is gluten-free before using, even if it’s a mainstream brand. Formulations can change over time. When in doubt, stick with single-ingredient flavorings.

Tips for Avoiding Cross-Contamination from Seasonings

In addition to checking ingredients lists, there are some other precautions you can take to reduce the risk of gluten cross-contamination from seasonings:

– Purchase spices and herbs in sealed containers rather than bulk bins, which are prone to cross-contamination from scoops.

– Choose brands that are certified gluten-free and follow good manufacturing practices.

– Wash hands thoroughly before and after handling seasonings to prevent accidental transfers of gluten.

– Avoid using the same utensils or surfaces for gluten-free and gluten-containing foods.

– Use a clean utensil each time you scoop from a seasoning container to prevent introducing gluten from other foods.

– Store gluten-free seasoning blends on shelves that are higher up or separate from gluten-containing products.

– Clean spice grinders thoroughly before using for gluten-free ingredients. Consider a dedicated grinder just for gluten-free spices.

– When dining out, ask about ingredients and preparation practices before ordering dishes with seasonings.

With some basic precautions, you can still enjoy flavorful cuisine while avoiding the gluten hidden in many common seasoning blends. Homemade mixes and single-ingredient herbs and spices keep your food safe.

Should Seasonings List “Gluten-Free” on the Label?

Ideally, all seasoning products that are gluten-free should say so clearly on their packaging. However, since seasoning labels in the U.S. are not required by law to disclose the presence of major allergens like wheat, many do not declare “gluten-free” even when no gluten sources are used.

Manufacturers may opt not to label seasonings as “gluten-free” for a few reasons:

– The production process is not completely free of cross-contamination risks, even if wheat/gluten ingredients are not used, so the company cannot guarantee zero traces.

– They want to avoid additional testing and certification costs required to officially label as “gluten-free.” Meeting the legal definition involves thorough gluten testing.

– Changing existing packaging is an added expense many companies try to avoid.

– They don’t think their typical target customer base is concerned about gluten, so they don’t prioritize special labeling.

While labeling seasonings as certified gluten-free does require extra steps for the manufacturer, it provides helpful peace of mind for anyone avoiding gluten. Contacting brands to request clear gluten-free labels on more products when safe ingredients are used can lead to positive changes over time.


Reading every ingredient list is still the only way to determine if a seasoning is gluten-free when the label makes no claim. Ingredient disclosure is mandatory, while “gluten-free” labeling remains voluntary unless a product makes a “free of gluten” claim on the front. Clear gluten-free labels on seasonings would provide helpful clarity for consumers trying to steer clear of hidden sources.

Top Tips for Avoiding Gluten in Seasonings

Here is a summary of the key tips for identifying and avoiding hidden gluten in seasoning mixes and pantry staples:

– Carefully read all ingredient labels rather than assuming a seasoning is safe. Look for mentions of wheat, barley, rye or questionable thickeners like modified food starch.

– Call or email manufacturers if ingredients are unclear or concerning. Ask whether gluten is used in any form during production.

– Verify brands and products labeled “gluten-free” through certification programs like the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO).

– Purchase single-ingredient herbs, spices and salt alternatives rather than blends when possible.

– Make your own custom seasoning mixes at home using naturally gluten-free ingredients.

– Avoid bulk bins for seasonings to reduce cross-contamination potential. Choose reputable packaged brands.

– Look for certification symbols or packaging statements indicating the product was made in a gluten-free facility.

– Use proper gluten-free handling practices for storage, prep and serving of seasonings to prevent cross-contact issues.

– When dining out, ask about ingredients and preparation details before ordering seasoned items.

With vigilance about labels, smart shopping choices and safe handling practices at home, you can continue flavoring your meals while avoiding the gluten lurking in many seasoning products.

Commonly Asked Questions about Gluten in Seasonings

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about identifying gluten in seasonings:

Are fajita seasoning mixes gluten-free?

Fajita seasoning blends often contain questionable ingredients like wheat flour, wheat starch, soy sauce powder or hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Check labels carefully or make your own mix. Some brands explicitly labeled gluten-free are available.

Can garlic powder or onion powder have gluten?

Pure garlic or onion powder should not contain gluten. However, some versions add anti-caking agents like wheat starch or contain traces from manufacturing. Choosing reputable brands labeled gluten-free provides more assurance.

Is lemon pepper seasoning gluten-free?

Lemon pepper contains lemon juice and black pepper, both naturally gluten-free. Some blends add garlic powder and onion powder too. Check labels for thickening agents or anti-caking ingredients that could be problematic or call the manufacturer to verify.

Are McCormick spices gluten-free?

McCormick indicates which of their spices, herbs and seasonings are gluten-free online. Always double check that any product you buy is certified gluten-free, as formulations can change.

Is Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning gluten-free?

Yes, Tony Chachere’s states their original creole seasoning contains no gluten ingredients. As with any seasoning, double check labels in case recipes change in the future.

Should I buy spices from bulk bins or jars?

Pre-packaged jars are safer than bulk bins for gluten-free diets, as the latter can be easily cross-contaminated from people’s hands and shared scoops.

The Bottom Line

Avoiding gluten in seasoning mixes requires vigilance in reading labels, contacting manufacturers and verifying any claims of being gluten-free through trusted certification programs. Or stick with single-ingredient herbs, spices and salt alternatives and make your own blends for full control. With some adjustments to pantry staples, cooking flavorful gluten-free food is still possible for any seasoning lover.

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