Takis have a dedicated following, and their unique flavoring attracts and retains much attention. Chips are a tricky subject to navigate if you are avoiding gluten, but most companies help by listing out any issues on their ingredients label.
Takis are not gluten-free. Their ingredients list warns that they may contain gluten, and those on a gluten-free diet should avoid these chips.
Keep reading to discover the reasons Takis are not safe for a gluten-free diet, how they interact with other diets, and what your options are for spicy snacks similar to Takis.
Takis and Gluten Explained
If you’re unfamiliar with Takis, they are a specific brand of rolled corn tortilla chip with an expected level of spice. While there are other variations of corn tortilla chips, Takis in particular focus on this spice, and you see flavors such as Fuego or Nitro to convey this.
These qualities remain the same regardless of the variety of Takis you get, such as:
- Takis Sticks
- Takis Crisps
- Takis Hot Nuts
- Takis POP!
- Takis Waves
While there are not any blatant indications of gluten-containing ingredients on Takis labels, the company does not list any variety as gluten free. Most labels explicitly state that these chips are processed in facilities that deal with wheat and other products that contain wheat.
Corn tortilla chips are usually a good sign for a gluten-free diet, but this doesn’t mean you should go all in on Takis. A quick trip to the bottom of the ingredients list should reveal the warning that Takis may contain milk, wheat, and egg.
Other ingredients noted on the label include:
- Soybean oil
- Modified corn starch
- Spices, such as dried onions, salt, dried garlic, and more
Again, none of these ingredients show up as a red flag, but they don’t excuse the warning on the label.
The most suspect ingredient on a Takis ingredient list is usually yeast extract. This is usually derived from a gluten-containing source, such as barley, and can easily tip the chips over the 20 ppm limit required by the FDA.
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Takis and Gluten
The suspect ingredient on Takis is not the main concern with their gluten-free status.
The facilities that process Takis also handle other chips and snacks that contain wheat and other sources of gluten. This leads to cross-contamination issues large enough to merit the warning on the Takis label.
Another issue is the many ingredients required to accomplish the flavor Takis have built their reputation on. The further you get into sourcing flavors and coloring agents, the more likely you are to run up a gluten content or run into issues of cross-contamination.
Some people with a mild allergy claim Takis are not an issue for them, but this varies on a case-by-case basis. No two people respond exactly the same to the chips, and it is best to stay away from any products in the Takis range.
Takis and Other Diets
Understanding other possible allergy or dietary violations that Takis pose can convince you to steer clear of them, especially if your diet avoids dairy or other animal products.
According to the warning on the Takis label and some ingredients, Takis are not safe for dairy-free, vegan, or vegetarian diets. They also contain soy, another ingredient that some choose to avoid.
The Takis label explicitly warns that the chips may contain milk. This likely indicates an issue with cross-contamination, and the cow milk protein levels can be enough to trigger your allergy.
Dairy may show up in the ingredients list of Takis, but in most cases, the trace levels of dairy combined with gluten contamination are enough to avoid these chips.
Vegan or Vegetarian
Takis may contain milk or eggs, making them unsuitable for a vegan diet.
Those that avoid anything containing Red 40 because of its animal testing status should also avoid Takis.
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How to Enjoy Gluten-Free Spicy Corn Chips
If finding out that Takis are not safe for a gluten-free diet upsets you, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of alternatives available. They won’t quite replicate the trademark Takis taste, but it’s worth the safety of keeping gluten out of your diet completely.
The route you choose depends on what exactly you are looking for.
Do you want a chip that has spicy flavor built in, or are you just looking for the biting spice on its own? Corn tortilla chips are naturally gluten-free, and the main concern is which brands offer what you need with the right guarantees.
Do not assume that all corn tortillas or corn tortilla chips are safe for a gluten-free diet. Instead, look for brands verified to offer gluten-free products.
Popular brands include:
- Garden of Eatin’
- Food Should Taste Good
- Mission Foods
- Cabo Chips
- Late July
- Way Better
- The Better Chip
The closest thing to a one-for-one swap is finding a variety of Doritos spicy enough to meet your needs. This specific brand has the greatest number of options similar to what Takis are known for, and Doritos chips are a favorite for those working with a gluten-free diet.
Spicing it up on Your Own
You can always look to more basic ingredients to get the same kick. This can be as simple as adding gluten-free verified spices to your favorite foods or searching out new foods to meet this need.
Spices and flavors that mimic the Takis taste include:
- Lemon and/or lime
- Salt (or sea salt)
- Chili powder
- Habanero powder
- Cayenne powder
Peppers and hot sauces can offer similar taste with a fresher experience.
If you want to put more effort into it, try finding corn chip recipes or copycat recipes online and adapting them to fit the taste you are looking for. It may take some trial and error, but you can end up with a similar snack to fulfill your cravings.
Takis leave no room for questioning with a clear wheat warning, and we suggest that you listen. Failing to do so can trigger your allergy, even if you do not consider yourself particularly sensitive.
Instead, try to find verified gluten-free alternatives such as Doritos, or consider other spicy options to greet your tastebuds. You just might stumble across your new favorite food, all without risking an adverse reaction.