Whether you have celiac disease, a gluten intolerance, or just want to live a gluten-free life, it’s important to know if any products in your cabinet contain gluten. One product you may be looking at is vanilla extract. Does vanilla extract contain gluten?
Pure vanilla extract, imitation vanilla extract, and all forms of vanillin are generally considered gluten-free. Although gluten contamination may occur during production, most vanilla extract varieties are certified gluten-free, ensuring that you can enjoy the flavoring without worry.
Read on to learn more about why vanilla extract is gluten-free. This article explains why vanilla extract is gluten-free and offers top certified gluten-free vanilla extract brands that you can depend on.
Is Vanilla Extract Gluten-Free?
Vanilla extract is extracted from vanilla beans. It comes in liquid form and is popular for baking due to its delicious flavor and aroma. It sometimes is used in savory foods to enhance the flavor in those treats as well. All around, vanilla extract is a great ingredient to add to many recipes.
Luckily, vanilla extract is generally gluten-free. No part of the vanilla bean contains gluten. As a result, pure vanilla extract is completely gluten-free as well. You do not ever have to worry about pure vanilla extract containing gluten.
That being said, it is possible that certain vanilla extract varieties are victims of gluten contamination. For individuals with celiac disease and other severe gluten intolerances, gluten contamination can be just as dangerous as gluten itself.
As such, it’s important to look for pure vanilla extract products that are certified gluten-free. This certification just ensures that the extract has not been contaminated during the bottling or processing time.
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Is Imitation Vanilla Gluten-Free?
Just because pure vanilla extract is gluten-free does not necessarily mean that imitation vanilla is gluten-free. Imitation vanilla contains a number of artificial flavors and colorings in order to replicate the flavor of pure vanilla extract.
Most imitation vanilla is gluten-free as well. Occasionally, wheat or barley malt syrup is used, which is not gluten-free. These ingredients are not used often today, but it’s still important to double-check before purchasing imitation vanilla. If you don’t see these two ingredients, the imitation vanilla should be gluten-free.
Contamination is an issue for imitation vanilla as well. Contamination is a bigger issue for imitation vanilla since some imitation vanilla products contain wheat and barley malt syrup. For this reason, only purchase certified gluten-free imitation vanilla if you have a severe allergy and read the ingredients before purchase.
Is Vanillin Gluten-Free?
Whenever you are talking about the gluten content in pure vanilla extract and artificial vanilla, it’s important to talk about vanillin. Vanillin is the main compound within vanilla bean extract.
Although this is the main chemical compound, most vanillin produced today is produced synthetically. In fact, around 99% of vanillin is artificial and produced from plant-based sources like wood or guaiacol.
The good news is that no vanillin is produced from grain sources. Therefore, all vanillin, whether extracted from the vanilla bean or synthetically produced from another source, is gluten-free.
How To Double-Check
No matter what type of vanilla extract you are purchasing, it’s always important to double-check to confirm there is no gluten in the product. Reading the fine print will allow you to confirm that the vanilla extract truly is gluten-free and not contaminated.
The easiest way to double-check is to look at the vanilla extract bottle. Certified gluten-free products will say so on the bottle. Additionally, you can look at the list of allergens. Gluten will be listed as a main allergen if it is included.
More than likely, the vanilla extract you buy will not contain gluten or be contaminated, but it never hurts to double-check.
Top Gluten-Free Vanilla Extract Brands To Try
If you don’t feel like reading the ingredients of every product you buy, we don’t blame you. It can be time-consuming to scan the back of all products for gluten. To save you some time, here are some vanilla extract brands that are gluten-free:
- Simply Organic
- Singing Dog
- Blue Cattle Truck Trading Co.
If you like shopping for generic or store brands, always double-check by reading the packaging and list of ingredients to confirm that the product is gluten-free.
Of these brands, Nielson-Massey and Singing Dog are the best. Nielson-Massey is certified gluten-free by the GFCO or Gluten-Free Certification Organization. This organization has stricter standards than the FDA, ensuring the product truly is gluten-free.
Likewise, the Singing Dog company produces all its products in a gluten-free safe zone. As a result, you don’t risk contamination when using this brand.
Making Your Own Gluten-Free Vanilla Extract
If you are concerned about gluten contamination or like DIY projects, you can always try to make gluten-free vanilla extract yourself. Because the vanilla bean is gluten-free, the extract will be gluten-free and free from contamination if your home is free from gluten.
Madagascar vanilla beans, Mexican vanilla beans, and Tahitian vanilla beans are generally the best for creating the extract. All you’ll need are the beans and inexpensive vodka.
Read More >> Is Maple Syrup Gluten-Free?
Vanilla extract is generally gluten-free, including pure vanilla extract, imitation vanilla, and all forms of vanillin. The vanilla bean is completely free from gluten, though vanilla extract can be at risk of gluten contamination.
Even so, nearly all the vanilla extract you can find is gluten-free and safe for anyone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. If you are concerned about contamination specifically, you can always look for certified gluten-free vanilla extract from the brands above.
Regardless of whether you select vanilla extract from this list or somewhere else, always double-check that the product is gluten for you yourself. Although this will take a little bit of time, it’s the best way to ensure that the product you get is gluten-free.