Zesty, crunchy and sure to stain your fingers, Takis corn chips are one of the most popular spicy snacks worldwide. But are they gluten-free? FIND OUT HERE!
Takis rolled tortilla chips are a favorite sport-side snack and part food. If you’re discovering these spicy chips for the first time, or if you’re new to the gluten-free lifestyle, you may be wondering if Takis chips are free from gluten.
SHORT ANSWER: NO!
No, Takis tortilla chips are not gluten-free. Unfortunately, Takis may contain gluten and should be avoided by celiacs or anyone else adhering to a strictly gluten-free diet.
Are Takis Gluten Free?
At first glance, Takis’ ingredient list does not seem to name any gluten ingredients. For example, Takis Fuego contain the following:
- Corn flour (processed with lime)
- Vegetable oil (palm oil and/or soybean oil and/or canola oil)
- Seasoning [salt, maltodextrin, citric acid, sugar, monosodium glutamate, hydrolyzed soy protein, onion powder, yeast extract, red 40 lake, yellow 6 lake, natural and artificial flavors, sodium bicarbonate, soybean oil, chili pepper, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, TBHQ (antioxidant)]
But let’s take a closer look at the ingredients list! One of the ingredients present in Takis’ seasoning is yeast extract. Yeast extract is likely to contain barley or wheat, and therefore will also contain gluten.
Besides the yeast extract, there is another strong hint that Takis may not be gluten-free. At the bottom of the nutrition label, on every bag of Takis, reads this disclaimer: “May contain milk, wheat and egg.” Because of this stated risk, anyone with celiac disease or allergies to milk, wheat or eggs should avoid eating Takis.
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What Are Takis?
Takis are corn tortilla chips rolled tight into little cylinders (picture a baby taquito, only hollow). They are crunchy and super spicy and flavorful. There are several Takis flavors available, including Fuego, Blue Heat, Crunchy Fajitas, Guacamole, Intense Nacho, and Nitro.
Takis are made by Barcel USA, a snack division of international food distributor Grupo Bimbo, based in Mexico. Mexican Takis were first created in 1999, and they came to the US in 2004. Original Takis have spurned a whole fleet of spinoff snacks: Takis Stix, Chippz, Waves, Crisps, Hot Nuts, POP!, and Kettlez. These zesty snacks have become uber popular at parties and sporting events, not to mention solo snack time for anyone who can handle a spicy kick.
Why Do Takis Have Gluten?
Takis are spicy tortilla chips, and tortilla chips are almost always gluten-free, so it seems like Takis should be gluten-free as well, right? Not this time.
Takis’ seasoning contains yeast extract, which is highly likely to contain wheat or barley, which two of the primary sources of gluten. In addition, Takis’ nutrition labels carry the disclaimer, “May contain milk, wheat and egg.” So there may be additional points of cross-contamination during manufacturing.
If you’re eating gluten-free, look for snacks that are certified gluten-free by the FDA. These are guaranteed to have less than 20 parts per million of gluten and thus safe to consume if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance.
Gluten Free Takis Alternatives
Although Takis may be off the menu for anyone eating a gluten-free diet, there are plenty of gluten-free snack alternatives!
Check out these other flavorful, crunchy bagged snacks:
Doritos Simply Organic White Cheddar Flavored Tortilla Chips (other Doritos may or may not be gluten-free; read our post here for all the details)
Fritos Original Corn Chips
Trader Joe’s Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips
Tortilla chips (most brands are OK; check here for a comprehensive review)
Ruffles Original Potato Chips
Cheetos Crunchy Flamin’ Hot Cheese Flavored Snacks (and many other varieties)
Smartfood White Cheddar Popcorn
Veggie Straws by Sensible Portions (including the new Screamin’ Hot flavor!)
For a list of gluten-free options from many mainstream snack labels in the United States, this page on the Frito-Lay website is a wonderful resource! As stated on the page, “Frito-Lay has validated through analytical testing that the [products listed] contain less than 20 ppm of gluten, the level put forward in the FDA’s Gluten Free Food Labeling Final Rule.”
Takis Blue Heat do not contain the potentially problematic yeast extract found in Takis Fuego; they use hydrolyzed yeast instead, which is considered gluten-free.
However, Takis Blue Heat should still be avoided on a gluten-free diet because of the warning “May contain milk, wheat or egg.” This means that Takis are likely to come in contact with gluten during manufacturing due to cross-contamination at the facility.
No, Takis Fuego are unfortunately not gluten free. While their main ingredient is corn masa flour, the seasoning also contains yeast extract, which is likely made with wheat or barley, both natural sources of gluten.
In addition, Takis Fuego warn on the label, “May contain milk, wheat or egg.” This is one to avoid if you’re eating gluten-free.
Yes and no. There are several varieties of Takis; some are vegan, while others are not. Some flavors- such as Guacamole and Crunchy Fajitas- do contain animal ingredients (milk, egg or cheese) in their seasoning mix, but the classic Takis Fuego flavor does not contain any animal products, so yes, it is considered vegan!
Takis taste hot, hot, hot! The Fuego variety is flavored with hot chili pepper and lime; Takis Crunchy Fajitas have “all the spicy intensity of the Tex-Mex dish;” Takis Nitro are flavored with habanero, lime, and cucumber; Takis Guacamole taste like, well, guacamole; and Takis Blue Heat taste like hot spicy chili pepper. For a cheesy option that is not so hot and spicy, there’s Takis Intense Nacho.
The Bottom Line
Takis are not 100% sure to contain gluten, but because they may contain gluten due to cross-contamination during manufacturing (wheat products are handled at the same facility and perhaps using the same machinery), Takis are not a good choice for a strictly gluten-free diet.
In addition, the yeast extract present in Takis could be made from wheat or barley, which do contain gluten.
On the upside, there are plenty of other snack options to choose from. Tortilla chips are typically made from ground corn, oil and salt, and are therefore almost always gluten-free. If spicy, rolled chips are calling your name, try Trader Joe’s Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips!