Tortilla chips… so salty, crunchy, and satisfying. But are they gluten-free? We have all the details.
Mexican restaurants simply would not be the same without chips and salsa. If you’re following a gluten-free diet, because of celiac disease or for any other reason, you may be wondering if tortilla chips still have a place in your life. Are tortilla chips gluten-free?
Short Answer: Yes, most tortilla chips are gluten-free! Regular tortilla chips have a very short list of ingredients: ground corn, oil, and salt. These ingredients are naturally free from gluten.
However, certain types of tortilla chips may have wheat flour added to the blend, so always read labels. And when ordering tortilla chips in a restaurant, check to make there has not been cross-contamination with wheat in the kitchen.
Table of Contents
For more information on gluten-free chips, check out are dortios gluten-free, are fritos gluten-free, are cheetos gluten-free, are takis gluten-free , is popcorn gluten-free and are potato chips gluten-free.
Are Tortilla Chips Gluten-Free?
Tortilla chips are usually gluten-free, and they make a wonderful, crunchy snack for anyone avoiding wheat-based treats.
When you buy a bag of tortilla chips at the grocery, check the nutrition label to make sure it contains only gluten-free ingredients. If the product is certified gluten-free (verified to have less than 20 parts per million of gluten), even better!
Some companies do add gluten-containing grains to certain flavors of tortilla chips, so it is important to check labels. And when you order tortilla chips in a restaurant, ask if the chips are cooked in a fryer that also handles gluten-containing foods. If so, cross-contamination is very likely, and fried foods at this restaurant should be avoided by anyone with celiac disease, a wheat allergy, or gluten sensitivities.
What Are Tortilla Chips Made of?
Classic tortilla chips have very few ingredients! For example, these are the simple ingredients found in a bag of Original Tostitos chips:
- Vegetable oil (corn, canola, and/or sunflower oil)
That’s it! Of course, there are also many specialty flavors with added ingredients. For this reason, it’s important to check nutritional information to be sure you know what’s in your bag of chips. For example, Tostitos Black Bean & Garlic chips have a much longer ingredients list, and some of those ingredients are not celiac-friendly:
- Vegetable oil (corn, canola, and/or sunflower oil)
- Dried black beans
- Corn starch
- Maltodextrin (made from corn)
- Whole white wheat
- Whole triticale
- Whole oats
- Whole rye
- Whole barley
- Whole millet
- Whole buckwheat
- Whole brown rice
- Onion powder
- Dried onion
- Natural flavors
- Yeast extract
- Garlic powder
- Dried garlic
This particular variety of tortilla chips definitely does contain gluten. In fact, it lists four gluten-containing ingredients: wheat, triticale, rye, and barley.
You also might like this article on is corona gluten-free.
A Note on Shared Fryers
When gluten-free foods are cooked in the same fryer (or air fryer) as foods that do contain gluten, cross contamination will occur. Small particles of gluten-containing food are likely to break off during frying and later adhere to other items being fried, notably items that should be gluten-free based on their ingredients.
To ensure that a gluten-free food remains gluten-free, it should be prepared separately from foods that contain gluten. This applies to countertop surfaces, cutting boards, fryers, and other appliances. If you have celiac disease or a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, order fried foods with caution. Ask if the restaurant uses shared fryers for both gluten-free and gluten-containing foods. If so, order a gluten-free meal that does not need to be fried.
Consider your cooking habits at home as well. If you’re making your own tortilla chips (or any other fried food), use a deep fryer or air fryer that is not also used to cook gluten foods. Some families choose to stock the kitchen with separate appliances for members of the household who are gluten-free and those who are not.
Which Tortilla Chips Are Gluten-Free?
Most tortilla chips are gluten-free products. Look for the following brands of tortilla chips:
- Tostitos* (not all varieties; see below)
- Great Value (Walmart)
- Late July
- Food Should Taste Good (corn and other gluten-free grains)
- On the Border
- Beanitos (made from black beans rather than corn)
- Good & Gather (Target)
- Old Dutch
- Way Better
- Garden of Eatin’
- Siete (grain-free tortilla chips)
To make sure you’re buying gluten free tortilla chips, check the packaging. A certified gluten-free symbol means that this product meets the FDA requirement of less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten, and you don’t have to wonder if the chips have encountered cross-contamination during production.
*According to the Frito Lay website, these types of Tostitos tortilla chips are gluten-free:
- Baked Scoops!
- Bite Size Rounds
- Cantina Thin & Crispy
- Cantina Traditional
- Crispy Rounds
- Lightly Salted
- Original Restaurant Style
- Reduced Fat Crispy Rounds
- Simply Organic Blue Corn
- Simply Organic Yellow Corn
- Thick & Hearty Rounds
Tostitos does offer a variety of flavors that are not on this list of products, so be careful to read labels at your local grocery store! Some Tostitos flavors do contain gluten ingredients.
Yes, regular tortilla chips are gluten-free most of the time! They are made from three basic ingredients: ground corn, oil, and salt, all of which are naturally free from gluten.
Of course, always check labels for allergen warnings. Certain flavors of tortilla chips do have wheat added, so you’ll want to watch out for that. And when you’re ordering tortilla chips in a restaurant, ask if there is risk of cross-contamination in the kitchen, particularly when tortilla chips are sharing a fryer with other foods that may contain gluten.
Tostitos original tortilla chips are gluten-free, as are many of their other varieties. However, some flavors of Tostitos, such as their Black Bean & Garlic chips, do contain gluten. Make sure to check labels when you’re shopping for Tostitos. If you have celiac disease or a non-celiac gluten intolerance, buy only chips that do not name wheat, barley, rye, or triticale on the ingredient list.
No, the tortilla chips from Chili’s are not considered gluten-free. The Chili’s website says of their Tostada Chips: “Ingredient is cooked on a surface with other gluten-containing foods OR in shared fryers—exposing ingredient to gluten cross-contact.”
The cross-contamination from the shared fryer could pose a health risk for people with celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders. If you are eating strictly gluten-free, do not eat the tortilla chips at Chili’s or any other restaurant that uses a shared fryer to cook gluten-containing products.
As stated on the Mission website, Mission corn products (including tortilla chips) are certified gluten free. This means that they meet the FDA requirement of less than 20 ppm of gluten. They are safe to consume as part of a gluten-free diet.
Mission corn products are produced on a separate line from their wheat products; this company is careful to avoid cross-contamination.
According to the Chipotle allergens list, Chipotle’s tortilla chips are gluten-free. When you are ordering at Chipotle, let them know that you are eating gluten-free and politely ask the person behind the counter to change gloves when preparing your order. This will reduce the chance of cross-contamination, since Chipotle workers also handle flour tortillas.
Check out this full post on chipotle gluten-free options!
The Bottom Line
Tortilla chips are nearly always gluten-free! Check packaging to make sure, but almost any tortilla chips you’ll find at the grocery store will be free from gluten. Serve it with this artichoke dip or bbq nachos for a delicious appetizer!
Restaurant-made tortilla chips are a bit more risky. Make sure to ask how the chips are prepared. If they’re cooked in a shared fryer with menu items that do contain gluten, there is a high likelihood of cross-contamination. Some restaurants do have a separate fryer for gluten-free foods, so their tortilla chips should be safe to eat on a gluten-free diet.