Chicken broth is a kitchen staple and essential to many favorite recipes. But is it gluten-free? Read on to find out – plus a list of brands that are!
Chicken broth is a pantry standby commonly used as a base for soups and stews. It’s also an easy way to add savory chicken flavor to pasta and rice dishes- simply sub broth for water!
Of course, if you choose to concoct your own homemade broth, it’s easy to control the ingredients and insure that gluten ingredients are not used. But if you crave the convenience of store-bought broth, you may be wondering, Is chicken broth gluten-free?
Short answer: Usually, yes, chicken broth is gluten-free! However, it’s important to check labels on store-bought chicken broth to make sure that gluten ingredients have not been added.
Is Chicken Broth Gluten Free?
The basic ingredients used to make traditional broth are naturally free from gluten. Chicken, vegetables, salt, and water make up a simple chicken broth, and all are gluten-free.
What exactly is gluten, you might ask? Gluten is a protein found in wheat flour, barley, rye, and triticale, as well as ingredients derived from these sources. While gluten is perfectly harmless for many, it can be dangerous if consumed by someone with celiac disease, wheat allergy, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or gluten intolerance. Symptoms vary in severity, but celiac patients often suffer both short- and long-term effects when they consume gluten even in small amounts.
What Is Chicken Broth?
Chicken broth is made by simmering chicken, vegetables, salt, and aromatics in water. The mixture is allowed to simmer for a couple of hours before the liquid is strained to remove all solids, and then it’s ready to use in soups, stews, and other recipes.
These are the ingredients found in classic Swanson Chicken Broth:
- Chicken Stock
- Natural Flavoring
- Mirepoix (Carrots, Celery, Onions)
- Chicken Fat
- Yeast Extract
Most of these ingredients are obviously free from gluten, but there are a couple components- namely “natural flavoring” and “yeast extract”- that require a closer look.
Of the short list of ingredients that make up a typical chicken broth, two are potentially problematic. What exactly is “natural flavoring,” and where does “yeast extract” come from?
“Natural flavoring” is a mysterious moniker that can mean many different things. From the FDA, the term natural flavor or natural flavoring means that essential flavoring has been extracted from a natural source (such as a plant, animal, or herb) and used to enhance the taste of a food product. Ingredient labels don’t often cite the source of the natural flavoring, but if it comes from wheat, wheat will be listed in the allergen statement. If a product is certified gluten-free, you can rest assured that the natural flavoring comes from a gluten-free source.
Chicken broth’s second suspect ingredient is “yeast extract.” Yeast extract may or may not contain gluten. If it is made using barley, the yeast extract it is likely to contain more than 20 parts per million of gluten, and thus cannot be considered gluten-free by FDA standards. When a product such as chicken broth contains yeast extract, it is important to check the label for gluten-free certification or obtain more information from the brand’s website. If there is no written indication that the product is gluten-free, the yeast extract could be a hidden source of gluten, and celiacs should not eat it.
Click here to learn about the different types of yeast and find out which types are gluten-free!
Gluten-Free Chicken Broth Brands
Looking for a brand of chicken broth that’s celiac friendly? These companies make chicken broth that is clearly labeled gluten-free and safe to consume as part of a gluten-free diet:
- College Inn
- Kettle & Fire
- Imagine Foods
- Bare Bones
- Pacific Foods
- Kitchen Basics
- Trader Joe’s
- Great Value (Walmart)
- Chef’s Cupboard (Aldi)
*Even among these brands, check ingredient information to make sure. College Inn, for example, produces many gluten-free broths, but their turkey broth contains soy sauce (made using wheat) and should be avoided if you’re eating gluten-free.
Is Swanson Chicken Broth Gluten Free?
Swanson’s broth is available at grocery stores all over the United States. According to the Campbell’s website, the following Swanson chicken stocks and broths are verified gluten-free:
- Low Sodium Organic Chicken Broth
- Natural Goodness 33% Less Sodium Chicken Broth
- Unsalted Chicken Broth
- Organic Chicken Broth
- Chicken Broth
- Organic Chicken Stock
- Chicken Stock
- Chicken Bone Broth
Check out this article on is rotisserie chicken gluten-free.
Swanson offers gluten-free beef and vegetables broths as well. Click here for the complete list.
These products can be consumed with confidence, even if you have celiac disease, because they have been thoroughly tested for gluten.
Swanson states, “Our products undergo a rigorous testing process before being verified gluten free. First, we take the time to verify each ingredient is gluten free. Then, we analyze the finished product to ensure that it also does not contain gluten.”
Is Great Value Chicken Broth Gluten Free?
Great Value chicken broth, sold exclusively by Walmart, is labeled gluten-free on Walmart’s website. This classic chicken broth does contain yeast extract and “natural flavor,” but because of the gluten-free label, we can assume that these ingredients are not derived from gluten-containing sources.
Campbell’s chicken broth is NOT a fit for a gluten-free diet. The allergen statement on the ingredients label states, “May contain traces of wheat.” For anyone with celiac disease, this is too great a risk. Instead, opt for commercial chicken broth that is labeled gluten-free (and therefore not at risk for cross-contamination), such as Swanson.
Chicken broth is safe for celiacs most of the time, but check labels to make sure you’re buying broth that is certified gluten-free. In addition, homemade chicken broth is easy to make, healthy and delicious!
Like chicken broth, chicken stock usually does not contain gluten. But again, be very careful to read labels and allergen warnings. Store-bought stock that is certified gluten-free will be the safest choice for celiacs and others trying to avoid gluten. Swanson is one of the most popular brands carrying gluten-free chicken stock.
The Bottom Line
Chicken broth is often gluten-free, but not always. Be careful to check labels and only buy store-bought broth that carries a gluten-free claim.
Watch out for potential gluten-containing ingredients in chicken broth, such as “natural flavors” and yeast extract. These ingredients could come from sources that contain gluten; however, if the broth is certified gluten-free, you’re safe to proceed even if the ingredients list mentions natural flavorings or yeast extract.
When in doubt, make your own chicken broth at home! Healthy, tasty, and made from your own gluten-free ingredients!