This post features a complete list of gluten-free spices and will help you decide which brands of spices are gluten free and which contain gluten. I tested several spices for hidden gluten too. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
This has led many people in the gluten-free community to wonder if their innocent-looking spice jars contain “crumbs” of gluten.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed the gluten-free community’s worst fears when it put spices to the test in 2010.
The agency tested 268 ground single-ingredient spices and found that 63 samples (24 percent) contained “detectable levels” of gluten ranging from 5 ppm to 20,000 parts per million (ppm).
Mind you, the agency goes on to say that 62 of the samples contained a level of gluten that “would not pose a risk to a sensitive individual.”
Regardless, this study is a cautionary tale that even innocent, single-ingredient spices may contain “detectable” levels of gluten, levels which may trigger an inflammatory cascade in someone with celiac disease or fuel the inflammatory fire in someone with gluten sensitivity.
For a spice to be considered “gluten free,” it must contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten per the FDA’s gluten-free labeling guidelines. For a product to be “certified gluten free,” It must be validated to contain less than 20 ppm of gluten by a third-partying certifying agency like the GFCO.
Many spices don’t have a gluten-free label but only contain a single ingredient (i.e., basil). These products are likely gluten free; however, without testing and validation from the manufacturer, it’s only assumed to be gluten free.
In this article, I discuss what the leading spice brands say about gluten, as well as how several brands fared when tested for hidden gluten with my Nima Sensor, a portable gluten-detecting device.
When testing powdery foods, such as spices, Nima recommends adding a few drops of tap water, which I did for each test. Please note that many people have received false positives when testing cumin and deep red spices, so take such test results with a grain of salt, no pun intended.
Gluten-Free Spice By Brand
I researched what the leading spice manufacturers say about gluten to help you decide whether you can trust that brand.
As always, carefully read labels and inquire directly with individual manufacturers when a spice’s label isn’t clear.
Badia spices are not only labeled “gluten free,” but the company confirms its spices are gluten free on its website. Badia says it’s “proud to offer organic and gluten-free products.”
Badia spices are also a bargain! The 16-ounce container of chili powder pictured below cost less than $7 at Safeway. This is a huge deal, considering how expensive it is to follow a gluten-free diet.
Look for Badia spices in the Hispanic food aisle, not the spice/baking aisle.
I also tested Badia’s chili powder for hidden gluten with my Nima Sensor. Nima displayed a smiley face, which means it didn’t find any gluten.
B&G Foods, Inc., Durkee’s parent company (and the parent company for Spice Island, and Tone’s products) said in an email statement:
“We do not maintain a list of gluten-free spices nor are we currently testing for gluten. However, single-ingredient spices (those that contain only spices and do not have any additional ingredients) are inherently gluten free.
“We have a strong allergen clean-out policy that has been validated to ensure that there is no allergen cross-contamination at the plant. Since ingredients and facilities may change from time to time, always check the label on a specific product for current ingredient and allergen information.”
The company says, “While spices and herbs are naturally gluten free, we do not test for gluten in all products, only those certified gluten-free (by GFCO) under our Simply Organic brand. We don’t make gluten-free claims for any other products because even tiny amounts of gluten can be a problem, and these may be present in our facility or the facilities of our suppliers.”
Below is how one Frontier spice tested when put to the Nima test. A smile means no gluten found.
Great Value (Walmart)
Walmart has increasingly elevated its gluten-free offerings over the years, and even its store brand, Great Value, offers many GF-labeled products.
Walmart is good about disclosing potential allergens, so check its labels for the latest ingredient and allergen disclosure statements. Walmart says if a product is labeled “gluten free,” it means they have validated that it contains less than 20 ppm of gluten.
Several years ago, a Reddit user showed a picture of Great Value Black Pepper with the following allergen disclosure: “May contain traces of milk, eggs, wheat, and soy.” Buyer beware.
McCormick says its products that contain gluten will always be declared on the product label by the common name of the gluten source, such as barley, wheat, rye, oats, or triticale.
The company adds that if any product has a gluten-free claim on the label, the product, and the manufacturing line, have been “validated” gluten free.
McCormick recommends customers read the ingredient statement on each product to ensure the most accurate, up-to-date information, as product formulas may change.
McCormick adds, “Our McCormick facilities have allergen, sanitation, and hygiene programs in place. Our employees follow good manufacturing practices and are trained in the importance of correct labeling and the necessity of performing thorough equipment clean-up and change-over procedures to minimize cross-contact of ingredients.”
Here’s how McCormick Organic cayenne pepper fared when put to the Nima test. A smile means Nima did not find any gluten.
Morton & Bassett
Simply Organic spices are manufactured by Frontier Co-Op, and some, but not all, of its spices are certified gluten-free by the GFCO.
Frontier Co-Op spices, while naturally gluten free, are not tested nor guaranteed to be gluten free. See “Frontier Co-Op” above for additional information.
Here’s how Simply Organic ginger fared when tested with my Nima Sensor. A smile means no gluten foudn.
See the statement under “Durkee.”
Here’s how Spice Island curry powder fared when tested for hidden gluten. Nima smiled, which means it did not find any gluten.
Spicy is the only brand offering a full-line of certified gluten-free spices that I’m aware of. You can purchase them in grocery stores and on Amazon.
I confirmed that Spicely Herbs de Provence are gluten free with my Nima Sensor. A smiley face means Nima didn’t find any gluten.
The Spice Hunter says on its website, “Our spices and spice blends do not contain gluten. Our Organic Dip & Seasoning Mixes, Turkey Brines, and Global Fusion Rubs are certified gluten-free by the Gluten Intolerance Group.”
The Spice Hunter also lists the following spices on its website as certified gluten free:
I tested The Spice Hunter coriander for hidden gluten with my Nima Sensor. Nima smiled, which means it did not find any gluten.
See the statement under “Durkee.”
Trader Joe’s says if any of its products claim to be “gluten free,” the product has been validated to contain less than 20 ppm of gluten.
When I inspected various labels on its privately labeled spices, I did not see any gluten listed. As a result, I decided to test a few spices with my Nima Sensor for hidden gluten.
To accurately test each spice, I added a few drops of water to the test capsule to dilute the spices as the Nima Sensor user manual instructed.
As you can see, both spices tested gluten free:
I tested more than a dozen Trader Joe’s products for hidden gluten in my article, Testing Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Products for Hidden Gluten.
Additional Spice Tests
I tested additional spice brands for hidden gluten. Here is how various spices tested with my Nima Sensor.
As you can see, the only spice that tested positive is Tajin. I checked the Tajin website to see what the brand says about gluten.
It says, “TAJIN® products (TAJÍN® Clásico Seasoning Powder, TAJÍN® Clásico Low Sodium Seasoning Powder, Sazón TAJÍN® and TAJÍN® Habanero) do not contain gluten. In fact, TAJIN® meets FDA regulations for “gluten free” products.”
This may mean that Tajin contains less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten and therefore is legally considered “gluten free.” However, because the Nima Sensor can sometimes detect gluten below 20ppm, Nima found gluten.
I know many of you have wondered if your spices are gluten free. It’s hard to know what brands you can trust these days.
However, the gluten-free community can take solace in the following:
- There are many gluten-free labeled spices, and many are certified gluten-free, like those from Spicely. You know you can at least cook with safe spices when you cook at home. A lot of Badia spices are labeled gluten free and are very affordable as well.
- The vast majority of spices on the market do not contain gluten; if they do, they typically have only a trace amount. A trace amount of gluten inside a large meal may mean you’re consuming less than 20 ppm of gluten in one sitting.
- Allergen and gluten-free labeling is becoming commonplace, especially with big brands. Always read labels, contact the manufacturer when uncertain, and use fresh spices whenever possible.
I hope this article eases your mind about using gluten-free spices and that you better understand which spices are, and aren’t, safe to consume on a gluten-free diet.
Below are more articles you might enjoy:
- Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning Brands
- Gluten-Free Gravy Mixes – Tested for Hidden Gluten
- Are These 10 Kirkland Products from Costco Gluten-Free?
- Testing Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Products for Hidden Gluten
- Best Gluten-Free Frozen Pizza: Ranked and Tested
- Is Crystal Light Gluten Free? I Independently Tested It