If you have celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or gluten intolerance - you might be wondering: is chicken broth gluten free?
The answer is maybe. Read on to find out more!
What is chicken broth?
Chicken broth is made by simmering chicken in water. It may also be referred to as chicken bouillon or stock, but it simply involves boiling chicken meat, bones or the entire carcass in water to extract the flavourful juices. Vegetables, such as celery, carrots, onions and spices may also be added for additional flavour.
Here's the deal with broths, stocks and bouillons:
- Chicken broths are thinner and use only chicken meat during simmering.
- Chicken stocks are thicker and more flavourful as bones or entire carcasses are used.
- Bouillon can be purchased as a dried product to add flavour to any recipe, but you may see broth referred to as bouillon.
Is chicken broth gluten free?
Chicken broth may be gluten free depending on how it's made.
Natural, homemade broth using plain chicken, water, vegetables and spices would be safe as all of those ingredients are naturally gluten free.
If you’re purchasing a premade chicken broth, stock or bouillon - you’ll have to check the label to determine what has been added. A variety of chicken broths on the market are NOT gluten free due to additives that are included during manufacturing.
In order to know if a commercial chicken broth is safe, always check the ingredient listing.
Gluten ingredients to watch out for
Here are the ingredients to watch out for to determine if the product you want to purchase is gluten free:
- Yeast extract: yeast is a bacteria that is included in some chicken broths as a thickener. It needs to be grown on something prior to being used and some yeasts are grown on barley - which is a gluten grain. If the chicken broth you are purchasing indicates it has yeast from barley (or any other grain like wheat or rye) - it is NOT gluten free.
- Wheat, barley, rye, malt: all of these ingredients are also used as thickening agents in chicken broth preparations and NONE of them are gluten free. If the product lists any of these ingredients, don’t purchase it.
The safest way to purchase chicken broth
Since there are so many chicken broth products available that are not gluten free, the safest thing to do is look at the labelling.
Always check the product packaging for a gluten free label (either placed there by the manufacturer or from an official celiac association/group). The presence of a gluten free label indicates the chicken broth meets strict criteria, depending on what country you live in. In North America, the standard is less than 20ppm of gluten.
If the product does not list any gluten ingredients, but does have the warning “may contain wheat” - stay away from that brand. Although there isn’t any gluten listed, it means the chicken broth was likely manufactured using production or packaging lines shared with gluten products. Cross-contamination is highly likely.
Gluten free brands
Here are some brands of chicken broth that are safe for you to use and enjoy on your gluten free diet:
- Imagine Chicken Broth: this one is my favourite. They also make vegetable and beef broths that are gluten free, too!
- Pacific Free Range Chicken Broth: both the regular and organic versions are safe.
- Simply Nature Chicken Broth: ALDI’s brand of chicken broth - great for gluten free folk!
- Culinary Treasures Organic Chicken Broth: has gluten free labelling right on the product packaging. Their vegetable broth is one of my favourites, too.
Health benefits of chicken broth
Chicken broth is such a great food to add to your gluten free diet. It’s rich in essential fatty acids, protein, minerals and electrolytes that help your blood, bones, muscles and skin.
And guess what? All of those beautiful nutrients can be easily absorbed and used by your body. (Perfect if you have gut damage from any gluten reactions!)
It’s also fat free, low in calories and packs so much flavour. Chicken, beef and vegetable broths are a staple in my pantry.
How to use chicken broth
Chicken broth can be used in so many ways! I will sometimes make rice using chicken or vegetable broth, instead of plain water, to give it a different flavour profile.
It’s also great to use in my Easy Gluten Free Gravy recipe. It's so smooth and satisfying! No pan drippings needed thanks to the broth.
And if you’re going to make gravy you might as well pile it onto a pile of french fries and cheese for a delicious gluten free poutine! Check out this post if you are wondering: Are French Fries Gluten Free?
Make a super satisfying dinner by making Gluten Free Chicken Tetrazzini. It’s favourite in our house - I mean, who can pass up cheesy noodles, hearty mushrooms and a rich, creamy sauce?!
Ok, now I’m hungry…