Find out if Cheerios are gluten-free, if your favorite flavors are gluten-free, and answer some common questions.
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If you love a quick and easy breakfast option, cereal is a great option to get out the door and begin your day with. While it’s not the most filling or nutritionally sound option, sometimes convenience wins out.
Cheerios have been around for ages and many of us grew up eating a bowl of Cheerios before running to catch the bus before school.
I fed my son Cheerios as a snack as one of his very first foods when I’d take him for walks in the stroller to keep him busy. My nieces love adding Cheerios to snack mixes with other cereals to take on family vacations.
Cheerios are a well loved cereal, but are they gluten-free? If you follow a gluten-free diet or have food intolerances of any kind, you know that any food and ingredient needs to be looked at with a careful eye before letting it in your body.
Cheerios are no exception. That’s why we’re going to do a deep dive into this beloved cereal and find out if Cheerios contain gluten, plus answer a few other common questions about this breakfast option.
According to the Cheerios.com website, Cheerios contain the following ingredients:
“Whole Grain Oats, Corn Starch, Sugar, Salt, Tripotassium Phosphate. Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) Added to Preserve Freshness. Calcium Carbonate, Iron and Zinc (mineral nutrients), Vitamin C (sodium ascorbate), A B Vitamin (niacinamide), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine hydrochloride), Vitamin A (palmitate), Vitamin B1 (thiamin mononitrate), A B Vitamin (folic acid), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3.”
Depending on the flavor of Cheerios you buy, there will likely be some other ingredients added to this basic list. It’s always a good idea to review ingredients of any packaged food, but let’s talk more about what types of Cheerios are gluten-free.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
Gluten is naturally occurring, and therefore is impossible to strip away from the grain. If a grain naturally has gluten in it, there’s no way to make that food gluten-free.
Gluten can be found in some cereal products in the form of wheat, wheat flour, malt flavor, or malt barley. You can also find gluten hidden in flavorings in some cereal.
Are Cheerios gluten-free?
Cheerios contain no gluten-containing ingredients AND they have a gluten-free label on the packaging. For any food product to have a gluten-free label, it must contain less than 20ppm of gluten.
We can safely say that some varieties of Cheerios are gluten-free and safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet. We’ll discuss which flavors and options are gluten-free, but we can definitely enjoy the original flavor with no issues while sticking with a gluten-free diet.
Wait, didn’t Cheerios used to contain wheat??
Years back, Cheerios used to contain wheat starch and was listed as an ingredient. According to Gluten Free and More, even when this ingredient was listed, this ingredient was only used in one mill – and only then occasionally.
The Cheerios website states that “Cheerios have always been made of oats, which are naturally gluten free. However, conventional farming practices as well as common grain handling procedures allow chances for gluten containing grains (like wheat, barley, and rye) to co-mingle with our gluten free oats.
To make Cheerios gluten-free, we have to separate the oats from grains that contain gluten, which are different sizes and shapes. Our cleaning house can sort 3.5 million pounds of oats every day.”
They have since updated not only their ingredients to use oat flour, they also don’t use wheat starch any longer. The company even has a whole section on their website dedicated to showing you how their product is now gluten-free as it wasn’t before.
They batch test oats for gluten before they’re processed into cereal, ensuring that there are less than 20ppm as per the FDA’s standards to meet the gluten-free criteria. Here’s what they have to say about testing the oats used in Cheerios:
“From the field to the bowl, the journey our oats take to become Cheerios is long. Every batch of oats and finished product is sampled and scrutinized by a team of technicians to ensure the health and safety of our consumers that have gluten intolerances or allergies. Our oats are then skillfully milled into oat flour that is verified to be gluten free through continuous sampling and empirical testing.”
There are a number of varieties and flavors of Cheerios available on the market today. Let’s get on the same page, so we know what is available and then we’ll talk about which ones are safe for a gluten-free diet.
- Blueberry Cheerios
- Maple Cheerios
- Cheerios Oat Crunch
- Original Cheerios
- Honey Nut Cheerios
- Multi Grain Cheerios
- Apple Cinnamon Cheerios
- Chocolate Cheerios
- Fruity Cheerios
- Frosted Cheerios
- Cheerios Oat Crunch Almond
- Cheerios Oat Crunch, Oats ‘N Honey
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios
- Chocolate Strawberry Cheerios
- Cinnamon Cheerios
- Honey Nut Cheerios Medley
- Multi Grain Cheerios with Real Strawberries
- Pumpkin Spice Cheerios
- Very Berry Cheerios
Are all Cheerios flavors gluten-free?
Most Cheerios flavors are gluten-free! Here are a list of their current flavors that have gluten-free labels on them.
Since I also write about being dairy-free, I’ve marked those flavors that are also dairy-free with an asterisk (*).
- Blueberry Cheerios*
- Maple Cheerios*
- Original Cheerios*
- Honey Nut Cheerios*
- Multi Grain Cheerios*
- Apple Cinnamon Cheerios*
- Chocolate Cheerios*
- Fruity Cheerios*
- Frosted Cheerios*
- Chocolate Strawberry*
- Cinnamon Cheerios*
These are the Cheerios flavors that do NOT have a gluten-free label, so may want to steer clear of them.
These flavors may or may not have gluten in their ingredient list, but without that gluten-free label, we know General Mills does not test these varieties for gluten or they contain more than 20ppm of gluten so can’t be considered gluten-free by the FDA.
- Cheerios Oat Crunch*
- Cheerios Oat Crunch Oats ‘N Honey*
- Cheerios Oat Crunch Almond
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios*
- Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch*
- Honey Nut Cheerios Treats Bars
- Multi Grain Cheerios with Real Strawberries*
- Pumpkin Spice Cheerios*
- Very Berry Cheerios*
Are Honey Nut Cheerios gluten-free?
Yes, Honey Nut Cheerios contain no gluten-containing ingredients and also have a gluten-free label on their packaging. You can feel good eating this cereal on a gluten-free diet without having issues.
Read on: Are Honey Nut Cheerios gluten-free?
Are Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios gluten-free?
Yes, chocolate peanut butter flavored Cheerios have no gluten-containing ingredients. However, they may contain gluten as a result of cross contamination since they do not have a gluten-free label on their packaging.
Use your own discretion based on what you know about your level of sensitivity to gluten.
Are Multigrain Cheerios gluten-free?
Multigrain Cheerios are considered gluten-free by the General Mills company, and have a gluten-free label on them. These are also dairy-free.
Are Cheerios Oat Crunch gluten-free?
Cheerios Oat Crunch are not considered gluten-free by the General Mills company. You’ll want to steer clear of this flavor as well as Cheerios Oat Crunch Oats ‘N Honey if you’re following a gluten-free diet.
There may not be specific ingredients that contain gluten in the ingredient list, but the brand does not state it is gluten-free, meaning they likely share equipment and machinery that also processes gluten containing grains.
Are Cheerios Oat Crunch Almond gluten-free?
There is no gluten-free label on this cereal box or anywhere on the Cheerios website. As with the other Cheerios Oat Crunch varieties, I’d assume there is cross contamination with gluten grains during processing.
If you follow a gluten-free diet and are sensitive to trace amounts of gluten, I’d steer clear of this variety and choose another flavor of gluten-free Cheerios instead.
Are Cheerios dairy-free?
Most flavors of Cheerios contain no dairy ingredients and are safe for a dairy-free diet. Review the list above for dairy-free options. These are indicated with an asterisk (*).
The Cheerios treats bars are the only product that has a “contains milk” note on it, according to their website.
It may be obvious, but it’s worth mentioning anyway, be sure you’re using dairy-free milk with your cereal to keep it 100% dairy-free.
Are Cheerios vegan?
While Cheerios are mainly derived from oat flour, there are ingredients in them that are not qualified to be called vegan. These would be white sugar, honey, and Vitamin D3. These ingredients have been derived from animals, therefore they are not vegan.
Read more about this specific topic from this great resource.
Do Cheerios have eggs in them?
None of the Cheerios flavors or varieties contain eggs. If you avoid eggs in your diet due to allergies or other health reasons, you can safely enjoy this brand of cereal.
Other gluten-free toasted “O” cereals
If you’re not into the idea of buying Cheerios for some reason, know that there are other great gluten-free Toasted “O” cereals on the market. Here are a few other brands that make similar cereals to Cheerios that you might want to consider.
Those that are also dairy-free are marked with an asterisk (*).
Forager Organic Grain-free O’s
Love Grown Foods Power O’s Cereal
One Degree Organic Foods
Three Wishes Grain Free Cereal
Where to buy Cheerios
You can buy Cheerios in almost any grocery store nationwide, especially Original Cheerios. You may have a tricky time finding some of the different flavors at your local grocery store, but you can also look for them online at places like Amazon.
If you’d love more breakfast ideas, be sure to read The Ultimate Gluten-free Dairy-free Breakfast Guide.
If you love enjoying a bowl of Cheerios for breakfast or giving it to your little ones who need to avoid gluten, I hope that you’ve found the information you need to make an informed choice when you’re at the grocery store next.