Find out if granola is safe for a gluten-free diet, what brands are gluten-free, and get some gluten-free granola recipes.
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Do you love granola with your yogurt or dairy-free yogurt in the morning? Do you love to enjoy it with a little milk or dairy-free milk for breakfast?
If you follow a gluten-free diet or are just getting started with one, you may be wondering how granola fits into a gluten-free diet.
When I first went gluten-free, I didn’t really trust the foods I found at grocery stores despite the labels. This was way before the big surge in gluten-free brands being available at many bigger stores. I didn’t eat any granola for a couple of years out of fear that I’d buy the wrong thing and wind up feeling sick later. I didn’t take many risks early on in my journey.
Then I started experimenting with making my own granola at home and it was a game changer. I loved being able to make my own granola using ingredients that I knew were gluten-free, and getting creative with the flavorings to adapt them to different times of year.
As time went on and gluten intolerance was becoming more and more talked about, I noticed a lot more brands showing up across all categories of food at my local grocery store and health food store. I slowly started adding granola back into my diet and now enjoy it as a snack or a breakfast food occasionally.
If you’re just getting started with a gluten-free diet, I don’t want you to have to wait around and be nervous about how granola can fit in with what you eat every day. Especially if you love granola and eat it frequently.
So in this post, I’m going to answer some common questions about granola to hopefully give you some peace of mind as to how you can still enjoy it on a gluten-free diet, and what to look out for when shopping.
In this post, we’ll talk about what granola is, what the main ingredients are in granola, if it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. Plus we’ll talk about a few gluten-free granola brands and recipes to get you started.
What is granola?
Granola is a breakfast food that can be made with a variety of ingredients, but most commonly has oats, nuts, spices, and sweetener. It can be made in many different flavors and it can be bought from the store or made at home.
What are the ingredients in granola?
While the ingredients of granola will vary quite a bit from brand to brand and recipe to recipe, these are the most common ingredients in granola you’ll find at the grocery store:
Whole grain oats, other whole grains, sugar or brown sugar, canola oil, rice starch, soy lecithin, baking soda, salt, and other flavorings like coconut chips, nuts, honey, and dried fruit.
Some brands might even have whole grain wheat as an ingredient listed.
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.
You can find gluten in whole grains, but also in many processed foods as well. If you purchase wheat bread, there will be gluten in it, because wheat by nature has gluten.
Many processed foods have hidden gluten in them in the form of gluten or wheat derivatives. These are also in the form of flavorings, binders to keep ingredients together, or other additives.
Is granola gluten-free?
Most store-bought granola is not gluten-free, as it contains either gluten-containing ingredients, like whole wheat, or oats that have been subject to cross contamination to gluten.
Oats are a somewhat controversial topic among the gluten-free crowd. Most oats that you find at the store and are used in many recipes are oats that have a high likelihood of being cross contamination during processing. This may have happened while on the fields, during picking, or at the manufacturing facility.
When it comes to eating granola on a gluten-free diet, you will want to look for a gluten-free label to ensure that the product you’re purchasing contains less than 20ppm of gluten.
Get my gluten-free granola recipe that’s also dairy-free and vegan.
Read on: Are Quaker Oats Gluten-free?
Does granola have gluten?
While many store-bought varieties of granola do contain gluten from cross contamination with gluten during manufacturing, there are many gluten-free varieties.
Look for gluten-free granola with no gluten-containing ingredients in the ingredient list, as well as a gluten-free label somewhere on the packaging.
Is granola dairy-free?
Depending on the brand or recipe that’s being used, granola may or may not be dairy-free. It’s best to review ingredients lists before buying if you’re avoiding dairy.
Look for anything with butter, milk proteins, or any additional protein supplements that have been added to granola for hidden dairy.
If you’re looking for a good list of ingredients to check for, you might want to check out my GFDF Take Along Cards.
One of my little secrets is that I carry around a copy of my GFDF Take Along Cards so that I always have a point of reference when I can sneak a peek at the ingredient list of a food.
Is granola vegan?
Vegan granola is available from some brands, however a lot of granola options contain honey, which isn’t a vegan food.
If you make your own granola at home, it is easy to make sure it complies with your vegan diet by opting for maple syrup or another plant-based sweetener instead of honey in your recipe.
Gluten-free granola brands
Even though many granola brands contain gluten, there are plenty that are gluten-free. I’ve done a full roundup of brands and flavors in my Gluten-free Granola post, but here are the top level brands if you’re looking for some quick options:
- Bakery On Main
- Bear Naked
- Bob’s Red Mill
- Erin Baker’s
- Jessica’s Natural Foods
- Julie’s Real
- Lark Ellen Farm
- Nature’s Path
- One Degree
- Purely Elizabeth
- Thrive Market
Note that not all options from each of these brands are necessarily gluten-free, so review the list on the Gluten-free Granola blog post to help you decide which flavor is right for you.
Homemade gluten-free granola
If you don’t want to buy granola and prefer to have full control over the ingredients used, there are so many great homemade granola recipes.
Here are the few that I love to make for my family, but you can definitely search around online to find more options that work well for you.
If you’ve been unsure if granola is a food you can continue eating and enjoying on your gluten-free diet, I hope this post has given you some peace of mind and some ideas as to what your options are.
Remember the best way to stick to your gluten-free diet is to look for gluten-free labels on packaging or make your own food at home.