Are pickles gluten free? brands and recipe


Pickles can be a key ingredient in dishes like tuna salad or as a side served with a sandwich.

While pickles generally refer to cucumbers fermented with seasoned vinegar, a range of foods – carrots, onions, eggs and others – can be fermented and pickled.

Most pickles are gluten-free, although the fermenting or pickling solution often determines whether or not they are considered a truly gluten-free product.

This article defines which pickles are gluten-free and which to avoid, especially if you have celiac disease.

Common spices, herbs, and aromatics used to season most pickles, such as garlic cloves, dill, and mustard seeds, will generally be gluten-free. This means you need to focus on the brining solution itself.

Pickles can be fermented in a range of mixtures.

Gluten-free pickles are fermented in vinegars made from gluten-free grains or distilled vinegars. These include corn, cane sugar, grape, and apple cider vinegars — or, in the case of lacto-fermented pickles, a saltwater brine (1).

Studies show that exposure to traces of gluten (an average of 2.1 mg per exposure) generally produces no noticeable symptoms in people with celiac disease, although this may vary from person to person. other (2, 3).

According to United States food regulations, a product labeled “gluten-free” must contain less than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten (4).

To that end, if you follow a strictly gluten-free diet due to celiac disease or other health condition, look for products made in a facility that does not process gluten-containing products to avoid cross-contamination. .

This will help keep even the most residual amounts of gluten out of your pickle jar and save you from unwanted gluten-related side effects.

If you’re concerned about traces of gluten, look for brands that include messages about being gluten-free. It is even safer to choose third-party certified brands.

Brands that claim to be gluten-free include:

Other common additives, such as calcium chloride, citric acid and sodium benzoate, do not contain gluten.

Flavoring agents such as “natural flavor” can be assumed to be gluten-free if the product claims to be gluten-free overall.

If the ingredient list simply says “vinegar,” it usually implies that apple vinegar or apple cider vinegar was used. Thus, the product must be safe to eat for those who must avoid gluten.


Look for pickles fermented with distilled vinegars made from corn, cane sugar, apple cider, or a saltwater brine. If you can’t eat gluten, it’s best to choose only pickles that are labeled gluten-free and made in a facility that’s free of gluten-containing foods.

Pickles fermented with malt vinegar may contain traces of gluten because they contain wheat, barley or rye (5).

If you love pickles but are concerned about gluten, avoid pickles prepared in a pickling solution containing malt vinegar.

Keep in mind:

  • Malt vinegar is made from the distillation of barley malt and will contain gluten.
  • It’s best to avoid flavored vinegars, as they may also contain malt (which contains gluten) (6).
  • Chinese black rice vinegar (Chinkiang) also typically contains gluten and should be avoided, although most rice vinegars are gluten-free.

You are much more likely to encounter pickles pickled with malt vinegar outside of the United States. For example, the Plowman’s pickle, popular in the UK, is made with a malt vinegar brine and is therefore not gluten-free.

If you have celiac disease, this tiny amount may or may not trigger a response. However, if you avoid gluten for other reasons, this may not affect you.


Avoid pickles fermented with malt vinegar or rice vinegar, as they contain gluten. It’s also a good idea to avoid pickles made with flavored vinegars, as they may contain malt, which contains gluten.

Most pickles do not contain gluten.

Pickles prepared with distilled vinegars, sometimes labeled simply “vinegar”, will be safe for consumption. However, pay attention to these terms on the ingredient label, as they indicate the presence of traces of gluten:

  • wheat protein
  • malt vinegar
  • flavored vinegar
  • rye vinegar

Also, be wary of foods that often accompany pickles, as they can often contain gluten. If you have celiac disease, stay alert and skip sandwich bread or crackers if they’re not labeled gluten-free.

Instead, consider these 14 gluten-free breads.

Remember, it’s always safer to choose foods that are third-party certified as gluten-free if you live with celiac disease.


Pay attention to terms such as “malt vinegar”, “wheat protein” or “rice vinegar” on the ingredient label. Pickles fermented with these will contain small amounts of gluten. Distilled vinegars, or those labeled simply “vinegar”, should be safe to consume.

Most pickles are gluten-free. Pickles pickled with distilled vinegars — like those made with corn or apple cider vinegar — won’t contain gluten and should be safe to eat if you’re on a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease.

However, you should avoid pickles made with malt vinegar or rice vinegar. To be on the safe side when shopping, make sure the jar says “gluten-free”.

If you are very sensitive to gluten and affected by traces, make sure the pickles you buy come from a facility where gluten is not processed into any product.

You’re more likely to come across gluten-containing pickles outside of the US – for example, in the UK, where the plowman’s pickle is a favorite.

If you’re eating out, ask if the pickles served are gluten-free or avoid them altogether if you’re concerned. And don’t forget that foods that often come with pickles, like crackers or bread, usually contain gluten.

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