Thursday, January 15, 2015

Is Vanilla Gluten-Free?

Every time a non-Celiac makes gluten-free cookies for my husband, they always come to me with the same question: "Where do I find gluten-free vanilla?"
Target brand vanilla adds corn syrup - it's still safe!

Most of the gluten-free boxed mixes, such as Betty Crocker, make a point to tell you to use not just vanilla extract but gluten-free vanilla extract. Which leads one to believe that there are vanilla extract brands out there that contain gluten.

I have not found this to be true in my experience. I usually use McCormick and the Target brand of vanilla and neither one has ever listed gluten as an ingredient or potential allergen.

You make pure vanilla extract by macerating and percolating vanilla beans in ethyl alcohol and water, and according to Tricia Thompson, The Gluten-Free Dietitian, there is no reason to avoid vanilla extract if you're eating gluten-free. She writes that the alcohol in all extracts (not just vanilla extract) is distilled and "pure distilled alcohol is gluten free regardless of the starting material."

And Linda Daniels over at Free Range Cookies writes that even if your pure vanilla extract contains other ingredients such as corn syrup, sugar, glycerin, invert sugar, propylene glycol, or glucose, don't worry. These are just added to enhance the flavor. All of those ingredients are permitted in the U.S. by the FDA to be included in "pure" vanilla extract and do not add any hidden gluten.

So basically, any brand you see labeled pure vanilla extract is going to be gluten-free.

Now you know and now you can go out and bake some safe gluten-free cookies for my husband! *wink wink*

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