8 Surprising Things That Contain Gluten

When we talk about gluten we tend to think of the usual suspects: pasta; cake and the number one suspect: bread. But you’d be surprised to learn what other foods and products contain gluten. If you suffer from Coeliac Disease this could be a big problem. Even if you are carefully avoiding gluten you could find yourself experiencing symptoms from unexpected sources. Here are eight of those culprits:

1. Salad Dressings

Always check the bottle before buying a pre-made salad dressing, or, even better, make your own – sometimes the simple ones are the best, I often just mix oil and herbs.

Have a look at this lovely recipe for Vegan Warm Fennel & Pomegranate Salad with a simple and tasty dressing.

2. Chocolate

chocolatechunks©iStockDon’t panic! Not all chocolate contains gluten. However, if you suffer from Coeliac Disease, you should check the chocolate beforehand as some manufacturers don’t prepare the product in a gluten-free environment. Have a look at Coeliac UK’s website for more advice.


3. Sauces, in particular soy sauce and gravy

Soy Sauce iStock_000015923089_LargeOne thing I was surprised by when trying to make a lovely, healthy gluten-free stir-fry was that soy sauce contains gluten! Luckily it is possible to find gluten-free soy sauce – always read the label. In other sauces wheat flour is often used as a thickener, so unless you’re making the sauce or gravy yourself, always check the label for gluten.

4. Sausages and hot dogs

sausagesinpan©iStockMany health and nutrition websites point out the ‘glu’ part of gluten – gluten is a binding agent and as such it is used in a lot of products to literally stick it together. Sausages and hot dogs often contain breadcrumbs as fillers, so always read the label or ask your butcher before buying. There are many delicious gluten-free sausages available from Debbie & Andrew’s – definitely worth a look!

5. Ice cream

Icecream©iStockWhy?? Surely delicious ice cream can’t be a culprit? While most ice cream is gluten-free, not all ice cream is created equal and it’s always worth checking as occasionally gluten is used as a binding agent. Have a look at this helpful list of gluten-free ice cream from Coeliac UK. You may also need to be careful of any extras such as sprinkles as these aren’t always gluten-free.

6. Stock and Bouillon Powder

Stock iStock_000018351309_LargeThis was another one that surprised me, a lot of prepackaged stocks contain gluten – the best way to avoid it is to make it yourself. This takes a lot of planning as you’ll need a lot of time if you’re making a bone stock, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Vegetable based stocks take a lot less time to make and are just as delicious and healthy! Bouillon Powder, I’ve discovered, comes in a gluten-free version, which makes life easier!

Have a look at this delicious Vietnamese Gluten-Free Vegan Pho Soup with a deliciously tasty broth.

7. Soy, rice or almond milk

Almond milk in glass with almonds in bowl, on color wooden backgThese milk alternatives are great for people with dairy intolerances, but if you suffer from Coeliac disease or are particularly sensitive to gluten, it’s probably best to check and make sure it is definitely gluten-free. For example in soya milk – if it only contains soya you should be fine, but some may contain additives or sugars that come from grains, so it’s always best to check!


8. Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate iStock_000044522828_LargeSuch a delicious treat in the winter, yet a lot of pre-packaged cocoa mixes contain gluten. Always read the label before hand – or make it yourself from scratch using cocoa, milk and sweetener.



The best advice, if you’re worried about unexpected gluten in products, is to always check the packaging and, where possible, make things from scratch. For more help and advice have a look at Coeliac UK’s website. For lots of delicious gluten-free recipes click here.

Do you have any experiences with products that surprisingly contained gluten? What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave your comments below!