Are nuts gluten free?
Nuts are a quick & tasty snack, but are they safe for individuals on a strict gluten free diet? Can you eat nuts if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance?
Keep reading to learn what nuts are okay, and which ones aren’t!
What are nuts?
Nuts come from shrubs or trees and have a hard shell that protects the kernel inside. Nuts are the single-seeded fruit which, when planted, will grow future nut trees and shrubs!
This means nuts are also packed full of nutrition. They are a great source of protein, fiber, vitamins & minerals. Nuts also contain two types of fats – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – both of which are considered beneficial.
Watch out though! Nuts contain a lot of calories, so consume them in moderation.
Are nuts gluten free?
Nuts are naturally gluten free! But if you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance or are on a strict gluten free diet for any other reason, you must be careful when purchasing nut and nut products.
Nuts are often packaged on equipment that is shared with gluten-containing foods. Certain nut products may be contaminated with gluten because of this, so it’s critical to check for any “may contain gluten” warning statements on the packaging.
Always check the product packaging before consuming nut and nut products.
Types of nuts
Feeling in a nutty mood? That’s great – because all of these different types of nuts are naturally gluten free!
(Be sure to check product labeling before eating for any gluten warnings, though!)
- Almonds are a tree nut that are extremely popular. Use a bit of almond butter in a batch of Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies for a super delicious, nutty treat!
- Brazil nuts are also tree nuts from the Amazon basin of Brazil. (Clearly!) They have a bit of a macadamia nut taste, with lots of nutritional benefits.
- Cashews are grown tropical trees found in Brazil and India. They have a mild taste, so they’re a fantastic dairy-free alternative in most recipes, especially Gluten Free Chicken Tetrazzini.
- Chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Nope, they aren’t just for Christmas! Chestnuts grow in Europe, North America & Asia. They have a mild flavor and are great for sweet or savory dishes.
- Hazelnuts, otherwise known as filberts, are grown on wild trees in Asia and Europe. My favorite way to enjoy them? In a delicious, nutty hazelnut spread like Nutella. (It’s gluten free!)
- Macadamia nuts are native to Australia and almost look like little chickpeas. They have a rich, buttery flavor.
- Pistachios are sweet and mild. They’re also super fun to try and pop out of their shells! Love those green little nutty gems…
- Peanuts are probably one of the most popular nuts. Learn all you ever wanted to know about peanut butter (plus a few recipes) right here.
- Pecans are native to the southern United States and northern Mexico. They are sweet and buttery – one of my favorite nuts to bake with, especially when I make a Gluten Free Pecan Pie.
- Walnuts are grown on trees native to North & South America, southern Europe, Asia, and the West Indies. Similar to pecans, but larger and more expensive.
Raw, roasted & candied
There are a lot of choices when it comes to nuts. Walnuts, pecans, almonds – so many options!
There are a variety of ways nuts are prepared:
- Raw nuts are in their most natural, unprocessed form. Raw nuts aren’t roasted, salted or have any additives. They are the healthiest option and are great when it comes to recipes. You can roast, salt or add sugar to your preference. (I’m a big fan of raw nuts.)
- Salted nuts are just that – nuts that have been salted. If you love a savory snack, these will be your friend! (Just check the product label for gluten warnings first, ok?)
- Roasted nuts have been heated in order to enhance the nutty flavor. Roasted nuts may also be salted, so choose carefully depending on what you are using them for!
- Candied nuts are my weakness. Coated with sugar, candied nuts are a great combination of sweet and slightly salty & earthy flavors. Always check to ensure the ingredients used to candy the nuts are gluten free!
Going nuts for nuts? Try these brands! They have safe products for anyone on a gluten free diet.
- Blue Diamond indicates on their website that “most of our products do not contain ingredients derived from wheat or other gluten grains”. The only two products you must avoid from Blue Diamond are the Jordan Almonds & Wasabi & Soy Sauce Flavored Almonds – they both contain gluten.
- Emerald nut products are ALL certified gluten free. Yippee! (I’ll take the Dill Pickle Cashews.)
- Fisher notes on their website that some of their products may contain gluten or be packaged in the same facility as gluten products. Gluten free labeling is present on any products that are safe, so look for those ones!
- Kirkland (Costco) offers a lot of nut products, some of which are safe, but some are not. Always check for any “may contain” warnings listed on the packaging before purchasing.
- Nuts.com maintains a separate gluten free production line for hundreds of their products. They have certified gluten free and gluten free products – all of which adhere to the FDA’s guidelines of no more than 20 ppm of gluten. Check out the specific gluten free section on the website.
- Sahale Snacks offers some products that are certified gluten free – it says so right on the packaging! Pomegranate flavoured pistachios? Sign me up!
- Wonderful Pistachios states “the added ingredients in our flavored pistachios do not have any gluten-containing products and the nuts do not come in contact with any form of gluten-containing products during the processing.” I highly recommend the Roasted & Salted Pistachios.
If a nut brand you want to purchase isn’t on this list, it may still be gluten free! Always check the ingredient listing and product label for any gluten additives or warnings.
Nut butters & cross contact at home
If you purchase a nut butter that is gluten free, it can still become contaminated with gluten at home. (Shock! Horror!) Here’s how:
My son once went to make a peanut butter sandwich with his gluten bread. He dipped the knife into the peanut butter, spread it onto the bread, then back into the PB jar. Whoops – the whole jar was contaminated with gluten crumbs and was no longer safe for me and my celiac gut. Total bummer.
In order to keep your nut butters safe, use the scoop method! Always spoon out the quantity you need and only put clean, uncontaminated spoons back into the jar.
You can also maintain multiple jars – designated gluten & gluten free. This works for many people and is a good strategy to keep your nut butters safe to eat.
Recipes using nuts
Now that you’re an expert on nuts, let’s get cooking and baking with them! Here are a few recipes to get you started:
- Gluten Free Pecan Pie: perfect for Thanksgiving or any holiday get-together! Roast the pecans yourself for a deliciously nutty flavor.
- Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies: gluten free and vegan, these are an easy way to satisfy your sweet cravings.
- Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies: light and fluffy, these are a cakey take on a classic cookie. Try and eat just one…
- Dairy Free Almond Milk: give this recipe a try – in just 10 minutes you’ll have smooth and creamy homemade almond milk.