Does Turkey Have Gluten? (& GF Gravy Recipe)

Today, we’re going to be answering the question: does turkey have gluten, taking a look at the best gluten-free turkey brands, as well as identifying when a turkey may not be gluten-free. Turkey is particularly popular around the holiday season and with so many foods possibly containing gluten – Thanksgiving dinner can be a minefield.

Turkey is the centerpiece of any dinner, so it’s unsurprising that one of the most popular questions we’re asked is: is turkey gluten-free? Which brands should we opt for? Let’s take a look.

Why Wouldn’t A Turkey Be Gluten Free?

There are a few reasons why turkey may not be gluten-free. And you must be careful when buying your meats, as most meats contain the same risks, even though naturally they should be gluten-free.

Additives

Additives in foods are there for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s to make the meat more flavorful, preserve shelf life, or even make it more juicy – extra ingredients can sometimes be added. And those ingredients can contain gluten. If a turkey comes with a seasoning or a gravy, this is another instance that may make the turkey contain traces of gluten. Always be sure to read the ingredients carefully.

Cross Contact

It’s unlikely for cross-contact to occur with turkey that you find in a grocery store. However, when you buy turkey fresh from a deli counter or order turkey from a restaurant – there’s a huge chance of cross-contact. The turkey may have come into contact with gluten when preparing and serving other foods within the kitchen. Be sure to tell your server of any allergies and they’ll be able to safely assist you with your order.

Cross Contact

Learn more about: Gluten Cross Contamination Vs Cross Contact

Breading

Breaded meats are becoming increasingly popular – and more often than not, they are not gluten-free. This is because breadcrumbs are made using wheat flour, and wheat flour are most definitely not gluten-free. However, I have been pleasantly surprised in the past, so always be sure to check the ingredients label.

Gluten Free Turkeys

If you’re unsure of where to buy a gluten-free turkey or would prefer to buy from a brand that openly claims their turkeys are gluten-free – there’s a huge selection! Let’s take a look at some of the most popular choices.

Butterball Turkey

You can find these turkeys in almost any grocery store! And although it may not state they’re gluten-free on the label, they are very clear that the only turkey products of theirs that contain gluten are the Butterball Frozen Stuffed Turkey and the Butterball Frozen Italian Style Meatballs.

Diestel

Not only are the Diestel Family turkeys gluten-free, but they’re also organic, all-natural, and pasture-raised – all from a sustainable farm. Even better, their turkeys are fed with completely gluten-free grains!

Empire

Another popular brand that you’ll find easily accessible in most grocery stores is Empire. They stock a huge range of turkey products. The turkey products you can expect to find are:

  • Turkey (varying sizes)
  • Turkey Drumsticks
  • Turkey Breast
  • Turkey Thighs
  • Ground Turkey

Other Brands

There’s a huge selection of other gluten-free brands you may like to try, including:

  • Honeysuckle
  • Foster Farms
  • Norbest
  • Shelton’s
  • Jennie-O

Always check ingredients labels for the most up-to-date information.

Gluten Free Turkey Gravy Recipe

There’s nothing that goes better with turkey than gravy. However, gravy is often not gluten-free. So let’s take a look at a super easy gluten-free turkey gravy recipe from The Spruce Eats, which you can whip up in just a few minutes!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of turkey drippings from the roasting pan
  • 2 tablespoons of rice flour
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • salt
  • pepper

Method

  1. When your turkey is cooked, grab 2 cups of juice from the pan to use for the base of the gravy
  2. Fat will rise to the top of the cup. Skim off some of the fat and pour into a saucepan. Ensure the rest of the fat is discarded
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and water until combined
  4. Once the skillet is hot, add the remaining juices
  5. Now add the flour mix. Cook over medium heat until thick. Continually whisk and this will take around 5 minutes
  6. Season with salt and pepper
  7. Your gravy is ready!


Read more about: Do Meatballs Have Gluten?

Conclusion

I hope this article has helped to answer the question: does turkey have gluten? And helped to familiarize you with the best gluten-free turkey brands to opt for when choosing the perfect turkey for thanksgiving. It’s always best to buy a fresh turkey without gravy and have a go at making your own – that way you can be sure it’s 100% gluten-free. And nothing beats homemade gravy!

Do you know of any other gluten-free turkey brands that didn’t make the list? Or think of any other reasons why a turkey may not be gluten-free? If so, please feel free to let me know in the comments below. Sharing is caring!

FAQs

Is There Gluten in Turkeys?

Fresh turkey meat is naturally gluten free. It doesn't matter what the turkey has been fed with, if the meat is pure, there will be no gluten. However, there are a few reasons that a turkey may not be gluten free. And you need to be familiar with the signs to look out for. Seasoning packets, gravies, breading are just a few examples of why a store bought turkey may contain gluten.

Can People With Celiac Eat Turkey?

Of course! If you're celiac, it's important to opt for brands that carry a gluten free label if possible. Or opt for plain turkey meat that has no additives or additional ingredients such as sauces or seasonings. Turkey meat is naturally gluten free and can be enjoyed whether you're celiac or gluten intolerant.

What Makes a Turkey Gluten Free?

A turkey is naturally gluten free because it does not contain any gluten containing grains. Gluten containing grains include wheat, rye, barley and oats (unless GF oats). As turkey contains none of those ingredients, it can be eaten when following a gluten free diet.