Does Vanilla Have Gluten?

Last Updated on April 6, 2022

Today, we’re going to be answering the question: does vanilla have gluten? And taking a look at the best vanilla extract brands to purchase when following a gluten-free diet. Vanilla is a staple in baked goods. Whether you’re making cakes, cupcakes, brownies, or cookies – vanilla brings an incredible flavor. Let’s take a look at what vanilla extract is.

What Is Vanilla Extract?

Vanilla extract is a liquid, which you’ll usually find in a miniature bottle. It’s made by soaking vanilla beans with alcohol. Most often, you use vanilla extract in baking – and you don’t need to use much at all, as each drop packs a real punch in your baking. It’s perfect for custard, ice cream, cakes, cookies, and cupcake recipes.

Ingredients In Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is made using very few ingredients. Of course, you’ll need vanilla beans. But you’ll also need a solution of water and ethyl alcohol. Once the beans have been soaking in the solution for a while, your vanilla extract is ready to add to your baking.


Learn more about: Is Stoli Vanilla Vodka Gluten Free?

Why Is Vanilla So Expensive?

Did you know that vanilla is classed as the second most expensive “spice” in the world? Second only to saffron. Because it’s such a popular flavoring, it’s probably not even something you’ve considered.

But why is it so expensive? It’s because vanilla beans can only grow in certain climates. Countries like Mexico and Madagascar are ideal to grow vanilla. However, it’s an arduous task! Each bean is hand-pollinated and then hand-picked – making for a lot of manual work. While it’s an expensive “spice”, the purer the vanilla, the better it tastes in your baking.

Gluten Free Vanilla Brands

While you don’t need to buy vanilla extract with a gluten-free label, some people prefer to. Let’s take a look at some brands that claim their vanilla extract is “gluten-free”.

McCormick

McCormick is one of the most accessible brands of spices and extracts you’ll find in your local grocery store. And good news! They label their pure and natural vanilla extract as gluten-free. This particular vanilla extract is made from the most common bean, the Madagascan vanilla bean.

As well as claiming to be gluten-free, it’s also non-GMO and is proud to say that they only use pure ingredients. You can find out more about their pure vanilla extract here.

Nielsen-Massey

If you’re looking for a wide range of different vanilla beans, Nielsen-Massey is the place to look! Not only are their products gluten-free, but also non-GMO and natural. Their gluten-free vanilla extract flavors are:

  • pure vanilla extract
  • Madagascan Bourbon pure vanilla extract
  • Indonesian pure vanilla extract
  • Mexican pure vanilla extract
  • Tahitian pure vanilla extract
  • Ugandan pure vanilla extract
  • organic Fairtrade Madagascan bourbon pure vanilla extract
  • no sugar added Madagascar bourbon pure vanilla extract
  • no sugar added pure vanilla extract

Whew, they really do have an incredible selection of vanilla extracts. You can find their full range of vanilla extract products here.

Ways To Use Vanilla In Baking

If you’re looking for ways to incorporate vanilla into your baking, there’s a range of ways to do so. Check out our top ideas here:

  • vanilla meringue cookies
  • ginger scones with vanilla glaze
  • vanilla cheesecake
  • mini chocolate chip sandwich cookies
  • bread pudding
  • berries with vanilla custard
  • candied sweet potatoes
  • frozen Greek vanilla yogurt
  • homemade vanilla ice cream
  • vanilla cake

vanilla cake

Read more about: Is Jello Vanilla Pudding Gluten-Free?

Types Of Vanilla Bean

Did you know that there’s more than one variety of vanilla beans? In fact, there are quite a few! Let’s take a look at the most common you’ll find in grocery stores.

  • Madagascan – this type of vanilla bean is definitely the most popular. This is because the vanillin content in this variety is incredibly high, which means it can go further than other varieties. It has a touch of tobacco flavor in its taste
  • Mexican – this bean has a woody taste, but an incredibly creamy texture
  • Tahitian – if you like the flavors of chocolate and cherry, this vanilla bean has undertones of both
  • Bourbon – fruity, with notes of cherry and persimmon

There are plenty of other vanilla beans you may come across, but the beans above are the most popular.

Conclusion

I hope this article has helped to answer the question: does vanilla have gluten? Pure vanilla is completely gluten-free. And I have never come across a vanilla extract that contains gluten. However, if you’ve come across a vanilla product that has, please feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Do you know of any other gluten-free vanilla extract brands? Some gluten intolerant individuals prefer to buy products carrying a gluten-free label, and that’s completely understandable; so let me know. Sharing is caring!

FAQs

Is Vanilla Extract Gluten Free?

Yes. Typically, vanilla extract is gluten free. The only ingredients are vanilla beans, water and ethyl alcohol; none of which contain gluten. However, it's always best to check the label as gluten has been known to sneak it's way in almost anywhere.

Is All Vanilla Extract Gluten Free?

Personally, I have never come across a vanilla extract that contains any gluten. However, that does not mean that they don't exist. It's always best to check. However, vanilla extract is considered to be safe for a gluten free diet. An old myth is that because vanilla extract contains alcohol, it must contain gluten. This is false. The distillation process (much like in alcohol) removes any gluten, to below the safe amount of 20ppm.

Is Imitation Vanilla Gluten Free?

It's worth noting that imitation vanilla doesn't taste anywhere near as good as the real deal! This is because imitation vanilla is made using synthetic vanillin (this is a lab produced flavoring, but is much cheaper than using pure vanilla). However, even though it doesn't taste as good - it is still gluten free, and considered safe to consume when following a gluten free diet.

Is Vanilla Flavoring Gluten Free?

Vanilla flavoring is virtually identical to vanilla extract - so of course, it does not contain any gluten.