Is Citric Acid Gluten Free?

Last Updated on July 3, 2024

Is citric acid is safe for us to consume when following a gluten-free diet?

What is Citric Acid?

Citric acid is most commonly confused with citrus fruits – they are most definitely not the same thing! However, they do have the same taste. Citric acid is a white powder that you’ll find in food and drink products. You can even use citric acid to make your own bath bombs!

It’s also known as a preservative as it helps to slow down spoilage as the acidity of citric acid is so high, which makes bacteria almost impossible to grow.

How is Citric Acid Made?

While citric acid can come from citrus fruits, and in its the most natural form, it does.

However, the volume of citric acid used in food and drink products is too great for the supply of citrus fruits that are available. So more often than not, if citric acid is on the label – it’s come from the fermentation of sugars.

Citric acid is made when Aspergillus niger, a type of fungus, is fed sugar and then lime juice and then sulfuric acid is added to the liquid solution.

What is Citric Acid Made From?

Depending on where you are in the world, the sugar can be derived from a range of glucose/dextrose – including corn, beet sugar, molasses, and wheat. Check out this list to see which countries use which glucose/dextrose:

  • US – usually corn (as it’s a cheap crop)
  • South America – cane sugar (due to low prices)
  • Europe – wheat (again, it’s all down to price)

Does Citric Acid Have Gluten?

As you probably noticed in the list above, citric acid is sometimes derived from wheat. However, there is no need for concern. Due to the manufacturing process, the end result will always be gluten-free. This is even the case if it’s derived from wheat.

In their Ingredients Index, Gluten-Free Living states that,

“This ingredient is gluten free. It is usually made from corn, beet sugar or molasses. Even when made from wheat, citric acid is so highly processed and purified that no gluten protein would remain.”

So although citric acid may contain wheat, it will always be gluten-free due to the manufacturing and processing methods.

Is Citric Acid Vegan?

If you follow a vegan and gluten-free diet, I have some good news! Citric acid is vegan-friendly. This is because the production and end result does not contain any animal substance or product.

Is Citric Acid Kosher?

The fermentation process of any product leaves many questions on its kosher status. There are many brands of citric acid that carry a Kosher certification, so it’s always best to opt for products that carry this label. That way, you can be sure of its Kosher status.

is citric acid vegan

Gluten-Free Citric Acid

While we’ve seen that all citric acid is gluten-free, some people will still prefer to buy products that carry a gluten-free label. That is completely understandable – knowing wheat is in something can feel daunting. And don’t worry, it’s easy to find citric acid that carries a gluten-free label.

Modernist Pantry

Modernist Party has a great gluten-free citric acid. Not only is it gluten-free, but it also carries a vegan and non-GMO label too. This means that it’s suitable for a range of dietary lifestyles. You can buy this citric acid from Modernist Pantry from here.

The only ingredient in this product is citric acid.

Citric Acid Uses

Citric acid has a surprising amount of uses. Some of these uses include:

  • In food and drink products (ice cream, sorbets, and sodas)
  • Alcohol (helps to improve the taste)
  • Medicines
  • Supplements
  • Disinfectants
  • Cleaning products
  • Beauty products (such as hair spray, deodorant, and even lipstick!)
  • Making your own homemade bath bombs

Citric Acid Benefits

There are many benefits to citric acid, even health ones! Some of these benefits include:

    • Preserves Food – keeps food as fresh as possible
    • Preserves Beauty Products – makes them as long-lasting as possible
    • Protects Your Body – it’s great at killing bacteria and lowering urine acidity
    • Stain Remover – if you have a tough stain that needs removing, citric acid is the way forward
    • Works as an Antioxidant – can help with issues such as heart health and even cancer prevention
    • Body Acid – helps to decrease acidity in your body

Citric Acid Risks

Like most things, if not used in moderation – it can cause some problems. Some of the issues it may cause are:

  • Irritation – prolonged contact with the skin may cause issues such as swelling, itching, and stinging.
  • Eyes – always are sure to wash your eyes thoroughly if citric acid gets in your eyes, it burns and will feel very uncomfortable.
  • Teeth – citric acid is known for wearing away the enamel on your teeth, thus making your teeth more sensitive and more susceptible to issues like cavities.
  • Gastro – if too much is consumed, it can cause issues like stomach pain, Diarrhoea, and vomiting.

All of these risks are very low and will only occur if not used correctly.


I hope this post has helped to answer the question: is citric acid gluten-free? And answered any other questions you may have about citric acid. The good news is that it’s gluten-free and vegan!

Find more information Gluten Free Lotion List: Top 5