Are Grits Gluten Free?

Elise Deming, RDN
Bowl of grits with breakfast

Grits are a common Southern breakfast staple. They are typically touted as a comparable dish to oatmeal. However, concerns surround the safety of grits for those following a gluten-free diet.

Traditional Grits

Grits made consistent with traditional processing are made from ground corn. This means they should classify as gluten-free because corn contains zero gluten. Corn made grits are safe to eat for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. However, one crucial element is purchasing grits from a reliable source to avoid the risk of cross contamination.

Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Corn Grits

Bob's Red Mill produces a celiac-friendly corn grits. This product is manufactured in the company's dedicated gluten-free factory. These grits are certified gluten-free and the only ingredient in the product is gluten-free corn. Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Corn Grits runs about $4.00 for a 24-ounce bag.

Arrowhead Mills Organic Gluten-Free Yellow Corn Grits

This brand has created a line of gluten-free corn grits that contains only organic yellow corn grits. Arrowhead Mills's grits are also certified gluten-free and the company undergoes "rigorous" third party testing to ensure gluten-free safety. A 24-ounce package sells for just under $7.00.

Other Grits Brands

Most other brands will naturally be free from gluten and therefore safe for individuals following a gluten-free diet for lifestyle choices. However, these grits brands could be exposed to a higher risk for cross contamination. Some of these brands are:

Some of these brands even have a warning label stating the product may contain wheat, making these unsafe for those with celiac disease.

Added Ingredients

Although uncommon, flavored grits exist. These products contain a more extensive ingredient list and therefore more room for gluten cross contamination. For example, Quaker makes a variety pack of original, butter, cheddar cheese, and country bacon grits flavors. Although none of the ingredients on this list are gluten-containing, for safety reasons it is best to avoid this product if you have celiac disease.

Grits and Gluten

Grits are naturally gluten-free as they are traditionally made from corn. However, if diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, the safest choice is to purchase grits from certified gluten-free companies as stated above. Consult a registered dietitian if you have concerns about the grits you are eating.

Are Grits Gluten Free?