Chips are one of the most crowd-pleasing party snacks with their satisfying saltiness and crunch. They’re readily paired with dips, sauces, aioli, or hummus.
However, if you avoid gluten, you may want to know which chips are safe to eat. Though gluten-free options are plentiful, it’s not always easy to tell which products have gluten-containing ingredients.
This article explains which types of chips are gluten-free and offers several shopping tips.
Many chips are made from gluten-free grains or other naturally gluten-free plant foods.
All the same, if you avoid gluten for health reasons, you’ll want to ensure that your product is certified gluten-free. That’s due to the possibility of cross contamination, which may be an issue if gluten-free chips are manufactured alongside gluten-containing foods.
Here are several gluten-free chips, then a brief list of chips you’ll want to avoid.
Corn-based tortilla chips
Corn tortilla chips are made from corn, which is naturally gluten-free.
These chips come in different colors, including blue, yellow, and white, depending on the type of corn used. Corn masa flour, whole grain corn, ground corn, sea salt, and oil are some of the common ingredients, though others may be used as well.
- Late July Organic Sea Salt Corn Tortilla Chips. Late July’s tortilla chips have a simple ingredient list of ground corn, sunflower oil, safflower oil — all of which are organic — and sea salt.
- Food Should Taste Good. The Blue Corn Tortilla Chips from Food Should Taste Good are certified gluten-free and made primarily from ground corn, plus quinoa, flaxeed, and brown rice flour.
- Frito-Lay. This company makes the popular snack favorites Doritos and Tostitos, which come in numerous varieties and are generally gluten-free. Corn or corn meal are some of the main ingredients.
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There’s no shortage of gluten-free potato chip options, as this popular type of chip normally lacks gluten.
Typical ingredients include potatoes, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and salt.
- Kettle Brand. These popular potato-based chips come in a range of unique flavors like farmstand ranch. Plus, they’re certified gluten-free so you can eat them without worry.
- Late July Organic Potato Chips. These thin, crispy chips have minimal ingredients and come in various flavors, all all of which are certified gluten-free.
- Frito-Lay. Ruffles and Lay’s are two popular potato chip brands that this company claims meet gluten-free standards set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Potatoes are one of the primary ingredients.
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It’s increasingly common to see several types of veggie chips in your local grocery store. Some come from root vegetables like cassava, sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, carrots, yuca, and tarro while other varieties are made from plantains, bananas, peas, or beans.
Notably, veggie chips tend to offer more fiber per serving than other chips (
- Terra Original Sea Salt Vegetable Chips. Made from a diverse blend of root vegetables, Terra chips are a reliable gluten-free snack that are lower in sodium than most chips.
- Siete Grain-Free Tortilla Chips. With just five ingredients, Siete Grain Free Tortilla Chips are made primarily from cassava flour and avocado oil. They pair well with your favorite salsa or guacamole.
- Forager Project Organic Vegetable Chips Super Greens. These novel, organic chips combine brown rice, white rice, sesame seeds, dark leafy greens, and amaranth.
If you follow a gluten-free diet, you’ll need to avoid the following chips.
- tortilla chips made from flour
- potato chips made with malt vinegar or wheat starch
- multigrain chips that use whole wheat or barley
- pita chips
Most potato chips, veggie chips, and tortilla chips are gluten-free, though you may want to look for a gluten-free label just to be safe. Meanwhile, you should avoid pita chips and any chips made with flour, whole wheat, wheat starch, or malt vinegar.
1. Look for gluten-free labels on packaging
The FDA mandates that food must have under 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten to be considered gluten-free. Though such low amounts of gluten shouldn’t trigger reactions in people with gluten-related disorders, tolerance may vary from person to person (
That’s why some manufacturers choose to obtain third-party gluten-free certifications to ensure that their products meet or exceed the FDA standards.
For example, the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) uses 10 ppm of gluten as its cutoff for gluten-free status, which is stricter than the FDA’s (3).
Gluten-free certifications are especially helpful for anyone who must avoid gluten for health reasons. These labels be anywhere on the packaging, in large or small print, so look carefully.
2. Avoid gluten-containing ingredients
You may come across varieties of chips that aren’t labeled gluten-free, so it’s good to be aware of which ingredients may contain gluten.
Chips with gluten might contain wheat, barley, rye, or a variation of these ingredients.
Wheat flour is commonly found in pita chips and certain tortilla chips. In addition, whole grain chips may have gluten-containing grains — and certain flavorings like malt vinegar or wheat starch also contain gluten (
Gluten-containing ingredients in chips
If you see a bag of chips with any of the ingredients below, the chips are not gluten-free.
- wheat starch
- wheat berries
- oats (naturally gluten-free but may be cross contaminated)
- einkorn wheat
- wheat germ
- brewer’s yeast
- phosphate flour
- malted barley flour
- malt flavoring
- malt vinegar
- malt extract
3. Know which ingredients are gluten-free
Unless they have gluten-containing additives, most corn chips, corn tortilla chips, potato chips, and veggie chips typically gluten-free since their main ingredients don’t have gluten.
Remember that if you have a gluten-related disorder, you’ll still want to look for a gluten-free certification.
Gluten-free ingredients in chips
Here’s a list of gluten-free ingredients you might see in gluten-free chips:
Gluten-free certification labels guarantee that a particular food is gluten-free. Otherwise, it pays to know which items to look out for in an ingredient list.
Gluten-free chips might be devoid of gluten, but that doesn’t mean they’re nutritious. Some may contain unnecessary ingredients and high levels of sodium.
As such, it’s still best to keep a few tips in mind when shopping for gluten-free chips.
Opt for whole food ingredients
Consider choosing a bag of gluten-free chips that has simple ingredients, such as sea salt, potatoes, coconut flour, and avocado oil. Selecting one with a short ingredient list may help you weed out harmful ingredients and additives.
For example, you may consider avoiding colorings like red dye. Though new research is needed on the health effects of synthetic food coloring, some studies link it to allergies (7).
Many gluten-free chips are naturally colorful thanks to ingredients like blue corn, yellow corn, sweet potatoes, and beet juice, so it’s easy to avoid synthetic food coloring.
Consider sodium content
Packaged foods like chips account for 70% of the average person’s sodium intake. Notably, excess sodium intake may be linked to heart disease risk (
Even gluten-free chips may be high in sodium. For example, a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of Cheeto’s packs 11% of the Daily Value (DV) of sodium the same amount of Terra veggie chips provides just 1% (
If you need to follow a low sodium diet, you’ll want to choose gluten-free chips with less than 5% of the DV. You can find this information on the nutrition facts label (
Gluten-free chips may still contain additives or be high in salt. To select healthier chips, choose varieties with recognizable ingredients and take a look at the salt content if you need to limit your sodium intake.
Here are some healthy gluten-free chip alternatives that are crunchy and nutritious.
- jicama sticks
- carrot sticks
- celery sticks
- water chestnuts
- cucumber slices
- kale chips
- plantain chips
- sweet potato chips
- carrot chips
- beet chips
- dried seaweed
- roasted chickpeas
- roasted edamame
- dried broccoli florets
- green pea crisps
- sugar snap peas
High protein snacks
- pumpkin seeds
- coconut chips
- freeze-dried strawberries
- apple slices
- pear slices
- dried apples
Gluten is a group of proteins naturally found in wheat, barley, and rye (
Foods made with these grains contain gluten. While oats are naturally gluten-free, they often come into contact with gluten during processing — so you may want to choose only certified gluten-free oats (
“Gluten” comes from a Latin term for glue and helps give baked goods their structure. If you’ve ever eaten a slice of gluten-free bread, it may be drier and crumblier than wheat bread since it’s missing the “glue” (
You’ll find gluten in bread, pasta, baked goods, cereals, crackers, and numerous other foods.
Although most people have no issues digesting gluten, individuals with gluten-related disorders need to follow a gluten-free diet.
Which populations can’t eat gluten?
Globally, 5% of the population has gluten-related disorders, which may cause intestinal damage and digestive symptoms if you eat gluten (
Minor symptoms include fatigue, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, but other symptoms can be more serious. These include osteoporosis, stunted growth, nutrient deficiencies, eye disease, and infertility (
People with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders must follow a gluten-free diet.
Gluten is a group of proteins that occurs naturally in several grains. People with celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders adversely respond to gluten after eating and must follow a gluten-free diet.
If you follow a gluten-free diet for medical reasons, you’ll want to ensure that your snacks — even chips — don’t contain any gluten.
Chips are commonly made from naturally gluten-free ingredients like corn, potatoes, and veggies. Still, some may harbor gluten-containing ingredients like wheat starch and malt vinegar, so it’s crucial to check product labels and know which ingredients to avoid.
If you don’t have a gluten-related disorder, you may not always need to buy chips that are certified gluten-free.
Corn-based tortilla chips, potato chips, and veggie chips are generally safe, though you’ll need to avoid pita chips. Sugar snap peas, walnuts, and apple slices make for tasty alternatives that are just as gluten-free.
Just one thing
Try this today: Curious about other types of nutritious chips? Check out our article on the 8 best healthy chips to buy.