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Is corn starch gluten-free? Celiac disease diet answers

Lana Bandoim's picture

If you are struggling to determine if corn starch is safe for celiac disease and gluten-free diets, then the following information can help.


Corn starch is a common ingredient in many food products, so it is difficult to avoid. Whether you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance and have to follow a gluten-free diet, it is important to know if the corn starch in your kitchen or packaged food items is safe. Although corn does not contain gluten, you do not want to assume that all corn starch is gluten-free.

Does corn starch have gluten?

Corn starch, also spelled as cornstarch and known as maize starch, tends to be a white powder and a common additive in food. Its main purpose is usually to act as a thickener in recipes, so it is popular in gravy, sauces and puddings. Corn does not have the gluten protein in it, but this does not mean that all brands of corn starch are safe for those on a gluten-free diet.

It is possible for cross-contamination to occur during the manufacturing process, and some brands add extra ingredients that can make corn starch unsafe. Pure corn starch does not have gluten, but you must check each brand before you buy it.

Which corn starch brands are gluten-free?

There are several brands of corn starch that label their products as gluten-free. However, it is important to keep in mind that ingredient lists can change over time, so you should always check the product before you add it to your shopping cart.

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The following corn starch brands are gluten-free:

• Argo Corn Starch
• Clabber Girl Corn Starch
• Rumford Corn Starch
• Hearth Club Corn Starch
• Bob's Red Mill Corn Starch

What is modified corn starch?

You will frequently see modified corn starch on ingredient labels, and it means that the starch has been changed with chemicals or enzymes. It is also used as a thickener or stabilizer in recipes. Modified corn starch is common in packaged and processed foods because it can often withstand temperature changes. Similar to plain corn starch, it is important to check the labels and make sure it is gluten-free, but it is generally safe.

Alternatives to corn starch

If you cannot eat corn or prefer to limit it in your diet you can use in the kitchen. Although it is hard to avoid in packaged foods, you can control what you use in your home. Instead of corn starch, you may want to try potato, rice, tapioca or arrowroot starches. In some cases, you may also be able to use potato flakes as a substitute.

The next time you are worried if corn starch is gluten-free, you may want to look for brands with a clear gluten-free label and read the ingredient lists. Although pure corn and corn starches do not have gluten, contamination during the manufacturing process is possible. This is why you want to make sure that the products you use are gluten-free.