Is Chili Gluten Free? Safe and Savory!

Is Chili Gluten Free

A steaming bowl of chili with tender chunks of meat, aromatic spices, along with some veggies is the best comfort food you can have. But hold on, if you’re someone who needs to steer clear of gluten, you might find yourself asking, is chili gluten free? 

Quick Answer

Chili is usually gluten free. The ingredients required, such as ground beef, tomatoes, beans, and spices, don’t contain gluten substances like wheat, making it an ideal food for gluten-allergic people. But you have to be extra careful if you’re using canned vegetables or having them at a restaurant because of hidden gluten substances. 

In this article, I’ll discuss in detail chili, the ingredients required, and their gluten status. I’ll also share delicious gluten free Chili recipes, so make sure you stick to the end. 

Does Chili contain gluten?

Does Chili contain gluten

When it comes to determining whether chili contains gluten or not, it’s essential to examine the ingredients that go into this beloved dish. While the core components of chili are typically gluten free, you should be mindful of certain ingredients that might sneak in and introduce gluten into the mix.

I mentioned earlier that beef, beans, tomatoes, online, garlic, and some spices are the base of chili. And none of these are derived from gluten substances like wheat, barley, rye, or semolina. 

But ingredients like canned vegetables and condiments like Worcestershire sauce may alter the gluten status of chili. 

Not all canned vegetables are free of gluten, and so does the Worcestershire sauce. Gluten might sneak in through these, which may induce discomfort like chest pain, nausea, headache, vomiting, etc. 

The Ingredients Present in Chili 

Ingredients in Chili

Let’s have a closer look at the ingredients present in chili and their sources: 

1. Meat

Meat, usually beef, but you can also use chicken or turkey as the base of Chili. While fresh, unprocessed meat is always gluten free, we cannot say the same for processed, pre-packaged, or seasoned meat varieties. 

They might contain additives or marinades that could include gluten. Always check the label or choose plain, unseasoned meats to ensure gluten free compatibility.

2. Beans 

Beans, a staple ingredient in chili, are inherently gluten free. Whether you prefer kidney beans, black beans, or pinto beans, rest assured that these legumes are safe for a gluten free diet.

Just make sure to opt for canned beans without any added flavors or sauces that might contain gluten. Also, do not forget to check the ingredient list and check for anything that indicates gluten presence. 

3. Vegetables 

Chili contains veggies like bell pepper, garlic, onion, and tomatoes, which are naturally gluten free. 

4. Spices 

Spices are an integral part of chili recipes. Spices like paprika, cumin powder, Mexican oregano, coriander, chile powder, garlic, and bay leaves are the main elements that bring the lip-smacking taste. 

Fortunately, these spices have no gluten and are safe for you. However, packaged spices may contain additives and have the risk of cross-contamination. So don’t forget to read the package label or go for certified gluten free brands. 

5. Broth or Stock 

The liquid base of chili often includes broth or stock, which can add depth to the flavors. While homemade or gluten free labeled broths are safe, store-bought varieties might contain gluten. 

It’s best to read the labels carefully or use gluten free broth alternatives to keep your chili free from gluten.

When is Chili not Gluten Free?

When is chili not gluten free

Chili can potentially contain gluten in the following instances: 

i). Thickening Agents

If the recipe contains thickening agents like flour or roux to enhance the consistency, it can introduce gluten into the dish. 

Wheat flour, in particular, is a common thickening agent that contains gluten. If you’re ordering chili at a restaurant, do enquire about it. Alternatively, you can use arrowroot powder or cornstarch to achieve the same consistency. 

ii). Store-Bought Sauces and Seasonings

Pre-packaged chili sauces, seasoning mixes, chili paste, Worcestershire sauce, and similar condiments often contain additives, fillers, or flavorings which may have hidden gluten. 

iii). Pre-Made or Canned Chili

When purchasing pre-made or canned chili, it’s important to scrutinize the ingredients list. Some commercially prepared chili products may contain gluten-containing substances. 

Opting for brands that clearly state their gluten free status or preparing homemade chili using gluten free ingredients is a safer option.

iv). Cross-Contamination

If chili is prepared in a kitchen where gluten-containing ingredients are used, cross-contamination can occur. 

This can happen when utensils, cutting boards, or cooking surfaces are not thoroughly cleaned between uses. To avoid cross-contamination, you must maintain a dedicated gluten free environment or take appropriate measures to prevent the transfer of gluten.

v). Garnishes and Sides 

While the base chili itself is gluten free, the choice of garnishes or sides can introduce gluten. Common culprits include toppings like crackers, croutons, or bread rolls. Ensure that any accompaniments you choose are gluten free, or consider using alternatives like gluten free crackers, cornbread, or tortilla chips.

Is Chili Powder Gluten Free?

Is Chili Powder Gluten Free

While chili and chili powder are two entirely different things, gluten-sensitive people also enquire if chili powder is gluten free. 

Yes, it is since chili does not belong to the gluten grain family, nor it is a gluten byproduct. But you still need to be careful while buying packaged chili powder or chili paste due to the risk of cross-contamination and the probable presence of gluten additives.  

Can You Have Canned Chili as a Celiac?

Canned Chili is gluten free

As a celiac, it’s better to avoid canned chili. Pre-packed products have preservatives and additives which induce the risk of gluten getting added. Besides, canned varieties usually add wheat-based thickeners. 

But if you see canned chili with a gluten free label, you can consume it without worrying about a gluten allergy or side effects. 

Gluten Free Chili Brands (Recommended)

Gluten Free Chili Brands 

If you love having chili but don’t have the time to cook it, here are some gluten free chili brands that are safe for celiacs: 

#1. Amy’s Kitchen gluten free Chili

Indulge in the rich flavors of this hearty, gluten free chili made with love. Ammy’s kitchen has a few varieties of chili, all of which are plant-based and free of gluten. 

#2. Bush’s

All Bush’s chilis are labeled gluten free, delicious, and safe for gluten-sensitive individuals. 

#3. Hormel Chili with Beans

A classic favorite, now gluten free! Enjoy the deliciousness in every bite without worrying about gluten side effects. 

#4. Stag Chili

Stag Chili, sold by Hormel Foods, is another safe option. The website has declared that all their chili flavors contain zero gluten. 

Gluten free Chili Recipes 

Gluten free Chili Recipes

The best way to ensure chili is gluten free is to prepare it in your kitchen, and here are some delicious recipes to get you started: 

1. Classic Beef & Bean Chili

Easy, Simple, and Delicious Beef and Bean Chili Recipe - Eat Simple Food


  • 1 pound ground beef (you can use chicken or turkey if you don’t eat beef) 
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth (gluten free)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano 
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar 
  • 1 bay leaves 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Method 

  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, add olive oil and meat and saute them until brown on medium heat. 
  2. Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the pot and saute for 3 to 4 minutes or until softened.
  3. Stir in the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, tomato paste, broth, and all the dry spices, and mix everything well. 
  4. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Adjust the seasoning if needed, and serve the chili hot with your favorite gluten free toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, or sliced green onions.

2. Vegetarian Quinoa Chili

Meatless Quinoa Chili Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 diced bell peppers
  • 1 diced jalapeno 
  • 4 diced medium-sized carrots 
  • 3 cups chopped mushrooms 
  • 1 cup chopped salary stalks 
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup quinoa (rinsed)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (gluten free)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce 
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons light brown sugar 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Method 

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion, all the vegetables, and minced garlic. Saute until softened.
  2. Stir in the quinoa, diced tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans, tomato paste, vegetable broth, chili powder, cumin, salt, paprika, and pepper.
  3. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes until the quinoa is cooked.
  4. Adjust the seasoning as per taste, and serve the vegetarian quinoa chili hot. Garnish with gluten free toppings like avocado slices, cilantro, or lime wedges.


Q. Is Chili Vegan? 

The traditional chili recipe is not vegan, as beef is one of the key ingredients. But it can be vegan when prepared with beans and other non-animal-based ingredients. 

Q. Is Wendy’s Chili Gluten Free? 

Yes, Wendy’s chili is gluten free and made with ingredients like tomatoes, ground beef, chili beans, spices, and a few other ingredients, and none of these contain gluten. 

Q. Is Chili Dairy Free? 

Yes, it’s usually dairy-free because the traditional recipe does not require milk, purified butter, etc. 


While the core ingredients of chili, such as meat, beans, vegetables, and spices, are typically gluten free, it’s crucial to be cautious of certain factors that can introduce gluten into this popular dish.

Thickening agents, store-bought sauces and seasonings, cross-contamination, and the choice of garnishes or sides can all play a role in whether chili is gluten free or not. 

Therefore, it’s essential to read labels diligently, opt for certified gluten free products, and take measures to prevent cross-contamination if you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity! 

A 23-year old tech geek with a passion for health and fitness, Jim is here to help you follow a healthy, gluten free life. The details provided by this student are simple enough for everyone to understand - and based on experience and research. While he doesn’t claim to be a health expert, he is dedicated to providing the best advice that he himself would follow.