Vanilla extract is used in almost all baked goods and sweets. It adds a distinct flavor to confectionary and bakery items, enhancing their tastes. But, if you are seriously allergic to gluten, you must know, “Is vanilla extract gluten free?”
Pure vanilla extract is naturally gluten free, as it is derived from vanilla beans. However, gluten-rich alcohol can be used to extract the essence from vanilla beans. Besides, there is always a chance for cross-contamination in the processing unit.
So, you need to check for the label first to know if the vanilla extract you are using is actually gluten free or not. Besides, there are other things to check if you have celiac disease. So, read on!
Table of Contents
- 1 Is Vanilla Extract Have Gluten?
- 2 Pure and Expensive Vanilla Extract – Is It Worth The Price?
- 3 How Are Vanilla Extracts Made?
- 4 Is Vanilla Extract Healthy?
- 5 Best Gluten Free Vanilla Extract Brands
- 6 Making Your Own Vanilla Extract At Home (Without Alcohol)
- 7 Final Words
- 8 FAQs
Is Vanilla Extract Have Gluten?
Vanilla extract is an essential ingredient for any bakery and confectionary items nowadays. It not only just adds a strong flavor but also balances other flavors in sweets and desserts. But, if you are allergic to gluten or have celiac disease, you must know whether vanilla extract is gluten free or not.
Raw vanilla beans from which the vanilla extract is made are naturally gluten free. In traditional methods, alcohol and distilled water are added to the vanilla beans, which creates an amber liquid with a strong aroma. However, many vanilla extracts are also produced without the use of alcohol.
It can be a packaged one or a bottled one; high-quality vanilla extract doesn’t have any additives or flavoring agents. So, if the vanilla extract is made from pure vanilla bean with traditional methods, it is supposed to be gluten free. However, the only issue can arise from the alcohol used to extract vanilla extract.
While most alcohol is made from gluten-rich grains, seeds, and other ingredients, there is always a chance of induced gluten content in the vanilla extract. However, most manufacturers now mainly use distilled alcohol to extract vanilla flavor, which is also gluten free. But if you want to remain on the safe side, you better try the alcohol-free vanilla extract.
Another thing that can induce gluten in vanilla extract is the processing and manufacturing unit. If the unit is not officially certified as a gluten-free unit, there is always a chance for cross-contamination. So, it is better to check the product label first to know if the extract is truly gluten free or not.
Pure and Expensive Vanilla Extract – Is It Worth The Price?
Believe it or not, pure vanilla extract is exceptionally costly and can also give you a heart attack if you want to buy an entire bottle of it. The price of this extract mainly depends on the supply chain of vanilla beans and other ingredients. However, it is not as expensive as it sounds.
You need a drop or two in your sweets or baked items to make those delicious. So, even if a small bottle of vanilla extract can cost up to $100, you can use that bottle for months. And if you divide the price of the vanilla extract by the total number of uses, you’ll notice that your vanilla extract price is significantly lower.
However, if you use a low-quality variant full of artificial flavorings and additives, you need to use less extract than the pure one. Using artificial flavoring in the same quantity as pure vanilla extract can overpower all the flavors in your food.
So, even if it is costly, you should always use pure vanilla extract, as you shouldn’t compromise your health. Besides, it is also better to use only those vanilla extracts with “organic” and “gluten free” labels.
How Are Vanilla Extracts Made?
You must have already got the answer to is vanilla extract gluten free or not. However, you also need to know about the exact extraction method to ensure that the extract has a strong and pure flavor. Traditionally, vanilla extract is made with two methods.
Method 1 – Using Distilled Alcohol
Most companies now use distilled alcohol to make the end product absolutely gluten free. The distillation process effectively removes all the gluten particles from the alcohol. However, many companies also use propylene glycol as a replacement for alcohol during the vanilla extraction process. So, you also need to know if you are allergic to propylene glycol.
Method 2 – Using Plain Water
Although this process is tedious and needs a lot of manual labor, the extraction process with just water gives the purest form of vanilla extract. However, most companies avoid this distillation method as it is unsuitable for large-scale commercial production. But if you are uncomfortable with alcohol, you must use only the water-extracted vanilla essence.
Is Vanilla Extract Healthy?
It is not all to understand if the vanilla extract is gluten free or not, as you also need to consider other health factors before consuming it. However, you can safely try pure vanilla extract, which is good for your health. And the health benefits are as follows.
- Rich In Vanillin: This phenolic plant compound found in heavy quantities in the vanilla extract has profound detoxication properties. Besides vanilla, this compound can be extracted from clove and rice bran oil.
- Antioxidant Properties: Vanilla extract and vanillin have antioxidant properties that can eliminate the harmful free radicals in your body.
- Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Vanillin found in the pure vanilla extract have anti-inflammatory properties, which is quite effective if you have inflammation and swelling in your body.
- Anticarcinogenic Properties: A few studies recently suggested that vanilla extract has anticancerous properties. These can effectively dominate the cancer cells in the human body. However, further research is needed to prove this claim.
- Neuroprotective: Vanillin and other essential compounds in the vanilla extract can aid a healthy brain. It can also protect you against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
- Improves Brain Health: The vanillic acid in vanilla extract protects our brain from nerve inflammation and neurotoxicity. Besides, it is also effective in the treatment of memory impairment.
Best Gluten Free Vanilla Extract Brands
If you still have doubts about vanilla extract being gluten free or not, you should only rely on those extracts that come with a certified gluten-free status. So, we have found five such pure vanilla extracts that you can try even if you have celiac disease or are allergic to gluten.
McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract: Officially certified as gluten free, the McCormick vanilla extract comes in a no-mess bottle. A single serving of this extract (4.2 grams) has just 12 calories. Besides, it has just 0.5 grams of sugar and 0.5 grams of sodium without any trace of saturated fats.
Nielsen Massey Organic Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract: Made with 35% pure organic alcohol and raw vanilla beans, this vanilla extract is also certified as gluten free. It is also known for using Madagascar beans with bourbon, which gives this extract a distinct flavor.
Blue Cattle Truck Trading Co: Certified by the FDA, the pure vanilla extract from the house of Blue Cattle Truck Trading is officially certified as a gluten free product. This company mainly sources the bean from Mexico. And it doesn’t use any preservatives, additives, or even corn syrups.
Singing Dog Organic Pure Vanilla Extract: It uses vanillin extracted from rapeseed and alcohol from sugarcane to make this pure vanilla extract. It is not just gluten free but is also organic and non-GMO. Besides, this vanilla extract is also free from other allergens.
Thrive Market Organic Pure Vanilla Extract: Sourced responsibly from Madagascar without malpractices, Thrive Market only uses pure and organic vanilla beans to extract the essence. This company also uses organic alcohol in the extraction process.
Making Your Own Vanilla Extract At Home (Without Alcohol)
You must have already got the answer to whether “is vanilla extract gluten free” or not. However, it is better to make your own extract to be on the safer side. And in that way, you’ll also have complete control over the ingredients used and the extraction method.
- Pure Vanilla Beans: 3 Pcs (Raw)
- Food-grade Glycerin: ¼ Cup
- Water: ¾ cup
- Mason Jar: Tal and narrow
- Take a knife and carefully split the vanilla beans without separating them completely.
- Take a separate container and add ¾ cup of water and ¼ cup of Glycerin. Mix it well until it forms a consistent and transparent liquid.
- Add the split vanilla beans to the jar and close the lid tightly.
- Keep the jar in a cool and dry place for at least two months. Don’t forget to shake the bottle every week.
Note: Making vanilla extract is not just a costly affair but also requires time and patience. However, homemade vanilla extract will be much more flavorful and potent than the packaged one.
Vanilla extract is not just known for its rich aroma but also its distinct flavor. And when used in the right quantity, it can bring all the flavors to a balance to make your dish absolutely unique and delicious. However, you should use it in small quantities. Otherwise, it can overpower other flavors.
You may feel worried about whether or not vanilla extract is gluten free. If so, it is better to buy only those extracts that are officially certified as gluten free and don’t use undistilled alcohol. But, if you are looking for the safest bet, you can extract the vanilla essence right at home.
Do vanilla extracts contain gluten?
Pure and organic vanilla extract is naturally gluten free. However, undistilled alcohol used in the extraction method can induce gluten content in the final product. So, it is best to check for the product label to know if that particular vanilla extract is gluten free or not.
Is vanilla extract safe for celiac patients?
Pure vanilla extract is totally safe for people having gluten allergies and celiac disease. But you need to check the product label first to know if there is any gluten content in the extract. You can also make gluten and alcohol-free vanilla extract at home.
Is Vanilla extract vegan?
Vanilla extract is naturally vegan, mainly using vanilla beans, water, and distilled alcohol that doesn’t have animal or animal-derived ingredients.
Is Vanilla extract dairy-free?
No milk or milk-derived ingredients are used in the traditional vanilla extraction method. So, if you have a pure vanilla extract, that is supposed to be naturally dairy free.