Are pickles gluten free?

Most pickles are gluten free.  But not all.

Pickles are usually made of:

  • cucumbers or other vegetables
  • vinegar
  • seasonings

That’s it!  So the only thing to worry about in there is the vinegar.  Here’s the rule with vinegar:

*******If it is distilled, the gluten is neutralized.*******

The thing with malt vinegars is that they are NOT distilled.  And if the ingredients contain malt, which is usually from barley, then we avoid that completely!

This is the problem with worcestershire sauce in Canada.  Because of some law or other, Canadian worcestershire sauce is traditionally NOT distilled.  In the states, it IS.  So most of my American readers can safely use worcestershire sauce, which you will notice is absent from all the recipes on this – my Canadian site.  

This and a couple other questions are googled quite often – I’ll answer them here and post them under the shopping lists & ingredient tips.  Most of the ingredients on this site are also categorized by tags.  So search any ingredient, category, brand, or meal, and you’re likely to find what I have on it.  If you can’t find what you are looking for, let me know and I’ll research the answer and post it for everyone.

About Cathy Tibbles

In 2007 Cathy's Hubby was diagnosed with celiac disease and Strawberries Are Gluten Free was born. The early days of SAGF are chock full of all the newly converted recipes. More recently the articles are trending to cool new products, events, local news and family tales.


  1. Rick Tatangelo says:

    You have in your statement above, that if it distilled, the gluten is neutralized. If this is true, why is it that I have a reaction whenever I drink Rye Whiskey. Scotch is the same, with no reaction from Rum.

  2. Rick, this is an excellent question. Often, I think, your own “test” is a good guideline. Because I’m sure that even if they say it is gluten-free, there are a minuscule amount of proteins that are ‘acceptable’ or deemed medically safe. So I would definitely go with your gut on that one.

    What I found when I went looking for the source of that information (stated in the post) is that this guy: Frederik Willem Janssen, head of the Chemistry Department, Food Inspection Service in Zutphen, and a subsidiary of the Inspector of Health Protection (similar to the FDA in America). Their lab has a special interest in…. modified gluten, edible packaging materials (which may contain gluten), and detection of hidden gluten in foods, including the development of improved detection methods. He is also a member of the Medical/Scientific Advisory Committee of the Dutch Celiac Society.
    has a very detailed article about the detection of gluten in distilled alcohol. Apparently there are not tests able to detect the small amount of protein that may splash into the distilled liquor AFTER it has been distilled, therefore contaminating it. That was in 1996. All articles since that time that I have come across do indeed say distilled vinegars are safe no matter what they are derived from.

    Hope that helps, and thanks for the great question!

    Oh – by the way, also has a list of common beers and liquors that are gluten-free (as of their last check).

  3. James Burns says:

    Which Worcheshire sauce, Pickles/Relishes can I buy that don’t contained Gluten… i.e. vinegar, etc…Which Pickles brand can I buy, which Worcheshire sauce can I buy that I can safely eat. I am a Celiac. I was Diagnosed for Celiac Diseaase Feb 25, 2008 and I am deaf too.


  4. I have been getting sick and the only thing different that I ate was pickles, it says white vinegar and spices,so I know it’s not the vinegar but could it be the spices, because alot of the spices say they may contain wheat, I made some gluten free stuffing and I got sick and the poultry seasoning said it contained wheat so I started looking at all my spices and was surprised at how many said they may contain wheat.

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