Cheese confuses many followers of the gluten-free diet. Most cheese does not have gluten, but it is very important to read labels of all packaged or processed cheese before eating it.
Aside from wheat, barley and rye, you also want to make sure the cheese does not contain wheat starch or modified food starch made from wheat. If you go to a deli counter to purchase cheese, not only must the cheese itself be gluten-free, but the machine used to slice the cheese must also be cleaned to prevent cross-contact.
- Shredded cheese is usually gluten-free, but may use a gluten-containing starch to prevent the shreds from sticking together, so make sure to read the ingredients list.
- Cheese whiz is usually gluten-free. Read more about cheese whiz in Answers from a Dietitian.
- Dairy-free cheese may not be gluten-free. Some dairy-free cheeses are made with flour, so read the ingredients label before eating dairy-free cheese.
- String cheese or cheese sticks are usually gluten-free.
- Cheese powder is usually gluten-free, but check the label.
- Cheese spreads are usually gluten-free, but make sure to read the label, as there may be gluten in the ingredients used to create the spread’s consistency.
Foods Containing Cheese
While most cheeses by themselves do not contain gluten, foods that contain cheese as one ingredient may not be gluten-free, so you should always read the label.
- Cheesecake is not gluten-free (unless specified on the label) because the crust is made with wheat flour.
- Mozzarella sticks are not gluten-free (unless specified on the label) because they are coated in breadcrumbs. Additionally, mozzarella sticks from a restaurant are likely to be fried in the same oil used for gluten-containing foods.