Cheatin' Wheat Gluten Free Baking Blog

Do Sunflower Seeds Contain Gluten?

Anyone who follows a gluten free (GF) diet understands how hard it is to track down all the hidden sources of gluten. It sneaks into foods in crazy ways and it certainly keeps us on our toes.

While recipe testing, we encountered a hidden source of gluten that took us both by surprise - sunflower kernels! No, no, not the kind in the shell that you can happily munch on at sporting events; but the kind that comes shelled, roasted and salted.

The Planter's brand of sunflower kernels does contain gluten - to the company's credit, it is labeled very clearly on the package. However, this got me thinking about all the times I eat sunflower seeds and do not get to see the package. Salad bars, salads, trail mixes, etc all have potential for gluten from this one source. Of course, not all sunflower kernels contain gluten but it only reinforces how carefully we have to read all labels and avoid foods when we are unsure.



Is the gluten from the seed itself? Or is it the seasonings? Are raw seeds gluten free?

Sunflower seeds are naturally gluten free; it is the seasonings added by some companies. Just read labels carefully and avoid them in situations where you do not have access to the package.

I don't understand how some sunflower kernals can have gluten and others don't. Please explain.

Again, it is important to note that sunflower seeds themselves do not contain gluten. If they are raw or toasted with nothing but salt and oil, they are still gluten free. It is those pesky seasonings and flavorings that surprise you with a gluten containing ingredient so read labels carefully.

do you idiots even know where gluten comes from?

Interesting question. The obvious sources of gluten are easy to identify. It is the little things like seasoning on sunflower seeds that catch the gluten free newbies by surprise. We try to help identify those and make note of them when we can.

Many are processed in plants that also process wheat. I wish manufacturers would find a way to not contaminate foods with other foods that are unrelated, especially when the contaminant is one of the 8 known common allergens.