Is Buckwheat Gluten Free?

Jan 2, 2021 - Erin Heidenreich, RDN

Is buckwheat gluten free? By Spoonful

Hi! I’m Erin, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), who specializes in helping people with celiac disease. In my practice, I often get asked about buckwheat. Based on the name alone, there’s no way it can be gluten free… right? Well, believe it or not, buckwheat is actually gluten free! It has no relationship to wheat, which contains gluten, and the only similarity is that they are both grains.

How to avoid cross-contamination with other gluten-containing grains.

Buckwheat comes from a completely different botanical family and is safe for gluten-free people to eat as long as there has not been cross-contamination during processing.

Cross-contamination (technically called cross-contact) can occur in the production of grains when a gluten-free grain is processed using the same equipment as a gluten-containing grain. If there is too much exposure of gluten to the gluten-free grain, the final product might not be safe for someone with celiac disease.

To ensure your product is gluten free, you can:

  1. Check for a gluten-free label on the product. A gluten-free label is a regulated term that means the final product has been tested to be less than 20 PPM. This amount is considered safe for someone with celiac.  
  2. Look for a certified gluten-free label. These icons indicate that a third party has tested the product to ensure that it is gluten free. This is similar to a standard gluten-free claim but with stricter protocols. 
  3. Call the manufacturer to inquire about their protocols for gluten-free grains. 

Cooking with buckwheat

Buckwheat is a super malleable gluten-free grain that can add protein and B vitamins to a variety of dishes. For a hearty breakfast, use buckwheat flour in your pancakes, bread, muffins or any baked good⁣.

Looking to shake up lunch? Top your salad with buckwheat pearls for imitation tabbouleh⁣ or make your own wrap out of buckwheat flour.

For dinner, try swapping corn pasta for soba noodles made of buckwheat. Here’s a delicious Gluten Free Mushroom Soba Noodle Stir Fry from Nyssa’s Kitchen.

My favorite buckwheat products

Gerb’s Buckwheat Grout Grain

This is buckwheat in the whole grain form. You can use this as a rice substitute, to make gluten-free granola, or as a crunchy topping on cereal. I recommend toasting it for a little more flavor!

Bob’s Red Mill Organic Buckwheat Cereal

Some individuals are sensitive to oat products. Does that mean you have to miss out on oatmeal? Nope! This product is an awesome gluten-free substitute for oats.

Big Green Buckwheat Ramen

This product is a great gluten-free pasta option. With other buckwheat noodles, make sure you ready the ingredients to make sure only buckwheat is used. Some buckwheat products, like soba noodles, use a blend of gluten-free and gluten-containing ingredients.

Orgran Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancake Mix

Simple ingredients, high fiber, gluten-free, and delicious. This pancake mix is a win all around.

Discover the most popular gluten-free products as rated by other gluten-free shoppers.

Let’s mix it up!

There are many ways to incorporate buckwheat, a healthy, whole grain into your diet. If you have been following a gluten-free diet and sticking only with grains like rice and quinoa, it’s time to switch it up. Using different grains in your diet will help you get a better balance of nutrients, fiber, and protein. For example, if you stuck with just rice, you would be missing out on all the antioxidant benefits of buckwheat as well as important proteins like lysine and arginine.