Are Grits Gluten-Free?

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A bowl of healthy gluten free grits

Are grits gluten free | What are grits | Grits Vs Corn Products | How to know | FAQs

A homely dish enjoyed by all, grits have been a typical component of the Southern diet for hundreds of years. The Native Americans introduced the Europeans to grits in the 16th century. Although it is largely consumed for breakfast, it has now made its way into all meals.

Not only that, this popular, simple breakfast item has evolved and now has several variations. It is no more just enjoyed in the American South alone. It is now gaining popularity on all the menus nationwide. 

Despite this, some hesitate to have it as they wonder, “are grits gluten free?” If you are someone with gluten intolerance, this article will allow you to add another item to your gluten free diet.

Are Grits Gluten Free?

Since grits are prepared from corn, they are naturally gluten-free and can be enjoyed by people with celiac disease.

Although it is made from corn which is one of the gluten-free grains, it is best to check the ingredient list to verify that the product is truly gluten-free. Some manufacturers may use wheat flour or other gluten-containing ingredients as seasonings to add some extra flavor. 

If you’re a celiac patient or have gluten sensitivity, several brands sell gluten-free grits. Just double-check the labels to ensure that you’re getting something safe to eat.

What Are Grits?

The word ‘Grits’ originates from the old English word “grytt” which means coarsely ground. So, what are grits made of?

Grits is a porridge made from coarsely ground corn, usually of the dent variety. This cornmeal is ground into a coarse powder and then boiled. 

Although grits are traditionally made from white corn, they can also be made from yellow or blue corn.

Grits are typically boiled in hot water or milk and then served with butter, cheese, salt, and pepper. They can be served as a side dish or used as a primary ingredient in dishes such as shrimp and grits.

Grits are a good source of carbohydrates and contain thiamin, magnesium, and vitamin B6. They are also low in fat and calories.

One cup of grits contains about 143 calories. 

As grits are made from dried, ground dent corn [1]Native Seeds: Types of Corn, they have a higher starch content than other corn varieties.

Difference Between Grits And Other Corn Products

There are several types of grits available in the market. And the main difference lies in their grind, i.e., how finely or coarsely they are ground. Depending on that, the texture and flavor also differ. 

The below-mentioned list allows us to understand the other varieties.

1. Quick Grits

Quick grits are ground fine. You just need to add water, milk, or both, then heat and serve. Since they’re finely ground, they only take about 5 minutes to prepare. 

2. Regular Grits

Regular grits are a medium grind. They’re made from coarsely ground white or yellow corn and have a somewhat chewy texture. They take about 10-20 minutes to cook. You can find them in the hot cereal aisle of most supermarkets.

3. Instant Grits

They’re pre-cooked and then dehydrated, so all you need to do is add water and heat. They’re the quickest to prepare but also the least flavorful. You can find them in the hot cereal aisle of most supermarkets.

4. Whole-Ground Or Stone-Ground Grits

They’re made from whole dried corn kernels that have been ground between two large stones. The old-fashioned way! Because the germ and hull are left intact, they have more fiber and other nutrients than other types of grits. They also have a nuttier flavor and a rougher texture. 

Stone-ground grits will go bad quicker than other types of grits because they are less processed. Keep them stored in the freezer instead of the pantry. You can find them in health food stores or online.

5. Hominy

It is made from dried white or yellow corn kernels that have been soaked in a lime or lye solution and are rinsed to remove the outer hull and germ. This process is called nixtamalization [2]CIMMYT: What is nixtamalization?.  When dried hominy is ground, it’s called hominy grits. 

Hominy grits have a mild flavor. It is also the softest in texture and can be used in soups or as a breakfast cereal. It’s sold dried or in ready-to-eat cans.

6. Cornmeal

Cornmeal, a simple product derived from dried corn that has been finely ground, comes in various hues including yellow, white, or blue. While it is commonly found in a coarse texture, it can also be transformed into a fine flour through processing. 

Traditionally, cornmeal finds its place in the culinary world as a key ingredient in delectable cornbread recipes or as a versatile batter for deep-fried delicacies.

How to know if grits are gluten free?

There are several chances as mentioned below for the corn grits to get cross-contaminated with other gluten-containing grains. 

  1. Some brands may add wheat flour or other ingredients that contain gluten. There is also a risk of shared equipment contaminating it during the manufacturing process. Check with the manufacturer if grits were manufactured in a safe environment.
  2. You could also be at the risk of cross-contamination at restaurants, where they may use the same utensils which they previously used for the non-gluten-free items. Ensure you check with the restaurant staff about the same and inform them about your food intolerances.
  3.  Instant grits or mixes usually contain seasoning, which could perhaps be glutenous. Be sure to check the ingredients label to make sure the product is truly gluten-free, especially while purchasing instant grits.


Summing up, “are grits gluten-free? Or do grits have gluten?” is a question to many, and this article allows us to understand all about it. Corn grits are not only naturally gluten-free but also easy to cook. They can be a part of your regular rotation of a gluten-free diet plan. Just ensure you buy certified gluten-free products. Double check whether it is labeled gluten-free or zero gluten to be extra safe.


What Brand Of Grits Is Gluten-Free?

There are several brands of grits that are gluten-free. Here are a few brands that sell gluten free grits: Bob’s Red Mill, Quaker Oats, Arrowhead Mills, Palmetto Farms. However, it’s always important to check the ingredient labels and certifications to make sure that the product is truly gluten-free and has not come into contact with gluten during the manufacturing process.

Are Quaker Grits Gluten Free?

Quaker Grits, which are made from ground corn, are generally considered to be gluten free grits. This is one of the best grits brand. However, it’s always important to check the product label and ingredient list to ensure that there are no added ingredients or cross-contamination with gluten-containing grains. Additionally, if you have celiac disease or a severe gluten sensitivity, it may be best to avoid grits altogether or opt for a certified gluten-free option to be safe.

Are grits healthy?

Grits can be a healthy addition to your diet when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced meal plan. Grits are a good source of carbohydrates, contain fiber, low in fat and calories, which makes them a good option for those who are watching their weight.


1 Native Seeds: Types of Corn
2 CIMMYT: What is nixtamalization?

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