Is Peanut Butter Gluten Free?

Peanut butter opens up a whole world of rich and nutty possibilities in the kitchen, from the sweet to the savory. It adds a salty balance to sweet desserts, creaminess to sauces, and protein to snacks and breakfasts. And in its most natural form, peanut butter is even gluten-free!

A photo of a woman holding a jar of peanut butter and licking a spoon on a white and green background with text that says "Is peanut butter gluten free?"

Do Peanuts Contain Gluten?

Since they fall into the legume category rather than the grain category, peanuts by themselves are completely gluten-free. This makes any product that comes from pure peanuts gluten-free, too. Peanut flour, peanut oil and pure peanut butter are all safe for people on a gluten-free diet.

So if peanuts are always gluten-free, then peanut butter should be pretty safe, right? Well, not necessarily.

Why Aren’t All Kinds of Peanut Butter Certified Gluten-Free?

Not every peanut butter brand is completely gluten-free. Many contain small traces of gluten that can still throw your system out of whack. You might run into trouble with peanut butter that contains other ingredients, or touches machinery that comes into contact with other products. Sometimes, the same factories where your peanut butter comes from also produce other foods that contain gluten. That means their peanut butter might become cross-contaminated.

Ingredients to Watch Out For

Stay away from anything with grains on the label like wheat, rye or barley. Anything labeled vaguely as a “sweetener,” “flavoring” or “spice” is also something to watch out for. And then, of course, you’ll find specific labels like “may contain wheat,” which means anyone on a gluten-free diet should steer clear.

Most brands of peanut butter don’t use ingredients that contain gluten on purpose. For the most part, this will come from cross-contamination with other products. It’s best to avoid anything that’s not specifically labeled gluten-free.

slice of sandwich bread with peanut butter on a plate

The Best Brands of Gluten-Free Peanut Butter

The best brands to buy if you’re looking to avoid gluten are the ones certified gluten-free by the GFCO. That stands for Gluten Free Certification Organization, and it has stricter requirements than the FDA. The GFCO won’t certify a product as gluten-free unless it has less than 10 particles of gluten for every million particles, while the FDA only requires the gluten in a product to be under 20 particles per million.

Justin’s Peanut Butter, as well as Peanut Butter and Co. and even many varieties of Jif, are certified gluten-free by the GFCO. If you’re particularly sensitive to trace amounts of gluten, these brands are your best bet. Teddie Peanut Butter (my personal favorite), Kirkland from Costco, Skippy, Peter Pan, and many other common brands do not contain any gluten ingredients or state that they are manufactured in a shared facility. But once you learn to read labels for a gluten-free diet, you should always check the packages and product websites for updated information.

However, people with less severe gluten intolerance or who are just trying to cut down on gluten would most likely be fine eating anything specifically labeled gluten-free, whether by the GFCO or the FDA.

Brands to Avoid

Avoid any brands with warnings on the label that say they may contain gluten or are processed on machinery that also processes gluten. It’s also best to avoid specialty brands of peanut butter with add-ins or other flavors unless you know exactly what’s in them. All in all, if a jar of peanut butter isn’t specifically labeled gluten-free, you probably want to skip it.

A knife being dipped into a jar of peanut butter.

The Shelf Life of Peanut Butter

How long peanut butter lasts on the shelf changes based on the kind of peanut butter and whether it’s been opened. Not only are peanut butters that contain stabilizers less likely to separate, but they also tend to last longer. A stabilized peanut butter usually lasts at least six months unopened, and then about 3 months once the seal is broken.

Meanwhile, natural peanut butters have a shorter shelf life. They stay good unopened for up to 3 months. Once you break the seal, make sure to finish the jar within the next month or so. Both natural and stabilized peanut butters will last longer if you move them to the fridge before they reach their sell-by date.

hand holding a cupcake cut in half to see the peanut butter and jelly filling

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Treats to Try

Peanut butter is a creamy, nutty delight that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. This quick list of gluten-free peanut butter recipes includes desserts, snacks, breakfasts and dinners, so you’re all set no matter what you’re looking for.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes

When it comes to flavor combos, can you get any more classic than this childhood lunchbox favorite? Stuffed with PB&J, these moist and tender vanilla cupcakes are topped with fluffy peanut butter frosting and a dollop of jelly.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cake Roll

The absence of flour makes this rich and decadent cake roll naturally gluten-free. Surrounded by rich chocolate and packed with peanut butter cup mousse, it tastes just like the candy it gets its name from.

Peanut Butter Dessert Hummus

This sweet and healthy snack tastes like cookie dough. But it’s flourless and safe to eat! Perfect for dipping fruit, gluten free graham crackers, and more. Swirl it with jelly to turn it into PB&J Dip!

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Ditching the flour from the recipe just leaves more room in these cookies for the intense peanut butter flavor to shine through. With oil from the natural peanut butter replacing the butter, these tender cookies practically melt in your mouth.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola

You’ll love snacking on big clusters of peanut buttery granola with a hint of honey sweetness balanced with the sweet-tart flavor of dried strawberries. And for even more crunch, you’ve got to toss in an extra handful of chopped peanuts. 

Flourless Monster Cookie Bars

Crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, these are fully-loaded with peanut butter, oats, chocolate chips, and M&M candies. But they have no flour, making them a naturally gluten free dessert you can make with less than 15 minutes of work and in only one bowl!

Rich, fudgy brownies with swirls of cheesecake and gobs of peanut butter cookie dough make this dessert the definition of decadence. Pour a glass of milk and sink your teeth into these smooth, nutty squares of chocolatey goodness.

Banana Peanut Butter Granola Bars with Chocolate Chips

Fun and flavorful enough to keep kids happy, and healthy enough to get mom’s approval, this is the perfect snack for people of all ages. These protein-packed granola bars will give you the energy you need to get through even your busiest days.

Healthy Peanut Butter Smoothie with Chocolate Chips

This creamy, nutty smoothie makes a healthy breakfast that you can take with you on the go. It’s indulgent enough to satisfy your sweet tooth but packed with enough protein, vitamins and minerals to keep you energized all day long.

Mini Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Muffins

Another nutty and flavor-packed breakfast, these muffins are a great make-ahead meal. Keep them on the counter so you can grab them on the go, or pop them in the freezer so they’ll be ready whenever.

Cold Sesame Peanut Zucchini Noodles

Not only is this dish gluten-free, but it’s also low-carb and vegan, making it a triple threat. The crunchy and fresh zucchini noodles taste so good slathered in a rich and flavorful peanut butter-based sauce.

Spicy Sesame Noodles

The rich flavor of sesame and the nutty taste of peanut butter come together with a kick of spice in these tender sesame noodles. They feature the perfect blend of sweetness and spice.

Thai Peanut Satay Sauce

This rich, nutty and super versatile sauce can go on anything – meats, noodles, veggies and more! It adds smoothness and a burst of savory peanut butter flavor to anything you put it on.