Is Cream Cheese Gluten Free? The short answer is yes. But let’s take a look at which brands are gluten-free, which ingredients to look out for, as well as the risks for cross-contamination. Plus, 10 recipes using cream cheese that are 100% gluten-free!
Is cream cheese gluten-free? The quick answer is, yes! Most natural cheese is gluten-free. That’s why, in my house, we’re smearing cream cheese over Gluten Free Bagels every other morning. But is all cream cheese gluten-free? Let’s discuss.
We’re looking at which brands are safe for gluten-free diets, which types of cream cheese to avoid, and potential risks like additives and cross-contamination.
You probably already know the answer, but cream cheese is a type of smooth, spreadable soft cheese. It’s made from milk and cream, with a flavor that’s mild and slightly tangy. You’ll find many brands of cream cheese in the US, with options ranging from regular to low-fat, to dairy-free.
Funnily enough, the invention of cream cheese was a happy accident. An American cheesemaker tried to remake a variety of French cheese called Neufchâtel, but things went pear-shaped when he added too much cream. All’s well that ends well, though, because his creation went on to become cream cheese as we know it today.
Cream cheese is most notably paired with bagels, but you’ll also find it in many different recipes, from savory to sweet. See further down in the post for 10 easy recipes made with cream cheese!
Philadelphia is by far the most popular brand of cream cheese in the United States, and its plain blocks are naturally gluten-free. The company is owned by Kraft, and Kraft is pretty good when it comes to labeling potential allergens on its packaging. They also list their ingredients on their website, so you can check if a product may contain gluten.
If you’re sensitive to gluten, Philadelphia Brand cream cheese blocks and plain whipped cream cheese are considered safe to eat.
Of course, if you’re especially sensitive to gluten, or if you’re celiac, it’s always best to exercise a higher degree of caution. Consult with your doctor if needed, and double-check the ingredients of any brand of cream cheese that isn’t certified gluten-free.
Certain brands, along with cheese that’s low-fat or fat-free, use thickeners and stabilizers that may contain gluten. There’s also the potential for products like flavored cream cheese and vegan cream cheese to contain much more than just dairy. Always read the labels! Look out for gluten-containing ingredients like hydrolyzed wheat protein, food starch, and vegetable gum, as well as artificial coloring, flavorings, and unspecified spice blends, to name a few.
Even if certain additives don’t specifically mention gluten, they may have sneaky traces of it either in the ingredient itself or by cross-contamination. So it’s always best to take the safe route and double-check.
Depending on the brand of cream cheese you’re buying, if it isn’t certified gluten-free, there is the risk of cross-contamination. While the risk is often low, cross-contamination can happen at the farm and factory levels. For this reason, it’s a good idea to be vigilant and check the labels to know where your cream cheese comes from and stick with brands you know and trust.
Brands like Philadelphia are naturally gluten-free and should be safe for those with celiac disease. However, due to risks like additives and cross-contamination, always consult with a healthcare professional to know what’s best for you.
Below you’ll find 10 recipe ideas featuring cream cheese as a key ingredient. I’ve included both sweet and savory dishes that are easy to make and guaranteed gluten-free!
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