Is Butter Gluten Free. Ghee vs Real Butter and More

  • Butter is a dairy-based source of fat and protein.
  • It is popularly used as a spread, condiment, cooking ingredient, and even flavoring agent.
  • Butter is derived from milk and is, therefore, inherently gluten-free.
  • Consumers need to be careful about the ingredients of flavored butter or butter alternatives.

Is butter gluten free? There are too many meals and foods that contain butter to ignore. If you have celiac or have gluten allergy, you need to be very careful with what you eat.

In this article we will cover whether or not butter is gluten free, various types of butter and also give you a few recipes for home made butter.

One of the greatest treasures of the food world is butter. It’s pure love – and so versatile! Melt butter, and you can either stir your stuffed ravioli in it with sage or use it as a condiment for your lobster.

Cakes and pies remain incomplete without a buttery touch. It’s a must on a slice of bread.

It can even amp up the simple popcorn and make roasted chicken better! But, is it gluten free?

Butter is made from milk, and because of this purely animal-based source, it is entirely free from gluten content.

However, you do need to be careful about the list of ingredients of flavored butter. Besides, there are many alternatives to real butter.

Some of these are vegan, and the popular margarine contains dairy solids with oil. In case of these, too, you must check the ingredients for gluten content. 

Is Butter Gluten Free – What is butter

Is butter gluten free
via ndtv

Butter is a common ingredient in both sweet and savory foods and snacks, as well as a condiment, flavoring agent, spread, and fat base for cooking.

It has a distinct flavor. Butter is made of fat and protein in animal milk. Usually, butter comes from cow’s milk.

But you can also find butter made from the milk of other mammals like sheep, goats, yaks, and more.

Since it is made from an animal source, plain butter, both salted and unsalted, is obviously and inherently gluten free.

Of course, there are some flavored variants that you should be careful about, as flavoring agents might be glutinous.

Besides, there’s margarine, which contains vegetable oil that’s mostly gluten free, though you need to find out if this oil is specifically gluten-containing.  

Apart from margarine, there are plenty of plant-based butter varieties. You might say that they don’t match up to real butter in terms of flavor, but they are the best option for those who are allergic to dairy or prefer to follow a vegan lifestyle.

These are healthy alternatives, and very often, they are gluten free. But if you’re allergic to gluten, you must check the ingredients of all plant-based butter.    

In case of both original butter and its alternatives, there’s one other thing that you must be wary of – cross-contamination.

This is when the butter ends up with trace gluten after coming in contact with gluten or glutinous products, directly or indirectly.

So, if you have a history of reacting to trace gluten, you must find a butter brand that’s labeled gluten free, and store and use butter carefully.

Gluten in Other Dairy Products

Besides real butter and margarine, there are other dairy products like clarified butter, buttermilk, curd, cream, and cheese. Since the primary ingredient in all of these is dairy, they are naturally gluten free.

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Related: Is Ricotta cheese gluten free | Is vanilla gluten free

So, you don’t have to worry about eliminating all this dairy from your life. At the time of purchasing all of these, you should check at the list of ingredients for no gluten-rice add-in. 

Ideally, to take the safety measures to the next level, you should try to pick brands that come with a ‘gluten free’ label that clearly indicates that it’s safe for consumption.

Unfortunately, you’ll hardly find dairy products that are marked as gluten. Since butter and other such dairy products are naturally free from gluten products, most of them do not get tested for gluten content at all.

Ensuring Butter is Gluten Free

Most dairy product brands don’t test for gluten free content. Unfortunately, this also means that you won’t be able to figure out if it has trace gluten as a result of cross-contamination during the time of manufacturing, processing, or storage. 

Ideally, you should always pick plain butter to ensure that it is gluten free, naturally.

Butter variants that are unflavored are likely to be gluten free. Flavoring agents often contain gluten, either because of the ingredients or because of contamination again. 

Another way of ensuring that the butter you’re buying is gluten free is to by consuming it in small amounts. If your body doesn’t react, you’ll know that it’s safe for your consumption.

How you store and use butter is also essential. Don’t use butter knives or utensils that are used for glutinous foods. 

Best Ways to Avoid Cross-Contamination of Butter:

Cross-contamination is easily possible at home. So, take the followings steps to avoid it –

  • Use separate butter sticks, knives, and dishes for gluten eaters and non-gluten eaters.
  • Label the butter knives and containers to be dedicatedly used for gluten free butter. 
  • Ensure that the gluten eaters in the house are not using their knives in the butter you eat. 
  • Do not just wipe off a knife used in gluten products to cut the butter you consume. 
  • Store butter in a covered butter dish so that it doesn’t accidentally get contaminated.     
  • Assign a new butter dish or one that’s thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. 

Needless to say, you must avoid gluten-bearing foods, like bread or pancakes made of wheat flour, on which we use butter most often.  

Are All Butter Brands Gluten Free?

Since butter brands don’t usually contain a gluten free label, is it right to assume that all butter brands are free from gluten? Some of the most popular brands that produce plain butter bring gluten free butter to the shelves. 

Consider brands like President, Smart Balance, Earth Balance, Organic Valley, and Land of Lakes. So, if your butter brand has been causing reactions, it’s time to shift to one of these brands.

But make sure to read the ingredients list and test these in small amounts.

Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

Just like gluten is a common allergen, dairy, too, is a product that can cause allergic reactions in many people.

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Lactose intolerance and dairy allergy are widespread problems these days. But did you know that celiac disease and lactose intolerance might be related to each other?

Yes, you read that right. The two might be related. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which you are severely allergic to gluten, and your small intestine can get damaged as a result of gluten consumption.

Celiac disease, if left untreated, may lead to a number of other health conditions.

You’ll be shocked to know that untreated celiac disease can cause lactose intolerance as a result of the small intestine’s damage because of celiac disease.

So, if you’ve been tested with celiac disease, it is a good idea to cut out dairy, along with gluten, at least in the beginning.      

When you’re newly diagnosed with celiac disease, your gut still needs time to heal. But celiac disease does not have any treatment.

The only way to control it is by eliminating gluten from your diet completely. In the absence of gluten, your intestine will start to heal. 

But before that, the intestine – or the small intestinal villi, to be precise – plays an essential role in absorbing nutrients.

When you continue with a non-gluten diet, it heals the villi, and the stored lactase enzyme will become available soon. 

Since the degree of gluten intolerance might vary, many people usually have no problem with eating products with low levels of dairy without any problem.

In that case, you will be able to consume aged cheeses, half-and-half cream, sour cream, etc. without noticing reactions.       

Clarified Butter or Ghee

is butter gluten free - ghee vs butter

One of the popular alternatives of butter these days is clarified butter or Ghee. But why is this a healthy alternative to butter?

That’s because even though Ghee is made from milk solids, these proteins are removed from the end product through the process of clarification. Hence, the name! 

Ghee’s origin is in the Indian Subcontinent, where it has been used for thousands of years for making savory dishes, traditional desserts, and medicines.

The name comes from the Sanskrit word, “ghruta”, meaning “clarified butter”. It has even been mentioned in ancient Indian texts.

Some of the popular dishes of the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East, and South-East Asia feature Ghee as a hero ingredient.

But now, the entire world has discovered it and accepted it as their favored alternative to butter. It’s immensely fragrant and is rapidly replacing butter globally. 

One of the main reasons behind this is that Ghee does not really have lactose or casein content.

As a result, many people with lactose intolerance or dairy allergy have reportedly enjoyed Ghee without any reaction. But if your condition is severe, you should be careful.

Another advantage of Ghee is that it does not need refrigeration because it has a stable shelf life. It’s almost liquidy and melts instantly if you apply it on bread.

The smoke point of Ghee is also extremely high, i.e., 450 degrees, which is why it’s perfect for frying pans.

It’s rich in fat content, and if you’re on a high-fat diet, like the Keto diet, this is an excellent choice.

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However, if you have problems with the digestion of fat, speak to your nutritionist about it. It might be a little expensive, but it’s definitely worth every penny. Needless to say: it’s gluten free.   

Homemade Gluten Free Alternative of Butter Recipe

Does the idea of cooking your own food to avoid gluten content or cross-contamination sound appealing to you? Then here’s a fantastic recipe of a butter alternative.

You can use it at home and stir up something delicious in your kitchen and use it instead of butter. Check it out.   

Ingredients:

  • Coconut milk (full fat): 1/8 cup + 1 tsp
  • Coconut milk (unsweetened): 1/8 cup + 1 tsp
  • Apple cider vinegar: 1 tsp
  • Sea salt: 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp
  • Coconut oil (melted): 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp 
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 1 tbsp 
  • Sunflower Lecithin (liquid): 1 tsp
  • Guar gum or xanthan gum: 1/4 tsp

Instructions:

  1. Take the two types of coconut milk and put then in a bowl. 
  2. Add apple cider vinegar and sea salt to it. Mix them with a fork. 
  3. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, after which you will notice that it has started to curdle. 
  4. Take the melted coconut oil and mix it with olive oil in the food processor. Make sure that the coconut oil is at room temperature if you melt it in the microwave. 
  5. Now, add the coconut milk mixture to the oil mix, along with the sunflower lecithin and the guar gum or xanthan gum. Continue to process them all together for around 2 minutes. 
  6. Next, pour the final mixture into a mold and put it in the freezer to harden for about an hour. You can also leave it in for the entire night.  

Your vegan butter is ready! Pop them out of the molds and store them in an airtight container. If you keep them in the refrigerator, then they will stay good for 3 months.

But if you wrap them in cling film and keep them in the freezer, they can last as long as a year. But, you’ll likely finish it way before that!

Gluten Free Cookie Butter

is butter gluten free
Illustration only – Result may look different. Image via gnom-gnom

Here’s a super-quick recipe to top your desserts with. It will help you turn a pack of gluten free cookies into something moreish – in just about 5 minutes! It will completely transform any simple dessert and make it delicious.

Ingredients:

  • Gluten cookies (store-bought or homemade): 1 box
  • Butter: 1 tbsp
  • Brown sugar: 2 tbsp
  • Heavy cream: 1/2 cup 

Instructions:

  1. Put the cookies in a food processor and grind them to form fine crumbs.
  2. Now, add melted butter to it, along with heavy cream and brown sugar.
  3. Next, blend them all till you get a smooth mix.

It’s ready! Spoon it on top of desserts, drizzle it on gluten free toast and pancakes, or use it as a dip for fruits!

Conclusion:

Butter is the food of the gods – quite literally. Legends say that the Indian god, Krishna, as a mortal child, used to steal butter from his neighbor’s homes.

Then, how can mere mortals resist the temptation of the heavenly butter? Luckily for you, you don’t really need to eliminate butter from your life, even if you’re gluten intolerant. As long as you pick plain butter, you’ll be fine. 

 

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About the Author: Johnny

I am the senior editor and writer of Gluten Free Heroes, before that, I wrote for various well established online magazines about food and health. I love working out, traveling and eating healthy.