Is Nacho Cheese Gluten Free – Popular Brands and Recipes

Is nacho cheese gluten free? YES and NO – Nacho cheese is actually a kind of cheese sauce, which includes melted cheese and usually processed cheddar.

Other cheeses are also used in making nacho cheese, especially in the homemade or gourmet versions. So, the main ingredient in the sauce is cheese, which is gluten free.

But some brands also add wheat, and other spices to thicken and add flavor to their sauce making them not gluten free, so checking the label is important

Nacho Cheese Gluten Free confidence Score

gluten free confidence score for nacho cheese

We score Nacho Cheese at a 5.5/10 because some brands add wheat and spices to their cheese sauce making them not gluten free, while others only use cheese. So it’s a must check before eating.

Why Nacho cheese might contain gluten

Simply put, nacho cheese is a form of cheese sauce. It uses processed cheese that’s shredded and melted and then mixed with other ingredients, like thickeners, vinegar, coloring agents, spices, and more to make a delicious sauce.

These add-ins and fillers may contain gluten. Thus, your favorite cheese sauce that’s available in markets and may end up with gluten content.          

Like most other cheese sauces, nacho cheese, too, may contain flour. It may also contain wheat-based vinegar.

Additionally, the coloring and flavoring agents may also have gluten, thus making the store-bought nacho sauces unsafe for you.

So, even though it’s a delicious dip that you can enjoy with any chips or fries, it might be unsafe for you if you are gluten intolerant. 

Of course, it’s always best to look for a brand that is labeled as gluten free. This label means that the sauce has been tested, and its gluten content is less than the permitted level, i.e., 20 ppm.

The same applies to a bottle or can of nacho cheese, too!

Ingredients of most nacho cheese sauces

Most nacho cheeses are made with a combination of various cheeses that are melted together and then adding in some flavors to create a thick sauce.

This sauce may also contains:

tomato paste

And more. There are many brands of cheese sauces available in the market.

You can buy cans or bottles of nacho cheese from the market if you don’t want to make it at home.

Best Nacho Cheese Brands that are GF

RicosEl Mexicano
Rosarita Nacho Cheese 

Let’s check out some of the best nacho cheese brands available to you:


gluten free nacho cheese
via instacart

When we talk about store-bought nacho cheese, we can’t miss Ricos. This brand fancies itself as the originator of concession nachos.

It has various types of nacho cheese sauces, including the Gourmet Nacho Cheese, Hot & Spicy Cheese, Salsa con Queso Cheese, and Cheddar Cheese Sauces. Their cheese dips contain the following ingredients:

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Cheese whey
  • Soybean oil (partially hydrogenated)
  • Modified food starch
  • jalapeño peppers
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Sodium phosphate
  • MSG
  • Monoglycerides and diglycerides
  • Salt maltodextrin
  • sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate
  • Artificial colors
  • Natural flavors

According to the website of Ricos, all of its cheese sauces – as well as nachos – are free from gluten content.

That’s because they are made of non-gluten products. However, the containers do not contain a label.

Besides Ricos, there are several other gluten free nacho cheese brands. Check them out: 

El Mexicano

el mexicano gluten free nacho cheese - is nacho cheese gluten free
via frysfood

Besides Ricos, the nacho cheese sauce produced by El Mexicano is one of the most popular nacho cheese variants in the market.

This nacho cheese sauce is certified as gluten free, just like the other products of this company. It’s available online, as well as in all your favorite supermarkets. 

It’s a plain sauce with no added peppers or spices. To enjoy this cheese, you will need to heat it before you can spread it over the nachos.

It has the mild flavor of cheddar, with the flavors of Mexican spices. But it’s not hot at all since it does not contain peppers. So, you can add it to taste.

Rosarita Nacho Cheese 

Rosarita nacho cheese brand - is nacho cheese gluten free
via hill markes

Another favorite nacho cheese brand is Rosarita that also makes its cheese sauce with gluten free ingredients.

However, the product is not labeled as gluten free, nor does the package mention specifically if it is free from allergens.  

It is a good idea to test this product in small amounts only. The Rosarita nacho cheese is easily available at all supermarkets and is one of the best Mexican nacho cheese sauces in the market.

It has a mild flavor of cheddar cheese and is not overly spicy as it contains light chili. 


Nacho cheese sauce might be absolutely delicious, but it may not be the safest dip for you to enjoy, especially when you’re unable to check the ingredients or the label of the product.

The commonly used nacho cheese at various public events may contain flour, wheat vinegar, or glutinous flavoring or coloring agents. So, it’s best to avoid those entirely. 

There are a couple of brands that make a nacho cheese sauce with gluten free ingredients. You can try those, though it’s best to consume them in small quantities to make sure that they do not cause allergic reactions in your body if you have gluten intolerance.

The best option, of course, is to make gluten free nacho cheese sauces at home.