Is Vegetable Oil Gluten Free. Cooking Oil Types Explained

  • Vegetable oil is commonly used for cooking purposes, at home, and in the food industry.  
  • Commonly used vegetable oils include sunflower oil, canola oil, soyabean oil, and more. 
  • Vegetable oils are made from non-gluten sources, i.e., wheat, rye, or barley. They can be considered gluten free. 

Is vegetable oil gluten free? YES. Cooking oils are mostly gluten free and are safe to use.

The main oil most of the population around the world use are:

  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sunflower oil

Like anything else that is related to gluten, even if the product itself is naturally gluten free, you need to make sure to check the label before you consume as some vegetable oils bought in stores could have different flavors and additions that can include gluten.

Vegetable Oil Gluten Free Confidence Score

About oil in general

Ever wondered about the underlying reasons for using cooking oil? Oils change the texture of the food and are suitable carriers of flavours.

There’s oil in almost everything – from salad to chicken curry. Cooking oil can be derived from plant-based sources, as well as animals. Butter, bacon grease, clarified butter or ghee – these come from animals.

But, the most common cooking oils are plant-based or what most call vegetable oil.

Generally, oils that come from seeds and stay in liquid form at room temperature are vegetable oils. Now, where do vegetable oils stand on the scale of gluten content?

Our favourite vegetable oils are mostly derived from non-gluten sources. So, vegetable oil is naturally gluten free. The only catch here is the possibility of cross-contamination or the presence of glutinous additives.  

Other plant-based oils extracted from non-seed parts of plants, including avocado oil and olive oil, may also be broadly categorized as vegetable oils, and are made from non-gluten sources.

So, unless you’re going for wheat germ oil, which is extracted from a gluten source, the common vegetable oils from plant sources are supposed to be naturally free from gluten.

Decoding Food Labels to Find Gluten 

As a gluten-intolerant person, you probably get told a lot of times that you need to check the label for gluten content.

But, what do you need to look for on the label? After all, in the US, manufacturers are not required to mention expressly if their products contain gluten.

So, how will you know if the vegetable oil you’re about to buy contains gluten or not? It sounds like quite a challenge, but don’t worry. Look for certain terms that are indicative of gluten content.

See if you find the following words on the list of ingredients:

● Triticale

● Triticum spelta

● Secale cereale

● Hordeum vulgare

● Triticum Vulgare

Some of the other ambiguous terms which might indicate the possibility of gluten content include the following:

● Modified starch

● Vegetable starch

● Flavouring Agents

● Colouring agent

● HVP (Hydrolyzed vegetable protein)

● HPP (Hydrolyzed plant protein)

● Seasonings

● Dextrin

● Maltodextrin

Many of these may not be present in vegetable oils at all. But you can never be too careful.

What is Vegetable Oil?

So, we know that vegetable oils are commonly used for cooking. But how much do we actually know about them? Which oils can be categorized as vegetable oils, and what are their specialities?

Let’s quickly understand these details about your cooking oil.

Vegetable oils are plant-based edible oils. Most commonly, they are derived from the seeds. Some of the most popular vegetable oils come from sunflower seeds, soybean, rapeseed, and more.

An essential feature of vegetable oils is that they stay in a liquid state at room temperature.

Technically speaking, edible oils that come from parts of plants other than seeds may also be referred to as vegetable oils, though people conventionally do not prefer this categorization.

Olive oil and avocado oil come from pressing whole fruits. Other oils come from coconut and palm kernel, rice bran, and more. Some vegetable oils are a mix of two or more oils.  

Why Do We Need Cooking Oil

A large number of calorie-conscious people have recently been shifting to non-fat food. They prefer to cook food without oil.

So, now the question is, why do we need to cook food in oil when we can easily eliminate the fat? Well, oil has its own purposes. These include the following:

a) Adds Texture – Oil helps to give texture to food. From crispy chips to crumbly short-crust pastry, oil is responsible for the texture of the food.

b) Prevents Burning and Sticking – Oil prevents the food from sticking to each other or the pot, and from getting burnt.

c) Enhances Flavor – Oil is an excellent carrier of the flavours of spices, aromatics, and meat, and vegetables. Some oils themselves add flavour and pungency to the dish.  

d) Good Fat – Despite what magazine columns say, fat is good for your body, skin, and hair. They are also important when you’re on a no-carb diet.

Oils like coconut oil or rice bran oil have high flash points, which makes them perfect for frying food. In different parts of the world, oils are important as a signature flavouring agent in different cuisines.

For instance, olive oil is an essential part of Italian food, and mustard oil is essential in the northern and eastern parts of India.

Related: Is peanut butter gluten free | Is coconut milk gluten free

Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil

Have you ever tried to replace butter with margarine? Do you know that they are made from vegetable oils?

To turn liquid vegetable oil to hard spread or margarine, hydrogen gas gets added to the oil, preventing spoilage due to oxidation.

This process of stabilizing oil using hydrogen is called hydrogenation. Now, hydrogenated oil will not contain gluten, as long as the oil being used is gluten free.

But, it is a good idea to stay away from hydrogenated oil, as it contains trans fat, which is harmful to your heart and cholesterol level.

Oil Used in Commercial Food Joints

When you are gluten allergic, the only solution for you to keep ailments at bay is a gluten free lifestyle.

Now, when you’re cooking at home, you can make sure that you are eating clean and using gluten free oil for cooking your food.

However, eating out is a different ball game. Even if an eatery promises to use gluten free oil in its cooking, there’s always the possibility of cross-contamination.

The food you’ve ordered might get cooked in the same oil in which some gluten-containing food has been cooked.

For instance, if the fryer has been used for cooking fried chicken dipped in a flour batter, there’s gluten in the oil. If the same oil is used for cooking your French fries, your order is left with traces of gluten.

As a result, you are consuming gluten, despite placing a non-gluten order.  

In some cases, the same issue of cross-contamination may occur when common utensils or containers are used for preparing or storing both glutinous and non-glutinous food items or their ingredients. So, be careful when you eat out.


Most vegetable oils are made of non-gluten ingredients. Hence, they can be considered naturally gluten free.

However, you have to be careful about the possibility of cross-contamination, or the presence of gluten-containing additives.

There are healthier options like olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and more.

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