It’s easy to assume that all lunch meat is automatically gluten-free. After all, it’s meat. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Not only are some lunchmeats packaged in facilities that also process gluten products, creating a high contamination risk, but some meats are processed with flavorings, preservatives, coloring, or other gluten-based inclusions. Just as bread typically contains sugar, and many ‘juices’ are more coloring and water than fruit, lunch meats may have unexpected ingredients. Luckily, there are plenty of brands that offer gluten-free options.
What Is a Gluten-Free Lunch Meat?
For lunch and deli meats, gluten sources include flavorings, colorings, and preservatives. For lunch meat to be genuinely gluten-free, it must be processed in a certified gluten-free facility. Several independent agencies certify gluten-free facilities. However, the FDA rules about gf food labeling don’t apply to meats or unshelled eggs.
All meat is naturally gluten-free. However, the production process for creating lunch meats can cause gluten exposure or inclusions. The simplest way for meat to stop being gluten-free is when it’s processed alongside products containing gluten. Cross-contamination occurs because particles of wheat float through the air and get everywhere.
Gluten-Free Meat Brands
All of the brands below produce gluten-free meats and lunch meats. The styles, types, and flavors on the list should be safe to eat if you need a gluten-free solution for a meal. However, companies change their recipes regularly, so it’s wise to check the manufacturer’s website and individual packaging labels before purchasing.
This company prides itself on being ‘wholesome and fresh.’ Land O’ Frost makes lunch meats and gluten-free sub kits, which include the cold cuts but no bread. The list below is all the regular meats that are gluten-free as of this publication.
- Uncured Corned Beef
- Thick Sliced Canadian Bacon Sweet Country Maple
- Thick Sliced Canadian Bacon Natural Hickory
- Sliced Hard Salami
- Rotisserie Seasoned Turkey Breast
- Roast Beef
- Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast
- Hickory Smoked Canadian Bacon
- Honey Ham
- Honey Smoked Turkey Breast
- Natural Roast Beef
- Natural Hickory Smoked Ham
- Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
- Oven-Roasted Chicken Breast
- Old-Fashioned Cooked Ham
- Honey Glazed Uncured Ham
- Honey Glazed Turkey Breast
- Honey Glazed Turkey Breast
- Black Forest Ham
- Black Forest Uncured Ham
- Black Forest Canadian Bacon
- Black Forest Turkey Breast
- Brown Sugar Ham
- Black Peppered Uncured Beef
- Applewood Smoked Uncured Ham
- Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast
You can check the current ingredients list for Land O’Frost products right here. (https://www.landofrost.com/)
Almost all Jennie-O products are gluten-free. Known for its turkey and turkey products, Jennie-O serves over forty countries. The list below has the only four products that are NOT gluten-free.
- Premium Fresh Turkey Breast Roast
- Premium Portions Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
- Hickory Smoked Cajun Style Turkey
- Breast Turkey Pastrami
You can check the current ingredients list for Jennie-O products right here. (https://www.jennieo.com/)
All Gallo Salame products are gluten-free. This delicious company makes authentic Italian-style salame and distributes it to roughly a third of the USA. People on the west side of the US are familiar with the salame and pepperoni from Gallo.
You can check the current ingredients list for Gallo Salame products right here. (https://www.gallosalame.com/)
Dietz & Watson
Like Gallo, Dietz & Watson are (almost) completely gluten-free. However, they have two non-gf foods, the bockwurst and scrapple. You should see the “Certified Gluten-Free” label on all other Dietz & Watson meats.
You can check the current ingredients list for Dietz &Watson products right here. (https://www.dietzandwatson.com/meat)
The well-known and loved Butterball company is known for its whole turkeys, but they make a lot more. Better still, almost all Butterball products are entirely gluten-free. Out of all Butterball products, only the Turkey-Ham is NOT gluten-free.
You can check the current ingredients list for Butterball products right here. (https://www.butterball.com/)
Buddig Original makes all its deli meats gluten-free. This company is a Chicago-based family company started in 1943. There are currently eleven varieties of lunch meats, and all of them are safe for people with gluten sensitivities or Celiacs.
You can check the current ingredients list for Buddig Original products right here. (https://buddig.com/products/original-lunch-meat)
Officially known as the Boar’s Head Provisions Co, Inc., it is best known for its delectable, high-quality meats and cheeses. Boar’s Head has been around since 1905 and can be found in most grocery stores. Both prepackaged containers and fresh behind-the-deli-counter options are available. While those on gf diets should be careful about the deli counter because of the chance of cross-contamination with gluten products, all Boar’s Head meats are gluten-free when shipped.
You can check the current ingredients list for Boar’s Head products right here. (https://boarshead.com/)
Bar-S has become a household name in the last 39 years, producing lunch meats, hotdogs, and other tasty meats. All the products from this company are gluten-free except the corndogs, which are made separately to prevent cross-contamination of any gluten.
You can check the current ingredients list for Bar-S products right here. (https://www.bar-s.com/)
Armor (Smithfield) does offer some gluten-free meat products. However, the company refuses to certify that the products are gluten-free for the best reason. Since Armor uses ingredients from outside suppliers for some parts of its process, and those suppliers are not certified gf, this company doesn’t call its products gluten-free. Your best bet is o either avoid this brand or check the website for any changes.
You can check the current ingredients list for Armor products right here. (https://armourmeats.sfdbrands.com/en-us/)
Applegate Natural & Organic Meats
Applegate Natural & Organic Meats products are made without GMOs. Additionally, the company never uses antibiotics and has high standards for humane practices. Most importantly, all the meats from Applegate are certified gluten-free.
You can check the current ingredients list for Applegate Natural & Organic Meats products right here. (https://applegate.com/products/deli/)
Gluten-Free Vegetarian Deli Meat
There are still relatively few options for vegetarian deli-meat style cuts. Moreover, wheat and other glutinous ingredients are common in vegetarian and vegan food for both the texture and flavor. However, out of the few that exist, two are also gluten-free.
Greenslice prides itself on healthy, tasty meatless solutions. All the products this company offers are vegan and organic. In addition to being gluten-free, they are also soy-free. You’ll find mixed veggie, pepperoni-style, and applewood smoked slices among the meat-free options here.
You can check the current ingredients list for Greenslice products right here. (https://greenslicefoods.com/)
All Plant Provisions sliced non-meats are gluten-free. All the products from this company are also soy-free and non-GMO. Plus, these deli-style slices are more than merely vegetarian. They are entirely vegan-friendly.
You can check the current ingredients list for Plant Provisions products right here. (https://plantprovisions.com/)
Quorn makes delicious meatless products. Currently, the line of deli-style non-meats from this outstanding company is limited. However, the meatless turkey deli slices are gluten-free.
You can check the current ingredients list for Quorn products right here. (https://www.quorn.us/products/quorn-meatless-turkey-deli-slices)
The brands on this list don’t have any current products that are certified gluten-free. You should avoid them if your body cannot process gluten. However, they may still develop gf products in the future, so it’s worth checking the websites occasionally.
- Weaver- You can check the current ingredients list for Weaver products right here. (https://weavermeats.com/)
- Wilson- You can check the current ingredients list for Wilson products right here. (https://wilsonsmeats.com/)
- Wunderbar- You can check the current ingredients list for Wunderbar products right here. (https://wunderbarbologna.com/)
- Sara Lee Deli- You can check the current ingredients list for Sara Lee Deli products right here. (https://saraleedeli.com/)
- Tyson/Russer- You can check the current ingredients list for Russer products right here. (https://www.tysonfoodservice.com/products/our-brands/russer)
- Oscar Meyer- You can check the current ingredients list for Oscar Meyer products right here. (https://www.oscarmayer.com/)
- Hormel- You can check the current ingredients list for Hormel products right here. (https://www.hormel.com/Home)
- Hillshire Farm- You can check the current ingredients list for Hillshire Farms products right here. (https://www.hillshirefarm.com/products/deli-meat/)
For people with Celiacs or gluten sensitivities, it’s all too easy to expose yourself to gluten accidentally. Many products you would naturally assume are gluten-free, like meats, go through a complex process before reaching your grocery shelves. Adding colors, flavors, and preservatives are one way to include gluten unexpectedly. However, it’s merely an issue of cross-contamination for some companies during the cooking and packaging stages. It’s safer to assume every food has gluten until proven otherwise, and always look for the “certified gluten-free” label.