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Does chicken broth contain gluten, milk, soy? Yes.

Posted on January 8th, 2009 by Alison Read 54 Comments - Add Your Own »

Over the holidays I was at a friend’s house, snooping in the pantry, when I decided to pick up a can of that good old-fashioned red-labeled Campbell’s Chicken Broth. I knew it was not gluten-free, but I couldn’t remember the exact details, so I turned it over to read the ingredients.

Yuck. How could anyone a) eat it, and b) think it is in any way close to real chicken broth? I’m not sure what put me off the most: the hydrolyzed wheat gluten, the monosodium glutamate (MSG), the corn oil, or the hydrolyzed soy and corn protein. Mmmm… just like homemade!

And so I began my own little research project on commercial chicken broth, stock and bouillon. I discovered a few things:

  1. some brands of chicken broths have gluten, milk and/or soy, and some don’t
  2. even within one brand, some products have allergens and some don’t
  3. different sizes of the same product can have different ingredients – Safeway brand actually had 3 different sets of ingredients for 3 different sizes of the same product!

Unfortunately, many restaurants use packaged “chicken bases” to make stock or broth for soups, sauces and gravies, so you have to be really careful when eating out.

Here is a list of some major brands and ingredient information (and sometimes my opinion too), as of 1/06/09. Remember, ingredients can change at any time, so always check. If you have another brand you would like to list, please do so in the comments. A ** denotes brands I highly recommend.


Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base

  • gluten-free, contains dairy and soy.


Campbell’s Chicken Broth 14 oz. can

  • contains wheat and soy, plus the addition of MSG and corn oil


College Inn Chicken Broth 99% Fat Free, all sizes

  • contains wheat gluten protein and soybean oil, and MSG

College Inn Chicken Broth Light and Fat Free 50% Less Sodium, all sizes

  • contains wheat gluten protein and soybean oil, and MSG

College Inn Flavored Chicken Broths, all sizes

  • contains wheat gluten protein and soybean oil, and MSG

College Inn Turkey Broth, 18.5 oz. can

  • contains wheat, soy, egg and milk


Herb Ox Sodium Free Chicken Granulated Bouillon

  • gluten-free, dairy-free

Herb Ox Chicken Instant Bouillon and Seasoning

  • gluten-free, contains dairy


Imagine Organic Free Range Chicken Broth, Organic Low Sodium Free Range Chicken Broth, Organic Chicken Cooking Stock

  • gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, all natural ingredients


Kitchen Basics Chicken Broth, 32 oz. box

  • gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, ingredients are all natural

KNORR (this is a brand used in the foodservice industry)

Knorr Chicken Select Base (dry base)

  • contains soy and milk, MSG

Knorr Chicken No MSG Added (dry base)

  • contains wheat and soy

Knorr Ultimate Chicken Base no MSG,  Roasted Chicken, and Low Sodium

  • contains wheat and soy

Knorr Ultimate Gourmet Edge Chicken Base

  • contains milk

Knorr Chicken Bouillon

  • gluten-free, dairy free, contains MSG

MINOR’S (this is a brand used in the foodservice industry)

Minor’s Chicken Base

  • contains wheat gluten, soy, milk, MSG

Minor’s All Natural Chicken Base

  • gluten-free, contains milk

Minor’s Chicken Base no added MSG, and Low Sodium no added MSG

  • contains wheat, soy, milk

Minor’s Chicken Broth Concentrate

  • contains wheat

Minor’s Roasted Chicken Broth Concentrate

  • contains wheat and soy


Pacific Foods Natural Free Range Chicken Broth, Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth, Organic Free Range Chicken Broth

  • gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, all natural ingredients
  • see Special Diet Reference for all their products


Progresso 100% Natural Chicken Broth and Reduced Sodium, 32 oz. box

  • gluten-free, dairy-free


Swanson’s Organic Free Range Chicken Broth, 32 oz. box

  • contains organic yeast extract, which according to the label contains wheat

Swanson’s Chicken Broth 99% Fat Free, 14 oz. can

  • gluten-free and dairy-free, but there is a lot of crap in it, including soy lecithin

Swanson’s Natural Goodness Chicken Broth 100% Fat Free Less Sodium, 48 oz. box or 49 oz. can

  • gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free, not as much other stuff in it

Swanson’s Chicken Cooking Stock, 26 oz. broth

  • gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free, more natural ingredients that other Swanson’s


Safeway Chicken Broth

  • contains soy protein, MSG

Safeway Chicken Broth Fat Free Reduced Sodium, various sizes

  • 49.5 oz. can contains soy protein, 14 oz. can and 32 oz. box don’t

O Brand Organic Chicken Broth, 32 oz. box

  • gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, more natural ingredients than Safeway brand


Trader Joe’s Chicken Broth

  • contains gluten (barley malt)

Trader Joe’s Organic Free Range Chicken Broth and Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth

  • gluten-free
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  1. This is GREAT information. Thank you for collecting all this information. I am concerned about MSG (in addition to certain food allergens) and I’m probably going to read this post a few times and then try some new brands. Thanks again!

  2. I can totally understand your frustration with this — first finding something that is gluten-free is hard enough, but then finding mainstream items that are free from MSG adds to the frustration. I don’t have specific items to share, but I’ve had a lot of luck finding some better items at Whole Foods and my local store New Seasons Market (in Portland, OR). Everytime I look at a mainstream product, I stare in horror and wonder why consumers put up with this — it’s really not necessary.

    In so many ways, I’m grateful to have celiac disease as it has educated me and helped me understand what is in my food and what I am putting in my body.

  3. Just to make things more complicated, the ORGANIC Better than Bouillon chicken base is gluten, dairy, and soy free. I believe that there is a difference between the organic and non-organic versions of their beef base too.

  4. Today I’m making Black-Eyed Pea Soup using Pacific organic free range chicken broth. I see that’s one of your ** favs. Mine too AND I can get a case at Costco. Plus, I like to think that the chickens are happy before they go in my soup.

    Here’s the recipe I’m using, in case your interested in the soup. http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/2008/12/crockpot-black-eyed-pea-soup.html

  5. Shelton’s makes a gluten free chicken broth…not on this list and not sure if it is well known?

  6. As a celiac patient, I had to do reasearch also, and found that Kitchen Basics to be absolutely the best broths I’ve tried. They can be used to make soup, gravies, and anything else you can think of. The taste is terrific in both the chicken and beef broths. They are actually stocks, and save a lot of time in making soups.

  7. I am not able to get the Knorr Gourmet Chicken form Cosco any longer and would like to get it . Is there a phone no I could call to order it?

  8. Having a terrible time to find Trader Joe’s Organic Free-Range chicken broth. Does anyone know who makes this for them? My family need GF products and we’re “hooked” on this for soups ect. Help is needed please!!!!!!

    Thank you. Vic Maurais Gardner, MA

  9. But Shelton’s turkey broth has milk in it, I think. Something we are allergic to anyway. And yes, the Better Than Boullion Beef (organic) is GF and dairy free as well.

  10. Thanks for doing the work for us!

  11. Pacific broth is cross contaminated as well as all Trader Joes products according to Triump Dining grocery guide. They are the only one that talk about cross contamination.

  12. First, many many thanks for saving us all the legwork on this research. It’s made my adaptation to a non-dairy, non-soy diet much easier.
    One update to the list. The Progresso 100% Natural Chicken Broth Low Sodium (33% less than our regular product) is gluten free, dairy free and SOY FREE. This was verified today through Progresso’s #800.

  13. Wow, this is such useful information. Thank you so much for letting others know about this.

  14. This is very helpful. Do you know whether the McCormick chicken and beef bases are dairy free? These products are now being carried at Costco. I’ve been unable to find the answer on McCormick’s website or elsewhere. Thanks.

  15. Hi Jo,
    On the McCormick website, they say:
    “All of our single ingredient spices and herbs are gluten-free and 100% pure, with nothing added to them. All of our extracts, including Pure Vanilla, are also gluten-free. Some of our products do contain gluten, and this will be clearly listed in BOLD type within the ingredient statement. We do not maintain a list of gluten-free products, as our formulas change from time to time.”
    So, if you check the ingredients, it sounds like it would be clearly listed.
    On the chicken base, I see the ingredients to be:
    Ingredients: cooked chicken and mechanically separated chicken meat, salt, sugar, maltodextrin, chicken fat, flavor [autolyzed yeast, salt, maltodextrin, lactic acid powder (lactic acid, calcium lactate), flavorings, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate], dehydrated onion, turmeric, natural flavorings.
    Looks okay for gluten since it is not clearly listed.

  16. A friend sent your page with the Campbell’s Chicken Broth information, and the list of other brands.

    I thank you for the list. However, as you probably know, soy does not contain toxic gluten, but may be subject to cross-contamination.

    Thank you again,

    Violla Orloff

  17. The Trader Joe’s brand, while it says it’s gluten free, is processed in a plant that processes wheat. Could be a problem for celiacs who are hyper sensitive.

  18. does kendale farm chicken broth have gluten? It is distributed by Greenbrier internation Chesapeake VA. Product of Canada. Please advise. thanks,

  19. The Trader Joes Trader Joe’s Organic Low Sodium Chicken Broth has “autolysed yeast extract” in the ingredient list. Does this mean it has gluten? Does anything that contains yeast extract contain gluten? Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I’m new to this.

  20. Jo,
    Not a dumb question at all! Autolyzed yeast and yeast extract are considered gluten-free. According to Shelley Case, authority on the gluten-free diet, it is derived from baker’s yeast, which is a type of yeast grown on sugar beet molasses.

  21. Alison,

    I just wanted to tell you thank you for taking the time to gather all this information! I have a blog (http://YourNotSoProfessionalPersonalChef.blogspot.com/) that is basically a list of recipes that is more natural and allergy friendly. I have linked this page to it and used your information (giving you credit, of course). I hope you don’t mind! Also, if you have any recipes you’d like to share, please pass them on. I’d love to post them (giving you credit) to help out my readers. :)

    Thank you again for doing this! Keep up the wonderful work.

    Julie M.

  22. Hi Julie,
    I’ll check out your blog! Thanks for linking to mine – glad you found the post helpful.

  23. Hi, I’m trying to find out if the “Fit & Active” brand distributed by Aldi stores is gluten free. It does contain yeast.

  24. Debi,
    I’m sorry – I don’t know this brand and would have to know all the ingredients to tell you if it is gluten-free. Yeast is gluten-free.

  25. Wow – thanks for the good research! After feeling sorry for myself for years because I am gluten intolerant, I have turned completely around and am now truly grateful that my condition has forced me to become aware of all the additives and unnecessary ingredients in our food. Now I read labels and make healthier choices even if the higher quality foods cost more. If enough of us start paying attention and choosing the gluten free foods, marketing forces will work in our favor and companies will start offering better gluten free options and healthier products for everyone not just us GF folk. Could Celiac and Gluten Intolerance actually be a blessing in disguise? It certainly has been for me.

  26. Judy,
    I think the majority of people diagnosed with celiac or gluten intolerance end up eating healthier in general because it awakens them to how unhealthy our society’s foods are!!

  27. Hi Judy, Can you re-check the Knorr Chicken bouillion, please? I checked the label today and the older labels do not list whey but the newer ones do. Even on their website they list lactose as an ingredient. Thanks

  28. Sylvia,
    I wrote this post two years ago, so it’s possible that ingredients have changed. I will try to find out.

  29. Does anyone know if fresh market chicken stock is gluten and soy free? I put some in the chicken and dumplings that i made last night wherein i was trying to improvise a gluten and soy free version of one of my favorite dishes, complete with potato and rice flour, and now from feeling bad today i am afraid i might have contaminated it with the stock. Please let me know if you can. I called the customer service line and had to leave a message.

  30. Great info. Thank you! We include low allergenic recipes on our site if you’d like to check us out. Our family has food sensitivities, so connecting with others with this in common is helpful. We appreciate being able to learn from others also!

  31. I have reviewed your list of gluten free broths and stock. I use the brand Sweet
    Sue chicken and beef broths and find them agreeable to my needs; I do not have issues with gluten but wonder if you suggest their use when cooking for friends who are gluten intolerant. The Emeril Brand is also very agreeable to me. I must avoid over use of high fructose corn syrup. Any good suggestions?

  32. Mary,

    Kitchen Basics is very allergy-friendly and is also gluten-free and does not contain high fructose corn syrup. It is the brand that I am starting to recommend highly on my blog as well as to friends and family. They are also the only brand that has a beef broth that is soy-free and gluten-free (that I have found readily available anyway). They have a great line of products I would strongly recommend. Here is a link to their website: http://www.kitchenbasics.net/.

    -Julie M.

  33. Thank you so much for having this site. It has helped me out tremendously. Who’d a thunk that chicken broth would not be gluten free. I knew about the other ingredients and stayed away from them. Glad to see Pacific is good.
    It is really sad that Costco no longer carries Pacific. They have their own brand and it is not organic. I stocked up on it while they had it still in stock but they are no longer going to carry it.

  34. I started looking at ingredients to see which ones contained high fructose corn syrup and imagine my surprise to find it in some chicken broth. Other have sugar. I am diabetic so this is important. I now buy chicken wings and boil until I have broth. Freeze in ice cube trays, freeze and then transfer to other containers.

  35. I’ve been searching for an organic chicken broth that contains no MSG for quite some time and having a real hard time finding any. I have been using trader joe’s organic chicken broth for some time and only lately discover that it contains MSG by one of the many hidden names “Natural Chicken Flavor”. I’m sad to have to report that not only trader joe’s organic chicken broth but many others organic broths have deceptive labeling in regards to MSG. This is heartbreaking that even something labeled and certified as “organic” would contain a chemical toxin. Who can we trust anymore?





  36. Wow…thank you so VERY much for the reseach and information….I have good and bad days..my husband is suffering today ..that is how we found this info…Thank You from the bottom of our shaking hearts : )

  37. THANK YOU for compiling this list. I am making my first gluten-free meal for a dinner date this Tuesday!

  38. Vivi, How did your gluten-free dinner date go? :)

  39. yikes! thank you for all that information. I really wanted some chicken broth and rice but had second thoughts when I read the back.

  40. 16th August 2011
    I came by this by chance whilst checking out on chicken.
    My 3 year old daughter has just been diagnosed being celiac.
    Today we went to a French supermarket and there is bascially nothing on french packaging to help people. In Germany and Switzerland it appears things are better organised. My wife is from Ecuador, hence the interest in cchicken I must say thatbreading everybodys comments is really interesting. Thanks to you all.

  41. Thank you for this excellent research!

  42. Thanks Allison. I knew I could count on you. On liquid diet for 5 yr colonoscopy appt coming up tomorrow.

  43. Sadly, Better Than Bouillion is no longer gluten free. Only the low sodium version is, supposedly, but the website does not expressly say that. I have been suffering with chronic IBS since the first of the year and couldn’t figure out why. The change in product took place sometime in 2012 and I had purchased a bunch of BTB on sale and had JUST run out of it. The store didn’t have it for a while. So I think I can safely assume I WAS using the old gluten free version and this one now with hydrolyzed soy protein is not. I made broth with it last night because I had been sick and had a horrendous reaction. Never happened before.

  44. I am trying to find a gluten free, yeast free, non-gmo, organic chicken bouillon and stock. I make a lot of foods that are based off of these products (especially since I don’t eat meat so making my own broth is out of the question) and I am really frustrated with all the ingredients in even the gluten free versions.

  45. Knorr is now putting Barley in some of their bouillons. Always read the labels as recipes do change for products without warning.

  46. I believe that the Organic Better than Buoillon (Beef and Chicken) may contain soy. Here is the customer response from the company, which is less than reassuring on their commitment to identifying allergens:

    “Thank you for your email. On each Better than Bouillon product in the ingredient label it show the ingredients that are in each jar.

    I looked on the back of each jar and I don’t see show soy as one of the ingredients in those bases.

    We appreciate and value your business.

    Kedra Anderson
    Customer Service Coordinator|Customer Service Department
    Southeastern Mills, Inc
    Phone 706-378-6561
    800-334-4468 ext 6561
    Fax 706-378-6578
    Email kanderson@semills.com

  47. How do you know if any of these chix broths have evaporated cane juice, or any form of sugar in them ? The list is great but it would be nice to know if there is *SUGAR* in them. Maybe an updated / revised list . . . ?

  48. I was so grateful for list!! I need to get it for colonoscopy preparation. Thanks a bunch.

  49. I have been trying to find chicken broth made without onion ( no garlic or shallots either)! My dog refuses to drink much water, only if hot and terribly thirsty, and then just a few licks. She has kidney stone issues too and needs lots of fluids. I make my own organic broth by cooking organically grown chicken breasts. I mix the broth 1/3 to h2O and she drinks enough now to keep her urology status under good control. dogs cannot have onion etc as it will break down RBCells!!! The only broth that didn’t list onion was Cambells, in the can. I can’t find any Organic Broths without the “standard flavors of broth, onion, celery, carrot & corn. Any ideas or though?

  50. Please , anyone send me helpful info to above post to smjsunlover@yahoo.com. THANKS!

  51. One key ingredient that most people miss is maltodextrin. It is in just about anything that has seasonings and is just about tasteless and odorless. It is even used in medication capsules as a filler. This is on the no list for celiacs and I know that for me this is a very highly reactive ingredient. A lot of the items above contain maltodextrin. Please read labels!!!

  52. Better Than Bouillon Beef flavor most certainly does contain gluten.One cup and I’m doubled over with gut pain like you wouldn’t believe and loose stools.
    The company won’t even claim it’s GF so how can you?


    Is Better than Bouillon gluten free?

    Many of our bases could be considered gluten free, but since we do not test specifically for gluten at this time, we are unable to make claims regarding the gluten content in each of the bases. However, I can help you if you have a question about one of the ingredients and where it is derived from so that you can make a personal decision about whether or not you can eat the product.

  53. Progresso unsalted chicken broth ( “classic” packaging, not the newer blue and silver chicken stock) is the only product of its kind that I have found without celery, onions, and garlic, which are not ok for low FODMAPs diets. But it does have “natural flavors.” Does anyone know what those natural flavors are?

  54. I have celiac, and I don’t know what to eat, just about everything is bad, or gave bad ingredients.

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