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Do Trader Joe’s steel cut oats have gluten?

Quick Answer

Trader Joe’s steel cut oats are labeled as gluten-free on the packaging, indicating that they do not contain any gluten. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. Since oats are naturally gluten-free, as long as they are processed in a facility that avoids cross-contamination with gluten-containing grains, they will remain gluten-free. For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, Trader Joe’s steel cut oats are a gluten-free and safe option for a hearty breakfast.

What is Gluten and Why Does it Matter?

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. It gives elasticity to dough, helping baked goods keep their shape. For those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten triggers an autoimmune response that damages the small intestine. This can lead to symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue and more. The only treatment is a strict lifelong gluten-free diet.

Reading ingredient labels carefully and looking for “gluten-free” labels is key for those avoiding gluten. Even small amounts of cross-contamination can trigger a reaction. Thankfully, with the rise in gluten-free dieting and awareness, gluten-free options are becoming more widely available, including at mainstream grocery stores like Trader Joe’s.

Are Oats Naturally Gluten-Free?

Yes, oats are naturally gluten-free. They do not contain the proteins that cause issues for those sensitive to gluten. However, oats are often contaminated with small amounts of gluten during growing and processing. This happens when oats come into contact with gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley and rye. For this reason, labels that state oats or oat products are “gluten-free” offer assurance to gluten-free consumers that care has been taken to avoid cross-contamination.

Why Trader Joe’s Steel Cut Oats are Gluten-Free

Trader Joe’s labels their steel cut oats as gluten-free, meaning they take measures during processing to prevent cross-contamination with gluten. Here are some reasons why Trader Joe’s steel cut oats can be considered gluten-free:

– Oats are naturally gluten-free – Oats do not inherently contain gluten proteins.

– Separate growing and harvesting – Trader Joe’s likely sources its oats from fields that are dedicated to growing gluten-free oats without rotation of gluten-containing grains.

– Facility protocols – The facility that processes the oats likely has strict protocols in place to prevent contamination, such as dedicated equipment and thorough cleaning procedures.

– Testing – Trader Joe’s may test the final product to verify gluten levels are below 20 parts per million, the FDA guideline for gluten-free labeling.

– Audit and certification – The oat supplier may undergo third-party facility audits and gluten-free certification to ensure quality standards.

– Labeled gluten-free – This label indicates Trader Joe’s is confident their steel cut oats are reliably gluten-free with processes to prevent cross-contact.

Verifying Gluten-Free Status

For extra assurance that Trader Joe’s steel cut oats remain gluten-free, consumers can take a few additional steps:

– Contact the company – Trader Joe’s customer service can provide details about their gluten-free practices and testing.

– Check for certifications – Look for seals from organizations like GFCO that certify products as gluten-free.

– Look for advisory statements – Statements like “good manufacturing practices used to segregate ingredients in a facility” provide added transparency.

– Learn about the manufacturer – Research the oat supplier’s reputation and commitment to gluten-free processes.

– Follow labeling laws – Products labeled “gluten-free” in the United States must legally contain less than 20 ppm gluten.

– Consider oat purity testing – Home test kits can detect traces of gluten down to 5-10 ppm for additional assurance.

Nutrition Facts

Here is the nutrition information for Trader Joe’s Steel Cut Oats according to the product packaging:

Nutrition Facts Per 1/4 cup dry (40g)
Calories 150
Total Fat 2.5g
Saturated Fat 0g Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 0mg
Total Carbohydrate 27g Dietary Fiber 4g
Total Sugars 0g Includes 0g Added Sugars
Protein 5g

As you can see, a 1/4 cup dry serving provides 150 calories, 5g of protein, 4g of fiber and 27g of carbohydrates. There are minimal natural sugars and no added sugars. The fiber and protein make steel cut oats a filling breakfast, while the lack of added sugar makes them a healthier choice compared to many instant oatmeal packets.

Steel cut oats also provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, including:

– Thiamin
– Niacin
– Folate
– Iron
– Magnesium
– Phosphorus
– Zinc

So beyond being gluten-free, Trader Joe’s steel cut oats pack a nutritious punch!

How to Prepare Trader Joe’s Steel Cut Oats

Steel cut oats take longer to cook than rolled or instant oats, but are worth the wait! Here is a simple preparation method:

– 1 cup Trader Joe’s steel cut oats
– 2 1/2 cups water or milk of choice
– Pinch of salt
– Desired toppings like fruit, nuts, cinnamon, etc.

1. Add the oats, liquid and salt to a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Once thickened and tender, remove from heat.
4. Portion into bowls and add desired toppings.

– Use a larger 4:1 liquid to oat ratio for creamier oatmeal.
– Soak oats overnight to reduce cook time.
– Add nuts, seeds or fruit while cooking to infuse more flavor.
– Mix in milk instead of water for added protein and calcium.
– Top with maple syrup, peanut butter, jam, fresh fruit or anything you like!

The result is a hearty bowl of gluten-free steel cut oatmeal that will keep you full and fueled all morning long.

Other Gluten-Free Oats at Trader Joe’s

In addition to their steel cut oats, Trader Joe’s offers several other gluten-free oat products:

– Gluten Free Rolled Oats – Old fashioned rolled oats that are labeled gluten-free.

– Organic Oat Beverage – Dairy-free oat milk suitable for cereal, smoothies, baking, etc.

– Multigrain Hot Cereal – Blend of gluten-free oats, quinoa, amaranth and flax.

– Oat Bran – High fiber cereal perfect for making muffins, cookies and breads.

– Oat Flour – Use this gluten-free flour for baking needs.

– Instant Oatmeal Packets – Grab-and-go packets in flavors like maple and brown sugar.

– Granola – Crunchy gluten-free granola to use as cereal, yogurt topping or snack.

So whatever your needs, you can find an array of gluten-free oat products at Trader Joe’s to accommodate a gluten-free diet.

Other Gluten-Free Foods at Trader Joe’s

In addition to oats and oat products, Trader Joe’s offers a wide range of gluten-free foods:

– Bakery items like bread, bagels, muffins and brownies
– Pasta, pizza crusts and tortillas
– Snack foods like pretzels, crackers and popcorn
– Breakfast cereals like granola and muesli
– Dairy products like yogurt, kefir and some cheeses
– Condiments like ketchup, mustard and mayo
– Chips, pretzels and crunchy snacks
– Candy and chocolate bars
– Canned soups, chilies and vegetables
– Frozen foods like chicken nuggets, potstickers and waffles
– Baking mixes, flours and baking aids

Trader Joe’s also indicates gluten-free items with special shelf tags to make identification easy. Their affordable prices and unique offerings make shopping for specialty diets like gluten-free a bit easier.


In summary, Trader Joe’s steel cut oats are a gluten-free-friendly option for a nutritious morning meal. Oats are naturally gluten-free grains, and Trader Joe’s takes care during growing and processing to prevent cross-contamination with gluten sources. Their gluten-free label provides assurance to sensitive shoppers. Steel cut oats pack protein, fiber and important vitamins and minerals. Trader Joe’s offers many other gluten-free products from snacks to frozen meals to make grocery shopping easier for customers avoiding gluten. So don’t hesitate to add their steel cut oats to your gluten-free shopping list!