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Is Barley Gluten-Free?

by Toni Olukiran

1min read

Barley is used in lots of foods — as a side or as a flavour enhancer. But is it gluten-free? Find out whether it’s safe for people with gluten sensitivities or coeliac’s disease, plus alternatives that are suitable for those on a gluten-free diet. 

What is barley?

Barley is a cereal grain used in soups, stews, and as a flavouring in foods. It is one of the first grains to be cultivated, and now is one of the biggest produced grains in the world, behind maize, rice and wheat. 

Is barley gluten free?

Unfortunately, no, barley isn’t gluten free — it contains around 10% gluten. This means that those who are sensitive to gluten or have coeliac’s disease should avoid barley as well as products that may contain barley too, so look out for ingredient lists with things like 'malt extract', 'maltose', 'malt flavouring' etc as these are flavour enhancers using barley. 

Alternatives to barley

If you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative to barley that you can put into your favourite soups and salads, try quinoa, buckwheat or sorghum, all of which can be found at your local supermarket. 

Got any other plant-based questions for us? Let us know in the comments below!

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By Toni Olukiran
Toni Olukiran

Toni is one of our lovely Content Marketing Assistants, and when she’s not writing posts about everything from Jamaican cooking to vegan champagne, she’s making a Spotify playlist (she was at 200, at her last count) or playing tennis in the park.

Read more from Toni


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