Are Oats Gluten-free?

Yes. Oats are gluten-free, but read on for more important details before you reach for that bag of oats!

I’ve started getting a crazy number of comments on my Facebook videos saying things like:

“Oats aren’t gluten-free.”

“How is this gluten-free if it uses oats?!”

“You need to stop calling this gluten-free!!! It has oats in it!”

Being told that I’m wrong (rather than being asked something like, “Are oats really gluten-free?”) several times a day and that I’m basically misleading people is getting frustrating so I decided to write this post.

If you follow my blog, you might have read a little bit about gluten-free oats in my post on no-bake oatmeal cookies. Here’s some more detailed info!

Are oats gluten-free? Yes! But be sure to read the post for a few caveats.

Why aren’t all oats labeled as gluten-free if they’re truly gluten-free?

Oats are naturally gluten-free but the problem is that they can get contaminated in the field or during production. Lots of oats are processed on equipment that also processes wheat and other gluten-containing grains.

You should, therefore, make sure to buy produced and tested gluten-free oats. If your bag of oats doesn’t specifically say gluten-free on it, then it’s not gluten-free. Do not eat them! It’s too risky.

“But I can’t eat gluten and my doctor told me not to eat oats!”

That’s not because there’s gluten in oats. Some people who must eat gluten-free still can’t have oats due to the protein avenin, which elicits a reaction similar to gluten. However, it’s not a problem for most celiacs. According to this, “Less than 1% of celiac patients show a reaction to a large amount of oats in their diets.” I’ve found other sources quoting slightly higher numbers, like 5%.

If you have a gluten intolerance or celiac, ask your doctor about eating oats.

For more information, you can read this article from Medical Sciences on Why Oats Are Safe and Healthy for Celiac Disease Patients. I’m just a blogger who has read a lot about this issue. I’m not a doctor but there are plenty of academic articles out there you can check out.

Where can I buy gluten-free oats?

Are oats gluten-free? Yes! But be sure to read the post for a few important caveats.

If you’re in the US, gluten-free oats are readily available in most full-sized supermarkets. If you’ve looked for them next to the regular oats and can’t find them, look for the gluten-free or specialty diet section of the store.

They’re also easy to find on Amazon! I always get Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free rolled oats. And they have all the other varieties, too (which you can find here, like quick cooking oats, steel oats, and organic and non-organic varieties).

I currently live in Germany and I’ve found gluten-free oats in some full-sized grocery stores (so not Aldi, Lidl, etc.) and all the organic shops I’ve looked in. They’ve always been in the special diets aisle.

You can read more about different brands of gluten-free oats here.

Why can’t I buy gluten-free oats in Australia and New Zealand?

From what I’ve read, oats aren’t allowed to be labeled as gluten-free under current Australian & New Zealand labeling laws. I did find this company which sells GF oats in Australia.

Some awesome gluten-free oat recipes:

So now that we all know oats are gluten-free, here are some treats you can make with them!

All of these gluten-free recipes use just oats and oat flour (which is simply ground up oats – you can make it yourself! See the apple crisp recipe post below for how to do that) so you don’t even need to buy any expensive gluten-free flours. Because these recipes are all oat-based, they’re also 100% whole grain!

All the below recipes except for the first one are vegan (or have a vegan option) and dairy-free in addition to being gluten-free.

If you want to make a gluten-free recipe for your gluten-intolerant or celiac friends or family, ask if they can have gluten-free oats first, just to make sure they’re not one of the few who can’t process avenin.

Pumpkin Pie Bars

These Pumpkin Pie Bars have a streusel-like crust and topping and use a combination of oats and oat flour.

Peanut Butter No-bake Cookies

These Peanut Butter No-bake Cookies are so very easy to make. You simmer the sauce first for a bit, which gives it kind of a caramel-like feel and taste!

Gluten-free Apple Crisp

My Gluten-free Apple Crisp with a generous layer of oat and oat flour based topping! Such a great dish to make after coming home from a day of apple picking.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies from Beaming Baker

These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies from Beaming Baker sound like the perfect way to start the day! AND… there’s peanut butter involved. :D

This Swedish apple pie is similar to a crisp and is naturally gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free and 100% whole grain!

This Swedish Apple Pie is one of my most popular recipes! It’s similar to a crisp and is really amazing with vanilla sauce.

Peanut Butter Protein Balls

My Peanut Butter Protein Balls are one of those recipes that’s really great when you’re too lazy to bake. Just toss everything into a bowl and roll into balls!

No-bake Oatmeal Cookies

These No-bake Oatmeal Cookies can be made as oatmeal raisin cookies or oatmeal chocolate chip.

Gluten-free Vegan Oat Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies from Beaming Baker

Don’t Beaming Baker’s Gluten-Free Vegan Oat Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies look dreamy?! And I love how few ingredients they use.

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18 comments on “Are Oats Gluten-free?” — Add one!

2 comments are awaiting moderation!

  • Connie says
    November 2, 2020 @ 5:00 am

    Hello I grind my own oats for these amazing pancakes but my oats are steel cut and grind beautiful in my vitamix I was wondering if there are any cake recipes with oat flour? Would love to make a cake. And thank you for your amazing recipes.

    • Erin replies to Connie
      November 6, 2020 @ 11:58 am

      I’m sorry for just now seeing your question! There are lots of oat flour cake recipes but I unfortunately don’t have one. :/ I’ve found that the texture varies widely from one day to the next in the recipes I try. It sounds crazy, but it’s what I’ve experienced. So I’ve been scared to post one. Sorry I can’t be more helpful! I’m glad you like the other recipes. :)

  • ThomasWilson says
    July 28, 2018 @ 8:25 am

    You’ll be stuck with rice, corn and millet for bread substitutes. So no toast, sandwiches, pastries, pasta, cookies, or pretty much anything else that tastes good. Just check the labels, most everything has to specify if it has wheat in it. Even soy sauce has wheat so while Asian foods are pretty good about being wheat free, you gotta watch out for that.

    Well that’s good then if you have an intolerance for it and especially if you have Celiac Disease. Hope you’re getting tested for that or will eventually.

    Some supermarkets sell special gluten free products like wheat free bread. It takes a while to get used to the taste of the stuff cause it’s a weird blend of all the other grains. You can ask stores if they carry anything like that. Otherwise get used to corn tortillas.

  • Charlotte says
    May 25, 2018 @ 4:58 pm

    Funny. My husband was just stating last night how there is a lot of gluten in oats while I was making oat milk. Kinda bothered with the idea and when I went to drink it (soaked overnight) this morning it seemed to me pasty (my brain already decided there was a ton of gluten) and therefore nothing I would make again because of the gluten. OK so now I know we were wrong. I have since added more water and strained again which seems to have removed that gluten-ty texture. Thanks for setting us straight.

    • Erin replies to Charlotte
      May 28, 2018 @ 8:29 pm

      I’m happy the post was helpful. :) Just make sure you get gluten-free oats! Most of the ones at the store aren’t.

  • Yemaya says
    November 28, 2017 @ 7:10 pm

    Thank you for posting about the “G/G Oat dilemma”. I just wanted to add something interesting that a friend of mine with celiac told me…

    Apparently A LOT of oats are grown in Ireland. And very few other grains(like wheat) are grown there. She told me that if you buy Irish and Scottish oats then you avoid gluten and paying the higher price of G/F Oats and they are guaranteed to be uncontaminated with gluten. The downside is that they are not rolled oats…so they are not as versatile in baking. Irish oats are always “steel cut”, or “oat groats” and Scottish are generally ground. Apparently if the oats are labeled steel cut then they will always be from Ireland or Scotland. Both make a delicious, heartier oatmeal for the breakfast table and I have tried soaking them and using steel cut oats in cookies and really enjoyed them. McCann’s is a good brand and is a little less expensive than Bob’s Red Mill. McCann’s also makes an instant version that I bet does better in baking than traditional steel cut oats.

    Just a tip for those wondering about G/F Oats. :-)

    • Erin replies to Yemaya
      November 30, 2017 @ 8:56 pm

      That’s interesting! I had no idea. Too bad that they’re not more versatile. Although I do have a grain mill and use oat groats to make oat flour, so that’s a great tip. :) Thanks a ton for your comment! I’m sure the others will also find it helpful. :)

  • Stan
    November 26, 2017 @ 10:50 pm

    A friend of mine is a nutritionist. She’d been trying to cure her symptoms by simple elimination, and not going the whole AIP route initially. Since she was only removing one or two things at a time, it was gonna take her a LONG time to walk through all of her foodstuffs. She’d already determined that gluten didn’t cause her grief, but she eventually got to oats and that did it. You don’t have to have Celiac Disease to have oat sensitivity, although I suspect it’s pretty rare.

    2 out of 3 of my family have a strong allergy to milk. I don’t have any of their symptoms, but I’ve kept milk out of my diet, Just In Case. Both of them got symptoms within the last 5 years, and we’re all pushing 60. I know for certain that my sister has at least 2 autoimmune conditions and I suspect my brother has one, but I can’t get them to try AIP until I’ve proven to them that it’s helping me.

    BTW, Trader Joe’s has GF oats for $4 per 32oz bag, $2-3 cheaper than Bob’s. I don’t shop there much as they don’t have a lot that I want, so I buy a few months’ supply when I do stop there. Here’s a pic from their site:

    • Erin replies to Stan
      December 2, 2017 @ 8:55 pm

      I don’t know how I just now saw your comment! Sorry about that. Thanks for the tip on TJ’s GF oats. That’s good to know! I’m actually doing AIP, too (despite the recipes you find on my site). I wish I could say it’s helped me but it’s hard to know. I hope that your family members will give it a try! It never hurts to try. Thanks for your comment.

  • Nicole | The Granola Diaries
    October 30, 2017 @ 5:35 am

    I love this article, thank you!!! I post many oat and oat-flour based recipes too and sometimes receive this feedback.

    Its also worth noting the potential “contamination” won’t affect someone who is voluntarily practicing a gluten-free diet the same way it would affect someone diagnosed with celiac disease. The “contamination” is harmless to others!

    • Erin replies to Nicole | The Granola Diaries
      October 31, 2017 @ 2:43 pm

      Isn’t it frustrating?! The funny thing is when I posted the link to the post on FB, I still got comments like, “Oats have gluten.” My goodness. I just want to bang my head against the wall sometimes! Thanks for your comment. :)

  • Stacey says
    October 18, 2017 @ 4:02 am

    Lots of great info – thanks for sharing!

  • Allyson Zea says
    October 17, 2017 @ 7:48 pm

    This is a really great article for this info! Thanks for sharing all this!

  • Patricia @ Grab a Plate says
    October 17, 2017 @ 5:08 am

    Great info on oats! Glad you wrote this up and now you can point people this way ;)

  • Dee says
    October 17, 2017 @ 4:19 am

    Good to know, and I’m definitely sharing this with my gluten free friends!

  • Jen says
    October 17, 2017 @ 12:42 am

    Love that you took the time to address this. I’ve always wondered and this post was very helpful, thanks!

  • Amy @ Little Dairy on the Prairie
    October 16, 2017 @ 5:55 pm

    This is a great read! You have some good info in there!

  • Sara says
    October 16, 2017 @ 5:40 pm

    Thanks for the 101 on oats and gluten! None of my family members have any food allergies but this info is really great to know when preparing recipes for friends and family that do!


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