Is Buckwheat Gluten-free?

Is buckwheat gluten-free? Yes! But while it’s a naturally gluten-free food, there are some issues that you need to look out for if you’re sensitive to gluten. Included is a list of labeled and certified gluten-free buckwheat products.

What is buckwheat?

Buckwheat is often confused for a cereal or a wheat grain, but it’s not a true grain. It’s a flowering plant cultivated for its grain-like seeds that are small, triangular and dark brown in color.

It’s related to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb and is often known as a pseudo-grain because the seeds are often used the same as grains. It can be cooked and eaten like rice or other grains or used to make flour. It has a nutty flavor with a slightly crunchy taste.

So, even though wheat is in its name, buckwheat is not a type of wheat. It’s naturally gluten-free, making it suitable for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

Light vs. dark buckwheat

There are two types of buckwheat flour: light and dark. This can be confusing as most brands don’t label their products as light or dark. You just have to look at the flour and decide for yourself.

Light buckwheat flour

Light buckwheat is made from hulled buckwheat, which means that the husks have been removed. This is the type of flour I use in baking, but I should say that I don’t like the taste of buckwheat. I only use it for chocolaty sweets.

I use it in my Gluten-free Brownies, and the taste and texture is indistinguishable from the wheat flour version. The same is true of my Kladdkaka (sticky Swedish chocolate cake).

In some chocolate recipes, though, it adds a weird floral taste.

It’s also great for baking bread! I usually use it in combination with 2-3 other types of flour, resulting in no buckwheat flavor.

Yesterday, my son’s teachers asked what kind of flour they could use to make the cake base in these Snowman Cupcakes so that my son could help bake with them. I only use King Arthur Flour Gluten-free Measure for Measure Flour in that recipe, but it’s quite expensive to have it sent over here to Germany.

I thought it’d be handy if I could use a homemade mix in that, as it’s my go-to cake recipe, so I tried one calling for light buckwheat flour and 3 other flours.

I don’t know why I even proceeded with the cake recipe. The flour mix already smelled bad, but I thought the orange extract might cover up the buckwheat flavor, at least a bit. It did not!

It was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever baked. And it didn’t rise at all, either.

Please don’t just sub in buckwheat into a non-chocolate recipe! Unless you really want that earthy (ehem, dirt) flavor. And possibly a terrible texture.

It’s really best to find a recipe that already calls for buckwheat. In the cookies I worked on last week, I had to use 1 cup of buckwheat instead of 1 2/3 cups of wheat flour. That’s pretty wild.

Especially considering that it’s a direct sub in some recipes like brownies.

Dark buckwheat flour

The husks are what gives dark buckwheat its dark speckles, its more intense flavor, and slightly coarser texture. So, if you want more buckwheat flavor, you should use dark buckwheat flour.

Here’s a photo I took with my cellphone. I couldn’t get a close-up, but hopefully, you can see that there’s a big difference in color.


I thought that looking at the fiber amounts would be an easy way to decide whether buckwheat is light or dark. With most brands, you can see what the flour looks like by looking at the bag. With some, like Anthony’s, you can’t actually see the flour in the packaging.

But something weird is going on with the nutritional labels.

  • Bob’s Red Mill (dark) – 9 grams fiber per 30 grams of flour
  • Arrowhead Mills (dark) – 3 grams per 30 grams
  • Food to Live (dark) – 3 grams per 28 grams
  • Food to Live (light) – 3 grams per 28 grams
  • Anthony’s (light) – less than 1 gram per 30 grams

I don’t understand how both products from Food to Live have the same amount of fiber. I also don’t understand how Bob’s has SO much more fiber, but that amount makes more sense than the other values given for dark buckwheat. Look at that photo above of the husks.

That looks like a ton of fiber to me.

Perhaps some companies use a mix of hulled buckwheat and unhulled buckwheat? I started writing this post in 2020 and got so confused and overwhelmed with this point that I just gave up on finishing it.

But I just posted these Gluten-free Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies, which use buckwheat, so I thought I ought to finally finish this post.

Anyway. I wrote some of the companies back in 2020 to ask about the fiber content and didn’t get any answers that would explain it.

In conclusion, you can’t look at the fiber content to determine whether or not a product is light or dark buckwheat.


Since buckwheat is naturally gluten-free, you might think that any brand will do. And for some gluten-sensitive people, that might be true.

But if you’re extremely sensitive to gluten and/or have celiac disease, you should probably take cross-contact into consideration.

Although buckwheat is gluten-free, it’s sometimes manufactured and packaged in a facility that produces gluten-containing products. Or it could even be processed using the same equipment as gluten products.

And the problem with that is that that equipment may or may not be cleaned when they switch from a gluten-containing product to a gluten-free product. This, along with many other things, could possibly lead to cross-contact.

So that’s why some companies go to the trouble of testing their products for gluten.

Difference between certified and labeled gluten-free

If you’re sensitive to gluten, you might be fine with buckwheat that’s not labeled as gluten-free. But if you’re very sensitive to gluten, you’ll want to buy buckwheat that’s labelled as gluten-free, and you might consider getting certified gluten-free buckwheat.

For products to legally be labeled gluten-free in the US, they must first meet the requirements of the FDA of containing less than 20 parts per million (20 ppm) of gluten, which is a level that is safe for most people with celiac (source).

Some companies go a step further by hiring an outside agency to test their products. These agencies have more stringent requirements than the FDA, so if you find that you’re reacting to foods labeled as gluten-free, look for products with one of the following six seals.

Different certification organizations have different testing standards. While the FDA requires product to test under 20 ppm, the six certification programs require products to be anywhere from under 5 ppm to under 20 ppm.

  • National Celiac Association – 5 ppm
  • GFCO – 10 ppm
  • Kitchens with Confidence by MenuTrinfo – 10 ppm
  • Scientific Certification Systems – 10 ppm
  • The National Sanitation Foundation – 15 ppm
  • Beyond Celiac Gluten Free Certification Program – 20 ppm

Note that any company can write “gluten-free” in the product description on their website, Amazon, etc. There’s a difference between something being naturally gluten-free and being tested and labelled as gluten-free.

If something is naturally gluten-free, why not get the gluten-free certification? Just like getting organic certification, it’s quite costly to become gluten-free certified. And then companies have to pay that fee yearly, so perhaps that’s why some companies don’t go the extra mile.

Companies that are in a dedicated facility also might feel like it’s not needed as there really shouldn’t be any gluten floating around. But it’s difficult to know in what kind of facility a product is produced in!

Some companies are very upfront about it. Guittard’s Allergen Policy PDF from October 2023 is super specific and helpful (if you want to buy chocolate – not for buckwheat!).

It breaks down each product and tells you what’s not safe for people with any of the top 9 allergens and even gives reasons, such as “Made on equipment also used to make milk chocolate” or “Made in a segregated processing area that does not contain any of the 9 major allergens.”

Such a document is rare, though. If you go shopping, it’s probably easiest to look for one of the certified gluten-free seals.

Gluten-Free Buckwheat Brands

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For more info, see my disclosure.

The information below is true for the US as of December 2023, but can always change. Always check the packages to make sure they’re still labeled as gluten-free or certified gluten-free if that’s important to you!

1. Arrowhead Mills buckwheat flour

Their dark buckwheat flour is certified gluten-free and organic.

2. Anthony’s buckwheat flour

This light buckwheat flour is labeled as gluten-free and organic. On the package, it says, “Batch tested and verified gluten-free.”

Verified gluten-free does not mean certified gluten-free. On the Anthony’s FAQ, they state that they test every batch of every gluten-free item they produce to ensure that it’s under 20 ppm.

3. Pocono Products

Pocono offers many different buckwheat products. Although this company also manufactures wheat, its buckwheat products are prepared on a dedicated line, which is only used for buckwheat.

They also don’t process any tree nuts, eggs, or peanuts at that facility, so it’s extra allergy-friendly.

They have pancake mix, buckwheat flour, cream of buckwheat, kasha (roasted buckwheat groats) and whole buckwheat groats. You can see them all here.

Their flour, and all their other buckwheat products, are labeled as gluten-free and are tested to be under 10 ppm gluten.

They write extensively about their testing process in their FAQs.

By the way, it doesn’t say on the flour product page if it’s light or dark buckwheat flour, but looking at the photo, it’s light.

4. Big Green Organic Food buckwheat flour

Their buckwheat flour was the cheapest I saw on Amazon (until I noticed the shipping cost, which makes it quite expensive), but I could hardly find any info about it. On an old listing, I found someone saying it’s light buckwheat and produced in China.

Their FAQ states that their products are produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility, so we at least we know it’s gluten-free.

5. Bob’s Red Mill buckwheat groats

Bob’s Red Mill is well-known and trusted for manufacturing high-quality gluten-free products. They also produce gluten-containing products, but no need to worry.

According to Bob’s Red Mill, they have a dedicated and totally separate gluten-free facility to ensure that their gluten-free products are indeed gluten-free. Only gluten-free products are milled, mixed, and packaged in that facility and its machinery is never exposed to non-gluten-free products.

They also, “Test every incoming delivery of product using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test – ensuring that every product is less than 20 ppm of gluten. Product received at the mill is tested upon arrival and then placed on hold until results are given. After we receive confirmed results that the product tests below 20 ppm it is, only then, accepted into our dedicated gluten-free facility. In addition to testing upon arrival, we test product during processing and after processing, holding each time until results are given.”

So that’s good. But warning, warning, warning!

Bob’s Red Mill Organic Buckwheat Flour is NOT processed in their gluten-free facility and not considered one of their gluten-free products. They are kind enough to point this out in the product description on their homepage (which is not usual – you don’t usually have companies saying, “Hey! This isn’t gluten-free!”)

Only the buckwheat groats (and the Organic Creamy Buckwheat Hot Cereal, which is just chopped up buckwheat groats) are gluten-free. When you search Amazon for “gluten-free buckwheat flour,” Bob’s buckwheat flour is the third result, but again, it’s not gluten-free. That’s just Amazon deciding it should be the 3rd result.

Watch out for

Food to Live has dark and light buckwheat flour, but it says on the bags that it’s produced in a facility that also processes tree nuts and wheat.

This is likely the case for many brands, even if they don’t call that out on the bags.

Those two product photos are a good example of light vs. dark buckwheat, by the way. You’ll have to click on them to compare. I’m not allowed to use product photos I didn’t take myself or I’d include them in this post.

Also watch out for

Japanese soba noodles, often served in soups, are made with buckwheat. However, you should be careful as they also often contain wheat.

Buckwheat pancake or crepe mixes also often contain wheat (including the one from Bob’s Red Mill), so as always, check the package of anything you buy.

Health Benefits of Buckwheat

  • Boosts heart health – since buckwheat contains adequate amounts of fiber and niacin, it plays a major role in promoting heart health. It is also as nutritious as other whole grains, which makes it a perfect alternative for people who are allergic to other grains.

  • Improves digestion – buckwheat is a high-fiber cereal. Dietary fiber is a form of plant-based carb that the human body cannot break down. Consequently, it aids in the proper digestion of meals and the movement of food through the digestive system.

  • Helps in maintaining a healthy weight – buckwheat is a great example of excellent weight-loss food. This is because it helps cultivate the satiety feeling which refers to the sensation of being satisfied. Foods that induce satiety can help people avoid hunger for longer periods and reduce the overall number of calories they consume in a day.

  • High in protein – buckwheat is a high-protein grain. Normally, high-protein foods are important for weight management since they provide more satiety with few calories. Therefore, incorporating buckwheat into a healthy diet may increase satiety and aid in weight loss.

So! Why not try incorporating some buckwheat into your diet? Not only will you enjoy some delicious recipes, but you’ll also be nourishing your body with vital nutrients.

In addition to the recipes I linked to above, this Mint Chocolate Tart has a great buckwheat flour option for the crust and would be great for Christmas.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! :)

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