If you love to spread white, creamy mayonnaise on your sandwiches or to use it as a base for a homemade salad dressing, you're in luck: there's an ample selection of gluten-free mayonnaise on store shelves.
However, there are some caveats to remember before you run out and stock up on your particular favorite.
Some brands of mayonnaise are specifically marked "gluten-free," meaning they meet the standard U.S. definition of containing less than 20 parts per million of gluten. Others, meanwhile, simply contain no gluten ingredients, which means they could still be subject to gluten cross-contamination.
Meanwhile, almost all the mayonnaise on the market contains soy, in the form of soybean oil. May people with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity can't tolerate soy, sometimes because oftentimes soy is cross-contaminated with gluten and sometimes because soy itself is a particularly allergenic food.
If this is a problem for you, look for a soy-free mayonnaise; both Spectrum Organics and Vegenaise offer soy-free mayonnaise products.
Finally, even though distilled vinegar is considered legally gluten-free, some of us still react to it when it's made from gluten grains (learn more in Is Vinegar Gluten-Free?). If you're one of those who react to gluten grain-derived vinegar, look for one of the mayonnaise brands listed below that doesn't use gluten grain-based vinegar there are several, including Best Foods/Hellman's and Heinz.
Here's the list of mayonnaise brands available in the U.S., along with their gluten-free status:
- Best Foods/Hellman's Mayonnaise. Best Foods and Hellman's, owned by Unilever, are the same; Hellman's is sold east of the Rocky Mountains, while Best Foods is marketed west of the mountain chain. The company makes a variety of different types of mayo and spreads. Hellman's/Best Food Real Mayonnaise, Light Mayonnaise, Low-Fat Mayonnaise Dressing, Limited Edition Southwestern Ranch Reduced Fat Mayonnaise and Tartar Sauce are marked gluten-free, while other flavors are not. Look for the words "gluten-free" in the ingredients panel to be sure. The company reports that its vinegar is derived from corn.
- Blue Plate Mayonnaise. This southern regional mayonnaise brand boasts a dedicated following. Blue Plate offers three different versions of mayo: Real Mayonnaise, Light Mayonnaise, and Light Mayonnaise with Olive Oil. It also makes Blue Plate Sandwich Spread, made with relish and mayonnaise. All are marked gluten-free, but they do contain distilled vinegar that can be sourced from gluten grains.
- Duke's Mayonnaise. This southern regional brand of mayonnaise advertises itself as "the only major mayonnaise on the market that contains no sugar." Dukes (a subsidiary of C.F. Sauer Co.) also considers the mayonnaise gluten-free. Dukes' mayonnaise products contain both cider vinegar and distilled vinegar; a customer service representative reports the distilled vinegar is derived from corn.
- Hain Mayonnaise. Hain Pure Foods, part of the Hain Celestial Group, makes several different types of mayonnaise from safflower and canola oils. None of them appear on Hain Celestial's gluten-free list or carry the red "GF" triangle symbol used by the company, so steer clear.
- Heinz Mayonnaise. Heinz lists six mayonnaise products on its U.S. list of products with no gluten ingredients: Mayonnaise, Light Mayonnaise, Deli Mayonnaise-Moroccan, Deli Mayonnaise-Carmelized Onion, Deli Mayonnaise-Roast Garlic, and Deli Mayonnaise-Sun-Dried Tomato. Heinz reports that the distilled vinegar used in its condiments is derived from corn.
- Hollywood Mayonnaise. This is another brand of mayonnaise from Hain Celestial. Like Hain Pure Foods' mayonnaise products, Hollywood products are not considered gluten-free.
- Kraft Brand Mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. Kraft markets three different types of Miracle Whip Original, Light and Fat-Free. The company also makes a dozen or so mayonnaise products, including Real Mayo in full-fat, light and fat-free versions, plus several "Sandwich Shop" flavored mayonnaise products in squeeze bottles. Kraft Foods has a policy of clearly disclosing any gluten-containing ingredients on the label. Therefore, if you don't see any obvious gluten-containing ingredients, the product doesn't contain any. That doesn't mean, however, that it qualifies as "gluten-free" it still could be subject to gluten cross-contamination in processing. Some particularly sensitive people report problems with Miracle Whip, particularly with the Light and Fat-Free varieties. The vinegar used in Kraft products can be sourced from any grain, including gluten grains, according to a customer service representative.
- Trader Joe's Mayonnaise. Trader Joe's markets three store-branded types of mayo: Organic, Real and Reduced Fat. All appear on the retailer's "no gluten ingredients" list. Beware, though: T.J.'s products can be subject to gluten cross-contamination at the packaging facility, and some people (especially those who are particularly sensitive to trace gluten) steer clear entirely as a result.
- Spectrum Mayonnaise. Spectrum Organics markets canola-based and soy-based plain mayonnaise, plus a variety of "artisan" flavored mayonnaise products. All are considered gluten-free by the company, and feature labels with a "gluten-free" designation. Spectrum reports that the vinegar in its mayonnaise products is derived from corn and the gluten grain rye, and states that testing found no gluten in the alcohol used to make that vinegar. Nonetheless, if you're one who reacts to gluten grain-based vinegar, I'd advise some caution with Spectrum mayonnaise products.
- Vegenaise. Follow Your Heart, a company that produces vegan products, makes Vegenaise in Original, Reduced Fat, Grapeseed Oil, Organic and Soy-Free versions. It also makes a half-dozen flavored Vegenaise spreads. All Vegenaise products are gluten-free, according to the company, which states that the enzymes used to produce the brown rice syrup in the products are considered gluten-free (enzymes used to process brown rice often contain barley). In addition, the vinegar used is apple cider vinegar, according to the company.
Of course, it's pretty easy to make your own mayonnaise I do it all the time. Just make sure to use safe ingredients, such as gluten-free mustard and white wine vinegar, and then spice it up however you wish.
Check out this mayonnaise recipe from About.com's Guide to Home Cooking for the basics, and enjoy!