When it comes to additives in snacks, it can be hard to decipher which are gluten-free or not, especially when they have long scientific names. Today’s post will dive into one such flavoring, Monosodium Glutamate. More commonly known as MSG.

MSG is in many packaged foods like chips, frozen foods, etc. But what exactly is MSG? Why is it in everything? And most importantly, is MSG gluten-free? Read on to find out more information about MSG.

A wooden bowl filled with msg powder. There is a spoonful showing a close up.

What Is MSG?

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is a common flavoring agent used in cooking and packaged foods. MSG is so prevalent in food because it is an incredible flavor enhancer. As its name suggests, it has glutamate, an amino acid that creates the sensation of “umami” that we all enjoy.

You may be wondering why MSG is in everything when it has a bit of a bad reputation. That requires a quick history lesson. Back in the day, Chinese immigrants would add MSG to their dishes and sell them at their restaurants.

If a bag of Doritos or Cheetos doesn’t make you feel ill, then you’re probably fine eating foods with MSG.

I research a lot of ingredients in foods. Check my Meal Ingredients to see what meal ingredients are gluten free.

Answer: Is MSG Gluten Free?

Yes! Modern-day MSG is gluten-free. Many people get worried about MSG as it used not to be gluten-free. Before the 1960s, MSG was made from wheat gluten, but the recipe has changed significantly. It’s usually made from beet sugar, cornstarch, sugar cane, or tapioca, which are all free from gluten.

Some MSG brands still use wheat, but it is very rare. If they come from wheat, they will have a statement saying it contains wheat or wheat products. MSG has to follow FDA regulations regarding allergen statements, so you won’t have to worry about accidentally consuming gluten.

As with most ingredients, living a gluten-free lifestyle means checking the ingredients label and the allergen statement. It takes some extra time, but it’s an essential step.

Whether you’re flavoring a dish or want a bag of chips, MSG is safe for the celiac and gluten-free community.

Brands of Gluten Free MSG:

There aren’t many brands of MSG, but this list provides the most popular MSG brands that are gluten-free. 

  • Accent
  • Aji-no-moto
  • McCormick 
  • Badia


Yes, MSG is gluten-free. Wheat was once a main ingredient in the flavoring and may be used in a few brands. Always check the allergen statement to be sure. 

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