Is Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Gluten Free? (Find Out Now!)

Is Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Gluten Free

Hydrolyzed wheat protein is a byproduct of the enzymatic hydrolysis of wheat gluten. It’s commonly used in cosmetics and foods to help stabilize the product. You may question if it’s gluten-free since it has gone through hydrolysis.

No, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein is not gluten free. Although this protein has gone through hydrolysis, it may still contain wheat derivatives. The process entails breaking down the wheat protein into smaller proteins, which essentially are amino acids and peptides. The best alternatives to Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein are either Hydrolyzed Whey Protein or Hydrolyzed Milk Protein.

This article will explain why hydrolyzed wheat protein is not gluten-free, if it’s good for you, and what alternatives are available in its place. Let’s dig in!

What Foods Contain Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein?

Hydrolyzed wheat protein is present in several types of foods. Its primary use is to process and enhance the flavors of baked goods, dietary supplements, beverages, protein bars, and more. 

Manufacturers typically use hydrolyzed wheat protein as a food ingredient to improve food taste. It’s also a more affordable option compared to its counterparts. 

Let’s dig a little deeper into the nutritional content of some popular foods that contain hydrolyzed wheat protein. 

Popular Brands That Contain Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein

Hormel Compleats Beef Steak Tips with Mashed Potatoes

 The flavoring agents used contain hydrolyzed wheat protein as an ingredient.

Nutrition Facts ( per 1 tray serving size):

  • Calories 300
  • Total Fat 17g
  • Saturated Fat 7g
  • Trans Fat 1g
  • Cholesterol 45 mg
  • Sodium 850 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 24g
  • Dietary Fiber 3g
  • Protein 14g


  • Rehydrated Potatoes
  • Chicken Breast with Rib Meat 
  • Chicken Stock (Contains Flavor)
  • Corn Flour
  • Chicken Fat
  • Modified Cornstarch
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Hydrolyzed Corn Protein
  • Salt
  • Yeast Extract
  • Sugar
  • Flavoring
  • Sodium Bisulfite
  • Spices
  • Annatto Color
  • Ascorbic Acid 
  • Sodium Metabisulfite

MorningStar Farms Veggie Meal Starter Crumbles

Nutritional Facts (serving size ½ cup):

  • Calories 60
  • Total Fat 29
  • Saturated Fat 0g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 330mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 4g
  • Dietary Fiber 4g
  • Total Sugars <1g
  • Protein 9g
  • Calcium 40mg
  • Iron 1.1mg
  • Potassium 250mg


  • Water
  • Soy flour
  • Soy protein concentrate
  • Corn oil
  • Yeast extract
  • Cooked onion and carrot juice concentrate.
  • Reduced sodium tamari soy sauce 
  • Garlic powder
  • Wheat gluten
  • Natural flavors
  • Onion powder
  • Sugar
  • Spices
  • Xanthan gum

Pioneer Brand Country Gravy Mix

Nutritional information (serving size one ⅓ tsp, 10g):

  • Calories 45
  • Total Fat 1.5g
  • Saturated Fat 1g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 0g
  • Sodium 230mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 7g
  • Dietary Fiber 0g
  • Total Sugars 0g
  • Protein 0g
  • Iron 0.1mg
  • Potassium 33mg


  • Chicken fat
  • Chicken bacon fat
  • Garlic
  • Spices
  • Sugar
  • Nonfat milk
  • Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  • Hydrolyzed corn protein
  • Sodium caseinate 
  • Mono and Diglycerides
  • Soy flour
  • Turmeric
  • Flavor enhancers

Uncle Ben’s Original Long Grain & Wild Rice

Nutrition Facts (serving size per pouch):

  • Calories 360
  • Total Fat 5
  • Saturated Fat 0.5g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 2.5g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 840mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 71g
  • Dietary Fiber 3g
  • Total Sugars 1g
  • Protein 9g
  • Calcium 80mg
  • Iron 3.6mg
  • Potassium 290mg
  • Thiamin 0.6mg


  • Enriched Parboiled Rice
  • Iron
  • Thiamin
  • Folate
  • Wild Rice
  • Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Core Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
  • Onion
  • Autolyzed Yeast Extract
  • Parsley
  • Suger
  • Spinach
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Torula
  • Yeast
  • Spices
  • Celery 
  • Onion Powder
  • Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein
  • Citric Acid
  • Natural Smoke Flavor
  • Tomato
  • Carrots
  • Turmeric

Is Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Bad for You?

Wheat is one of the most recognized foods that can cause adverse sensitivities and allergic reactions for individuals. But, If you have celiac disease or have gluten sensitivity, hydrolyzed wheat proteins may have minimal effects due to the changes of molecular formation.

According to Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the leading journal of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), a study has shown hydrolyzed wheat protein not to be toxic to those with celiac disease. 

After completing a sixty-day study, researchers concluded that celiac disease patients could safely consume hydrolyzed wheat protein without harmful side effects. 

However, if you are hypersensitive to gluten, consuming foods with hydrolyzed wheat protein could result in severe symptoms.

Here are some symptoms you may experience if you have a reaction to the hydrolyzed wheat protein in your food:

  • Anemia
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Numbness in the legs or arms
  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Brain fog
  • Cramps, nausea, or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating

Are There Any Benefits of Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein?

So, you may ask what the benefits of hydrolyzed wheat proteins are? Where do we begin? There are several benefits provided by using hydrolyzed wheat protein. Hydrolyzed wheat protein tends to be very cost-effective, making it easier for manufacturers to utilize.

When using it in bread products, it helps improve the quality by weakening the dough strength and reduces mixing time. It also helps boost the protein content in cereals and beverages. If you do not have any sensitives, it can be a good low-cost way to boost the protein content of bread, cereal, and some beverage products. 

Gluten-Free Alternatives to Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein

If you do not want to risk getting negligible amounts of gluten in your diet, you’re not alone! There are many options to choose from. Other ingredients are available if you follow a gluten-free diet, such as rice, quinoa, and arrowroot.   

For starters, always choose products that are certified gluten-free. Products that do not have the gluten-free seal may have traces of gluten due to cross-contamination. You can look for certified gluten-free bread, pasta, cakes, and desserts. Here are a few other types of hydrolyzed proteins that are gluten-free.

Hydrolyzed Whey Protein

Hydrolyzed whey protein is a finely produced version of whey that is easier to digest. It’s frequently used in protein powders and drinks. Since it has undergone hydrolysis, it’s absorbed much faster by our body than other protein sources.

Fiber One Sweet & Salty Roasted Nut Protein Nut Chewy Bars

Nutritional Facts (serving size one bar):

  • Calories 190
  • Total Fat 12g
  • Saturated Fat 3g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol >5mg
  • Sodium 180mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 14g
  • Dietary Fiber 6g
  • Total Sugars 5g
  • Protein 10g


  • Roasted Peanuts
  • Roasted Almonds
  • Chicory Root Extract
  • Soy Protein Isolate
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Corn Syrup
  • Sugar
  • Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Soy Protein
  • Vegetable Glycerin
  • Fructose 
  • Rice Starch
  • Hydrolyzed Whey Protein
  • Maltodextrin
  • Nonfat Milk Solids
  • Salt
  • Whey Powder
  • Soy Fiber
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Peanut Flour
  • Tapioca Starch
  • Peanut Oil

Hydrolyzed Milk Protein

Hydrolyzed milk protein is one of the main ingredients in baby formula. It is used for babies with a cow’s milk allergy by breaking down the milk protein, making it easier to digest. It’s also commonly found in some candy bars!

Hershey’s Delicious Almond Joy Bar

ALMOND JOY Coconut and Almond Chocolate Candy, Bulk Halloween, 1.61 oz Bars (36 Count) Nutrition Facts (serving size one bar):

  • Calories 220
  • Total Fat 13g
  • Saturated Fat 9g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 50mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 26g
  • Dietary Fiber 2g
  • Total Sugars 21g
  • Protein 2g
  • Vitamin D 0.1mcg
  • Iron 0.9mg
  • Calcium 30.3mg
  • Potassium 110.1mg


  • Corn Syrup
  • Sugar
  • Coconut
  • Almonds
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Chocolate
  • Milk
  • Lactose
  • Milk Fat
  • Skim Milk
  • Cocoa
  • Whey
  • Salt
  • Lecithin
  • PGPR
  • Hydrolyzed Milk Protein
  • Sodium Metabisulfite
  • Vanillin

Can Those with Celiac Use Cosmetics With Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein?

If you’ve finally gotten your gluten intolerance under control, you may be hesitant to use cosmetics with hydrolyzed wheat protein. 

Although there have been reports of soaps and cosmetics containing hydrolyzed wheat proteins to cause allergic reactions, this is rare. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, those with celiac disease do not typically have adverse reactions from applying products containing hydrolyzed wheat protein to the skin. 

However, you should avoid using dental products, lipstick, and other products that can potentially be ingested. 

Some develop dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), which is a reaction to gluten ingestion. It is characterized by itchy, burning skin. Those with DH are often very skeptical of using gluten-containing cosmetics.

Nevertheless, if you experience any adverse side effects from ingesting or applying any product, you should stop using it immediately.


All and all, if you are following a gluten-free diet, hydrolyzed wheat protein is not the best option. Even though the wheat protein is broken down into smaller particles, it is still not gluten-free. However, for those without gluten sensitivity, hydrolyzed wheat protein should rarely cause any risk of health concerns.   

 It can be overwhelming when you have a gluten sensitivity to know what is secure and not safe when ingredient listings can look foreign. 

To ensure products are completely free of gluten, consider choosing products that have the certified gluten-free labeling. 

Related Questions

Is Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Vegan?

Yes, hydrolyzed wheat protein is vegan. It does not contain any animal by-product. You can utilize it in your homemade vegan baked goods or beauty products.

Is Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Natural?

Yes, hydrolyzed wheat protein is derived from the natural source of wheat. 

Is Hydrolyzed Barley Protein Gluten-Free?

Similar to that of hydrolyzed wheat protein, hydrolyzed barley protein has the potential to contain gluten. To be sure your product of choice is 100% free of gluten, choose a certified gluten brand.

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Lindsey DeSoto

Lindsey DeSoto is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based out of Coastal Mississippi. She earned her BSc in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Alabama. Lindsey has a passion for helping others live healthier lives by translating the latest evidence-based research into easy-to-digest, approachable content. When she isn’t writing she enjoys working out and spending time with her children.

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