In recent years, more and more people have chosen to go gluten-free. Whether for general health reasons or as a response to a diagnosed allergy or sensitivity, the trend towards gluten-free is seemingly here to stay. For years, gluten-free options were slim-to-none, and the choices that did exist were more reminiscent of cardboard than of a tasty treat. But now, with more demand created by the public, the best gluten-free snacks are plentiful and delicious. Some, many shoppers claim, are even good enough to trick you into not noticing a difference!
The most serious reason for eliminating gluten is Celiac disease, which causes an immune reaction upon eating gluten. But according to a 2020 study, while an estimated 2.7 million people restrict their diet to gluten-free foods, only 1.76 million Americans actually suffer from the disease that requires the diet. The authors of the study tracked about 22,000 annual surveys from 2009 to 2014 conducted by the Centers for Disease Control that asked participants if they had Celiac disease and whether or not they followed a gluten-free diet. They found the number of Americans with Celiac remained fairly steady, yet during that same time period, the number of participants in the survey who said they followed a gluten-free diet more than tripled. From 2009 to 2010, .52 percent of the population was gluten free, then .99 percent in 2011 to 2012, before skyrocketing to 1.69 percent in 2013 to 2014.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Hyun-seok Kim, a resident in internal medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, says that the diet was particularly prevalent among three groups: females, young adults ages 20-39, and non-Hispanic whites. But it’s not just adults that are participating in this trend. In fact, another study finds that the number of gluten intolerant children has doubled over the last 25 years.
Whether you have Celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or simply prefer to avoid gluten for your overall health, there’s never been a better time to shop gluten-free. Options for delicious snacks that won’t irritate your stomach are plentiful, and most can even be found in your regular grocery store. But of course, not every item on the shelf is as enjoyable as the next. The cardboard-like gluten-free products of old are still around, and it can be frustrating to spend good money on one by mistake. That’s why StudyFinds did the work for you, searching the internet for expert reviews on the best gluten-free snacks. This list includes the top recommended products, but of course, if you have a favorite we missed, let us know in the comments!
The List: Best Gluten-Free Snacks, According to Experts
These crunchy puffs are a great alternative for traditional cheese puffs. And thanks to the chickpea base, this pick is higher in protein than most crispy snacks. “Organic Chickpea Puffs are made from chickpeas that are baked into a light and crunchy puff,” says People’s Choice Beef Jerky. “They not only taste great, but they are organic, gluten-free, and vegan. They come in a variety of unique and delicious flavors that are perfect for when you’re craving something with a crunch.”
“A heartier cheese puff than Pirate’s Booty, Hippeas are made with chickpea and rice flour. They’re deliciously crunchy,” notes The Everymom. “Plus they have three grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein per serving. For Costco members, pick up the giant bag in the snack section—you won’t regret it.”
“We want kids to eat healthy snacks, but they tend to gravitate towards cheesy, puffed snacks. This snack is this best of both worlds,” adds Verywell Fit. “Hippeas puffs are made of chickpeas and organic ingredients, unlike the traditional corn meal and artificial flavors. The chickpeas contribute to the higher fiber and protein content.”
If you think great pretzels are a thing of the past once you go gluten-free, think again. These pretzels can go toe-to-toe with their gluten counterpart, and most won’t even notice it missing. As Taste of Home says, “we honestly prefer these gluten-free pretzels to the regular kind. They’re light, crisp and oh-so crunchy.”
“While there are a LOT of gluten-free pretzels on the market these days, try these if you’re looking for a classic pretzel taste with a slight buttery flavor,” suggests Chomps. “Put them in a bowl for your non-gluten sensitive friends and they won’t even know the difference!”
Cracker lovers rejoice! These Simple Mills almond flour crackers are just as crispy and yummy as traditional options, and they come in multiple flavors including a cheesy option. “If you’re looking for a salty and crunchy cracker to snack on or perhaps use as a vessel for your next cheeseboard, you must try these gluten-free crackers,” says People’s Choice Beef Jerky. “Made with simple ingredients, it’s the ultimate everyday snack that’ll keep you coming back for more. It’s not only nutrient dense, but it’s also deliciously flavorful.”
The cheddar flavor is a favorite among reviewers. Taste of Home says, “just consider the Farmhouse Cheddar crackers a healthier version of Cheez-Its. Keep on snackin’!”
One Lovely Life agrees, adding, “since they’re already cheddar flavored, you won’t even need to top them with cheese.”
For snackers with a sweet tooth, it’s hard to beat Tate’s Bake Shop cookies. These crunchy cookies boast the same classic flavor shoppers love, without any of the gluten. “These Tate’s Bakeshop Gluten-free cookies are so crispy, you won’t be able to tell the difference. Many gluten-free cookies on the market compromise on texture due to swapping out flours, but Tate’s uses rice flour to keep that same consistency,” says Verywell Fit. “The company is committed to quality, and so its cookies taste as good as homemade. These cookies don’t contain any preservatives, and the gluten-free line is recognized by the Celiac Support Association.”
“Tate’s Bake Shop makes our editors’ favorite store-bought chocolate chip cookie—and they make a darn good gluten-free version, too. Snag these cookies for homemade flavor (and if you need to pawn off a store-bought dessert as your own),” suggests Taste of Home. “In addition to being gluten free, these cookies are also kosher. Given their crispy texture, these chocolate chip cookies also make great toppings when crushed up, and their resealable bags keep them fresh and tasty,” adds Active.
Kids and adults alike will fall in love with these adorable and delicious fruit snacks. Individually packaged and totally free of gluten, they are a great snack to grab on-the-go. “Annie’s has a great line of cute, bunny-shaped fruit snacks that are certified organic, made with real fruit juice, and are naturally gluten-free,” says Chomps. “With fun flavors like Berry Patch, Tropical Treat, and Sunny Citrus, it’s no wonder why these are a kid favorite.”
“It can be difficult to replace something as tasty as fruit snacks. But these organic bunny fruit snacks hold their own against the famous Welch’s and Mott’s – without all the gelatin,” notes Vegancuts.
“Don’t let the kids have all the yummy gluten-free fun! Annie’s Organic Berry Patch Bunny Fruit Snacks are a delicious snack for kids and adults alike, made with real fruit juice that provide a bold flavor explosion. They are packaged individually, which makes them as convenient as they are tasty,” adds Active.
You might also be interested in:
- The Everymom
- Tasting Table
- Taste of Home
- Verywell Fit
- People’s Choice Beef Jerky
- One Lovely Life
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links.