Known for their signature ridges and crunchy texture, Ruffles are among the most widely consumed chip brands in the United States. But are Ruffles gluten free? Or are they not compatible with a gluten-free diet?
When it comes to snack foods, Ruffles are one of my favorites. They’re a great option for game day, backyard barbecues, and just for everyday snacking. But if you have a gluten intolerance, can you still enjoy these iconic chips?
Original ruffles and some other flavors in the Ruffles chips line-up are gluten free. But a few Ruffles varieties of chips may cause concern for those with gluten sensitivities or allergies.
In this article, I’ll cover the specific flavors of Ruffles that contain gluten and which ones don’t.
What are Ruffles?
This popular brand of potato chip dates back roughly 8 decades, to the 1940s. That’s when inventor Bernhardt Stahmer first created his ridged chip. He believed the unique way he sliced the potatoes — which were thicker than other chips and gave them their distinctive corrugated pattern — made them taste better.
He called them Ruffles because he thought they resembled the folds or ruffles in clothing.
The owner of the company that eventually became Frito Lay bought the Ruffles trademark in 1958. A few years later, it merged with the Pepsi-Cola company which would give the chips worldwide exposure.
Since the advent of the original Ruffles, more than 50 flavors and styles have been created. Now along with Ruffles chips, consumers can buy Baked Ruffles, Ruffles Ridge Twists, and a reduced fat version called Simply Ruffles.
What ingredients are in Ruffles?
Original Ruffles potato chips contain just a handful of ingredients:
- Vegetable Oil (Canola oil, Corn, Soybean, and/or Sunflower Oil)
However, various Ruffles flavors contain different ingredients, mostly artificial flavors, colorings, and preservatives. And at least one of those added items can contain gluten. Below are lists of which Ruffles are — and aren’t — gluten free.
Which kinds of Ruffles are gluten free?
The following Ruffles varieties are all gluten free, according to the Frito-Lay website.
- Ruffles Original Potato Chips
- Ruffles Baked Original Potato Crisps
- Ruffles Baked Cheddar & Sour Cream Flavored Potato Crisps
- Ruffles Simply Sea Salted Potato Chips
Their main ingredients include a mix of potatoes (or dried potatoes in the case of the baked varieties), flavor enhancers, artificial color, emulsifiers, and preservatives. None of them are gluten ingredients, however, so these snacks are considered gluten-free options and ok for those with Celiac disease or other gluten-related disorders.
Which kinds of Ruffles aren’t gluten free?
Ruffles also makes a wide range of other flavors and styles which the company does not list as gluten free on its website. They include the following products:
- Flamin’ Hot Cheddar & Sour Cream Chips
- Flamin’ Hot BBQ Chips
- Jalapeño Ranch Flavored Potato Chips
- Lime & Jalapeño Flavored Potato Chips
- Flamin’ Hot Flavored Potato Chips
- Cheddar & Sour Cream Flavored Potato Chips
- Sour Cream & Onion Flavored Potato Chips
- Queso Cheese Flavored Potato Chips
Ruffles Baked Crisps
- Baked Flamin’ Hot Potato Crisps
Ruffles Ridge Twists
- Ridge Twists Smoky BBQ
- Ridge Twists Double Cheddar
These products contain many similar ingredients to those found in gluten-free Ruffles varieties. The one key difference is the presence of yeast extract on the ingredients label.
Yeast extract is a flavor enhancer that can give foods a deep savory and umami taste. It also may contain gluten. According to the National Celiac Association, yeast extract can be a by-product of spent brewer’s yeast. The beer brewing process may result in cross contamination with small amounts of barley malt, which contains gluten.
Food producers aren’t required to disclose on product labels the source of yeast extract they use, so it’s difficult for people to know if it contains gluten or not. That’s why it’s a good idea to only consume it if the product is labeled gluten-free or is certified gluten-free.
Other common ingredients in many flavored Ruffles varieties include monosodium glutamate (MSG), citric acid, lactic acid, skim milk, onion powder, and garlic powder.
Are Ruffles Cheddar and Sour Cream gluten free?
Frito-Lay does not list Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream potato chips as gluten free. And a look at the product label confirms the presence of yeast extract. So if you have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, you may want to reconsider consuming this variety of chips.
Are Ruffles Sour Cream and Onion gluten free?
Ruffles Sour Cream and Onion chips also contain yeast extract, which may include gluten. So, these are not considered compatible with a gluten-free diet.
Are baked Ruffles gluten free?
Baked ruffles come in a variety of flavors: Baked Original Potato Crisps, Baked Cheddar & Sour Cream Crisps, and Baked Flamin’ Hot Crisps. The only one that may not be gluten free is the Flamin’ Hot variety, as it has yeast extract on its ingredient list.
A single serving of Ruffles original potato chips contains 160 calories. A serving is about 12 chips or 28 grams. It also contains 10 grams of fat.
Keep chips in a dry place out of direct sunlight like a pantry. Once you open the package, tightly seal it with a chip clip or something similar to help extend the chips’ shelf life and help prevent them from going stale. Once opened, a bag of Ruffles will generally stay fresh for 1-2 weeks.
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