Gluten-Free Salsa Brands: 8 Top Options

Which brands of salsa are gluten-free?

gluten-free salsa with chip
Learn which salsas are gluten-free. Frances Sutherland/EyeEm/Getty Images

Salsa has surpassed ketchup as the number one condiment in the United States... and the good news is, there are plenty of salsa options that will suit your gluten-free diet, ranging from basic mild, medium, and hot to more exotic varieties.

Generally speaking, salsa is made from non-gluten ingredients (gluten, of course, is found in the grains wheat, barley, and rye, and grains usually are not used to make salsa). But salsa can be subject to gluten cross-contamination in processing, and some minor ingredients, such as spice blends or even a splash of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce, actually can include gluten. Therefore, you still need to be careful with salsa when you're eating gluten-free.

Gluten-free salsa choices include:

  • Amy's Kitchen
  • Chi Chi's (some varieties)
  • Desert Pepper Trading Co.
  • Frontera (some varieties)
  • Green Mountain Gringo
  • Newman's Own
  • On the Border
  • Organicville
  • Pace

Read on for the details and options for each brand. Unless I've noted otherwise, the gluten-free salsas listed below are considered gluten-free to less than 20 parts per million, the current accepted U.S. standard. Some salsas that are labeled "gluten-free" may be made in facilities or on equipment that's shared with products containing gluten grains (this is allowed as long as they contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten). Salsas that are certified gluten-free adhere to a stricter standard.

Gluten-Free Salsa List

Here's the list of gluten-free salsa brands and varieties in the U.S.:

  • Amy's Kitchen. Amy's, well-known for its gluten-free frozen pizza and other organic gluten-free products, makes three salsas: Mild, Medium, and Black Bean and Corn. All are considered gluten-free, according to the company, and are made with mainly organic ingredients. They're also dairy-free, soy-free, lactose-free, tree nut-free, and vegan. The Black Bean and Corn variety contains distilled vinegar, which may be derived from gluten grains.
  • Chi Chi's. Chi Chi's, the product of MegaMex Foods, L.L.C. (a joint venture between U.S. food giant Hormel Inc. and Mexican food company Herdez del Fuerte), makes a variety of different salsa products, including four it considers gluten-free: Fiesta, Garden, Natural, and Restaurante. According to a customer service representative, Hormel will call out any gluten grain-derived ingredients by their common names (wheat, barley, rye and oats) on its product labels. Therefore, if there's no gluten grain listed, the product includes no gluten ingredients (although it might still be at risk for gluten cross-contamination from other products made nearby or on the same equipment). The vinegar used is derived from grains, including gluten grains.
  • Desert Pepper Trading Co. Desert Pepper makes 10 different salsas, including: Salsa Divino (mild), Salsa Del Rio (medium green), Salsa Diablo (hot), Tequila Salsa (medium), XXX Habanero Salsa (extremely hot), Peach Mango Salsa (medium), Pineapple Salsa (medium), Roasted Tomato Chipotle Salsa (medium), Corn Black Bean Red Pepper Salsa (medium), and 2 Olive Roasted Garlic Salsa (medium). The company also makes four different bean dips. All are labeled "gluten-free," although you should note that they may be produced on shared equipment that does process gluten ingredients. Desert Pepper's vinegars can include gluten grain-based distilled vinegars.
  • Frontera. Frontera, a specialty food company that specializes in Mexican products, makes several different types of salsa in three different lines: Gourmet Mexican Salsa, Salsa Mexicana, and Limited Edition Seasonal Salsa. All Gourmet Mexican Salsas (Roasted Tomato, Jalapeño Cilantro, and Chipotle) and Salsa Mexicana (Mild and Medium) are marked gluten-free. The Salsa Mexicana products include distilled white vinegar. The seasonal salsas are manufactured in a shared facility and are not marked gluten-free, so steer clear of those.
  • Green Mountain Gringo. Certified gluten-free. All Green Mountain Gringo salsas, including Hot, Medium, Mild, Roasted Chile Pepper, and Roasted Garlic, are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification organization, which requires products to meet a stricter standard of less than 10 parts per million of gluten. The salsas are made from mainly fresh vegetables and spices. Green Mountain Gringo does not make any gluten-containing products. In addition, all the salsas use apple cider vinegar, not distilled white vinegar.
  • Newman's Own. Socially responsible Newman's Own (all profits go to charity) makes 11 different types of salsa, including Mango, Roasted Garlic and Tequila Lime. None contains gluten, according to the company's Frequently Asked Questions page. However, all contain distilled white vinegar. Note that many Newman's Own products do contain gluten, raising the potential for gluten cross-contamination in processing.
  • On the Border. This brand, a spinoff from the restaurant that bears the same name, makes several different types of salsa including mild, medium, hot, mild chunky, medium chunky, and Cantina-style. According to the company, all are gluten-free (as are all other On the Border products): "Our products must pass finished goods testing to meet FDA requirements for gluten-free labeling, and we prominently state “Gluten Free” on our packaging," the company says in a statement.
  • Organicville. Certified gluten-free. Organicville produces four organic salsas: mild, medium, hot, and pineapple. All are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification organization, which requires foods to contain less than 10 parts per million of gluten. They're also certified vegan, and are sweetened with agave nectar. According to company founder Rachel Kruse, Organicville uses organic vinegar sourced from corn and cane in its salsas and other products. 
  • Pace. Pace is owned by the Campbell Soup Co., which includes the following Pace products on its gluten-free product list: Chunky Salsa (mild, medium, hot), Bourbon & Apple Restaurant-Style Salsa, Citrus Pineapple Restaurant-Style Salsa, Fire Roasted Tomato and Corn Restaurant Style Salsa, Garden Pepper Restaurant Style Salsa, Garlic & Lime Verde Restaurant Style Salsa, Original Restaurant Style Salsa, Southwest Chipotle Restaurant Style Salsa, Three Pepper Restaurant Style Salsa, Mango & Habanero Fire Salsa, Peach Mango Salsa, and Organic Salsa. The products use distilled white vinegar that can be made from gluten grains.

Note that some of these salsas—while considered gluten-free—contain distilled white vinegar, which can be made from gluten grains... and some people react to this type of vinegar. If you're one of those people, I've noted above when a product uses distilled white vinegar so you can steer clear.

Non-Gluten-Free Salsa Brands

Although it's unusual for salsa to contain gluten ingredients, many companies decline to label their products "gluten-free." The following salsa brands and flavors are not considered to meet gluten-free standards:

  • Herdez. These salsas are produced by the same Hormel-Herdez del Fuerte MegaMex joint venture that makes Chi Chi's salsa products. Again, Hormel will call out any gluten-containing ingredients by name (wheat, barley, rye, and oats) on the label. If a Herdez product doesn't include any mention of those grains, then it's considered to have no gluten ingredients (although it still could be subject to gluten cross-contamination in manufacturing). The salsas do include distilled white vinegar that can be derived from gluten grains.
  • La Victoria. This is yet another MegaMex brand, and La Victoria salsa products will clearly label any gluten ingredients. The products include distilled white vinegar, potentially from gluten grains.
  • Old El Paso. This brand of salsa is produced by General Mills, which makes such gluten-free staples as Chex cereal and Betty Crocker gluten-free mixes. However, Old El Paso products are not considered gluten-free (despite safe-sounding ingredients lists), likely because of potential gluten cross-contamination at the factory.
  • Ortega. Ortega, made by parent company B&G Foods Inc., no longer has a gluten-free list. It makes a variety of different salsas but no longer calls any of them "gluten-free."
  • Taco Bell. Kraft Foods, which will call out any gluten-containing ingredients on its label, makes Taco Bell salsa products for grocery store sales under license from the Taco Bell fast food company. The products don't contain any gluten ingredients, but can be subject to gluten cross-contamination in processing.
  • Tostitos. Frito-Lay North American Inc. makes a variety of salsas under the Tostitos brand. These salsas do not include any ingredients from wheat, barley, rye or oats, according to Frito-Lay's gluten-free list. However, the company hasn't tested them for gluten, and they may be manufactured on the same lines as gluten-containing ingredients, so Frito-Lay does not consider them to be gluten-free.

Salsa Nutrition

Salsa adds a giant, flavorful, nutritious punch to your food without adding any fat or many calories. Most salsa is fat-free, and two tablespoons of salsa may contain just 10 or 20 calories, depending on the brand.

Tomato-based salsas contain plenty of vitamin C, and salsa usually contains a bit of fiber from the tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables it includes.

Note that many manufacturers sweeten their salsa, either with fruit (such as mango or pineapple) or with sugar. If you're trying to cut down on sugar, choose a brand that doesn't include an added sweetener.

A Word from Verywell

Most people think of salsa as something that pairs well with their gluten-free tortilla or multigrain chips. But salsa has myriad other uses. Try using it instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich (both to spice up the sandwich and cut out calories and fat), or dip your fries into it. Salsa can spice up a vegetable omelettes, and even adds a bit of a bite to tomato soup.

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Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Gluten and Food Labeling. Updated July 16, 2018.

  2. Amy's Kitchen. Our Foods: Gluten Free.

  3. Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG). GFCO Certification Scheme Manual Rev. 2020.1. Published 2020.

  4. OTB Acquisition LLC. Take a Dip in Our FAQs.