Can You Get Gluten-Free Doritos?

Gluten is everywhere. Cookies, pizza dough, pasta, and a plethora of snack foods contain gluten, a special protein in wheat that gives many baked goods structure. In 2019, a study by the University of Nebraska found that nearly a fourth of Americans eat gluten-free. It may be due to a bonafide ailment, such as Celiac disease, a self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity, or just personal choice. No matter the reason, more people than ever are checking labels and saying no to gluten. Eliminating it from one's diet adds an extra layer of complication to grocery shopping, ordering meals in a restaurant, or navigating social situations where food is served.

But what about Doritos? Conjure up a mental picture of crunchy, delicious snack food and you'll probably come up with Doritos. These triangles of corn goodness regularly make appearances in lunchboxes and on party tables, and they're just as good to eat right out of the bag. Are they gluten-free?

So can you get gluten-free Doritos? The answer is ... complicated.

Whether you're team Nacho Cheese or team Cool Ranch, if you're eating gluten-free and craving a crunchy snack, the question "Can I get gluten-free Doritos" will probably come up. The answer is ... complicated. According to Frito-Lay, only one variety of Doritos is gluten-free, Simply Organic White Cheddar Flavored Tortilla Chips. also lists Doritos' Toasted Corn Chips as gluten-free although it's important to note that Frito-Lay does not. 

Interestingly, the classic Nacho Cheese Doritos don't include any wheat or gluten containing products in the ingredient list. also gives a long list of Doritos that, according to the label, don't include wheat, rye, oat, or barley, including our beloved Cool Ranch, Blaze, and Spicy Nacho flavors. However, only one variety of Doritos appears on Frito-Lay's list of products labeled as not containing gluten because there's a chance of cross-contamination during the production process. If you're avoiding gluten, you're going to have to decide if probably gluten-free is okay or safe. 

Cross-contamination: A (maybe) small but present risk

How serious is the risk of cross-contamination? Frito-Lay says that the production lines and equipment used to make Doritos may also be used to manufacture snack foods that do contain gluten. Even if the equipment is cleaned between batches, there remains a small risk that a trace amount of gluten will get into the Doritos.

The rather ambiguous answer to the question "Can you get gluten-free Doritos" is "Yes, probably." Frito-Lay will only declare its items as gluten-free if they meet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's guidelines for labeling products gluten-free, or if there's no possible chance of cross-contamination. These standards ensure safety for anyone who is ultra-sensitive to gluten. If you're less sensitive or avoiding gluten by choice, you may decide the risk of a little gluten is acceptable. If you've got Celiac disease or suffer from gluten intolerance, ask your doctor whether Doritos are a safe snack for you.

Luckily, Frito-Lay has a range of other snacks that are certified gluten-free. There might be only one true gluten-free Doritos flavor but there are many other snack options to satisfy your crunch cravings.