Is Nacho Cheese Gluten Free?

Nachos, tacos, rice, and chicken fries all go well with Nacho cheese. But before you grab your next plate of chicken with Nacho cheese, you may want to check if the cheese is safe for you. So, is Nacho cheese gluten free?

Nacho cheese is naturally gluten-free because none of its ingredients contain Gluten. This means that it is safe for people with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. However, some brands add wheat to Nacho cheese as a thickener, so if you’re buying packaged Nacho cheese, you’d have to check the ingredients.

Except you grow your own food, it’s very important to check the labels before adding anything to your meals, especially if you’re Gluten intolerant. So let’s find out more about this popular cheese and if it’s healthy for you. 


Is Nacho Cheese Completely Free Of Gluten?

Not all Nacho Cheese is gluten-free. Some Nacho cheese sauces contain gluten ingredients, such as wheat flour or modified food starch. It’s important to check the label or contact the manufacturer for information on specific brands. To be sure, look for Nacho cheese sauces that are labeled gluten-free.

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. It causes digestive problems for people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or wheat allergies. Many foods contain Gluten, including bread, pasta, and baked goods. 

Nacho cheese is made with processed cheese, and in most cases, this cheese is not completely free of Gluten. The amounts of gluten present in processed cheese will vary depending on how processed it is. The safest way to know if your Nacho cheese is gluten-free is by checking its ingredients list before consumption or making your Nacho cheese yourself.

What Are The Ingredients In Nacho Cheese?

The ingredients in Nacho cheese vary depending on the brand and the recipe, but it is basically a blend of cheddar, Colby, or Monterey Jack cheese, milk, spices, and often jalapeño peppers. The exact ingredients in Nacho cheese can vary depending on the brand, the recipe, and the intended use.


Cheese is the most important ingredient in making Nacho cheese. Several types of cheese are used in making Nacho cheese, giving you the ability to choose different flavors. They include cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Mozzarella. 

Usually, these cheeses are all melted together to create a cheesy dip or topping. Many people prefer their cheese flavored with their unique spices. For most, chili powder does its best, giving the cheese a spicy feel.

Tomato Sauce

This is also another important ingredient in making Nacho cheese. The primary use of tomato sauce in cheese is to give it flavor and thickness. To get tomato sauce, all you have to do is get tomatoes and make the sauce from them.

Thankfully, tomatoes have high health benefits. They are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, making them good disease repellents. In addition, tomatoes are rich in potassium and dietary fiber with varied health benefits.


To make the cheese sauce smooth and creamy, milk is added to the melted cheese.

Stabilizers And Thickeners

To prevent the cheese sauce from separating, ingredients such as cornstarch, flour, or modified food starch are added.


To add flavor, spices such as chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika are commonly added to nacho cheese.

Nacho cheese without spice might taste a little boring to many people. Chili pepper is used as a spice to add flavor to Nacho cheese and make it worth the fun. Some say chili pepper brings the heat to the cheese, making it perfect for snacking. Aside from adding flavors, chili pepper is rich in a lot of vitamins and potassium, helping in preventing diseases and bringing stability respectively. 

Onions bring a savory flavor complimenting the cheese and other ingredients in the meal. Onions bring balance and homogeneity to all the ingredients in the dish.

How Do I Make Gluten-Free Nacho Cheese?

If you don’t trust the packaged Nacho cheese, you can make one for yourself at home using different ingredients. These ingredients include white rice flour, corn and rice. These are the perfect alternative to wheat for making Nacho cheese. It does not contain Gluten, so it safe for people with gluten intolerance.

To make Nacho cheese:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Spread a layer of cheddar cheese on an ungreased baking dish.
  • Spread a layer of sour cream on the top and sprinkle chopped green onions and diced jalapeno on it.
  • Repeat the layering until all ingredients are used up.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for a minimum of 20 minutes. You can also wait until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • You can serve it with lime wedges for extra spice.

Final Thoughts

Some Nacho cheese sold outside is gluten-free, and some are not. However, it is safe to check the ingredients list and confirm this yourself before opening the pack. I believe it is even safer if you make your Nacho cheese yourself using the simple guide in this article. 

About The Author

Hi There, I'm Lisa Anderson. I'm a 30-year-old with a passion for cooking, art, and dogs (not always in that order). With a background in both cooking and writing, ShiftyChevre is a collection of my experiences with food, recipes, lifestyle, and other kitchen-related topics.

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