Which Bisto is best for coeliacs? (and other gravies)

I spent months dithering over how to make a good gluten free gravy. To thicken I tend to use cornflour, but I’ve also heard that you can use arrowroot (something I’m yet to try).

And stock cubes… some are good, some are bad… most I’ve tried tend to result in slightly flavoured water, but this could be more my cooking skills than the quality of the product!

Personally I’m not a fan of Antony Worrall Thompson’s gluten free instant gravy granules, neither the beef or chicken variety.  I always find I have to add something extra to compensate for the lack of flavour and thickness it produces.  I can’t comment much on his range of stock cubes as I’ve only used them a couple of times.

Kallo offer a great variety of stock cubes which are gluten and lactose free, but I’m yet to really experiment much with these.

Knorr offers an extensive gluten free range, simply stock, stock cubes, stock pots and touch of taste.

Oxo = no no.

Bovril Beef  125g, 250g, 500g, Bovril Chicken 125g and Bovril Stock Cubes 12′s were gluten free, the cubes currently carry the warning ‘may contain gluten’, awaiting clarification on the other products.

And then there’s Bisto.

Where to begin.

Firstly, don’t bother yourself with the regular granules, these contain gluten, but the Bisto Best, this one always seems to come across fairly ambiguous.

Although they don’t contain gluten, the glass jars DO carry the warning ‘produced on a line that also handles wheat flour’.

This warning put me off for months.  Personally I had been avoiding anything which carried a warning like this so I emailed Bisto, spoke to Coeliac UK and fellow coeliacs on Twitter, and the result (minus a couple of personal opinions) seems pretty positive. Coeliacs CAN use Bisto Best and not worry about being glutened.

From Bisto I got the following list of products suitable for people with coeliac disease, which are also featured in the Coeliac UK food directory on page 178:

Bisto Best – Glass Jars Only
Caramelised Onion 200g
Rich & Roasted Beef 200g & 350g
Rich & Roasted Chicken 200g &250g
Rich & Roasted Pork 200g
Roasted Winter Vegetable 200g
Roast Lamb 200g

In the last couple of weeks I have used Bisto Best a couple of times and not had any bad reactions, so I’m going to keep using it.  I feel confident with the product because Coeliac UK list it in their directory and other coeliacs have used it and been fine, but I’m aware it’s very much down to the personal opinion/experience of the individual.

I guess, as with a lot of products, they have to carry certain warnings but on occasion I find this does confuse the matter and overall prevent us from eating/drinking something that is perfectly safe, because these warnings, no matter how innocent the motivation is to include them on packaging, still instils a level of fear amongst people who have to follow a strict diet due to an autoimmune disease,  food intolerance or allergy.

The choice, as they say, is yours.

NOTE: I haven’t checked the labels on every product in the brands listed above so PLEASE make sure you check the label (or your food directory) before purchasing

10 thoughts on “Which Bisto is best for coeliacs? (and other gravies)

  1. A really useful post, Laura. I have AWT’s instant gravies but I always add flavour to them, either with Knorr stockpots or the meat juices. On their own, they’re really insipid and don’t taste like the meat they’re supposed to.
    Claire x

  2. Thank you for your clear post and info. My son is newly diagnosed Coeliac and I’m making a beef casserole today,…opened the cupboard to find I have to bin most of the stocks I usually use. Goodness knows how todays dinner will turn out…I’ve thrown a whole load of things in there. I’ll shop or the GF options you’ve noted. Many thanks, Myra x

    • Hi Myra,
      You’re so welcome and I’m really glad I could help. Gravy/stock was one thing I really struggled with when I was diagnosed so I know how frustrating it can be! I hope your casserole turns out okay! x

  3. Thankyou! Brilliant post, I have just started to use Bisto Best too & you have answered every question I was looking for in one blog 😃

  4. Pingback: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… | Little Missed Gluten

  5. Hia. I love the Kallo instant gravy granules – best tasting gravy ever (gluten free or not). Bisto Best is the next favourite as Kallo is hard to get hold of. I haven’t tried the Anthony Worrall Thompson one but I don’t think I will bother after the reviews. If you loved a gravy made with Oxo then you will love the Kallo gravy granules.

  6. I’m finding beef bovril cubes hard to find now, but got some the other day, but they’re flat like knorr and really hard to break, also warns on pack they may contain gluten! So avoid the flat ones!

  7. I need wheat free gravy and find I have a reaction from Bisto best and Kallo as they are gluten free but not wheat free. I am disappointed I cannot find a wheat free gravy . Has anybody found one for me to try.

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