DietGluten-freeIs Barley Gluten-Free? Here's What You Need To Know

Is Barley Gluten-Free? Here’s What You Need To Know

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David Larsen
I’m a husband, dad, food blogger, photographer, writer, social media boss, entrepreneur.

Is barley gluten-free? This is a question that is becoming increasingly relevant as the public becomes aware of the dangers of gluten and other allergens. Barley, one of the most commonly used grains in many parts of the world, has a long history.

It’s been around for thousands of years and is considered to be one of the oldest cultivated grains. Despite its long history, many people are unsure if barley is gluten-free or not.

So, let’s look into this question and find out whether or not it’s a safe food for those with celiac disease and other forms of gluten intolerance.

is barley gluten free

What is Barley?

Barley is a cereal grain that has been used for centuries as a food, animal feed, and brewing ingredient. Barley is one of the most versatile grains on the planet, making it popular with brewers, distillers, and farmers alike.

It is a hardy annual grass grown in temperate climates around the world and is among the oldest cultivated grains.

It has unique characteristics that make it ideal for a variety of uses ranging from brewing beer to animal feed. Barley is a high-yielding grain with a diverse range of end-uses, making it an excellent crop choice for farmers and brewers alike.

Is Barley Gluten-Free?

No, barley is not gluten-free. Barley contains a type of protein called gluten. Gluten is a group of proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley which can cause an adverse reaction in people with Celiac Disease or other forms of gluten sensitivity. Therefore, people with these conditions should avoid eating barley products.

Barley does have several health benefits, however. It is a good source of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium. Barley can also help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

What does barley taste like?

Barley has a mild, nutty flavor that ranges from slightly sweet to earthy and is similar to the flavor of wheat berries. It can be enjoyed on its own as a side dish or used in recipes to add texture and depth of flavor.

Barley can be boiled, roasted, popped, ground into flour or meal, fermented into beer and whiskey, or used to make hearty soups and stews. It can also be sprouted and added to salads for a nutritious crunchy texture.

Can you eat barley raw?

No, you should not eat barley raw. Raw barley contains anti-nutrients, such as phytic acid and protease inhibitors, which can interfere with digestion and reduce the absorption of important minerals from your food. Eating large amounts of raw barley may also cause digestive issues like bloating and gas.

Can you eat barley if you are gluten-free?

No, barley is a type of grain that contains gluten and should be avoided if you are on a gluten-free diet. If you’re looking for an alternative to barley, you can try quinoa, millet, buckwheat, or amaranth which are all naturally gluten-free grains.

Can you eat barley with diverticulitis?

The short answer to this question is yes, you can eat barley with diverticulitis. Barley is a whole grain that contains insol fiber, which is beneficial for digestive health and helps prevent flare-ups in individuals with diverticulitis.

Eating soluble fiber may also be helpful in reducing symptoms such as abdominal pain or bloating. However, it is important to note that while barley can be consumed with diverticulitis, it should not be eaten in large amounts as this can cause further digestive distress.

Additionally, those with more severe cases of diverticulitis may want to avoid eating barley altogether.

Can you eat barley when pregnant?

Yes, barley can be a healthy and safe part of your diet during pregnancy. Barley is packed with essential vitamins and minerals like folate, iron, fiber, and calcium that are important for a developing baby.

It also contains antioxidants that can help protect against certain diseases and conditions.

Additionally, barley has a low glycemic index which helps prevent blood sugar spikes, important for both mom and baby.

To get the most nutritional benefit from barley during pregnancy, choose it in its whole-grain form and cook it with low-fat or vegetable-based liquids such as broth or water.

Types of Barley and Its Relationship to Gluten.

Barley is a cereal grain and one of the most popular grains worldwide. It is used in many foods, from breads and cereals to beer, soups, and stews. Barley has several types that vary in color, size, and flavor. In general, all barley varieties contain gluten proteins but not all are suitable for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Pearl Barley

Pearl barley is the most common type of barley and is made from whole-grain barley with its outer husk removed. It has a round shape that has been polished to remove the bran layer. Pearl barley contains gluten, making it unsuitable for people who must avoid it.

Hulled Barley

Hulled barley is very similar to pearl barley, but with the hull still intact. It takes longer to cook and has a chewy texture. Hulled barley also contains gluten proteins, so it’s not suitable for those on a gluten-free diet.

Pot Barley

Pot barley is made from whole grain barley, with the outer husk removed and the hull partially polished. It still has some of the bran layer intact, giving it a chewy texture. Pot barley contains gluten proteins, so it’s not suitable for those on a gluten-free diet.

Scotch Barley

Scotch barley is a type of pot barley that has been further processed to remove almost all the bran layer. It has a very creamy texture and is often used for soups and stews. Scotch barley still contains some gluten proteins, so it’s not suitable for those on a gluten-free diet.

Barley Flour

Barley flour is made from ground pearl barley and contains gluten proteins. Barley flour is not suitable for those on a gluten-free diet.

Barley grain, in all its forms, can be included in a healthy diet as it is full of essential nutrients such as dietary fiber, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.

However, due to the presence of gluten proteins, it is not suitable for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

If you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative to barley, there are several other grains that can be used in place of barley, such as quinoa and buckwheat.

Is barley lower in gluten than wheat?

Yes, barley is lower in gluten than wheat. Barley does contain gluten but it is a different type of gluten called hordein. This type of gluten has been found to be easier to digest and may cause fewer digestive symptoms for those with sensitivities to wheat gluten.

In addition, barley is also higher in fiber and other essential vitamins and minerals than wheat. It is an excellent source of B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.

Barley can be used in a variety of ways in cooking and baking, including as flour for bread or cakes. It also makes a great addition to soups, stews, and casseroles. For those with gluten sensitivities or intolerances, barley is an excellent substitution for wheat-based products.

How to remove gluten from barley.

Barley is one of the most common grains used in food production and can contain gluten. If you are looking to remove the gluten from barley, there are a few steps that you can take.

The first step is to purchase hulless or “naked” barley. Naked barley has been processed through machines that strip away the hulls and husks, leaving only the grain. Since the hulls contain most of the gluten, this is a good first step in removing it from your barley.

Another method is to soak and rinse your barley before using it. To do this, put the barley into a large bowl filled with cold water and let it soak for at least 8 hours. This process will draw out the gluten proteins and allow them to be discarded. After soaking, you should drain the water, rinse the barley several times in cold running water, and then repeat this step a few more times until no foam appears on the surface of the water when rinsing.

Finally, you can also cook your barley in a pressure cooker or slow cooker. This will not only remove the gluten, but it will also help to make the grain tender and easier to digest. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product packaging for best results.

Reasons Why Barley is Not Considered Gluten-free.

– Barley is a major source of gluten. It contains high amounts of proteins that cause an immune reaction in those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, called prolamins and glutelins.

– Despite being labeled as “gluten-free” on many products, barley is still not considered gluten-free. It has been found that barley-based ingredients, such as malt and malt flavoring, can be present in food even when it is labeled gluten-free.

– Many processes used to make “gluten-free” barley products actually involve the use of other grains that contain gluten, like wheat or rye. The cross-contamination that occurs during these processes means that the products are not actually gluten-free, even if they are labeled as such.

– Even when barley is processed to remove some of its gluten content, it still contains enough proteins to trigger an immune reaction in those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Therefore, while it may be labeled as “gluten-free”, it is not suitable for those with these conditions.

– Finally, the presence of barley in food products can pose potential health risks to those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Can gluten intolerant people eat barley?

While barley is not gluten-free, those with a mild form of gluten intolerance may be able to tolerate small amounts of barley in their diet. If you are unsure if your sensitivity allows for this, it is best to consult a physician before trying any new foods.

Additionally, there are several alternatives to barley which are naturally gluten-free and can provide similar nutrition benefits. Examples include quinoa, buckwheat, or millet.

Alternative Grains for Those with Sensitivity to Gluten.

For those looking for alternatives to wheat and other grains that contain gluten, there are a variety of options.

Amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, teff, and sorghum are all naturally gluten-free grains. Amaranth is high in calcium and has a nutty flavor when cooked.

Buckwheat is an excellent source of fiber and protein, with a mild flavor. Millet is rich in antioxidants and offers a sweet taste when cooked.

Quinoa is a complete protein and has many minerals like iron, magnesium, and zinc. Teff is also high in calcium as well as magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.

Finally, sorghum can be ground into flour and is used in many gluten-free products. All of these grains are excellent substitutes for those who have a sensitivity to gluten, providing the same nutritional benefits without the risk of digestive distress.

Additionally, they all offer unique flavor profiles and culinary uses that can add variety to any diet.


In conclusion, barley has a strong relationship to gluten and its presence or absence in food products can greatly affect someone’s ability to eat certain foods.

People with celiac disease and other forms of gluten intolerance must be aware of the potential effects that barley can have on them.

Eating a gluten-free diet may help reduce symptoms associated with gluten-intolerance, however, it is important to consult a doctor or nutritionist before making any drastic dietary changes.

There are numerous resources available for those looking for further information on the subject, including online articles and books from trusted healthcare professionals.

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