Guess Where the Wheat is Hiding

22 Foods that Contain Wheat

Wheat is found by many names and in many foods. Elias Gayles/Flickr

Wheat is a hot topic and typically divides people into two camps: the whole grain, high fiber wheat eaters, and the steer-clear wheat allergic folk or gluten-free kind.

Many of today’s trendy grain items have their roots in wheat, and if you are allergic to wheat, it will keep you out of trouble to know how to read an ingredients label, recognize the code words for wheat, and understand where it’s located in food.  

Bread, bread crumbs, or bread flour: All made from wheat, yes, even if it’s white bread.

Cereal extract: A natural food ingredient used to color or flavor food products, some of which are made from wheat.

Fu: This Asian food is made from the gluten of wheat flour. 

Matzo or matzah: Unleavened bread made from one of five species of grain, including wheat, barley, spelt, rye, and oats. 

Noodles: Noodles are made from foods such as rice, wheat, potato, buckwheat, maize, legume, and nuts. The most common sources of pasta are made with durum wheat flour. More on alternative pastas without wheat can be found here.

Farina: For North Easterners, farina is a common word, but if you hail from anywhere else, you may be used to the terms Cream of Wheat or porridge. Farina is made of wheat, specifically from the endosperm of the grain, which is milled to a fine granular consistency and then sifted. The bran and most of the germ are removed in the process, but is sometimes enriched with B vitamins and iron. Farina is most often served as a breakfast cereal, but can also be cooked like polenta.

Bran: Bran is the hard outer layer of cereal grains such as wheat, oat or rice. Bran is loaded with nutrients and fiber. During the wheat milling process, bran is often removed from the grain. 

Bulgur:  A type of wheat, whereby the wheat kernels are boiled, dried, cracked, then sorted by size. Referred to as “Middle Eastern pasta,” you can find it in the popular dish tabbouleh.

Couscous: A type of North African semolina granule made from crushed durum wheat.

Graham Crackers: A form of whole wheat flour. 

Kamut: This wheat variety was known as “King Tut’s Wheat.” Kamut is an ancient Egyptian word for wheat, and its use in modern-day cooking and recipes is growing in popularity.

Emmer: Another ancient strain of wheat which has lost its popularity due to the rise of durum wheat which is easier to hull. Emmer is also known as farro.

Semolina:  A coarse, purified wheat used in pasta, cereal, and couscous. The term semolina is also used to designate other varieties of wheat, and other grains such as rice and maize.

Spelt: A high protein variety of wheat, spelt is gaining popularity as a substitute for wheat in several baked items.

Triticale: A relatively new to the market hybrid of durum wheat and rye. Approximately 80% of the world’s triticale is grown in Europe.

Tabbouleh: also known as bulgur; read above paragraph on bulgur.

Vital wheat gluten: A natural protein found in wheat, containing about 75% protein. Bakers add a small amount to yeast bread recipes as it improves the texture and elasticity of the dough.

Oatmeal: An inherently wheat-free food, some varieties may be cross-contaminated with wheat in the production process, particularly in facilities that process wheat-based cereals and breads.

Oriental Sauces:  Soy, tamari, shoyu and teriyaki are may be made from fermented wheat. Look for wheat or gluten-free varieties if you are allergic.

Beer: Usually brewed with barley, beer may contain wheat, rye or other grain ingredients.

Chili: May contain beer as an ingredient (mine does!) or added flour as a thickening agent.

Sauces and soups: Check for flour ingredients as they may be added to thicken the end-product.

Did you know all these words for wheat?


The Whole Grains Council

Bob’s Red Mill website

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