Have Questions or Comments?
Leave us some feedback and we'll reply back!

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)

    Phone Number)

    In Reference to

    Your Message


    We are all familiar with
    the customs of kitniyos
    on Pesach, but who
    does it apply to, what is
    included in the custom,
    and what about derivates
    or extracts from kitniyos?
    The Custom
    The custom among
    Ashkenazik circles is not
    to eat kitniyos which includes rice, buckwheat,
    millet, beans and lentils, peas, and mustard.
    An Ashkenazi Jew should not be lenient with
    regard to eating kitniyos. The custom among the
    Sefardim is that kitniyos may be eaten. Although,
    some poskim say that even Sefardim should not
    eat rice. However, the minhag of most Sefardim is
    to eat rice on Pesach.
    The custom to refrain from eating kitniyos
    emerged after the time of the Gemorah, about the
    time of the Maharil (approx 1427). It has become
    the accepted custom. It is a custom which is a
    chumra, not according to the letter of the law.
    Nonetheless, the Aruch Ha’shulchan says “one
    who is lenient in this it is testimonial that he has no
    fear of Hashem or fear of sin, and he is not a expert
    in the ways of Torah.” In addition he says “this
    custom is followed by all of Germany, France,
    Russia, and Poland, and all of their descendants,
    which has a good reason, and a snake should bite
    one who derives from it.”
    Some say the reason to refrain from eating kitniyos
    is because it grows in fields that are adjacent to the
    fields where chometz is grown, and some wheat
    (chometz) may be mixed into the kitniyos. Since
    it is impossible to sift the grains, it may become
    chometz when the grains ferment. In addition,
    many times one grinds the rice into a powder
    which resembles flour. An unlearned person may
    then think that this is wheat flour and use regular
    wheat flour as well. Furthermore, according to
    the stringent opinion it is not eaten because of a
    lo plug: just as wheat is forbidden so this is also
    not eaten. The opinion of the Rabbeinu M’noach
    is that because when one eats kitniyos, one does
    not have true simcha and one is supposed to have
    simcha on Yom Tov.
    From When?
    The custom is that those who refrain from eating
    kitniyos do so from Erev Pesach at the time when
    chometz is forbidden.
    Which Additional Items are Included
    Aside from items listed above, additional items
    are also included in the minhag to refrain from
    eating on Pesach. Beans, Bean sprouts, Black eye
    peas, Canola Oil (see below), Caraway, Chickpeas
    Corinader, Corn, Corn Syrup (see below), Cumin,
    Dextrose, Emulsifiers, Fennel, Fenugreek, Flax
    Seeds, Green beans, Kimmel, Lechitin, Lentils,
    Licorice, Lucerne, Lupine, Millet, Mustard,
    Popcorn, Poppy Seeds, Saffron, Sesame Seeds,
    Snow Peas, Soy Oil, Soy beans, Soy, Starch,
    Stabilizers, String beans, Sunflower Seeds, Tofu.
    However, coffee, tea, garlic, and radishes, are not
    included in the chumra of kitniyos.
    Spices are not included in the chumra of kitniyos.
    Nonetheless, one should check them and other
    kitniyos (when permitted) to make sure no
    chometz grains where mixed in.

    There are some poskim who include potatoes in the
    minhag to refrain from eating kitniyos on Pesach,
    since they too, are ground into flour which can be
    confused with grain flour. However, this opinion
    is not accepted today. Horav Moshe Feinstein zt”l
    says that we only define something as kitniyos if
    there is a custom to regard it as kitniyos. Since the
    custom of kitniyos dates back to the times of the
    Maharil and potatoes did not reach the shores of
    Europe until the 16th century, they were never
    included in the chumra. Also since there is a great
    need for potatoes on Pesach kept this kept hem
    away from being prohibited.
    Horav Moshe Feinstein zt”l says one who has
    the custom to refrain from eating peanuts should
    adhere to his custom. However, one who does
    not have such a custom does not have to refrain
    from eating peanuts. Peanuts and peanut oil are
    permitted on Pesach and not included in kitniyos
    because any food which was not around at the
    time of the chumra is not forbidden (see potatoes
    above). The custom of some is to be lenient
    regarding using peanut oil as well.
    Paper Towels
    One may place food directly on paper towels,
    and need not be concerned about starch. There
    is no chumra, issur, or minhag to prevent a drop
    of kitniyos from falling into food. Indeed, the
    Shulchan Aruch permits the use of a lamp filled
    with oil from kitniyos even though it is certain that
    some of the kitniyos will be sprayed onto food. In
    the case of the paper towels, there is no certainty
    at all of any leaching into the food. In the case of
    the paper towels, no one has ever confirmed the
    leaching of even a molecule of starch from the
    paper towel into the food. The kitniyos starch is so
    firmly bonded to the paper towel that an iodine test
    won’t’ reveal its presence.
    Derivatives from Kitniyos
    Although the Rama clearly says that oil made
    from kitniyos is not permitted on Pesach. Some
    say if it is made before Pesach it is permitted, the
    custom follows the Rama.
    Many times a company will make oil from a grain
    There is a discussion in the poskim if oil made
    from kitniyos has the same status as the grain itself
    and an Ashkenazi would not be able to use it on
    Pesach, or is it not considered from the grain and
    This is very common with soybean and corn oil.
    The opinion of Horav Kook zt”l was to be lenient.
    However, the accepted custom is to be stringent.
    Therefore, the custom is not to use soybean or
    vegetable oil. Some say that canola oil, which is
    actually “rapeseed oil,” belonging to the mustard
    and cabbage family, should not be used on Pesach
    as it was around at the time when the issue of
    kitniyos was accepted upon those who follow
    the custom to be stringent. Oil from olives, palm,
    coconut, and walnuts are not subject to the chumra
    of kitniyos.
    Cottonseed oil is made from extracted oil from
    the seeds of the cotton plant after the lint has been
    removed. The Minchas Yitzchok is unsure whether
    to permit its usage for Pesach. Horav Shlomo
    Zalman Aurbach zt”l says the custom is to refrain
    from using this oil on Pesach. The Tzelhmer Rav
    zt”l was lenient. The custom in Eretz Yisroel is to
    be stringent and avoid using cottonseed oil, but
    in America cottonseed oil is permitted, following

    the custom of Horav Moshe Feinstein zt”l, Horav
    Yaakov Kamenetsky zt”l, and all the Rabbonim
    who came from Europe.
    Kitniyos Derivatives
    An example of kintniyos derivatives is cornstarch
    and corn syrup (including high fructose corn
    syrup): corn starch comes from the starchy part of
    the corn. To make corn syrup, enzymes are added
    to the corn starch turning it into a syrupy mixture of
    glucose, dextrose, and maltose. Another example
    of a kitniyos derivative is lecithin which is made
    from soybeans. Most halachic authorities agree
    that corn syrup has the same status as corn and
    is subject to the halachos of kitniyos. Most major
    Kashrus organizations do not certify products for
    Pesach made from kitniyos derivatives.
    Kitniyos Sh’nishtana
    The Mishnah Berurah says regarding “musk”
    which is a byproduct of blood that is found in the
    stomach of a deer that we can consider it changed
    since the blood is turned into a new entity. This
    is how many poskim hold. He ends off that one
    can rely on this if there musk is butel in sixty in
    the food. Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita holds that
    although the Mishnah Berurah may be lenient we
    should not certify an issur d’rabbanan which is
    nishtana, although by Pesach it is allowed since
    kitniyos is only at best a minhag. The custom is to
    permit the use of kitniyos sh’nishtana and there is
    no reason to be stringent. Those who are stringent
    are doing so because they think it is a chumra to do
    so but that is not correct.
    Horav Elyashiv Shlita is reported as not allowing
    kitniyos sh’nishtana for Pesach..
    Corn syrup which is changed into sorbitol is not
    considered a change (nishtana) and therefore is
    subject to the halachos of kitniyos. This is also true
    for dextrose. However, if the corn syrup is turned
    into ascorbic acid, it is considered changed and
    is not subject to the halachos of kitniyos. Citric
    acid is produced from, kitniyos, but is certified for
    Pesach use (see below).
    In order for kitniyos to be qualified as nishtana,
    the kitniyos has to go through a significant change
    in taste.
    Kitniyos sh’nishtana plays an important role in
    certifying diet soda since it is made from aspartame
    which is a sweet enzyme that grows on derivative
    of kitniyos. The custom of OU and KOF-K is to
    be lenient and certify such products. Others are not
    convinced that this should be done. The custom of
    Rabbi Landau in Eretz Yisroel is not to certify diet
    soda for Pesach that uses aspartame.
    Sodium Erythorbate is kitniyos sh’nishtana which
    is used in Pesachdika frankfurters. A different
    kitniyos sh’nishtana goes into frozen gefilte fish.
    Other kitniyos sh’nishtana ingredients are malto
    dextrin, NutraSweet, polysorbates, sodium citrate
    and xanthan gum.
    Some examples of kitniyos sh’nishtana which
    are certified by the OU: citric acid, and erythoric
    acid. Enzymes fermented from kitniyos are also
    kitniyos sh’nishtana.
    Propylene Glycol
    Propylene glycol can be made in two ways. One
    is a petroleum based formula and the other is
    from glycerin which is processed from vegetable,
    rapeseed, and palm oil. The first is not a concern of
    kitniyos, but the second method would depend on
    whether we consider rapeseed, palm or sunflower
    oil a concern of kitniyos. The petroleum based

    method is much cheaper and most commonly used
    to make propylene glycol. About 5% of propylene
    glycol is produced from glycerin. The custom is to
    treat this product as kosher for Pesach.
    Quinoa (“keen-wa”)
    Quinoa is a sesame sized kernel, of the beet family
    and does not resemble any of the five grains which
    are chometz or kitniyos. Some say it may be used
    for Pesach. However,
    the custom is that Quinoa is not used for Pesach
    since it is used the same way as wheat.
    Even according to the stringent opinion, kitniyos
    is not chometz. One is allowed to have enjoyment
    from kitniyos, something which is not allowed by
    chometz. Based on this, one is permitted to feed
    his animal a product which is kitniyos. One is also
    allowed to keep kitniyos in one’s house during
    Pesach if it has a hechsher without selling it to
    a goy. One should write on the product that it is
    One is permitted to feed kitniyos to children,
    including baby formula that contains kitniyos.
    One may give kitniyos to his children as long as
    there is a need for it, and there is no maximum age.
    Some say it is proper to keep separate dishes for
    kitniyos food. Others hold there is no reason for
    this to be done and one may use the same utensils.
    The utensils may be washed in the same sink as
    non-kitniyos items.
    Sick r”l – Pressing Situation
    One who is sick r”l (even if he is not in danger)
    may eat kitniyos on Pesach. Based on this, one
    who is sick would be able to take a pill which has
    kitniyos. When one is in a pressing situation, one
    can eat kitniyos.
    Other Halachos Regarding Kitniyos
    Some say in Eretz Yisroel the custom was to
    permit the eating of kitniyos. This is not true
    today. A person who lives in Chutz L’aretz who
    finds himself in a place where the custom is to eat
    kitniyos must not eat there.
    One who depends on his father for support must
    follow his father’s custom in regard to kitniyos.
    A woman from a Sefardi background, who ate
    kitniyos all her life, may not do so if she marries
    an Ashkenazi. However, if the husband agrees,
    she may follow her old custom. If an Ashkenazi
    woman gets married to a Sefardi then she may eat
    kitniyos, but some say she should be matir neder
    If an Ashkenazi Jew finds himself in a Sefardi’s
    home on Pesach, he may eat the food that was
    cooked already in pots that cooked kitniyos.
    Kitniyos is butel in rov if it was mixed into a food
    on Pesach.
    Kitniyos is not muktzah for an Ashkenazi person,
    since one is able to give it to a Sefardi. In addition
    it can be given to a child who is need of it.
    The Bais Din said that in order for nishtana to be
    a heter the food may have to become nifsal from
    being eaten by a dog (nifsal m’achilas kelev),
    otherwise it does not work as a heter. However,
    this matter was left undecided since others say
    that nifsal… is not required. The Bais Din was not
    quick to permit the use of Quinoa for Pesach.