Can you eat dumplings if your gluten-free?

For those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, following a gluten-free diet is essential. But ordering dumplings at a restaurant or buying them at the grocery store often means checking the ingredients list for wheat. Thankfully, there are gluten-free dumpling options out there. This article explores whether you can eat dumplings if you’re gluten-free.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. For most people, gluten does not cause any issues. But for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten triggers an immune response that damages the small intestine. This can lead to symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, and more. The only treatment for celiac disease is sticking to a strict lifelong gluten-free diet. Gluten intolerances like gluten sensitivity may allow small amounts of gluten, but limiting it can help manage symptoms.

Gluten in Dumplings

One of the main concerns around dumplings for the gluten-free diet is the wrapper or dough. Traditional dumpling wrappers are made from wheat flour, which contains gluten. Filling ingredients like meat and vegetables are naturally gluten-free, but can become contaminated during preparation. Store-bought frozen dumplings often contain wheat in the wrapper. So checking labels is important.

Gluten-Free Dumpling Options

Thankfully, there are more and more gluten-free dumplings options out there today, including:

  • Dumplings made with gluten-free flours like rice flour, tapioca flour, chickpea flour, etc. Brands like Trader Joe’s, Immaculate Baking Company and Asian markets carry gluten-free frozen dumplings.
  • Zucchini or carrot dumplings made by slicing vegetables into thin rounds.
  • Cabbage leaf dumplings where the cabbage acts as the wrapper.
  • Rice paper dumplings that use rice paper wrappers.
  • Lettuce leaf dumplings with fillings wrapped in lettuce leaves.

Some restaurants may also accommodate gluten-free dumpling requests by swapping out the wrapper. Checking the menu in advance helps identify options.

Making Gluten-Free Dumplings at Home

For the most control over ingredients, making gluten-free dumplings at home is the best option. Here are some tips for making your own gluten-free dumplings:

  • Choose a Gluten-Free Flour – Test out rice flour, tapioca flour, almond flour or coconut flour to get the texture you want.
  • Roll the Dough Thin – Gluten-free dough can be stickier, so dust with rice flour as needed when rolling.
  • Use Fillings Wisely – Stick to fresh and naturally gluten-free fillings like meat, veggies and rice.
  • Fry or Steam – Pan fry or steam dumplings to ensure they hold together.
  • Avoid Contamination – Be diligent about washing hands and surfaces after touching regular flour.

This gluten-free dumpling dough recipe is a great starter recipe to try:

Ingredients Amount
Gluten-free flour 1 cup
Xanthan gum 1 teaspoon
Salt 1/2 teaspoon
Boiling water 1/3 cup


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum and salt.
  2. Slowly stir in the boiling water until a dough forms.
  3. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic.
  4. Roll dough into small circles and add filling before sealing edges.
  5. Fry or steam dumplings until the wrapper is cooked through.

This dough can be used to make various gluten-free dumplings. Get creative with fillings like ground turkey and ginger, mashed sweet potato, shredded chicken or sauteed vegetables.

Purchasing Gluten-Free Dumplings

When purchasing pre-made gluten-free dumplings, be sure to check the label carefully. Look at the ingredient list for any wheat-based ingredients. Terms like wheat flour, wheat starch and wheat protein indicate the presence of gluten. Multi-grain and enriched flour can also contain gluten. The label should clearly state “gluten-free” somewhere – don’t just assume.

Some trusted gluten-free dumpling brands include:

  • Trader Joe’s Chicken Gyoza
  • Immaculate Baking Company Potstickers
  • Asian Gourmet Vegetarian Potstickers
  • Wei-Chuan Dumplings
  • Jade Dumplings Vegetable Dumplings

Call ahead to Asian supermarkets or restaurants specializing in dumplings to inquire about gluten-free options. Many are willing to accommodaterequests. You can also look for dumpling standalones at gluten-free expos and events.

Eating Out Gluten-Free

Dining out while gluten-free does restrict options somewhat when it comes to dumplings. But it’s still possible to enjoy them safely. Here are some tips:

  • Research the menu – Many restaurants post menus online or are willing to share ingredient info if you ask.
  • Clarify how dishes are prepared – Such as whether they cook dumplings in the same oil as wheat-based dishes.
  • Request a gluten-free soy sauce – Or bring your own to dip dumplings.
  • Opt for steamed – Steamed dumplings have lower risk of cross-contamination than fried.
  • Avoid oil and sauce drizzles – Sauces may contain soy sauce or be thickened with wheat flour.

Also consider the cuisine – Vietnamese and Thai restaurants often have rice paper and lettuce wrap options. And Indian dosa and samosas are often made rice- and lentil-based.

Cross-Contamination Risks

Even if dumpling wrappers are gluten-free, cross-contamination is still a concern when dining out. Chopped fillings, frying oil and steamer baskets may all come into contact with wheat-based dumplings.

At home, shared work spaces and utensils pose a cross-contamination risk too. Be very careful when rolling out dough and preparing fillings. Use your own work surface and thoroughly clean all materials after.

Gluten-Free Certification

One way to ensure dumplings are safely gluten-free is to look for trusted gluten-free certifications on the packaging. Here are some of the main organizations that certify gluten-free foods:

  • Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) – Issues licenses for use of gluten-free certification marks. Logos say “Certified Gluten-Free.”
  • Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) – Offers certification through its Gluten-Free Food Service (GFFS) program. Look for a “GFFS Certified Gluten-Free” stamp.
  • National Celiac Association – Provides green and white “Gluten-Free Certification Program” logo for certified products.
  • Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) – Issues certification for products meeting gluten-free standards. Logo says “CSA Gluten-Free Certified.”

While not mandatory, these certifications add assurance that dumpling ingredients and facilities have been vetted.

Gluten Thresholds

How sensitive an individual is to small amounts of gluten determines whether certified gluten-free products are needed, or if products with advisory labels can be tolerated. Here are the thresholds:

  • Certified Gluten-Free – Less than 20 parts per million (ppm) gluten.
  • Gluten-Free – Less than 20 ppm gluten but not certified.
  • Very Low Gluten – 20 to 100 ppm gluten.
  • Low Gluten – 100 to 200 ppm gluten.

Those with celiac disease need to stay under 20 ppm at all times. Mild gluten sensitivity may allow low gluten options. Discuss specific tolerance levels with a doctor.

Gluten Detection Tests

At-home gluten detection kits can be used for peace of mind about potential cross-contamination. Two options include:

  • Nima Sensor – Places small sample in capsule, then tests and provides results in a few minutes via connected mobile app.
  • GlutenTox Home Test Kit – Takes sample, mixes it with solution, then reads strip for detection down to 10 to 15 ppm.

These kits have limitations, so it’s smart to still factor in certified labels and thorough ingredient vetting too. But they offer an added layer of confirmation when needed.

Common Dumpling Allergens

In addition to gluten, other common dumpling allergens include:

  • Shellfish – Shrimp and crab dumplings.
  • Peanuts – Spices, sauces and peanut dumpling fillings.
  • Sesame – Seeds and sesame oil in dough or dipping sauces.
  • Soy – Soy sauce, bean filling and soybean oil.
  • Eggs – In dumpling dough and fried dumplings.

Check ingredient labels carefully and ask questions at restaurants. Opt for simpler fillings like chicken or vegetable based dumplings. And use separate, clean cookware to avoid cross-contact if you have multiple food allergies.

Gluten-Free Diets and Nutrition

Eliminating gluten from your diet can reduce intake of beneficial grains, fiber and nutrients. Here are some ways to maintain balanced nutrition while gluten-free:

  • Substitute with gluten-free whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth.
  • Load up on fruits, veggies, lean proteins, dairy and healthy fats.
  • Choose gluten-free products enriched with vitamins and minerals.
  • Consider a multivitamin to fill any nutritional gaps.
  • Incorporate chia, flax and hemp seeds for fiber.

Following a gluten-free diet to treat medical conditions like celiac disease greatly outweighs any nutrition concerns. But those avoiding gluten for reasons like weight loss should take care to still eat balanced.

Cost of Gluten-Free Diets

Gluten-free specialty products often come with a higher price tag. On average, gluten-free foods cost 242% more than regular counterparts. Here are some ways to save money when eating gluten-free:

  • Choose naturally gluten-free whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, dairy, etc.
  • Purchase gluten-free grains and flours in bulk bins.
  • Make snacks and baked goods from scratch rather than buying packaged.
  • Look for store brands of popular gluten-free products.
  • Shop sales and use coupons for pricier gluten-free breads, pasta, etc.
  • Buy gluten-free items in larger, more economical sizes when possible.

Joining rewards programs can also lead to discounts and free items for many gluten-free brands. And purchasing gluten-free groceries online is sometimes cheaper than in-store prices.

Traveling Gluten-Free

Vacations and dining out pose added challenges for gluten-free diets. Travel planning and accommodations can help reduce hassle and ensure you still eat safely. Useful tips include:

  • Research restaurant options in advance online and call ahead as needed.
  • Pack gluten-free snacks, meals and microwaveable dishes.
  • Choose accommodations with a kitchen to prepare your own food.
  • Print out gluten-free cards in different languages to show restaurants.
  • Learn to say important phrases like “gluten-free” in languages of places visited.
  • Use gluten detection kits to test doubtful ingredients.
  • Visit grocery stores for gluten-free local specialties.

Planning meals and snacks in detail avoids having to search for options last-minute while traveling. Apps like Find Me Gluten Free can also locate gluten-free eateries on-the-go.

Coping with a Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Following a strict gluten-free diet comes with challenges from always checking labels to feeling left out socially. These tips help make day-to-day gluten-free living easier:

  • Find support – Join gluten intolerance forums, follow social media groups, or talk to a counselor.
  • Educate yourself – Take classes, read blogs, learn where gluten hides, and how to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Host get-togethers – Offer gluten-free dishes at your home so you control the menu.
  • Bring your own food – To parties and events, so you have safe options to enjoy.
  • Speak up – Advocate for your needs at restaurants and family meals.
  • Find substitutes – Test out gluten-free versions of favorite comfort foods.

It takes time to adapt to dietary restrictions. But being proactive and planning ahead helps maintain traditions and social connections while gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Diet Precautions

Following a gluten-free diet requires diligence. Those with celiac disease must be very strict to avoid intestinal damage and symptoms. Here are some key precautions when going gluten-free:

  • Read every ingredients label – Wheat and rye are obvious, but barley can also contain gluten.
  • Watch for cross-contamination – Even gluten-free foods can get traces of gluten during processing and handling.
  • Know hidden sources – Soy sauce, beer, deli meats and marinades often contain gluten.
  • Consult a dietitian – To help plan a nutritionally balanced gluten-free diet if eliminating gluten long-term.

Being overly restrictive without medical necessity may lead to deficiencies. So those without celiac disease should take care when following gluten-free diets, especially children who need grains. Consulting a doctor helps ensure it is done safely.


In summary, those following gluten-free diets can still enjoy dumplings with the right precautions. Opt for brands that clearly state gluten-free on packaging, or try making dumplings from scratch with gluten-free flours. When dining out, do research beforehand and ask questions to ensure dumplings don’t contain allergens. With the growing awareness of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, gluten-free dumplings are more accessible than ever before.

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