Do potato rolls contain gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, consuming gluten can cause serious health issues. This leads many to seek out gluten-free alternatives to common gluten-containing foods like bread.

Potato rolls have become a popular gluten-free bread option. But do potato rolls actually contain gluten? Let’s take a closer look.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. The two main proteins that make up gluten are:

– Gliadin
– Glutenin

When flour and water are mixed together and kneaded, these two proteins form elastic strands that give bread its chewy texture. This protein matrix is what allows dough to rise and keep its shape.

People with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity cannot tolerate these gluten proteins. When they eat gluten, it triggers an autoimmune reaction that damages the small intestine. This can lead to symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, headache, anxiety, depression and more.

The only treatment for celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is following a strict lifelong gluten-free diet. This means avoiding any foods that contain wheat, rye, barley or triticale.

What are potato rolls?

Potato rolls are a type of yeast bread made with potatoes. In addition to wheat flour, the main ingredients are mashed potatoes, potato starch, potato flour, or dehydrated potato flakes.

The potatoes give the rolls a soft, moist texture. They also contribute to the rolls’ light taste and golden color. The potato starches help retain moisture and prevent the rolls from getting stale as quickly as regular bread.

Potato rolls are a popular bread choice for hamburgers and sandwiches. Their small size and pillowy texture nicely complements the other ingredients. The rolls nicely soak up juices and sauces without falling apart.

Some common brands of potato rolls include Martin’s, Pepperidge Farm, King’s Hawaiian, Sister Schubert’s, and Holly Dough. They can be found in the bakery section of most grocery stores.

Do potato rolls contain gluten?

Yes, potato rolls do contain gluten. Despite having potato in the name, potato rolls are not gluten-free.

The main source of gluten comes from the wheat flour used to make the rolls. Wheat flour contains the gluten proteins gliadin and glutenin. All purpose flour and bread flour, two common types of wheat flour, both contain gluten.

In addition to wheat flour, potato rolls can contain other gluten sources:

  • Barley malt – a common bread ingredient made from barley
  • Rye flour – sometimes added for flavor
  • Wheat starch – added to improve texture
  • Malt vinegar – derived from barley malt

Unless the packaging specifies the potato rolls are gluten-free, one should assume they contain gluten. Trying potato rolls from different brands does not guarantee finding a gluten-free option. Always check the ingredient list for any sign of wheat, rye, barley or other gluten sources before consuming.

Why are they called potato rolls if they contain gluten?

Potato rolls get their name from the addition of potatoes. Although the potatoes lend unique properties to the rolls, wheat flour is still the main ingredient.

Potatoes lack the gluten-forming proteins present in wheat flour. But the potatoes themselves do not eliminate the gluten from wheat or other gluten-containing ingredients.

The name “potato rolls” refers to the rolls’ potato content, not the absence of gluten. The potato content distinguishes them from regular white rolls which lack potatoes. But without gluten from wheat, the rolls would not hold their shape and structure.

It’s the combination of wheat flour and potato that gives potato rolls their signature tender, moist texture. The potato cannot replace the gluten-forming abilities of the wheat flour. So despite the name, potato rolls require gluten to achieve their distinctive qualities.

Are there gluten-free potato rolls?

Yes, there are some gluten-free potato roll options on the market. These specialty products substitute wheat flour with gluten-free flours and starches.

Here are some examples of gluten-free potato roll brands:

  • Kinnikinnick Foods Gluten Free Potato Rolls
  • Udi’s Gluten Free Potato Hot Dog Rolls
  • Schar Gluten Free Classic Rolls
  • Against the Grain Gourmet Gluten Free Rolls
  • Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Mini Potato Rolls

These gluten-free potato rolls swap the wheat flour for alternate flours and starches like:

  • Rice flour
  • Tapioca starch
  • Potato starch
  • Sorghum flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Potato flour

Binding agents like xanthan gum or guar gum may also be used to improve the texture.

When shopping for gluten-free potato rolls, be sure to check the ingredient list and look for a certified gluten-free label. Gluten-free claims are not regulated, so the only way to verify the rolls are gluten-free is to check for gluten ingredients.

Can you make gluten-free potato rolls at home?

Yes, it is possible to make homemade gluten-free potato rolls. This requires using a blend of gluten-free flours, starches and binders to substitute for the wheat flour.

Here is an example recipe for gluten-free potato rolls:


  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1⁄2 cup potato starch
  • 1⁄2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • 1⁄4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 large baked potato, mashed
  • 1 egg


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, starches, xanthan gum, salt, and sugar. Create a well in the center.
  2. In another bowl, combine the warm milk, melted butter, mashed potato and egg. Pour into the well in the dry ingredients.
  3. Sprinkle the yeast over top and stir to combine. The dough will be sticky.
  4. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Add extra gluten-free flour as needed.
  5. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  6. Punch down dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape each into a ball.
  7. Place rolls in a greased baking dish. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
  8. Bake at 400°F for 18-20 minutes until lightly browned.

The keys are using the right blend of gluten-free flours and starches, and including binders like xanthan gum. This mimics the properties of gluten and yields potato rolls with an airy, moist texture.

With some trial and error, you can fine tune a gluten-free potato roll recipe that suits your taste and cooking style. Always check that all ingredients used are certified gluten-free.

Are potato roll ingredients acceptable on a gluten-free diet?

For true gluten-free diets, all ingredients in potato rolls would need to be gluten-free. Here’s an analysis of common potato roll ingredients:

Wheat Flour – Not Gluten-Free
Wheat flour contains gluten and must be avoided.

Enriched Wheat Flour – Not Gluten-Free
The addition of vitamins and minerals does not remove gluten.

All Purpose Flour – Not Gluten-Free
All purpose flour is made from wheat which contains gluten.

Bread Flour – Not Gluten-Free
Like all purpose flour, bread flour is wheat based and contains gluten.

Potato Flakes – Gluten-Free
Dehydrated potato flakes provide potato flavor without gluten.

Potato Starch – Gluten-Free
Potato starch adds moisture and texture without gluten.

Potato Flour – Gluten-Free
Potato flour is made from potatoes and does not contain gluten.

Yeast – Gluten-Free
Yeast is safe for gluten-free diets. Most yeast is not derived from grains.

Sugar – Gluten-Free
White and brown sugar do not naturally contain gluten.

Salt – Gluten-Free
Table salt is inherently gluten-free.

Malted Barley Flour – Not Gluten-Free
Barley contains gluten so malted barley flour is not gluten-free.

Malt Vinegar – Not Gluten-Free
Malt vinegar is made from barley malt which contains gluten.

When preparing gluten-free potato rolls, it’s important to thoroughly check all ingredients on the label. Unless the rolls are specifically labelled gluten-free, they likely contain glutenous ingredients. Sticking to certified gluten-free potato roll brands is the safest option.

Should potato rolls be avoided on a gluten-free diet?

Yes, unless they are specifically labelled gluten-free, potato rolls should be avoided on a gluten-free diet.

The default assumption when living gluten-free is that any food containing wheat, barley, rye or derivatives of those grains are off limits. Potato rolls typically contain wheat flour which has gluten.

Some people think that the potato content may neutralize the gluten in the rolls. But this is false. The potatoes themselves do not eliminate gluten or make it safer to consume. Gluten-free diets require total avoidance of gluten.

It’s also unsafe to assume picking off breading or toppings will make potato rolls gluten-free. Small crumbs or traces of gluten can still cause issues. For those with celiac disease, even tiny amounts can trigger intestinal damage.

The only exception would be if a trusted gluten-free label or thorough ingredient list inspection verifies the potato rolls are gluten-free. Otherwise, traditional potato rolls should not be eaten by those avoiding gluten.

Are potato rolls healthier than other bread options?

Compared to regular white rolls or buns, potato rolls can be a healthier bread choice due to a few key nutrients:

More Fiber

The potato content adds extra fiber. A 2-roll serving may contain 2-4 grams of fiber, while a white roll has only 1 gram. Fiber aids digestion and heart health.

More Potassium

Potatoes are a high potassium food. A serving of potato rolls can provide over 10% of the recommended daily potassium intake. Potassium benefits blood pressure and heart function.

Less Sodium

Many brands of potato rolls contain slightly less sodium per serving compared to other breads. Excess sodium can increase blood pressure.

Higher Moisture

The potato creates a moist texture that keeps potato rolls fresh longer. Dry breads can be harder to chew and digest.

However, there are some things to keep in mind:

  • Variety – Nutrition varies by brand. Check labels for specifics.
  • Portions – Benefits diminish if eating multiple rolls versus one.
  • Add-ons – Toppings like butter or oil increase calories.
  • Allergies – Potatoes and other ingredients may be allergens.
  • Freshness – Staling causes loss of vitamin C and resistant starch.

Within moderation, the extra nutrition from potatoes can make potato rolls a healthy sandwich option. But for optimal nutrition, variety and moderation are key.

Should you choose potato rolls or bread on a gluten-free diet?

On a gluten-free diet, it comes down to personal preference between potato rolls versus sandwich bread. Here’s a comparison:

Taste and Texture: Potato rolls tend to be lighter and smoother, while gluten-free bread can be more dense and crumbly. Potato rolls nicely complement sandwiches and burgers.

Ingredients: Bread often contains more whole grains like rice, quinoa, millet or sorghum. Potato rolls get unique moisture from potato starches. Different flours impact nutrition.

Shaping: Rolls hold their shape well. Gluten-free bread slices can be more fragile. Shaping bread into rolls adds effort.

Convenience: Rolls require shaping each piece. Bread comes pre-sliced into sandwich portions.

Price: Gluten-free rolls sometimes cost more per ounce than sliced bread. But rolls may last longer due to lower surface area.

Storage: Rolls and bread both store well frozen. Thawing frozen rolls overnight in the fridge yields fresh taste and texture.

Nutrition: With comparable ingredients, rolls and bread have similar nutrition. Potatoes provide extra potassium and fiber in rolls.

The optimal choice comes down to whether you prefer the taste and texture of potato rolls versus bread for sandwiches. Both can be nutrient-rich gluten-free options. Trying different brands lets you find your favorites.


Unless specifically formulated to be gluten-free, potato rolls made with wheat flour contain gluten. The potato content gives potato rolls their distinctive properties but does not remove gluten.

Gluten-free potato rolls substitute wheat flour with gluten-free grains and starches. When following a gluten-free diet, it’s important to verify the potato roll ingredients or look for trusted gluten-free labels.

With some beneficial nutrients from potatoes, potato rolls can be a healthier choice compared to white bread or buns. But for maximum nutrition, moderation and variety are still important.

Overall, both traditional and gluten-free potato rolls can be an enjoyable alternative to bread for sandwiches and burgers. Taking care in selecting truly gluten-free options ensures potato rolls are safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet.

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