Do samosas contain wheat?

Samosas are a popular Indian snack that consist of a fried triangular pastry shell stuffed with a savory filling. The pastry shell is what gives samosas their distinctive shape. This outer covering is typically made from wheat flour. So the short answer is yes, traditional samosas do contain wheat as a main ingredient in the pastry shell.

What are samosas made of?

While the filling ingredients can vary, a traditional samosa shell consists of the following:

  • Refined wheat flour – The main ingredient used to make the pastry dough. This can be all-purpose flour or maida (very finely milled wheat flour).
  • Ghee or oil – Used to bind and knead the dough, and provide flakiness when fried.
  • Water – To help knead the flour and ghee/oil into a pliable dough.
  • Salt – For flavor.
  • Spices – Small amounts of spices like cumin, coriander or garam masala may be added to the dough for extra flavor.

So as you can see, wheat flour forms the base of a traditional samosa covering. The dough is kneaded together, rolled out thin, cut into triangles, stuffed with a savory filling, and then fried until golden brown and crisp.

Common samosa fillings

While the pastry shell is fairly consistent, samosas can have a variety of different fillings. Common options include:

  • Potatoes – Boiled and spiced potatoes are one of the most popular fillings.
  • Peas – Spiced peas, either on their own or mixed with the potatoes.
  • Minced meat – Lamb, beef or chicken mince flavored with spices.
  • Vegetables – Onions, carrots, cauliflower or other vegetables, spiced and sauteed.
  • Paneer – Fresh paneer cheese cubes cooked in a spicy sauce.
  • Lentils – Spiced lentils and chickpeas.

So in summary, the wheat flour pastry shell envelopes a wide variety of delicious vegetarian and non-vegetarian fillings.

Are there wheat-free samosa options?

For people who need to avoid wheat, traditional samosas made with wheat flour are not suitable. However, there are a few wheat-free options to still enjoy samosa flavors:

  • Rice flour: The pastry can be made using rice flour instead of wheat flour. Rice flour has different properties but can be worked into a dough and fried to achieve a similar result.
  • Chickpea flour: Gram flour or besan is another gluten-free option commonly used in Indian cooking. The flavor and texture will be a bit different than wheat-based samosa dough.
  • Almond flour: For a nuttier flavor profile, almond flour is an alternative for the outer shell.
  • Corn flour: Masa harina corn flour is used in tamales and empanadas, and could also work for samosas.
  • Lettuce cups: Rather than a fried shell, the filling can be spooned into lettuce cups or leaves for a lighter, wheat-free take.

The filling itself is usually wheat-free already, using ingredients like potatoes, peas, lentils, paneer etc. So by swapping out the pastry covering, people with gluten intolerance can still enjoy the delicious flavors of samosas.

Nutritional content of samosas

Here is the typical nutritional value in one samosa:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 262
Fat 16 g
Carbs 28 g
Protein 3 g
Fiber 2 g

As you can see, samosas are high in calories, fat, and refined carbs from the wheat-based outer shell. But they do provide a bit of protein and fiber. The nutritional profile can vary based on size, fillings, and cooking method.

Deep fried vs baked

Frying gives samosas their iconic crisp texture, but also packs in additional fat and calories. Baking instead of frying can reduce the fat and calorie content. However, baked samosas may have a softer texture.


The choice of filling also impacts the nutrition. Potato and pea fillings provide fiber, vitamins and minerals. However, fillings like minced meats, cheese or cream-based curries can increase the fat and calories. Vegetarian samosas are usually a bit lower in calories than meat-based fillings.

Serving size

Nutrition information is provided for one average-sized samosa. But portion sizes can range from bite-sized to very large samosas in some restaurants. So the calories and nutrients can vary greatly depending on the serving size.

Cultural significance of samosas

Samosas hold a lot of cultural significance and popularity in India and neighboring regions including Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Here are some reasons why they are so beloved:

  • History: Samosas trace their origins back to Central Asia, and were brought to India between the 13th-14th century CE. They have had a presence on the subcontinent for centuries.
  • Versatility: The pastry shell concept allows for endless filling variations, from meat to vegetables to cheese to lentils. There are many regional twists on the classic snack.
  • Portability: Their triangle shape and compact size makes samosas easy to eat on-the-go. They are a quintessential Indian street food.
  • Adaptability: Samosas have also been adapted around the world to suit local tastes. From fried to baked to taco-shaped, the basic concept remains the same.
  • Vegetarian option: The vegetarian fillings and pastry shell make samosas appropriate for India’s large Hindu and Jain populations that eat plant-based diets.

Given their versatility, portability, vegetarian options and deep historical roots, it’s clear why samosas continue to be so popular in Indian cuisine and culture.

Where to buy samosas

Here are some places where you can buy tasty samosas:

  • Indian restaurants: Most Indian restaurants will offer samosas as an appetizer, side dish or snack. They are often served with tamarind and mint chutneys for dipping.
  • Food trucks and street vendors: In cities with large South Asian populations like New York, Toronto and London, samosas are a staple street food.
  • Indian grocery stores: Many Indian markets sell freshly made samosas by the piece or in boxes in the freezer section. Choosing frozen allows you stock up on this tasty snack.
  • Online retailers: Websites like Amazon now sell frozen samosas that can be delivered to your door. This makes access easy even if you don’t live near an Indian market.
  • Make your own: If you want complete control over the ingredients, samosas are relatively straightforward to make at home. Recipes are widely available online.

So in summary, samosas are now readily accessible whether you want a hot batch made fresh or the convenience of keeping frozen samosas on hand.

Common FAQs about samosas

Are samosas gluten free?

Traditional samosas made with wheat flour dough are not gluten free due to containing gluten from wheat. However, gluten-free options can be made using rice flour, chickpea flour, almond flour or other alternatives instead.

Are samosas vegan?

Samosas can be made vegan by using vegetable oil instead of ghee, and choosing plant-based fillings like potatoes, peas, lentils or paneer. However, many restaurant or pre-made samosas may contain non-vegan ingredients like ghee.

Can you freeze samosas?

Yes, samosas freeze very well either baked or fried. Freeze them in a single layer on a sheet pan, then transfer to bags once frozen. Reheat directly from frozen in the oven. The texture remains fairly crisp and the flavor will be preserved.

How long do samosas last in the fridge?

Refrigerating prepared samosas can extend their shelf life for 3-4 days. Make sure to refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking. Store them in an airtight container to maintain quality. Reheat thoroughly when ready to eat.

How many calories are in a samosa?

Calories in a samosa can range widely based on size and fillings, but average around 262 calories per samosa. Mini samosas can be around 100 calories each, while some restaurant-style large samosas may contain over 500 calories.


Samosas are a beloved Indian snack with a crispy fried wheat-based shell encasing fillings like spiced potatoes, peas, lentils or minced meats. While traditional samosas are not gluten-free due to containing wheat flour, alternatives can be made using rice, chickpea or almond flours instead. Samosas provide energy, variety of fillings, and portability, making them a staple snack across India and much of Asia. They can be purchased pre-made from restaurants and grocers or made fresh at home. Overall samosas are a delicious and culturally significant fried food that can be enjoyed either in traditional wheat or gluten-free iterations.

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