Is there a gluten free fettuccine?

Gluten free diets have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities. For pasta lovers, going gluten free can seem challenging at first. One of the most frequently asked questions is: is there a gluten free option for classic fettuccine? The good news is that there are several gluten free fettuccine options available, making it possible to still enjoy this delicious pasta dish on a gluten free diet.

What is fettuccine?

Fettuccine is a type of pasta that originated in Italy. It’s made from durum wheat semolina and has a long, flat, thick noodle shape, typically about 1/4 inch wide. Fettuccine has a soft and chewy texture when cooked al dente. It’s often paired with rich, hearty sauces like alfredo, carbonara, or bolognese. The name “fettuccine” comes from the Italian word “fettuccia” meaning “small ribbon”. It’s considered one of the most classic Italian pasta shapes.

Challenges of gluten free fettuccine

Conventional durum wheat fettuccine contains gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten provides the structure and texture in traditional wheat-based pasta. When going gluten free, replicating the delicate ribbon shape and tender bite of fettuccine can be tricky. Most early gluten free pasta iterations were made from rice flour. However, rice flour doesn’t hold its shape well when boiled. Other gluten free flours like chickpea, lentil and quinoa provide more structure, but can also lead to a grittier texture. Getting the gluten free recipe just right requires careful balance of different gluten free flours and starches.

Gluten free fettuccine options

Despite the challenges, several brands have succeeded in creating high quality gluten free fettuccine that mimics the taste and texture of traditional wheat pasta. Here are some of the most popular store-bought options:

Barilla Gluten Free Fettuccine

Barilla is one of the most recognized pasta brands, and their gluten free line includes fettuccine. Barilla’s gluten free fettuccine is made from a blend of corn and rice flour. It has been described as having a pleasantly chewy texture and neutral flavor. The fettuccine cooks to an authentic al dente and holds up well in sauces. It’s a great option for those missing traditional wheat pasta.

Ronzoni Gluten Free Fettuccine

Ronzoni is another leading pasta brand now offering gluten free options. Their fettuccine contains a mix of rice flours and potato starch. It has been praised for having just the right amount of firmness while still being pliable. Ronzoni gluten free fettuccine has a smooth texture and tastes very close to wheat pasta. It’s excellent prepared with an Italian-style sauce.

DeLallo Gluten Free Fettuccine

DeLallo is a specialty food importer focused on authentic Italian ingredients. Their gluten free fettuccine is made using corn and rice flours. It has a springy al dente texture and yellow corn color. DeLallo’s fettuccine is wider and thicker than many other brands, mimicking traditional handmade styles. The hearty cut stands up well to heavy sauces.

Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Fettuccine

The Trader Joe’s store brand gluten free fettuccine is made from corn, rice and potato flours. It has a dense and firm texture praised for not falling apart during cooking. Their fettuccine noodles have visible flecks of black rice that add visual interest as well as nutty, toasted flavor notes. It’s an affordable option at just $2.29 per 12 ounce bag.

Jovial Gluten Free Fettuccine

Jovial offers an organic brown rice fettuccine noodle. The fettuccine is made using a traditional artisanal extrusion process to shape the noodles. Their fettuccine has a smooth, springy texture and rich brown rice taste. It’s praised for having just the right amount of bite. Jovial gluten free pasta cooks consistently and holds sauce nicely.

Tips for cooking gluten free fettuccine

Gluten free fettuccine will generally cook faster than traditional wheat pasta, so keep a close eye on it. Most brands recommend cooking for 1-2 minutes less time than the package states for al dente texture. Here are some other tips for working with gluten free fettuccine:

– Use plenty of water and stir occasionally to prevent sticking
– Oil the cooking water very lightly to help prevent noodles from clumping
– Drain fettuccine promptly when done to avoid overcooking
– Rinse cooked fettuccine with cool water to stop cooking and remove excess starch
– Add sauce immediately after draining to the hot noodles to allow it to cling and absorb evenly
– When reheating leftovers, add a splash of water to restore moisture

Making your own gluten free fettuccine

In addition to store-bought options, many gluten free cooks enjoy making fettuccine noodles from scratch at home. This allows customization with different flour blends to achieve your ideal taste and texture. It does require some specialty equipment like a pasta roller machine. Here is an overview of the basic process:


Homemade gluten free fettuccine starts with choosing a blend of gluten free flours. Common choices include:

– Brown rice flour – Chewy texture, nutty flavor
– White rice flour – Neutral tasting, soft
– Tapioca flour – Light texture, helps binding
– Potato starch – Adds structure
– Xanthan gum – Helps mimic gluten, binds ingredients
– Eggs and/or water – Hydrates the dough

The possibilities are endless for experimenting with unique flour combinations, flavors and colors!

Mixing and kneading

Whisk together the dry ingredients first. Then add in wet ingredients like eggs and water to form a shaggy dough. Knead the dough for several minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. It should feel soft and pliable, similar to play dough. If needed, wrap in plastic and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes which allows the flours to fully hydrate.


Cut the dough into manageable portions. Working with one piece at a time, pass the dough through a pasta roller machine on the widest setting several times to flatten it into a rectangle. Fold into thirds and pass through again to knead. Gradually decrease the roller settings to stretch the dough thinner and thinner, folding periodically, until reaching desired fettuccine thickness.


Switch the roller machine attachment to the fettuccine cutter setting. Feed the thinned dough sheet through to slice it into long noodles. Spread the strands out flat to dry for 30 minutes before cooking. They can also be frozen for longer storage.


Boil per package directions in liberally salted water. Gluten free pasta can overcook quickly so watch it carefully. Drain promptly when done and add to sauce. Enjoy your homemade gluten free pasta!

Gluten free fettuccine recipes

Here are some delicious recipe ideas for putting your gluten free fettuccine to use:

1. Fettuccine Alfredo

This rich, creamy cheese sauce pairs perfectly with fettuccine’s flat wide noodles. To make gluten free:

– Use your favorite gluten free fettuccine
– Select a Parmesan cheese aged over 10 months to be gluten free
– Use gluten free all-purpose flour if needed to thicken sauce
– Finish with fresh cracked black pepper

2. Pesto Shrimp Fettuccine

Bursting with fresh herb flavor, this light yet satisfying dish comes together quickly. To make it gluten free:

– Swap in gluten free fettuccine
– Use gluten free breadcrumbs for the shrimp coating
– Garnish with pine nuts instead of traditional croutons

3. Chicken Mushroom Fettuccine

Savory sautéed mushrooms and chicken pair nicely with fettuccine’s texture. To adapt for gluten free diets:

– Use gluten free fettuccine noodles
– Substitute gluten free soy sauce or tamari
– Thicken sauce with cornstarch instead of wheat flour
– Choose gluten free broth or stock

4. Seafood Fettuccine

A medley of shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams turns this dish into a gluten free seafood feast.

– Start with gluten free fettuccine
– Use gluten free breadcrumbs or cornmeal for dredging seafood
– Skip croutons as garnish
– Be sure any seafood stock is gluten free

5. Vegetarian Fettuccine

Zucchini ribbons add color and nutrition to this animal-free pasta dish. Adjustments for gluten free:

– Use gluten free egg fettuccine variety
– Omit wheat-based ingredients like couscous
– Check vegetable broths for gluten
– Garnish with nuts or seeds instead of croutons

The possibilities are endless for delicious gluten free fettuccine recipes!

Should you avoid cornstarch in gluten free cooking?

Cornstarch is a popular thickener used in many gluten free recipes. However, there are conflicting opinions on whether cornstarch is truly safe for the gluten intolerant. Here’s what you need to know:

The primary concern with cornstarch is cross-contamination with wheat flour during manufacturing and processing. Traces of gluten could be introduced if the same equipment is used to mill both wheat flour and cornstarch.

Some individuals who are highly sensitive report reacting to cornstarch. This could suggest trace amounts of gluten. However, it’s also possible to have an independent corn allergy or sensitivity.

To play it safe, look for brands that specify “gluten free” on the label and process cornstarch in a dedicated gluten free facility. Manufacturers like Hodgson Mill, Bob’s Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills explicitly state their cornstarches are gluten free.

Testing has found that mainstream brands like Argo had gluten levels below 20 parts per million, the FDA threshold for labeling items gluten free. However very sensitive individuals may wish to avoid cornstarch from shared facilities.

In general, cornstarch that is specifically produced and packaged to be gluten free is considered safe for gluten free diets. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about trace amounts of cross-contamination. They may recommend avoiding it or trying a trial reintroduction to watch for symptoms.

Gluten free fettuccine during pregnancy

Many women consider avoiding gluten while pregnant due to concerns about potential risks to the developing baby. Using gluten free options like fettuccine allows pregnant women with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to still enjoy pasta safely. Here are some key considerations about eating gluten free fettuccine during pregnancy:

– Consult your obstetrician before making major diet changes like going gluten free
– Be diligent about label reading to ensure products are strictly gluten free, especially when dining out
– Look for gluten free grains like brown rice that offer extra protein, fiber and nutrients
– Take a prenatal vitamin to compensate for any nutrients lost from eliminating gluten
– Drink plenty of water and add constipation-fighting foods to counter the binding effect of gluten free pasta
– Be choosy about high-fat sauces for fettuccine to prevent excessive weight gain
– Include alternative whole grains like quinoa in your diet beyond just gluten free refined carbs
– See a dietitian specialized in pregnancy for help balancing nutrition if excluding gluten

Overall, gluten free fettuccine can be part of healthy pregnancy diet. But consult with your healthcare providers about whether going completely gluten free is medically warranted for you and your baby.

Is gluten free pasta healthy?

Gluten free pasta often gets criticized as being less nutritious than whole wheat varieties. But there are both pros and cons to the nutritional profile of gluten free fettuccine and pasta:

Potential benefits

– Often uses whole grains like brown rice instead of refined flours
– Can provide fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals
– No antibiotics or chemicals from gluten containing wheat
– Eliminates inflammation and damage of gluten for sensitive individuals

Potential disadvantages

– May lack nutrients added back to enriched wheat flours
– Frequently higher glycemic index than wheat pasta
– Can be made with refined starches like tapioca
– Higher fat sauces often needed to add moisture and flavor

Ultimately it comes down to choosing high quality brands made from whole ingredients like lentils, quinoa or brown rice. Look for gluten free pasta with at least 5g protein and 3g fiber per serving. Pair with nutritious vegetable-based sauces instead of heavy cream-based ones. Those following a gluten free diet for medical reasons should not hesitate to enjoy pasta in moderation as part of healthy eating.

Gluten free fettuccine costs

One downside to gluten free pasta is the higher price tag. On average, gluten free fettuccine costs about 2 to 3 times more than traditional wheat pasta. Here are some of the factors contributing to higher costs:

– Specialty ingredients – Gluten free flours, starches and gums cost more than bulk commodity wheat.
– Facilities – Dedicated gluten free equipment and manufacturing facilities are expensive.
– Smaller scale – Gluten free is still a niche product relative to the mass wheat market.
– Manual production – Handcrafting often required for quality gluten free pasta.
– Shorter shelf life – Gluten free pasta tends to expire faster than conventional.
– Rising demand – As gluten free eating gains popularity, prices have also climbed.

While gluten free fettuccine is more expensive than wheat-based, keep in mind that specialty diets warrant spending a bit more. The health benefits of safely avoiding gluten for those with celiac disease can be invaluable. Fortunately there are more brands joining the market which should help lower costs over time through competition. Consider gluten free pasta a worthwhile investment in your wellbeing.


In summary, fettuccine lovers on a gluten free diet have several tasty options for enjoying this classic pasta shape. While wheat-free fettuccine was once difficult to find and problematic to prepare, several brands have now perfected recipes that mimic the delicate ribbon noodles and tender bite of traditional fettuccine. With the right techniques and a discerning eye when label reading, those avoiding gluten can cook delicious fettuccine dishes at home. Just remember to boil gluten free pasta gently and briefly, sauce the noodles generously, and embrace interesting alternatives like zucchini noodles too. Though gluten free fettuccine costs a bit more, it’s an affordable way to indulge safely in pasta night when you have celiac disease or a food sensitivity.

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