What can I eat for Thanksgiving that is gluten free?

Gluten free Thanksgiving options have become increasingly popular as more people adopt gluten free diets. With some thoughtful planning and recipe substitutions, you can still enjoy all your favorite Thanksgiving classics gluten free.

Can I eat turkey and gravy gluten free?

Yes, turkey is naturally gluten free! Be sure to check the ingredients on any rubs, brines or marinades to ensure they are gluten free. Opt for a simple salt, pepper and herb rub for the safest option. Make your gravy using a gluten free flour like brown rice flour or cornstarch as a thickener instead of regular flour. You can also use arrowroot starch or tapioca starch. Simmer and strain the gravy to remove any lumps if needed. Use chicken or vegetable broth as the base instead of wheat-based broths.

What are some gluten free stuffing and dressing options?

Stuffing and dressing are holiday staples, but the traditional bread-based versions are not gluten free. Some good gluten free substitutes include:

  • Rice bread or gluten free bread cubes
  • Cornbread
  • Gluten free oats
  • Quinoa
  • Wild rice

Saute your gluten free base of choice with celery, onions, herbs and broth just like traditional stuffing! Add sausage or other cooked vegetables if desired. Cook your gluten free stuffing separately to prevent cross-contamination.

What are some good gluten free vegetable side dish options?

Take advantage of fresh fall vegetables to make delicious gluten free sides. Here are some ideas:

  • Roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic and bacon
  • Honey glazed carrots
  • Sauteed green beans with almonds
  • Maple roasted sweet potatoes
  • Butternut squash purée
  • Roasted root vegetables like potatoes, parsnips and beets

All fresh vegetables are naturally gluten free! Avoid adding wheat-based ingredients like breadcrumbs or flour. Use corn starch, arrowroot or tapioca starch for thickening sauces if needed. Add gluten free crunchy toppings like toasted nuts, pepitas or fried shallots for extra flavor and texture.

What are gluten free options for mashed potatoes?

Mashed potatoes are already gluten free! To keep them that way:

  • Use chicken or vegetable broth instead of cream if desired
  • Flavor with garlic, herbs, bacon, cheese, caramelized onions, etc.
  • Thicken with lactose free milk, olive oil or butter instead of flour
  • Top with chopped chives, fried shallots, cheese, crumbled bacon, etc.

Avoid adding regular flour or wheat-based gravy to keep your mashed potatoes gluten free. Serve them on their own or with your favorite gluten free turkey gravy.

What are some gluten free salad options?

Salads are naturally gluten free, but be mindful of dressing and mix-in ingredients. Make sure to check labels for croutons, fried wontons and other salad toppers that may contain gluten. Here are some gluten free salad ideas:

  • Kale salad with roasted chickpeas and tahini dressing
  • Wedge salad with blue cheese dressing and bacon
  • Greek salad with feta, olives, tomatoes and red wine vinaigrette
  • Spinach salad with cranberries, pecans and balsamic dressing
  • Roasted beet and goat cheese salad

Make your own oil and vinegar-based dressings to keep salads gluten free. Good add-ins include chickpeas, nuts, seeds, cheese, roasted veggies and naturally gluten free proteins like chicken, salmon or steak.

What are some gluten free dessert options?

You don’t have to miss out on dessert! Pumpkin pie, cheesecake, ice cream and fruit crisps can all be made gluten free. Here are some specific ideas:

  • Pumpkin pie made with gingersnap cookie crust
  • Coconut cream pie
  • Cheesecake with an almond flour crust
  • Berry cobbler made with gluten free oats
  • Apple crisp with puffed quinoa topping
  • Chocolate pots de crème
  • Pecan pie with shortbread cookie crust

Use gluten free flours like rice, almond and coconut flours for baked desserts. Always read labels on packaged ingredients like sweetened condensed milk to ensure they are gluten free as well.

What are some gluten free beverage options?

Stick to these gluten free drink choices:

  • Coffee and tea
  • Water
  • 100% fruit juices
  • Soda and sparkling waters
  • Wine, champagne and distilled liquors like vodka, rum, tequila, etc.
  • Hard ciders
  • Gluten free beers like those made from sorghum

Avoid wheat-based beers and cocktails containing barley, rye or other gluten-containing spirits. Read the labels on mixers like flavored sodas and juices to ensure they are gluten free. Distilled white vinegar and distilled alcohol like vodka are gluten free since the gluten is removed in the distillation process.

How can I avoid cross-contamination?

When cooking for someone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, cross-contamination is a major concern. Here are some tips for a gluten free Thanksgiving:

  • Designate a set of cookware, utensils, prep surfaces and serving dishes that are used only for gluten free foods
  • Clean all work areas and cookware thoroughly before preparing gluten free items
  • Store gluten free flours, condiments and foods separately from regular items
  • Use separate oils, knives, colanders etc for gluten free dishes
  • Keep gluten free desserts covered in storage to avoid airborne contamination
  • Use foil or clean trays to cook gluten free stuffing separately from regular
  • Serve gluten free items first or on separate dishes from gluten-containing foods

With some planning and dedicated prep and cooking equipment, you can feel confident that your meal is 100% gluten free without risk of cross-contact.

What are some kid-friendly gluten free options?

Here are some gluten free dishes the kids are sure to love:

  • Cornbread stuffing
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Mac and cheese made with gluten free pasta
  • Carrots and celery sticks with gluten free dip
  • Fruit crisps and cobblers
  • Ice cream with gluten free toppings/mix-ins
  • Gluten free chicken nuggets
  • GF hot dogs or corn dogs

Focus on naturally gluten free foods like vegetables, fruits and lean protein. Mexican dishes like tacos with corn tortillas or enchiladas with gluten free tortillas are also good gluten free kid pleasers.


With some adaptability and careful labels reading, you can still enjoy a delicious gluten free Thanksgiving meal. Turkey, vegetables, salads, and fresh fruits are naturally gluten free. Stuffings, gravies, baked goods and sauces just need simple substitutions like using corn starch instead of regular flour. Complete your meal with gluten free desserts and beverages. Avoid cross-contamination by preparing gluten free dishes separately with dedicated cookware and prep surfaces. Get the kids involved by serving fun gluten free foods they will enjoy too. With a little planning, your Thanksgiving can be just as festive and tasty while staying gluten free.

Leave a Comment