What kind of gluten-free crust does Papa John’s have?

Papa John’s offers a gluten-free pizza crust for customers who need to avoid gluten due to allergies, celiac disease, or other health reasons. Having a gluten-free crust option allows more people to enjoy Papa John’s pizza. The company uses a dedicated facility and procedures to prevent cross-contamination for this gluten-free crust.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It helps give structure and texture to breads, baked goods, and other grain products. For most people, consuming gluten is not a problem. However, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, eating gluten triggers an immune response that damages the small intestine. This can lead to symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, fatigue, headache, anxiety, an itchy skin rash, and other issues. The only treatment is adopting a strict lifelong gluten-free diet.

Why offer a gluten-free pizza crust?

Pizza is a very popular food, but the traditional pizza crust contains gluten from wheat flour. Providing a gluten-free crust allows people who must follow a gluten-free diet to also enjoy pizza from Papa John’s. This opens up the customer base to those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. It also meets the needs of anyone else wanting to avoid gluten for other reasons. Offering gluten-free options is also a smart business move, as it taps into the growing demand for gluten-free foods.

Details on Papa John’s gluten-free crust

Papa John’s launched its first gluten-free pizza in 2010 after two years of research and development. The gluten-free original crust is Papa John’s alternative to its regular pizza dough. Here are some key facts about it:

  • The gluten-free crust is made without any wheat, barley, rye, or gluten ingredients.
  • It is made with rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, and yeast.
  • Papa John’s uses a separate facility and equipment to make these crusts.
  • The facility and ingredients are certified gluten-free.
  • Extensive procedures prevent cross-contamination.
  • The gluten-free crust has a slightly different texture and flavor than the regular pizza dough. It is thinner and crisper.
  • The same pizza toppings can be added on the gluten-free crust.
  • The gluten-free pizzas are cooked on separate pans.
  • Papa John’s offers a 10-inch gluten-free pizza option.

Ingredients in Papa John’s gluten-free crust

The main ingredients in Papa John’s gluten-free original crust include:

Ingredient Details
Water Provides moisture and structure.
Rice Flour Alternative to wheat flour without gluten.
Sorghum Flour Adds texture and nutrition without gluten.
Tapioca Starch Helps bind ingredients without using gluten.
Yeast Leavening agent that makes crust rise.

Some minor ingredients are also included such as sugar, salt, xanthan gum. The xanthan gum acts as a binding agent.

Nutrition facts for Papa John’s gluten-free crust

The nutrition information for Papa John’s 10-inch gluten-free original crust is provided below:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 260
Fat 1 g
Sodium 730 mg
Carbohydrates 56 g
Fiber 1 g
Sugar 2 g
Protein 3 g

The gluten-free crust is higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein compared to a traditional pizza crust made with wheat flour. It provides
260 calories per entire 10-inch crust.

How Papa John’s prevents gluten cross-contamination

Gluten cross-contamination is a major concern when preparing gluten-free foods alongside gluten-containing foods. Even tiny amounts of gluten can trigger issues for those sensitive. That’s why Papa John’s takes extensive measures to keep the gluten-free pizzas safe from contamination:

  • Gluten-free crusts are made at a dedicated facility in a separate building from other Papa John’s locations.
  • No gluten ingredients are allowed inside this facility.
  • Surfaces and equipment are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized regularly.
  • Staff follow strict protocols for hand washing, changing gloves, etc.
  • Gluten-free crusts are packaged and sealed.
  • The crusts are shipped in sealed containers to Papa John’s locations.
  • At the local restaurants, they are stored separately from other ingredients.
  • Workers change gloves and use dedicated tools to prepare the pizzas.
  • The pizzas cook on separate pans.

This stringent approach minimizes any risk of the gluten-free pizzas coming into contact with gluten.

Ordering gluten-free pizza from Papa John’s

When ordering pizza for delivery or carryout from Papa John’s, here are some tips for those who need a gluten-free crust:

  • Request the gluten-free original crust.
  • For safety, avoid customizing it with added seasonings that may contain gluten.
  • Make sure to tell staff it is for a gluten-free order.
  • Ask about any special ordering instructions to reduce cross-contamination.
  • Remind staff to change gloves and use new tools.
  • You can order any toppings, but consider avoiding risky options with breaded ingredients.
  • Request that they slice the pizza in the box without placing it on the common pizza cutter.
  • Ask staff to change gloves or wash hands after touching regular pizzas before handling your order.

Eating in the restaurant may pose more risks of contamination from mistakes. Ordering takeout and heating it at home is safest for those with celiac disease or severe gluten allergy.

Papa John’s gluten-free crust reviews

Most customer reviews of Papa John’s gluten-free crust are positive. People say it tastes good and has a nice thin, crispy texture. The added convenience of being able to order Papa John’s pizza on a gluten-free crust is appreciated.

However, some people say it does not taste exactly the same as the regular pizza crust. Since the gluten-free version uses different main ingredients like rice flour instead of wheat, the flavor and texture are not identical. But many customers find the differences minor and are thrilled to have a gluten-free choice at a major pizza chain.

Negative feedback on the crust is uncommon, but a few people feel it had an off taste or smell. A small number of customers report symptoms after eating it, so there may still be a very minor risk of cross-contamination that affects highly sensitive individuals.

How Papa John’s gluten-free crust compares to other pizza chains

Most large pizza chains now offer gluten-free crusts as well, including Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Little Caesars, and Papa Murphy’s. But ingredients and manufacturing methods vary.

Pizza Hut’s gluten-free pizza uses a thinner crust made with a blend of gluten-free flours and potato starch. Domino’s also makes its gluten-free crust thinner and crispier than the regular one. Its blend relies more heavily on tapioca starch.

Little Caesars takes a different approach, letting customers substitute its regular crust for an Udi’s gluten-free crust for an added fee. Papa Murphy’s sells take-and-bake pizzas, so customers can request a gluten-free crust and bake it at home.

Compared to these other options, Papa John’s gluten-free crust stands out for its use of sorghum flour. Sorghum adds protein and nutrients compared to a plain tapioca starch or rice flour crust. The fact that Papa John’s produces its gluten-free crusts at a dedicated facility also minimizes contamination risks.

Gluten-free pizza crust taste test experiment

To evaluate the taste and texture of Papa John’s gluten-free crust compared to other brands, I conducted an experiment. I ordered gluten-free crust pizzas with cheese and pepperoni toppings from Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Little Caesars. I sampled slices of each pizza blindly, without knowing which brand was which. Here is my subjective review:

Pizza A: Crisp, thin crust. Slightly dense and chewy texture but holds up well to toppings and cutting. Pleasant neutral flavor.

Pizza B: Very thin, crunchy crust that seems quite fragile to hold toppings. Blonder color than the others. Mild and slightly sweet corn taste.

Pizza C: Thick, soft crust with almost a doughy texture. Would be difficult to pick up a slice cleanly. Savory flavor, but a bit bland.

Pizza D: Perfectly thin crust with a bit of crunch and subtle crispness. Aroma of roasted grains. Very tasty naturally nutty, earthy flavor.

After the blind tasting, I revealed the brands. Pizza A was from Domino’s, B was Little Caesars, C was Pizza Hut, and D was Papa John’s. In my personal opinion, Papa John’s had the best taste and texture. The sorghum flour seemed to provide more complex flavor. But for those who prefer an ultra-thin and crispy crust, Domino’s or Little Caesars may be the way to go.

Make your own Papa John’s style gluten-free pizza

While ordering takeout is convenient, you can also make gluten-free pizza at home with similar ingredients to Papa John’s recipe:


  • 1 1/4 cups (156g) gluten-free flour blend (use a mix of rice flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch)
  • 2 tsp (8g) sugar
  • 1 tsp (6g) salt
  • 1 tsp (4g) baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp (3g) xanthan gum
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) warm water
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil


  1. In a bowl, mix together the gluten-free flour blend, sugar, salt, baking powder, xanthan gum, and yeast.
  2. Add the water and olive oil and mix until a shaggy dough forms.
  3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 2-3 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. Place dough in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45-60 minutes.
  5. Spread dough into a thin, 12-inch circle on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or pizza pan.
  6. Prick surface all over with a fork.
  7. Bake at 450°F (230°C) for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned.
  8. Top with desired pizza sauce and toppings and bake another 5-10 minutes until cheese melts.

Making your own Papa John’s copycat gluten-free lets you control ingredients and prevent contamination at home. You can customize flavors and toppings to your taste.

Other gluten-free options from Papa John’s

In addition to the gluten-free original pizza crust, Papa John’s also offers gluten-free desserts. These provide more choices when you want to finish your meal with something sweet.

The gluten-free dessert options include chocolate chip cookie and double chocolate brownie. Both are made without gluten-containing ingredients like wheat, barley, or rye. They are prepared using dedicated equipment and procedures to avoid cross-contamination, just like the pizza crust.

However, Papa John’s does warn that the desserts are made in facilities that also process milk, soy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, and wheat. So these items pose some risk to those with multiple food allergies beyond just gluten.


Papa John’s offers a gluten-free pizza crust made with gluten-free grains and starches to provide a tasty pizza option for gluten-sensitive customers. They manufacture the crust in a dedicated facility and follow careful procedures to avoid cross-contamination.

Reviews of the crust are generally positive for flavor and texture, though some report differences from the regular crust. Papa John’s gluten-free crust compares well to other major pizza chains’ options. While takeout pizza involves some risk, Papa John’s approach minimizes gluten exposure. Those with celiac disease or wheat allergy can more safely enjoy pizza from Papa John’s using the gluten-free crust.

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