Which thai noodles are gluten-free?

Thai noodles are a popular ingredient in many Thai dishes like pad thai, drunken noodles, and pad see ew. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, finding gluten-free Thai noodles is important to enjoy these gluten-free Thai food favorites. Many traditional Thai noodle varieties contain wheat and are not gluten-free, but there are some great options for gluten-free Thai noodles made from rice, mung beans, tapioca, and more. Keep reading to learn which Thai noodles are naturally gluten-free and where to find gluten-free alternatives for typically gluten-containing Thai noodle varieties.

Are Rice Noodles Gluten-Free?

Yes, rice noodles are naturally gluten-free. Rice noodles, sometimes called rice sticks or banh pho, are made from rice flour and water. Since rice is a gluten-free grain, pure rice noodles will be gluten-free. Some rice noodles may contain additional ingredients like salt, vegetable oil, and food coloring, so check labels carefully if avoiding other allergens, but pure rice noodles only contain rice.

Rice noodles are used in many classic Thai dishes like pad thai, Thai curry noodles, stir-fried noodles, and deep-fried spring rolls. Thai rice noodles come in various widths like sen lek (small), sen yai (large), and sen chan (medium). Very thin rice vermicelli noodles are called sen mee in Thai. Using rice noodles is an easy swap to make Thai noodle dishes gluten-free.

Are Egg Noodles Gluten-Free?

Egg noodles are not gluten-free because they contain wheat flour. Many fresh and dried egg noodle varieties popular in Thai cuisine are made with a combination of wheat flour and egg. So unfortunately, traditional egg noodles like ba mii and wonton noodles are not gluten-free due to containing wheat.

Luckily, there are gluten-free egg noodle alternatives made with rice flour, tapioca, or a blend of gluten-free flours. Brands like Explore Asian and Lotus Foods make gluten-free egg-style rice noodles that can stand in for wheat egg noodles in Thai dishes. Gluten-free wonton wrappers are also available to make gluten-free wontons. Check labels to verify gluten-free status when purchasing any egg noodle substitutes.

Is Pad Thai Gluten-Free?

Authentic pad thai contains rice noodles and is gluten-free. Traditional pad thai is made with rice noodles, so it is naturally gluten-free. However, some restaurants or pre-made pad thai sauces may use wheat-based soy sauce or add additional components like egg noodles that contain gluten. So always check with the restaurant or product label before assuming a pad thai dish is gluten-free. If made traditionally, pad thai contains these gluten-free ingredients:

  • Rice noodles
  • Eggs
  • Fish sauce
  • Tamarind paste
  • Palm sugar
  • Bean sprouts
  • Peanuts or cashews
  • Lime
  • Cilantro

The rice noodles, egg, fish sauce, tamarind, and other classic pad thai ingredients contain no gluten. Just watch out for potential add-ins like chicken or shrimp that could be dusted with wheat flour. Overall, traditional pad thai made with rice noodles is a gluten-free Thai food you can enjoy.

Are Bean Thread Noodles Gluten-Free?

Bean thread noodles, also called glass noodles, cellophane noodles, or mung bean noodles, are gluten-free. Bean thread noodles are made from mung bean starch or sometimes other ingredients like sweet potato or tapioca starch. Since they contain no wheat, traditional bean thread noodles are gluten-free.

Bean thread noodles are a popular ingredient in Thai spring rolls, salads, stir-fries, and soups. Their translucent appearance and chewy texture make them a unique gluten-free noodle variety. When purchasing bean thread noodles, check that only gluten-free starch sources are listed in the ingredients. Stay away from any wheat-based varieties.

Can You Find Gluten-Free Udon Noodles?

Traditional udon noodles contain wheat and are not gluten-free. Udon noodles are white, thick, chewy wheat flour noodles popular in Japanese cuisine. Most udon noodles contain just wheat flour, salt, and water. So plain udon noodles are off the menu for a gluten-free diet.

However, you can find gluten-free udon noodle substitutes made from rice flour, tapioca starch, or a blend of gluten-free starches and gums. Explore Asian and Lotus Foods are two brands that make gluten-free udon-style noodles. While the texture and flavor may not be exactly the same as wheat udon, these gluten-free varieties let you enjoy udon noodle recipes on a gluten-free diet. Check the label to confirm the noodles are completely gluten-free.

What About Soba Noodles?

Traditional soba noodles contain gluten, while 100% buckwheat soba noodles are gluten-free. Authentic soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour mixed with regular wheat flour. Since most soba contains some wheat, it is typically not gluten-free.

However, you can find 100% buckwheat soba noodles made with no wheat flour added. These types of soba noodles are gluten-free. Look for soba marked as “pure buckwheat” to get gluten-free soba noodles. Be aware that even 100% buckwheat soba is often produced on shared equipment with wheat soba, so check for gluten-free certification and proper testing if you are highly sensitive. For the most certainty, choose soba noodles specifically labeled gluten-free.

Can You Find Gluten-Free Instant Noodles?

Yes, there are many brands of gluten-free instant ramen noodles. Instant ramen noodles typically contain wheat, but gluten-free alternatives exist. Here are some gluten-free instant noodle brands to look for:

  • Lotus Foods – Rice Ramen, Rice Noodles
  • Ottogi – Gluten-Free Ramyun Products
  • Nongshim – Shin Ramyun gluten-free
  • Lundberg – Organic Rice Noodles
  • Annie Chun’s – Brown Rice Express
  • Prime Naturals – Rice Ramen
  • Trader Joe’s – Organic Brown Rice Ramen

Check the ingredients on all packaged instant noodles to confirm they do not contain wheat, barley, or rye ingredients. Call the manufacturer if you are unsure. Gluten-free instant noodles provide a quick meal option when you need that ramen noodle fix.

Are Cassava Noodles Gluten-Free?

Yes, cassava root noodles are gluten-free. Cassava noodles go by other names like udon tapioca noodles, yam noodles, or bamboo noodles. They are made from the starchy cassava plant, also known as yuca or manioc. Cassava contains no gluten, so pure cassava noodles are gluten-free.

Cassava noodles have a similar opaque, chewy texture to traditional wheat flour noodles. Their neutral flavor makes them an adaptable gluten-free noodle choice. Cassava noodles work well in many Thai dishes like pad thai, curries, stir-fries, soups, and salads in place of wheat noodles. Choose cassava noodles that only contain cassava starch or flour to ensure they are gluten-free.

What About Sweet Potato Noodles?

Sweet potato noodles, sometimes called glass sweet potato noodles, are gluten-free. These unique noodles are made from sweet potato starch and water. Since they contain no grains, sweet potato noodles are naturally gluten-free. Brands like Explore Asian and Liviva Foods make gluten-free sweet potato noodles.

The noodles have a clear, jelly-like appearance similar to bean thread noodles. Sweet potato noodles are often used in Thai salad rolls, stir-fries, curries, soups, and spring rolls. Their mild, slightly sweet flavor pairs well with spicy, savory Thai dish flavors. Sweet potato noodles are a nutritious and gluten-free alternative to wheat noodles.

Can You Find Gluten-Free Pasta Noodles?

Yes, there are many gluten-free pasta options like rice pasta, quinoa pasta, chickpea pasta, and more. While traditional wheat pasta contains gluten, alternative pastas made from gluten-free whole grains, beans, lentils, and vegetables are available. Some gluten-free pasta brands to look for include:

  • Banza – Chickpea Pasta
  • Jovial – Brown Rice Pasta
  • Barilla – Gluten-Free Pasta
  • Tolerant – Lentil Pasta
  • Andean Dream – Quinoa Pasta
  • Jovial – Cassava Pasta

These gluten-free pastas work well in Thai dishes when you need a spaghetti, linguine, penne, or other pasta shape. Always read labels since gluten-free pasta can be made from many different flour sources. For safety, look for “gluten-free” marked on the packaging.


Enjoying your favorite Thai noodle dishes gluten-free is totally possible by using rice noodles, bean thread noodles, cassava noodles, and other naturally gluten-free options. For noodle varieties that typically contain gluten like egg noodles, udon, and soba, look for gluten-free brand alternatives made from assorted starches, gums, and flours. With all the gluten-free noodles now available, you can still savor comforting bowls of pad thai, curry noodles, stir-fried noodles, and more on a gluten-free diet. Just check each noodle ingredients list and look for gluten-free labels when shopping. Then get ready to slurp up some delicious, authentic-tasting gluten-free Thai noodles.

Leave a Comment