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Learn how to cook the perfect gluten-free Thanksgiving menu full of all your favorite dishes—from gluten-free stuffing to gluten-free cornbread.

Elizabeth Laseter
November 02, 2016

If you’re planning a gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner menu, then you know that wheat, barley, and rye are off-limits to anyone with Celiac disease. Learning how to cook a gluten-free Thanksgiving includes knowing what Thanksgiving dishes—such as stuffing made with whole-wheat bread—to avoid, but it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your favorite dishes.  With a few easy ingredient swaps, making gluten-free gravy or gluten-free green bean casserole is 100 percent doable.

Simply cooking gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes isn’t enough. If you or one your guests have Celiac disease, it’s critical to safe proof your kitchen—coming into contact with even a small amount of gluten can be dangerous. The Celiac Disease Foundation makes several recommendations for preventing cross-contamination and ensuring a safe, gluten-free Thanksgiving:

  • Have a dedicated gluten-free prep space in your kitchen if possible. Keep wheat products away from your cooking area, as loose flour can cross-contaminate nearby food.
  • Use separate cutting boards, cooking equipment, and serving utensils for gluten-free dishes.
  • Let gluten-free guests build their Thanksgiving plates first to avoid stress and risk of cross-contamination.
  • If you’re the host, do whatever possible to make your guests feel comfortable. Whether it’s gluten or dairy, no one should feel like they are an inconvenience because of a food allergy.

How to Serve Someone with a Food Restriction at Thanksgiving

Before you cook, stock your pantry with the best gluten-free staples—from gluten-free flours to ancient grains. While the easiest way to have total control over your food is to cook it from scratch, store-bought products are sometimes necessary. Always read ingredient lists on food labels and watch for sneaky gluten sources. Below, find our perfect gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner filled with the very best classics from gluten-free sweet potato casserole to gluten-free pumpkin pie, and so much more.

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Gluten-Free Appetizers

No gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner menu is complete without a tantalizing spread of gluten-free snacks, delicious dips, and satisfying spreads. Whole wheat crackers maybe out of the question, but it's all the reason to experiment with a variety of gluten-free veggie crisps, from tender endive leaves to paper-thin beet chips.  

VIEW GALLERY: Gluten-Free Appetizers

  • Chili-Lime Roasted Chickpeas: Crispy roasted chickpeas make a satisfying, crunchy gluten-free appetizer that’s also rich in fiber and protein. Here, we use chili powder and fresh lime for spice and tang, but feel free to swap in your own flavor combinations.
  • Beet Chips with Turmeric-Yogurt Dip: Thinly sliced beets crisp quickly with the help of a microwave, and make perfect vehicles for the spiced Greek yogurt dip. You can use any root vegetable you have on hand for the chips—try carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, or celery root.
  • Bacon Horseradish Deviled Eggs: Deviled eggs are a fun finger food that guests will love snacking on before the Thanksgiving meal. Cook the eggs in advance to save time, but don’t add the yolk filling until you’re ready to serve. You can also prepare the bacon and chives ahead of time, but keep them separate until the last minute to preserve their color and crispness.

Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Paige Hicks

  • Sherry-Cava Citrus Fizz: A festive, spiked holiday punch is the perfect way to welcome guests into your home. Orange, dry sherry, and a little added sugar give this sparkling wine cocktail just the right amount of sweetness. Spanish Jerez sherry hits high notes with Spanish cava, but you can use dry sparkling wine.
  • Endive Spears with Spicy Goat Cheese: Spin Belgian endive leaves into handy "boats" that hold a simple and tasty filling of goat cheese, Greek yogurt, garlic, and Hungarian sweet paprika. You can substitute regular paprika if you don’t have the Hungarian variety, but keep in mind the flavor won't be as pungent.

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Gluten-Free Side Dishes

We’ve assembled a crave-worthy collection of gluten-free side dishes, from gluten-free macaroni and cheese (you heard us!) to gluten-free green bean casserole. Avoid a last-minute grocery store scramble by keeping ingredients such as gluten-free breads, gluten-free pasta,s and gluten-free all-purpose flour on hand to help you make your favorite Thanksgiving sides with ease.

VIEW GALLERY: Gluten-Free Sides

  • Silky-Smooth Mashed Potatoes: Making gluten-free mashed potatoes is easy, since none of their typical ingredients—potatoes, butter, salt, and cream—are without gluten already. This simple recipe makes use of the food mill, a coveted chef’s staple, to ensure a creamy and velvety consistency. A potato ricer will also get the job done.
  • Green Bean Casserole with Cauliflower Cream: A gluten-free green bean casserole recipe may be tricky to find, but knowing the right ingredient swaps can serve you well. Substitute your favorite gluten-free multigrain bread (try Glutino Gluten Free Multigrain Bread) for the whole-wheat bread in this recipe.
  • Pasta with Chickpea Sauce: Our version of gluten-free macaroni and cheese is worthy of any Thanksgiving meal. Simply trade whole-grain penne pasta for your favorite gluten-free pasta—try Ancient Harvest Gluten-Free Pasta, which is made from a fiber-rich quinoa and corn blend.

Photo: Jennifer Causey

  • Classic Turkey Gravy: Make the ultimate savory Thanksgiving sauce gluten-free by trading the flour for your favorite gluten-free all-purpose flour (we love King Arthur Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour). While there are several other gluten-free workarounds, this method is one of the simplest and easiest.
  • Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad: Roasted Brussels sprouts are undoubtedly delicious, but leaving them raw for salads opens up exciting possibilities. Slice the crisp leaves as thinly as possible to help them soak up the citrusy vinaigrette.
  • Balsamic Cranberry-Onion Jam: This sophisticated spin on the classic Thanksgiving condiment features caramelized sweet onions, which soften the tartness of fresh cranberries. A splash of balsamic vinegar lends the right amount of oomph to make this sauce a perfect topping for anything on your plate.

Gluten-Free Stuffing

Gluten-free stuffing sounds like an oxymoron unless you think outside the box. Gluten-free grains such as wild rice, quinoa, and more can be made into delicious stuffing dishes. Satisfying and ultra-nutritious, grains perfectly absorb the flavors of familiar stuffing ingredients such as onions, sage, sausage, and more.

VIEW GALLERY: Gluten-Free Stuffing Recipes

  • Chorizo and Roasted Poblano Wild Rice Stuffing: Flavorful, fragrant, and subtly sweet, wild rice is a versatile staple of any gluten-free pantry. For this hearty stuffing, we treat wild rice in the same way as bread by binding it with chicken stock, eggs, and butter before baking with chorizo sausage and poblano peppers.

Photo: José Picayo; Styling: Jocelyne Beaudoin

  • Quinoa with Dried Cherries and Pistachios: While traditional stuffing can be overly filling, this colorful grain salad is light and refreshing. Fluffy quinoa, sweet dried cherries, chopped pistachios, and fresh herbs combine with a lemony vinaigrette for a nutritious gluten-free stuffing.  

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Gluten-Free Breads

Baking gluten-free breads may seem intimidating, but it’s actually quite simple if you stock your kitchen with the right gluten-free flours, grains, and starches. Gluten-free baked goods often contain a combination of flours or starches, as well as gums, in order to achieve the right texture and structure. If you’re having trouble finding treats such gluten-free pumpkin bread, try substituting a good quality gluten-free all-purpose flour into a recipe you trust.

VIEW GALLERY: Gluten-Free Bread Recipes

  • Spicy Jalapeno Corn Bread: This gluten-free cornbread recipe is full of bright flavors, thanks to sweet fresh corn. If you’re worried about the spice, omit the jalapeno. To be safe, purchase gluten-free cornmeal, such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Stone-Ground Whole Grain Cornmeal. While cornmeal does not naturally contain gluten, cross-contamination during production may be a risk.
  • Maple-Walnut Banana Bread: If you love gluten-free pumpkin bread, then you’ll love this mouthwatering loaf of gluten-free banana bread. Bake up a loaf for guests to grab as an easy breakfast or afternoon snack during the Thanksgiving holiday.

  • Cheesy Cauliflower Biscuits: For 51 calories, you get two of these cheesy gluten-free biscuits, plus plenty of protein and fiber. Mashed cauliflower binds with Greek yogurt and egg, a simple combination that's also low in calories and fat.
  • Pumpkin-Spice Muffins: These easy gluten-free pumpkin muffins are full of fragrant fall spices from cinnamon to cloves to nutmeg. A sprinkling of pumpkin seeds over top each muffin adds crunch and an extra boost of nutrition.
  • Brazilian Cheese Bread: 100 percent gluten-free and derived from cassava root, tapioca flour lends a crispy outside and chewy inside to these irresistibly cheesy rolls. Serve these warm and toasty rolls straight from the oven.

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Turkey Recipes

Gluten-free turkey is a bit of a misnomer, since turkey meat does not contain gluten. Unless your bird is pumped full of bread-based stuffing, most Thanksgiving turkey recipes are safe for gluten-free guests. The best gluten-free turkey recipe is simple and relies on fresh ingredients and smart techniques. Whether brined, cured, or spatchcocked, our flavor-packed Thanksgiving turkey recipes are guaranteed to delight guests at your gluten-free gathering.

VIEW GALLERY: Turkey Recipes

Herb, Lemon, and Garlic Turkey: A simple dry rub of sugar and salt before the turkey cooks makes for a golden brown and crispy skin. Before hitting the oven, we give this bird an extra dose of delicious by stuffing it with garlic, fresh herbs, and lemon and then roasting it in white wine. To make the gluten-free gravy, substitute all-purpose gluten-free flour.

Smoky Spatchcocked Turkey: Speed up your roasting game by spatchcocking your turkey, or removing its backbone and cooking it flat. This clever recipe not only showcases that technique, but it also calls for grilling instead of roasting to create a charred and smoky skin.

Moroccan-Spiced Turkey with Aromatic Orange Pan Jus: Middle Eastern spices such as cumin, coriander, and cumin may sound unconventional for a Thanksgiving turkey, but their exotic flavor profile makes for a bold bird that’s anything but bland. The accompanying citrusy pan sauce is a perfect gluten-free gravy alternative.

Tuscan Turkey: This elegant and classic Thanksgiving turkey is sure to be a head turner at your feast. Soft, slow-roasted garlic makes a luscious herbed butter that’s rubbed underneath the turkey’s skin before roasting. Make sure to save the pan drippings, gizzard, and neck for our Classic Turkey Gravy recipe.

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Gluten-Free Desserts

While traditional Thanksgiving desserts such as pumpkin pie may be off-limits on a gluten-free diet, it’s an opportunity to explore exciting new options. Create a stunning dessert platter by baking a variety of gluten-free desserts from gluten-free brownies to gluten-free pumpkin cookies.

VIEW GALLERY: Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Desserts

Pecan-Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars: These gluten-free cheesecake bars are jam-packed with favorite fall flavors from pumpkin spice to pecans. For an elegant twist, use a small ring mold to cut out mini “cakes” instead of bars (make sure to snack on the leftover scraps!).

Graham-Cracker Apple Crisp: Baking a gluten-free apple pie can be time consuming and labor intensive—instead, this easy apple crisp comes together in under an hour. In addition to being gluten-free, this tasty treat also happens to be vegan thanks to non-dairy buttery spread.

Sweet Potato Pie: If you’re looking for a gluten-free pumpkin pie recipe, this delicious riff made with sweet potatoes does just the trick. The flaky crust, which uses tapioca and white rice flour, is a keeper and would work beautifully as a gluten-free pie crust base for any recipe.

Getty Images: Beano5

Sour Cream-Cocoa Cupcakes: These gluten-free cupcakes are chocolatey, rich, and moist, thanks to one secret ingredient—sour cream. Homemade frosting makes all the difference in flavor and adds a special touch. For a fun twist, crown these tasty cupcakes with a variety of gluten-free Thanksgiving-themed decorations. You can make cute turkeys with chocolate frosting and gluten-free candies.

Super-Fudgy Teff Brownies: These fudgy gluten-free brownies are the perfect way to welcome holiday guests (because who doesn’t love freshly-baked, decadent brownies?). Teff flour, which packs an earthy, molasses flavor as well as plenty of fiber, is a highly nutritious (and delicious) whole-grain alternative to refined flour.

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies: These gluten-free peanut butter cookies get a decadent boost from semisweet chocolate chips. If you prefer a richer, more intense flavor, feel free to substitute your favorite dark chocolate chips.  

Homemade Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt: Homemade pumpkin frozen yogurt comes together quickly and only needs a few hours to freeze before it’s ready to serve. Perfect alongside a slice of pumpkin or pecan pie, or delicious enough on its own, your guests will love the extra effort.