Tips on Cooking for Gluten Free Friends :: Part 1

April 17, 2012

This post contains information on what common foods can contain gluten.  This can be a problem with people who have allergies, sensitivities, or celiac disease.


I have wanted to write a post on this topic for a while now.  Having gluten allergies in our household makes things more difficult when eating at a friends house, or if friends want to drop by food for whatever reason.

Many people are just not educated as to what has gluten in it and what food substitutes you can use in their place to make it gluten free.  If you are wanting to cook for friends or family members that have gluten allergies, it is so important that you read the labels on everything.

If you see the word ‘wheat’ anywhere in the ingredient list, then you cannot use that item.  That means there is gluten in the product.


Some food additives that you may not be aware of many times contain gluten. 

  • Bouillon
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein
  • Malt vinegar
  • Malt flavoring
  • Modified food starch
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Suet


Many processed foods contain gluten as a food additive.  Gluten is a useful thickening and stabilizing agent in the preparation of processed foods. It can also enhance the flavor of many processed foods.

  • Ice cream
  • Pudding
  • Non-diary creamer
  • Salad dressing and other commercially prepared sauces
  • Gravy
  • Fruit fillings
  • Custard
  • Chewing gum
  • Beverage mixes
  • Candy
  • Canned and packaged foods, especially broths and soups
  • Chocolate milk
  • Cold cuts
  • Potato chips
  • Syrup
  • Root beer

Beer also contains gluten, because it’s made from the gluten based grain, barley.


*Make sure to read labels and check, since many foods in the above category are made gluten-free.  Never buy or eat anything without reading the ingredient label to check for gluten/wheat.


Other foods that commonly contain gluten:

  • Breads (Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut and triticale)
  • Pie Crusts
  • Biscuits
  • Pastries, Cakes and Cookies
  • Graham Crackers
  • Donuts
  • Muffins
  • Breaded Meats or Fish
  • Pasta
  • Gravy & Sauces
  • Soups (Uses wheat flour as thickening agent)
  • Seasonings & BBQ Sauce
  • Soy Sauce

Gluten free versions of these products can be made, using gluten free flours, for those who can’t eat gluten.

Gluten Free Flours:

  •  Rice flour (White & Brown)
  •  Sorghum Flour
  •  Tapioca Starch
  •  Potato Starch
  •  Garbanzo Bean/Black Bean Flour
  •  Corn Starch
  •  Amaranth
  •  Quinoa
  •  Corn meal
  •  Buckwheat
  •  Soy flour
  • Almond and other nut flours
  • Millet Flour
  • Coconut Flour


You can use these flours in combination to create food items similar to those that would normally contain gluten.  The only difference is, you will need xanthan gum or guar gum since you do not have the natural ‘gluten’ in these flours.


I will post a part 2 that will show some examples of good substitutes and brands of gluten free items you can use to prepare meals with. 

*Other sources used:


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  • Reply Veronica Nelson June 15, 2012 at 02:33

    I just wanted to thank you. I recently stumbled across your site looking up gluten free recipes and I am already hooked. It is beautifully done (it is obvious you are an artist and a photographer), with ample and appetizing recipes to keep me busy for quite a while!

    I can’t wait to have my boyfriend try the gluten free pot stickers with me -he is half Korean and I have not been able to enjoy this treat with him.

    Thank you so much for publishing these valuable recipes and resources!


    Duluth, MN

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