The short answer is yes, potatoes are gluten-free. As opposed to grains, such as wheat, barley, or rye, potatoes are starchy tubers, similar to yams, taro, and cassava. Red, sweet, white, russet, yellow, and every other type of potato is naturally gluten-free!
Especially for people who have celiac disease, or gluten intolerance, potatoes can be a real game changer. The same goes for potato skin.
If you are asking yourself: ‘are potato skins gluten-free?’, the answer is yes, as long as they are not fried in the same pan used to cook gluten-containing food.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder, in which your body mistakes gluten particles as threatening foreign invaders, similar to a virus or bacteria. For people with celiac disease, or with gluten intolerance, consuming gluten can cause great discomfort.
After finding out about your situation or someone else’s, you probably have researched to find out if there’s gluten in potatoes.
Do potatoes have gluten in them?
Until recently, when the gluten-free diet became trendy, we relied heavily on potatoes to sustain our diet.
A very usual question from people who recently discovered they are celiac or adopted a gluten-free diet is: can you eat potatoes on a gluten-free diet?
For people who are gluten intolerant, as well as people with celiac disease, potatoes are a healthy and delicious alternative to enhance your meals.
How to Watch for Gluten in Potato Dishes?
Today, there is a surplus of options, both in stores and restaurants, but the challenge to identify which potato dishes are gluten-free still exists.
While potatoes themselves are gluten-free, the preparation of potato dishes and products sometimes adds gluten as an additive to thicken, bind, or crisp potato dishes.
Despite this, there are still so many ways to eat potatoes that are gluten-free, while still being delicious! There are two skills that anyone new to the gluten-free diet needs to know, especially with potatoes: how to read labels and how to order in a restaurant.
How to read labels?
One of the most important parts of being gluten-free is learning how to read packages. Even though products such as instant potatoes may seem gluten-free, sometimes they are mixed with gluten-containing additives.
With the new wealth of knowledge and awareness of celiac disease, many companies now label their packages gluten-free or have a Certified GF stamp. If you are unable to find either marked on the packages, find the ingredient list. At the bottom, there is often a segment called “Contains”, which lists common allergens.
If wheat or gluten is not on the list, then you are good to go! If there is no list, then read the ingredients, looking out for wheat, barley, and rye, which are the most common sources of gluten.
Sometimes products that may seem obviously gluten-free are not, and it never hurts to double-check the ingredient list.
When are potatoes NOT gluten-free?
When ordering potato dishes in a restaurant, for example, there are a few key questions to ask.
“Does this contain gluten?” or “Is this gluten-free?” works most of the time, however, if the wait staff or kitchen seems confused, there are follow up questions that can clarify.
Such as “Is this dish breaded or floured?” and/or “Is wheat flour added to this dish?
If you are ordering fried items, such as french fries, and want to avoid cross-contamination, you can ask “Are breaded items fried in the same oil as the french fries?”
If you are concerned about cross-contamination in the cooking process, you can ask the restaurant staff to change or wear gloves when handling your dish and use cleaned cooking utensils during preparation.
Also, if a dish arrives and you suspect that it might contain gluten, do not be afraid to double-check with the kitchen. Asking these questions may feel awkward, but communication about allergies is important to keeping gluten out of your favorite dishes!
Are Red, Yellow, and Russet Potatoes Gluten-free?
Having background knowledge about choosing products and asking about dishes can help guide you to a successful gluten-free diet, especially when it comes to potatoes; there are so many different ways to prepare them!
Despite that, color and species of potatoes make no difference: all potatoes, in their organic form, are gluten-free if no special ingredients have been added to them.
So, if you are wondering: are red potatoes gluten-free? Or are white potatoes gluten-free? Are russet potatoes gluten-free? The answer is yes, yes and… yes!
Below there are some delicious potato options that are generally gluten-free, but it does not hurt to double-check.
Are Sweet Potatoes Gluten-Free?
Sweet potatoes are gluten-free as much as regular potatoes. A different kind of ingredient that you can use to spice up your meals since they are really tasty and completely different from regular potatoes.
You can make sweet potato fries, sweet potato pie, sweet potato soup, and much more. Sweet potatoes are not very similar to normal potatoes and in the USA, they are often referred to as yams (although actual yams are different in taste – quite bigger – yams are gluten-free too!).
Are Baked and Roasted Potatoes Gluten-Free?
One of the best ways to cook and eat potatoes is by baking them, or as some moms and grandmas prepare them: puncture the skin with a fork and throw them in a microwave for around 6 minutes.
However, do baked potatoes have gluten on them? Baked potatoes are almost always gluten-free, and in sanitary restaurants, cross-contamination of butter and cream should not be a problem.
For potatoes that are baked twice, or for potato skin dishes that refill the skin with a potato mixture, it is best to confirm that no wheat flour is added during preparation.
Baked potatoes are great because they are so versatile, and you can add whatever you want to them!
Our personal favorite way to eat a baked potato is to add butter, salt, black pepper, chili oil, a bit of cheese, and soy sauce, creating a spicy but creamy umami flavor.
Roasted potatoes are also a great option if you are gluten-free!
Halving small potatoes with olive oil and Old Bay seasoning makes for a great side dish to nearly any protein.
If you are ordering roast potatoes in a restaurant, be sure to confirm that the seasoning mixture does not contain wheat flour or breadcrumbs.
Are mashed potatoes gluten-free?
A creamy treat, mashed potatoes are versatile and can go with a wide variety of dishes. Most preparations of mashed potatoes only add butter and cream, which is gluten-free. Making your own mashed potatoes is also an option, even if you are not experienced in the kitchen.
Simply put cut and skinned potatoes in a pot and boil from cold salted water, drain when soft, and mash with butter! If you are going to a restaurant and want to be certain that your mashed potatoes are gluten-free, you can always ask if flour is added during preparation.
What about instant mashed potatoes? Do potatoes contain gluten if they are included in instant mashed packs? While fresh-made mashed potatoes are usually gluten-free, instant potatoes can be less certain.
Sometimes flour is added to the dehydrated flour mixture to thicken the final product. When looking for instant mashed potatoes in the store, be sure to read the ingredient list, so you can find gluten-free instant potatoes.
What Potato Chips are Gluten-Free?
Crunchy, salty, and satisfying, potato chips are a great snack for dinner parties, road trips, and just enjoy. Most potato chips are gluten-free, as they are made from cut slices of potato.
There are also so many brands to choose from, both commercial, and “fancy” options are available.
Our favorite commercial brand of potato chips is the original flavor Ruffles, and our favorite “fancy” type is black pepper “crinkle” cut Kettle brand chips.
If you are going to look out for anything when shopping for potato chips, be aware that some seasonings can add gluten to an otherwise gluten-free chip.
Bonus: Brazilian Cheese Bread
Unlike most other breads, Brazilian cheese bread is made using tapioca flour, which is derived from cassava, a starchy root vegetable in an adjacent family to the potato.
Traditionally prepared, Brazilian cheese bread is completely gluten-free, but be sure to read labels and ask in restaurants, as wheat flour is sometimes added as a cheap alternative.
Potato Dishes to Double-Check
Learning what potato dishes, you should take extra precautions around that can make the difference between having a healthy potato meal, versus suffering an allergic response.
Here are some delish potato options that you should double-check before eating to make sure they are gluten-free.
Is Gnocchi Gluten-free?
This potato dish native to Italy is traditionally prepared with just potatoes, salt, and a bit of flour or starch to bind. While the dish may seem simple and gluten-free, many brands use wheat flour in the recipe. However, it is possible to prepare for it with potato starch gluten-free.
If you are going to buy gnocchi in stores or order in a restaurant, make sure to read the label carefully or ask the wait staff to make sure wheat flour is not added to the recipe.
Many supermarkets offer a gluten-free gnocchi option, but always be sure to double-check the ingredient list!
Are French Fries Gluten-free?
These delicious fried potato sticks have always been a favorite of children and grownups, but there is some caution required when ordering them in a restaurant. Most importantly, the oil used to fry french fries may be used to fry other items containing gluten.
One major red flag that the oil is cross-contaminated is when onion rings appear on the menu.
As onion rings are battered, sometimes pieces of fried batter can come off and stick to other items in the fryer, such as otherwise gluten-free potato fries. Another important question to ask is if the fries have been lightly dusted with wheat flour, as sometimes flour is added to get a crisper finish on the fries.
Also, if your French fries come with seasoning, you should double check to make sure the seasoning is gluten-free, as some contain flour to help bind it to the fries. While restaurants can be hit or miss, most French fry brands sold in grocery stores do not contain gluten.
Are Gratin Potatoes Gluten-free?
These scrumptious potato casseroles may or may not be gluten-free. A lot of the time, roux, made from flour, butter, and milk, is used to start the cheese sauce that is then poured over the potatoes. In addition, sometimes the dish is topped with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs to add a bit of crunch.
In general, this is a potato dish that people on a gluten-free diet should steer clear from. Nonetheless, it does not hurt to ask about gluten allergens in the dish. This meal can easily be prepared gluten-free with a few simple recipe changes!
Are Tater Tots Gluten-free?
In theory, fried potato nuggets should be gluten-free, but sadly, tater tots are often not. Many restaurants and store-bought tots use egg and wheat flour to help bind the shredded potato. That being said, there are still many brands that do not use flour or instead use gluten-free flour as an alternative.
The important thing is to ask the restaurant staff or read the package to figure out if the preparation adds gluten. Furthermore, the issue of cross-contamination in the frying process comes up once again, and it is best to ask the restaurant staff to double-check.
Are Hash Browns Gluten-free?
Shredded potatoes fried on a flat top grill are delicious. In some countries, they are known as potato pancakes.
Despite the taste, they are not always gluten-free. There are many different preparations of potatoes that count as a hash brown, and some are more often gluten-free than others.
Similar to tater tots, hash browns that come in the form of patties are often dusted with, or contain, wheat flour to enhance crispiness or bind the mixture.
The shredded potato style of hash browns is gluten-free most of the time, however, sometimes flour is added to prevent the potato shred from sticking to each other and to absorb excess moisture. If you are unsure what preparation style was used on the potatoes, double-check with restaurant staff.
Furthermore, the grill where the hash browns are fried may encounter cross-contamination with gluten-containing food items. Especially in restaurants with bread items that may be heated up on the same surface, it is best to ask about cross-contamination.
Luckily, if the hash browns themselves are gluten-free, but the cooking surface risks cross-contamination, many places are willing to wipe down the cooking surface, and some even have dedicated gluten-free areas to cook!
Overall, there are so many ways to eat potatoes that are gluten-free and delicious! The main takeaway is that it never hurts to double-check if something is gluten-free or not, no matter if it’s in a restaurant or at the grocery store.
Even more so, learning to cook potato dishes can be a fantastic way to expand your gluten-free diet at home!
Want to make shopping for gluten-free products an absolute breeze? Check out the Allergy Project app and easily discover which items cater to a gluten-free lifestyle.