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How to Have a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving: Wheat-Free Holiday Recipe Ideas for Traditional Dishes

Published by Landon Graser

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Many traditional Thanksgiving and holiday dishes, such as turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce are generally already gluten-free. Other side dishes are easy to make without wheat or gluten using a few simple substitutions, or a whole new recipe.


You can easily make most gravy recipes wheat-free and gluten-free by thickening them with cornstarch or arrowroot instead of flour. To substitute cornstarch for flour in gravy, use half as much cornstarch as you would flour. Mix the cornstarch with a just enough water to cover it in a measuring cup, and stir it until it dissolves. Then add it to the hot gravy sauce. This will help keep the cornstarch from clumping. Stir the gravy frequently as it cooks, and let it boil for one minute before removing it from the heat.

If you prefer to use arrowroot instead of cornstarch, you can find it in the bulk food section of some grocery stores and health food stores. Use arrowroot just like you would cornstarch, but only let it boil for a few seconds before removing it from the heat.

You can also buy ready-made gluten-free gravy in many health food stores. Look for aseptic packages, like the ones soymilks come in, near the soup section. Some alternative gravies, such as mushroom gravies, are also gluten-free. For a change of pace, you can even serve this gluten-free vegetarian lentil gravy.


Although you can try using gluten-free bread crumbs to make stuffing, you may find the results unsatisfactory, and prefer this rice stuffing recipe instead. It works well as a stuffing substitute or side dish, and it’s simple to cook on the stove top instead of inside the turkey. You can also easily make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and leaving out the bacon.

Green Bean Casserole

Instead of using fried onions coated with wheat, you can top your green bean casserole with sliced or slivered almonds to make it gluten-free. This twist on tradition will also make your green bean casserole higher in protein and lower in fat.


For a traditional tasting Thanksgiving dessert without the wheat or gluten, you may want to make a crustless apple pie. Simply peel and slice the apples, add cinnamon and sugar to taste, and cook them in a pot on the stove over low heat. Add a little water or apple juice as needed if the apples are dry. Continue cooking them, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender, but not mushy. Serve the spicy apples on small plates or in bowls with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whip cream on top. For another traditional tasting treat, you can also make this simple pumpkin pudding.

With a few simple modifications, you can serve a Thanksgiving or holiday feast so delicious, no guests will miss the wheat or gluten.

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