Surviving Thanksgiving Gluten-Free; Tips & Tricks to Make this Turkey Day Safe & Delicious


By: Suzanne W.


Thanksgiving is mere weeks away and we know this particular holiday can bring a certain level of anxiety to those living a gluten free lifestyle. However, we strongly believe that this day of feasting should be delectable, stress-free, and memorable (in a good way) for everyone invited!


You’re probably aware that gluten can lurk in some of the most unsuspecting places. To ensure that every morsel of your turkey-day feast is safe to be devoured, we’ve collected some important tips & tricks to help you get through the only national holiday revolving solely around food…


The Turkey

  • Make sure to purchase a 100% gluten-free turkey. Many frozen birds have been injected with gluten-filled liquids to ensure they stay moist when thawed out.
  • We recommend selecting a free-range turkey to ensure its 100% gluten free (and extra delicious).
  • To avoid reaching for the gravy (often full of gluten) try brining your turkey. This will result in the juiciest turkey you’ve ever tasted.



  • ONLY have gluten-free stuffing at the dinner table. This will avoid any cross-contamination via utensils or accidental dish confusion.
  • Luckily there are numerous delicious gluten-free stuffing recipes floating around so consider making more than one variety to give your guests options.


Marinades, broth, sauce, gravy and bouillon

  • Many sauces and marinades tend to use wheat or barley in flavors and seasonings. Make sure to read the ingredients and you may want to avoid the seasoning or gravy packet all together.
  • Be careful: Many bouillon cubes also contain wheat or gluten, so make sure to use only gluten-free bouillon cubes.
  • To make gluten free gravy from scratch you’ll want to use gluten free flours such as sorghum or sweet rice flour. You can also thicken homemade gravy with corn starch or arrowroot flour.
  • Most pre-made cranberry sauce options are gluten-free. However, some can contain preservatives that include gluten so always double check the label. To be a 100% safe opt to make your own version from scratch!


Side Dishes & Dessert

  • Many vegetable side dishes are naturally gluten-free. Increase the nutritious factor in this year’s spread by trying recipes that use fennel, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin, parsnips, broccoli, and other seasonal veggies.
  • If your guests brought additional (gluten-filled) side dishes to contribute to the meal, make sure to label all gluten-free items and keep them in separate serving areas.
  • There are numerous great gluten-free pasta options if you want to serve macaroni and cheese or other pasta dishes.
  • No Thanksgiving is complete without Pumpkin Pie! However, gluten is usually lurking in that delectable crust. For a GF pie crust use Gluten-Free Gingersnap cookies, Gluten-Free Pantry Pie Crust mix, or make your own from scratch. You can also avoid crust all together and bake your pie filling in an oblong cake pan by itself. It’s still delicious, lower in calories, and completely gluten-free!

Hopefully these tips will get you on your way to planning your unforgettable 2012 Gluten Free Thanksgiving feast. Check back soon for additional Thanksgiving recipes that will fill your stomach and warm your soul!


Do you have any additional tips & tricks to make this year’s Thanksgiving a gluten-free safe zone?


34 responses to “Surviving Thanksgiving Gluten-Free; Tips & Tricks to Make this Turkey Day Safe & Delicious”

  1. Sheri says:

    Imagine Foods makes a great Portobello Mushroom soup that is gluten-free for those who need one for cooking. Some of Campbell’s new cooking sauces are also GF. I appreciate the info about the brines used for some turkeys and hams. Explains why I’ve been sick the last three Thanksgivings (meals at relatives’).

  2. Lisa says:

    Living GF is easier than ever now. Udi’s has very tasty products. The above are all good tips. Thanks!
    PS Costco sells a ham that is GF.

  3. Sue Parks says:

    When I sent you a concern about huge bubble in the Soft and Hearty loafs, you requested certain information, which I complied with. Then promised a coupon. What happened to it?

  4. Edie Keasbey says:

    I would give anything for a gluten free recipe for making a “roux” which is a basic for all trypes of gravies and sauces, like basic cream sauce for creamed onions.. I have tried cornstarch and it separates and looses it’s “thickness” when put in fridge. Edie

    • Laura says:

      When I have made a roux I will use gluten free flour and a little cornstarch. So if I am using 2Tblsp of butter I will use 1 Tblsp of a gluten free flour blend and 1 Tblsp of cornstarch. Then of course the 1 cup milk. I am very curious to know where you get the onoins for your creamed onoins or what your recipe is. The grocery stores around me do not carry the onoins I grew up using to make creamed onoins.

  5. Kate donlevie says:

    Yea, love all the help I can get! Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Eleanor says:

    I don’t know about those of you out there but my husband loves desserts. I am always looking for good simple things to make him. At a restaurant about year ago, wanting dessert, he commented that the only thing they had was banana pudding. I thought about it for a few days before realizing that vanilla waffers are a cake texture. I had been using the Betty Crocker yellow cake mix recipe for sugar cookies so I made that recipe & added some extra vanilla & made the cookies smaller than usual. I nw have Gluten Free vanilla wafers & made him some Gluten Free Banana pudding. Again, put a dab of cool whip on top. He thought he had died & gone to heaven. Children, especially, would love this. I think Betty Crocker has a lot of good recipes as well as her mixes. I also use a lot of Bisquick for desserts. A lot cheaper than going to the Health food stores which I rarely go to anymore.

  7. Eleanor says:

    I have found that just mixing a can of Gluten Free Pumpkin pie mix according to the directions on the can, putting crushed nuts on top & baking as directed for an hour turns out to be just as good as the pie itself. Serve with a dob of cool whip on top. It is not only Gluten Free but better for the diet if you are watching it. It is fast, simple & my husband loves it. Why wait till the holidays to enjoy.

  8. Lisa Battiato says:

    I need to purchase an additional turkey (GF/Fresh) to have the following weekend of Thanksgivng. Will it still be okay to eat?

  9. Best tip to making a great gluten free stuffing is…bake a fresh loaf of bread. Bake the bread no sooner than the day before and don’t cube the bread until you’re ready to make the stuffing. Follow your original recipe. Stuff the turkey with it or bake on the side. You won’t be disappointed.

  10. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Thanks!

  11. Janine says:

    I was just at the store to look at turkeys and I saw that Butterball has fresh, 100% Natural Turkeys. It even says its Gluten Free on the front 🙂

  12. Tanya says:

    If your family can’t live without “green bean casserole” (made with cream of mushroom soup — and gluten!) you can use a homemade replacement recipe for cream soups (powdered milk, corn starch, etc — look on Pinterest for the recipe). I would serve homemade cranberry sauce (1 bag of fresh crans, 1 orange — zest it, then cut in quarters and remove peel… put crans and orange in a meat grinder. Add 1 cup of sugar and zest. Let set in fridge overnight). This cran sauce is BETTER than gravy! AND you can use it to replace your dessert too, if needed.

  13. Wendy Holter says:

    just baked a pumpkin pie, with a ready-made GF pie crust. I found it in the GF frozen food dept. at my local grocery store. It is a success. I will purchase again and bake them for the holidays, want to try them with fruit also.

  14. Allison says:

    Careful for the Honeybaked Ham! My family bought one last year, was told by the manager of the store that it was gluten free, but I looked on the nationwide website and found out the brine almost always has gluten. I got really sick! For stuffing, I recommend googling the NY Times’ gluten free stuffings. And for dessert, Pamela’s cupcakes.

  15. Carolyn Swan says:

    This is my first g-free Thanksgiving. We’re going to a restaurant for TG dinner. I was going to order turkey w/o stuffing, and gravy on the side so I can control the amount (I’m not a STRICT g-free’er, yet).
    Any other suggestions?

  16. Looking for gluten-free desserts, please help

  17. Priscilla LeBlanc says:

    ready made pie crust , would die for it.

    • Trisha says:

      They carry ready made gluten free pie crusts in my local Whole Foods. You might want to check it out! 😉

    • Dena says:

      Betty Crocker has some great gluten free dessert recipes on their website… the mexican brownies are to die for!!! The Chex website has some great recipes, as well. I use crushed up chex for cheese cake crusts, as well as pudding pie crusts. Pamela’s Products has a great gluten free all purpose flour that can be used, in your desserts, as well (many great recipes on that website, too). Hope this helps, some!

    • Sara says:

      One quick and easy recipe that I did in the gluten world that I can easily see working in the non-gluten world (just have yet to try it) is a truffle. You take oreo type cookies and mush them with a package of cream cheese. Roll the dough into balls and dunk it in melted chocolate. Refrigerate it and presto…truffles!

    • Debbie says:

      I found a frozen GF pie crust made by Wholly wholesome. I’m in TX and found it at Sprouts. Go to

  18. Lovely article, you should write more often. I recently started a little blog myself about cakes and recipes, if you feel like it why not take a look.Cheers

    • Emilly says:

      Hey there, I found pkg of two ready made GF Crusts by Kininnick (sp)
      for $5 at my local natural foods store. Was so excited since even tho I bake “real stuff” for a living I cannot seem to get gf to turn out. Keep looking for the products and lobby your stores to carry products.

    • Barbara says:

      Udi’s gluten free pie crust (2 in a pkg) in the gluten free frozen food freezer is amazing. I use it for all family gatherings and don’t bother with a “regular” pie for no one knows the difference.

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