A Gluten Free Thanksgiving Guide
Having a gluten free Thanksgiving is very possible, but will
require some pre-planning and coordination. Family holidays are
filled with memories and traditions. Families look forward to
certain dishes, that have become a tradition in their homes, for
this day. It may be the only day all year that some of these
particular dishes are served.
Gluten Free Thanksgiving at Your Home
If you are hosting the meal, then you will be in control of what
is in your kitchen. In this scenario you simply have to do
your shopping and make meals that are safe for you. If others
wish to bring additional dishes that have become a family
favorite, they can prepare them at home and bring the finished
dish. As long as you avoid eating it, or using the same
serving spoon, you should do fine.
If you are willing to prepare a dish containing gluten, just
remember to use items that are not set aside for gluten free
use, like colanders and graters. Aluminum foil can help with
some baking pans, and toaster ovens.
The best way to handle these dishes, that you would not be safe
in eating, is to keep them at the other end of the table. That
way you are much less likely to use a utensil that was in the
forbidden dish. Children who cannot partake should also be at
the other end of the table from those dishes that are not
Things like turkey stuffing, for example, can either be made
gluten free or made in a separate dish, not in the turkey. If
you are preparing the dish, use a pan that will be easy to
clean, like glass. Pies and cakes that others bring will
belong at that far end of the table. Be sure to have a
dessert prepared for the gluten free family members that can be
enjoyed at the same time. Serve them first, to avoid cross
Turkey Brands that are Gluten Free
All Norbest Turkey Products (fresh and frozen) are gluten free.
They also say none have dairy proteins (casein). The Norbest
Oven Roasted Fully Cooked turkeys are gluten and dairy free,
but do contain soy protein. All the raw turkeys have no soy.
You can choose between fresh or frozen, basted or natural.
Butterball turkeys (fresh or frozen) do not contain gluten, and
their gravy packets have been reformulated so that they don't
contain gluten. However, some packets still may contain
gluten. If so, it will be listed on the ingredient statement,
along with other top allergens. If you choose this brand be
sure to check the label.
Try to avoid those with gluten in the gravy packet. I've had
the packet break in a turkey in the past (different brand
There are 2 products Butterball makes that do contain gluten,
Frozen Italian Style Meatballs, and Frozen Stuffed Turkey.
Jennie O FRESH Turkeys are gluten free, but they recommend
you read the label. Read the label for any gravy packet as
Honeysuckle White Turkeys, Fresh, Frozen, or Cooked are gluten
free. They do recommend you read the label.
They have 5 products that DO contain gluten, Asian Grill
Marinated Turkey Strips, Teriyaki Flavor Turkey Breast
Tenderloin, Frozen Italian Style Meatballs, Fresh
Italian Style Turkey Meatballs, and Beer Smoked Turkey Brats.
Ocean Spray cranberry sauce is also gluten free.
Gluten Free Thanksgiving at Family or Friend's Houses
If you are going to a family member's home for Thanksgiving,
things become a bit more complicated. You must be proactive,
and ask them what brand of turkey they will be using. Make
sure they are not putting a gluten filled stuffing into the
bird. Ask if they could make the stuffing in a separate dish,
so it does not come in contact with the bird.
Most people who are new to the diet, will not understand
about cross contamination. They may feel that a few crumbs or
a couple of tablespoons of flour in the gravy will not harm
Only you can judge how willing they are to work with you so that
you can be safe. If you are unsure, the best option might be
to bring your own side dishes. If they can make the turkey
gluten free, and you can be served before others, then you can
just bring side dishes for any gluten free family members.
Many dishes will have something added that the hostess may not
even realize has gluten in it. If you can get a list of
ingredients for the various dishes you want to enjoy, you may
be able to have at least some of them. Expect desserts to be
off limits in most cases.
Bring a gluten free dessert that everyone can enjoy, and serve
your gluten free family members first, then it can be passed to
others. Remember that many salad dressings also contain
gluten. Bring one along that you can use if needed.
The traditional green bean casserole is not gluten free.
Campbell's mushroom soup contains gluten, and French's Onions
contain wheat flour. So unless you make a gluten free version,
that will not be an option for you.
While food is an important part of a holiday, it is not the most
important part. Being together, catching up on each others
news and lives, and spending time with one another is the
really important part. A little proactive planning can avoid
tension and worry.
Wishing Everyone A Happy Thanksgiving!
Below are a couple of pages you may find helpful after
to Gluten Free Turkey Pot Pie Recipe (for leftovers)
from Gluten Free Thanksgiving to Hidden Gluten (just in case)
from Gluten Free Thanksgiving to Gluten Free Diet Help Home