Gluten is the collective name for a group of proteins found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. Although most people can eat gluten without any issues, it may be harmful to individuals with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Those with gluten disorders may experience symptoms like digestive discomfort, headaches, fatigue, weight loss, and dermatitis after eating gluten. Other people may also benefit from removing gluten from their diet. Potatoes are gluten-free. Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and other grains. Potatoes aren’t grains, they’re a type of starchy vegetable. Without much regard to different potato types in the world, they are all safe for eating.
Those potato types include russet, sweet, white, red, purple, fingerling, and Petites. And all of them are gluten-free. They’re also versatile enough that you can incorporate them into your gluten-free diet in many ways. You can also use potatoes and products made from them as recipe substitutes for ingredients you can’t eat.
While potatoes in their natural form don’t have gluten, it’s important to know where cross-contact can occur, or where added ingredients may make potatoes no longer safe for people with celiac disease. Plain potatoes are gluten-free. However, certain potato dishes may not be gluten-free, depending on how they’re prepared. The more ingredients you add, the bigger the risk of diverting the different potato types into a gluten-full diet.
Here are some potato-heavy dishes where the gluten is hiding in plain sight:
Don’t top mashed potatoes with gravy. Flour is the main ingredient in most kinds of gravy, but you can find gluten-free options at the store, or make your own.
Fried and baked potatoes
Order baked potatoes plain — without any butter or oil. Butter in restaurant kitchens can become easily contaminated when utensils that have been used in gluten-containing foods are dipped in them. Also, avoid restaurant french fries. They may be cooked in the same fryer as gluten-containing foods like battered chicken or onion rings. The same goes for potato skins.
Watch out for packaged potato bread. It may contain wheat flour. Check the nutrition label on store-bought, or make your own to be safe.
Skip the store-bought potato chips and make your own, it’s easy! Some packaged and restaurant versions contain malt vinegar or wheat starch.
Instant mashed potatoes
When buying instant mashed potatoes, check the ingredient label. Some brands aren’t gluten-free.
Being gluten-free doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice all the foods you love. Making a few simple modifications to your recipes — including substituting potatoes for gluten-containing ingredients — can broaden your culinary options and prevent you from feeling deprived.