By/ Last Modified On April 18, 2023
If you’ve recently adopted a gluten-free lifestyle, you may feel overwhelmed when you discover how many products contain glutinous ingredients – even if they don't have "wheat" stamped on the label.
So, are potatoes gluten-free? From potato facts to our most popular recipes, let's learn more about the mighty and versatile vegetable!
What Are Potatoes, Exactly?
Potatoes are a starchy, gluten-free tuber from the nightshade family. Although some fad diets encourage us to avoid high-starch foods like potatoes, these vegetables actually contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, B6, and potassium.
The Most Common Potatoes in the US
In the US, the most common types of potatoes include:
- Russet - Starchy and perfect for baking, mashing, and frying
- New - Waxy and ideal for boiling, steaming, and roasting
- Yukon Gold - Perfect for all preparation methods
- Fingerling - Waxy and best for pan-frying, boiling, and roasting.
Are Potatoes Gluten-Free?
Can celiacs eat potatoes? Sure! People with celiac disease or gluten allergies don’t need to avoid potatoes.
That said, gluten often appears in potato-based recipes – and it’s found in countless processed recipes at grocery stores and restaurants.
Frozen French Fries
For example, some bags of frozen fries use wheat to coat the product. The coating might even look exactly like salt, so always be sure to check the label.
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Since wheat is a convenient thickening ingredient, many food manufacturers use it in gravies and sauces. Fortunately, it's not too difficult to make gluten-free gravy (as long as you keep an eye on it during the cooking process).
Note: We recommend avoiding gravy completely if you're not making it at home or dining at a gluten-free restaurant.
We love using potato flour for bread, sauces, soups, and much more. When purchased from a respected gluten-free brand (like Bob’s Red Mill), you can create a huge variety of your favorite wheat-free recipes.
Recipes often call for a certain type of prepared potato, but you’ll need to ensure that it isn’t contaminated with gluten during manufacturing. For example, if you want to make cheesy potatoes with hash browns, be sure to check the ingredient list. You just never know when a normally gluten-free food might be contaminated during the manufacturing process.
Are jacket potatoes gluten-free? Also called “baked potatoes,” they’re absolutely gluten-free – until a glutinous ingredient is added to the dish.
Toppings frequently added to jacket potatoes – like cheese, butter, sour cream, and bacon crumbles – are usually gluten-free, but always take care to confirm the topping additives first. This is especially true if you're not personally making these baked potatoes in your home kitchen.
A Note About Shared Fryers
You need to be careful about shared fryers. Your order of French fries might not have any gluten, but the chicken strips that went into the fryer just a few minutes ago certainly do. Unless the fryer is completely emptied and reset with fresh oil, there's a significant chance of cross-contamination.
When dining out, ask whether the restaurant has a dedicated gluten-free fryer.
Do Potatoes Have Gluten When They Come from a Box?
When it comes to pre-packaged meals or processed foods with potatoes, it's usually a toss-up whether they contain gluten. The best way to determine this is by looking at the ingredients on the box.
To have complete control over your ingredients, we recommend visiting your local produce section. There, you'll find multiple types of potatoes – all without gluten. From starchy Russet potatoes used for french fries to Yukon Gold potatoes for mashed potatoes, your supermarket’s vegetable section is the best place to find potatoes for your favorite gluten-free recipes.
Does Sweet Potato Have Gluten?
Sweet potatoes are gluten-free. These root vegetables are part of the morning glory family while potatoes belong to the nightshade family. Like their tuberous cousins, sweet potatoes are often cooked in shared fryers and/or coated in glutinous powder for a crispier texture.
If you aren’t preparing sweet potato fries at home, be sure to ask the restaurant about potential cross-contamination and whether they have separate fryers.
Our Favorite Gluten-Free Potato Dishes
Are potatoes gluten-free? You bet! If you’re new to this lifestyle, learning gluten-free cooking skills will transform how you prepare recipes. From finding replacements for your favorite glutinous foods to discovering the best ways to cook them, potatoes are an endlessly versatile ingredient.
If you’re looking for simple dishes that satisfy your cravings, whip up some of our favorite mouth-watering dishes:
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Mashed Potatoes Considered Gluten-Free?
Absolutely, mashed potato recipes traditionally don’t call for any glutinous ingredients. However, gravy usually uses wheat flour as a thickening agent.
Does a Baked Potato Have Gluten?
Unless a glutinous topping is added, baked potatoes are gluten-free.
Do Cooked Potatoes Have Gluten?
If potatoes are prepared in a gluten-free kitchen without any wheat-based ingredients, they will be 100% gluten-free.
Before You Go...
Looking for some great gluten-free snack ideas? Check out our list on the Best Gluten-Free Snacks. And for those days when you need a little assistance in the kitchen, check out the 24 Best Gluten-Free Subscription Boxes.