For people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or those who just adhered to gluten-free diets, many comfort foods are off-limits – requiring you to modify them so they’re safe to eat. A gluten-free lifestyle can be difficult to manage, leading people to search high and low for gluten-free recipes that still taste as good as the original. What about everyone’s favorite: the potato. Are potatoes gluten free?
Natural potatoes with nothing added to them are considered free of gluten and are an excellent source of fiber. You can consume them safely without worry. What you need to be careful of is the way potatoes are prepared: mashed, baked and fried potatoes can contain gluten through cross-contamination or addition of ingredients containing gluten. So can potato soup. If you make potato dishes at home, you can ensure that all ingredients adhere to your diet and lifestyle. When dining out, you need to be a little more careful.
In most cases, mashed potatoes are safe to eat. For delicious homemade mashed potatoes, prep and cook your potatoes, drain and add whole milk, unsalted butter, salt and pepper to desired taste and consistency. Many brands of instant mashed potatoes found in stores are also gluten free, including Hungry Jack brand and Idaho Naturals. Read the ingredients, though, as some may contain thickeners. When you are dining out, ask if they add a flour thickener to their mashed potatoes. Most do not, but you can never be too careful.
Do potatoes have gluten when they’re baked? Usually, the answer is no. Some restaurants may prep their potatoes alongside other foods like rolls, pastries and pies, though, and the potatoes may become cross-contaminated if the two foods touch. Ask your waiter to be sure or forgo the baked potato in favor of another vegetable. When preparing them at home yourself, avoid putting them directly on the rack if you or your family prepares foods directly on the oven rack.
French fries, home fries and fried potatoes are all safe as long as the oil used to fry them was not used to fry other foods that contain gluten. At home, you can rest easy frying your potatoes knowing that they’ve not been contaminated by other foods. In restaurants, as usual, you’ll need to see if other foods are dipped in the oil for used for the potatoes. Many places, for example, may dip breaded chicken, fish, hushpuppies and other types of fried bread into the same grease used for fries. This can trigger an allergic or autoimmune reaction, so it’s important to be diligent when dining out.
This delicious comfort food can easily be part of a gluten-free diet as long as precautions are taken to ensure the safety of the ingredients. Cream-based soups often have thickeners, so you’d be better off preparing this dish at home. There are a number of different ways to prepare potato soup using onions, carrots, milk, cheese, potatoes, spices and broth. Just make sure the broth you use is gluten-free.
Living a gluten free lifestyle doesn’t require you to give up potatoes. You can enjoy these delicious, nutritious tubers anytime you like. Learn how to substitute safe ingredients for those that contain gluten, and be diligent about finding out the ingredients used at your favorite restaurants.