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  • Scott Adams

    Best Gluten-Free Thanksgiving and Holiday Food and Dessert Guide

    Scott Adams
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      This six-step guide will have you preparing a top-notch gluten-free meal with minimum stress.

    Image: CC BY 2.0--Roucaled
    Caption: Image: CC BY 2.0--Roucaled

    Celiac.com 11/17/2020 - For people with celiac disease or gluten-intolerance, preparing a great gluten-free Thanksgiving feast has never been easier! For the first time ever, our gluten-free holiday food and dessert guide breaks it all down to a simple six-step process that guarantees success. We’ve got recipes, and links to great examples to help make your gluten-free thanksgiving and holiday celebrations the best ever.

    Here are the six steps to a perfect gluten-free Thanksgiving:

    • Get a gluten-free holiday turkey
    • Make great gluten-free stuffing
    • Make great gluten-free gravy
    • Make great gluten-free mashed potatoes and side dishes
    • Make great gluten-free pies and desserts
    • Serve gluten-free beer, wine, and booze

    Step One - Know Which Holiday Turkey is Gluten-Free

    Always make sure you buy a 100% gluten-free turkey for your holiday dinner. Don't assume your turkey is gluten-free. 

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    Numerous brands use gluten when processing their turkeys, so be sure to read the label, and to make sure there is no hidden gluten in any of the ingredients. Be especially cautious of any seasoning or gravy packets that come with otherwise gluten-free turkeys. If you’re not sure, check the ingredients and use our Gluten-Free Ingredient Lists to help you shop.

    If you’re wondering which brands of turkey are gluten-free, here’s a helpful list of gluten-free turkey brands. There are probably many other gluten-free brands, but be sure to check with your local store and read labels to be sure.

    Step Two - Here are Nine of Our Best Recipes for Great Gluten-free Stuffing

    Step Three - Serve Our Best Gluten-free Holiday Gravy

    This recipe makes a rich, savory gravy that will have all your holiday guests smiling! Makes enough gravy to serve about eight to ten people.


    • 1 pound turkey giblets and neck
    • 1½ quarts gluten-free chicken stock (low sodium is fine)
    • 2 carrots, chopped
    • 1 stalk celery, chopped
    • 2 cups water
    • 1½ cups pan drippings from roasted turkey
    • 4 tablespoons of corn starch (approximate)
    • Note: One tablespoon corn starch (¼-ounce) thickens one cup of liquid
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
    • Salt and ground black pepper to taste

    While the turkey is roasting, place the turkey giblets and neck into a large saucepan with the carrots, celery, water, and chicken stock.

    Bring to a boil over medium heat, skim off any foam that rises to the top, reduce heat to low, and simmer the stock for 3 hours.

    Skim off the fat, strain the stock, and set aside. There should be about 4 cups of stock.

    Take carrots and celery and press through a strainer. Spoon strained carrots and celery into the stock and stir.

    Skim off and discard all but ¼ cup of the fat from the drippings in the roasting pan, and place the roasting pan over medium heat.

    Whisk in the corn starch, then heat and stir the corn starch mixture until it becomes pale golden brown, about 5 minutes. To avoid lumps, mix the starch with an equal amount of cold liquid until it forms a paste, then whisk it into the liquid you're trying to thicken. Once the thickener is added, cook it briefly to remove any starchy flavor. Don't overcook.

    Whisk in the stock and tomato paste; bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes, then whisk in the cranberry sauce. Simmer for 10 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

    Step Four - Make Great Gluten-Free Mashed Potatoes and Side Dishes

    Make these roasted garlic and chive mashed potatoes, and/or make easy, tasty gluten-free side dishes using Celiac.com's extensive listing of gluten-free recipes.

    Roasted Garlic Chive Mashed Potatoes


    • 5 large russet potatoes (about 4½ pounds), peeled and cut into chunks
    • 1 head of garlic (8-10 cloves), roasted
    • 1 cup fresh cream, warmed
    • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, room temperature
    • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Use a knife to cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Drizzle lightly with olive oil, and wrap in foil. Place in oven at 400 degrees F, and roast for about 30 minutes, until cloves are soft.

    While garlic is roasting, wash and peel potatoes and cut into 6 chunks each.

    Add 1 teaspoon of salt to a large pot of water, add potatoes and boil until the potatoes are soft (about 25-30 minutes).

    When garlic is soft, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Once cool, place garlic on a plate and use a wooden spoon to squeeze roasted garlic out of the clove.

    When potatoes are done, strain them into a colander and let stand for 5 minutes to allow them to steam dry over the pot they were cooked in.

    Mash the potatoes.

    Stir in the cream, butter, roasted garlic, thyme and chives, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

    Here’s a helpful list of Velveeta and Twenty Other Surprisingly Gluten-Free Foods.

    Step Five - Serve One of Our Most Loved Gluten-free Holiday Dessert Recipes

    Scroll down and follow the Pumpkin Pie recipe below, or follow the links to some of our best loved gluten-free desserts and baked goods (Note: King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour will work well in place of regular wheat flour most of these recipes, so feel free to substitute as you like):

    Thanksgiving Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie

    Prepare winning gluten-free desserts, such as Celiac.com’s Best Ever Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie Recipe (Adapted from Libby's Original Pumpkin Pie Recipe)


    • ¾ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 can (15 oz.) Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin (Yes, it's gluten-free!)
    • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) Evaporated Milk
    • 1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell
    • Whipped cream (optional)

    MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

    POUR into gluten-free pie shell.

    BAKE in preheated 425° F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.

    For more great gluten-free sides, desserts, and more, be sure to consult Celiac.com’s Gluten-free Recipes list.

    Step Six - Serve Great Gluten-Free Booze, Wine and Beer

    Serve booze freely, as all distilled spirits are now considered gluten-free but the FDA and the TTB, unless any gluten-ingredients are added afterward.

    To serve gluten-free beer, consult our Oktoberfest Beer Guide! Gluten-free vs. Gluten-removed Beers, and wine is gluten-free

    Edited by Scott Adams


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  • About Me

    Scott Adams was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. In 1995 he launched the site that later became Celiac.com to help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives.  He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of the (formerly paper) newsletter Journal of Gluten Sensitivity. In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. Celiac.com does not sell any products, and is 100% advertiser supported.

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