gluten free pantry

Imagine needing to make the switch to the gluten-free lifestyle because you’ve been diagnosed with coeliac disease, or, like me, because you have other health issues for which a gluten-free diet would be helpful.

Believe me, panic sets in. A long list of foods you love is suddenly out: pizza, pasta, French toast, sandwiches – what will you do? 
Don’t panic! Instead of seeing the limitations on your diet as a problem, see it as a challenge to your creativity. The door has opened to a world of gastronomic discovery.

When cravings for familiar comfort foods come a-knocking, with the right, safe ingredients in your cupboard, you can answer without risking the consequences of indulging the gluten-y foods that make you sick.

Here are 12 must-have ingredients to keep stocked in your gluten-free kitchen, and a recipe for a quick flour that you can also use for anything from loaves to waffles.

Breakfast

Oats are a great way to get some grain in you, but make sure it’s certified gluten-free to avoid cross contamination. Buckwheat and amaranth are all great as part of breakfast too – and polenta is heavenly topped with a poached egg. Swoon!

Lunch

If sandwiches are your jam, try different gluten-free breads on the market until you find one you like. Where I’m from in the US, the best one available is from Canyon Bakehouse (identical taste and texture to packaged sandwich bread).

Dinner

Most Asian food is gluten-free friendly, so I have lots of ingredients for that part of the world, just be sure to buy gluten-free soy sauce.

Mexican food is easily adaptable, too – corn flour (sometimes sold as masa flour) requires only water to have fresh tortillas in minutes, and brown rice flour tortillas are a great substitute if you want a wrap or quesadilla, instead of tacos.

Almond meal (ground almonds with skin) and/or almond flour (without skin) can be used in place of breadcrumbs for meatloaf and meatballs, scalloped potatoes, chicken cutlets and more. They add a slight nutty flavor without being too overpowering, especially if you season them before using.

For pasta that isn’t homemade, experiment with brands on the market until you find the one you like best. Here’s a pro tip though: cook the pasta al dente (which means for less time than the package directions say, and so that it still has a “bite”) to avoid the too-mushy snag that so often happens with gluten-free pasta brands. I’ve tried every brand on the market, and Jovial Foods makes the best by a long shot. They’re available online, and ship only to the U.S. (but do email them to inquire about international shipping).

Side dishes

Rice (white, brown, red, wild, & arborio), polenta, grits, and quinoa are all gluten free and great for sides, but more obvious examples include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yams and every vegetable imaginable.

Snacks

Whole popcorn kernels, gluten-free crackers, corn tortilla chips and potato chips (crisps to the Brits) are all gluten-free snacks. The former is best because it’s a wholegrain and isn’t fried.

Last but not least, sleuth around your area to see if there are speciality stores that carry gluten-free artisanal goodies (croutons, flatbreads or crostini toasts). Finding a local company that makes your gluten-free life that much more dee-yummy-licious is worth the extra effort.

For baking

You need to keep an arsenal of gluten-free flours in your freezer. My freezer always has: brown rice flour, white rice flour, sweet white rice flour, potato flour, potato starch, tapioca flour (also known as tapioca starch), arrowroot flour (or arrowroot starch), coconut flour and almond flour.

Making your own blend will save money and give you precise textures. I’ve provided a recipe for an “all-purpose quick bread” flour blend that’s great for waffles, muffins, and pancakes to help get you started, but experiment to see what you like.

Many recipes will call for xanthan or guar gum, a product that adds bouncy texture to baked goods (in an attempt) to mimic gluten. Experiment with and without them to decide for yourself.

gluten-free pantry flour

Quick all-purpose gluten-free flour blend recipe

In case you don’t have a kitchen scale to measure your flour by weight (an essential tool for baking in general, but even more important in gluten-free baking), I put the best approximation in cups below.

Ingredients: 


221 grams (approx. 1.5 cups) brown rice flour

210 grams (approx 1.5 cups) white rice flour

292 grams (approx 3 cups) tapioca starch flour

315 grams (approx 3 cups) arrowroot starch flour

3 tbsp potato flour

Directions: Add flours to a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine and store in an airtight container. It will keep up to 6 months or more if stored in the fridge or freezer.

For our top five gluten-free recipes, including amazing pizza dough, click here.

Ariyele Ressler

About the author

Ariyele is the mastermind behind AriyeleKeepinitReal, a gluten-free, allergy friendly cooking show on YouTube meant to inspire, entertain, and enliven the gastronomic lives of foodies following restrictive diets for managing chronic health issues. Comedic cooking videos at AriyeleKeepinItReal and full recipes available on ariyeleressler.com and Ariyele is also on Instagram here.

Ariyele Ressler's blog

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  • Paula Rankin

    Looking forward to trying the GF flour blend.

  • Agathi Yap-Bartlett

    Hi…can I use wild rice flour with the blend?

  • sal wiserbytheday

    shame that this is american based & no UK terms or alternatives listed, when on Jamie’s website. Life can be hard enough to handle diet restrictions. That said, a couple of useful suggestions

  • penelopepitstop

    Agree with Sal wiserbytheday. Shame on you Jamie :(

  • Nicki Armstrong

    Hi all, I have been a coeliac for many years now along with not being able to eat potatoes, dairy, nuts and a host of other foods. I had to start from scratch on the cooking front but have never used xantham gum for cooking. I found by using doves flour, self raising flour for both pastry and cakes and only adding baking power of bircarbonate of soda if necessary and following cook books just as I did before and only changing butter for pure spread and milk for soya milk I have carried on cooking as normal. For Christmas I use a Mary Berry mince pie recipe which I do use plain doves flour for, chocolate log which is from a recipe I have had for years etc. I hope this helps and am more than happy to send people recipes or hints, tips etc that I use on a daily basis. Good luck!

  • Sammmmmie84

    To the people complaining that “because Jamie Oliver is from the UK the article should have UK options” – that’s just ridiculous. Regardless of where you are from in the world, or in a specific country, what someone finds in their local market, could be completely different to what you will find in yours. What this article gives you, is the basics of what you need, types of flours, rices, instructions on how to cook gluten free pasta, alternatives to gluten packed foods – which for someone who may be unfamiliar with this lifestyle, is very helpful. If you were seriously expecting a list of brands and directions to the shop near you that has it in stock, you’re just being lazy! I am Australian and it didn’t even cross my mind to be upset about this article not catering to my specific Australian needs… So… Shame on you for thinking the world revolves around the UK. And in parting, I’ll draw your attention to the website – Jamieoliver dot com – not dot com dot uk… Jamie has fans across the world and this article gave more than enough information for anyone to go out and find these products by simply opening their eyes and looking for them.

  • Emc

    I’m a coeliac as well, and have been for most of my adult life.
    Where ever you live you will have to adapt to the country and the products they have.
    In fact, milk, butter, flour is different depending on the climate and what the animals eat as well as where the oat, rice etc grows.
    I’m grateful that we at last can use so many alternatives and eat healthy GF food without the hassle it was 20 years ago!
    I bake my bread, cakes, crackers etc and change recipes accordingly.
    Luckily I am a nutritionist and a Home Econ teacher, but still had to learn a whole new way of cooking and looking at ingredients in another way.
    It’s hard from the beginning :) . But it is healthy and make you care about whist you eat.

  • David Rose

    If you’ve just been diagnosed, which is the articles premise, then you shouldn’t be eating Oats for breakfast (even certified Gluten Free ones). Oats contain the protein avenin which although not one of the amino acids that triggers a reaction, look to the body to be very similar. It is therefore recommended (in the UK at least) that a newly diagnosed Coeliac refrain from Oats for at least a year. After a year, they can be introduced to the diet, but should be monitored as some peoples immune system incorrectly identifies them as gluten.

  • Lucy

    This article is fantastic! So good to get some easy to understand advice on how to live GF without sacrificing on taste! Thank you!

  • Mandybear44

    Fresh pasta is now available..it’s delicious! Made with eggs and some parmesan cheese..fantastic!