Are Potatoes Gluten-Free?

You may have noticed that section in your grocery store dedicated to gluten-free foods. But what you may not know is the numerous foods that are naturally gluten-free, like potatoes or rice. 

Gluten is a protein in some grains that triggers a food allergy or intolerance in some people. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition or allergic reaction to gluten that causes inflammation and damage to the small intestine.

Gluten intolerance is when you feel sick after eating gluten, but an immune response doesn’t cause the symptoms. Many of the symptoms of celiac disease and gluten intolerance can feel similar, so it’s important to talk with your healthcare professional to learn which type you’re experiencing.

This article covers what gluten is, which foods have gluten, reasons to eat gluten-free, and tips for following the diet. 

Woman peeling a potato

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What Is Gluten?

Gluten is the protein found in some grains. It helps food maintain its structure and hold together. Grains that contain gluten include:

  • Wheat and wheat derivatives (durum, semolina, spelt, farro, etc.)
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Triticale
  • Malt
  • Wheat starch
  • Brewer’s yeast

Common Foods That Contain Gluten

Gluten-based foods are a staple in many people’s diets. Here are some examples of common gluten foods:

  • Wheat, rye, or barley-based bread
  • Granola bars made with wheat and grain ingredients
  • Noodles and pasta
  • Breaded meats
  • Crackers
  • Grain-based desserts such as pastries, cookies, cakes
  • Cereals
  • Beer
  • Croutons  

Potatoes and Gluten

Potatoes are one of the naturally gluten-free foods.

Potatoes and potato flour are common alternatives used in gluten-free products. They can be used to make crusts or coating to make food crisp. Mashed potatoes also help thicken foods, like soups and sauces. 

It’s important to know when eating out or when other people are cooking that there is the risk of cross-contamination. If potatoes come into contact with gluten foods, or the cooking tools or oils used to cook gluten foods, there is the chance you could accidentally be exposed to gluten. 

Why Go Gluten-Free

Gluten-free won’t be the best option for everyone. For people without sensitivities or allergies to gluten, it isn’t necessary or beneficial to eat gluten-free. Reasons to go gluten-free include:

  • Celiac disease: You experience an allergy and auto-immune response to gluten
  • Gluten intolerance: You develop symptoms like digestive problems, headaches, brain fog, fatigue, or other problems after eating gluten
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH): You experience a recurring skin rash caused by an immune response after eating gluten

Gluten-Free Foods

Many foods are naturally gluten-free, such as:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts
  • Oats and oatmeal
  • Oils
  • Rice
  • Quinoa

While these foods are gluten-free, it’s important to check the label and companies information for how the food is manufactured.

Be sure to choose foods labeled “gluten-free” because sometimes the products are produced in plants that also process products containing gluten, which means there could be cross-contamination.

Tips for Following a Gluten-Free Diet

Here are some tips when following a gluten-free diet:

  • Prepare foods at home: Starting with whole foods (unprocessed or have no added ingredients) helps you control cross-contamination.
  • Read the label: Look for “gluten-free” on the label and check for a warning about whether the product was processed in a facility that also processes gluten-containing products.
  • Use gluten-free substitutes: Swaps include rice or potato noodles instead of traditional wheat flour pasta.
  • Opt for naturally gluten-free grains: These include quinoa, rice, and oats.
  • Avoid sauces thickened with gluten: Some gravies, stocks, and condiments are thickened with gluten.

Summary

Gluten is a protein found in some grains, like wheat, barley, and rye. Many foods are naturally gluten-free, like potatoes, rice, fruits, and vegetables.

If you have an allergy or intolerance to gluten, you’ll want to follow a gluten-free diet. When following a gluten-free diet, read the label for gluten ingredients and opt for naturally gluten-free foods. Also, control for cross-contamination.

A Word From Verywell

Gluten-based foods are a staple in many people's diets. If you need to follow a gluten-free diet, you can still enjoy many delicious foods. It just takes a little more thought to ensure there are no gluten ingredients or cross-contamination.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that may be related to gluten foods, talk with your healthcare professional to determine the cause of your symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you start a gluten-free diet?

    To start a gluten-free diet, you’ll want to avoid any wheat, rye, or barley foods. Instead, opt for adding naturally gluten-free foods like potatoes, rice, quinoa, fruits, vegetables, beans, and meats.

  • How long after switching to gluten-free will it take for me to notice a difference?

    You should notice your symptoms improving within a few weeks of starting a gluten-free diet. Some people will feel better after just a few days of eating gluten-free. However, for some cases of celiac disease, it could take months for your intestines to return to normal.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Leonard MM, Sapone A, Catassi C, Fasano A. Celiac disease and nonceliac gluten sensitivity: a review. JAMA. 2017;318(7):647-656. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.9730

  2. Jones AL. The gluten-free diet: fad or necessity? Diabetes Spectr. 2017;30(2):118-123. doi:10.2337/ds16-0022

  3. National Celiac Foundation. NASSCD releases summary statement on oats.

By Ashley Braun, MPH, RD
Ashley Braun, MPH, RD, is a registered dietitian and public health professional with over 5 years of experience educating people on health related topics using evidence-based information. Her experience includes educating on a wide range of conditions including diabetes, heart disease, HIV, neurological conditions, and more.