Find out what types of noodles are safe for your gluten-free diet – and which aren’t. Plus get ideas on which brands to shop for at the store for each type of gluten-free noodle.
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I’m not sure about you, but we are noodle people in my house. We love all things pasta, ramen, and noodle stir-fries. We eat noodles of some kind at least once a week, because they are fast and easy to make – plus they’re so dang versatile!
If you love noodles like we do, you might be wondering what types of noodles I choose for my gluten-free diet. After all, there are about a million different types of noodles out there.
So which ones are naturally safe for a gluten-free diet? Which ones do you need to search for special gluten-free versions of? Which ones will you wind up avoiding altogether?
I have written a number of blog posts on the topic of noodles – so I feel like I can easily share with you what noodle options are going to work for you if you’re avoiding gluten.
In this post, we’re going to cover some of the most popular types of noodles, answer whether or not they’re gluten-free, and I’ll even link off to their dedicated posts where you can find full lists of brands and recommendations for each type.
Find out if your favorite style of noodle is gluten-free and how it can fit into your gluten-free diet here in this post! And if I miss any, be sure to ask about it in the comments and I’ll do my best to get you some answers.
No one should have to go without noodles in their lives – or bellies!
What are noodles made of?
Noodles can vary in their ingredients, depending on what the use of the noodle is and where the noodles originate from. For example, a lot of noodles that are originally from Asian countries use a lot of rice and wheat flour, because these are popular crops in this area.
In the US, wheat flour or derivatives of wheat are most commonly used because of the abundance of this grain in this area.
You can find noodles made out of all kinds of different ingredients, but wheat and rice are the most common and popular. There are plenty of other grains and ingredients that are used in noodles, like buckwheat, potato, rice, corn, chickpea, quinoa, tapioca or cassava.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
You can find gluten in whole grains, but also in many processed foods as well. Many processed foods have hidden gluten in them in the form of gluten or wheat derivatives. These are also in the form of flavorings, binders to keep ingredients together, or other additives.
Are noodles gluten-free?
Depending on the ingredients used in a specific type of noodle or even based on the brand, noodles can be gluten-free or they can contain gluten.
The main thing you’ll need to know is how to read ingredient lists. This is because certain types of noodles might be classified as always containing gluten, but upon looking closer you realize they’re made with gluten-free ingredients.
Some ingredients to look for in noodles that do contain gluten are: wheat flour, semolina flour, all purpose flour, enriched flour, and white flour. If you see any of these ingredients in a package of noodles, you’ll know this isn’t a good option for your gluten-free diet.
One easy way to help you determine if the noodles you’re looking at buying are gluten-free is to look for a gluten-free label. When it comes to buying noodles, this is a really good option, because even if there are no specific gluten ingredients listed, sometimes there can be cross contamination at the manufacturing level.
A gluten-free label will tell you that there is less than 20ppm of gluten in that product as per the FDA’s regulations. Without a gluten-free label, you can review ingredients lists and look for names of gluten.
Read on: Gluten-free pasta: brands & options
One of my little secrets is that I carry around a copy of my GFDF Take Along Cards so that I always have a point of reference when I can sneak a peek at the ingredient list of a food.
Which types of noodles are gluten-free?
There are a number of types of noodles that are naturally gluten-free and therefore you’ll have to worry very little about cross contamination with gluten or other added gluten ingredients. It’s still a good idea to review ingredients lists before buying these just in case.
- Pasta noodles with gluten-free labels
- Rice noodles
- Glass noodles
This is a pretty short list, but it’s worth checking packages for any and all noodles you buy from the store.
Read on: Are glass noodles gluten-free?
Which noodles are not gluten-free?
Many types of noodles contain gluten and you’ll want to steer clear of them on a gluten-free diet. These include:
- Soba noodles
- Egg noodles
- Udon noodles
- Ramen noodles
That said, even though most of these types of noodles contain gluten, there are a number of brands that now offer gluten-free versions. You can find gluten-free ramen noodles, pasta noodles, and even egg noodles.
I’ve done a lot of the research for many of these, and you can find brands of gluten-free noodles at many local grocery stores and through online retailers like Amazon or Thrive Market.
Read on: Are udon noodles gluten-free?
How to make sure your noodles are gluten-free
Even if the noodles you choose are gluten-free, one more thing to keep in mind is that anything else being served with the noodles needs to also be gluten-free. Sauces, vegetables, proteins, seasonings, and other ingredients all need to be reviewed for any hidden gluten.
If you’re ordering noodles from a restaurant, be sure to check what other ingredients are used in a dish. Keep in mind that soy sauce usually contains gluten unless it’s a gluten-free tamari soy sauce. Many cream sauces also contain gluten from the roux that’s used to thicken sauces.
Read on: Gluten-free spaghetti sauce
Are your favorite noodles gluten-free?
There are so many types of noodles, many contain gluten and some don’t. Let’s go over some of the most popular types of noodles and determine whether or not these should be eaten on a gluten-free diet.
Is pasta gluten-free?
Most pasta noodles are not gluten-free as they’re most commonly made using semolina pasta which comes from wheat. If you see either semolina flour or enriched wheat flour on a package of any type of pasta, including spaghetti, fettuccine, macaroni, or others, know that these noodles contain gluten.
There has been a huge influx of different gluten-free noodle options coming to the market in the past few years. Manufacturers are making noodles out of all kinds of different gluten-free flours, like rice, corn, quinoa, cassava, chickpea, and more.
If you’re looking for a gluten-free pasta option, check for a gluten-free label on the packaging to help you know that the product has less than 20ppm of gluten.
Are spaghetti noodles gluten-free?
Most spaghetti noodles contain gluten as they’re made from semolina flour or wheat flour. There are a number of great gluten-free spaghetti options that range in ingredients, like rice, corn, and quinoa.
Find out five of my favorite gluten-free spaghetti noodle brands.
Are rice noodles gluten-free?
Yes, most rice noodles are gluten-free. There are some types of noodles that are not gluten-free, so if you’re cooking at home, you’ll want to be sure to check ingredients lists before purchasing.
Rice vermicelli, pad thai, rice sticks, or chow fun are great options when it comes to mimicking a similar size and shape of ramen for soups and stir-fries. These types of rice noodles are likely gluten-free at restaurants and grocery stores.
- Rice vermicelli
- Kway teow
- Rice sticks
- Chow fun & mi xian
- Chee cheong fun
- Silver needle
- Lai fan
- Pad see ew
Read on: Are rice noodles gluten-free?
Read on: Is pho gluten-free?
Read on: Is pad thai gluten-free?
Read on: Is vermicelli gluten-free?
Are egg noodles gluten-free?
Egg noodles are most often not gluten-free as they contain wheat flour.
Unless you are able to find a gluten-free version of egg noodles from the store, you might opt to make your own egg noodles at home using gluten-free flour.
Chinese egg noodles are not generally gluten-free. Wonton noodles, chow mein noodles, and lo mein noodles all contain gluten from the wheat flour used in them. Avoid these at the grocery store or when eating at restaurants.
There are a few brands that make gluten-free egg noodles that you can look for, like Amish Wedding Foods, Gefen, Jovial, Liebers, and Maischewitz.
Read on: Are egg noodles gluten-free?
Read on: Is lo mein gluten-free?
Are soba noodles gluten-free?
Soba noodles are made out of buckwheat flour, a gluten-free grain. In theory, soba noodles are always gluten-free, but this isn’t always the case.
Some soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour AND wheat flour, although authentic soba noodles are made with only buckwheat flour. Despite the name, buckwheat and buckwheat flour are completely gluten-free.
Soba noodles can also come into contact with gluten while in the manufacturing process, so this is something to be aware of on a gluten-free diet as well.
The good news is that there are some gluten-free soba noodle brands that are made with no cross contamination and carry a gluten-free label, meaning that they’ve tested to confirm there is less than 20ppm of gluten in the product.
Look for buckwheat noodles that are made using buckwheat (no wheat) flour to be sure what you’re eating is gluten-free.
Read on: Are soba noodles gluten-free?
Are ramen noodles gluten-free?
Most ramen noodles contain gluten, as traditional ramen noodles contain wheat.
However, there are many other noodles that function and taste the same as ramen that are gluten-free. While they may not be considered true “ramen,” they can be used in the same ways that you would use normal ramen noodles. In soups, stir-fries, in noodle dishes, etc.
You can look for gluten-free rice ramen noodles or use other gluten-free noodles, like rice, soba, glass, or kelp noodles, in place of ramen in many dishes.
Read on: Gluten-free ramen noodles
Are lasagna noodles gluten-free?
Traditional lasagna noodles are made using semolina. Semolina is derived from wheat. You can find lasagna noodles that require boiling before using, as well as no-boil lasagna noodles. These come in handy if you like a bit of a shortcut when making your homemade lasagna.
Gluten-free lasagna noodles are made using gluten-free flours, but the ingredients vary by brand. Some brands use corn, rice, or even chickpea flour and almond flour to make their gluten-free noodles.
While traditional and gluten-free noodles are made using different ingredients, most of the time, you won’t be able to tell a huge difference in taste or texture in your completed lasagna.
There are a few brands of gluten-free lasagna noodles you can buy from the store and many of these are made with rice and corn flours.
Read on: Gluten-free lasagna noodles
Is gnocchi gluten-free?
Gnocchi is generally not gluten-free as most recipes call for all-purpose flour.
It’s possible to enjoy gluten-free gnocchi using a gluten-free flour blend, but you would need to check ingredients lists on packages or make your own at home.
There are some gluten-free gnocchi brands that you can look for, but they may not be super easy to find in stores. Some of them are available online through the brand’s websites.
Get a list of the brands and more information on gluten-free gnocchi here: Is gnocchi gluten-free?
Is tortellini gluten-free?
Most tortellini is not gluten-free as the pasta dough usually contains all purpose flour, which contains wheat.
It is possible to make your own gluten-free tortellini with homemade gluten-free pasta dough. Or you can look for a gluten-free brand of tortellini from the store and enjoy the delicious flavors of tortellini without having to make your own pasta.
There are a handful of different gluten-free tortellini brands you might want to try. Look for a list of these in this post: Gluten-free tortellini
If you love noodles of any kind, know that you don’t have to live without them on a gluten-free diet. With a little research, you can still enjoy your favorite types of noodle dishes whenever you like.