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5 Tips for New Gluten-Free Cooks

Cooking Without Gluten - What You Need to Know to Get Started


Learn how to prepare yourself and your kitchen for safe and successful gluten-free cooking with these five tips for new gluten-free cooks.

1. Familiarize Yourself with Safe and Unsafe Grains and Starches

Woman dusting dough with flour
Adam Gault/OJO Images/Getty Images

Gluten-free cooking is all about learning how to substitute gluten-free grains and starches for wheat, barley and rye, in all of their various forms.

Use our list of safe and unsafe grains and starches to learn which flours you can safely use in gluten free cooking. Take the list with you when you grocery shop and always read labels. If you see an ingredient that you aren't sure about don't hesitate to ask questions!

Gluten-Free Starch and Flour Glossary

2. Read Labels To Avoid Gluten in Processed Foods

Image-Gluten-Free Certification Organization®

Use this list of processed foods that are frequent sources of gluten as a guide when grocery shopping.

Gluten can turn up just about anywhere, so read product labels carefully! When you aren't 100% certain that a food is gluten free, contact the manufacturer before buying it!

The Gluten Intolerance Group of North American® has initiated the first of its' kind certification program, The Gluten Free Certification Organization for independent testing of products. Look for the GFCO logo (pictured), making shopping for gluten free foods easier and safer for gluten free cooks.

3. Prevent Cross-Contamination in Your Kitchen

Designate one area in your kitchen for storing your gluten-free cooking ingredients. Refrigerate or freeze whole grain gluten free flours in labeled, sealed containers.

Make sure your food prep surfaces, utensils, mixer and pans are free of any kind of gluten residue. Buy a new toaster and use it only for gluten-free toasting. It is very important to avoid cross-contamination of gluten-free foods with gluten.

Tips for Preventing Cross-Contamination

10 Kitchen Items to Label Gluten-Free

4. Buy Several Packaged Gluten-Free Baking Mixes

Photo 2008 © Teri Lee Gruss

More and more groceries and natural foods stores carry a good selection of gluten-free ingredients and packaged gluten-free baking mixes. Buy a few of these packaged baking mixes and try them out. This will help you learn which gluten-free flour blends taste best to you. When you're ready to start making your own gluten-free mixes you won't waste money on ingredients that you don't like!

Using packaged mixes is a fast, convenient way to see, first hand, how working with gluten-free flours is different than working with gluten flours.

Gluten-Free Product Reviews

5. Find A Good Gluten-Free Cookbook

Photo 2008 © Teri Lee Gruss

Good gluten-free cookbooks are invaluable for new gluten-free cooks. Most have good glossaries and descriptions of gluten-free ingredients. Some gluten-free cookbooks even list Celiac support group contact information state-by-state.

Your local library is a great place to find an assortment of gluten-free cookbooks which you can review for yourself before buying.

Read Read Gluten-Free Cookbook Reviews to help you choose the right gluten-free cookbook for your cooking style.

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