Gluten Free Grain Alternatives

These are the best healthy gluten free grain alternatives to replace pasta, flour and other wheat-based ingredients. Eating gluten free can be just as delicious and full of variety with these simple swaps.

woman holding a pictire of bowld of uncooked grains

If you’ve recently started eating gluten free, you might be how you can substitute wheat and other gluten-containing grains with healthy gluten-free alternatives. The good news is that there’s a long list of tasty grains that are naturally gluten free. From flours for baking to pastas in all shapes and sizes, the world of gluten free grain alternatives is big and delicious.

Here are some of the best grain substitutes for wheat if you’re eating gluten free.

1. Corn

Though you might consider corn a vegetable if you’re eating it off the cob, it’s technically a grain. Corn kernels are processed into cornmeal, flour and starch that are all great gluten free alternatives for baking and cooking. In particular, corn starch is a good option to thicken soups and sauces instead of flour. And cornmeal can substitute for breadcrumbs in meatballs.

Here are my best gluten-free recipes with corn:

2. Quinoa

You may already know and love quinoa, which is a grain that’s free of gluten and full of other essential nutrients. In fact, quinoa is considered a superfood because it’s full of antioxidants, protein, fiber and minerals like magnesium and phosphorus.

Quinoa also tastes great. It has a nutty, hearty flavor that’s delicious for grain bowls, casseroles, salads and more. You can even find quinoa flour and quinoa flakes, which are great for gluten-free baking.

See How to Make Quinoa 5 Ways the try some of my favorite recipes with quinoa:

cooked quinoa in a bowl on a wooden table

3. Oats

Before you dig in, do check if your oats are gluten free. But oats can a gluten free grain alternative that you may already have on hand. From breakfast porridge to baked treats, oats are a popular grain whether you eat gluten or not! The most common kinds of oats you’ll find include quick-cooking oats and rolled oats.

Rolled oats are larger, thicker flakes. They’ve been processed less than quick-cooking oats, so they take a bit longer to cook, but they also contain more fiber and protein. Quick oats, or instant oats, are smaller flakes that take little time to cook but have less of the grain’s natural nutrients.

You can also find oat flour, which is a grain option for baking.

You’ll love these easy oatmeal recipes:

4. Rice

Some people wonder, “Is rice gluten free?” Well, rice may be the most well-known gluten-free grain. All kinds of rice, including white, brown, and black rice are totally gluten-free. Brown rice is less processed than white rice, and contains more of the grain’s outer bran and inner germ. For this reason, brown rice is higher in protein, fiber and fat than white rice. It also has a stronger flavor. and take a longer to cook. But you can try one of these 5 Ways to Cook Brown Rice to find your favorite. If you prefer white, you can also see How to Make White Rice 5 Ways.

Many gluten-free all-purpose flour blends are made with rice flour, You’ll also find pasta, bread and other baked goods made with this versatile grain.

Try these favorite gluten free recipes with rice:

Cooked brown rice in a white square bowl

5. Teff

Teff is a tiny grain that’s packed with protein and fiber. It’s a staple crop in Ethiopia and Eritrea, where millions of people rely on this mighty grain for sustenance. You can prepare teff like you would rice or quinoa, or use teff flour as a substitute for whole wheat flour in gluten-free baking recipes.

Try using teff flour in Peanut Butter and Jelly Swirl Whole Wheat Crackers.

6. Buckwheat

Don’t be fooled by the “w” word in the name! Buckwheat is actually a gluten free grain that’s quite good for you. In particular, buckwheat is a great source of antioxidants. It also may help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Buckwheat is often sold as buckwheat groats, which is the whole grain version. You can prepare buckwheat groats like oatmeal or quinoa, by simmering in water until the grains are tender. Another great way to try buckwheat is in soba noodles. These Japanese noodles are naturally gluten free because they’re made with buckwheat!

Try adding soba noodles to my Thai Chicken Noodle Soup.

7. Sorghum

You might have heard of sorghum syrup, which is a liquid sweetener. The syrup is actually made from a gluten free grain. You can find whole sorghum, which can be prepared like quinoa, as well as sorghum flour and even sorghum bran, which is the high-fiber outer shell of sorghum grains. It doesn’t have a very strong flavor, which makes it a good option for gluten free baking.

Try replacing the quinoa in my BBQ Shrimp Quinoa Bowls with sorghum.

8. Millet

For another gluten free grain that contains many of the amino acids in quinoa but for a lower cost, try millet. Technically a seed, it is cooked and used as a grain, and is grown primarily in Asia and Africa. It can be cooked in water or other cooking liquids like other whole grains, and is also available as flakes and flour. It is said to have a taste similar to corn, but it takes on the other flavors that it is cooked with.

For something different than rice, try Millet Pilaf.

9. Amaranth

Amaranth is another ancient grain that’s good for you and naturally gluten free. It comes from South America, where it’s grown as a staple starch. This grain is high in phosphorus, iron, and magnesium. It also contains 9.3 grams of protein per cup (cooked).

You can cook amaranth on its own or use amaranth flour for baking.

10. Grain-Free Options

While these aren’t grains, don’t forget about your favorite root vegetables. These are other options to provide healthy carbohydrates and fiber. And both baked potatoes and baked sweet potatoes can be used in place of buns.

Use them instead of rolls when you make:

And, of course, zoodles and spaghetti squash are great pasta alternatives.

Try them with your favorite sauce:

Spaghetti squash noodles in a halved squash with two forks