What to Cook for Gluten-Free Guests

Having friends over for dinner can be such a blessing, but it can feel a little intimidating if they have a special diet. Do you want to know what to cook for gluten-free guests? There’s plenty of options.

Gluten-free guests

There’s a lot of gluten-free people these days, whether they have celiac or a gluten intolerance.

But if you aren’t around too many people with special diets you may feel clueless on what to cook for dinner for people who can’t eat just anything. Because, let’s be honest, a lot of go-to meals for guests involved bread. Soup and bread, pizza, you name it.

However, when you start looking into it you discover that there are plenty of things to make that don’t contain gluten.

People with special diets sometimes don’t get invited over for dinner much because people don’t know what to cook for them. So, why not overcome that fear of what to make and just invite them over? It’ll be a blessing to them.

Let’s talk about some things you will want to think about first if you are having gluten-free guests over.

Avoid Cross Contamination

People who have celiac can get sick just from a few crumbs of bread so you will want to avoid cross contamination. That means not using the same butter you have used to butter your bread, for example.

Keep packages for your guests to read

I like to leave the packaging of food out on the counter so that my guest can read the ingredient list to verify that what they are eating will be fine.

Cook mostly from scratch

If you cook most of the meal from scratch you know exactly what is in it and you don’t have to guess if there is gluten or not.

Check with your guests beforehand

If I have people with special diets coming for a meal I like to tell them beforehand what we are eating and that way I can make sure it’s on the “safe” list of things they can eat.

What to Serve your Gluten-free Guests for Dinner


Chili is such an easy thing to make for guests. Toss all the ingredients in a pot and you have dinner! I like to serve chili with toppings like corn or tortilla chips, cheese, and sour cream. Just be sure to read the ingredients of the corn or tortilla chips to make sure they don’t contain wheat. It will vary depending on brand.

Make your own taco salad

This is my go-to for people with special diets because it gives them control over what they want on their salad. This prevents you accidentally putting gluten on their plate.

Pot roast with potatoes and veggies

Pot roast is always a favorite and you can pair this with some mashed potatoes and your veggie of choice. Just be sure to make the gravy gluten-free if you are going to serve it with gravy. Avoid buying the packaged gravy mixes as they usually contain gluten.

Gluten-free pasta

Gluten-free pasta is pretty easy to make. If you can make regular pasta, you can make the gluten-free kind. It’s readily available at most grocery stores as well.

Gluten-free lasagna

You can also now buy gluten-free lasagna noodles at most grocery stores. Serve it with a side salad (dressing on the side to avoid any gluten issues) and you’ve got a perfect meal!

Raw veggies and hummus

For a side dish put out a dish of raw vegetables and some hummus. You can do this instead of a salad for an easy gluten-free vegetable option.

Gluten-free chicken burgers

If you really don’t want to make something from scratch, go to the store and buy a box of gluten-free chicken burgers, and go to the freezer section to find some gluten-free buns.

I recommend toasting the buns. They taste better. You can serve the burgers with toppings like cheese, lettuce, onions, mayo, Buffalo sauce, and pickles. Serve with fries or raw veggies.

Roasted Chicken and salad

Most people like roasted chicken, and it’s not too hard to make.  Add sides like a salad, or potatoes and vegetables for a completely gluten-free meal.

Loaded potato soup

I love loaded potato soup for serving to guests.  Make the soup, and then put out toppings like cheese, bacon, sour cream and green onions.  A couple things to note here so you avoid gluten.  Don’t add flour to thicken the soup, and look at the ingredients of the bacon you buy as some of them do have wheat in them.  Isn’t it amazing how gluten is in EVERYTHING?

Salsa and tortilla chips

While not a full meal, it’s a great appetizer or side dish for your dinner guests.  You can even add some guacamole and sour cream for a full out nacho experience.  Similar to taco salad, but different!

Gluten free charcuterie board

If you want to go a little “classier”, charcuterie boards are all the rage.  The good news is, these appetizers or main course boards are fairly easy to adapt to make gluten-free. 

Gluten-free crackers are pretty common these days in the grocery stores, and meat, nuts, dried fruit, and olives and pickles can be found without added wheat.  Definitely be sure to check the ingredient list on any processed meat like salami as some of them contain wheat.

Gluten-free brownies

But what about dessert?  Don’t worry, you’ve got options.  Gluten-free brownies are pretty simple to make and taste pretty good.

Ice cream

Who doesn’t like ice cream?  Again, this is one that you will have to read the ingredients list to be sure but some ice cream companies have “gluten-free” written on the front of the container.

Fresh fruit

If you’d like a healthier dessert, fresh fruit is always a winner.  If it’s strawberry or blueberry season you can put out a bowl of that fruity goodness and it’ll be eaten in no time.  Put some whipped cream on the table with it, and maybe some chocolate sauce (but again, look at that ingredient list!  Do you see a pattern here?)

Gluten-free cheesecake

Cheesecake is always a crowd pleaser and you can make this one rather easily without gluten.  Leave off the graham cracker base or buy some gluten-free crackers which are available in many stores.  This recipe is sure to be a hit.

Invite your Gluten-Free Friends Over

Don’t let special diets scare you off from inviting your gluten-free friends over for a meal.  Whenever we do something new it can feel harder than it really is.  Once we start doing it more often we usually discover it wasn’t as hard as we thought it would be initially.

If you need some suggestions on how to cook or what to cook for your gluten-free friends, don’t hesitate to ask them.  Most people don’t mind being asked.  They’d rather you ask them instead of avoid having to prepare any type of food for them in fears of making them sick. 

And many gluten-free people have learned how to safely navigate meal times when out, so you can have confidence in knowing that they will be okay when eating at your home.

As gluten-free becomes more popular, more and more people around you are likely to give up gluten if it makes them feel better and so it’s a good idea for all of us to know how to make a dish or two without gluten because chances are, if we haven’t needed to make a gluten-free meal yet, we probably will at some point.


3 thoughts on “What to Cook for Gluten-Free Guests”

  1. From a celiac, thank you for this. Gluten Free options are and can be endless – corn startch is my favourite alternative to flour for thickening. Reading labels and knowing gluten free consists of wheat, barley and rye, as well as oats for some people.

    Now – invite away!!! The options are endless. It’s so true what you said about cooking from scratch. So may canned goods and sauces contain gluten (soups, soya sauce, mixes, broth…)

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