Gluten-Free Frozen Dinner Brands

Manufacturers offer a huge variety of convenient gluten-free frozen entrees

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It's tough to beat the convenience of frozen dinners. But if you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, you might assume that convenient option is off the table for you, since so many ready-to-eat frozen dinners available at your local grocery store contain gluten-based noodles, sauces, or other ingredients.

Fortunately, that assumption is wrong—nearly a dozen manufacturers make frozen dinners that they explicitly label "gluten-free."

Those seeking a quick, easy meal (most are microwaveable) will find options ranging from traditional macaroni and cheese to vegetarian options, plus meals based on Thai, Indian, Mexican, Moroccan, and Korean cuisine. It's also possible to find a gluten-free meal that complies with the Weight Watchers program, and meals intended more generally for those seeking to cut calories.

Truly, whatever foods you crave, you're likely to find something you like in this list of gluten-free frozen dinners. If you're particularly sensitive to trace gluten, there are several companies that have taken the extra step of obtaining gluten-free certification, which generally means they meet more stringent standards.

Gluten-Free Frozen Dinner Options

Here's the list of manufacturers who offer gluten-free frozen dinners, along with a sampling of what types of frozen meals they make. Look for the more "natural" and "organic" gluten-free frozen dinner options in your grocery store's natural foods section, and the more conventional options in the regular frozen foods section.

  • Amy's Kitchen: Amy's is known for natural and organic foods, and long has produced gluten-free products. Gluten-free frozen dinner options are numerous and span global cuisines, ranging from Mexican casserole bowls and baked ziti to Pad Thai and Asian noodle stir fry. Amy's also offers meal-sized gluten-free macaroni and cheese in two varieties—regular (with cheese) and dairy-free. Amy's gluten-free foods contain fewer than 20 parts per million gluten.
  • Beetnik Organic: This Austin, Tex.-based organic company is entirely gluten-free, and makes both frozen meals and organic pasta sauces. Beetnik offers one-dish meals like Shepherd's pie with grass-fed beef, Moroccan-seasoned chicken stew, chicken meatballs with vegetables, and beef chili and sweet potato. All entrees are certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), which requires testing to below 10 parts per million of gluten.
  • Blake's All-Natural Foods: Blake's, which makes mainly one-dish meals, offers one gluten-free frozen dinner option: gluten-free chicken pot pie with a cornbread crust. The product is made with organic vegetables and other ingredients, and contains milk, soy, and eggs (along with corn). It meets legal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards for "gluten-free" of less than 20 parts per million of gluten.
  • Evol: This is another natural/organic food company, spelled with a backwards "ɘ"—ɘvol. Gluten-free frozen dinner options include three different kinds of enchiladas, macaroni and cheese in two flavors (bacon and smoked Gouda), plus Sriracha chicken, chicken tikka masala, and two "Lean and Fit" chicken entrees: fire-grilled chicken oblano and teriyaki chicken. Evol is certified gluten-free by the GFCO, meaning its foods contain fewer than 10 parts per million of gluten. Note that ɘvol dinners sometimes are stocked in natural foods sections, but sometimes are found in the conventional frozen foods section of the supermarket.
  • Healthy Choice: Healthy Choice, a ConAgra Brands Inc. subsidiary that's associated with Marie Callender's (another frozen meal brand) makes a huge variety of frozen meals, including what the company calls "complete meals" and "Café Steamer" varieties. Its Café Steamer line includes three gluten-free frozen dinner options: beef merlot, Cajun-style chicken & shrimp, and homestyle chicken and potatoes. Look for a "gluten-free" banner on the package. Healthy Choice meets FDA standards for gluten of less than 20 parts per million.
  • Lean Cuisine: This brand, found in the conventional frozen dinner section of your local supermarket, includes more than a dozen gluten-free frozen meals. Options range from so-called "comfort" foods (cheddar bacon chicken and chicken in sweet BBQ sauce) to the brand's Marketplace line (ranchero braised beef, chicken fried rice, pomegranate chicken, and sweet & spicy Korean-style beef, among others). Look for a purple "gluten-free" banner on the front of packages. Lean Cuisine meets FDA standards for gluten of less than 20 parts per million.
  • Red's Natural Foods: Red's is a small company named after the owner's dog, Red, that was started to bring all-natural frozen burritos to market. Along with the frozen burritos, Red's offers frozen meals, four of which are labeled gluten-free: steak & rice bowl, chicken bowl, carnitas burrito bowl, and veggie burrito bowl. Look for the "gluten-free" banner in red or green on the lower lefthand side of the package. Red's meets FDA gluten-free standards of less than 20 parts per million.
  • Saffron Road: Saffron Road, which features flavors from many different world cuisines, makes a wide variety of simmer sauces, chips, snack foods, and broths, plus a line of frozen meals that are mostly (but not entirely) all gluten-free. Saffron Road gluten-free frozen entrees include: beef bulgogi, enchiladas al chipotle, lamb saag, chicken tikka masala, palak paneer, Korean-style sweet chili chicken, and Thai-style mango chicken. Gluten-free entrees are certified by the GFCO (which requires testing to less than 10 parts per million)—look for the GFCO symbol in the lower righthand side of the package. Saffron Road entrees typically are stocked in the natural foods section of most supermarkets.
  • Smart Ones: Weight Watchers, a gluten-free-friendly weight loss program, licenses Smart Ones, which are made by H.J. Heinz Company Brands LLC. Smart Ones' line of frozen dinners includes four gluten-free options: chicken enchiladas suiza, chicken mesquite, chicken Santa Fe, and Santa Fe rice and beans. All are rated for Weight Watchers' SmartPoints system, and all meet FDA standards for gluten of less than 20 parts per million. Look for them in the conventional frozen foods section.
  • Tandoor Chef: Tandoor Chef makes only Indian cuisine—you'll find the company's frozen meals in bright red boxes, usually stocked in the natural foods freezer section. The company offers 11 gluten-free frozen entrees (six of which also are vegetarian), including: lamb vindaloo, chicken curry, chicken Tandoori with spinach, channa masala, balanced vegetarian vegetable korma, and balanced vegetarian palak paneer. Tandoor Chef meets FDA standards for gluten of less than 20 parts per million.
  • Udi's Gluten-Free Most people who follow the gluten-free diet are familiar with Udi's, which makes breads, snacks, cookies, tortillas, and muffins in addition to frozen meals. Udi's offers traditional favorites like macaroni and cheese (along with roasted garlic macaroni and cheese with spinach) alongside various pasta dishes, including pesto tortellini, Italian sausage lasagna, broccoli and kale lasagna, sweet potato ravioli, chicken puttanesca, and ziti and meatballs. Udi's is certified gluten-free by the GFCO, which means it tests to ensure below 10 parts per million gluten in its products. Look for Udi's in the natural foods section of many supermarkets.

Frozen Meals to Avoid on the Gluten-Free Diet

Although it seems like there's a vast array of gluten-free frozen dinners available from a wide variety of manufacturers, there are some you should avoid. The following brands are not recommended for people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity:

  • Banquet: This well-known purveyor of frozen meals is a subsidiary of Conagra Brands Inc. Banquet does not label anything gluten-free, and in fact virtually every Banquet frozen dinner available contains gluten ingredients. Conagra does have a policy of explicitly calling out gluten ingredients on its label (rather than hiding them behind generic terms such as "natural flavors"), and so it might be possible to identify a meal that contains no gluten ingredients. However, the risk of gluten cross-contamination in processing would be extremely high.
  • Hungry Man: Hungry Man (slogan: "More of the food guys love") at first glance appears to have one or two entrees that could be free of gluten ingredients, but most of the company's meals are heavy on the gluten. There's no reason to risk this. Advice: steer clear (and if you're that hungry, buy two of a brand that is gluten-free).
  • Marie Callender's: Like Healthy Choice, Marie Callender's is a ConAgra brand. However, unlike Healthy Choice, Marie Callender's doesn't label any of its frozen entrees gluten-free. Several do not contain gluten ingredients, but the risk of cross-contamination is high.
  • Stouffer's: This may be the quintessential frozen meal brand. Unfortunately, Stouffer's (a subsidiary of Nestlé S.A.) does not label any of its frozen entrees gluten-free, and the majority do in fact contain gluten. There are better options out there, including for the ever-popular frozen lasagna.

A Word From Verywell

There obviously are other options for those seeking a quick, easy gluten-free meal: frozen pizza is a perennial favorite, and soup can make a fast, simple dinner. There's even gluten-free cereal. But if you're looking for something a bit heartier, it's hard to beat some of these gluten-free frozen dinners.

Source:

Celiac Disease Foundation fact sheet. "What Can I Eat?" https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/food-options/.

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