Gluten-Friendly Recipes and Foods for Passover

What Should You Serve for Passover When You're Gluten-Free?

Passover is a particularly gluten-free-friendly holiday — to commemorate the Israelites' rapid departure from Egypt (which didn't allow time for them to let their bread rise), all leavened products containing wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and oats are avoided. Matzoh is substituted instead, and there are several good gluten-free matzoh products on the market these days.

Because of this dietary tradition, it's relatively easy to find Passover recipes that avoid foods that contain gluten. When choosing recipes, make sure to select dishes that don't include matzo flour ... or, alternatively, make your own gluten-free matzo flour. All the recipes included below are naturally gluten-free, and would suit a gluten-free Passover meal nicely.

Gluten-Free Matzo

© Teri Lee Gruss

It's quite possible these days to find store-bought gluten-free matzo (see the above section for the link to the list of what's available). But if you prefer to make your own, this matzo crackers recipe from's Guide to Gluten-Free Cooking is easy to make.

Matzo traditionally includes a gluten grain as an ingredient. Since oats are allowed under Jewish tradition, these gluten-free matzo crackers include oat flour. Make sure to use ​only certified gluten-free oats or oat flour for this recipe (I list some sources in this article: Is Oatmeal Gluten-Free?).

Also, keep in mind that some people can't consume oats without experiencing a gluten reaction — if you're not sure whether you can eat oats safely or not, proceed with caution until you know how your body reacts.

Brisket in Wine Sauce

Getty Images/Alexandra Grablewski

Brisket, a less-than-tender cut of beef, requires slow cooking to make it more tender and flavorful. This recipe for brisket in wine sauce, from's Guide to Kosher Food, cooks the meat for three hours in the oven to accomplish this goal.

This recipe is gluten-free as long as you use safe spices (you can use fresh basil, or alternatively, McCormick's brand spices are considered gluten-free to 20 parts per million), and if you use a gluten-free ketchup (Heinz is gluten-free to 20 parts per million). All the other ingredients should be naturally gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Charoset

Getty Images/Eising

Charoset, a traditional Passover food made from fruit and nuts, is intended to mirror the color and texture of the mortar the enslaved Israelites used to bond bricks together.

This terrific recipe from Elana Amsterdam (author of Gluten-Free Cupcakes), uses apples, walnuts and currants, and (like everything Elana creates) is naturally gluten-free.

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Gluten-Free Maror

Getty Images/Laszlo Selly

In combination with the sweet charoset, traditional Passover meals also include maror, a bitter food to represent the bitter herbs commanded in Exodus: "with bitter herbs, they shall eat it." Most people use horseradish to symbolize the bitter herbs.

Although it's fairly easy to find prepared horseradish that's gluten-free by its ingredients, this recipe from Elana Amsterdam is incredibly easy to make, and is designed to pair with her charoset. By making your own maror from scratch, you also avoid any potential gluten cross-contamination that might otherwise creep in.

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Gluten-Free Matzo Balls

Lots of people view matzo balls as one of the culinary highlights of the Passover meal ... which means there's a real place for a gluten-free matzo ball recipe. Once again, Elana Amsterdam steps up.

Elana's recipe, which also is lower-carb than most traditional matzo ball recipes, uses almond meal, potato starch, and flax meal to create this gluten-free version of matzo balls. Be aware that flax meal is considered Kosher for Passover by some, but not by everyone — Elana says you can omit that ingredient if necessary.

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Gluten-Free Gefilte Fish

© A&B Famous Gefilte Fish

Traditional gefilte fish includes matzo meal as an ingredient, and therefore won't be gluten-free. It's possible to make your own gefilte fish by substituting gluten-free matzo meal for the regular matzo meal in a recipe for traditional gefilte fish.

However, if you don't want to make your own, you can order ​gluten-free gefilte fish from A&B Famous Gefilte Fish in Monsey, N.Y. A&B uses potatoes as the starch in the place of matzo meal. The product also includes egg whites.

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