5 Gluten-Free Shortcuts to Make Thanksgiving Prep Easier

Convenient Gravy Mixes, Stuffing Cubes, Dinner Rolls and Pies

mother and daughter cooking thanksgiving turkey
Thanksgiving gluten-free cooking hacks can make your life easier. Kristian Sekulic/Getty Images

Celebrating Thanksgiving completely gluten-free can seem intimidating, especially if you haven't been eating gluten-free for very long. Picturing the array of gluten-filled stuffing, rolls, gravy and desserts at the typical Thanksgiving dinner can bring on a severe attack of fear, envy or both, especially if you've recently been diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

But in recent years, gluten-free food manufacturers have made it simpler to follow a gluten-free diet during Thanksgiving by recreating many crucial ingredients, such as stuffing and gravy mixes, in a gluten-free form.

You can still choose to cook your gluten-free Thanksgiving meal from scratch following these tips to make a traditional gluten-free Thanksgiving menu.

But if you're interested in shortcuts (or  simply run out of time around the holidays), you might want to incorporate some of these gluten-free ingredients into your Thanksgiving feast:

  1. Gluten-free gravy mix. McCormick's, known for its spices, makes gluten-free brown gravy and turkey gravy mixes (both contain corn, milk, and soy ingredients). Road's End Organics makes vegan gravy mixes in Golden, Shitake Mushroom, and Savory Herb flavors (all three contain rice, tapioca, and soy ingredients). Pick up one of these and all you need to do is add water, whisk the mixture in a saucepan for a few minutes, and you have gravy for your turkey.
  2. Bouillon cubes. Several of my pre-gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes call for bouillon cubes—to add extra flavor to stuffing, for example, or as part of a casserole. Celifibr, another specialty gluten-free foods manufacturer, makes vegetarian-approved gluten-free bouillon cubes in three flavors: vegetable medley, vegetarian chicken and vegetarian beef. Or, you can choose a mainstream option: Herb-Ox Bouillon Cubes in beef, chicken and vegetable are labeled gluten-free, which means they're gluten-free to below 20 parts per million, or GF-20 levels.
  1. Stuffing. Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same holiday without stuffing for your turkey. For gluten-free safety reasons you never should cook gluten-containing stuffing in a turkey you plan to eat. But if you make gluten-free stuffing for your turkey, people may not be able to tell the difference. Several manufacturers offer stuffing mixes and bread cubes you can use to make your gluten-free turkey stuffing. These stuffing mix options might come in handy if you're stuffing a turkey at a relative's house, since they already contain safe gluten-free spices. Here's my guide to making gluten-free stuffing for Thanksgiving, which includes the list of manufacturers offering stuffing products.
  1. Dinner rolls. Most families want dinner rolls at Thanksgiving, and they're arguably the most difficult menu item to re-create gluten-free — some of my family members just won't touch gluten-free bread. There's no question that fresh-baked gluten-free bread beats the store-bought variety hands-down, and if you have the time, this gluten-free rolls recipe would likely be a hit. But if you're pressed for time and need gluten-free rolls you can simply pop in the oven, multiple food product manufacturers make options you could choose. Here's my guide: Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls.
  2. Pies. Thanksgiving just wouldn't be the same without pumpkin pie. If you live near a Whole Foods store with Gluten-Free Bakehouse products (not all Whole Foods have them), the store likely will have various ready-made gluten-free pies, including pumpkin pie and Southern pecan pie for the holidays. Of course, you always can bake your own pie using a ready-made gluten-free pie crust (I list where to find them in my Gluten-Free Pie Crusts article).

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