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Cooking and baking

Cooking and baking

Following a gluten-free diet doesn’t mean you can’t be creative in the kitchen! There are plenty of dishes that are safe to eat and many more than can be made gluten-free in a few easy steps.

If you have just been diagnosed with coeliac disease, cooking gluten-free meals can be daunting. However, once you know the basics, it becomes easier to know what you can and can’t eat.

Gluten-free dietThe basics

  • Avoiding gluten means avoiding anything that contains wheat, rye and barley. Some people need to avoid oats too.
  • The main foods that contain these grains are bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, pastry, cakes, biscuits, pizza and crackers.
  • Gluten can also be found in foods such as soups, sauces, stock cubes, ready meals and processed foods such as sausages.
  • You can eat any of the many naturally gluten-free foods such as meat, fish, fruit and vegetables.
  • There are plenty of naturally gluten-free foods to base meals on, such as potatoes, rice and lentils.
  • There are also specially made gluten-free foods such as gluten-free pasta and pizza bases.
  • You need to check ingredients such as stock cubes and seasonings, prebought sauces and processed vegetable products such as frozen chips to ensure they don’t contain gluten.
  • There are plenty of drinks that you can safely have, including fruit juice, fizzy drinks, wine and spirits.
  • Keep your gluten-free ingredients separate from other ingredients to avoid cross contamination in the kitchen.

Download our Gluten-free Checklist to find out what is gluten-free, what isn't and which foods you need to check.

Cross contaminationCross contamination

If you are following a gluten-free diet, it’s important to not undo all your good work by allowing your gluten-free food to be contaminated with food that contains gluten.

Even tiny amounts of gluten may cause people with coeliac disease to have symptoms in the short term and gut damage in the longer term.

When you’re cooking at home, there are some simple steps to take that will help keep food preparation safe:

  • wipe down surfaces
  • clean pots and pans with soap and water
  • standard washing up or using a dishwasher will remove gluten
  • washing up liquids are fine to use. There are very few that contain gluten, but if they do, standard rinsing will remove any traces
  • you do not need to use separate cloths or sponges
  • you may want to get separate bread boards to keep gluten-free and gluten-containing breads separate
  • use a separate toaster or toaster bags
  • use clean oil or a separate fryer for frying gluten-free foods
  • use different butter knives and jam spoons to prevent breadcrumbs from getting into condiments.

How we can help

We can help you with your new approach to cooking:

  • join Coeliac UK and receive access to our Food and Drink Directory which lists thousands of foods you can eat. If you become a Member, you will also receive the most recent Crossed Grain magazine with recipes and cooking advice. If you are not a Member, you can buy this from our shop
  • use our handy ingredients checklist when buying your food
  • have a look at our Guide to Common Grains to see what alternative gluten-free grains you could use in your cooking
  • check out our Recipe Database for ideas about what to cook
  • buy one of our gluten-free recipe books from our shop and help to raise funds for Coeliac UK at the same time
  • sign up to our electronic newsletter which contains the latest Food and Drink Directory updates with new products and recipes
  • if you have any questions about what cooking ingredients to use, contact our Helpline on 0333 332 2033 or contact us.
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