Everything to Know About Buying and Making Gluten-Free Pasta

Gluten-free pasta has come a long way, and many varieties perform just as well as traditional wheat pasta. Here are some of our favorites.

Passing a big bowl of pasta around the dinner table is a classic meal in households everywhere. But if you or a loved one has a gluten sensitivity, it's not impossible to still make your favorite lasagna recipe without the wheat. A look at the pasta or gluten-free section of your local grocery store will prove there are tons of options to still get your noodle fix while avoiding your family's allergies. If you're new to the gluten-free pasta world, it might seem difficult to choose which brand and pasta type to buy. Our Test Kitchen has insights on some of the best gluten-free pasta options out there to look out for next time you're at the store. And since gluten-free pasta cooks a bit differently than wheat-containing pasta, follow our tips for cooking it to a perfect al dente (and not mush).

layout of dried gluten free pasta noodles
From left to right, top to bottom: chickpea pasta, red lentil pasta, black bean pasta, green lentil pasta, quinoa blend pasta, buckwheat pasta, mung bean pasta, edamame pasta, lasagna rice noodles. Jason Donnelly

Gluten-Free Pasta Types

Since gluten-free pasta can't have wheat flour (the main ingredient in regular pasta), there are many creative ingredients used for making allergy-friendly noodles. Bonus: many of them are packed with more nutrients such as protein and fiber. Keep an eye out for these gluten-free pastas and the brands sold at stores.

  • Chickpea Pasta: Made from chickpea flour, brands such as Barilla or Banza come in many different shapes. There's even a delicious gluten-free boxed macaroni and cheese ($3, Target).
  • Red Lentil Pasta: The tiny nutrient powerhouse legumes are turned into red lentil flour and can be found in grocery stores under the popular pasta brand Barilla ($3, Target) or Tolerant.
  • Black Bean Pasta: Not only is it gluten-free but actually fits well into Keto diets as well. Look for brands such as Explore Cuisine ($13, Amazon) or Trader Joe's.
  • Green Lentil Pasta: Similar to the red lentil pasta above, lentils into flour for a gluten-free pasta option. You'll find it under the Ancient Harvest brand.
  • Quinoa Blend Pasta: The little seed known for making healthy grain bowls also makes a great foundation for gluten-free pasta. You'll find it sold under brands such as Ancient Harvest ($12, Amazon) or Trader Joe's.
  • Buckwheat Pasta: Yes, it has wheat in the name but as long as it's not contaminated, buckwheat is naturally gluten-free. Look for certified gluten-free brands such as Felicia Organic.
  • Mung Bean Pasta: Newer to the gluten-free scene, the pasta made from mung bean flour and can be found in the Explore Cuisine brand and in specialty grocers such as Whole Foods Market.
  • Edamame Pasta: Those little green soybeans go great in a salad, but also make a fiber-rich, low-carb gluten-free pasta. Look for brands Liviva and Explore Cuisine. You may even spot the Simply Nature brand at Aldi.
  • Lasagna Rice Noodles: Made from rice flour, gluten-free lasagna noodles can be used as a substitute for the pasta in all your favorite lasagna recipes. Look for brands Deboles or Tinkyada ($10, Amazon). Try our gluten-free roasted vegetable lasagna (pictured below).
piece of roasted vegetable lasagna served out of white pan
Andy Lyons

How to Cook Gluten-Free Pasta

Keep the cooking time on your box's instructions in mind as not every type of gluten-free pasta is going to cook in the same amount of time. Then follow these steps to make sure your pasta turns out to be the full, non-mushy noodles they were intended to be.

  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot ($42, Amazon) of boiling water, keeping the water at a controlled boil at all times.
  2. Stir the pasta immediately after adding to the pot and often throughout cooking to prevent sticking.
  3. Overcooking can cause gumminess or result in the pasta breaking apart, so taste-test pasta 2 to 3 minutes before the minimum suggested cooking time.
  4. Drain in a colander ($8, Bed Bath & Beyond) and rinse, if desired. For best results, sauce the pasta and eat immediately.

Test Kitchen Tip: Gluten-free pasta varieties typically don't hold well after cooking, so they aren't the best choice for make-ahead pasta salads.

Making Homemade Gluten-Free Pasta

It's totally possible to make gluten-free pasta from scratch. Use our gluten-free flour mix to substitute the flour in our homemade pasta recipe. All you'll have to do is figure out which shape you want to make and how to enjoy them. Try using them to make some delicious gluten-free stroganoff or chicken noodle soup.

For ideas on how to use those boxes of gluten-free pasta, check out some of our favorite pasta dishes such as gluten-free baked ziti (with three cheeses!) or asparagus tuna noodle casserole.

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