Question: Which gluten-free pasta is best?
It's an extremely confusing topic for anyone new to the gluten-free diet.
That's why this post is going to focus on the biggest gluten-free dried pastas on the market today - to help you decide which ones to buy.
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Since pasta is such a popular dinner item in American families, it's bound to be something you look for an adequate replacement to after a celiac disease diagnosis. And I was no different when I was diagnosed back in 2009.
But what I quickly learned about the pasta available back was that there were two options: rice or corn. It sort of made me hate pasta for a while, as nothing ever tasted like I hoped!
Thankfully, over the last decade, gluten-free pasta brands have improved dramatically. Other gluten-free grains, such as quinoa, red lentil, and even chickpea are now used and blended for delicious gluten-free pasta. And now, I'm happy to report I love eating pasta once more!
So which brand of gluten-free is the best? And how to they compare?
That's the tricky question! In this post, I'm going to share a little about how gluten-free pasta is made, where to buy it, and [my opinions] on which gluten-free pasta is best on the market today.
It's important before I begin this list to remind you that my taste buds are not your tastebuds. I'm going to share my honest opinions here about each brand. And if you disagree, that's okay! I'm sharing this list to help you make the most informed decisions in your weekly food shopping. I want to save you from buying products you end up hating and ensure you can replicate all of your favorite pasta dishes gluten-free, and lead you towards brands that are safe.
Here are eight of the most popular dried gluten-free pasta on the market today and how they compare: their ingredients, their gluten-free status (if they are certified GF or not), and their overall taste/texture. I've tried every pasta brand listed here on multiple occasions. Please remember, this list doesn't include all of the pastas out there, so if you don't see your favorite, let me know in the comments which one you like best!
Let's take a look at these gluten-free pasta to determine which ones are the best, and where to find them on a budget!
Gluten-Free Pasta Brand Comparisons
For this list, please note I'm only looking at dried pasta, not fresh pasta. I'm working on making my own gluten-free pasta from scratch, but until then, I love Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Egg Fettuccine.
- Gluten-Free Pasta Brand Comparisons
- Clarification: Certified Gluten-Free
- Gluten-Free Pasta: What's It Made Of?
- Gluten-Free Pasta Shapes
- Where To Buy Gluten-Free Pasta
- Gluten-Free Pasta Brands
- Cooking Tips & Suggestions
- Struggling with Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping?
I am not a doctor, dietician, or medical professional. Always read labels and double-check your products before consuming. While many people can digest gluten-free certified products, some cannot. Everyone's celiac disease is different, so only do what is best for your health!
Clarification: Certified Gluten-Free
The "certified gluten-free" label is part of the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO), a program of the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America. They provide an independent, third-party certification program for gluten-free products. While the FDA requires a product to have less than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten to be labeled gluten-free, the GFCO tests to 10 ppm.
More information about the GFCO can be found here for your reference.
Gluten-Free Pasta: What's It Made Of?
If there's no wheat flour to make pasta, what do they use?
While years ago gluten-free pasta was usually made from only brown rice or corn, a lot has changed in the last decade. Many different gluten-free grains are now used for pasta, including:
They might also include other starches or thickeners, like pea protein or potato starch. Sometimes gluten-free pasta will be made entirely of one grain, such as brown rice, white rice, or corn. However, most pasta brands on the market today are a blend of a variety of gluten-free grains.
Gluten-Free Pasta Shapes
If you are new to the gluten-free diet, you may find the lack of shapes a little disappointing.
While most brands of regular pasta can be found in a variety of shapes and styles, you won't always find the same with gluten-free pasta. Most gluten-free pasta will be in popular shapes, like penne, fusilli, elbows, and spaghetti. A few brands offer other shapes, including lasagna and tagliatelle, like Jovial, Ancient Harvest, and Banza. More shapes keep popping up - so keep your eyes open!
A word of caution: if you are new to trying gluten-free pasta, stick to a shape like penne or fusilli to start. Once you add sauce, butter, pesto, olive oil, or maybe parmesan cheese, it's hard to note a difference. But if your first experience trying gluten-free pasta is with spaghetti, and you expect it to taste as soft as regular spaghetti, you might be disappointed. The texture may be an adjustment. The first few times I tried gluten-free pasta, I didn't like it.
Where To Buy Gluten-Free Pasta
In supermarkets and supermarket chains, there are three possible locations for gluten-free pasta.
1st location: in the pasta aisle
Gluten-free pasta brands can be found next to the regular pasta, in the aisle with most pasta and tomato sauces. Make sure you double-check that you are buying the gluten-free version, as some packages look very similar.
2nd location: in the gluten-free aisle
Some grocery stores will have dedicated aisles to gluten-free products. Sometimes they are also in the same aisle with organic products or even the baking section.
3rd location: with the mac and cheese!
In a handful of grocery stores, I've actually found gluten-free pasta brands in the macaroni and cheese section or soup section, which can be in a different aisle than the regular pasta. Confusing, right? Always be sure to check these three spots for gluten-free pasta.
*Fun Fact: My first job was a cashier/bagger at Publix in high school. One of my favorite responsibilities (besides working the cash register) was to return the items customers would decide not to buy at the last minute. It's why I know grocery store layouts well!
You can buy most gluten-free pasta brands online through Amazon, which also owns Whole Foods. Because of this business relationship, there are lots of options on Amazon. But many gluten-free pasta brands are available for less on my other favorite online retailer: Thrive Market!
Thrive ships your favorite gluten-free brands and products right to your door for less than your local supermarket, and even beats Amazon in price! Thrive Market takes 25-50% off retail prices on 6,000+ organic, non-GMO, and sustainable products ranging from food, freezer meals, pantry staples, supplements, and beauty supplies. It's saved me over $60 in groceries so far!
Here's a side-by-side comparison of price with Banza.
On Amazon, it costs $14.99 for 3 boxes of Banza pasta , or $5 a box.
On Thrive Market, it costs only $10.49 for 3 boxes of Banza pasta, or $3.49 a box! At $1.50 cheaper, that adds up!
Thrive Market memberships are half the cost of an Amazon prime membership. Thrive also ships using sustainable and recycled materials, and they gift a subscription to a first-responder or family in need for every membership purchased.
With hundreds of brands available, plus plenty of gluten-free pasta like Banza, Schar, and Jovial, you can enjoy your favorite pasta for less. Not ready to commit to a full year membership? Sign up for a 1-month membership for just $9.95 and watch the savings pile up!Choose a FREE gift, up to $24 value, when you purchase a Thrive Market membership! (1 year and 1 month memberships available))
Here is a breakdown of eight of the most popular gluten-free pasta brands on the market today. You can find these brands at your local grocery stores, or online through Amazon/Thrive Market.
Gluten-Free Pasta Brands
Most Affordable & Mild Taste
Barilla makes two types of gluten-free pasta. One is a blend of corn and rice, and the others are made of either red lentils or chickpeas.
If you are looking for a pasta that resembles regular pasta, Barilla's corn and rice blend is one of my top choices. The combination of corn and rice has a similar texture and tenderness to regular pasta. Once you add your sauce, you can't tell much of a difference at all. It does not get slimy or a weird texture, but does harden quickly. The red lentil pasta has a more firm texture, as does the chickpea pasta.
All Barilla gluten-free pastas are certified gluten-free and produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility.
Pasta Shapes Available
Corn & Rice Blend: Spaghetti, Rotini, Elbows, Penne, Lasagna, Fettuccine
Chickpea or Red Lentil: Penne, Rotini, Casarecce
You can buy Barilla gluten-free pasta at your local grocery store (I find it at Stop & Shop, Market Basket, Wegman's, and Whole Foods) or online through Amazon.
Ronzoni makes a corn, quinoa, and rice blend of gluten-free pasta. It's another one of my top choices for a dried pasta that tastes similar to regular pasta in texture and taste. It does not have a slimy or weird texture, but like Barilla, can harden quickly. They also make cauliflower pasta too!
All Ronzoni gluten-free pastas are certified gluten-free and produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility.
Pasta Shapes Available
Rotini, Spaghetti, Thin Spaghetti, Penne Rigati, Elbows
You can buy Ronzoni gluten-free pasta at your local grocery store (I find it at Stop & Shop, Market Basket, Wegman's, and Whole Foods) or online through Amazon.
Best Texture & Taste
Jovial is a 100% brown rice gluten-free pasta brand made right in Italy! Their pasta has the most variety in shapes and has quickly become one of my favorite dried pasta brands. It's also the #1 choice from all of you when I asked on Instagram!
When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I found a lot of rice pasta to be extremely slimy and the texture was not great. However, Jovial's texture doesn't do that. Perhaps is the manufacturing process and how they use bronze dies to make their pasta shapes. Whatever they are doing in Lucca, Italy, it's working!
All Jovial gluten-free pastas are certified gluten-free and produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility.
Jovial comes in multiple shapes, and each one is wonderful! Jovial definitely has the most amount of options. Check out their full list of shapes here, and be wowed by the farfalle, fettuccine, tagliatelle, manicotti, and lasagna.
The only challenge with Jovial is that it is a bit pricey. You can find Jovial pastas at Whole Foods and Amazon, or through Thrive Market, for less!
Best Chickpea Pasta
Banza is my favorite non-rice and non-corn gluten-free pasta. Made from chickpeas, it's got a light taste but the texture can be slimy if not prepared properly. Be sure to stir Banza often, rinse the pasta when finished, and top with sauce immediately. This is pasta where I only buy small shapes, such as rotini or penne, but not spaghetti.
Banza is much more protein-rich than corn or rice-based gluten-free pasta. It's also vegan!
Banza's variety of pasta shapes are real crowd-pleasers, especially for children! They have wheels, alphabet shapes, shells, and even rigatoni. Get the full list of all of their shapes here. Banza also makes macaroni and cheese, vegan macaroni and cheese, and chickpea rice, which is a great substitute for orzo.
All Banza pasta is certified gluten-free and produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility.
Banza is available at your local grocery store (I find it in Market Basket, Stop & Shop, Wegman's) as well as online through Amazon and Thrive Market.
Other Great Pastas
Schar is one of the best and most popular gluten-free brands on the market today. Like everything they make, their pasta is very tasty. Check out their full product line!
Schar makes three shapes of gluten-free pasta: spaghetti, penne, and fusilli, made of corn, rice, and vegetable (palm) oil. Its taste and texture are similar to that of Barilla or Ronzoni, but I find Schar to be a little bit softer in texture.
The Schar company is based in Europe, and the products they make overseas are even better than the ones we have here in the States! They have become a global brand serving gluten-free eaters and celiacs across the world.
All of Schar's products are certified gluten-free and produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility. But Schar goes a step further to test their products themselves to less than 5 PPM of gluten, a level much lower than the requirement of the FDA. Schar takes testing seriously, which is awesome.
You can find Schar's gluten-free pasta in your local grocery store (I've found them at Stop & Shop, Wegman's, and Whole Foods) or online through Amazon.
Ancient Harvest gluten-free pasta is a blend of corn, brown rice, and quinoa. They also have a second line of gluten-free pasta called their "Veggie pasta", which is made of green lentils, tapioca starch, kale, spinach, and cauliflower.
Ancient Harvest's pastas are thicker in texture, and not as light as a corn/rice blend like Schar, Barilla, and Ronzoni, but still tastes okay to me. It's not my favorite gluten-free pasta, but I've been pleased with the results when cooking at home. If it's on sale, I'll buy it!
Ancient Harvest gluten-free pasta comes in many different shapes: spaghetti, penne, rotini, elbows, linguini, shells, and even veggie curls and pagodas.
All Ancient Harvest gluten-free pastas are certified gluten-free. Their pastas are made in a facility without wheat. Ancient Harvest does however manufacture other products where wheat may be present in the facility, but products have dedicated lines. See their full allergen manufacturing disclosure here.
Ancient Harvest gluten-free pasta can be bought at your local grocery store (I find it at Stop & Shop, Market Basket, Wegman's, and Whole Foods) or online through Amazon.
Bionaturae is a gluten-free pasta blend of rice and lentils. This recipe is very new, as their previous gluten-free pasta was made of rice flour, potato starch, rice starch, and soy flour. Their new pasta as a result has a nice texture that doesn't have the gumminess of Banza, for example. And their pastas are also made in Italy, like Jovial, using Italian production methods!
Bionaturae's pastas come in spaghetti, linguine, rigatoni, elbows, penne, and fusilli.
All Bionaturae gluten-free pastas are certified gluten-free and made in a dedicated gluten-free facility. They are also certified organic, Non-GMO, and Kosher.
You can buy Bionaturae gluten-free pastas at Whole Foods, Wegman's, or online through Amazon and Thrive Market.
My Least Favorite Brand
Tinkyada has been my least favorite pasta brand for a very long time. But lately, I've been rethinking that assessment. I realize that now that I'm used to gluten-free pasta brands, Tinkyada might not be so bad, and I should give it another chance.
The texture of pure rice pasta, especially brown rice pasta, when I was first diagnosed, was a lot to get used to. Whenever I bought Tinkyada and cooked it, it tasted slimy, and I just couldn't stomach it. It's why I gravitated toward Barilla and Ronzoni when they appeared on the market. The addition of corn solidified the texture a bit, making it taste better. Now, I might be willing to give Tinkyada another try. Jovial's brown rice pasta is so fantastic, that perhaps I misjudged Tinkyada in the beginning. What do you think? Leave me a comment if you're a fan of Tinkyada!
Tinkyada is a brown rice flour gluten-free pasta that's manufactured in Canada. They are also certified organic, vegan, and kosher. All Tinkyada pastas are made in a dedicated wheat-free facility. Please note it does not carry the "Certified Gluten-Free" labeling as that is only used by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Find Tinkayda in your local grocery store, but make sure to look on the bottom shelves, as they are in bags, not boxes. I find Tinkyada at Stop & Shop, Market Basket, and Whole Foods, or online through Amazon and Thrive Market.
Other Pasta Brands To Consider
These are not the only gluten-free brands on the market! More brands appear every year and there are others to be aware of. Le Veneziane, Isibisi, and Pastene are Italian gluten-free pasta brands, which you can find at specialty stores and imported grocery stores. I find them at Salumeria Italiana in the North End of Boston, and Pastene in my local grocery store. Read more about North End finds in this celiac travel guide to Boston proper.
I'd also suggest checking out Aldi's line of gluten-free pasta. While I don't have an Aldi close by, I've heard nothing but wonderful things about their gluten-free products (and CHEAP prices!) and have tried a few myself! If you have tried Aldi's gluten-free pasta, please leave a comment below.
And don't forget Trader Joe's! Trader Joe's has its own line of gluten-free dried pasta made with quinoa and brown rice, which are very tasty! They also have black bean pasta, but I haven't tried that.. (I don't like beans - as seen in this no bean chili recipe!) However, I do prefer their fresh egg fettuccine instead. They also make delicious rice-based gluten-free macaroni and cheese.
If you are curious about great gluten-free frozen pastas: I swear by Nantucket Pasta Goddess and Conte's for gluten-free cheese ravioli. Both brands are delicious, just handle them with care as they can break easily. Top with butter or sauce!
Cooking Tips & Suggestions
These are my tried and true tips for helping cook gluten-free pasta with success!
Stir often. Gluten-free pasta can stick together easily, so stir quite frequently. This is especially the case with gluten-free pasta made from only rice flour, so keep your spoon handy.
Salt the pasta water. Always salt your water for a better flavor! It definitely makes a difference.
Rinse if needed. Some gluten-free pasta brands, like Banza, will say to rinse the pasta before serving. Make sure to follow the instructions because it will make a big impact on taste and texture.
Follow times exactly. Gluten-free pasta times can vary, depending on the brand and the gluten-free grains. Always follow the times listed on the box, and test a sample piece of pasta to be sure, before draining everything.
Oil or butter to prevent sticking. As soon as you drain your pasta, add some butter or oil and stir to prevent sticking. It can stick quickly!
Keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Don't leave cooked pasta out for too long, as it will dry and harden. Move it to the refrigerator when not eating, and keep covered.
Be careful when cooking gluten-free pasta if your kitchen is not a dedicated gluten-free kitchen. Use separate pasta pots, colanders, wooden spoons, and strainers. Wood and strainers are hotspots for gluten, so be careful. Keep a dedicated set for yourself that you wash with a gluten-free sponge, to be safe. For more information about preventing cross-contamination in the kitchen, check out this infographic from BeyondCeliac that highlights possible hotspots in the home.
Struggling with Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping?
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