Surviving Holiday dinners gluten and dairy free



It’s almost that time again-time when holiday dinners strike fear into the hearts of the gluten, dairy and allergen intolerant, and those who cook for them.

With a couple of years of holiday dinners under my belt, I’d like to share my tips and tricks for surviving those holiday dinners with your sanity, and stomach, intact.

It’s best to be specific and include brand names.  Always check ingredients online if you can.  Most companies provide nutritional and ingredient information.  Don’t guess!

  • Turkey:  Turkeys can have gluten in them.  Yes, they can.  Here is a list of Turkeys that are gluten and dairy free:

All Norbest Turkey Products (fresh and frozen) are gluten free. They also say none have dairy proteins (casein). The Norbest Oven Roasted Fully Cooked turkeys are gluten and dairy free, but do contain soy protein. All the raw turkeys have no soy. You can choose between fresh or frozen, basted or natural.

Butterball turkeys (fresh or frozen) do not contain gluten, and their gravy packets have been reformulated so that they don’t contain gluten. However, some packets still may contain gluten. If so, it will be listed on the ingredient statement, along with other top allergens. If you choose this brand be sure to check the label.

Jennie O FRESH Turkeys are gluten free, but they recommend you read the label. Read the label for any gravy packet as well.

Honeysuckle White Turkeys, Fresh, Frozen, or Cooked are gluten free. They do recommend you read the label.

You’ll want to avoid the gravy packet.  I had a Butterball turkey last year with no problems.

  • Ham: Your safest bet is Boar’s Head.  Here is a more comprehensive list 
  • Turkey gravy:  It’s really easy and safer to make your own.  No doubt the host will be making the gravy with flour, but it’s easy to make it with cornstarch instead:

gluten and dairy free turkey gravy

Maxwell’s turkey gravy mix is gluten and dairy free, but it’ really hard to find.

Remember! When you google something+gluten free don’t assume the shop for results at the top of the page are gluten/dairy free.  Also:  Organic DOES NOT EQUAL gluten free!  Always read labels!!!!!

  • Stuffing:  I really like Three Bakers gluten free herb stuffing.  You can also make cornbread stuffing.
  • Mashed potatoes:  These will be ok with dairy free butter and milk.
  • Green bean casserole:  This one is complicated.  You can get gluten and dairy free mushroom soup but alas, not gluten-free fried onions.  I keep hoping for that.
  • It’s best to avoid deli salads, even potato salad.  There seems to be a trend in putting wheat in deli salads; I’m not sure why companies think this is necessary.  Oh well.  You can always bring your own.
  • It’s also best to avoid Scalloped potatoes.  These just do not work dairy free.


The best solution is, of course, to bring your own food.  Make up a delicious turkey dinner, put it in containers and bring it with you.  This is the stress-free way to have a nice family dinner.


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