How to have a gluten and dairy free Thanksgiving



Thanksgiving is just around the corner (my how time flies!)  I thought I would share some ideas and recipes for a safe Thanksgiving meal.

Thanksgiving dinners that are not gluten and dairy free require a lot of advance planning, but when you have to prepare that dinner both gluten and dairy free, you are adding in a lot of extra effort, time and planning.  I hope the following tips and recipes will make it a bit easier on you.

It will certainly be easier for me than last year-we had just made a cross country move.

The standard dishes for any Thanksgiving feast are, of course, Turkey, stuffing (or dressing), mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, creamed onions (in our house anyway) and gravy. And, of course, dessert!  There are, of course, other side dishes depending on your location and family, but these are the usual fare.


Always read labels!  Manufacturer’s change their packaging and preparation methods!

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.

There are 2 products Butterball makes that do contain gluten, Frozen Italian Style Meatballs, and Frozen Stuffed Turkey.

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.

They have 5 products that DO contain gluten, Asian Grill Marinated Turkey Strips, Teriyaki Flavor Turkey Breast Tenderloin, Frozen Italian Style Meatballs, Fresh Italian Style Turkey Meatballs, and Beer Smoked Turkey Brats. 

I usually buy fresh turkey tenderloins and then brush with oil and seasonings and bake.  Depending on the crowd you are feeding these are a good option.

Stuffing (dressing)

Ok, technically, it’s stuffing if you stuff the bird with it, and dressing if it’s served on the side in a baking dish, but I think it’s more what you grew up calling it.  I still call it stuffing, even though I stopped stuffing the bird years ago.

A word about stuffing the bird-it is no longer recommended that you do this.  The stuffing never quite reaches a safe temperature because the Turkey is done long before this happens.  Just a word of caution here.  Take it from Alton Brown.

I have found a wonderful sausage, apple cornbread stuffing (dressing) recipe.  I have made this many times.  It is delicious and moist.  You should make the cornbread at least one day ahead to let it dry out.  You can also cube and toast it in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes until the pieces are dry and just starting to brown.  You can do this ahead of time also.  Use non-dairy spread here.

If you want to go a more traditional route, I have found Three Bakers stuffing to be very good.

here are the ingredients:


This has honey in it, and does not agree with me.  It does not contain soy.  But it comes very close to Stove Top (and yes you can microwave it).

Mashed Potatoes

I make my mashed potatoes with russet potatoes, coconut milk (not canned) and non-dairy spread.  I just read an article on the best method of mashing potatoes.  Apparently, a ricer or food mill is the way to go, seconded by a hand masher.  Do not use a mixer or food processor;  it makes the potatoes gummy.

If you want to cut corners, potato flakes will work here as well, especially if you are serving a large crowd and don’t want to peel five pounds of potatoes!

Green Bean casserole

This is a tough one if you are both gluten and dairy free.  The toughest thing to find is gluten and dairy free fried onions.  Yes, you can make your own, but this involves deep frying; not something I want to do in a rented apartment since it is a huge fire hazard. I finally found gluten and dairy free fried onions (crunions).  I found these at the gluten free shoppe.  I had to call them because most of the products on their site do not list ingredients.  I told the person on the phone this is very important for people with food allergies.  I hope he took this to heart as they have gluten free foods here I have never seen before.

There are only four ingredients in the crunions: Onions, oil, buckwheat flour and salt.  I have not tried these as of yet, but I will certainly post about it when I do.  I searched everywhere for a substitute for Durkee onions (please make a gluten free version!).  Aldi’s has a gluten free version, but wouldn’t tell me if they were in stock.  No doubt they run out quickly.

The next hurdle is the mushroom soup.  It is nearly impossible to find a dairy free version, so I will be making my own with canned coconut milk.  I found a recipe for dairy and gluten free cream of mushroom soup here.   I would chill the can of coconut milk to solidify the cream part and strain off the liquid before using it here.

I use canned string beans in my green bean casserole.  I do not like frozen green bean.  But you certainly can use them if you like (thawed and cooked, of course).

I have NOT tried this recipe yet.  Please comment your results if you do!

Sweet potato casserole

I probably will not be making this as it is just my husband and I and we will have more than enough food.  I recently made a sweet potato spoon bread that was good, but needs some tweaking.  I would definitely use more spices as it was a bit bland.

Creamed onions

This was a staple on my mother’s Thanksgiving table (as were turnips).  I thought I had to give this up but I found a recipe that looks like it will work.  I will be using dairy free coconut milk and dairy free spread.  I might actually use canned coconut milk here also, but I have never had a problem making a white sauce with regular coconut milk.  THIS RECIPE HAS NOT BEEN TESTED!



Making gluten free gravy couldn’t be any easier.  Here is a step by step.  If you are making the mushroom soup in the above recipe for the green bean casserole, it can double as gravy.   I have yet to find packaged or jarred gluten AND dairy free gravy.  If anyone knows of one,  please share.


I will be making my fabulous Impossibly Easy French Apple Pie. This pie reminds me of the Cinnabon frozen, baked apple pie.  I was going to make cream cheese frosting, but alas, since my recent discovery of a soy allergy, I will have to leave it off unless I can find soy free dairy free cream cheese.  Our area is very limited in dairy free offerings.  Cream cheese made with nuts is also off limits.  Sigh…oh well, you can’t have everything.

If you want dinner rolls, Udi’s makes very good French style and seeded frozen dinner rolls.

Ocean Spray cranberry jelly is gluten free

So there you have it-safe, delicious recipes.  With a bit of extra effort, you too can sit down to a delicous, gluten and dairy free Thanksgiving feast.

If you have any questions, please contact me!

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