Everything you need to know about the plethora of gluten-free spaghetti noodles on the market right now.
[Updated January 29, 2018]
Think about the last time you shopped for groceries. Chances are there was a package of gluten-free pasta in your cart. A recent Gluten Free & More survey found that most people in the gluten-free community eat pasta regularly.
Exactly how good is gluten-free pasta? Which brands are the best? How expensive are they?
We conducted a comprehensive market overview and product testing to find out. What we discovered is that gluten-free pasta is far better, much more varied, more available and less expensive than we expected!
Gluten-free pasta is made from different flours and grains than conventional wheat pasta. This variety enhances our noodles and expands the wonderful array of pasta choices we have. If you’re in the rut of eating the same pasta over and over again, it’s time to explore all the delicious options! And believe us – there are plenty.
Want the full scoop on other common packaged GF foods? Here you go:
Gluten Free & More‘s Favorite Spaghetti Brands
In our testing, it was easy to weed out the brands we wouldn’t purchase again. Some of these clumped together when cooked. Some turned mushy as we drained them. Some fell apart. Some just didn’t taste good.
The challenging part was determining our top ten gluten free spaghetti brands because there were so many standouts. It was so challenging, in fact, that we couldn’t agree on just ten brands — so we picked 12.
In alphabetical order, these gluten-free spaghetti brands are our top picks, based on taste, texture and reheat-ability.
Andean Dream Quinoa Pasta
Andean Dream makes quinoa products sourced from the Bolivian Andes. The company states that their quinoa is “responsibly cultivated” and always processed in a dedicated allergen-free facility. In addition to quinoa pasta, Andean Dream also makes gluten-free and vegan cookies which come in several varieties. They make a handful of different pastas too, including a gluten- and corn-free orzo, pasta shells, macaroni, and fusilli.
Barilla Gluten-Free Spaghetti
Barilla is the largest pasta manufacturer in the world – you can find it in any mainstream grocery store. Barilla was also one of the first wheat pasta companies to start producing gluten-free pasta. The company is based in Parma, Italy, is family-run, does not use GMO’s in any of their foods, and never tests on animals. The best thing about gluten-free Barilla pasta is that it will be the easiest to find. You can buy the classic spaghetti, or try Barilla’s gluten-free lasagna sheets, fettuccine, elbow pasta, or rotini!
BiAglut is owned by the Heinz Company, but is based out of and manufactures its products in Italy. All BiAglut pastas are gluten-free, egg-free and milk-free (unless you buy the egg-based tagliatelle or lasagna sheets), and there are plenty of types to choose from. While not in every supermarket, BiAglut is available online and in smaller health food stores. A store locator on BiAglut’s website will help you find this pasta near you.
Bionaturae Organic Gluten-Free Spaghetti
Bionaturae is an organic producer of Italian food products not limited to pasta. They make olive oils, fruit nectar beverages, balsamic vinegar, and tomato sauces, too. This company is not exclusively gluten-free; they make many varieties of semolina wheat pastas in addition to their gluten-free line. The certified gluten-free pasta is available in fusilli, rigatoni, penne, elbow, spaghetti, or linguine shapes.
DeLallo Gluten-Free Pasta Whole Grain Rice Spaghetti
The Italian food giant, DeLallo, manufactures a huge variety of products geared toward gourmet entertaining. It’s not a gluten-free company, but the list of GF products DeLallo offers is impressive. Aside from a line of normal corn and rice blends of popular pastas, you can also buy gluten- and corn-free pasta that is made from whole grain rice. DeLallo also makes gluten-free gnocchi, which we are excited about!
Garofalo Gluten-Free Spaghetti
Garofalo’s gluten-free pasta offerings include linguine, spaghetti, penne, and casarecce. They are all made from a blend of corn, rice, quinoa, and plant fibers, making the pastas sturdy, yet well-suited for absorbing sauce. You can find Garofalo in specialty grocery stores around the U.S.
Jovial Gluten-Free Brown Rice Pasta Spaghetti
Jovial is the maker of breads, crackers, cookies, pastas, and sauces, with a large percent of what it sells being certified gluten-free. Interestingly, Jovial markets products to people with Celiac Disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity separately, with some products labeled as certified gluten-free (and no added starches!) and others as wheat- or yeast-free. Jovial foods are made in Italy.
La Veneziane Gluten-Free Corn Pasta Spaghetti
La Veneziane is the pasta line of gluten-free Italian food company, Molino di Ferro. The pastas are all corn-based and come in seven varieties. Other La Veneziane products include gluten-free breadsticks in flavors like onion, olives, and sundried tomato. Molino di Ferro also makes certified gluten-free polenta, biscuits, gnocchi, and more.
Living Now Organic Quinoa Spaghetti
Living Now is NOW Food’s line of exclusively gluten-free baking and bread products. They sell three kinds of organic quinoa pasta: elbow, macaroni, and spaghetti. NOW Foods items are widely available around the US. Check out other Living Now products like their gluten-free Baking and Pancake Mix!
Ronzoni Gluten-Free Spaghetti
Ronzoni belongs in the same realm of availability and scale as brands like Barilla. Available almost everywhere, Ronzoni sells boxed pasta and only boxed pasta. The company lists six product categories for their pastas: Garden Delight (vegetable-enriched), Smart Taste (fiber and vitamin-enriched), Healthy Harvest (100% whole grain), Ronzoni (classic), Super Greens (very vegetable-enriched), and Ronzoni Gluten-Free. In the gluten-free line, rotini, elbow, penne and spaghetti are available.
Schar Bonta d’Italia Gluten-Free Spaghetti
Those of us in the gluten-free community should be familiar with Schar. They sell packaged cookies, crackers, breadcrumbs, and buns – all gluten-free – as well as a line of GF pastas called Bonta d’Italia. These pastas are imported from Italy and packaged by Schar; they are corn and rice-based, non-GMO, and preservative-free. Available in supermarkets like Stop & Shop.
Tinkyada Brown Rice Spaghetti
Tinkyada is a Canadian line of rice pastas made from 100% organic whole grain brown rice. There are currently eighteen kinds of brown rice pasta available from Tinkyada, although finding a store that carries it may be a challenge for people in the U.S.
The Gluten Free Pasta Market: An Overview
Reader GF Pasta Favorites
We asked our readers about their favorite brands of pasta. With over 2,000 responses, these are our readers’ top 10 picks.
|Ancient Harvest ~4%|
|Trader Joe’s store brand pasta ~2%|
|Le Veneziane (Italy) ~2%|
|Live GFree (Aldi store brand) ~1%|
Editor’s note: Availability plays a factor. The top brands are widely distributed.
We selected spaghetti for our in-depth review because it is the most commonly used noodle. We tasted and tested every brand of gluten-free spaghetti noodle we could find (over 40). See our chart by following this link.
For our testing, we kept large pots of boiling salted water on the stove. To cook the pasta, we strictly followed the package instructions. We carefully watched the boiling time to ensure that each brand reached desired doneness without overcooking. Some products, like lentil-based noodles and high-starch noodles, required more water than others. After draining (and rinsing some, according to package instructions), we sampled each brand for taste, texture and consistency. We tasted the noodles plain without the distraction of sauce, which would have hidden flavor nuances. A portion of each brand was refrigerated as “leftovers” and then reheated and sampled the next day.
Taste & Texture
In our survey, Gluten Free & Morereaders ranked taste and texture as top pasta attributes. Toss aside any notions of gummy gluten-free noodles that fall apart when they hit the sauce. Pasta has improved significantly since the early days of gluten-free food.
We are struck by the wonderful variety of ingredients and blends now used in gluten-free pasta—rice, corn, quinoa, chickpea, black bean and more. Consumers can select pasta based on the ingredient content that best fits their dietary needs and taste preferences.
Rice pasta remains the favorite of many gluten-free cooks. It has a neutral taste that doesn’t overwhelm a dish but it tends to be delicate and not very durable. It may become mushy when refrigerated or reheated. It’s not recommended for pasta salads as it also soaks up the dressing, leaving the pasta mushy. Flavor and texture vary across brands, as does performance, sturdiness and taste.
Quinoa and legume pastas provide a healthy nutritional profile, which many prefer. High in protein and fiber, they don’t overload with empty carbs. They’re also durable. But many bean-based pastas interject their flavor and color into a dish. Chickpea pastas are terrific for veggie-filled pasta salad, but they may not work as well with delicate cream sauces. Ditto for black bean pastas—their darker hue may not have the eye appeal you want when serving your guests.
Corn pasta may impart a slight corny taste but it’s generally a sturdy noodle that’s stable when re-heated. Corn-based pastas vary in performance and taste across brands. We found that corn is a polarizing ingredient. Some readers choose corn pasta because of its hardiness. Others strictly avoid corn pasta due to a corn intolerance or risk of GMOs.
Most pasta made with blends like rice/corn, rice/corn/quinoa or lentil/rice reheat well and work in both cold and hot dishes. Fortunately, there are many different ingredient blends available.
Most gluten-free pastas made with grains like rice or quinoa are free from the top 8 allergens. A handful of products contain soy. At least one contains lupin, an ingredient that some recommend avoiding if you have a peanut allergy. Many popular gluten-free pastas contain corn. While corn isn’t considered a top 8 allergen, many readers avoid it. Always check ingredient labels and call the manufacturer if you have food allergies.
Our primal ancestors would have loved Cappello’s, a paleo-friendly brand of frozen pasta made from almond flour, eggs and tapioca flour. Cappello’s offers fettuccine, gnocchi and lasagna sheets, available in the freezer section of many supermarkets.
Some pasta brands are made without typical grains like rice, quinoa or corn. Brands like Banza, Explore Cuisine, Tolerant Foods and newcomer Cybele’s Free to Eat vegetable superfood pasta contain chickpeas, lentils or vegetables, not grains.
An easy and cost-efficient paleo-friendly and grain-free pasta replacement is zucchini noodles, also called zoodles. Purchase a vegetable spiralizer and a handful of zucchini and get ready for some manual labor. We recommend OXO’s Good Grips Handheld Spiralizer and KitchenAid’s Spiralizer Plus attachment. If you want zoodles without the work, look for them in your grocery store’s prepared meal section. You can often find zoodles made from zucchini, sweet potatoes and even carrots, all at a marked-up price for convenience.
A serving of typical grain-containing pasta delivers about 40 grams of carbohydrates. Shirataki pasta (made from the konjac yam) is gluten-free pasta with reduced carbs. These transparent rice-like noodles are usually best when rinsed thoroughly and used in stir-fry. Don’t let their initial pungent aroma put you off. Try Better Than Pasta, House Foods, Miracle Noodle and Skinny Pasta.
Safety & Certification
Over half our readers look for pasta that’s certified gluten-free. Fortunately, many non-certified brands are made in dedicated gluten-free facilities. If you don’t see a gluten-free certification on the package, call the customer service number to determine how the pasta is manufactured.
Note that gluten-free labeling regulations and symbols vary by country, which impacts the package labeling of international brands. You may see unfamiliar symbols on the package of imported products.
Organic + Non-GMO
There are many organic and non-GMO brands of gluten-free pasta. While not all are certified organic or Non-GMO Project Verified, they often show the words “organic” or “non-GMO” on their packaging.
Organic labeling regulations, symbols and words vary by country for international brands.
Where to Buy GF Pasta
Most readers purchase their gluten-free pasta at traditional grocery stores, where there are often a handful of gluten-free brands available.
Many of our favorite pastas are available at natural grocery stores (think Whole Foods, Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, etc.). Amazon, VitaCost, Thrive Market, and gluten-free online retailers like glutenfreemall.com and glutenfreepalace.com offer a variety of unique pastas not found at traditional grocery stores. For imported varieties, try online distributors like quattrobimbi.com and pastacheese.com.
Paying the Price
Twenty-five percent of our readers put a premium on price, preferring affordability over taste, texture, certification and ingredients.
We found a wide price range for gluten-free pasta. Prices also vary by store and by region. Brands sold at traditional grocery stores or big box stores, like Walmart and Target, are generally similar in price to conventional gluten-full pasta. Specialty pastas, especially those manufactured overseas, can be pricey, particularly when you add in the shipping. With some imported brands, shipping costs are several times the price of the pasta itself. Always investigate shipping fees before purchasing pasta online.
Prepared pasta is available refrigerated or frozen in various shapes, styles and flavors. Manini’s and RP’s Pasta are available in the refrigerated section of your supermarket. (Don’t miss Manini’s Lemon Thyme Linguini!) In the frozen section, you can find Cappello’s paleo noodles, lasagna sheets and gnocchi, along with DePuma’s ravioli and tortelloni. These pastas typically contain egg and/or dairy.
Conte’s offers a myriad of frozen ravioli and stuffed shells, along with individual microwave meals. Caesar’s Pasta sells frozen stuffed shells, ravioli, cannelloni and lasagna for both the oven and microwave. It also offers certified vegan gluten-free potato and spinach gnocchi.
About 10 percent of our readers make their own gluten-free noodles from scratch. If you want to try making your own, check out these great homemade pasta recipes. Save time with the Philips Viva Collection Pasta and Noodle Maker.