A growing awareness of gluten-related disorders has increased the demand for gluten-free diets in recent years. In grains such as wheat, barley, and rye, gluten is a naturally occurring protein family called prolamins.
Gluten-free diets are more common, but most of the U.S. population does not suffer from celiac disease, affecting fewer than 1% of the population.
Many people have gluten allergies, and potatoes are a good alternative for gluten. Since potato is a starch, it has no gluten in it. Does it mean French fries are gluten-free too?
We enjoy French fries by making the frozen fries at home. Frozen French fries let us have fries within a few minutes without the hassle of slicing, boiling, and coating. But not all frozen French fries are gluten-free and allergy-friendly.
Are French Fries Gluten Free?
Did you know potatoes are gluten-free? The raw potato doesn’t contain any gluten. This means the dishes containing potatoes are gluten-free unless you add gluten toppings.
However, not all French fries are gluten-free because of this reason. Though the potato slices have no gluten, people often add seasonings containing gluten. So, you need to check the ingredients and the prep style.
French fries that have seasoning of any food that contains gluten become a gluten food. Such as, the popular beer-battered crispy and soft fries are not gluten-free because beer has gluten. Usually, restaurants add seasonings with gluten or use wheat flour for the fries.
Furthermore, did you know that cooking gluten-free fries in a pan or fryer which cooks gluten food automatically makes the fries gluten positive too? You can’t cook gluten-free fries in a pan that cooks breaded food.
How To Know Which French Fries are Gluten Free?
The easiest way to know which French fries are gluten-free is to read the label of the packet. Make sure you read the ingredients to find out if it contains gluten. Sometimes it won’t say gluten outright, so you must check for sauces, preservatives, or toppings containing gluten.
But it’s not always easy to tell. Because the fries we usually eat are from restaurants and cafes. These fries don’t come with labels. It’s common for restaurants to add wheat flour topping for the extra crunch. So, if you want gluten-free fries, you must inform the waitstaff.
Because French fries are fried, they will be prepared alongside other fried foods. However, asking for gluten-free fries isn’t enough. If you have allergies or can’t digest gluten at all, make sure to ask them to prepare the fries separately. Cooking gluten-free fries in the same fryer as standard fries causes cross-contamination, so you end up with gluten.
Are Frozen French Fries Gluten Free?
Are frozen French fries gluten-free? It’s the same as regular fries. Just because gluten isn’t directly written on the front packet, don’t assume it has no gluten. Unless stated that no gluten additives were used in the prep, it’s not gluten-free.
Most French fries have a wheat coating that makes the fries crunchy. Because they want the fries to be as good as possible, you will find many frozen fries filled with seasonings. For seasoned frozen French fries, always check the labels for gluten ingredients before buying.
Reading the label is important for frozen French fries. Some might say they are not allergy friendly or write gluten directly. Check for wheat topping, caramel color, beer battering, annatto, and gluten flour coating.
Unfortunately, finding gluten-free frozen French fries come down to careful selection. Some companies don’t maintain separate manufacturing for breaded and non-breaded foods. Frozen French fries can have cross-contamination, too, so check the preparing process if they have any.
Which Frozen French Fries are Gluten Free?
Not all frozen French fries are gluten-free. The ones with extra seasoning and topping aren’t gluten-free. If the packaging says extra crunchy, then chances are it has gluten. But that doesn’t mean gluten-free frozen fries aren’t readily available. You can find them in grocery stores alongside the usually frozen fries.
Ore-Ida is one of the most popular brands of gluten-free frozen fries. They label their frozen foods clearly and mention which ones have gluten. Their fries aren’t just plain fries with salt. You can choose from standard, hash brown, sweet potato, seasoned, tater tot fries, and more.
Other brands, such as McCain, Alexia, and Great Flour, state if their frozen fries have gluten or not. They also make gluten-frozen fries, so be sure to check before buying.
Red Robin, Simple Truth, and Grown in Idaho frozen fries don’t come with gluten-free labels, but they are known for not having gluten in the making process. But some of their foods are now being labeled.
It’s good to know which brands always make frozen fries with gluten. With seasoning, Kroger and Great Value frozen fries have wheat, but the standard fries don’t. Arby’s, Mcdonald’s, and KFC don’t have gluten-free fries. They make many breaded products, so cross-contamination is always possible.
How to Make gluten-free French Fries
You can make the perfect fries at home if you don’t want to take a chance on restaurant or frozen French fries to be completely gluten-free. This ensures that no gluten is near your fries and keeps you worry-free.
Making gluten-free French fries is easy. You will need potatoes, preferably russet potatoes. Then it would help if you rinsed them thoroughly. Peeling the potato skin is optional. You’ll also need cornstarch, cold water, oil, pepper, salt, paprika, and rice flour.
First, clean and slice the potatoes into your preferred shape. Make sure the French fry shape and size are the same for all. Then add the sliced fries into a bowl of cold water. Move around the slices in the cold water and then drain the water. Then put them in more cold water and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes. Repeat this process one more time.
Take the fries out, drain the water, place them in a tray and cover them with a towel. Now refrigerate again for half an hour. While that’s cooling, warm up your cooking oil to 300F. Mix rice flour and corn starch together. Take out the cold fries and toss them in the mix.
Fry the French fries for 3-4 minutes or until cooked. Then use a paper towel to drain the excess oil and refrigerate them again until they are cold. Warm your oil to 350F and cook the cold fries again. Then repeat the process of draining the excess oil.
Create a mix of salt and pepper. Paprika and other seasoning are optional. Toss the fries in the seasoning mix and serve with gluten-free dipping.
Hope that clears out any confusion you had about French fries and gluten. To avoid any gluten fries, read the labels carefully. You can easily whip up gluten-free fries at home too.