When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, Thanksgiving was a holiday that came with much trepidation.  Truth be told, Aunt Edna’s gelatin mold was indeed a bit scary, but my big fear was how to survive Thanksgiving gluten-free.  Our dinner table was traditionally laden with gluten-filled fares such as stuffing, rolls, gravy, and pies.  As a “newbie”, I envisioned myself munching on a piece of cardboard in the corner (most likely at the kid’s table).  Fear not!  Thanksgiving (and any other holiday) can be deliciously gluten-free.  A little research, planning, and flexibility will help you to have a Thanksgiving that rivals years past.

  • Bird is the Word: Did you know that some brands of turkey contain gluten as an additive?  To make sure you select a gluten-free turkey, always check the ingredient list.  Gluten-free turkey brands include Empire Kosher, Honeysuckle White, Jennie-O, Perdue, Shelton’s, & Shadybrook Farms.
  • Break Some Gluten Free Bread: Serve up a batch of gluten-free biscuits in no time by using Betty Crocker Gluten Free Bisquick Mix.
  • Get Stuffed: Check out my post for some savory Gluten-Free Stuffing.  Want to try something different?  How about a rice-based stuffing?
  • Hop on the Gravy Train: Sure, “traditional” gravy is made from a flour base.  However, you can make a mouthwatering gluten free country-style gravy with Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Bisquick Mix as a base.  Or check out these gluten-free gravy mixes:  Road’s End Organic Savory Herb Gravy, OrgraN Vegetarian Gravy.
  • Don’t Forget the Sides: Homemade cranberry sauce, fruit salad, candied yams, and mashed potatoes all make fabulous sides.
  • Time for Dessert! The possibilities are endless.  Since pumpkin is so often featured as the star of the show at Thanksgiving, pumpkin ice cream would be a delicious gluten-free option.  A decadent (but easy) option is my Pumpkin Cheesecake with Rice Chex crust:

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Be sure to have cream cheese & eggs at room temperature.

Gluten Free Crust:

1/2 cup pecans
2 cups Rice Chex Gluten Free Cereal
8 gluten free Ginger Snap cookies
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup butter (melted)
In a food processor grind pecans, cookies, & Rice Chex cereal until crushed & crumbly in texture (resembling ground almond meal). Add brown & white sugar and butter. Mix thoroughly. Press crumbs against the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

Cheesecake Filling:

3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/8 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1 whole egg
4 egg yolks
3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Combine pumpkin, 3/4 cup of white sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, mace, and 3 egg yolks.
  • Whisk until thoroughly combined. Set pumpkin mixture aside.
  • Using a mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy.
  • Slowly incorporate 3/8 cup (=1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp) of white sugar, 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk, whipping cream, cornstarch, orange and vanilla extract.
  • Mix well.
  • Add pumpkin mixture and combine thoroughly.
  • Add batter to the springform pan.
  • Bake in center of the oven for 50 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees. I placed a pan filled with water on the rack beneath the cheesecake to eliminate cracking and maintain moistness.
  • Remove cheesecake from oven and cool for at least 1/2 hour before removing from pan.
  • Refrigerate prior to serving.

What’s your gluten-free story? How long did it take you to be diagnosed? Share with the Hold the Gluten community in the comments below!