6 Steps to Make Your Kitchen Completely Gluten-Free

Physician-diagnosed celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivities are severe conditions. If you've just been diagnosed with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, one of the first things you'll need to do is make your kitchen gluten-free so that you can have a place to cook safe food.

The gluten lurking in your kitchen can keep you sick even if you're eating gluten-free, so this is important to ensure your future health. To create your gluten-free kitchen, you'll need to clean out gluten-containing products and segregate or eliminate gluten-contaminated foods and equipment.

You may decide to make your entire kitchen gluten-free, or if you have others in your household who will continue to eat gluten, you may opt to make only part of your kitchen gluten-free.

Regardless of which choice you make, here are six steps you can take to make your kitchen gluten-free.


Throw Away or Give Away Baking Supplies

woman baking with flour

Walker and Walker / Getty Images

If you have gluten-containing flour or baking mixes in your kitchen, throw them away or give them away. Handle packages of flour especially carefully to make certain you don't allow any of the flour to escape into the air—if you breathe it in and then swallow a tiny bit, you'll be surprised at how sick you can get.

You also should get rid of any opened packages of baking supplies, such as sugar and baking soda. Although these might be fine in their unopened state, opened containers probably have some gluten cross-contamination from your previous baking activities, since many people use the same spoon to measure flour and other ingredients.

Even if you decide to share a kitchen with some gluten products (more on making that decision in Is A Shared Kitchen For You?), you should keep gluten flours out of the kitchen from now on. Airborne gluten can make you ill, and flour also can settle on clean surfaces, just waiting to gluten you.


Get Rid of Gluten Products or Segregate Them

gluten grain products

Jeffrey Coolidge / Getty Images

If you're planning to make your entire kitchen gluten-free, bundle up all of your gluten-containing products, including cereals, crackers, cookies, cakes, breads, and anything else that includes wheat, barley or rye in the ingredients list. (See "What Foods Contain Gluten?" for more information on what to eliminate.)

You can give away anything that's unopened—I donated several large grocery bags of products to a local food bank. Throw away any opened containers or give them to a family member or friend who will use them.

If, on the other hand, you're planning to have a shared kitchen, you should choose a cabinet (ideally, one that's far from your own preferred work area) in which to store gluten-containing products. Keep those products segregated at all times so there's no chance of mixing them up or using them by mistake.


Buy a New Toaster for Gluten-Free Bread

toaster with toasted bread

Tom Grill / Getty Images

If you like toast, you'll need a new toaster since it's impossible to clean an already-used toaster well enough to make it safe for someone who needs gluten-free bread. Don't make the mistake of thinking you can designate one side of an existing toaster for gluten-free bread and remain uncontaminated—unfortunately, this won't work.

Several companies make heavy-duty, reusable bags that can let you toast your gluten-free bread safely in a toaster used for gluten bread. These are fine when you're traveling and don't have access to a dedicated gluten-free toaster, but buying a new toaster (and making sure your family members know never to use it for gluten bread) remains your best bet long-term.


Purchase New Jars of Condiments

condiment bottles

Adventtr / Getty Images

Any opened condiments in your refrigerator or cabinets most likely contain some cross-contamination in the form of gluten crumbs, so purchase a full supply of new gluten-free jars, including jam and jellies, mustard, ketchup, peanut butter, margarine, and mayonnaise, and anything else you enjoy using.

If you're planning on having a shared kitchen, you'll need to label your jars so that a friend or family member doesn't cross-contaminate something inadvertently.

Many celiac disease patients report that squeeze bottles work well to avoid cross-contamination, but you'll need to train everyone not to touch the tip of the bottle to gluten bread—yes, even something as minor as that potentially can make you sick.


Replace Plastic Utensils and Nonstick Pans

non-stick pan with wooden spoon

Dave King / Getty Images

Plastic bowls and utensils scratch easily, and these scratches can harbor minute amounts of gluten, no matter how carefully you scrub. Therefore, you'll need to buy new ones.

The same holds for nonstick pots and pans and wooden utensils: replace these or avoid using the ones in your kitchen for gluten-free cooking.

If your kitchen has limited space, it can be safe to use stainless steel pans and stainless or glass bowls for both gluten and gluten-free foods as long as you wash them carefully and thoroughly.

Whatever you do, though, buy a new colander—a colander's tiny holes are impossible to clean properly. If in doubt about what to keep and what to discard, check out this guide to gluten-free cookware and utensils.


Clean Your Oven to Remove Gluten Residue

oven with gluten-free muffins

Andrew Bret Wallis / Getty Images

Many people don't clean their ovens all that frequently. If you use your oven to bake or toast bread, it likely has plenty of gluten-containing crumbs on the bottom. And if you use your oven to roast meat or cook anything that splatters, the oven walls and racks may have gluten-containing residue on them.

To finish the job of making your kitchen gluten-free, you should clean your oven—that way, you can feel confident placing your new gluten-free pizza directly on the oven rack to cook.

Self-cleaning ovens clean at a temperature that should destroy the gluten protein, but if you have a non-self-cleaning oven, you'll have to make sure you scrub everything—especially the racks—really well. Also, make sure to clean the drawer under the oven, since that frequently harbors crumbs.

A Word from Verywell

You may feel overwhelmed with the gluten-free diet and its implications for your life. Spending a few hours cleaning out your kitchen so that you have a gluten-free area to prepare meals can help you feel empowered—and being able to make food in a kitchen that's free from gluten can have real benefits for your health.

6 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Beyond Celiac. Cross-contact.

  2. Mikey's. 5 tips for sharing your gluten-free kitchen.

  3. Gluten-Free Living. Sharing a kitchen when you're gluten free.

  4. Gluten-Free Living. Tips to prevent gluten cross-contamination.

  5. Gluten-Free Living. Kitchen appliance: Risk of cross-contamination?

  6. Gluten Free Labels. Gluten free kitchen.

Additional Reading

By Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is a medical journalist and an expert in celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet.