Passover Foods Offer a Bonanza for the Gluten-Free

Why Is This Holiday Special for Those Who Are Gluten-Free?

Seder plate for passover
Dennis Gottlieb / Getty Images

Passover, one of the most meaningful Jewish holidays, also happens to offer a bonanza of gluten-free foods for people who have celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Here's some information on Passover and what you can expect from a gluten-free diet perspective.

What Is the Passover Holiday?

The Jewish holiday of Passover, which falls in the early spring, commemorates the departure of the ancient Israelites from Egypt, where for generations they had been slaves to Pharaoh.

According to the biblical story, the Israelites left Egypt in such a rush that they did not have time to let their bread rise. Today, to commemorate the slaves' difficult lives and their hasty departure from Egypt, Jews who celebrate the eight-day holiday of Passover eat an unleavened cracker-like bread called matzoh, which is made from flour and water.

The flour used for matzoh may be from wheat, rye, barley, oats, or spelt. For the entire eight days of the holiday, observant Jews do not eat any "regular" bread products or baked goods. They can eat matzoh, or in some cases, products that have been made with ground-up matzoh (matzoh flour, or matzoh meal, or matzoh cake meal). Wheat, oats, barley, rye, and spelt in any other form are forbidden.

Why Does This Matter If You're Gluten-Free?

First, you'll need to find gluten-free matzoh. Since wheat, rye, barley, and spelt all are gluten grains, you'll want to find matzoh made from oats and specifically made to be gluten-free.

Be aware that many people with celiac disease also react to oats. If you're one of them, the list of gluten-free matzohs linked above includes some options for you.

Beyond matzoh, there are lots of other products available that may suit your gluten-free diet. In many parts of the world, supermarkets carry special products that are available only during the Passover season. Because wheat, oats, barley, rye, and spelt in any form other than matzoh is prohibited, many of these once-a-year products are gluten-free.

What Should You Look For?

A product must be labeled "Non-Gebrokts" or "Gluten-Free." Non-Gebrokts (sometimes spelled "Non-Gebroktz" or "Non-Gebroks") means the item does not have matzoh as an ingredient.

Very important: Merely being labeled "Kosher for Passover" does not make a product gluten-free.

Many manufacturers, large and small, produce special products for people who follow the Non-Gebrokts Kosher for Passover diet, using specially cleaned or completely dedicated equipment and facilities. Every year, more and more Non-Gebrokts products become available.

Here are just a few to look for in supermarkets in the United States. However, before purchasing anything, verify that it's gluten-free, as product formulations can change.

From Manischewitz

Potato starch noodles (great for noodle pudding)
Passover cereals without wheat (Cocoa Crunch, Fruity Magic and Sunny O's)

From Gefen

Potato starch noodles (also great for noodle pudding)
Cake mixes without wheat

From Frankel's

Frozen foods including blintzes, waffles, knishes, and pizza made from potato starch.
Cakes made with potato starch instead of wheat

From Maccabee Pizza

Frozen pizza made from potato starch instead of traditional dough

From Kineret

Frozen blintzes made from potato starch
Passover cakes and cookies

From Dr. Prager

Frozen broccoli/potato pancakes and spinach/potato pancakes

Passover products disappear quickly from the store shelves and don't reappear until the following year. So if you find any that you like, be sure to stock up on them.

A Word From Verywell

You'll likely find more products that are both Kosher for Passover and gluten-free than the ones listed above since companies see the need for these products and add new ones all the time. For example, you'll likely find macaroons in a variety of flavors, such as plain, chocolate-drizzled, and almond-flavored. Macaroons generally are made from just coconut, sugar or honey, and egg whites. Glicks Finest and Jennies Gourmet Macaroons are two brands that are both gluten-free and Kosher for Passover.

You also could consider trying gluten-free couscous. Streit's is one brand that's both gluten-free and Kosher for Passover. It's made with potato and tapioca starch plus potato flakes. Consider pairing your couscous with your main Passover dishes, or serve it on top of a salad.

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.

By Nancy Lapid
Nancy Ehrlich Lapid is an expert on celiac disease and serves as the Editor-in-Charge at Reuters Health.