Do I need new, designated pans, plates, and utensils?

Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN
Q: Should gluten-free food be prepared and cooked in new or designated pans, plates and utensils?

Answer


No, there is no need to get new pots and pans, plates or utensils. In most cases, they can be used interchangeably as long as they are cleaned properly between use. The only pans that are iffy are cast iron pans, these pans usually have a coating on them that is hard to clean and may flake off into the food. I recommend having a dedicated cast iron pan for gluten-free cooking.

Gluten is easily removed from most pans and other dishes. To clean them, we recommend using a dish detergent with a clean brush or sponge, and rinsing with water. Also, putting items through the dishwasher is sufficient to clean off gluten, just make sure to clean any visible debris off before loading it into the dishwasher.

A recent study showed that washing pots and pans with detergent and water was enough to get rid of gluten and safe to cook gluten-free food in (no need for completely dedicated GF pans). However, the same study showed that cutting GF foods with the same knife as gluten-containing foods and not washing it in between transferred too much gluten, while washing it was enough to get rid of the gluten. They found that washing is key to remove gluten and recommend to wash hands and surfaces with soap and water to remove gluten (1).

We recommend that you have a version dedicated for GF cooking of anything that is difficult to clean or is porous, such as:

  • Strainer/colander

  • Sifter

  • Wood cutting boards/utensils/rolling pins

  • Cast iron pans

  • Bread maker/ sandwich maker/waffle iron

  • Fryolator/air fryer

  • Use a dedicated toaster or use foil in a toaster oven

Read more about cast iron pans.

References:

  1. Weisbrod VM, Silvester JA, Raber C, McMahon J, Coburn SS, Kerzner B. Preparation of Gluten-Free Foods Alongside Gluten-Containing Food May Not Always Be as Risky for Celiac Patients as Diet Guides Suggest. Gastroenterology. 2020;158(1):273‐275. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2019.09.007

Note: This information is provided by NCA and Katarina Mollo MEd, RDN, LDN, NCA's Director of Education. This information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for personalized medical advice or replace any medical advice provided directly to you by your health care provider. No liability is assumed by the NCA or Katarina Mollo, MEd, RDN, LDN by providing this information.

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