Gluten Free Grilling: Ingredients, Foods, and Tips for Your Next BBQ

Gluten Free Grilling: Ingredients, Foods, and Tips for Your Next BBQ

Warm weather means fun summer activities like BBQ's. Learn how to stay gluten free while grilling.

Summer wouldn’t be summer without a barbecue or two. That’s because summer BBQs are a great way to spend time outdoors with the people you love while enjoying delicious, homecooked food.

Unfortunately, following a gluten free diet makes everything involving food just a little bit more difficult. This is particularly true when you find yourself attending an event hosted by a friend or family member who doesn’t follow a gluten free diet themselves. If you’re longing for a truly gluten free BBQ where the options are endless, consider throwing one yourself!

In this article, we’ll provide some simple tips for choosing the best gluten free foods to grill, and we’ll provide some ideas for hosting a gluten free BBQ. You’ll also find a collection of gluten free recipes for tasty sauces and marinades to try out this summer.

The Top Gluten Free Foods to Grill

When planning a BBQ, some staples like hotdogs and hamburgers probably come to mind. If you really want to make things special for your gluten free guests, however, consider stepping outside the box to give them a BBQ they will remember all summer long. Check out gluten free blogs (like ours) for recipe inspiration or try adapting your favorite grilling recipes with gluten free ingredients.

Here are some great gluten free grilling ideas to try out for yourself:

  • All-beef, gluten free hot dogs
  • Gluten free burgers made with lamb, bison, or turkey
  • Marinated chicken breasts
  • Simple grilled fish served with a variety of homemade sauces
  • Marinated veggies grilled until tender
  • Smoked ribs, brisket, pork, or other meats
  • Kebabs with meat and veggies
  • Grilled pizza or flatbreads using gluten free dough

When looking for these foods at your local supermarket, be sure to go with items marked “certified gluten free” as frequently as possible. This label ensures that the product you’re purchasing is actually gluten free, rather than trying to rely solely on reading the ingredients list.

In addition to making sure that the food you’re preparing is gluten free, you also need to be mindful of cross-contamination. If your household isn’t gluten free, consider pre-washing all utensils you plan to use for preparing or serving food, just to be safe, and use disposable paper plates to minimize the risk. You should also make sure the dishes you use to prepare food are scrubbed clean and don’t forget to scrub the grill and replace your charcoal if you prefer to cook with charcoal versus propane.

Tips for Hosting a Gluten Free BBQ

Whether you have celiac disease yourself or you’re hosting a group of gluten free friends, there are some simple ways to keep your BBQ gluten free.

Here are some simple tips for hosting a gluten free BBQ:

  • Collect and get approval for gluten free recipes ahead of time. If you don’t follow a gluten free diet yourself, take the time to gather your recipes ahead of time and run them by your gluten free friends just to double-check that everything is safe. They’ll appreciate you thinking of their dietary restrictions.
  • Don’t be afraid to get a little creative. If you’ve been following the gluten free diet for any length of time, maybe you’ve become bored by the options you’re usually limited to at restaurants and get-togethers. Use this as an opportunity to try something new! For example, use gluten free spices and chopped vegetables to add a little extra “something” to your grilled burgers.
  • Always use gluten free buns. Sometimes the toughest part of eating gluten free comes down to bread. It’s a part of so many foods that we eat. Make sure to stock up on Schär bread rolls, sandwich rolls, hot dog rolls, and hamburger buns so you and your guests have plenty of options.
  • Scrub the grill really well or grill on foil to prevent cross-contamination. Remember that there are BBQ foods that contain varying amounts of gluten (that includes hot dogs and hamburgers). You may want to ask your gluten free attendees how sensitive they are, just in case you need to prepare some items separately.
  • Make sure everything is labeled clearly. This is particularly important if you’re serving both gluten free and gluten-containing dishes. It can be as simple as putting out a post-it note labeling each dish. And always make sure not to share dish scooping utensils as this can definitely cause cross-contamination.
  • Ask gluten free friends to bring a dish to share. If you’re worried about having limited options for your gluten free friends, ask them to bring a favorite dish or dessert to share. This is also a good way for the non-Celiac guests to learn more about gluten free foods and that they can taste as good (or better) as gluten-containing ones.
  • Don’t throw away the package or label. If you’re serving packaged food or preparing anything with store-bought condiments or sauces, keep the packages handy, so your gluten free guests can double-check for their own peace of mind to make sure things are really gluten free.
  • Stick with the basics but throw in plenty of sides. If you don’t want to spend the entire party in front of the grill, stick to basics like grilled chicken or fish and but dedicate some time to preparing a wide variety of gluten free side dishes.

Being prepared is always important, but especially when you’re hosting a get-together for friends. If you’re expecting gluten free guests at your party, it never hurts to be extra-prepared by holding back some items like an extra chicken breast and some veggies just in case you need to prepare something on the fly for a guest with tighter restrictions.

Gluten Free Sauces and Marinades for Grilling

If you’re tired of spending 20+ minutes squinting to read food labels in the condiment aisle, skip the hassle entirely by making your own gluten free sauces and marinades for your next BBQ. Here are five delicious (and easy to make) recipes for BBQ favorites that are entirely gluten free:

Sweet and Smokey BBQ Sauce


  • 2 cups ketchup
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder


  1. Whisk together the ketchup, soy sauce, water, molasses, and liquid smoke in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add the seasonings and stir over medium heat until well combined.
  3. Stir in the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, coconut sugar, and dry mustard powder then bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 5 minutes until thickened.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Spoon the BBQ sauce into a jar and store in the refrigerator or use as desired.

Balsamic Marinade for Chicken or Veggies


  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chicken breasts or thick-sliced veggies


  1. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Place the chicken or veggies in a large zippered freezer bag.
  3. Pour in the marinade and shake to coat then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  4. Remove the chicken or veggies from the marinade and grill as desired, basting with marinade every 5 to 10 minutes.

Spicy Honey Mustard Sauce


  • 1 cup Dijon mustard (gluten free)
  • ½ cup mayonnaise (gluten free)
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder (gluten free)


  1. Whisk together the mustard, mayonnaise, and honey in a medium bowl.
  2. Add the salt, pepper, and dry mustard powder.
  3. Whisk smooth and adjust the seasoning to taste.
  4. Cover and chill until ready to use – make 24 hours ahead for best flavor.

Hawaiian Marinade for Chicken or Fish


  • ¼ cup gluten-free soy sauce (or tamari)
  • ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Fresh chicken breasts or fish fillets


  1. Whisk together the soy sauce, honey, and garlic in a small microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave on low heat for 30 seconds then stir well.
  3. Place your chicken or fish in a large zippered freezer bag and pour in the marinade.
  4. Shake to coat then marinate in the fridge for at least one hour.
  5. Remove the chicken or fish from the marinade and grill to your liking, brushing with extra marinade every 5 to 10 minutes.

Fresh Chimichurri Sauce


  • 1 medium shallot, diced fine
  • 1 small red chile, minced
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano
  • ¾ cup olive oil


  1. Combine the shallot, chile, garlic, vinegar, and salt in a medium bowl and stir well.
  2. Let rest for 10 minutes then stir in the cilantro, parsley, and oregano.
  3. Whisk in the oil then spoon ½ cup of the sauce into a small bowl and adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Place your meat, chicken, or fish in a glass dish and pour the remaining chimichurri over it.
  5. Toss or turn to coat then cover and chill for at least 3 hours.
  6. Remove the meat from the marinade, grill and serve with reserved chimichurri spooned over.

Variety is the spice of life, so don’t limit yourself to just one of these ideas! Wow your friends and satisfy your stomach by preparing a handful of different gluten free dishes at your next summer BBQ.

Enjoy and have a wonderful summer!