A Guide to Gluten-Free Pasta (& Which One We Picked as Our Favorite)

We ate a lot of gluten-free pasta to find the best.

December 14, 2020
Photo by Alpha Smoot

Gluten-free pasta started out humbly enough: I saw that white rice was ground to a flour and shaped into slightly mushy versions of penne rigate. Then I saw a box of quinoa pasta, and then chickpea pasta made an appearance. Now, every time I walk through the grocery store it feels like there's another gluten-free pasta available.

While all of these pastas can be rounded up and categorized into "gluten-free pastas," I learned after a very starchy taste test of 7 popular gluten-free pastas (chickpea pasta, red lentil pasta, black bean pasta, quinoa pasta, corn pasta, white rice pasta, and brown rice pasta) that each variation tastes incredibly different—and takes to different sauces in different ways. Here's what to use these gluten-free pastas for, and what we liked—and didn't—about each variation:

Our Gluten-Free Pasta Test Taste


Photo by James Ransom

Chickpea Pasta (Banza): This pasta started out promisingly. As soon as I put the chickpea pasta into the pan, it sunk to the bottom and formed a line across the center of the pot. When I fished a few chickpea soldiers out at five minutes, they were still chewy, but another couple of minutes did the trick.

Verdict: If undercooked, pasta retains its shape very well and doesn’t stick together once plated and dried—if cooked even a moment too long, it turns to mush in the pot or the colander. Unfortunately, it leaves a distinct chickpea aftertaste, and once chewed, it’s difficult to differentiate the pasta from a mouthful of chickpeas... but, more chewy. It’s not such a strong flavor that it would overpower a flavorful pasta sauce, but it will be hard to ignore if you’re making a simple aglio e olio.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“It's like angel hair pasta, doesn't taste like beans and is so good that I can't buy it anymore because I'll eat the whole box in 2 weeks by myself. For ramen style I like lotus foods; they have lots of combinations with brown rice, my favorite is millet. It says it cooks in 4 minutes, but it's still chewey and I cook it for 10 minutes. Some of my housemates use bean pastas and they're ok but taste like beans.”
— april

Recommended cook time: 7 minutes, 30 seconds

Try it With:

Nigel Slater's Really Good Spaghetti Bolognese. A hearty meat sauce is robust enough that you probably won’t even be able to taste chickpeas pasta’s nutty flavor. Don’t forget to top it with plenty of good Parmesan cheese.

Chickpea Fettuccine with Harissa, Kale, and Olives. This recipe was actually developed with chickpea pasta in mind, so it’s best to lean in. Spicy harissa and briny olives pair surprisingly well with the pasta (not so odd though, as they pair great with regular chickpeas!)


Red Lentil Pasta (Tolerant Foods): Made with just red lentil flour (no other stabilizers, unlike a number of the other gluten-free pastas on the market,) this one is high-fiber and protein (11 and 25 grams per 3.5-ounce serving respectively)

Verdict: This one tasted mostly neutral, and while it didn't taste like a pasta made with grains, it was enjoyable in terms of texture.

Recommended cook time: 7-9 minutes

Try it With:

Pasta with Gorgonzola, Radicchio, Walnuts, and Orange. With bitter radicchio, sweet orange, and funky-cream cheese, once again, your pasta accompaniments will distract from the fact that this pasta is made with lentils, not wheat.

Black Bean

Black Bean Pasta (Explore Cuisine): Though I assumed they'd be made with the same black beans I use in burritos, it appears that most pastas labeled "black bean" are in fact made from black soybeans, like this one (which also has black sesame flour, presumably for color and additional nutty flavor.) It becomes abundantly clear when tasting gluten-free pastas, particularly those made from legumes and not grains, that you shouldn't enter into the experience thinking they will taste like wheat pasta. Legume pastas, like black bean, red lentil, and chickpea), are their own experience, and should be treated as such.

Verdict: A bit nutty and dense, this pasta definitely tastes like it's rich in protein (23 grams in 2 ounces!). The flavor didn't wow me, but I'd eat it again if I found myself with a box.

Recommended cook time: 6-8 minutes.

Try it With:

Spaghetti With Charred Scallion Sauce This pasta didn't go great with red sauce, but would do fairly well here, in an "extremely untraditional riff on the Italian aglio e olio," where scallions replace garlic—I'd add a big spoonful of chili crisp as well.


Photo by James Ransom

All-Quinoa Pasta (Pereg): Many quinoa pastas, like the one listed above, contain corn as the first ingredient, but this brand lists whole-grain quinoa flour at the top of its list (followed by potato starch, egg white, and vegetable oil). Once in the water, it cooked extremely quickly (roughly 5 and a half minutes to 6 minutes, at most).

Verdict: While I’m impressed with the extremely quick cook time and liked the flavor—it tastes exactly like quinoa and has that same grainy earthiness, which was fine except that I couldn’t get past the texture. It disintegrates almost as soon as you start chewing. I don’t think I would make these again because if I ever craved them, I would just make quinoa.

Recommended cook time: 6 minutes, at most

Try it With:

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce With Onion & Butter. With a mild-tasting quinoa pasta, it’s best to stick with a classic, like Marcella Hazan's tomato, onion, and butter sauce, which is rich and deeply flavorful.

Quinoa with Corn Flour (Ancient Harvest): The instructions on the back called for a 6 to 9 minute cook time and warned me, “DO NOT OVERCOOK” so I set my alarm for 5 minutes... and then 9 minutes... and then 10, at which point they were still almost inedible. (Almost immediately, the water became so murky that I couldn’t see the pasta.) By 12 minutes, they were done and extremely mushy. Once I took them out, I saw that they had left a film on the entire pan that I had to scrub to get off.

Verdict: These are extremely delicate and taste much more like corn than they do quinoa—almost like a corn tortilla that’s been dipped in water, which is kind of fun to eat in pasta form, but I'd definitely prefer it in chip form. On the plus side, they held their shape when chewed.

Recommended cook time: 11 to 12 minutes

Try it With:

Cavatappi with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Brie & Arugula. Leaning into strong flavors is the best way to complement quinoa pasta. Toss the pasta in oily, tangy-sweet sun-dried tomatoes, squidgy brie, peppery arugula. For a bit of extra smoke, add some chopped bacon if you have any on hand.

All-cap warnings marked nearly all of the bags of pasta (NOT MUSHY and DO NOT OVERCOOK)

Corn Pasta

Corn and Rice Flour (Barilla): The instructions recommend to salt the pasta water well to help with flavor, but that otherwise this pasta should be a seamless replacement for wheat. I had high hopes, and wasn't disappointed.

Verdict: This pasta is very mild in flavor, which, considering some of the others, actually turned out to be a good thing. It has a fairly sturdy texture as well, making it ideal for standing up to thick sauces.

Recommended cook time: 7 minutes.

Try it With:

Caroline Choe's Kimchi Mac & Cheese. Spicy, creamy kimchi mac & cheese brings richness and bold flavor, which helps bring this mild corn pasta to life.


Photo by Bobbi Lin

Brown Rice (Tinkyáda): At 12 minutes, this pasta took slightly more time to cook than the other gluten-free pastas, and as soon as I took it out, it was extremely slimy—so much so that I couldn't grab one noodle—but that luckily wore off as it dried!

Verdict: This pasta looks the most like regular, gluten-graced pasta, but the difference becomes immediately evident as you eat it—it doesn’t taste like anything, and it squeaked as I chewed, which was off-putting.

Recommended cook time: 12 minutes

Try it with:

Our Best Basil Pesto. Slick brown rice pasta in a classic, creamy basil and parmesan cheese-based pesto with plenty of olive oil. For a little extra protein, add sliced sausage or a can of white beans.

Kale Pesto Orecchiette. For a more nutrient-dense (and absolutely stunning green), nut-free pesto to go with your nutty brown rice pasta, try this kale version, extra-tangy thanks to a hit of Dijon mustard.

White Rice (Melotti): As soon as I put the pasta into the pot, it started to boil over, so the cooking process required a bit of vigilance.

Verdict: It tastes like a mushed-together ball of sticky rice, which was not extremely appealing—if given the option, I would prefer to just eat white rice. Or even an actual ball of mushed-together sticky rice. It also had a slightly slimy feel to it.

*Recommended cook time: 11 to 12 minutes

Try it with:

Best Alfredo Fettuccini.
For a classic creamy pasta (perhaps to remind you that even though you’re eating white rice pasta, you don’t have to skip the cream and cheese—preferably a 50/50 blend of Parmesan and Pecorino Romano.)

Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo Bake. For any of those vegan and gluten-free folks out there (we see you! we hear you!), look no further than this cauliflower alfredo bake, which you could definitely make with brown rice pasta, but also any of the above gluten-free pastas

Photo by Alpha Smoot

Cut to the Chase:

Best shape-retention: Brown Rice

Best flavor: Red Lentil and Corn-Quinoa

Best look: Corn-Brown Rice

Best overall: It depends on what you’re cooking and what your flavor preferences are! But we would pick a tie between the red lentil and corn-brown rice.

What are some of your favorite gluten-free pasta options and pairings? Tell us in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • sanikaj
  • Rob Wyatt
    Rob Wyatt
  • carolcamille
  • Medora Van Denburgh
    Medora Van Denburgh
  • Peaches
I eat everything.


sanikaj June 20, 2023
Thank you for sharing such an amazing blog for more details visit
Rob W. January 2, 2021
I've been gluten-free for almost three decades now and have tried a lot of gluten-free pasta. Some are quite good, while others make you wonder how the manufacturer stays in business. In my opinion, the most important thing to remember when eliminating some kind of food from one's diet is that whatever replacement one finds, it will not be a perfect substitute for the original. In other words, don't expect your gluten-free pasta to have the same exact consistency or taste as traditional wheat pasta. It's just not going to happen. Once you free yourself from expectation, you might even find that some of the gluten-free alternatives are more to your liking. That has been my experience.

Personally I love Tinkyada. Brown rice with no fillers or stabilizers like many other gluten-free brands. I don't find Tinkyada pasta "slimy" at all. I heavily salt the water (1+ TBSP) when cooking and rinse under cold immediately after draining. Texture is great. In my opinion, Tinkyada has the best texture. It doesn't taste like wheat pasta, but I personally prefer the taste of Tinkyada with my bolognese sauce versus traditional wheat pasta.

I recently tried another brand called Andean Dream that is a mix of quinoa and white rice. The pasta is lighter in color than Tinkyada (which has a more "whole wheat" look) and the taste is a bit closer to wheat pasta as well. Texture-wise, it holds up really well too.

carolcamille December 23, 2020
The best gluten free pasta is an Italian pasta called Veneziane. It is sold in many supermarkets in Italy and I was so happy to find it on Amazon and the Gluten Free Mall. It’s fabulous!
Medora V. December 23, 2020
They make a half-decent gnocchi as well. It's hard to find gnocchi that is both gluten free and vegan.
Medora V. December 18, 2020
I first tried gluten-free pastas in the early 90s, when I owned a natural foods store and didn't want to sell anything I hadn't sampled myself. The pickings then were slim, and all I can recall is the unpleasant texture of all-corn macaroni and spaghetti, which tended to coalesce into mush. I congratulated myself on not being gluten-intolerant, which ultimately turned out not to be true.

Over the past six years I've tried most of the brands and varieties mentioned here, and am just thankful that the sauce and/or other ingredients in a dish somewhat disguises the fact that the pasta isn't made from durum wheat. That said, my fave is Explore Asian edamame spaghetti, which has a nice chewy texture and keeps its shape well. A close second is any of the rice noodles made for Thai cooking; they've been doing it for centuries and have the technique down. Fresh Thai noodles are even better, if you can find them; nona lim is a good online source.

The most disgusting gluten-free pasta? Shiritaki noodles, which may not even qualify as food, as they reportedly pass through the digestive system unaltered :(
Peaches December 17, 2020
Like a few other people said, I also like Jovial brand. I think the cooking time is an estimate- taste and taste again until it is done to YOUR taste. And of course salt the water. I'd like to try the other ones people suggest as a comparison though.
Judi F. December 17, 2020
I also used to love bionaturae, which used to be made from soy, rice and potato, as Jennie H. noted) but they've changed their previous great formula and now make their products from lentils. They're okay, but not great, like their original formulation was (imho).
Nancy December 17, 2020
Having chewed my way through too many gluten free pastas to count....sam mills (found accidentally at my local off price retailer) has a chickpea pasta and a red lentil pasta that are actually edible more than once. The red lentil has an almost spicy quality (tastes like red lentils) but both have a functional texture and i have made regular pasta dishes and i have used the chick pea pasta in cacio e pepi. I They offer other pastas on their website ( but i have not tried them
emB December 17, 2020
having a Dedicated Gluten Free Bakery (5b's Bakery, Washington) in the PNW we have tried EVERY GF pasta made! from chick peas to white rice
hands down our favorite is Jovial Pasta if using dried pasta .
Fresh...we gave up and made our own for our lasagna and fettuccini
j H. December 17, 2020
Totally agree! Jovial gf spaghetti is the best hands down. Tried them all! It’s Made in Italy. I make it for gluten eating pasta eaters and they are always impressed!
Gale M. December 17, 2020
Even better than Barilla is Le Veneziane corn pasta, which I order from Amazon. It co es in all shapes, including ditalini, nut the fettuccine is especially wonderful. I even used it in chicken noodle soup and it worked great. By the way, since pasta becomes overcooked when heating leftovers, I make enough pasta for the first night and then a new batch for the leftover soup. Feeling lazy (three meals a day for ten months can do that to you!), I cooked the fettuccine directly in the leftover soup. The starch turned my lovely broth with chicken and vegetables into a thick and creamy soup reminiscent of a luscious pot pie. Wow!
april December 15, 2020
I've been gluten free since 2010, so It's hard for me to rate them. I like tinkyata the best because it doesn't mush. Try the "no boil" method, I think that gets the best results. And it's the only one that works in cold pasta salads, most other rice pasta just gets hard after a day in the fridge. There is an edamame noodle at costco, sorry i don't know the brand. It's like angel hair pasta, doesn't taste like beans and is so good that I can't buy it anymore because I'll eat the whole box in 2 weeks by myself. For ramen style I like lotus foods; they have lots of combinations with brown rice, my favorite is millet. It says it cooks in 4 minutes, but it's still chewey and I cook it for 10 minutes. Some of my housemates use bean pastas and they're ok but taste like beans.
april December 15, 2020
I just checked tinkyata and it's not no boil, it's "energy saving" boil for 1-2 minutes, turn off heat, put the lid on and it's ready in 20 minutes
Asha L. December 15, 2020
I love Rustichella d'Abruzzo's lines of gluten-free pasta, especially the corn macaroni and the buckwheat tortiglioni!
Stacy July 9, 2019
My favorite is the DeBoles Gluten Free Multigrain Pasta. It holds up like regular pasta..if you don’t overcook it. Test with a fork and follow the directions. Even my Italian hubby likes it!
Matti N. June 15, 2017
You gotta go with combo flours for GF pasta. I really like Delallo brand for dried pasta. Up here in the PNW, you can also find fresh GF past by a company called Manini's. It's as good as GF past gets.
Brent December 18, 2020
Tinkyata and Dellalos. The best.
Ann S. July 14, 2016
I've tried many, many GF pastas, and my favorite by far is from Barilla. The texture and flavor are almost identical to those of traditional dried pasta--if you don't overlook it, you won't be able to tell the difference!
Kt4 April 8, 2016
I love Trader Joe's GF pastas. Pay attention & don't overcook and they come out great every time.
C B. January 11, 2016
The best Gluten-Free Pasta we know is our GOGO QUINOA pasta (organic white rice and organic quinoa),
and we would love to send you a sample package Leslie. Please e-mail us at [email protected] to confirm shipping address. Happy day :)
Alison November 25, 2015
Pappardelle's Pasta has some of the best gluten-free pasta I've tried; they offer great flavors and it's made with a blend of several different flours, resulting in the closest texture to traditional gluten-based pasta I've found:
witloof November 19, 2015
I love Explore Asian black bean spaghetti. It's really delicious and I like the chewy texture. I also like Andean Dream quinoa pasta.
nycnomad November 19, 2015
The best gluten free pasta I have ever tasted, and I have tried many, is the millet angel hair pasta. Short cook time, taste and texture are incredible! If you haven't tried it you should, I think it may change your perspective on this review...only draw back, at the moment they only make angel hair pasta.
Jennie H. November 19, 2015
bionaturae gluten free pasta (blend of soy, rice, and potato) comes in a variety of shapes and retains a toothsome texture and is actually difficult to overcook!