Corn Is the Centerpiece of a Great Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

updated May 1, 2019
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It’s said that corn was in abundance at the first Thanksgiving, so if there were any gluten-free Pilgrims or American Indians there, they should have been pretty happy.

These days, corn still has a place at the table. For today’s gluten-free folks, that’s a win because corn’s versatility — particularly in the form of cornmeal — means they can share in as much abundance as everyone else.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

Corn: The Key to Making Thanksgiving Gluten-Free

We aren’t simply talking about corn in its sweet kernel form here. Corn products, like cornmeal and polenta, make it possible to replace the grains for a gluten-free diner at the holiday table.


Cornmeal is an incredible addition to gluten-free baking, making it a versatile tool for the gluten-free home cook. Pass on the rolls and instead dig into a thick slice of cornbread. Then use that cornbread in stuffing and crumble it over gratins and casseroles in place of breadcrumbs for a crispy topping.

Look for the gluten-free label: If you’re purchasing gluten-free cornbread, make sure it’s labeled as such. Most cornbread recipes include all-purpose flour, so if you’re baking cornbread at home, purchase gluten-free cornmeal and use your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour mix.


Polenta is Italian dish of cornmeal that’s cooked into a creamy, thick porridge. Even though mashed potatoes are gluten-free, a big scoop of creamy polenta is equally good at soaking up sauces or gravy on the plate. When cold, polenta sets so it can be cut into thick slices and eaten firm.

Either way, it’s hearty, incredibly satisfying, and can become a major component in a gluten-free main course, as it does in this greens and polenta casserole. Let it take the place of bread at the appetizer table when sliced in squares and pan-fried (just leave out the panko breadcrumbs).

5 Great Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes, Thanks to Corn