Gluten-free noodles—or as we like to call them, "impastas"—have come a long way. Gone are the days of gloopy, gluey, unappetizing strands that had Italian nonnas everywhere clutching their chests. Nowadays, brands like Ancient Harvest, Banza, Jovial, and others are turning to unconventional pasta ingredients like quinoa, chickpeas, almonds, and more to offer real-deal pastas that deliver authentic flavors and toothsome textures. We're no longer limited to mere spaghetti, either. Varied and pleasing shapes abound in the gluten-free category, from twirly-whirly fusilli to elegant fettuccine.
How's one to navigate this new gluten-free pasta landscape? Julia Smith, Delish's director of video and the host of Julia Tries Everything on YouTube and Snapchat, stepped up and tried out 23 (!!!) different varieties of gluten-free noodles.
Our top picks
- Best Spaghetti Squash: SOLELY Organic Dried Spaghetti Squash
- Best Quinoa Blend: Ancient Harvest Organic Penne Quinoa
- Best Brown Rice: Jovial Fusilli Gluten-Free Pasta
- Best Chickpea: Banza Ziti Chickpea Pasta
- Best Almond Flour: Cappello’s Almond Flour Fettuccine
How we picked these products
Smith settled on a handful of gold-star pastas that might even fool some folks in the all-gluten-all-the-time crowd. She looked for excellent flavor with no weird or off-putting aftertastes or aromas, and a smooth, pasta-like texture with an al dente chew. (In other words, graininess, be gone!) Finally, a reasonable price point was a must.
Is gluten-free pasta healthy?
If you have a gluten intolerance, then yes—compared to traditional pastas, anyway. There's also some speculation that a gluten-free diet helps those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. But on the whole, the Mayo Clinic states that there's no evidence to suggest that a gluten-free diet confers any special health benefits. Still, nutrient-packed gluten free foods can certainly be a part of a balanced diet, and that includes the following impastas.
Plus, serving gluten-free noodles is a surefire way to host a dinner party inclusive of gluten-intolerant guests. And good news: They can be used just like traditional pastas, whether you're whipping up a velvety batch of penne alla vodka for date night or a summer-ready basil pesto. With these noodles, there's no reason to limit your imagination—and we've got plenty of pasta recipes to prove it.
This is literally one ingredient—spaghetti squash—that comes oven-dried and packaged in bundles to make it easy to prep at home when you don’t have the time to roast one yourself.
- 85 percent fewer carbs and calories than traditional pasta
- Naturally gluten-free
This pick combines a blend of corn flour, brown rice, and quinoa to deliver a taste and texture that's pretty damn close to the real thing. I even tried baking the noodles topped with marinara sauce and cheese, and they still held their own. Organic and gluten-free, each serving is packed with 4 grams of protein.
- Great texture that doesn't fall apart
- Strong flavor
Made with organic brown rice and water—and nothing else!—this corkscrew-shaped fusilli has a slightly sweet flavor that plays nicely with brine-soaked olives, creamy feta, and even an old-school Italian meat sauce. Unlike many impastas I tested, this one refused to become a mushy mess—even when topped with a meaty, chunky sauce like ragù. Oh, and it’s made in Italy, which must stand for something!
- Doesn't turn to mush
- Can hold its own against sturdy sauces
- Subtly sweet flavor
Creamy chicken Alfredo ziti bakes and hearty slabs of layered moussaka are back on the menu for gluten-free folk thanks to this tubular chickpea-based ziti. No weird aftertaste, no off-putting texture, nada. IMO, the ziti has the best al dente bite, but the Banza Cavatappi is a close second. (Bonus: It has a cool 5 grams of fiber per serving.)
- Great flavor
- Sturdy texture
- Rich in fiber
Almond flour gives these silky strands of fettuccine an almost buttery flavor. Grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and yeast-free, this stuff makes pasta night inclusive for all sorts of diets. And the texture is impressively silky—I'd even consider serving it at a dinner party! They’re made fresh, then frozen, which means they’re pricier than other brands, but worth it.
- Incredible texture
- Free of most top allergens
- They contain egg—sorry, vegans!
- A little pricey