A Guide to Eating Gluten-Free in Spain

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gluten-free in spain

One of the most memorable parts of traveling is getting the chance to sample other cuisines.

Whether its homemade meals or 5-star restaurant experiences, travel is always made better by sitting down for a plate of good food.

For those who must eat gluten-free in Spain, dining in another country might seem to be a little bit trickier.

However, gluten-free dining is much more accessible today, with plenty of equally delicious options available around the country.

If you are gluten-free and traveling to Spain, we’ve got a handy guide that will help you navigate breakfast, lunch, and dinner in this incredible country.

Going Gluten-Free in Spain?

Traveling and eating gluten free is possible – it simply takes a little bit of extra planning.

When going gluten free is a necessity, feeling comfortable when eating abroad is the goal.

Eating out doesn’t have to mean anxious nights or stressful mornings figuring out how to order something that might derail your day.

Here are some tips on how to approach eating gluten free in Spain so that you can enjoy your travels with ease.

Planning Ahead

The first piece of advice in this gluten-free guide is that you’ll want to plan ahead.

This guide will hopefully be a helpful start to your plans for going gluten-free in Spain.

By planning ahead while traveling or visiting a new city, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re not scrambling for a last-minute spot to eat, or, even worse, relying on stale snacks or last-minute options at a corner store (alimentación).

Bring a Restaurant Card

A step above calling to check with a restaurant is to bring a card that details just how important it is for you to receive gluten-free food.

The card may have exact details like what local dishes might be called, which oils or ingredients might be contaminated, cross-contamination risks, and more.

This is a step that may be helpful if you’re not yet fluent in Spanish.

For those with Celiac disease, the threat of “getting glutened” can ruin an entire evening.

A card may help eliminate any language translation errors that might pop up when you’re ordering your next meal!

Cross-contamination can be unsafe for those living with a gluten allergy.

Don’t worry about feeling fussy or putting too much pressure on those preparing your food.

Chefs and restaurant staff are well-trained in the complexities of cross-contamination risks.

Many restaurants are understanding about those who communicate specific needs to avoid an allergic reaction.

Having a card on hand that explains this might just save you a few days’ worth of pain down the road!

gluten-free in spain

Gluten Free Food in Spain – Website Edition

Searching for ‘gluten free Madrid Spain’ or ‘gluten free in Majorca’?

Maybe you’re headed to Tenerife and you’ve started your search for ‘gluten free Tenerife’?

Whether you’re going gluten free in Madrid, Spain, or gluten free in Tenerife, options abound these days.

Luckily, you can use any of the search terms above, and you’ll likely find a whole host of restaurants offering gluten-free cuisine.

There are many apps, websites, and blogs available today that are dedicated to gluten-free eating around the world.

Spain is no different!

Some traditional Spanish cuisine tends to be naturally gluten-free (paella, anyone?)

But what to do when you’ve got a craving to try something new?

Luckily, there are plenty of resources available for going gluten-free in Spain.

For example, Madrid has an entire website dedicated to providing resources for those living gluten-free.

The site has a list of restaurants, bakeries, food trucks, and more all listing gluten-free options.

Websites like Madrid sin gluten also provide information on restaurants that have been accredited as establishments that are able to safely serve those with gluten allergies.

Cities like Majorca are also known for being extremely gluten-free friendly, with many online reviews available from happy customers.

In fact, just popping in ‘gluten-free restaurants in Majorca” intro Tripadvisor brings up 480 results!

Don’t Always Rely on Online Reviews

For those who live with Celiac disease, going to a restaurant that has no gluten-free signage or direction in place can be painful.

Meaning, if the restaurant doesn’t use proper cross-contamination procedures, you might go home feeling sick due to gluten contamination.

When hit with gluten contamination, the feeling can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

For those who aren’t Celiac but simply prefer a gluten-free diet, online reviews can be helpful.

 However, risking it isn’t always a possibility (nor preferred for many who live gluten-free!)

Instead, it’s a good idea to check with the restaurant you’re going to.

You can call ahead to confirm their gluten-free menu items and confirm how each item gets prepared in the kitchen.

Don’t stop there – always remember to confirm food preparation rules upon arrival.

Gluten-Free in Spain – Cook at Home

If the thought of testing the waters at restaurants makes you hesitant, supermarkets in Spain are brimming with plenty of delicious ingredients!

You can always try cooking at home if you don’t want to risk an incorrectly reviewed restaurant.

Some traditional Spanish ingredients include fresh fruits and vegetables like garlic, tomatoes, and peppers.

Items like fish and ham are also commonly used in traditional Spanish dishes.

gluten-free in spain

Why not try whipping up something tasty at home (if you have access) and get a feel for the local cuisine of Spain?

Some common terms to look out for when shopping for ingredients include:

  • Trigo = Wheat
  • Avena = Oats
  • Salsa de soja = Soy sauce
  • Centeno = Rye
  • Cebada = Barley

These are all ingredients that those with a gluten allergy should avoid.

Keep in mind that oats don’t always contain gluten, but finding a gluten-free option is always the safest bet.

La Federación de Asociaciones de Celiacos de España (FACE) has a helpful online guide that explores how to check labels for gluten-free ingredients.

Fun fact: FACE also provides information on hotels that are certified safe for Celiac guests!

Some of the Spanish supermarkets and chain stores that regularly sell gluten-free items include:

  • Alcampo
  • Eroski
  • Lidl
  • Carrefour

Ready to Try the Gluten-Free Life in Spain?

If you’re someone going gluten-free in Spain, having a list of resources on hand can help eliminate some of the nervousness that comes with finding good eats when out and about.

Today, many restaurants around the world accommodate gluten-free patrons.

Major cities like Madrid, Barcelona, and Granada are no different.

If you find yourself wondering if going gluten-free is an option for you while traveling, don’t be afraid to refer to guides like this or call ahead to restaurants you’ve been interested in trying.

Many restaurants are happy to accommodate those who wish to dine with them!

Food is a major part of Spanish culture – being gluten-free in Spain doesn’t mean you have to miss out on any of the gastronomy in this amazing country.

If you’ve recently tried a new favorite gluten-free food, or have one that you’ve been eyeing to try, let us know in the comments!

What are some common Spanish words I should know if I’m gluten-free?

Looking at ingredients on a menu or at a supermarket can be incredibly helpful for managing a gluten flare. Words like trigo, avena, cebada, centeno, and salsa de soja are all helpful words to know as you’ll want to stay away from foods that contain these!

Is it easy to eat in Spain as someone who is gluten-free?

Yes! Spain is an excellent country for gluten-free travelers. Gluten-free awareness is common, and many restaurants offer celiac-safe and gluten-free choices on their menus. Some restaurants even post signs in their windows signifying gluten-free or celiac-safe options are available.

Is there a city in Spain that is best for gluten-free food?

Many cities within Spain offer a whole host of gluten-free options. Cities like Córdoba, Mallorca, Madrid, Barcelona, and San Sebastian all offer certified gluten-free options! (To name a few)

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