If you’re like our family, sushi is an easy grab and go meal, takeout dinner or fun party dish. It packs well, stays fresh, is easy to eat and readily available. But not all sushi is gluten-free. So how do you determine if yours is? We’ve compiled a list of things we look for/ questions we ask when ordering sushi now that my son must follow a strict gluten-free diet since being diagnosed with celiac disease.
We are big fans of sushi. My husband I have long enjoyed fish sushi, vegetable sushi and sushi rolls, either dining at restaurants or as take-out.
It is no surprise that we introduced our boys to sushi as well. My youngest son loves a simple cucumber roll and once he was diagnosed with celiac disease we found places that would make it safely gluten-free. And it became a go to snack and packed lunch for my son as well.
For me personally, I love to have sushi for lunch and will often pick it up when out and about doing errands.
This past May (during Celiac Awareness month, ironically) I fielded numerous questions about some Whole Foods sushi I had purchased and was eating at home with a salad.
After fielding so many questions, I realized there was a lot of confusion around sushi and whether or not it was gluten-free so I compiled a list of things to look for when ordering Sushi to make sure it’s gluten-free and shared them on my Instagram Stories.
I have since shared them many times on IG Stories and in Direct Messages, so I decided it was time to share them here on the website.
Some of the ideas came from an article in Very Well Fit Magazine.
What could make Sushi NOT gluten-free:
This list covers what we look for. If there is something you feel we are missing, please leave a comment below.
- Soy sauce (contains wheat)
- Along the lines of soy sauce, know that tamari is not gluten-free. You need to ask for gluten-free tamari, just like you ask for gluten-free soy sauce.
- Any sauce or marinade, like teriyaki, made with soy sauce (so watch out for things like spicy tuna which may or may not be gluten-free depending on the restaurant)
- Most fake crabmeat (often made with wheat) Of note: there is now some fake crabmeat on the market that is gluten-free, so double check with your restaurant
- Beware tempura which is often made with wheat flour
- Ask about wasabi — it is usually gluten-free (in fact, we’ve never found it not to be) but according to Very Well Fit, once is a while made with ingredients using wheat starch
- Ask about sushi rice — usually made with rice wine vinegar which is gluten-free but once in a while a vinegar distilled from gluten grains. Again, in our experience, it has always been gluten-free.
- Cross contamination — After soy sauce, this is probably one of the greatest risks to sushi when dining out… always tell the sushi chef that you need to eat gluten-free so that they use a clean space/ knives/ etc.
Stick with the Basics! If you stay away from fancy rolls and sauces, you will increase the likelihood of a restaurant being able to prepare it safely gluten-free.
Always ask for gluten-free soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari). This is a given and a must do!
If you plan to order sushi out or to go often, find a local place like and work with them. This has worked for us with just about any cateogory of food. Talk to the restaurants managers and/ or chefs. Ask your questions, let them know your concerns. If they understand and are able to accommodate you, then frequent them!
We for instance get sushi often from our local Whole Foods. They always make my son’s order special while we wait to make sure they are using clean boards, knives, etc. But every Whole Foods location is different, so ask!
And if you want to make your own sushi, click here for our recipe and tips.
Tell me…. Did you find this helpful? Are there any other things you look for when ordering sushi gluten-free?