When you’re traveling abroad with Celiac or gluten sensitivity, it’s important to identify gluten-free foods available in that locale. In the US, it’s easy to walk into a store and pick up a bag of all-purpose gluten-free flour like King Arthur or Krusteaz or choose from oat, almond, coconut, or rice flour options. If you’re traveling to Germany, choosing a safe meal can get more complicated.
In Germany, flour is labeled with numbers that represent its whole grain content. If you’re visiting Germany, it can be daunting to figure out what foods are gluten-free. Plain vegetable or meat dishes that don’t contain gluten are usually a safe option. Or you can buy a detailed, translated gluten-free Gumroad card that gives local names for foods to avoid or that are safe to eat.
Enjoy a safe travel experience to Germany by knowing these top gluten-free words, symbols, and foods that you might run across in Germany.
How to Identify Gluten-Free German Food
If you’re in a small village or out-of-the-way town, it might be difficult to score gluten-free flour or find a variety of gluten-free options when eating out. If that’s the case, you can load up on gluten-free baking or cooking options at a larger supermarket, chain store, or organic shop in a larger town.
It’s important to get familiar with the types of dishes like sauerkraut or tomato salads that are naturally gluten-free. If in doubt, check if food is gluten-free, including any dressings or sauces it may contain. It’s also good to know that gluten-frei is the German word for gluten-free.
If you’re looking for gluten-free products in German supermarkets, keep in mind that bigger grocery stores or chains are more likely to mark gluten-free foods with the glutenfrei label.
Check out these names and symbols for stores and brands that typically offer a wide range of gluten-free goods.
- DM Drogerie: In Germany, it’s not just grocery stores that offer gluten-free options. In fact, this drugstore chain offers a section dedicated to gluten-free.
- Edeka: This is the biggest supermarket chain in Germany. From corner markets to gigantic “hypermarkets”, Edeka is a store that is found in many central locations. As with many German shops, the larger the store and located in a central area, the more likely you are to find a wider range of gluten-free options.
- Globus: Like its name, Globus stores usually have whole sections dedicated to gluten-free food.
- Kaufland: This is a German brand that is known for organic and gluten-free labels.
- Real: This massive hypermarket not only offers a wide range of items from food to appliances but it also is located throughout Germany and is a good place to find gluten-free food.
- Rewe: This chain of supermarkets keeps gluten-free products in stock at all their locations. Since these stores are scattered all around the country, this is a great option to find ready-made gluten-free foods or baking essentials.
- Spar: As an Edeka Group subsidiary, Spar’s smaller chain of grocery stores still carries a decent stock of gluten corn pasta, rice cakes, and other products.
In German grocery stores, look for the German Celiac Society (DZG) label as well. The logo has a symbol of crossed grain featured on it. This international symbol identifies food that is safe for celiac people around the world.
Due to the European licensing system, a single trademark license allows manufacturers and retailers to feature the safe and trusted Crossed Grain Trademark to label food in more than 30 countries across Europe.
If you’re out shopping, it’s useful to have some common translations on hand. This can help you identify the best places to look for gluten-free products with less hassle or time waste. For example, in Germany, a Reformhaus refers to a general (not specific) health food store where you’re likely to find some gluten-free items.
In a more rural area, it can be harder to find gluten-free food or figure out where to buy such products. Google search results can help you identify what stores are available in the local area that are most likely to have gluten-free products. For example, places that have Bioladen+Town, Biomarkt+Town, or Reformhaus+Town are a good place to start.
Top Gluten-Free German Foods
- Gurkensalat: This is a delicious traditional cucumber with vinegar, sour cream, and dill dressing.
- Kartoffelsalat: This tasty potato salad comes with mayonnaise or cream bases in Northern Germany. In the South, it has either a broth or vinegar base. Served cold or warm, it can include eggs, pickles, bacon, or radish. Check that the dressing is made in-house and not with supermarket mayo that can contain wheat.
- Tomatensalat: This tomato salad is bursting with fresh, chopped onions, herbs, and a dash of oil and vinegar.
- Braten mit Rotkohl: Check any gravy ingredients with restaurant staff before enjoying this roast with red cabbage specialty.
- Sauerkraut: You won’t get far in Germany without encountering this ubiquitous national dish. Tangy with vinegar, Sauerkraut is a perky dish made from thinly shredded cabbage that’s gone through the fermenting process and served with sausages or pork.
- Erbsensuppe: Traditionally, this yummy split pea soup is flour-free. Double-check at the restaurant.
- Rinderrouladen: This rolled beef dish contains bacon, onions, and gravy. As always, check that the gravy doesn’t contain flour. Steer clear of any grilled versions that have breading.
- Eisbein: Choose a gravy or sauce-free version of this smoked and salt-cured knuckle of pork.
- Gemüse: Skip the breading, gravy, and tempura, and check marinades when ordering a dish of these raw, roasted, or grilled vegetables.
- Käse: Cheese might seem safe, but avoid cream cheese which can have wheat byproduct thickeners and beer cheeses like Bierkäse or Weisslacker which can contain gluten.
- Milchreis: This rice pudding often comes topped with sugar, cinnamon, or fruit.
- Frucht: fruit is naturally gluten-free.
- Schar gluten-free bread range.
Gluten-Free German Restaurant Quick Guide
- For bakeries, check out the ice cream shop and bakery combo Eis Voh for gluten-free treats.
- At Schnitzelei Mitt, you can even eat a gluten-free schnitzel. Just check for any cross-contamination.
- Simply Keto’s shop is designed for the ketogenic diet, so it also has gluten-free products.
- Get a gluten-free pizza prepared with separate space and equipment to prevent cross-contamination at Cielo di Berlino
- Isabella’s Gluten Free Patisserie is a safe choice for the gluten-free with delicious sweets and delightfully handcrafted pastries.
- When in Frankfurt, discover the Glutenfreie Kaffeebar by Alex to enjoy a perfect place for celiacs. With Coffee, cakes, waffles, and more options, it’s a great place to pop in for a snack while staying safe in the city.
- About 45 minutes away by car from Frankfurt, you can find an ice cream shop called Arici’s Café & Eis. This spot has both gluten-free and dairy-free frozen treats like milkshakes and sundaes, and even offers the hard-to-find gluten-free ice cream cone.
- For a traditional German meal, check out Schucks Restaurant which has a knowledgeable staff and a menu clearly labeled with gluten and dairy-free foods. Both the delicious spare rib dish and in-house apple sausages are gluten-free.
- In Freiburg, check out the Kartoffelhaus or “potato house”. With traditional German dishes, Asian fusion, and vegan, lactose-free, and gluten-free menus, this place also places a strong focus on locally sourced foods.
- Rudolph’s is a gluten-free treasure with most pasta, pizzas, and even Mediterranean dishes and beer coming in gluten-free versions.
- Gasthof Obermaier has gluten-free versions of most of their menu and specialty Bavarian dishes.
- Tushita Teahouse’s beautiful space has both vegan and gluten-free deserts and a vast tea menu to make your stay in Germany a gluten-free delight.