12 Gluten-Free School Lunch Recipes

Add interest to lunchtime with these kid-friendly options

Whether your kids have dietary restrictions or not, packing lunches can become tedious and uninspired. But with a few creative ideas and plenty of delicious and healthy gluten-free options, lunchtime can be something the kids will look forward to. These gluten-free school lunch recipes add variety as well as kid-friendly flavors and nutrition to school lunch boxes. Sandwiches, warm comfort foods, and tasty soups will keep even the picky eaters happy throughout the school day.

  • 01 of 12

    Waldorf Chicken Sandwiches

    Chicken salad sandwich with cranberries and lettuce


    TheCrimsonMonkey / Getty Images

    This sandwich filling has it all: juicy apple, crunchy celery, rich walnuts, and tart cranberries, along with filling cooked chicken and a creamy dressing. The plain yogurt cuts down on the amount of mayo needed, and the honey mustard and lemon juice add a bit of sweetness and tang. Spoon onto a favorite gluten-free bread or buns.

  • 02 of 12

    Gluten-Free Buckwheat Crepes With Fillings

    Gluten free buckwheat crepes with fresh raspberries

    The Spruce

    Ditch the loaf of bread and serve up a "sandwich" on these nutty gluten-free buckwheat crepes. The batter is quickly made in the blender and can be put together ahead of time, or cook up a batch of crepes and freeze individually to heat just the right amount. Spread with peanut butter and jelly, or roll up with sliced turkey or ham and a little mayo or mustard.

  • 03 of 12

    Gluten-Free Cream of Vegetable Soup

    Cream of broccoli soup with gluten-free croutons

     John Shepherd / Getty Images

    Many canned and premade cream soups use flour or other gluten products as a thickener, so making your own from scratch guarantees it will be gluten-free. This recipe calls for amaranth flour to create the right consistency. Choose from a variety of vegetables—or whatever you have in your fridge—to steam, cook, and puree into a nutritious and flavorful soup. Include some gluten-free croutons for added crunch.

  • 04 of 12

    Gluten-Free Spaghetti With Meat Sauce

    Gluten-free spaghetti with sauce

    Even if this isn't last night's leftover dinner, gluten-free spaghetti with meat sauce is an easy meal to whip up for school lunch. The ground beef cooks while the pasta is boiling, and a jar of gluten-free marinara assures this recipe comes together quickly. Just make sure to heat up and pack in an appropriate container like a thermos.

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  • 05 of 12

    Gluten-Free Beef and Avocado Tacos

    Soft-shelled beef tacos with avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, and lime
    Richard Jung Photography / Getty Images

    Many prepackaged taco seasonings have hidden sources of gluten, so making your own is a smart idea. Use it to season ground beef or turkey and fill gluten-free corn tortillas along with favorite toppings for a fun lunch. Or, simply fill a thermos with the meat and pack a few gluten-free tortilla chips on the side for scooping.

  • 06 of 12

    Marinated Fruit Salad With Honey

    Green, red, and orange melon balls in a white bowl
    Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

    This make-ahead fruit salad is perfect for the picky eater and the health-conscious parent—the sweet fruit is like dessert while providing lots of nutrients. Fruit such as melon, nectarines, and berries are left to marinate in honey-citrus water, infusing the fruit with a subtle flavor. Feel free to swap out the fruit for your kids' favorites.

  • 07 of 12

    Gluten-Free Macaroni and Cheese

    Spooning into a baked gluten-free macaroni and cheese dish

    Greg Elms / Getty Images

    Mac and cheese is a perennial kid favorite, but most versions are not gluten free. This recipe uses gluten-free pasta and seasonings along with amaranth powder, plus four types of cheeses, to make a delicious and creamy dish that is safe to eat. Make the night before, heat in the morning, and spoon into a thermos to keep warm.

  • 08 of 12

    Gluten-Free Tomato Soup

    A bowl of tomato basil soup, garnished with pieces of fresh basil


    Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images 

    A grilled cheese sandwich may be difficult to pack in a school lunch, but the ubiquitous tomato soup is not. This homemade version highlights the fresh flavor of tomatoes along with onion, garlic, and herbs, and combines them with gluten-free chicken stock for added richness. The soup is blended until thick and creamy.

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  • 09 of 12

    Gluten-Free Hummus

    Hummus in a bowl with a mound of whole chickpeas

    The Spruce / Sarka Babicka

    If your kid enjoys snacking more than mealtime, a lunch box filled with hummus and dippers is the perfect trick. This recipe combines chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, oil, and spices to make a creamy spread or dip for veggie sticks and any gluten-free flatbread, such as cloud bread.

  • 10 of 12

    Gluten-Free Rice Flour Biscuit Sandwiches

    Angel biscuits on a grill rack with one biscuit piled with slices of ham

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    These biscuits come together in a snap and require just a few ingredients, including rice and potato flours, sugar, baking soda, buttermilk, and margarine. Form the dough into mini-sandwich size, slather with condiments, and layer on deli meat.

  • 11 of 12

    Gluten-Free Italian Chicken Nuggets

    Chicken nuggets coated with gluten-free seasoned flour

    Getty Images / Rob Lawson

    Gluten-free Rice Chex is the key ingredient to making these chicken nuggets nice and crunchy. The chicken is cut into nugget-size pieces, coated in gluten-free seasoned flour, then oil and egg, and finished in the crushed-up cereal. The nuggets are refrigerated and fried until crispy. Make ahead and pack up with ketchup or ranch dressing for dipping.

  • 12 of 12

    Gluten-Free Thai Peanut Noodles

    Thai peanut noodles in a square dish with chopsticks

    The Spruce / D. Schmidt

    Since pad thai is made with rice noodles, this peanut-flavored noodle recipe is naturally gluten free (as long as the remaining ingredients are as well, of course). The sauce is made in the food processor and then all of the ingredients are stir-fried until soft, and the flavors have combined. As this dish does require a few steps, it is best if made the night before, which also allows the flavors to develop.