Sandwich Bread Alternatives

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I just got back from a long road trip with the family. During our trip I was contemplating alternatives for sandwich bread. I made a loaf of our favorite sandwich bread before we left to take with us, but it didn’t last the whole trip. So, we used some alternatives which are quite tasty. Next time you’re out of gluten-free sandwich bread and don’t have the time or desire to make some for today’s lunch, consider these alternatives:

img_3377xRice Paper/Spring Roll Wraps – Need to hydrate.
I’ve used these to make fried egg rolls, but this is my newest discovery for wrapping up sandwich fillings. These round paper-thin wraps are stiff and fragile until you hydrate them. You hydrate them by simply placing them in a plate of water. It only takes about 10 seconds. Take them out of the water before it gets too soggy and starts to disintegrate. Let the excess water drip off, then place on a clean plate, or a crisp linen towel. (At this point, the wrap should be flexible enough to roll up. If not, give it a few more seconds in the water.) Place your fillings in the center of the top third of the wrap. Fold the top over the fillings, then fold in the sides. Next, roll it toward you, tucking and tightening it as you go. You’ll notice that the wrap is slightly sticky and stretchy. Use parchment or wax paper to wrap each one if you need to transport or save for later. Serve as is, or cut in half and serve with dressing. I made some last week with grilled chicken strips, cheese sticks, cucumber sticks, avocado slices and a little mustard. My husband loved them! And so did I.

You can find these at many grocery stores on the shelves with Asian foods. If your grocery store doesn’t carry them, try an Asian food market or online.

Need more detailed instruction for wrapping rice paper rolls? Check out Viet World Kitchen. It also has tips for buying rice papers.

Rice Cakes
Most of you are probably familiar with these. Thick, round, light, but crunchy cakes with little taste. Probably too thick for actually sandwiching something between two, but works well with a variety of toppings: peanut butter, jelly, cream cheese, ham, tomato, egg salad, etc.

These are easy to find at any grocery store or online.

img_3368xCorn Thins – Great for kids.
Similar size and shape to rice cakes, but much thinner and much tastier! Think popcorn (without salt and butter) smashed into a thin round cake. My kids love to eat these for snacks, plain or with toppings. I have often used these to make them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Not easy to cut without crumbling, but you don’t need to. The size is perfect for eating as is. Other sandwich fillings: cream cheese and jelly, ham and cheese, bologna, etc. Consider eating for a quick breakfast too.

These are carried at a lot of grocery stores now. If yours doesn’t carry them, try a natural food market or online.

Corn Tortillas – Need a little heat.
When I first started the gluten-free diet, this is what I ate for lunch most days. My kids were too little to eat sandwiches, so I didn’t bother making a lot of bread even for myself. Instead I heated up ham and cheese in a corn tortilla. Quick and easy, which is what I needed with two little ones at home all day.

These do need a little heat to keep from falling apart, but it doesn’t take much.  For a quick sandwich, or quesadilla, lightly spray the tortilla with oil and put in a hot skillet over medium heat. Top it with a slice of cheese and ham or other sandwich filling. Let the cheese melt and fold over like an omelette. Quick and easy hot sandwich. Great for hot dogs, too!

I like to cook up a whole batch of tortillas and them keep them in the refrigerator until I need them (for a quick sandwich, quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos, taquitos, etc.). To cook a whole batch, heat up 1/4 – 1/2″ of corn oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, use tongs to place the tortillas in the oil. Five seconds on each side is usually enough to cook it without getting too crispy or soggy. Then, remove it from the oil and place on a rack or paper towels to drain excess oil.  Once they’ve cooled, stack them up and place into a zip-style bag for storing in the refrigerator. To use for sandwiches later, heat them on a hot, but dry skillet until they start to sizzle or leave it in a little longer if you like it crispy. For softer tortillas, just place it in the microwave for 5 seconds.

You should be able to find these at any grocery store.

Lettuce – Keep cool until time to eat.
Why not use lettuce to wrap your sandwich fillings? There are a variety of lettuces that would work for this, but my favorites are Cosmopolitan Lettuce (a cross between Romaine and Iceberg), Romaine, and Butter lettuce. Take a big leaf and place your fillings in the middle, fold it taco-style, and enjoy! Perfect for egg salad, ham and cheese, hamburgers, hot dogs and more.

Pancakes and Waffles – Gluten-free, of course!
I almost forgot to include these. If you’ve got these in your freezer, it’s as quick and easy as popping them into a toaster. Spread peanut butter and jelly on them, Nutella Hazelnut Spread, cream cheese and jelly or fresh fruit… you get the idea. If the pancakes are large enough, you could even roll them around a hot dog, or fold them over and use like a taco to fill with sandwich fixings. And, if you don’t have any pancakes or waffles in the freezer, it’s still faster to make them then bread.

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Categories : Lunch, Product Advisory



Great minds….my first attempt at the rice paper wrappers is the post for today. Your description of the process is very easy to follow. Too bad I didn’t read it until after my attempts!


OK, I’m really missing rice wraps between you and Wendy. I stick with the lettuce wraps! Great ideas.


Thanks for putting all these great ideas down in one place. I’ve used them all at one point or another and some certainly get more use, like rice cakes and lettuce, than others.


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I got an email from a reader who also suggested a couple other ideas I could share with you:
Tostadas are a great idea. You can buy them already cooked and ready to add beans, meat, cheese or whatever you like.
Corn tortillas can also be placed in a toaster oven for quick cooking. Add cheese and ham before toasting and you’ll have a hot ham and cheese sandwich in no time.


of the asian foods that i tastes, japanese foods and thai foods are the tastiest stuff *’*


I’m new to a GF diet (apparently I have always been intolerant to gluten but my body tolerated it for 38 years until it reached the breaking point and alerted me by making me faint at 2 very inopportune places, airplane and restaurant). Thank you for these great options. I’m going on a week long beach vacation where the daily lunch is packing sandwiches. I’m pretty sure everyone is going to be jealous of my ingenious “sandwiches”!


Kelly – I’m so glad you found it useful. I’m sure as you get used to the diet, you’ll come up with even more ideas for eating gluten free.


I love all of these ideas, and already use them! Another one that may seem odd, but works well for me are nori sheets. Nori sheets are the seaweed sheets used to make sushi. The texture is different, but nori blends well with standard deli meats, cheeses, even mayo and mustard. Since they’re savory and sometimes a tad salty, they bring out the flavor of the food without overwhelming it.

Typically, I spread my favorite stone ground mustard in a thin layer, lay out my fillings on one end in a thin line (my current favorite is turkey, swiss, and pickles or avocado, plus a little spinach or lettuce), and roll it up. It takes two or three rolls to hold the ingredients of one deli sandwich, but they look neat on a plate and really bring out the flavor of the mustard.


Raven – Great idea! Who needs bread when there are so many wonderful alternatives?! Thanks for sharing another one with us.


[…] Sandwich Bread Alternatives from Celiac Family […]


My 4 yr old daughter doesn’t really like the GF bread so she started eating peanut butter and jelly on the GF graham crackers. I think the brand is Kinnikinnik? She loves them so much, she prefers them over bread now. they are a nice size too for a little one. Just another idea to add to your great suggestions!


Debbie – Thanks for the additional idea. I like the Gf grahams, too. My kids only seem to want them with chocolate and marshmallows, though. 🙂 My daughter likes to eat the Schar Snack Crackers with PBJ. The nice thing about these is that they come with 8 crackers in a sealed package. Great for throwing in a bag on your way out the door.


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Great ideas! I’ll be trying some rice cakes + toppings the next time I go to the grocery store. I really enjoy using collard greens to make wraps. Just lay 2 large leaves on top of each other and wrap it like you would a burrito.


Natty Girl – Thanks for adding another great idea! I don’t usually buy collard greens, and hadn’t even thought about it.


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[…] Sandwich Bread Alternatives – Celiac Family – New ideas for lunches without bread. Gluten-free alternatives include rice cakes, corn thins, rice paper wrappers, pancakes, etc. Home; About; Eating Out; Gluten Free in School; Recipe Index; Gluten-Free Menu Swap. Schedule for Gluten-Free Menu Swap; […]


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[…] what you like, you might want to check out past articles on Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread and Sandwich Bread Alternatives. And, of course, there are now gluten-free bread options in the grocery […]

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