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The best gluten free bread to buy in 2023

Looking for a genuinely decent alternative to the wheat-laden stuff? This is the best gluten-free bread you can buy right now

Toast for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch doesn’t have to be a distant dream with our pick of the best gluten-free bread. Gone are the days when gluten-free alternatives tasted like cardboard; nowadays, there are some truly tasty options out there to be explored.

But where do you start? Fortunately, we’ve tried just about every different type and brand of gluten-free bread over the years (one of our testers has been gluten-free for over 15 years), so we know what to recommend. We’ve included some of our favourites, as well as loaves that we think come closest to replicating the taste of traditional wheat-based bread.

Our buying guide below will give you pointers on what to look for when it comes to choosing gluten-free bread, or you can just skip straight to our recommendations further down the page.

How to choose the best gluten-free bread for you

Gluten-free bread can seem like a minefield of choice to the uninitiated. Our buying guide should help demystify things.

Why buy gluten-free bread?

As a very simplified description, gluten is a protein found in wheat flour that gives bread its structure. Unfortunately, many people have a gluten intolerance, sensitivity or allergy, which causes painful digestive issues if gluten is eaten. Even more seriously, some people have coeliac disease. This is a condition where your immune system attacks your own tissues if you ingest gluten. For coeliac sufferers, it’s crucial to avoid even the smallest amount of gluten. So there are plenty of reasons why people buy gluten-free bread.

What is gluten-free bread made from?

With wheat flour out of the equation, gluten-free bread uses naturally gluten-free flours. These include:

  • Rice flour
  • Millet flour
  • Quinoa flour
  • Chickpea flour (Gram flour)
  • Almond flour
  • Buckwheat flour

But without gluten, other ingredients are needed to help “bind” everything together and create a soft loaf. These can include:

  • A combination of the above flours
  • Eggs
  • Xanthan gum
  • Guar gum
  • Tapioca starch
  • Corn starch
  • Potato starch

Sliced or unsliced?

Sliced loaves are obviously more convenient, making it far easier to make a sandwich at speed or feed lots of hungry mouths. However, there are some downsides. Brands may slice their loaves thicker or thinner than you would choose. And sliced bread dries out faster than unsliced. Unsliced bread will stay fresher and retain moisture for longer, meaning it can be the best choice if you’re the only one eating gluten-free bread in the house. If you do buy sliced, it’s worth looking for one that freezes well so that you can keep it for longer.

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What to look for in gluten-free bread

This is what we look for in a good gluten-free loaf:

Taste: Of course, taste is, to a certain degree, subjective. But we look for a loaf that is soft, smells good and doesn’t taste strongly of sugar, eggs or seasoning. We want our gluten-free loaves to taste as good as the wheat stuff.

Structure: One of the biggest problems with gluten-free products is that they can be extremely crumbly (as they have no gluten to hold their structure together). We look for loaves that hold together well and don’t turn to crumbs as soon as you pick them up.

Rise: Another big challenge is the rise. While we don’t expect gluten-free bread to be quite as “puffy” as normal bread, we still look for loaves that have a decent rise, good colour and feel lightweight.

How we test gluten free bread

Our tester is gluten-free themselves and has been for nearly 20 years. This means they’ve tried a lot of gluten free bread – from bad to good. For this round up, every bread is sampled both toasted and untoasted. This is to see how well it holds up as a cooked breakfast staple, as well as in its softer form, for things such as sandwiches.

We rate the bread based on its flavour, texture and structure, as well as looking at value for money – gluten-free bread can get expensive.

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The best gluten-free bread you can buy in 2023

1. Warburtons Gluten-Free Tiger Bloomer: Best overall

Price when reviewed: £3.50 | Check price at Ocado

Warburtons is one of the UK’s biggest bakery brands so it should come as no surprise that its gluten-free range is so good. The Artisan range includes this superb Tiger Bloomer, which is almost indistinguishable from an ordinary tiger loaf.

Light and fluffy, the Tiger Bloomer comes unsliced so you can choose the thickness yourself. It toasts brilliantly and freezes really well – you can even freeze it in slices and toast directly from frozen (if your toaster has that function).

The real draw is how nice this loaf tastes untoasted – a lot of gluten-free breads are almost inedible unless toasted. The interior of the bread is soft, while the rice flour topping gives the bread a proper crusty finish. The Tiger Bloomer is a little more expensive than some other gluten-free options, but we think it’s worth every penny.

Key details – Size: 400g; Style: White tiger bread; Format: Unsliced; Dietary information: Gluten-free, wheat-free, milk-free, kosher, halal, suitable for vegetarians; Buy from: Major supermarkets, Ocado, Morrisons at Amazon, Warburtons website; Suitable for freezing: Yes

Check price at Ocado

2. M&S Made Without Brown Seeded Brown Loaf: Best for sandwiches

Price when reviewed: £3.20 | Check price at Ocado

The Made Without Brown Seeded Brown Loaf from M&S is our top choice for making sandwiches. In fact, it’s the same bread that M&S uses in its own gluten-free sandwich range. The loaf is soft and holds together well, thanks in no small part to the generous addition of sunflower, millet and poppy seeds alongside brown and golden linseed. The bread is a natural source of fibre and vitamin D, making it a healthy as well as a tasty choice.

M&S’s gluten-free loaf also toasts extremely well and can be frozen, so is ideal if you’re eating it on your own and struggling to get through it quickly enough. Although it’s ready sliced, we think it keeps better than many other pre-sliced loaves. It’s a slightly smaller loaf height-wise than some others, but this means that it’s not at all fragile and keeps its shape well.

Key details – Size: 400g; Style: Brown seeded bread; Format: Sliced; Dietary information: Gluten-free, wheat-free, suitable for vegetarians; Buy from: M&S, Ocado; Suitable for freezing: Yes

Check price at Ocado

3. Promise Gluten-Free Brioche Loaf: Best for sweet tooths

Price when reviewed: £3.25 | Check price at Ocado

For many gluten-free folks, going without sweet breakfast treats such as croissants and brioche is a real wrench. Help is at hand with the Promise Gluten Free Brioche Loaf, though, which is a must-buy for those with a sweet tooth.

This is a lovely soft and buttery loaf, with the distinctive taste of brioche. We wouldn’t say that it’s as sweet as a traditional brioche, but it certainly tastes very similar. The loaf is lighter than traditional gluten-free bread and works well both toasted and untoasted.

One downside is that it doesn’t last quite as long as other gluten-free bread and can dry out a little, particularly around the crusts. For this reason, we’d recommend freezing at least some of the loaf to keep it fresh for future consumption. You do, however, need to defrost the bread completely before toasting – it’s not suitable for use in a toaster on a frozen setting. But overall, we love the light texture and sweet taste of this loaf.

Key details – Size: 400g; Style: Brioche loaf; Format: Sliced; Dietary information: Gluten-free, dairy-free, suitable for vegetarians; Buy from: Major supermarkets, Ocado; Suitable for freezing: Yes

Check price at Ocado

4. BFree Brown Seeded Loaf: Best for vegans

Price when reviewed: £3.15 | Check price at Tesco

The first thing you’ll notice about the BFree loaf is that the slices are cut lengthways, meaning there are only nine in a pack. However, these slices are easily cut in half and the bread is still extremely stable. The BFree loaf has a lovely nutty, rich taste and is slightly denser than some other gluten-free bread, due to it being made with fermented sourdough flours. The loaf is topped with flax, giving the crust a little crunch and bite. There’s lots of flavour too, thanks to the addition of linseed, sunflower, millet and poppy seeds.

It’s suitable for vegans, who often have a hard time finding products if they’re also gluten-free. There’s also plenty of fibre in the loaf, making it a good choice for those looking to improve their digestive health. It’s rather expensive for the small amount that you get in a pack and does have a tendency to dry out if it’s not sealed up tightly, but it’s still a delicious loaf nonetheless.

Key details – Size: 400g; Style: Brown seeded loaf; Format: Sliced; Dietary information: Gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher, wheat-free, egg-free, suitable for vegans; Buy from: Major supermarkets, Ocado; Suitable for freezing: Yes

Check price at Tesco

5. Schär Gluten-Free Wholesome White Loaf: Best for coeliacs

Price when reviewed: £2.75 | Check price at Asda

Schär’s products and entire production chain are 100% gluten-free and the company is one of the foremost in the market. This means it’s an excellent choice for coeliacs, who can be assured that nothing has been prepared in a factory handling any products with gluten.

The Wholesome White Loaf is smaller than other loaves at 300g and the slices are pretty petite. A lot of customers say they’re particularly suited to making French toast, and we would have to agree. This is a high-quality loaf with a lovely soft taste and a good springy crumb.

The bread makes excellent toast, as well as freezing nicely. It’s also a good choice if you’re on a diet as it’s low in calories and has considerably less fat than many other gluten-free breads. It’s also made without preservatives, although this does mean it has a shorter shelf life.

Key details – Size: 300g; Style: White loaf; Format: Sliced; Dietary information: Gluten-free, lactose-free, wheat-free, suitable for vegetarians; Buy from: Major supermarkets, Ocado, Morrisons at Amazon; Suitable for freezing: Yes

Check price at Asda

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