March 3, 2024
Learn all about the delicious South Indian dish dosa and whether it's safe for people with gluten sensitivities. Our comprehensive guide includes gluten-free dosa recipes, restaurant listings, tips for eating out, and more.


If you’re new to the world of dosa, it’s important to know whether or not it’s gluten-free. Dosa is a staple South Indian dish consisting of a fermented batter made from rice and black lentils. The batter is spread thin and cooked on a flat griddle. It’s crispy, savory, and incredibly versatile. Gluten, on the other hand, is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. For those with gluten sensitivities, consuming gluten can cause a range of symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain. In this article, we’ll explore whether or not dosa is gluten-free and provide a comprehensive guide to enjoying this delicious dish safely.

Understanding the Main Components of Dosa Batter

To determine whether or not dosa is gluten-free, we must first understand the main components of dosa batter. Traditional dosa batter is made from rice and black lentils which are soaked in water overnight separately, then blended together into a fine paste. Although rice and black lentils are naturally gluten-free, it is dependent on their processing and manufacturing process as cross-contamination is always a risk in industrial mills and plants.

Guide to Gluten-Free Dosa Recipes

If you are gluten-sensitive, enjoying dosa safely can be achieved through homemade recipes. Fortunately, traditional dosa batter can be made gluten-free with a few simple modifications. For example, you can substitute regular rice with brown rice, which maintains all of the nutritional benefits of rice, while being gluten-free. You can also substitute black lentils with urad dal, which is also gluten-free. These substitutions will not only make the dosa gluten-free but also bump up the nutritional value of the dish.

Homemade dosa also allows you to experiment with different flavors and ingredients, which can make your dish delicious and flavorful. For example, you could try incorporating coconut flour, chickpea flour, or even millet flour to your dosa batter to produce unique flavors. Homemade batters are also free from preservatives and additives, so you can be sure that you are consuming only the purest ingredients.

Review of Popular Gluten-Free Dosa Restaurants

Apart from homemade dosa, many restaurants now offer gluten-free dosa options to cater to their customers with gluten sensitivities. Some of the popular restaurants include Dosa House in Chicago, which is entirely gluten-free and offers a variety of dosa dishes and fillings.

In New York, Dosa Royale is another fantastic option for gluten-sensitive eaters. They offer several types of dosa, including gluten-free and vegan dosa, served with sambar and chutney.

In San Francisco, Udupi Palace is a classic South Indian restaurant that offers gluten-free dosa. They offer a wide variety of dosa options, including masala dosa and onion rava dosa, served with traditional chutneys.

Prices for gluten-free dosa vary from restaurant to restaurant. Still, you can expect to pay between $10 and $20 per serving, depending on the location and the ingredients included in your dosa.

How to Order Gluten-Free Dosa at Restaurants

If you’re eating out at a restaurant, it’s important to be mindful of what you’re ordering and what ingredients you are consuming. Firstly, you should research beforehand whether or not the restaurant offers gluten-free dosa. Once there, you should ask the waiter or chef if the ingredients they use in their dosa batter are gluten-free.

It’s also important to communicate any gluten sensitivity to the waitstaff, so they can let the kitchen know. Finally, avoid any dosa that is fried in the same oil with gluten-containing food, as there is a risk of cross-contamination. Overall, when ordering dosa at a restaurant, be clear and upfront about your gluten sensitivity to prevent any adverse reactions later on.

Top-Rated Gluten-Free Dosa Recipes

There are vast options available online starting from gluten-free chocolate dosa to stuffed dosa. Whenever looking for gluten-free options, always look for the recipes that substitute regular rice with brown rice, and black lentils with gluten-free urad dal. Here are some popular gluten-free dosa recipes::

  • Brown Rice Dosa
  • Onion Rava Dosa
  • Quinoa Dosa
  • Sabudana Dosa
  • Red Rice Dosa

Each recipe varies slightly, but by substituting the main ingredients with gluten-free options, you can create a delicious, nutritious, and safe gluten-free dosa. Be sure to review ratings, comments, and nutritional information before selecting a recipe to ensure it is safe and meets your dietary needs.

Interviews with Gluten-Free Home Cooks

To better understand how dosa can be made gluten-free at home, we spoke to a few home cooks experimenting with gluten-free dosa recipes. Many of the home cooks recommended substituting the regular rice with brown rice, and the black lentils urad dal.

However, they also stressed the importance of experimenting with different flours and spices to create unique flavors, like using chickpea flour or coconut flour in place of some rice flour. One gluten-free home cook even mentioned adding grated vegetables like carrot, potato, and zucchini to the batter to make it more nutritious and flavorful.

Overall, the home cooks emphasized the importance of experimentation when making gluten-free dosa and have fun in the process.


In conclusion, dosa can be made gluten-free with the right substitutions without compromising the flavor and nutritional value of the dish. By using gluten-free flour, substituting ordinary rice with brown rice and black lentils with urad dal, you can enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal. Whether you’re making it at home or eating out, it’s essential always to communicate your dietary needs to ensure the safety of what you eat. So, be mindful, experiment, and enjoy a safe, gluten-free dosa.

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