Pita bread, also called pitta bread or Arabic bread, is a traditional Middle Eastern staple.

Baked authentically over an open flame or in a stone oven, the pita bread is leavened with yeast and puffs up during baking. It can be cut open when cooled to form pockets, so it’s also called “pocket bread.”

This flatbread has become quite popular throughout Mediterranean and Western cuisines and can also be found in some gluten-free grocery aisles.

In this article, we explain whether pita bread is gluten-free and offer recommendations for how you can make it or where you can purchase it.

A plate of pita bread with hummus and olive dip.Share on Pinterest
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Gluten is a family of storage proteins found in wheat that are shown to trigger gut inflammation in people diagnosed with celiac disease — approximately 1% of the population (1).

Therefore, following a gluten-free diet is recommended for managing celiac disease symptoms like abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea, and poor digestion (2, 3).

There is speculation that a gluten-free diet can support the management of some other health conditions, but the evidence supporting this idea is mixed (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

It’s important to remember that avoiding gluten may not help symptoms if they’re caused by something other than celiac disease.

In fact, following a gluten-free diet is associated with health problems like nutritional deficiencies, metabolic syndrome, stress, high financial costs, negative emotions surrounding food, and eating disorders like orthorexia nervosa (1, 5, 6).

Heads up

Trying to “do it right” when it comes to nutrition may feel tempting, but it can backfire.

If you are preoccupied with food or your weight, feel guilt surrounding your food choices, or routinely engage in restrictive diets, consider reaching out for support. These behaviors may indicate a disordered relationship with food or an eating disorder.

Disordered eating and eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of gender identity, race, age, body size, socioeconomic status, or other identities.

They can be caused by any combination of biological, social, cultural, and environmental factors — not just by exposure to diet culture.

Feel empowered to talk with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, if you’re struggling.

You can also chat, call, or text anonymously with trained volunteers at the National Eating Disorders Association helpline for free or explore the organization’s free and low cost resources.

Traditionally, pita bread is not gluten-free.

It is made with varieties of wheat flours like white, whole wheat, or multigrain — which all contain gluten — along with a leavening agent like baker’s yeast or baking powder, and sugar, oil, and salt.

Fortunately, because gluten-free diets have become popular, gluten-free pita bread may be purchased ready-made. You may also make it at home using gluten-free flours, including:

  • almond flour
  • amaranth
  • oat flour
  • chickpea flour
  • coconut flour
  • sorghum flour

However, substituting or fortifying wheat flours to produce gluten-free pita bread has been shown to change the quality and texture of the pita dough and cause minor changes to the final product bread (7).

For example, a 2012 research article demonstrated that pita bread made from 100% pulse flours — made from lentil peas, navy beans, or pinto beans — produced pita bread with characteristic pockets but slight differences in color and texture (8).

Fortification with date seed powder also produces a lower-gluten pita bread with similar characteristics to the original wheat-based pita bread (9).

However, gluten-free versions of bread products — including pita — may not be enriched with important nutrients. Compared with their gluten-containing whole-grain counterparts, they’re often lower in fiber and other essential nutrients (5).

That’s one of the reasons why a gluten-free diet isn’t always the best choice unless it’s medically necessary (1, 5, 6).

Summary

Traditional pita bread is made with wheat flours and is not gluten-free, but gluten-free pita bread can be purchased ready-made or made at home using gluten-free flours like almond, coconut, chickpea, or oat flours.

For people living with celiac disease, the health benefits of gluten-free pita bread outweigh the minor changes in texture and color.

A popular accompaniment with pita bread is hummus — a dip made with chickpeas, oil or tahini, seasonings, and garlic — but gluten-free pita can be enjoyed in many diverse ways, just as regular pita.

Pita pizza bites

Preheat your oven to 425 ℉ (218 ℃). Top 1–2 pita breads with tomato sauce, sliced mushrooms, grated cheese, sliced bell peppers, onions, and herbs like basil and oregano.

Place on baking sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes until crispy. Remove, allow to cool slightly, and cut each pita into 4-6 slices — or “bites” — and enjoy.

Pita-stuffed veggie scrambled eggs

Sauté diced onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, and baby spinach in olive oil. Whisk two large eggs and add to the pot, stirring occasionally until cooked.

Cut the pita bread and stuff with the scrambled eggs and veggies for added fiber.

Pita pockets are ideal for other stuffings like tuna salad, mushroom veggie mixes, or even grilled fish or chicken.

Pita beef tacos

Fold pita bread in half, in a taco shape.

Fill with seasoned minced beef cooked in marinara sauce and top with grated cheese, tomato salsa, and chopped lettuce. Alternatively, you can make meatless tacos.

Summary

Gluten-free pita bread can be enjoyed in many ways, including with a hummus dip, as pizza bites, stuffed with scrambled eggs, tuna salad or grilled chicken, or folded into tacos.

Gluten-free pita bread can be made at home or purchased ready-made. Look for it:

  • online via nation-wide sites like Amazon in the United States or Sainsbury’s in the United Kingdom
  • online via local grocery stores that provide online shopping services
  • on some grocery and specialty store shelves

Cross-contamination can occur in commercial food manufacturing processes, so some foods that purport to be gluten-free may contain small amounts of gluten due to being prepared alongside gluten-containing products.

If you live with celiac disease and must avoid all gluten, be sure to only purchase products that are certified gluten-free or made in facilities that don’t process gluten-containing foods.

Summary

Purchase gluten-free pita bread online or in some grocery and specialty stores. Be sure to purchase products that are certified gluten-free to minimize the risk of gluten contamination if you have celiac disease.

Pita bread is a traditional Arabic flatbread that has gained popularity across Mediterranean and Western cuisines.

Traditionally, pita bread is not gluten-free, but it can be made at home or purchased ready-made with gluten-free flours, such as oat, chickpea, almond, or sorghum flours.

Enjoy gluten-free pita bread with hummus dip, or as pizza bites, stuffed with scrambled eggs, tuna salad, or grilled chicken, or folded and enjoyed as tacos.

Just one thing

Try this today: Make a chicken avocado gluten-free pita. Stuff a gluten-free pita bread with a chopped grilled chicken breast and 1/2 cup chopped avocado. Top with sliced cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, and lettuce for a quick lunch or dinner.