My friend Judee of Gluten-Free A to Z reached out to me recently to suggest that I share a collection of gluten-free Purim recipes. I welcomed Judee’s suggestion as I’m always happy to create gluten-free recipe collections that gfe readers will find helpful. However, I’m not Jewish so I did just a tiny bit of research before gathering some Purim-appropriate recipes from our favorite gluten-free resources.
In simplest terms, Purim is a celebration of Jewish deliverance as told in the Book of Esther of the Hebrew Bible. The story features a king, Achashverosh; a queen, Esther; and a villain—the king’s advisor, Haman. The holiday is celebrated by reading the Book of Esther, exchanging food and drink (including gifting Mishloach Manot, also known as Purim baskets), and partaking in a celebratory meal known as a se’udat Purim.
This year Purim is observed Wednesday, March 16, through Thursday, March 17. Purim is said to be one of the most fun and exciting Jewish holidays and a testament to resilience. Children and adults of all ages will sing, dance, and, dress up in themed costumes together at festivals, parties, and parades worldwide—all to commemorate the miracle of events that took place thousands of years ago in the Book of Esther.
I read one article that described Purim as a holiday similar to Halloween, Easter, and Mardi Gras all mixed into one. I’m not sure what most Jewish readers will think of that description but I’d love to hear your take if you celebrate Purim.
In a recent CBS Sunday Morning segment focused on Hamantaschen, it was explained that Hamantaschen, the triangular, filled pocket pastries/cookies in abundance during Purim, came long after the event commemorated in the Book of Esther. They were modeled after Mohntaschen, the triangular German pocket pastry with poppy seed filling. “Mohn” meaning poppy seed and “tasch” meaning pocket. Mohntaschen took on a new life as Hamantaschen, renamed after the villain Haman.
Click the link above and watch the segment to learn more. Incidentally, I loved that the owner of the New York City bakery featured stated that Hamantaschen have “the golden ratio,” 1:1, of filling and crust! If that doesn’t make one want some Hamantaschen, I don’t know what does!
One of the most interesting things to me is the variety of foods that are served for Purim—from meat dishes to vegetarian meals (with a focus on beans) to Hamantaschen and other desserts, all with historical and/or symbolic meanings (some with multiple meanings). Hamantaschen, which can be spelled several ways, is by far the most famous and most popular item served during Purim.
In fact, Hamantaschen is so popular that it is actually served and celebrated year-round. It seems that Hamantaschen started out as a yeast-based soft dough pastry but is now more often a shortbread-type cookie. Likewise, traditional fillings are poppy seed and jams but now Hamantaschen may be filled with more creative goodness (such as funfetti frosting and pizza filling).
Gluten-Free Purim Recipes
You’ll find a mix of traditional Purim recipes as well as a few recipes that although not created for Purim still work and a few others that have a completely new take on Purim standards, such as Hamantaschen Tacos. You’ll quickly notice that the majority of the recipes in this collection are in fact, Hamantaschen recipes. Some say that the triangle-shaped filled pastries/cookies look like the tri-corner hat worn by Haman, the villain of the Purim story.
If you want a single comprehensive source of recipes for not just Purim but all Jewish celebrations, you may want to check out The New Yiddish Kitchen: Gluten-Free and Paleo Kosher Recipes for the Holidays and Every Day from my friends Jennifer Robins and Simone Miller. Their cookbook includes menus for all the important Jewish observances, including a Purim menu (with eight items).
Another favorite for Jewish recipes is Nosh on This: Gluten-Free Baking from a Jewish-American Kitchen, by Lisa Stander-Horel and Tim Horel, and their earlier cookbook Gluten-Free Canteen’s Book of Nosh: Baking for Jewish Holidays and More. Their outstanding Gluten-Free Canteen site was retired several years ago so I’m grateful Lisa’s recipes are living on in these cookbooks!
Gluten-Free Hamantaschen Recipes for Purim
~ Apricot Hamantaschen from Unconventional Baker ~ gluten free, dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free, vegetarian, vegan
~ Chocolate Raspberry Hamantaschen from Elana’s Pantry ~ gluten free, grain free, dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free, vegetarian, paleo, primal, (Elana offers her own collection of favorite gluten-free Purim recipes with her summary of why Purim is celebrated and what it entails.)
~ Hamantaschen from Better Batter ~ gluten free, vegetarian
~ Hamantaschen (with tutorial) from Fearless Dining ~ gluten free, vegetarian, with dairy-free option
~ Hamantaschen Cookies with Poppy Seed Filling from Unconventional Baker ~ gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, vegetarian, vegan
~ Hamantaschen Tacos from Predominantly Paleo ~ gluten free, grain free, dairy free, egg free, sugar free, paleo, primal
Jennifer says: “The taco shell (i.e., King Haman’s hat) is almost like a puff pastry in texture and far more delicious than eating a hat. Stuff it with fillings of your choice like seasoned beef, shredded chicken, olives, salsa, cilantro, dairy free sour cream, and of course don’t forget the PALEO CHEESE!!!!”
~ Not Your Bubby’s Hamantaschen from Better Batter ~ gluten free, vegetarian
Naomi says: “This recipe is not your Bubby’s Hamantaschen. I have taken traditional Hamantaschen and brought you a working mom’s version. This uses a cake mix as a base and will cut your time in half, leaving you extra time to make the traditional Purim cookies with your kids and create lasting memories!”
~ Nut-Free Chocolate Hamantaschen from Elana’s Pantry ~ gluten free, grain free, dairy free, nut free, refined sugar free, vegetarian, paleo, primal
~ Raspberry Hamantaschen from Elana’s Pantry ~ gluten free, grain free, dairy free, egg free, vegetarian, paleo, primal
Other Gluten-Free Recipes That Work for Purim
~ Baked Sriracha Ginger Cumin Chicken from gfe ~ gluten free, grain free, dairy free, egg free, paleo, primal
~ Best. Brisket. Ever. from Predominantly Paleo ~ gluten free, grain free, dairy free, egg free, sugar free, paleo, primal (Use any leftovers for Jennifer’s amazing Paleo Brisket and Cornbread Casserole. I speak from experience regarding this recipe!)
~ Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup from Gluten-Free A to Z ~ gluten free, grain free, dairy free, egg free, sugar free, vegetarian, vegan
~ Kreplach (Jewish Dumplings) from Better Batter ~ gluten free, dairy free, sugar free
~ Roasted Chickpeas from gfe ~ gluten free, grain free, dairy free, egg free, vegetarian, vegan
~ Top 20 Gluten-Free Challah Recipes ~ There are not only wonderful “just gluten-free” recipes in this collection of challah recipes but there are also grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and vegan options. Find the one that will work best for you for Purim! (Note: Some sources say that ideally, challah loaves should be large and braided for Purim. Shown are some examples from this collection that fit that bill.)
~ Easy Gluten-Free Rugelach from Fearless Dining ~ gluten free, egg free, vegetarian (one reader noted in comments how she made this recipe dairy free)
~ Homemade Sangria from gfe ~ gluten free, dairy free, egg free, vegetarian, vegan
Originally published March 15, 2022; updated March 16, 2022.