Is Tempura Gluten Free? | Build a Stash

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Key Takeaways

  • Tempura is a popular Japanese fried dish
  • Tempura batter may contain gluten, meaning the dish isn’t gluten-free
  • There’s a risk of gluten cross-contamination during tempura preparation
  • It’s advisable to prepare tempura at home if you are on a gluten-free diet

Tempura is a crispy, crunchy and delicious Japanese dish, enjoyed throughout the country and outside its borders. But, is tempura gluten-free?

Tempura isn’t considered gluten-free. Tempura batter that the main dish is deep-fried in is made of wheat flour, which contains gluten. Tempura may not be safe for individuals following a gluten-free diet. However, gluten-free tempura options are available.

We aim to provide helpful, understandable, up-to-date, and reliable gluten-related information and news. And, this is made possible thanks to our highly-skilled content creation team, comprising dietitians, nutritionists, and other various other subject-matter experts. Therefore, we can guarantee you that the information you are getting from us is the most reliable out there.

Table of contents


What is Tempura?

Tempura has been a staple in Japanese cuisine for decades. And, it’s enjoyed both in the country and across the globe. If you were to visit a Japanese steakhouse, either in the country or elsewhere, there’s every possibility tempura will be on the menu.

The popularity of tempura is not restricted to Japan, but rather, this dish has spread its tentacles the world over.

But, what exactly is tempura? Tempura is a dish that’s mainly composed of vegetables, seafood and sushi.

The dish is battered and then deep-fried. And, unlike other deep-fried dishes, tempura isn’t overly stodgy or greasy. Instead, it has a characteristic crispy, light and flavorful coating.

While most people consider tempura a traditional Japanese dish, some people argue that Portuguese missionaries introduced this food into the country around the 16th century. The natives then incorporated it into their cuisine. But, whichever the case, tempura remains an inseparable part of Japanese cuisine.

There is no shortage of what you can do with tempura. For example, you can make tempura rolls using sweet potatoes.

What is Tempura Batter?

We’ve pointed out that tempura consists of two main parts; the main dish and the batter. So, what’s the batter made of? Well, tempura batter mainly consists of three ingredients. These are water, egg and flour. These three ingredients help to create that characteristic crispiness.

Types of Tempura

There are different types of tempura out there. It all comes down to the ingredients and the recipe used. Some of the most common types include shrimp tempura, vegetable tempura, chicken tempura and prawn tempura, just to name a few.

But, regardless of the ingredients used, the preparation method remains the same. The main dish will be deep-fried in the tempura batter, giving it a crispy, crunchy and flavorful texture.

You can enjoy tempura with a wide range of dishes. The most common combinations include tempura with rice and tempura with udon or soba noodles. As for the dipping sauces, you can choose between oroshi, ten-tsuyu and soy.

Benefits of Tempura

Tempura is rich in calories, fat, carbohydrates, and proteins. In addition to that, tempura food is rich in vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and iron.

Having stated that, there are a number of health benefits that are associated with consuming tempura. To start with, tempura consumption leads to a lower risk of heart diseases. This is because the omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation thereby leading to a lower risk of heart diseases.

Consumption of tempura leads to enhanced digestion and an improved health of the digestive system. This is due to the positive impact of its fiber.

Tempura has been an ideal product for people who want to manage their weight loss. This is because it makes someone feel full for a long time, thereby reducing appetite and frequency of taking meals.

However, just like any fried food, the bottomline is moderation. You should not take a lot of fried foods due to the health implications that may follow. At the center of this is the need to ensure that one does not consume a lot of fat in a day.

About Gluten

In simple terms, gluten is a naturally-occurring protein in wheat, barley, rye and triticale. And, a small percentage of the population reacts negatively to this protein. The reactions can be minor or major, depending on the condition.

For instance, people with celiac disease, gluten ataxia, gluten sensitivity, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and wheat allergy will experience numerous complications if they eat or drink any gluten-containing product.

Some of the cross-cutting complications that these individuals experience may include chronic diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, loss of appetite, intestinal damage, hives and skin rashes, nasal congestion and serious blistering.

People with problems with gluten may find themselves visiting the hospital many times, and gluten health problems can be expensive for the affected people.

These problems are compounded by the fact that many Americans have not had a proper diagnosis on these problems,and they live with a condition that they do not understand.

The main issue is that as of today, no cure has been found for gluten complications. Following a strictly gluten-free diet remains the only option for individuals who experience gluten-related complications.

This requires an effort on the affected individual. For example, if one has celiac disease or gluten intolerance, one should seek food which is certified gluten free. The good thing is that the gluten industry is growing, and there is a lot to choose from on gluten free foods.

If one is not able to get gluten free food, then one should think about home made cooking. The good thing with preparing a meal at home is that you make it the way you want, using what you want.

Does Tempura Have Gluten?

So, is tempura gluten free? If you love deep-fried Japanese food but you also have gluten sensitivity, you may be wondering whether tempura has gluten. Is tempura gluten-free?

Can you take tempura if you have celiac disease? Is tempura safe for individuals with gluten intolerance?

Unfortunately, tempura is not gluten-free and therefore, this is not gluten free tempura. The batter in which the main dish is deep-fried is made of wheat flour. And, wheat flour comes from a gluten-containing grain.

Also, even if wheat flour wasn’t used to make the batter, it may have been prepared using the same equipment used for gluten foods. And as a result, the batter may become cross-contaminated with gluten.

In light of this, individuals with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity or any other form of gluten intolerance should avoid the tempura served in restaurants. Unless you can be sure the batter is gluten-free, then you shouldn’t risk eating tempura in restaurants.

How to Enjoy Gluten-Free Tempura

As we’ve highlighted above, the tempura served in most restaurants isn’t gluten-free. The tempura batter may have gluten containing-ingredients or there may have been gluten cross-contamination during the preparation process. And, this means it’s not safe for individuals on a gluten-free diet.

But, if you are on a gluten-free diet, it doesn’t mean you are out of luck when it comes to tempura.

You can still enjoy gluten-free tempura by preparing yours at home. And, there are hundreds of gluten-free tempura recipes, which you can use to make gluten-free tempura.

For instance, you can substitute gluten-containing wheat flour with gluten-free rice flour. You can then add potato starch to the rice flour to thicken it a bit.

With cooking at home, you can experiment with a number of ingredients for your gluten free tempura recipe. These include gluten free tempura batter, dipping sauce such as soy sauce, and tempura vegetables.

In case you are looking for an alternative to the use of tempura flour, then you have other options to choose from.  However, the flour must be gluten free flour. If you want a gluten free diet.