This post includes a gluten-free Matzo recipe (also called matzah) that is incredibly easy to make and elevates your gluten-free Passover celebrations. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
On the first night of Passover, Jews are commanded to eat matzo as a reminder of the food our ancestors ate as they left Egypt in haste.
Before leaving Egypt, they mixed wheat flour and water but didn’t allow the bread to rise (they didn’t have time to wait). When they baked the bread, they had what is known today as flat matzo crackers or unleavened bread.
Traditional matzo is typically made from two ingredients – wheat flour and water. It also can be made from any of the five grains mentioned in the Torah – wheat, rye, oats, barley and spelt – however, oat is the only grain mentioned in the Torah that is gluten free.
On the Chabad website, I learned that even oats can be a controversial grain to use in your gluten-free matzo recipe for a number of reasons – many that are hotly debated by rabbis around the world.
Regardless of the debate, if gluten causes a serious health risk to you, most reasonable rabbis seem to agree that using oat flour in order to complete the mitzvah of matzo is a satisfactory solution.
(Please note that I take issue with the idea that the author of the Chabad article insinuates that gluten intolerance, celiac disease and allergies are not all considered serious conditions. If you are celiac, allergic to wheat, or gluten sensitive, DO NOT eat matzo made from wheat flour. Doing so will impact your health regardless of where you are on the gluten disorder spectrum.)
The mitzvah of matzo is further complicated when you consider that matzo must be prepared and baked fast in order to prevent any sort of leavening.
In fact, you must prepare and bake the matzo in less than 18 minutes from the time water and flour are combined to the time you remove the matzo from the oven.
This is because once water is added to the flour, the flour begins to ferment and therefore it commences the leavening process. (Remember, old time bread making used fermentation to leaven vs. store-bought yeast. Read my article about sourdough to better understand how fermentation works in leavening bread.)
What About Gluten-Free Matzo in a Box?
I enjoy the taste of gluten-free matzo from the box. It’s light and crispy and doesn’t weigh on you like regular wheat flour matzo. I like the Yehuda brand and bought nine boxes of it (mainly because it was on sale at Sprouts).
However, while the majority of store-bought gluten-free boxes of matzo are Kosher for Passover, they are NOT to be used for the purpose of completing the mitzvah of matzo at the seder table. It says so right on the box, “Not a replacement for matzo at the Seder.”
The reason this boxed matzo cannot be used at the seder table is it does not include one of the five grains mentioned in the Torah (and the only mentioned grain OK for those on a gluten-free diet is oats).
In fact, matzo made from oats will be the only way someone on a gluten-free diet can complete the mitzvah of matzo. Most boxed matzo, however, contain a blend of tapioca and potato starches.
Also, it’s uncertain if the matzo is baked within the required 18 minutes – but time doesn’t matter since the ingredients exclude someone from completing the mitzvah anyway.
Now mind you, you can buy Kosher for Passover gluten-free matzo that would satisfy the requirements of even the most conservative of rabbis.
In fact, Amazon carries a few brands: Lakewood Oat Matzah ($39.99 for 1 lb box) and Kestenbaum’s Oat Matzah (for $42.99 for 16 oz box). I guess if you have the money, by all means spend it. But for me, I cannot justify this expense.
Fear Not My GF Friends
I personally would like to have the satisfaction of completing the mitzvah of matzo without having to consume even a crumb of gluten, so this year, I decided to make my own oat flour matzo.
Now mind you, my process isn’t perfect. I didn’t guard the oat flour from harvest to milling, nor can I know for sure if heat was used in the processing or storing of the gluten-free oat flour I used.
On top of that, I’m no matzo making expert, nor do I have a Kosher house.
That said, I can still complete the mitzvah of matzo in my own, unique way that would satisfy at least two requirements: (1) I would eat matzo made from gluten-free oats, and (2) the matzo would be unleavened, prepared and cooked in less than 18 minutes flat.
- Is my gluten-free matzo perfect? Nope.
- Does it meet all the halacha requirements? Nope.
- Did a Rabbi supervise the process – from harvesting and milling of the oat flour – to my baking process? Nope.
- Is my home Kosher? Nope.
However, I did get a few things right:
- Does making my own gluten-free matzo recipe make me feel closer to completing the mitzvah of matzo without making me sick or breaking the bank? Yep.
- Did I make a huge effort to complete the mitzvah of matzo? Yep.
- Does the gluten-free matzo recipe taste good? Ah, that’s a trick question. Let me ask you, “Is matzo supposed to taste good?”
Gluten-Free Matzo Recipe
This gluten-free matzo recipe is actually quite simple and requires certified gluten-free oat flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF oat flour), water and Kosher salt (optional but recommended). It also requires a little potato starch for dusting the surface for when you roll out the dough.
In order to prepare and bake this gluten-free matzo recipe in 18 minutes flat, you must have everything ready to go. You’ll use about 7-8 minutes to do the prep work, and you’ll need the last 10 minutes for baking. Hurry!
First, you must have the oven preheated to 500ºF. We are going to quickly cook the crap out of these matzos in 10 minutes – so the oven must be really hot and ready to go.
Second, you must prepare your baking sheet. Line it with parchment paper. Do not use any cooking sprays or silpat mats (the oven is just too hot for that).
Third, you must measure out all your ingredients and have them ready to go. Have the oat flour measured and placed into a large bowl (this will be your mixing bowl), your salt in another, and the water in the another.
Forth, you must have all your supplies ready to go. Have a rolling pin, fork, butter knife, mixing spatula and flat spatula (for lifting the flattened dough from the countertop to your baking sheet) at your side.
Fifth, dust your rolling surface with potato starch. Have it ready to go.
Sixth, and lastly, have your phone nearby. Tell Siri, “Set my timer for 18 minutes.” When she says, “Go,” you go!
To make this gluten-free matzo recipe:
1. Add the salt to the oat flour, give it a swirl, then add the lukewarm water. Mix it together quickly and efficiently with your spatula and/and or hands. If the dough is too dry, add a tiny bit more water at a time. If the dough is too wet, add a little more oat flour. Have a bowl of oat flour and additional water at your side just in case.
2. Once the dough holds together, place it into your hand, shape it into a giant ball, then place it on your floured surface and roll it out as thin as you can go without breaking it and without it sticking to the surface.
3. Cut off the fray edges with a knife, then cut it into four sections. This isn’t a beauty contest, so don’t worry if the edges aren’t even or in perfect squares. Use your flat spatula to transfer each square on to your baking sheet.
4. Take a fork and puncture holds throughout the matzo (to prevent it from bubbling or rising).
5. Get that baking sheet in the oven ASAP and bake it for 10 minutes. Be sure to remove it from the oven at least 10 seconds before your alarm goes off.
Mazel Tov! You are ready to complete the mitzvah of matzo, my gluten-free friend!
I hope you enjoy this gluten-free matzo recipe – and the mitzvah that comes along with it. Chag Sameach!
Want to learn more? This article “Of Matzah and Mitzvah” from Forbes likely sums up how most of us gluten-free folk feel.
Other Passover Recipes
Try these Passover recipes too – everything is gluten free!
- Passover Charoset
- Gluten-Free Matzo Ball Soup
- Easy Beef Brisket
- Sweet BBQ Cola Chicken
- Chocolate Quinoa Cake
- No-Bake Gluten-Free Chocolate Matzah Cake
- Lemon Crinkle Cookies
- Overnight Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies
- Gluten-Free Flourless Chocolate Torte
Gluten-Free Matzo Recipe (Made with Oat Flour)
- 2 cups gluten-free oat flour I used Bob's Red Mill GF oat flour
- 2/3 cup lukewarm water
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- Potato starch for dusting the surface
- Preheat oven to 500º F. Oven should be heated and ready to go before you start mixing ingredients.
- Prepare your baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Measure out 2 cups of oat flour and put it into a large mixing bowl.
- Measure out 1 tsp. Kosher salt and place it in a small, separate bowl.
- Measure out 2/3 cup lukewarm water and place it in separate bowl.
- Gather all your supplies: Rolling pin, fork, butter knife, mixing spatula and flat spatula (for lifting the flattened dough from the countertop to your baking sheet).
- Dust your rolling surface with potato starch. Have it ready to go.
Ready to Go!
- Set your timer for 18 minutes. Go!
- Add the salt to the oat flour, give it a swirl.
- Add water to flour and mix it quickly and efficiently. If the dough is too dry, add a tiny bit more water at a time. If the dough is too wet, add a little more oat flour. Have a bowl of oat flour and additional water at your side just in case.
- Once the dough holds together, pick it up and shape into a big ball, then place it on your floured surface and roll it out as thin as you can go without breaking it and without it sticking to the surface.
- Cut off the fray edges with a knife, then cut it into four sections. This isn’t a beauty contest, so don’t worry if the edges aren’t even or in perfect squares. Use your flat spatula to transfer each square on to your baking sheet.
- Take a fork and puncture holds throughout the matzo (to prevent it from bubbling or rising).
- Place baking sheet in the oven and bake it for 10 minutes. Be sure to remove it from the oven at least 10 seconds before your alarm goes off or sooner. Keep an eye on the matzo. Depending on how thin your were able to roll it out, it may be done sooner.
- Matzo is done when it's hard and slightly brown. Mazel tov!