10 Celiac-Friendly, Gluten-Free Substitutes for Barley


Barley is the fourth most grown grain in the world.

It belongs to the grass family and is known for its versatility. You can use it in various recipes; soups and stews, porridge, breakfast cereal, and bread.

Barley has high quantities of gluten and thus cannot be consumed by people who are intolerant to gluten.

But you don’t need to worry; there are several substitutes to barley you can use in your recipes.

10 Celiac-Friendly Substitutes for Barley 

The best substitutes for Barley are – Buckwheat, Amaranth, Corn, Millets, Quinoa, Teff, Brown Rice, Sorghum, Cauliflower Rice, and Oats. They are discussed in detail here –


Buckwheat, regardless of what the name suggests, has nothing to do with the wheat plant. This ‘grain’ is not a grain at all.

It is a seed that has a similar consistency to that of barley. It can be used in many recipes that need barley, especially salads and soups.

Buckwheat is a common grain-like seed used in the celiac-friendly world of cooking and easily available.

It is also very good for health; it contains a high quantity of free-radical regulating antioxidants. It is also a great source of manganese, magnesium, fiber, and copper.


Buckwheat is a good gluten-free replacement for barley. It is similar in texture and is packed with nutrients.


Amaranth is another gluten-free grain famous for its usage in ancient times in the Incan, Aztec, and Mayan civilizations. Amaranth is a good substitute for barley as both a cereal grain and a thickening agent.

It can be used to thicken soups and stews and be added to salads, and be consumed in place of barley in virtually any recipe.

Amaranth is also rich in several important nutrients; fiber, protein, iron, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus, to name a few!


This ancient grain is a great celiac-friendly replacement for barley and is incredibly versatile. It is also rich in many vital nutrients.


Corn is a great fiber-rich and gluten-free option to replace barley within several recipes. You may use corn in different forms. In salads, cooked sweet corn can replace boiled barley.

Polenta, a type of ground yellow corn, can be used in soups and stews as a thickener.

Corn is an important source of several crucial nutrients. In addition to being packed with antioxidants, corn is also a great source of fiber, protein, thiamin, pantothenic acids, and vitamin B6.


This is also a great gluten-free alternative, which can be used in many forms to satisfy your barley requirements in several different recipes. It is also a great source of important nutrients.


Millets are also seeds that function as whole grains. These are incredibly nutrient-packed and can be an excellent replacement for barley in many recipes, particularly soups and salads. It is also a great addition to bread.

Millets are also one of the cheapest grains out there, making it an affordable celiac-friendly option. It has a sweet and nutty flavor and a softer texture than barley. It is a great source of amino acids And calcium.


Millets are a healthy and pocket-friendly gluten-free seed that can easily replace barley in several recipes, including bread, soups, and salads.


Quinoa is increasingly gaining popularity in the health world. It is gluten-free and high in several nutrients. It can be used in many recipes in place of barley.

Quinoa can be consumed in stews, soups, salads, and porridges, or simply as a side to several dishes in place of carbohydrates like barley.

Additionally, it is high in antioxidants Rich in soluble fibers aid in digestion and blood sugar control and are also considered one of the finest plant-based protein sources.


Quinoa is a nutrient-packed celiac-friendly alternative that is greatly versatile and easy to digest. It can be used in many recipes to replace barley.


Teff is one of the smallest grains globally, which proportionally has an incredibly high content of several vital nutrients of any grain in the world. It can replace barley in most recipes, especially soups and stews.

It is about a hundredth of the size of a grain of wheat. In addition to being fully gluten-free, this micro-grain is a great source of several vitamin B’s and thiamin. Teff is also a great source of plant-based protein.


The importance of this micro-grain lies in its high quantity of nutrients, including vitamins and proteins. It is very small in size and can replace barely easily.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is made with the bran and germ of rice grain intact, making it additionally fiber-rich. It can replace barley in many recipes, everything from salads, as bases for stews and soups, and as a side to main dishes like meats, seafood, or vegetables.

Besides being a great celiac-friendly replacement, being easily available, and fairly affordable, the humble brown rice is also high in manganese and selenium.


This is easy access and moderately priced nutritious grain that can replace barley in many recipes.


Sorghum is a good substitute for barley, commonly used as a gluten-free flour alternative in baked goods for celiac-friendly recipes. It is an important grain, given its richness in chronic-illness-fighting antioxidants.

Studies have suggested that sorghum may aid in blood sugar control and appetite control. It is a great source of iron, fiber, and protein.


Sorghum is an outstanding replacement for barley in baked recipes in the form of flour. It’s not just gluten-free but is also rich in many nutrients.

Cauliflower Rice

This particular alternative works perfectly well as a side dish or an additive to salads in place of boiled barley. It has a great texture and goes very well with stews and dressings. It may also be served with meats and flavorful sauces.

Cauliflower is a great alternative for those watching their weight; 905 of its contents are water, making it highly hydrating and extremely low carb.

However, this cannot be used in several recipes since it is not an apt alternative for thickening or as an addition to bread or baked goods.


Though it has limited usage and may replace barley in specific dishes, this is a great low carb gluten-free substitute for stews and salads or to serve with meats, vegetables, and sauces.


Naturally, oats contain no gluten and can be used in place of barley in almost any recipe. They work beautifully as thickeners and can be made into flour to be used in baked goods.

They are known for increasing good cholesterol and reducing bad cholesterol.

Oats are also a great source of fiber, protein, magnesium, selenium, thiamine, and zinc. Oats must be sourced carefully; sometimes, the manufacturing process may contaminate them with gluten, and therefore you must purchase oats marked as 100% gluten-free.


Oats are a great alternative to barley. It is gluten-free, incredibly versatile, and very good for health, with its extensive list of health benefits.


Is pearl barley a gluten-free version of barley?

No. Pearl barley is just a version of barley with the bran and the hull removed. It still contains gluten and is unsafe for celiacs to consume.

Is buckwheat the same as barley?

No, buckwheat is a different pseudo-grain. It’s a seed that is used as a gluten-free alternative to several flours and grains.

Can I use quinoa instead of barley in soups?

Yes. Quinoa can make a great replacement for barley in soups and as stew bases too. It is, in addition to being gluten-free, rich in nutrients.

Bottom Line

A celiac diet can be challenging but isn’t a lifelong ban from consuming great food. Several gluten-free options can easily replace ingredients like barley that aren’t celiac friendly.

There are many healthy substitutes here, any one of which you can use in your following recipes to make them delicious and celiac-friendly while packing a nutritious punch.

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About Pooja Jain

Pooja is a foodie who likes experimenting with different cuisines every day. Cooking for Pooja is not just about following recipes, but also adding something of herself into it making each dish unique as well as delicious!