Which dosa types are gluten free?

Which dosa types are gluten free?

Dosa is a savory crepe-like food from southern India that’s commmonly served for breakfast. Dosa is made from a fermented batter of rice and lentils. Most types of dosa are naturally gluten free, but certain varieties are not. We’ll get into the specifics of which varieties are safe for celiacs below!

Table of Contents

The batter used to make dosa is almost the same as idli batter, but the texture of dosa is thin and crispy, whereas idli are soft and fluffy. Dosa and idli batter are both fermented, which helps make the nutrients more bioavailable. Dosa contains a good mixture of protein and carbs, so it’s a great vegetarian meal option.


Idli from My Food Story

The dosa shell often encases a heartier portion of the meal, like spiced potatoes and chutney, if you’re having a traditional masala dosa. Dosa are usually served with a variety of chutneys, Indian pickle, and lentil soup.

To ensure that the dosa you make or order is gluten free, consult our dosa type list below and consider the sauces and spices. Asafoetida is a common Indian spice that is usually cut with wheat flour, and may be included in certain recipes. Most chutneys are gluten free, but watch out for Schezwan sauce. It contains a small amount of soy sauce, and is used in some street food varieties of dosa. Also note that wheat flour and semolina have different names in India, so avoid anything with maida (all purpose flour) or suji, sooji, rava, or rawa (semolina).


Super dosa from Anil Sharma via Unsplash

Dosa Supplies and Ingredients

The standard ingredients to make dosa are rice and urad dal (black lentils, a relative of mung beans), with the possible addition of flattened rice (poha) and chana dal. Linked below are the specific types of rice and lentils usually used, methi seeds (fenugreek) to help with fermentation, plus the ghee you’ll need for frying. But if you have access to an Indian food store where you live, definitely buy your ingredients there instead!

Gluten Free Dosa Types

When ordering dosa, it’s always worth double checking that it’s gluten free. Everyone has their own recipes, but these are the types that we’ve found to be gluten free in almost every case.


Masala dosa from Ranveer Brar
  • Masala Dosa

    • Red chutney is smeared over the cooking dosa and it’s filled with spiced potatoes. This is the most famous type of dosa.
  • Sada Dosa (Plain Dosa)

    • This is the most basic type of dosa, made with a fermented batter of rice and urad dal. Served with a side of chutney or sambar (lentil soup).
  • Uttapam

    • This type of dosa that is thicker than the traditional crispy kind, but it uses the same basic batter.
  • Pesarattu

    • Made with green gram (moong dal) instead of urad dal, which results in a slightly green color. Only a very small amount of rice is used in the batter.


Appam from Whetstone Magazine
  • Appam

    • Uses a coconut milk and rice flour batter, and sometimes includes a sunny side-up egg. Appam creates a bowl shape, due to the crispy edges and thicker middle.
  • Karuppatti Appam

    • Appam batter is mixed with jaggery syrup and cardamom, then cooked like a crepe.
  • Neer Dosa

    • A simple, unfermented batter of soaked rice, water and salt make a lacy white dosa.
  • Egg Dosa (Mattai Dosai)

    • A spiced egg mixture is added to the dosa batter either before cooking or once it’s on the griddle. A hearty breakfast option from Tamil Nadu.


Adai from Paatti's Kitchen
  • Adai

    • A golden-colored, unfermented dosa from Tamil Nadu. Pigeon peas are included in the batter, plus curry leaves, chilis, and asafoetida. If you eat this variety, make sure that the asafoetida used is gluten free, because it’s often cut with wheat flour.
  • Kadapa Karam Dosa

    • An Andhra Pradesh style dosa made with red onion chili chutney and instant chutney powder.
  • Kappa Roti

    • A Mangalorean style dosa that’s soft and fluffy in the center and crispy on the sides. Made from an unfermented batter of rice, poha (flattened rice), fresh coconut, and methi (fenugreek seeds).
  • Jini Dosa

    • A Mumbai street food. This dosa is cooked with butter and masala powder, then topped with veg, cheese, and schezwan chili sauce. It’s rolled and sliced into bite-sized pieces. Schezwan sauce includes soy sauce in most cases, so ask them to leave this off to make it GF!


Set dosa from Vismai Food
  • Set Dosa

    • A thick and fluffy dosa served in a set of 3. Usually has a higher ratio of rice to urad dal.
  • Ghee Roast Dosa

    • A crisp dosa that includes clarified butter as a topping.
  • Kara Dosa

    • Pigeon peas and chilis are added to the batter, giving it a red color. A spicy chutney of onion, tomato, and tamarind is used as a filling. This is another instance that asafoetida is often used, so it’s worth making sure the spice used is GF.

Sometimes Gluten Free Dosa Types


Oats dosa from Pepperbowl
  • Oats Dosa

    • Unfermented crispy dosa made from oat flour. Can only be considered gluten free if certified gluten free oats are used. A small amount of semolina may also be used, so watch out.
  • Ragi Dosa

    • A batter made with finger millet (ragi) that can be gluten free, but is often mixed with wheat flour or semolina. If only ragi flour is used to make the batter, it’s safe!
  • Buttermilk Dosa

    • Can be made with semolina flour or rice and buttermilk. The rice-based variety that doesn’t include wheat flour or semolina is gluten free.
  • Paper Roast Dosa

    • The super crispy type of dosa served in many restaurants. It contains a small amount of all purpose flour in most cases, but it’s worth an ask.
  • Jowar Dosa

    • This type of dosa is made with sorghum (jowar), yogurt, and spices. Usually GF, but sometimes includes a touch of semolina.

Not Gluten Free Dosa Types

These dosa varieties contain wheat, maida (all purpose flour) or suji, sooji, rava, or rawa (semolina).


Wheat dosa from Cook's Hideout
  • Wheat Dosa

    • Made with wheat flour.
  • Mini Soya Dosa

    • Soy milk and wheat flour are used to make this batter.
  • Jaggery Dosa

    • Batter is made of wheat flour, rice, coconut, spices and jaggery.
  • Rava Dosa

    • Rava is also called ravva, rawa, and sooji, which is semolina.
  • Benne Dosa

    • A variety of dosa from Davanagere that includes puffed rice in the batter. Unfortunately, a small amount of wheat is included in almost every recipe.

Gluten Free Dosa Recipes


Pesarattu from Masala Korb


Egg dosa from Archana's Kitchen

* Title image courtesy of Montsia.

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