Papa John’s Gluten-Free Crust Review

If you are gluten-intolerant, but love pizza, then you were probably delighted by the announcement that Papa John’s were adding a gluten-free base to their menu.

Suffering from celiac disease is difficult enough, but when you are unable to eat the foods that you love, it makes it that much harder. 

This is why it is great that so many restaurants are now offering gluten-free options. Even if those options are limited, they are still something, and it is definitely a step in the right direction.

But the problem with the options being limited is that there is so much more riding on them being good.

So what about the gluten-free crust at Papa John’s? Is it any good?

In this guide, we’ll be doing a complete review of the gluten-free options at Papa John’s to decide whether, or not, they are worth your money. 

Papa John’s Gluten-Free Crust Review

What Is Papa John’s Gluten-Free Crust?

When Papa John’s launched their gluten-free crust back in August 2017, the gluten-intolerant population rejoiced.

Suddenly they would be able to eat pizza without triggering symptoms of their celiac disease, and finally they would be able to enjoy pizza once more. 

Before they added their gluten-free crust to the menu, Papa John’s did not offer a single gluten-free item, other than their drinks, so this was really groundbreaking for the chain.

The gluten-free crust that Papa John’s offers is made using a variety of ancient grains.

From quinoa to amaranth, the recipe is made using grains which are naturally gluten-free, so you do not need to worry about this base impacting your gluten-intolerance. 

But, the fact that this base is gluten-free isn’t the only benefit of this base.

As well as being naturally free of gluten, this base is also high in fiber and protein, making it a healthier alternative to the bases which include gluten. 

But, there is one small issue with the gluten-free pizza crust that Papa John’s offers, and that is that it is not designed for those with celiac disease.

This is because there is a chance that the bases could be cross-contaminated.

Due to this, Papa John’s advertises their gluten-free base for those who are “gluten aware”, rather than those who suffer with celiac disease or severe gluten allergies.

So now that we know what it is, let’s dive in and review this pizza base. 

Size 

One of the most important factors that dictate whether, or not, the Gluten-Free base at Papa John’s is successful is the size of the pizza.

The best thing about pizza take-out is that many stores allow you to choose the size that you want.

This means that you can get an individual pizza if you are eating alone, or a large pizza if you are sharing with friends.

To many, this seems like such a minor detail, but this is because you have the opportunity to choose the size of your pizza. It is only once that ability is taken away that size matters. 

We say this, because the gluten-free base at Papa John’s is currently only available in one size. Since it has been introduced to the menu, the gluten-free base has only been available in one size.

While this size isn’t as small as the one-size-fits-all approach that other companies have taken with their gluten-free bases, it is still pretty small, and it would probably only comfortably feed 2 people. 

If there are just one or two of you who are gluten-free, then this size will not matter. But, if you are part of an entire family that follows a gluten-free diet, then this will quickly become a problem.

Suddenly, you might find yourself spending excessively more than you would on a regular pizza base, and this is part of the problem with restaurants offering gluten-free options.

It is good that these options are offered, but there is still a long way to go for these foods to be completely accessible to those who follow a gluten-free diet. 

Final Thoughts: One size does not fit all, and the size options that Papa John’s offers simply aren’t good enough. 

Shape 

Shape might not be something that you think about when it comes to pizza, and that is because you simply assume that your pizza will be round.

Traditionally, pizzas have always been roundish, and this is something that we just take for granted. Yet, some restaurants have started to change the shape of their pizzas in recent years.

For example, Pizza Hut designed their gluten-free bases to be square, so that they would be easy to tell apart from the regular bases. 

Papa John’s has not followed in the footsteps of Pizza Hut, instead they have chosen to keep their gluten-free bases round. To a lot of people, this won’t matter.

But for some, this is great. When you suffer from a condition, like celiac disease, you can often feel like you are on the outside.

This is just exacerbated if you are forced to eat a pizza that comes in a different shape. So, for us, the fact that Papa John’s has stuck with a round base is a good thing. 

Final Thoughts: If something ain’t broke, don’t fix it, you can’t beat a round pizza base. 

Flavor

But, the most important thing that you likely want to know about when it comes to Papa John’s gluten-free base is what it tastes like.

As you will often find, the gluten-free options are usually more expensive than the regular options, so when you buy one of these pizzas, you want it to taste good to ensure it is worth your money.

So what does the gluten-free base at Papa John’s taste like?

Well, the great thing about the gluten-free crust at Papa John’s is that it tastes just like a regular pizza base.

You will often find that gluten-free options are much more bland and flavorless than regular pizza crusts, and this is true of a lot of gluten-free foods.

But, the pizza crust at Papa John’s isn’t flavorless, and at the same time it isn’t overpowering. It is the perfect balance, and this complements the toppings of your pizza perfectly. 

Something else that is great about Papa John’s gluten-free base is that it has a good consistency.

A lot of gluten-free pizza bases feel like cardboard when you eat them, but this also isn’t the case for Papa John’s gluten-free base. As we have said, this pizza base just tastes like pizza. 

Final Thoughts: Papa John’s gluten-free crust is outstanding in both flavor and consistency. 

Customization

Finally, let’s take a look at the customization options that you have when it comes to the gluten-free base at Papa John’s.

When this option was first added to the menu, the toppings options that were available to customers were very limited. But is this still the case? Let’s find out. 

Unfortunately, the options that you have in terms of toppings are still limited if you want a gluten-free pizza. This applies even if you design your own pizza.

Thankfully, you aren’t as restricted as you once were in terms of toppings, but there are still quite a lot of options which are not gluten-friendly.

In terms of pre-designed pizzas, your options are also limited.

But, thankfully, it is easy to differentiate between the options that are gluten-friendly, and those that aren’t because they will be labelled as such.

With these options, you will be able to upgrade your pizza crust to the gluten-free option. 

For many gluten-intolerant people, it will still be frustrating that you do not have access to the entire menu.

But, compared to some other restaurants, the gluten-free topping options at Papa John’s are actually pretty good. 

Final Thoughts: The customization options at Papa John’s are still restricted for those who follow a gluten-free diet, but there is still quite a wide range of options available. 

So, Is It Worth It?

It is great that Papa John’s offers a gluten-free base option for their pizzas. By all accounts this option is flavorful and fluffy, like a good pizza base should be.

It is in no way bland, and it makes the perfect base for you to add whatever (gluten-free) toppings you like. But, there are some clear drawbacks for this pizza base. 

For one, this pizza base is only available in one size. Like many restaurants, Papa John’s only sells one size of gluten-free pizza, and this size is only 10-inches.

So, if you are eating alone then this will not be a problem, but if you are having a group of your friends around, and you all follow a gluten-free diet, then this isn’t ideal. 

But, this isn’t even the biggest downfall for Papa John’s. The worst thing about Papa John’s gluten-free base is that it isn’t suitable for those with severe gluten allergies or celiac disease.

The whole point of gluten-free options is to cater for those who suffer with these conditions, and Papa John’s does not do this.

So, while the gluten-free crust at Papa John’s might be great, it isn’t suitable for those with any more than a gluten intolerance, and for us, this isn’t enough. 

Ray Brooke
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