Single Ingredient Cooking

If your child has been formula dependent and is now beginning food trials, you may have questions as to how to make a single ingredient interesting for your child. Your doctor may have a specific food he or she wants you to try first, or he or she may have a few recommended foods from which you are to select one to trial. If part of the decision is yours, some factors to consider include nutrition, cost and availability, portability, and adaptability.

Some ideas for inexpensive foods, which are readily available in multiple versions, appear below. A health food store may carry food products that have fewer or single ingredients.


  • Cooked rice
  • Puffed rice
  • Rice cakes (read ingredients label carefully for plain rice cakes)
  • Rice pasta
  • Rice crackers (check ingredients carefully)
  • Rice syrup
  • Rice oil
  • Rice flour (useful for baking and/or thickening)
  • Baby rice cereal (check ingredients carefully)
  • Rice chex cereal (check ingredients carefully, some products may contain other ingredients)
  • Sweet rice flour (useful primarily for thickening)
  • Rice milk has other ingredients and is not suitable for a single-ingredient trial.


  • Raw apples
  • Sautéed apple slices – sauté in water or apple cider
  • Baked apples (about five minutes in the microwave)
  • Applesauce (chunky or smooth – served warm or cold)
  • Apple cider (served hot or cold)
  • Apple juice
  • Dried apples – soft or crisp
  • Popsicles made from apple juice, apple cider, or applesauce


  • Fresh, canned (read label carefully) or frozen corn
  • Plain popcorn (or popped in corn oil)
  • Corn oil
  • Corn meal, cornstarch (baking and thickening)
  • Grits
  • Corn pasta
  • Puffed corn
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn chips (check ingredients and cross contamination from production carefully)

Corn Pancakes

  • 1/3 cup corn flour
  • 1/3 cup water
  • ½ ‘egg’: 1 tbsp corn oil + 1 tbsp water + ½ tsp baking powder (corn derived)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt

‘Maple’ Syrup

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp artificial maple flavor
  • Boil then simmer until thickens

Fried Polenta

  • Prepare fresh polenta (corn grits) per package instructions.
  • Spread on a plate or other flat surface and refrigerate for 4 – 24 hours
  • Use cookie cutters to make fun shapes, or slice like a ‘pizza’
  • Fry in a frying pan with corn oil until crispy.
  • Splatters a good bit, but makes a delicious treat!


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F


  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) vegetable shortening
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ cup corn or rice flour
  • 1/3 cup corn or potato starch
  • Add additional corn flour as need to thicken batter
  • Place rounded teaspoons on ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 325 F for 22 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool at least 5 minutes before eating.
  • A bit crumbly, but tasty.


  • While it’s true chicken always tastes about the same, it can be cooked and eaten in several different ways.
  • Baked whole
  • Oven “fried” – legs or thighs baked at 350 with some water until done, 1-2 hours
  • In the crock pot – a whole chicken (or 2-4 lbs. Chicken parts) in the crock pot with some water will yield lots of chicken broth, and chicken that can be cut up and eaten later. Chicken cooked this way is very moist.
  • Chicken can be eaten cold or hot
  • Sliced deli meat contains multiple other ingredients and is unsuitable for a single-ingredient food trial.
  • Commercial chicken broth may have other ingredients – read labels carefully.
  • Consider cold chicken salad- mix with other ingredients as allowed. Example: chicken and apple chinks


  • Baked potato
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Fries (microwave on paper towel)
  • Potato chips (Can be microwaved on paper towel, baked or fried in a safe oil. If using manufactured chips, check ingredients and cross contamination carefully)
  • Hash browns (fry grated potatoes in oil)
  • Potato pancakes (form mashed potatoes into pancakes and fry in small amount of oil)
  • Potato flour (useful for thickening)
  • Crushed potato chips make excellent breading for fried foods (chicken, fish)

Sweet Potato

  • See suggestions for potato

Cane Sugar

  • Sugar syrup can be made by heating equal parts water and sugar
  • Artificial flavors may be added to the sugar syrup, as permitted
  • Caramel – heat sugar with a small amount of water on low-medium setting until it begins to brown

Cane Sugar Lollipops

  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. water
  • In small saucepan over med-high heat, combine sugar and water; cook, until sugar is dissolved (1-2 min). Bring to a boil, cover pan and cook 3 min. Remove lid and cook syrup until a candy thermometer registers 310 degrees. 12- 15 min.
  • Pour into molds, insert sticks, let cool 20-25 min. Remove from molds and cool completely on parchment.

  • You have to use the white candy molds, the clear are not tempered for high heat. I found some at Pat Catan’s if you have them around there, or they are available online…
  • I have the small round, and tried hearts and teddy bears. I learned the hard way to make sure the heat is high enough to reach the 310 degrees in the time they suggest or the sugar granilizes and the lollipops are opaque. I found it needs to be almost high setting. And don’t try to remove them when too hot, they’ll stick to the mold. Other than that, piece of cake. 🙂
  • Don’t forget to buy sticks and candy thermometer.

Cookbook Recommendations

  • The following are a few cookbooks you may find helpful.
  • The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread(and other GFG titles), by Bette Hagman
  • Published by Henry Holt
  • This series was originally published for people with celiac disease, who cannot tolerate any gluten. Recipes are completely wheat free. In addition, most of the recipes can be adapted to eliminate dairy, egg, soy, peanut/tree nuts, and corn by utilizing the substitutions. A few recipes are already egg and dairy free, in addition to wheat- free
    Bakin’ Without Eggs, by Rosemarie Emro
    Published by St. Martin’s Press
  • This book contains dessert recipes designed to be egg-free. Instead of using commercial products like Egg Replacer ®, these recipes use applesauce, apple juice concentrate, seltzer water, and other more common ingredients to bind and leaven. Most of these recipes can be converted to wheat, dairy, and soy-free by utilizing substitutions. A few will not be possible to convert to both dairy and soy free.
  • What’s to Eat? The Milk-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free Food Allergy Cookbook, by Linda
  • Marienhoff Coss
  • Published by Plumtree Press

Resources for Limited Diets

Looking for More Recipes?
For those managing a restricted diet, APFED’s cookbook, Extreme Cooking for Exceptional Diets, is a great resource for recipes.
Our cookbook titled A Taste of Tradition does not provide allergen-free recipes, however, proceeds from the sale of this book benefit hypereosinophilic syndrome research.