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We Tried the New Gluten-Free Oreos To See if They're as Good as the Original

Are people with celiac disease finally in luck?

Gluten-free vs Original Oreos
Photos courtesy of Oreo; artwork by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

Oreo's had a busy several months giving the cookie-obsessed American public all sorts of things we didn't ask for (but absolutely appreciate). Thanks to recent innovations at the Nabisco lab, we now have Lady Gaga Oreos, Brookie-os, Oreo-scented candles, and even customizable cookies. There's one new line of Oreo products that easily outdoes the rest, though: gluten-free Oreos.

For years, most people have been able to devour dozens of flavors of the world's best-selling cookie—hell, even vegans can eat them—but it wasn't until now, 2021, a whole 109 years after Oreo's conception, that the company finally offered a gluten-free version of the treat that people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity can enjoy.

The announcement of new celiac-friendly Oreos came back in November, but the product only reached stores in January. Gluten-free Oreos come in two varieties, regular and Double Stuf.

Gluten-free desserts have the reputation of tasting, for lack of a better word, worse, so it seemed important that I try out Oreo's wheat-less variations to see if they taste like Oreos at all. I conducted a series of taste tests pitting gluten-free Oreos against standard Oreos, and I'm ready to declare a winner. Hold onto your seats.

Gluten-Free Oreos Blind Taste Test
Gearing up for a blind taste test. | Kyler Alvord / Thrillist

The Blind Taste Test

Before really picking each cookie apart, I wanted to know if I could taste a difference between the gluten-free Oreos and the original Oreos right off the bat. I designed a very scientific experiment to determine if they are actually comparable cookies.

Here was my method:
1.
Put two gluten-free Oreos and two standard Oreos in a pile.
2. Close my eyes and shuffle the cookies.
3. Keeping my eyes closed, bite into each cookie one at a time.
4. If I think it's a normal Oreo, place the cookie on my left. If I think it's a gluten-free Oreo, place the cookie on my right.
5. Open my eyes and see if I sorted the cookies correctly.

In short, I closed my eyes and tried to guess which cookie I was tasting. Even shorter, I failed.

To my surprise, it was very difficult to tell which cookie was which with my eyes closed. In the end, I placed one of each type of Oreo in the "Original" pile and one of each Oreo in the "Gluten-Free" pile. It was an impossible task.

My inability to discern between the two types of Oreos answered a crucial question. The gluten-free Oreos do, in fact, taste like the real thing.

Wafer Test for Gluten-Free Oreos
Let's talk wafers. | Kyler Alvord / Thrillist

The Side-by-Side Wafer Test

I removed the filling of the cookies as best I could in order to isolate the chocolate wafers.

Visually, they're similar, so the best way to tell them apart is by looking at the writing on the cookie. If you look closely, the gluten-free ones have the words "Gluten" and "Free" stamped on either side of the Oreo logo. Side by side, you can also see that the classic Oreo wafer is more of a brown color, whereas the gluten-free Oreo wafer is closer to black—maybe this will finally settle the what color are Oreos? debate. 

The gluten-free wafers are made with white rice and whole oat flours instead of wheat flour, so I figured there would be some stark differences in flavor and texture. But, again, there weren't.

I ate 10 wafers of each kind of Oreo and still could not taste a difference. Apparently the "real cocoa" ingredient that Oreo loves to advertise really does play a dominant role in the cookie's flavor.

With deep concentration, I was able to identify very slight texture differences, but nothing as noticeable as you'd expect. The gluten-free wafers were a little more breakable and a teeny bit crunchier. When I say "a teeny bit," though, I mean it. Unlike most gluten-free cookies I've tried, these were a delight to chew.

Cream Test for Gluten-Free Oreos
Original Oreo (left) and gluten-free Oreo (right) | Kyler Alvord / Thrillist

The Side-by-Side Cream Test

After noticing that the classic Oreos were harder to pull apart than the gluten-free ones, I took a moment to inspect the filling and figure out why. I realized that, while the cream in each cookie tastes almost identical, their textures couldn't be more different.

In the image above, you'll see what happened when I swiped my finger through the cream of each type of cookie. The classic Oreo filling, which is a little yellower in color, was firm and chalky. The gluten-free Oreo filling, which is pure white, was soft like a light frosting. Perhaps it's a matter of preference, but the squishy, gluten-free filling was more enjoyable to lick.

I didn't expect the gluten-free Oreo filling to be any different than the standard Oreo filling, but as it turns out, the cream is easily the biggest difference between the two cookies. I'm not mad about it though.

The Dunk Test

What’s an Oreo without some milk? On the surface, the gluten-free Oreos are pretty similar, but I wanted to know if adding an ingredient would change their desirability. I dunked one of each type of cookie in a glass of milk for five seconds and both were perfectly moist but not too soggy. After dunking them for 10 seconds, I noticed that the original Oreos had the slight upper hand because their firm cream filling added some structure to counter the dairy-logged wafer. Still, both tasted great.

The worst possible outcome of dunking a cookie in milk is that a soggy piece breaks off and falls to the bottom of the cup. To see if gluten-free Oreos would hold up under pressure, I submerged half of a gluten-free cookie in a glass of milk for 60 seconds. At the same time, I submerged half of an original Oreo. I’m happy to report that, after a full minute in the milk, both cookies were still in tact when I lifted them out of the glass.

I don’t recommend dunking them for 60 seconds because they were far too mushy, but just know that if you wanted to, they can handle it.

empty gluten-free oreos containers
I live with animals. | Kyler Alvord / Thrillist

The Roommate Test

I'm just one person with one opinion, so I got my roommates to unwittingly participate in a study.

I put two packages of gluten-free Oreos on my kitchen table—one regular and one Double Stuf—along with a package of classic Oreos, then scampered off to my room. (I'm no scientist, but I took enough research courses to know that my presence would let bias enter the equation.) From behind a closed door, I texted my roommate group chat, letting them know that they could dig into the cookies on the counter, then sat back and waited for science to happen.

A few hours later, I slinked out to the kitchen to find that they did not hold back. The Oreos were, indeed, dug into. When I asked my roommates how the gluten-free cookies compared to the original, the consensus was unanimous: As one roommate put it, "The gluten-free cookies are more brittle and sandy... Other than that they're the same I think."

There you have it. Outside sources have confirmed that these cookies are, in fact, kindred spirits.

The Verdict on Gluten-Free Oreos

The differences between gluten-free Oreos and the original are so subtle that it's hard to say which is tastier. That's kind of the best-case scenario though because it means people with gluten sensitivity are experiencing the same thing that everyone else is, a luxury that they won't soon take for granted.

If you're able to eat gluten, good for you! Either Oreo is a great fit for your palate. If you're unable to eat gluten, rest easy knowing that the wait for gluten-free Oreos was worth it. Nabisco truly hit this recipe out of the park.

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Kyler Alvord is a news writer at Thrillist. Find him on Twitter and Instagram. Or don't. It's really up to you.
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