Gluten Free Baking Basics

GF Vanilla Cupcake

I have quite a few patients (and some baking customers) that follow a gluten free diet….for a variety of medical reasons. Most common of which is celiac disease.


And if you avoid gluten, you know it can be really hard to find tasty edible gluten free baked goods. For those that don’t know, gluten free products are often gritty, crumbly, dry, or a bit like cornbread.



Nothing against cornbread (I’m from the South and love it), but that’s not the texture I want in a cake.

So I’m here to share a few baking tips I’ve either learned or discovered along the way. If you follow a gluten free diet or know someone that does, hopefully these help!!


1.  Use gluten free ingredients

I know you’re thinking “duhh!!!”  but hear me out!  Things like baking powder can have gluten in them!! So…if you use a product that has gluten…your baked goods will have gluten.  See, important!

Always look for products that either say “gluten free”, don’t have gluten-containing ingredients, or look to make sure they aren’t manufactured in a facility that deals with gluten products. This info is all on the package.  Thank you, allergen labeling laws!

2.  Avoid cross contamination

This is THE most important part of gluten free …anything.  Baking, cooking, whatever.  Cross contamination means your gluten free product has been contaminated with something that contains gluten.  For those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, this can make them very sick.  And you don’t want the guilt of being the cause!

It’s best to have a different set of baking stuffs that you label “gluten free” and ONLY use them for gluten free baking. For instance, baking powder, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, etc etc. Best to keep these in a separate cabinet too so there is absolutely no chance of cross contamination.

Also be sure to wash all pans and utensils really well with soap and water to get rid of any gluten that may be on them before you bake your gluten free stuff. (I know “stuff” is such a professional term)

3.  Find the right flour

You can’t use all purpose flour, obviously, so what should you use??  This is all personal preference.  I prefer to avoid a lot of rice flour, especially white rice flour, because it just seems to make things gritty.  If you like sandy cakes, go for it.  ….I don’t.

The best I’ve used so far has been Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Mix. Find it on Amazon, specialty food stores, or your local grocery store.  It’s pretty easy to find where I live.

Have a suggestion for a good flour?  Comment and share, please!!

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

GF Chocolate Cupcakes

4.  Xanthan gum

This is your friend!  Make sure you’re using a gluten-free gum.  Xanthan gum helps to keep the batter together and make it act more like a gluten-containing product.  It kinda replaces the gluten in the recipe.  Gluten is the protein structure that helps the batter rise, gives it shape, and give cakes and other stuff the chewy texture everyone knows.

Most gluten free flours will tell you how much you’ll need per cup of flour you’re using and what you’re baking.  For instance, it’s 1/2 tsp per cup of Bob’s Red Mill GF mix if you’re baking cakes.

5.  Don’t give up!

I’ve had a LOT of baking disasters with gluten free products.  If they don’t rise, probably forgot the xanthan gum or baking powder/soda.  They’ve fallen apart before (too dry). They’ve tasted gritty (gross). I could go on and on.

Stick with it and you’ll get it eventually.  And hey, if not, more and more bakeries are offering gluten-free products 🙂

That’s all for now.  There is a ton I could say here but it would get super boring….so I won’t.

Have a wonderful Sunday!!


One thought on “Gluten Free Baking Basics

  1. Before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I loved Bob’s Red Mill! Their baking powder, xanthan gum, and baking soda are all gluten-free as well (though always check the label because things can change). My store was out of BRM last time, but in Canada, the Robin Hood gluten-free blend is pretty good, too 🙂

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