Gluten-Free Baking Tips

Wondering how to make your gluten-free baked goods turn out well? Baking with Gluten-Free Flours can be tough. These 9 Gluten Free Baking Tips make it easier for your gluten-free baking to turn out right!

Whether you have celiac disease, or are off gluten for other health reasons (like a sensitivity, an autoimmune disease, or for healing from autism), you’ve likely figured out that baking with gluten-free flours can be a bit of a challenge.

From figuring out what flours to use, to wondering about gums, leavening and starches, gluten-free baking does require some know-how.

Today I’m sharing some of the most helpful tips I’ve found for baking gluten-free.

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My family went gluten-free about 5 years ago when my son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Asperger’s is a form of autism and there’s a lot of evidence that a gluten and casein-free diet can help and even heal those with autism.

We didn’t notice an immediate healing, but we did notice improvement in our son’s symptoms upon removing gluten from his diet.  (He had been casein-free since infancy due to a life-threatening allergy to dairy.)

Going gluten free was a big deal for me.

I was a whole grain baking “maven”, with a whole wheat bread in my repertoire that a baker’s daughter told me I could easily sell.

We loved it.  And loved wheat, kamut, and spelt.  A lot.

But you can still make tasty whole grain gluten-free treats for yourself and your family.

These tips can help you do that with a little more ease.

gluten free cookies

Gluten Free Baking Tips 

1.  Increase Leavening Agents

When adapting a recipe to make it gluten free, increase the amount of baking powder and baking soda by 25%.  (The quick way to do that on your calculator is to take the amount called for and multiply it by 1.25.)

2.  Smaller is better! 

Since gluten-free baked goods tend to crumble easily, making all baked good smaller tends to improve their quality and keep them “sticking together” more.   Think mini cookies, mini muffins, and small loaves of bread.

3.  Blend Different Flours Together

Just as with alternative sweeteners, it is best to use more than one flour when making gluten-free baked goods.  It helps prevent just one flavor or texture from dominating the final product and also helps with texture.  I tend to use about 1/2 sweet brown rice and then make up the rest with whatever flours I have on hand (typically that’s buckwheat, brown rice, amaranth, and millet.)

4.  Add Starch to the Mix

This is one tip I share with hesitancy.  I personally almost never use starches in my baking since we deal with digestive issues (including gut dysbiosis, which is just too much bad bacteria and not enough good.)

Anyway, most gluten free baking “connoisseurs” recommending using a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio of starch to whole grain when baking to give the baked goods a fluffy texture reminiscent of baking with all purpose flour.

For me, our intestinal health is more important than having the perfect baked good around so I prefer to bake only using whole grains.

The only exception is when I am baking cupcakes or cakes, particularly when making them for others and the “sagging in the middle” thing is a concern.  Then I will go “light” on the starch and maybe use a 1:3 ratio of whole grain to starch.

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5.  Some Sticky Help

Gluten is the part of wheat that gives it its “stickiness”.  So when you bake gluten free, by definition, you are going to have a “less sticky” final result.

There are some things you can do to make up for some of that, however.

– Use sweet rice (glutinous) flour as part of your baking mix.

I use brown sweet rice flour for about half of my gluten-free baking mix, with the rest being a mix of whatever I have on hand.  Sweet rice is called glutinous rice (it’s the kind used in Japan) and it doesn’t have gluten but is a little “sticky.”

There’s been quite a bit of information in the news recently about arsenic in brown rice.  For now, we’re not switching off rice or to white rice (because of digestive concerns.)  We are also buying California rice, which is less of a concern than rice from the southern part of the U.S.  I plan to write more about this in the future, but for now, you can check out this link.

–  Add gums (like guar and xanthan), gelatin, or agar-agar to your dough.

I tend not to use the gums as they can cause digestive upset.  There’s even a new study apparently linking infant deaths to xanthan gum.  I haven’t looked into this enough yet to know what I think.

However, I really like using gelatin for its health qualities, and I recommend Great Lakes Brand.

Here is a general usage guide for these ingredients:

  • Breads and pizza doughs: Add 1 tsp of gum, gelatin, or agar-agar per cup of GF flour used
  • Cakes, muffins, quick breads, cookies and bars: Add 1/2 teaspoon gum, gelatin, or agar-agar per cup of gluten-free flour used (source)

6.  Gluten-Free Flour List

Safe whole grains for gluten-free baking include brown rice flour, sorghum flour, millet flour, amaranth flour, and teff flour (a fairly high-protein grain).  The grain-seeds, buckwheat and quinoa, have a higher protein value.

White rice flour is safe but I prefer not to use it due to our being a whole grain family.

Bean Flours can be used, but I highly recommend using de-gassed beans and then dehydrating and grinding your own–or you might not be (ahem) happy with the results.

Oat flour can be used, but there are a lot of cautions regarding oats.  Some gluten-free folks can’t tolerate oats.  Others are fine with gluten-free varieties like Bob’s Red Mill.  The oats from our co-op were testing at “gluten-free” levels for years despite their not being certified.

For an extensive list of gluten free flours and their characteristics, check out this post at Whole Intentions.

7.  Don’t waste your “mistakes”

There is a use for botched kitchen experiments.

You can use savory baked good mistakes for breadcrumbs (just put in a food processor, run it for a bit and store the crumbs in the freezer), and sweet baked mistakes can be crumble toppings.  Both can be used for cereals.  Just top with milk or Homemade Coconut Milk or Almond Milk and enjoy!

8.  Lower Baking Temperature
I haven’t used this tip much, but perhaps I should.  A reader shared that GF baked goods tend to brown more easily so lowering the oven temperature by 25 degrees is a good idea.

9.  Put Perfectionism to Rest

I gave up trying to be the perfect gluten-free baker a long time ago.  Well, I still feel bad sometimes about my failings, but for the most part I’ve accepted that I am aiming for health–not perfect replication of fake-food goodies.

Case in point:

The other day, I made gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.  Not sure what went wrong with these.  They were kind of gritty (I’m now wondering if my Blendtec didn’t really get the flour so fine after all :-(.) and they fell completely apart after baking.

The ones I let cool longer in the pan held together better, but still–we’re talking crumb city.

Anyway, I’d made them for a charity dinner function we were going to so the “men” in my family ate them up regardless of the fact that they were crumbs (I was a little embarrassed as they ate crumbs at our table.  It was a casual event–but still :-).)

The Homemade “Almond Joy” Bars I made the next day are disappearing faster than the “crumble cookies” but they’ll be eaten at some point.

They weren’t the greatest, but that’s OK ;-).

Ready to use your new Gluten-Free Baking Techniques to make some Gluten-Free Goodies?  How about trying:

Recipes Featured in the Top Photo:

Easy Drop Biscuits
Chocolate Chip “Cheesecake”-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Soft Pumpkin Cookies


Other Great Gluten-Free Recipes:


Buckwheat Wraps / Pancakes
–  Baked Oatmeal Cake (Two Ways)
Baked Cinnamon Doughnuts
Focaccia Flax Bread 

Do you have any gluten free baking tips to share?

This post contains affiliate links.  Please read my disclaimer.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Can you offer specific recipes and ways to use the Great Lakes Gelatin? I am very new to it.

    Thanks, again, for the BlendTec giveaway. I already entered! It’s God’s will!

  2. Adrienne,

    when you were talking about starch, you said you use 1:3 ratio. Is 1 in your example starch or grains?
    Another question is about gelatin. I am a vegetarian. Is the gelatin you suggested animal parts free? Thank you!!!

    • The one is the grain. I will go back and make sure that the wording is clear – thanks! If you are a strict vegetarian then you should use the gums or the agar. :). I don’t know what you mean by animal parts – the gelatin I mentioned is made from bones.

      • Thank you! yes, I meant bones :) I don’t want that, but I thought there would be a gelatin without it. Thank you for the advice, regarding the gums and agar.

    • Oops – I think I typed too fast. I wrote 1:1 starch to grain so the first # is the starch and the 2nd is the grain. :).

  3. Number one was fascinating to me, as I often find the opposite. I suppose it depends on how heavy the flours are that you are using, if using eggs, etc.

    For this one: “Cakes, muffins, quick breads, cookies and bars: Add 1/2 teaspoon per cup of gluten-free flour used” – is that gelatin? I hadn’t heard of using gelatin in delicate baked goods. Does it work well?

    • Interesting, Alisa. I read that eons ago and never looked back. Is that from your experience or from a resource. You can use any of the gums or gelatin that way. I do recall reading that the xanthan and guar are not substitutable 1:1 but in putting together the post I found otherwise so I guess the sources conflict sometimes. I’ll go back and make that more clear. I have used gelatin in cookies and cupcakes but again, I am not a real purist about these things. And a “delicate baked good” likely means different things to different folks. I don’t make too many ultra delicate things since for now I am avoiding the starches but I am doing a little research into arrowroot to see if I feel differently about that one :).

      • It is from my own experiences. If the flours are heavier (like say chickpea, but not necessarily buckwheat) then perhaps a little more leavener, but for the most part I find they work best with the same amount or less, particularly in more delicate baked goods. I tend to use the minimum amount of “binder” required though. I don’t like the flavor or texture with many recipes that use a high level of gf binder.

        I’m more of a hearty girl myself, but do sometimes use starch with brown rice flour to make “husband-friendly” goodies. He likes “white flour” treats once in a while. I guess by delicate I meant cookies, muffins, etc. – I’d only used gelatin in pizza crust thus far (really adds a nice chew!). Good to know – thank you!

        • I’ll have to try the baking soda and powder the other way around then–and see what happens. Thanks! I love the delicate stuff but I am being pretty hard line on it for my family. Too many health issues that are related to the gut.

  4. Hi Adrienne,

    Thank you for the tips. I was a whole grain girl, grinding everything in my Nutrimill for many years and loved baking. Now, even after researching, I am finding it a challenge with the gluten free baking because I am finding it counter intuitive, and also conflicting thought of what is needed to bake. Many of my attempts for sweets have actually been inedible such as the cake that was gluey even after baking for 80 minutes. I went to gluten free goddess’ website and found out I created the perfect storm.:) We’ve laughed about that, but I still have not had much success. I’m not giving up, and will print this off and give it a good try.


    • What was your perfect storm? Very curious! :).

      • I had a batter that had too much liquid, and my oven was too low. To me the batter seemed quite thick, and I was using honey and adjusted 25 degrees lower to what would normally be a good temperature using whole wheat pastry flour using honey. Originally, the cake appeared to be rising and just would not bake properly based on the amount of liquid and the temperature.

        I will try again, and I am considering make cakes using ground nuts more. Even before we had to go gluten free, I have had good success using ground nuts.

  5. Thank you for the baking tips.

    We have gone wheat free and I am constantly looking for baking recipes that include no wheat but don’t want all the GF grains. We found out that if we stay away from grains in baked goods, my DH blood sugar stays normal. We still eat rice and potatoes but not in baked goods just as side dishes. I think because they are refined they spike his blood sugar when in baked goods.

    I got a couple of wheat free recipes that I have modified from other bloggers that work really well for us. One is brownie bites and the other is sweet pumpkin waffles that we use as bread in sandwiches too. :)

  6. Kim Walters says:

    Our older son with Asperger’s has been gluten free for over 15 years, and the rest of our family, including a second teen son more severely affected by autism, has been on board the GF train for several years, as well. I was the Reigning Queen of Awesome Organic Wheat Bread at one point, so I do understand where you’re coming from :). When converting to GF, I initially tried to replicate family favorites — such as pizza, muffins, tacos, pasta — with varying degrees of success. Muffins were easiest as I’d already been experimenting with GF flours for a friend who couldn’t eat wheat. Currently I make some pretty wonderful GF pizza, muffins, cookies and so on though for some reason GF bread seems intimidating. I grind our own GF grains; the favorite right now is a combo of rice/millet/milo sorghum in roughly equal amounts. I’ve been grinding tapioca separately and using it sparingly with the GF combo flour when it seems necessary for the aforementioned lightness factor. GF is second nature to us now but not so in 1997 when we would buy expensive GF crackers…….and the BOX itself was tastier than the crackers inside it! Here’s my tip: GF baked goods tend to brown faster so lower the oven temp about 25 degrees to avoid burning.

  7. I love your posts Adrienne, you are such a blessing to us all. I’ve also struggled to replicate my old favorite textures and flavors in my new gluten free baked goods, but I feel like I’m getting closer and it’s so fun when it works! I really want to stop using xanthan gum too and have tried substituting it with psyllium husks and flax seed with good and bad results. I’m excited to try my new biscuits with the gelatin tip and we’ll see if they keep their rise and hold together. Thanks and hugs! Ali

  8. Wow, we are still on the same research-train! I’ve been devouring GF blogs for the past few weeks since my 21yod diagnosed herself gluten-intolerant. I had at the same time discovered the Wheat Belly Blog and learned that our wheat has been adulterated and is causing no end of health issues (like stomach pains, which I’ve been having for years). So we both went wheat free and are feeling so much better!

    May I list a couple of the resources I found? Angie Halten at has a membership site full of articles and recipes. Mary Frances has “finally awesome GF sandwich bread” at Shauna James Ahern has wonderful testimonials and all kinds of “alternative” GF info at I just found and am loving her site! A couple things she taught me: 1) you don’t HAVE to use the gums; you can use psyllium, chia, or flaxseed slurry instead; 2) you can mix/match any whole grain flours and starches you have or can make in any combo you like as long as you use 70% whole grains and 30% starch and you WEIGH the ingredients. There’s a list of the grains and info about them on her site.

    I’m updating my own website and should have the refreshed version online sometime next week (of course, I keep saying that…). YOUR site and these GF sites are going to be listed on there, so this post is right on time (’cause I’m adding a GF section in the Health=Wealth links page).


  9. I’m a gluten free beginner baker. These tips are super helpful as I start to convert some of our favorites. Thanks for all the great suggestions!

  10. I have a similar article that I wrote for The Diabetes Experience online mag! We hit a lot of the same points, but I will give one of my own tips…gluten is a protein so adding in some extra protein like whey or hemp can help make the baked good rise and retain its structure. Try it sometime, it really helps me! :)

  11. Love the tipsmy family and I have switched to gluten free because of my sensitivity. I have been useing organic buckwheat and spelt. I haven’t had any problems digesting either one of these. I can’t use rice flour or anyother type of whole wheat. Spelt takes longer to rize than other flours when making bread, but it is worth it. I use the both for pancakes, waffles sweets. we only eat homemade spelt pizza now too.

  12. My family and I are able to eat gluten, but I am trying to reduce the amount of gluten we eat. Your tips are really helpful, especially for someone who is just starting to explore gluten free baking.

  13. Hi Adrienne. Thanks for all the baking tips! I occasionally bake gluten free goods for a friend and found that I have had trouble with crumbly baked goods in the past too. I haven’t been able to master it. I will try to make smaller batches as you suggested. Do you think adding more oil/fat to the recipe would help?

  14. Blanca Iris says:

    Yes Adrienne, I am aware of that. Spelt is an acient grain, it is what wheat is derived from . Wheat as we know it today is the first GMO food. spelt contains all of the protiens and nutrients needed for the body to Naturally process gluten without any problems. Wheat was introduced to solve the problem expense of growing and processing. Spelt like corn has a protective covering, wheat does not, and it is what makes all the diference in digestion. You should check out, for all the scientific information.www.natur

  15. Good suggestions.

  16. I grind my own flours when I can (I buy sorghum flour), and find that it grinds up so fine, I don’t need starches in my baking mix. My personal blend, which nearly always works in a 1:1 ratio for white flour in quick-raised goodies (not yeast-raised), is 2 parts brown rice flour, 1 part sorghum flour, and 1 part quinoa or millet or other flour, depending on the taste you want. 1 use 1 teas. xanthan gum per 2 cups of flour, but I’m sure that could be tinkered with if xanthan is an issue for someone. I don’t know if it’s my grinder (a Whispermill) or just the fact that I don’t expect Wonder-bread consistency, but this blend really works for me. Non-GF people rave about how soft my cookies are and how “you could never tell these are gluten-free!”

    Another idea for goodies that turn out gummy; slice thin and toast on a dry fry pan. Even the crumbles can be toasted. They’ll be less gummy that way, and being in a pan it won’t matter how much they fall apart.

  17. Marie Jensen says:

    I just wanted to add some information regarding GF flours and starches that I have seen in my own baking but haven’t seen anything noted online.

    I used a flour blend that included potato flour and potato starch from a very nice professional-looking website. I didn’t have very good luck with any of the recipes that had beautiful pictures. Any time I have used this blend, the mixture turns to a mushy glue. Anyone who has boiled potatoes and turned them off and let them cool too much knows what I am talking about, mashed potato glue. And no amount of liquid with fix it.

    If you use potato flour and potato starch in your GF flour blend, make sure all liquids/oils are room temperature or warmer. This includes milk, water, eggs, margarine, butter, oil. Myself, I’m going back to my flour blends I used previously that didn’t have any potato in them at all. I had a lot better luck with everything I made.
    Thanks for your time.

  18. I wish to make gluten free cookies & bread with a blend of Sorghum, White rice, Finger Millet, Soy, Corn Starch & Chickpea flours as these are very easily available in Indian market. Kindly suggest best ratio of the flours for baking cookies and bread.


  19. Loved reading your tips, and I’m wondering if you can help with a dilemma. My GF breads all seem to come out fine right out of the oven, but by day 2 they are crumbly. I am storing them in airtight containers, so I don’t think it’s that. I use a bread machine, I have several tasty recipes from a cookbook I found, and I’m having fun experimenting with those recipes. But, each one gets crumbly about 24 hours after cooking. Now, I am converting the recipes to GF/DF by using almond milk because my mother with MS has developed pretty severe allergies, and I’m wondering if by taking the milk out and making the substitution has anything to do with this crumb issue. Do you have any suggestions? Can I add a little more veg. oil to the recipes that call for oil to counteract the crumbs? I feel like that won’t work, and could cause the bread to collapse. What do you think?

    • Thanks! Are you using a GF blend or just a single flour?
      If your flour isn’t a true cup for cup flour you might need to weight them instead. I don’t typically do this b/c I’m too lazy (:)) but that can help.
      You might need more protein in your flour like flours from: Amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum, buckwheat, teff, bean flours and nut/seed flours.
      Are you following the recipe as written or adding more flour in b/c you think it’s too thin?
      You might be putting too much flour in as you measure….spoon the flour in and smooth off w/ a knife instead of scooping it into a cup.

      Does that help?

      • I always follow the recipes as written, but admit that I measure and don’t weigh. I don’t use blends, I use the individual flours. Can I just substitute one flour for another? I would think that could change the outcome dramatically, and I’m not experienced at the GF stuff enough to make too many adjustments or tweaks. I have been buying GF for 10 years, but didn’t like the texture of the breads, so I wanted to start making my own. I was taught to always spoon flour (GF or not), so I’m not just dipping in. Would an egg make a difference, or maybe just the yolk to add that little bit of extra fat? I really don’t want to give this up, the crumbly nature has me questioning whether I want to keep trying. All those crumbs make it hard to eat.

        • I sub all the time but I am not a GF Iron Chef at all. A blend seems to be imperative in my opinion. You can find different flour’s qualities on the internet but I know I would probably just copy someone else’s blend if it were me :).

  20. Catherine says:

    I have started using psyllium husk instead of Xanthan gum. The later is from corn, which is probably GMO, but they won’t specify.

  21. Hi, I recently bought a bag of almond flour, which is very delicious! I thought it said can be used 1:1 in recipes to replace all purpose flour. I haven’t tried to do this yet. I don’t see almond flour in your post, I’m wondering if you have any experience with it? It sounds easier to me, but perhaps I’ve misunderstood. Thank you!

    • You can do that but you might find you need to cook a little longer at a lower temperature b/c it burns easily. You also might need more egg and a little more raising agent like I mentioned in the post. It may or may not work but worth a try!! Let me know how it turns out if you have time!

  22. Hi,
    We have been doing a gluten-free casein free diet for our son (22 years old with UC) for the last 3 years. I was interested in your blog because of all your wonderful tips and especially because of the essential oils. Reading the ingredients that you use in this post makes me want to let you know that you are in the wrong diet. Please check the “specific carbohydrate diet” or the “GAPS diet.” These diets will give you the real results you want. We have used the specific carbohydrate diet, which has been the only way that put our son in remission and took him totally off from all medication since 2.5 years ago. There is a yahoo group with a wonderful support for parents like you and me! This diet works for many autoimmune diseases and it has the connection with autism, in fact, the GAPS (gut and psychology syndrome from doctor Natasha Campbell-McBride) is especially formulated for autism and was born from this diet (SCD diet). The principals of this diet is to eliminate sugars, starches and yeast, which includes rice, potatoes, wheat, sugars (we use Honey), guar gums, baking powder (we use baking soda), etc.
    Oat is gluten, so oat flour is not a healthy ingredient for your son. If you want to help your son and make him be a total normal child, please check the or
    I am just a mother of an single child with an autoimmune disease that is being reversed and understand the suffering from a mother who is trying to help their child.
    hope this helps and good luck

    • Hi Silvia. Thanks for commenting. I have looked at SCD as well as GAPS and we have actually tried going grain free with him for quite awhile w/ almost no changes noticed at all. Our son doesn’t tolerate honey well – his candida doesn’t do well with it. We actually haven’t had oats in almost a year I would suspect and he is eating almost no starches quite frequently. The problem w/ GAPS is plenty for him as he can’t have dairy or eggs, but we are considering our next steps. We just started w/ a new practitioner who specializes in detox, methylation and more and are starting a new supplement this week to see how it goes. Thanks for your suggestions, though, and I am for sure not ruling them out. Have you heard of folks who don’t get healed on these diets? I have heard of some – I guess that means that something else is going on that hasn’t been determined as of yet. It sure is tough.

      Take care.

  23. Karen Gianni says:

    So many recipes are GF now. My family is not GF. How do I convert those great recipes to regular flour, etc? Thank you.

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