Gluten-Free Baking Tips: Our Favorite Flours

When I first started baking gluten-free, I was completely lost. For my first few attempts I would just replace the regular flour with a gluten-free flour I found at the store – usually brown rice – and give it a whirl.

The result? Ultra dry, crumbly, and simply terrible.

And so I set off to teach myself how to bake gluten-free. I soon realized that it was more of an art that I had anticipated. You had to get the right blend of flours, the right proportion of liquids, the right binders, the right leaveners, or else you’d end up with a hot mess on your hands.

I’ve always enjoyed baking from scratch, but when it came to gluten-free baking, it seemed so much harder – especially with all those flour options out there. It took a lot of practice (and patience!), but I now really do love gluten-free baking. It’s actually quite fun!

And what I’ve loved most about this process is learning how to incorporate and bake with different flours. You already know that we offer a wide variety of gluten-free baking options – from mixes, flour blends and stand-alone flours – but if I had to choose my top three favorites, what would they be?

Today I’m going to share my top three favorite King Arthur gluten-free flours and my best gluten-free baking tips (along with a few recipes) for each!

gluten-free-baked-goods-king-arthur

1. King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour

This is my go-to flour for baking. It’s an all-purpose flour that you really can use for everything. Whether I’m making muffins, cookies, or even bread, I almost always reach for our gluten-free flour. I have never been disappointed with the results (unless it was a clear mess-up by yours truly), and am consistently wowed by the way my baked goods come out.

Here are some of my tips for using our gluten-free flour in your baking:

  • Using only our gluten-free flour: When you’re using our gluten-free flour, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you’re following a gluten-free recipe that calls for an all-purpose gluten-free blend, ours should work 1:1.
  • Blending with other flours: You can also blend this flour with one of our other gluten-free flours – for example, the ancient grains blend. When doing this, I like to keep a ratio of 3:1. So if I’m making something that calls for 1 cup of flour, I would use 3/4 cup of our gluten-free flour and 1/4 cup of another flour (although this doesn’t apply to nut or coconut flours).
  • Substituting for wheat flour: We’ve found that using 1 large egg in place of 1/4 cup of the oil, and adding some xanthan gum, works really well. The amount of xanthan will depend on the amount of flour you have, but in general I use about 1/4 teaspoon for every cup of flour.

gluten-free-baking-tips-king-arthur

My favorite recipes using our gluten-free flour:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Waffles
Gluten-Free Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts
Gluten-Free Morning Glory Muffins

how-to-use-almond-flour

2. King Arthur Almond Flour

When I was first baking with gluten-free flours, I steered clear of nut flours. They scared me. They seemed unpredictable and hard to handle, but as I started playing around with them more, I fell deeper and deeper in love.

Here are some of my tips for using our almond flour in your baking:

  • Start with the basics: Until you get comfortable, I suggest starting with recipes that have already been created with almond flour as the main ingredient.. Don’t jump in and try to replace wheat flour with almond flour because, without some precise substitutions, you’ll have a gooey mess on your hands.
  • Understand the properties: When you’re baking with almond flour, it certainly does not behave like a “normal” flour. It’s much higher in fat and therefore needs some adjustments. If you’ve baked with almond flour before then I’m sure you’ve noticed the texture tends to be more on the tender and cake-y side, and that’s because of the higher fat content.
  • Increase your eggs, decrease your fat: You’ll probably notice that almond flour recipes tend to have more eggs and less fat. The eggs provide more structure and moisture, while the flour makes up for some of the missing fat. But don’t worry, your baked good won’t taste egg-y!
  • Use it in small amounts: I like adding 1/4 cup almond flour to my baked goods. When I’m doing this, I’ll replace 1/4 cup of the flour that the recipe calls for and also remove 1 tablespoon of the oil. The almond flour helps to keep my recipes moist and tender.
  • Don’t let the texture of your batter throw you off: Almond flour batters are almost always thicker than traditional wheat-based or even gluten-free recipes. Refrain from adding more liquid because if you do, your baked good won’t bake through and you’ll have wasted all that wonderful flour.

almond-flour-recipes-king-arthur

My favorite recipes using almond flour:

Almond Flour Chicken Nuggets
Almond Flour Pizza Crust
Almond Flour Shortbread Cookies

Gluten-Free Baking Tips: Our Favorite Flours

3. King Arthur Coconut Flour

Oh coconut flour, I love you so! This is also one of my favorite flours, but for a completely different reason than the others. Simply put, I have a major love affair with all things coconut, so anything made with coconut flour quickly jumps to the top of my must-have list.

Here are some of my tips for using our almond flour in your baking:

  • Don’t let it freak you out: Baking with coconut flour is probably like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. It’s a funny little flour because it’s super absorbent, but doesn’t have a lot of binding power.
  • It needs eggs: You’ll notice that recipes using coconut flour use a lot of eggs and very little flour. That’s because if you don’t have the appropriate amount of ingredients to provide structure, your baked good will never hold its shape. The eggs provide moisture, act as a binder, and also give the baked good some structure.
  • Stick with the basics: Like almond flour, if you’re new to baking with coconut flour, I suggest sticking with recipes that have already been tested and proven to work. You can’t substitute coconut flour 1:1 with any other flour; it simply won’t work.
  • The eggs to flour ratio: If you’re building a coconut flour recipe from scratch, a good rule of thumb is that for every 1/4 cup coconut flour in a recipe, you need two eggs. If you’re mixing in other dry ingredients, like cocoa powder, your egg ratio will need to go up even higher.
  • Be mindful of the flavor: I often get questions about whether coconut flour really tastes “coconut-y,” and my answer is yes and no. I personally love the flavor; and so, in something plain like pancakes, you can taste it a little. But if you have other strong flavors in your recipe, like chocolate or pumpkin, then I don’t think you’ll be able to taste it at all.

coconut-flour-recipes-king-arthur

My favorite recipes using coconut flour:

Gluten-Free Chocolate Coconut Cake
Coconut Flour Pumpkin Pancakes

And now we’d love to hear from you: what are your favorite gluten-free flours to bake with? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

 

Alyssa Rimmer
About

Alyssa grew up in Vermont, attended the University of Vermont and now lives in New York City, where she bakes and writes recipes for her blog Simply Quinoa. She's been living gluten-free for over four years. Alyssa also authors her own food blog and enjoys ...

comments

  1. Barb Walker

    I have found that with cakes and muffins I can replace wheat flour with rice flour if I cut the fat in half and replace it with applesauce. It is not only healthier but also the apple sauce seems to provide the moisture that the rice flour needs to not be crumbly. I love making carrot cake from my favorite old recipe this way. Yummy.
    Thanks for the tips re the almond flour I use it in one cookie recipe but will now start adding it to others.

    Reply
  2. Karla Marsh

    You have a typo:
    Oh –coconut– flour, I love you so! This is also one of my favorite flours, but for a completely different reason than the others. Simply put, I have a major love affair with all things coconut, so anything made with coconut flour quickly jumps to the top of my must-have list.

    Here are some of my tips for using our –almond– flour in your baking:

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve been trying to make sourdough bread with coconut flour, but it’s just not happening. ;-/

    Reply
  3. marjorie welch

    In the recent KAF email, you showed a photo of biscotti dipped into chocolate; however, I searched through all of your Gluten Free recipes and did not find a recipe for it. Do you have a GF biscotti recipe?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      Sorry, Marjorie, we inadvertently included that recipe, which uses coconut flour but isn’t gluten free. We’ll take care of deleting that picture ASAP. PJH

  4. Donna Thomas

    I have been using King Arthurs Gluten free All Purpose baking mix to bake all of my treats and have won awards at the fairs with the great tasting and wonderful texture the breads, cakes etc. have. I recently went to make a Lemon Loaf and I wasn’t sure if I had enough of the All Purpose Gluten free baking mix, so instead I just thought I would use the King Arthur Multi-Purpose Flour. Wrong!!! My Lemon Loaf came out like a brick. Tossed it into the garbage and realized I had just enough of the All Purpose baking mix to make a lemon loaf and it came out absolutely beautiful, light, fluffy and was the hit of the day 🙂

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for sharing your results to teach us all the recipe ingredient substitution doesn’t work! The GF Baking mix includes the GF flour, leavening, salt and xanthan. May you continue your wonderful blue ribbon work – happy baking! Irene@KAF

  5. Susi Franco

    Hello—I am an avid KA fan, love your catalogues, adore your Vietnamese Cinnamon,your Vermont Cheddar Cheese powder and so many more kitchen staples you offer !!~ I have an axe to grind with you, however, about your “gluten free baking mix”. I’ve been doing “Wheat Belly” and it’s been revelatory. Unfortunately, your baking mix has high glycemic index starches in it that substitute for wheat flour but drive up the blood sugar of anyone consuming it. I say this as a (retired) RN with many years of college study of Nutrition. Can’t you make a baking mix that has NO HGI starches ( ex: potato & tapioca starches) ? You offer Almond Flour, so there’s your base flour for the mix. I am currently making my own baking mix using flaxseed meal, almond flour and coconut flour, but I’d love being able to buy it ready-made. Also, I seriously do love KA products, but your Almond Flour is WAY overpriced! I buy 1 lb bags at a national chain “healthy foods” store for 5.99. Please take this under consideration ?? You already produce just about everything you need to make a wheat-free baking mix that also won’t send one’s serum glucose skyrocketing. There is a HUGE market for this type low glycemic index baking mix out here, from people just like me. Love you guys sooooo much, hoping you can take my comments seriously. Best Regards, Susi xoxoxoxox

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We worked really hard to research, develop, and test the best GF blend for baking – as you noted, ours does include starches. We hope you can find ingredients to meet your nutritional needs as well as family economics. Happy Baking, Susi – Irene@KAF

    2. ROBIN

      I agree with Susi. I’m doing the Fast Metabolism Diet and cannot have potato or corn starch. We use Arrowroot instead. No wheat, corn, soy, potato anything for me.

    3. Tamara

      I love the idea of not having potato and/or tapioca starches in the mix but don’t switch to almond. We are wheat, soy, nut and dairy free. If anything, create another product that can be used by those who can’t do the potato/tapioca mix. KAF has been our go to for years. I hope that doesn’t chance! Keep adding gluten free recipes!

    4. lINNEA

      I so totally agree with Susi’s post and I thank her for this insight. My diet requires gluten free but I also have to watch glycemic index. Please take her suggestions seriously, including the price issue. Thank you.

    5. The Baker's Hotline

      We have passed these suggestions along and will note that there are other bakers who also stand behind this request. Thanks for writing. Kye@KAF

  6. Anna Chittim

    Like others, the biscotti pictured caught my eye. I used the link given in the reply to go to the recipe and started baking, but didn’t realize it was not a gluten free recipe until I already had the butter and sugar creamed together. I have been baking gluten free for myself and my two children (celiac) for 7 years, so After a moment of disappointment, I decided to wing it by using 1/2 cup each brown rice flour, oat flour and tapioca flour, and added 3/4 tsp xanthan gum in place of the regular flour. After the 25 minute second baking, I shut off the oven and left the biscotti in the oven for another 15 minutes. The end result was pretty good, but still has that little bit of a “slippery” after texture of gluten free goods with xanthan gum. Next time I might try 1/2 tsp xanthan.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Anna,
      We are indeed so sorry for the mix up. Looks like a GF biscotti recipe would make an excellent addition to our line-up. ~ MJ

  7. Buffy

    Dear P.J. and KAF Staff,
    Again and again and again…bless your friendly, knowledgeable, and generous hearts.
    You have become my Sunday morning ‘just for me’ time.
    Feed the dog, make a coffee, open up the computer and there you are!
    Sunday Morning Round-up.
    For the next hour (sometimes more) you are my community culinary college, my morning concert, my support group, my friends, and an important element in the structure of the following week. (There’s more, but I’m keeping this brief).
    Yes, Bless your friendly, knowledgeable, and generous hearts.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for your lovely comments, Buffy! And thanks for being such a devoted member of our community of bakers! Barb@KAF

    1. Susan Reid

      No, Asha, alas, the only way to get our products there would be to order from us and have it shipped. Sorry. Susan

  8. Heidi K.

    FYI: The following sentence is in your coconut flour section 3. It should say coconut instead of almond.

    Here are some of my tips for using our almond flour in your baking:

    Reply
  9. Cheryl

    I am happy I found your gluten free products and recipes. However I am allergic to eggs. What can I substitute for eggs in your recipes.

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Hi, Cheryl. That very much depends on the recipe. We’ve had some success with egg replacers like EnerG; some quickbreads (muffins, pancakes) do pretty well with ground flax and water mixed together and allowed to sit for 10 minutes before adding to the recipe. I’m sure our Baker’s hotline can give you more specific hints, tailored to what you’re baking. Give them a call or chat. Susan

  10. Sally

    Heidi K is right….in the Coconut Flour section, a sentence starts: “Here are some of my tips for using our almond flour in your baking:”, when we believe it should reference “coconut” flour instead for that section. Now you know how closely we all read your insights!

    Reply
  11. Ivy

    I just last night made brownies from a gluten free mix and boy am I disappointed. Flavor is fine but it is so dry, which I found out after the fact is not unusual for gluten free baking. Had I known I probably would have just baked for a little less time. Next time I know and may also add an extra egg. Thanks for your tips.

    Reply
  12. Linda Gibson

    I need a gluten free recipe for tea cakes aka tea cookies. Roll out cookies, traditional made with butter, flour, pinch of nutmeg, buttermilk, Christmas tradition . I have tried just substituting different gf flours and the result was bad, tasteless.

    Do you have advice?
    thanks
    Linda

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Linda, we have a wonderful recipe for gluten-free roll out cookies (tea cookies, if you will) on our website. Feel free to add that pinch of nutmeg, but you won’t be able to incorporate the buttermilk because gluten-free baked goods rely on eggs to hold them together. We do, however, have a dried buttermilk powder that adds that lovely tang of fresh buttermilk without making your cookies too weak. We hope you give these suggestions a try! Happy gluten-free baking! Kye@KAF

  13. Sandra Lingwall

    Do the flours you recommend brown the food…I’m so disappointed in the flour and baking mixes I purchased from Jules Gluten Free…there is no browning. Cookies stay light, fish is opaque..doesn’t brown at all…would appreciate your comments if the flours you support do brown the food.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We hope you give our gluten free products a try – we have made many browned baked goods using the flour, the baking mix and our gluten free mixes. Happy GF Baking! Irene@KAF

  14. Brooke Lewis

    Hello I was a little confused on the above when you say … “Substituting for wheat flour: We’ve found that using 1 large egg in place of 1/4 cup of the oil, and adding some xanthan gum, works really well. The amount of xanthan will depend on the amount of flour you have, but in general I use about 1/4 teaspoon for every cup of flour”… My question is my recipe calls for ½ cup whole wheat flour and
    ¾ cup all purpose flour so what would I do to make it Gluten free and comparable? For the 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour am I going to use 1/2 cup gf all purpose flour and my recipe calls for 1/2 cup of coconut oil so instead add an egg, some xantham gum, and instead of 1/2 cup cocunut oil use 1/4 cup?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Wheat flour means any flour that is made from wheat whether it be a whole grain (whole wheat flour or white whole wheat) or an all-purpose flour (not whole grain but still made from wheat!). So, remember this in an experiment. Converting to G-F is always tricky. Replace all the flour with our g-f blend, add xanthan gum (1/4 t.) and replace 1/4 c. of the coconut oil with an egg. You got it! Elisabeth@KAF

  15. Ellen Crooks

    I have to disagree that your gluten-free flour can be used 1:1. Last night I made a batch of chewy spice cookies that I have made without issue for years. I substituted your gluten-free flour 1:1 and made no other changes in the recipe. Three pans of cookies all turned out the same: a paper-thin spreading mass that tasted nothing like the cookies should. I gave up and threw it all away. I always use King Arthur all purpose flour when baking these cookies and have never had a problem. I tried your gluten-free flour when making cornbread and it was fine. Obviously this flour won’t work in this cookie recipe and I doubt I will try it in other cookie recipes. I have a co-worker who cannot tolerate gluten and try to come up with gluten-free desserts when we are having a work event.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Ellen, make sure you are using an ingredient called xanthan gum in gluten-free recipes, especially conversion recipes. It’s an ingredient that is essential because it holds the flour together to keep it from falling apart or spreading. It could also be the butter; if it’s too soft the cookies will spread when they bake. If these don’t fit the bill for you, please feel free to call our Baker’s Hotline number at 855-371-2253 so we can troubleshoot with you. Bryanna@KAF

  16. Nancy morningstar

    I want to make a cake using King Arthur gluten free flour. Do I need to compensate with any other ingredients?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Nancy, we recommend using our gluten-free flour in recipes that call for it rather than trying to substitute it into a recipe because some recipes may not convert well even if all the conversions are made correctly. Some other elements of the recipe may need to be changed such as the liquid (specifically, more eggs and adding 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour), so for best results check out our gluten-free cake recipes on our website. There are lots of tasty choices to pick from! Happy gluten-free baking! Kye@KAF

  17. Benjamin Weingarten

    Hi Alyssa! Good info you have shared with us. I searched two days back the differences in various flour but then I found your blog which makes me clear about all gluten free flours. Thanks for sharing good info.

    Reply
  18. Gayle Petrey

    I baked your chocolate cupcakes today….disappointed in appearance…flat rather than dome shaped. Also could tell by color they weren’t as chocolaty as my mother’s, but afraid to add additional cocoa. Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This sounds like the perfect opportunity to call and chat with our staff at the baker’s hotline 855-371-2253. We’ll ask which recipe you used as well as questions about ingredients and method. Working together, we’ll get you back to Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

  19. Alegna

    So. I’m a cake lady and am just getting into this whole gluten free stuff. I have an order for some gluten free cake and am trying to learn what’s best to do. I’ve read different things and wanted to know your thoughts. I read your post saying to use 1/4 teaspoon of the gum with every cup of flour. I was planning on using rice flour. Would this still be the same? Could I just use the baking mix someone else posted about? If so just a complete switch or do I need to change the recipe up?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Welcome to gluten-free baking, Alegna! As you’re probably quickly learning, it can feel like a whole new world. For this reason, we often recommend starting your gluten-free journey with recipes that have been designed to be gluten-free, of which we have many on our site: http://bit.ly/1TT3pNu. You’ll see that these recipes typically call for either a combination of our Gluten-Free Flour (http://bit.ly/1I8P0De) and xanthan gum OR our Gluten-Free Baking Mix, which already has xanthan gum added (http://bit.ly/1ErwGF0). While rice flour is usually the primary ingredient in a gluten-free flour blend, as it is in ours, it lacks a number of the properties of wheat and generally needs to be used in combination with other gf starches and flours (as you can see in our recipe for a Gluten-Free Brown Rice Flour Blend: http://bit.ly/2bFWzwd). If you want to experiment with a gluten-free version of your own favorite cake recipe, we’d suggest using our new Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour as a 1:1 substitute for the all-purpose flour in the recipe. You can read more about this great new product and get yours here: http://bit.ly/1XYkpWt. Happy gf baking! Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Marney, if you’d like to make gluten-free bread in a bread machine, you should use this recipe here. It calls for our Gluten-Free Flour (not the baking mix, which already had leaveners, xanthan gum, and salt added to it). For additional tips on how to make the best gluten-free bread in a bread machine, check out this full article on our blog. We hope it gives you the inspiration you need to get started! Kye@KAF

  20. Carol

    Can you “jazz-up” the KA gf bread mix with more eggs, or butter, or dried fruit to approximate traditional holiday breads?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      An excellent question this time of year, Carol! Since gluten-free yeasted doughs involve such a delicate balance of ingredients, we wouldn’t recommend playing around with added egg or butter; but you can certainly add your favorite dried or coarsely chopped fruits. Our blog article on Gluten-Free Filled Breads (http://bit.ly/2gRYeBR) is a great example of this. You might also try using the techniques described in either of these articles: http://bit.ly/2fI0zKE or http://bit.ly/2fygCj0 While they’re written for our scratch recipe for Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread, the same method can be applied with the mix. Another option would be take an even deeper dive into gluten-free baking with our seasonal, designed-to-be gluten-free recipes like this one for Gluten-Free Stollen (http://bit.ly/1QsaMv0) made with our Gluten-Free Flour (http://bit.ly/1I8P0De). Hope this helps to make for some happy gluten-free holiday baking! Mollie@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Pam, here’s what Flourish blogger PJ Hamel has to say about making gluten-free baguettes and rustic bread: “The high-rising, light texture of baguettes doesn’t easily lend itself to the absence of gluten. We don’t recommend you try to bake a gluten-free baguette, but instead urge you to check out our tempting array of gluten-free bread recipes.” We hope that gives you some other options and tempting recipes to try. Happy GF baking! Kye@KAF

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