Gluten-Free Baking Tip: it's easy as 1-2-3!

Have you ever found a recipe that looks so amazing and you want to make it so badly, but you can’t because it’s not gluten-free?

I know I have and if you’re gluten-free or know someone who is, I’m guessing this is an all too familiar feeling for you as well. So what do you do? Well you can either give up or you can try your hand at converting the recipe.

As bakers, we encourage you never to give up – we want to see you succeed! So today we’ve got a handy little trick for converting traditional recipes to be gluten-free. This gluten-free baking tip, which I know you’ll find super helpful, works for stir-together recipes like muffins, quick breads, donuts, coffee cakes, etc. – but not for yeast breads, cookies, pizzas or other recipes that require kneading, rising, or creaming butter and sugar together.

Making a standard recipe gluten-free – easy as 1-2-3.

  • First, replace the flour in the recipe with an equal amount of King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour.
  • Next, substitute 1 large egg for 1/4 cup of the recipe’s liquid: milk, water, or oil. The protein in egg helps add the structure gluten-free baked goods lack, resulting in better texture.
  • Finally, add 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum for each cup of flour – again, for help with structure and texture.

To demonstrate how this works, here are few recipes we’ve successfully tested with this method:

gluten-free-pumpkin-doughnuts-2

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Doughnuts

Here we replaced the flour with our gluten-free flour, substituted 1/4 cup of the oil with an egg and added 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum. The doughnuts were perfect!

Gluten-Free Cake Pan Cake via @kingarthurflour

Gluten-Free Cake Pan Cake

Again, we started by substituting the flour with our gluten-free flour, then replaced 1/2 cup of water with 2 eggs and added 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum. Once again, the cake tasted just like the original!


And here are just a few more recipes to try!

Doughnut Muffins via @kingarthurflour

Donut Muffins

Here’s what we recommend trying:

  • Replace flour with gluten-free flour
  • Replace 1/4 cup milk with 1 egg
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

Apple Cinnamon Muffins via @kingarthurflourApple Muffins

Here’s what we recommend trying:

  • Replace flour with gluten-free flour
  • Replace 1/4 cup buttermilk with 1 egg
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

King Arthur Flour Banana Bread via @kingarthurflour

Banana Bread

Here’s what we recommend trying:

  • Replace flour with gluten-free flour
  • Replace ¼ cup butter with 1 egg
  • Add ½ teaspoon xanthan gum

And now we’d love to hear from you! If you try this tip on any of our recipes, or even your own recipes, please leave us a comment and let us know how they turn out. Happy baking!

Note: Since publishing this post we’ve had a lot of questions about why the cake pan cake substitutes two eggs for 1/2 cup of liquid, instead of 1 egg for 1/4 cup of liquid. The liquid in this particular recipe is water, and doesn’t add anything – flavor, structure, rich texture – beyond moisture. Thus we substituted eggs for all of the water.

If your recipe’s liquid is milk, buttermilk, butter, oil, yogurt, or something similar, you don’t want to lose all of their flavor and other positive properties; so substitute an egg or eggs for just 1/4 to 1/2 of the liquid. You’ll add some additional structure-building protein from the egg, without entirely losing the benefit of the liquid in question.

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. DB

    Why in the pan cake did you do 2 eggs replacing the 1/2 cup water? The other recipes you only did the 1 egg to 1/4 cup liquid sub.

    Reply
    1. Debby ryan

      the reason you use two Eggs in the 1/2 cup water is like they said at the top of this article that for every 1/4 cup of liquid you subsutite 1 egg, so 1/2 a cup would be double the eggs which would make 2 eggs.

      Debby r

  2. Mary Ann Campbell

    Can you send a conversion chart for replacing gluten free flour with regular flour. I have seen some yummy recipes that I would like to make, but with regular flour. Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Debbie

    I’ve tried making Sour dough, but all three times it has not risen… Should I try the tip of adding an egg for the water, milk or oil and adding the xantham gum? My starter smelled and was bubbley like recommended. Help I want to try GF sour dough. Thanks for any help you can give me.

    Reply
  4. jmight

    Do you have an alternative suggestion for those of us who have an egg, dairy, and nut free household?

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer , post author

      For some of these you could try substituting the egg with a flaxseed egg or chia egg (1 tablespoon of ground flax/chia + 3 tablespoons warm water). For the dairy, I’d recommend trying your favorite non-dairy alternative in the recipes – milks, coconut oil, vegan butters, etc. Now I can’t guarantee that it will work 100% of the time, but I think you’ll have good luck with more basic recipes. Hope that helps! – Alyssa

  5. Valerie Randall

    I dint have GF flour right now but I have coconut flour. Can I substitute? If so, any other adjustments required?

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer , post author

      Hi Valerie – unfortunately not. Coconut flour is a completely different animal when it comes to baking and requires a lot of different tweaks. My suggestion is to take a peek at all the coconut flour recipes we have on the site and tweak from there 🙂 – Alyssa

  6. Kathleen Isaac

    Thank you! I am going to forward this to all my gluten-free friends. And I will suggest, one more time, that my grocery story carry the gluten-free flour since they carry the other ones.

    Thanks for making this so easy!

    Kathleen

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Barbara, there is calorie information for the gluten-free pumpkin doughnut recipe and the gluten-free cake-pan recipe that can be found below the steps in the body of the individual recipes. (You can find these by searching for them by name under the recipe section of our website.) There is also calorie information for the other three recipes in their original format, which would give you a ball park idea of what to expect from the gluten-free versions. To find exact numbers, we like using the Nutrition Calculator provided by SparkPeople, which always you to enter the exact ingredients you use to account for any substitutions you may make. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  7. Brenda Rupp

    I have gone gluten free due to allergies to wheat rye oat buckwheat (I think that is what it was) Sorghum, and Millet. I’m definately allergic to vegetable gums no xantham gum for me and I have tree nut allergies, egg allergies (I use chia seeds in water for eggs) and milk (I use rice milk). So you see I have really crazy allergies and everyone wants to put xantham gum in things and I get asthma from it.

    Whats a girl to do?

    Brenda

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer , post author

      Hi Brenda, that’s a tricky one. Some recipes I’ve actually found that you can omit xanthan gum – like in cookies, muffins, pancakes, etc. – but others like bread and recipes that rely on gluten development, you need to get a bit more creative. I like psyllium husk, but unfortunately it’s not a one-to-one substitution. I think there is some great info on the web out there on using psyllium, so I’d do a quick search and see what you can find 🙂 – Alyssa

    2. Pamela

      Brenda, BOY do I feel for you! I thought being just a straight-forward, normal Celiac was bad enough. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t have nuts, eggs, and dairy in my life. I get really provoked with people who REFUSE to eat eggs, dairy, meat and probably a few other things JUST because they come from animals. However, for those of you that have an allergy, that’s a horse of a completely different color. You have no choice in life. I think trying to eat gluten free is a major pain in the tush although it has become a THOUSAND times easier than it was when I received this diagnosis about 10 years ago.At that time I had to order just about EVERY GF item online, have items shipped express, and pay exorbitant prices. Now, most ordinary supermarkets have entire sections. But I don’t have a clue what I would do if I had to give up all the things you do on top of gluten. Plus, its just not the aggravation of it all, hunting down the products, finding the recipes, it’s the COST of all the GF items. After all, who in their right mind wants to pay almost $5.00 for a cake mix? Not me that’s for sure! However, as I began campaigning 10 years ago if someone would just create a mix you could substitute cup for cup for regular flour they would make a fortune. Multiple companies thankfully took on the challenge and did just this but I’ve learned the hard way, it’s not QUITE so easy and straightforward as this very article states. I’m just grateful for places like KAF and a few others they have people experimenting and testing all sorts of recipes to make life more normal for we Celiacs. Now if we can just get pasta companies to create GF pastas in ALL of the same shapes as regular pastas life will get MUCH better. Plus, ordinary companies like Campbell Soups. This is the product that almost hospitalized me. As I began to become more and more ill, I turned to soup. It was one of the few things I could get down and keep down. I never DREAMED the more I ate the sicker I would become, ALL because every Campbell’s soup has wheat in it. WHY? Finally it came to a crisis point and doctors did GI series and found the Celiac. Even they didn’t expect this diagnosis. There are SO many things companies like this could use as a thickener and then we Celiacs could once again use it. Best of luck to you Brenda and those that deal with the multiple allergies like you and I hope substitutions for you because easier all the time too.

  8. Mollye

    Why are all of the recipes “replace 1/4 of liquid with 1 egg” except the cake? The cake being “replace 1/2 cup liquid with 2 eggs”. Is the cake an exception to the rule? If so why and what other exceptions would there be?

    Reply
  9. Lisa Vitale

    I am new to gluten-free baking. Are you saying that using a standard recipe, I add an additional egg to what is called for to replace 1/4 cup of liquid? Also, 1/2 teaspoon of Xanthum gum only or is it per cup of GF flour?
    Thanks, Lisa

    Reply
  10. Kayler

    I noticed you substituted 2 eggs for 1/2 cup of liquid in the pan cake. How did you decide to substitute for 1/2 cup liquid in that recipe instead of just 1/4 cup?

    Reply
  11. Cecelia

    What about using the gluten free whole grain flour????????
    Can I use the whole grain gluten free flour in place of gluten free flour?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Cecelia, we are happy to hear you would like to use some gluten-free whole grain flour in your recipes! For best results, we recommend substituting the whole grain flour for 25%-50% of the gluten-free multipurpose flour in your recipe. We’ve found that using more than that can make a heavy, dense baked good that doesn’t have quite as pleasant of a crumb otherwise. Happy gluten-free baking! Kye@KAF

  12. Tracy

    Love your gluten free baking tips, thank you! I wanted to add, for those who cannot eat egg for any reason, I use 2 tablespoons of ground flax mixed with 1/3 cup of warm water. Let it sit for a few minutes until it thickens and add to the wet ingredients as you would egg.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Thanks for sharing your tip, Tracy. We have a list of different egg replacer options on our website–but a word of caution when using them in gluten-free recipes: flax seems to give the best structure when egg are not an option, but you may need to experiment a bit with the consistency of your dough, batter, etc. when baking both gluten-free and egg-free. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  13. starrdark

    Perfect timing on this post! I have been wanting to tell you how good not only your gluten-free mixes are, but also your gluten-free recipes, using your gluten-free flour. I am baking regularly now for my neighbor who has severe medical restrictions, and she is so delighted to have “real” bread, brownies and biscuits again!

    Thank you, so very much, for your excellent recipes and outstanding products.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We appreciate your kind words and positive feedback, starrdark. We’re so glad you are able to bake for your neighbor and all people who might like a sweet treat to make them smile, regardless of their dietary restrictions. Happy gluten-free baking! Kye@KAF

  14. Lois Bara

    How can I print a copy for GF baking when there is no print icon

    I give them to a friend, who does not have a computer.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Lois, there’s no print button in our blogs because usually people want to print just the recipes that the blog talks about. If you click on a link for a recipe, you will see a printer icon and the option to print a “printer-friendly” version. However, if you’d like to share this entire blog with a friend, our best suggestion would be to copy the text and paste it into a word document for easy printing. I’ve passed your feedback forward that you would like to see a print option added to the blog as well. Happy gluten-free baking! Kye@KAF

  15. Heather M.

    Hi Alyssa! Thanks for this helpful post. I noticed that in the cake pan recipe you used two eggs to replace half a cup of the liquid (instead of replacing just a 1/4 cup with one egg). How do you know how much of the liquid should be replaced by eggs if there is more than 1/4 cup of liquid in the recipe?

    Those donuts look beautiful, by the way. What a lovely photo. I bet they taste good too. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer , post author

      Hi Heather – the donuts certainly do taste good 🙂 Please take a peek at the update we made to the post to reflect this question! – Alyssa

  16. Beryl

    Hey, I’m just jealous of all your information for USA residents. When I visited last year, I actually brought back to the UK King Arthur flour and it worked well. I just wish there was an importer here, so I could continue to use it. I still find your hints helpful and am glad to be able to follow them. Have you ever tried Pixie Dust? it replaces xanthum gum – a hint I picked up from an American publication and I prefer to the xanthum gum

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Berly, we’re glad to hear that you are anxious to acquire King Arthur Flour products abroad! We are unable to offer online ordering for international customers at this time, but if you send us an email at customercare@kingarthurflour.com with the items you’d like to purchase and you shipping address, we can provide a quote for your order. There are additional charges for shipping internationally, but we can get products to you if you would like! As for the Pixie Dust, we’ve had the best success with xanthan gum as a stablizer in gluten-free products. It is an interesting idea however for those looking for an alternative. (For those who are unfamiliar its a blend of flaxseeds, chia seeds, and a small amount of psyllium seed husks that act as a thickener and stabilizer in gluten-free baking.) Whatever works best for you, Beryl! Happy gluten-free baking! Kye@KAF

  17. Cindy

    So happy to have you here! I was wondering, how would any of these recipes convert to using just the KA Almond Flour? Or maybe a combination of the Coconut Flour as well? I have Fibromyalgia and stay away from potato or rice flours due to inflammation. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer , post author

      Hi Cindy – thanks for the comment! Unfortunately, almond and coconut flours both take a bit more fidgeting to the right substitution. Their properties are MUCH different than that of grain flours and don’t convert quite the same. My suggestion is to start with a recipe that’s already made with almond flour and then tweak it from there. For example, if you have an almond flour muffin recipe you like, adjust with flavors by adding different ingredients. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful! – Alyssa

  18. Donna Wendt

    Wish I could be in your test kitchen.everything looks so good.One day G.F. will be even better than the gluten products.Thanks for all of your hard work!!!

    Reply
  19. Joyce Schiller

    The person I make gluten free stuff for is also allergic to corn products, which includes xanthan gum. So what can I substitute for xanthan gum and still get reasonable results? Thanks for keeping us alternative bakers in the loop.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Joyce, although I can’t speak for all brands of xanthan gum, the kind we sell does not contain corn or any other grain. Barb@KAF

  20. Diana O'Brfien

    I notice that you don’t recommend the addition of an egg and decreasing the liquid for bread rising recipes. I just bought the hot dog baking pan and wondered how I might adjust the recipe that came with the pan to work for gluten-free flour. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  21. Joan

    I have been making GF cakes for my friend, who makes saturday night dinners. This way she can enjoy the dessert like the rest of us.
    Our friends can’t believe that it is GF and soooo delicious. Thank you for all your tips.
    (I mainly use Pamela’s Baking & Pancake mix)

    Reply
  22. Maria

    Thanks for this info! Quick question regarding the xanthan gum. Is it 1/2 tsp for EACH cup of flour? The way it’s written, it’s 1/2 tsp regardless of the amount of flour, so the 1/2 tsp would likely not be enough for, say, a recipe calling for 2-4 cups of flour.

    ALSO, for those asking, guar gum can be subbed for xanthan gum, too!

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer , post author

      Hi Maria – xanthan gum is a little tricky. Too much and your recipe won’t bake through, but not enough and it might fall apart. We’re planning to do a more in-depth post about this topic soon, but as a general rule of thumb, I’d say it’s more like 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum for every 1 cup of flour.

      And yes, thank you for the note about guar gum! They are certainly interchangeable if folks are allergic to corn. Thanks! – Alyssa

    1. PJ Hamel

      Susan, we do indeed have a Pinterest button on our blog posts – open your screen as wide as you can, it’ll pop up on the far left. Hope you find it – PJH

  23. Marian Price

    Can you substitute and egg for some sour cream in a recipe or is that not considered a liquid?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel

      Yes, Marian, you can consider sour cream a liquid. You’ll be losing some richness and the tang of the sour cream by substituting, but the added structure from the egg will probably be worth it. Good luck – PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The flour part is correct, but it’s the substitution of an egg- not the addition of an egg- for some of the liquid in the recipe. We also recommend the use of xanthan gum. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  24. Deb S.

    I love your recipes, but I am allergic to gluten and also eggs, so not sure some of your recipes will work for me, I really miss brownies but haven’t been able to make them without egg.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Deb – Our G-F Brownie mix does not like anything but the real deal (fresh eggs), unfortunately. But, how about trying our Gluten Free Brownie recipe from our site with an egg replacer? We have some suggestions on our site on what can work for replacing eggs. Experiment! Elisabeth@KAF

  25. David Rippon

    Recently had to go gluten free. Been desperate to find decent tasting baked goods. Pretty much a lost cause in my opinion. So I did some on-line research and found King Arthur products. Also found the gluten free conversion tips and have had good success converting 2 recipes so far. A 100 year old corn bread recipe and my Apple Nut bread recipe. The corn bread is tasty, good consistency, but I found it to be quite dry. The apple nut bread was also quite tasty, good consistency and while slightly more moist, because of the apples I think, still kinda dry. Do you have any suggestions that will help me get a moister baked product. Next attempt will be a carrot/zucchini bread. Then onto baking bread when I get the courage. “LOL” Thanks for your help
    David Rippon

    Reply
    1. Alyssa Rimmer , post author

      Hi David – thanks so much for the comment. I’m glad to know that your initial tests have worked for you. That is one of the biggest struggles with gluten-free baking: dryness. I would suggest trying our tips that we’ve outlined above for your carrot/zucchini bread. Add in an egg, remove some liquid and add a bit of xanthan. Here’s a recipe that you could try that has been specifically developed to be gluten-free: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-chocolate-chip-zucchini-bread-recipe

  26. Hyacynthia

    If the original recipe call for 3 eggs with the substitute gluten free flour I need to use 7 eggs? Can another gum substitute for xanthan gum

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Blog author Alyssa is on vacation until July 12. She’ll personally respond to your email when she returns! Happy baking- Laurie@KAF

  27. K2

    I had to compare your GF translation of the Cake Pan Cake to the one I provided to our Celiac group a few years back before King Arthur had a GF section and I noticed you left out the vinegar that was in the original recipe. I used a lighter flour blend (1/3 sweet rice flour, 1/3 tapioca starch, 1/3 potato starch), added 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum and reduced sugar to 3/4 cup and it turned out well. I have to wonder if the vinegar was what made the difference?

    It was nice to be able to give the egg-free members of our group a good cake recipe. I find KAF blogs fascinating because you cover not just the yummy part of cooking but why things work the way they do. Gluten-free cooking can be half science, half wizardry (:- ) so it’s nice to find out why something works.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      HI there,
      I’m not sure when and why the change took place, but if I find any info, I’ll come back and post for you. ~ MJ

  28. Elaine Weitz

    Hi
    I really love all the products. But through the years I’ve had to change my diet, to gluten free, loved your, but now I need sugar free also !
    Is t possible you could make a gluten free, sugar free product, with stevia ?
    So many people are aware of the weight you gain and harm regular sugar causes. So this would only be a plus for you if you could do this.
    Thanks blessings
    Elaine

    Reply
  29. Maggie

    Will these tips work with your GF Whole Grain Flour or GF Ancient Grains Flour? I’d like to make some “whole wheat” quick bread.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Maggie, as with wheat flours, we recommend using whole grain gluten-free blends for just a portion of the total amount of flour. For the Gluten-Free Whole Grain Flour, you might try starting off by using it for 25-50% of the total amount of flour used; while for the Ancient Grains Flour Blend, we’d suggest starting by swapping out a smaller amount of 2-3Tbsp. If you’re looking for whole grain and gluten-free, you might also be interested in checking out our newest gf blend, Measure for Measure, which is designed to be a 1:1 replacement for the AP Flour called for in non-yeasted baked goods. Hope this helps! Mollie@KAF

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