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. Sally N

    My gluten free baked goods seem to be too moist, unlike most others. Especially after a day or too. Ideas what I need to do?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Sally! We’re sorry to hear that you’ve had some troubles with your gluten-free baked goods. Often times gluten-free baked items need to be baked longer than those made with traditional wheat flour. For example, when done the internal temperature for a cake baked with wheat flour should be 205°F, while a gluten-free cake should be baked to 210°F. We hope this helps! Kindly, Morgan@KAF

  2. JLS

    Thank you for these tips. I was able to apply them to my mom’s biscuit recipe and it worked. One clarification that would be useful: if a recipe calls for a significant amount of both liquid and fat, which should be substituted for the egg? I chose to replace some of the liquid with the egg and it worked, but knowing the “official” answer (and reasoning) will be helpful for future experiments

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi JLS! Your instinct was correct as we’d recommend replacing the liquid in a recipe with an egg rather than replacing the fat. Those fatty ingredients lend a much-needed tenderizing effect to baked goods and well as giving flavor and browning. Happy experimenting! Annabelle@KAF

  3. 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

  4. 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
  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

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