How to choose which gluten-free flour to use: let the recipe be your guide

Back in the day, gluten-free baking was complicated: you had to create your own blend of tapioca and potato starch and rice flour, adjust the amount of eggs or liquid in a recipe… and hope for the best. But as more and more people turned to gluten-free baking, the process became simpler. You bought some gluten-free flour and xanthan gum, found yourself a gluten-free recipe, and followed it.

Several years ago, with the advent of all-in-one replacement gluten-free flours, baking gluten-free became easier still. Simply substitute this new GF flour for the all-purpose flour in your recipe: end of story. No hand-blending flours; no xanthan gum; no seeking out gluten-free recipes.

However,  for those just starting down the GF trail — or who don’t bake gluten-free frequently — which flour to choose can be confusing.

Confused about how to use the different types of gluten-free flour out there? Here's a simple guide. Click To Tweet

There are many gluten-free flours out there, but only two main types of packaged gluten-free flour blends.

How to choose which gluten-free flour to use via @kingarthurflour

Gluten-free flour: all-purpose blend

The original blend — we’ll call it gluten-free all-purpose flour — is one that’s formulated specifically for gluten-free recipes. Our Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour is a good example.

When should you use gluten-free all-purpose flour in your recipe?

  • The recipe lists “gluten-free” in its title, e.g., Gluten-Free Almond Bundt Cake.
  • The recipe includes xanthan gum, which helps add structure to your baked goods in the absence of gluten.
  • The recipe calls for “gluten-free flour blend,” or similar wording.

How to choose which gluten-free flour to use via @kingarthurflour

Gluten-free flour: replacement blend

The newest type of gluten-free flour — we’ll call it gluten-free replacement flour — includes xanthan gum along with the typical blend of gluten-free flours. This means you can simply replace the all-purpose flour in many of your favorite traditional recipes with this new gluten-free flour. Our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour is a good example.

When should you use gluten-free replacement flour in your recipe?

  • The recipe wasn’t formulated to be gluten-free, and typically doesn’t call itself gluten-free.
  • The recipe doesn’t include xanthan gum in its list of ingredients.
  • The recipe calls for standard unbleached all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour, not gluten-free flour.

How to choose which gluten-free flour to use via @kingarthurflour

What about gluten-free flour and yeast?

Baking bread and rolls without gluten is a challenge. But it’s possible to make decent yeasted baked goods without gluten — so long as you choose the right recipe and follow it carefully.

  • The recipe will usually say “gluten-free” in its title, e.g., Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread.
  • It will include xanthan gum.
  • It will call for gluten-free all-purpose flour.

Can you bake your mom’s favorite dinner rolls simply by substituting a gluten-free replacement flour for the all-purpose flour in her recipe?

No. Our Measure for Measure Flour is ideal for almost all of your favorite classic recipes — brownies, cookies, cake, biscuits, pancakes, muffins, etc.

But its particular formulation, one that makes it perfect for other recipes, means it’s not appropriate for yeast recipes. For bread, rolls, and pizza crust use a gluten-free recipe and gluten-free all-purpose flour.

What’s your biggest gluten-free baking challenge? Our Baker’s Hotline is ready for your questions!

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

  1. Marlene

    I have a recipe that calls for another brand of GF flour that has xanthan gum in it. I have your All-purpose (not Measure for Measure) GF flour. would you be able to approximate how much xanthan gum per cup of flour I might need to add for structure? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Marlene. While we can’t say how much xanthan gum would be in a cup of the other flour blend called for in your recipe — when experimenting, we often start with a 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of flour in the recipe. Generally, you’ll never need more than a tablespoon of xanthan gum per recipe. We hope this helps and happy baking! Morgan@KAF

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      No problem, Linda! You can use either Measure for Measure or Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour to bread chicken. Annabelle@KAF

  2. kristin white

    I am a diabetic and I would like to bake. what flour should I use? I thought Almond flour but Im not sure. Thank You for any help you can give.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi there, Kristin! We appreciate the challenges inherent to baking for a diabetic diet, and are happy to provide what help we can. While our team is unable to make specific dietary recommendations, we do make nutrition information available for all KAF products and for many of our online recipes. Simply select “Nutrition + ingredients” on a product page, or “nutrition information” on a recipe to see total sugars, carbs, calories, and more. Additionally, you may find useful recipes provided by the ADA: http://www.diabetes.org/mfa-recipes/ or by other sources like http://diabeticgourmet.com/ or https://www.diabeticlifestyle.com/. We hope this helps and happy baking! Morgan@KAF

  3. Allison P

    I’ve had good success with both flours. I generally bake by weight, but for the Measure for Measure flour, should the replacement be by volume rather than weight?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Allison, our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour is 120 grams per cup, just like our Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. So feel free to keep using weight! Kat@KAF

  4. Ed Fraser, CMB

    Can you help me with a formula to make cinnamon rolls?
    My wife loves your muffins, brownies, and cookies but misses cinnamon rolls.
    HELP!

    Reply
  5. Jean Toth

    How many carbs in your Gluten-free flour? I am on the Keto diet. But before this diet I only used King Arthur flour….

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Jean, we answered you earlier, but we wanted to update our response to include a brand-new product that was just released yesterday, our grain-free Paleo Baking Flour, which has just 16 grams of carbohydrates per 1/4 cup (30 gram) serving, as well as 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. Like our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour, you can use it in most non-yeasted recipes. We’re very excited about it, and hope you enjoy! Kat@KAF

  6. Alana Kilzer

    When I went GF I just about gave up baking. That was 10 years ago. I’m beginning to again and find the KAF is the best flour blend I’ve found. Have not tried bread yet, although I used to bake 10-12 loaves at a time. Help? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Alana, we’d start with a well-loved and tested recipe like our Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread and then expand from there. But honestly, the hardest part about learning to bake gluten-free is unlearning a lot of what you know from wheat-based baking. If you approach it like a brand new skill, you’ll have a much happier (and tastier!) time. Happy baking! Kat@KAF

  7. ZoeOB

    As a lifelong baker tragedy struck when I could no longer tolerate wheat or rice. The majority of gluten-free flours do contain rice flour (sometimes two kinds). What are your recommendations?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Gosh, that’s challenging, Zoe! We do have several recipes that call for almond flour in place of wheat- or rice-based flours, like our Gluten-Free Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies, Strawberry Almond Flour Cake, and Gluten-Free Almond Flour Crackers. We also have a new flour blend coming out soon that will be both wheat and grain free, so keep your eyes on this space for when we formally announce it! That will open up a lot more traditional recipes for folks with food intolerances. Happy baking! Kat@KAF

  8. Rose Mueller

    I have a non-gluten free recipe for cranberry orange muffins that I need to make gluten free. I wonder If I could use the measure for measure. Or thr gluten free all purpose flour. I have xanthium gum available. Do they mimic the gluten containing muffins in appearance and taste?
    Thank you,
    Rose M

    Reply

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