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If you’re just starting to bake gluten-free, you may quickly become overwhelmed. There are multiple flours to try, new ingredients to master (what exactly is xanthan gum?), and tricky things to learn — for instance, did you know that lots of other ingredients beyond wheat flour can contain gluten?

But fear not: We’re breaking down everything you need to know to start your gluten-free baking journey.

Lineup of four different gluten-free flours Photography by Danielle Sykes; food styling by Liz Neily
We've got a flour for all of your gluten-free baking.

Choose the right gluten-free flour

Read: Which gluten-free flour should I use?

When it comes to gluten-free flour, there are three main categories you need to know.

1) Designated gluten-free flours

These gluten-free flours are meant to be used in any gluten-free recipe calling specifically for “gluten-free flour” or “gluten-free flour blend.” They do not include xanthan gum (more on that below!); the recipe should call for that ingredient separately in the ingredient list. Do not swap these flours into recipes that call for conventional wheat flour — for that, you’ll want a gluten-free replacement flour.

Example: Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour, Gluten-Free '00' Pizza Flour

2) Gluten-free replacement flours

These gluten-free flours are designed to be substituted directly for all-purpose flour or similar flours in a recipe, with little to no adjustments necessary. Gluten-free replacement flours already include xanthan gum, so that they can mimic the binding power of standard all-purpose flour. They’re your best choice for converting your favorite recipes gluten-free. That said, we also have plenty of recipes developed specifically for these flours, too!

Example: Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour, Gluten-Free Bread Flour

3) Naturally gluten-free flours

These are alternative flours made from ingredients, typically nuts, grains, or pseudo-grains, that are naturally gluten-free. They all behave uniquely, and as a result cannot be substituted for other flours. Only use one of these flours when a recipe specifically calls for it.

Examples: Almond Flour, Buckwheat Flour, Masa Harina, Oat Flour

Almond Flour Berry Cobbler Photography and food styling by Liz Neily
Our Almond Flour is super-finely ground for the best texture in your bakes.

Stock the rest of your gluten-free pantry

Read: For gluten-free baking, think beyond just flour

When people think of gluten-free baking, they usually focus primarily on the flour. But if you're baking on a strict gluten-free diet, you'll need to consider ingredients beyond just your flour.

Gluten is found in certain grains, mainly wheat, barley, and rye. However, those following a gluten-free diet should pay attention to more than just these grains and keep in mind any ingredients that may contain gluten, which can sometimes be surprising: Some brands of vanilla extract contain gluten, for instance. In particular, gluten can sometimes sneak its way into your baked goods via ingredients that are naturally gluten-free, but come in contact with gluten due to processing, packaging, transportation, or any other step on its way to your pantry. This exposure to gluten is known as "cross-contact."

How you choose ingredients may depend on how you eat and bake. When it comes to gluten-free baking, there are typically two dietary approaches:

  1. Some people are looking to reduce the amount of gluten in their diet and therefore choose to eat gluten-free baked goods and other foods.   
  2. Other people follow a strict, exclusively gluten-free diet, often due to celiac disease or other health reasons.

These two dietary approaches can determine how you choose ingredients. For those only reducing gluten, consuming trace amounts of gluten present from cross-contact may be no big deal, and there’s likely no need to worry about how an ingredient was processed.

For those following a strict gluten-free diet, however, even trace amounts of gluten can be a problem, and thus all baking ingredients (and tools, utensils, work surfaces, etc.) need to meet stringent gluten-free standards, such as third-party gluten-free certification. Learn more: For gluten-free baking, think beyond just flour.

A measuring spoon with xanthan gum King Arthur Baking Company
Xanthan Gum is a crucial ingredient in gluten-free baking.

What is xanthan gum, and when do I need it?

Read: A guide to xanthan gum

Shop: Xanthan Gum

One of gluten’s essential functions is its elasticity and binding ability — that’s what gives bread its chew or cookies their bendability. Without gluten present, you need other ingredients to help bind doughs and batters. Xanthan gum is a preferred choice for many bakers because it helps provide elasticity and stickiness in doughs and batters, holds onto some moisture, and gives baked goods some structure. Basically, it helps keep gluten-free baked goods from falling apart.

Sometimes xanthan gum is added directly to a gluten-free flour to mimic the properties of all-purpose flour; in this case, you don’t need to add xanthan gum separately to a recipe. (Such is the case with our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour, a replacement gluten-free flour.)

Other times, xanthan gum is not included in a flour so that a recipe can be customized to have a specific amount of xanthan gum included. In these instances, the recipe will call for xanthan gum to be added in addition to the Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour. This is particularly true for gluten-free bread recipes, which often need more xanthan gum to support proofing and rising.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Photography and food styling by Liz Neily
Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake is decadently fudgy.

Pick a well-tested gluten-free recipe

Collection: Gluten-Free Recipes

Because gluten-free baking can be more challenging than standard baking, it’s important to rely on well-tested recipes — and stick with them. We highly suggest refraining from substituting ingredients or making your own adjustments, especially if you’re still learning the ins and outs of gluten-free baking. For a gluten-free version of some classic recipes, try:

Gluten-Free Apple PieGluten-free pie crust can be a challenge, but Measure for Measure Flour is the key to an easy-to-handle dough and a tender crust. Combined with cornstarch, the Measure for Measure also thickens the apple pie filling.

Gluten-Free BrowniesBrownies are sometimes even better when they’re gluten-free. Using Measure for Measure makes these brownies extra fudgy, in part because the tapioca starch adds a nice chewiness and potato starch locks in moisture.

Gluten-Free Chocolate CakeLike brownies, cake is often better when it’s made with gluten-free flour. That’s because the lack of gluten development ensures a soft, ultra-tender crumb and decadently fudgy texture.

Gluten-Free Neapolitan-Style Pizza CrustThe secret to this airy, crispy crust is Gluten-Free Pizza Flour, which mimics the taste and texture of regular '00' Pizza Flour, without the gluten. And as an added bonus, this gluten-free pizza is faster to make than its counterpart — it takes under two and a half hours, start to finish.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip CookiesMade with Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour, these classic cookies emulate your childhood favorites. And they may actually be an improvement; as one reviewer noted, “These are not only the best gluten-free cookies, but the best chocolate chip cookies PERIOD.” Make sure to chill the dough, as it helps eliminate any trace amounts of grittiness.

Buttery Gluten-Free Bread Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Liz Neily
Buttery Gluten-Free Bread closely mimics its traditional counterpart thanks to Gluten-Free Bread Flour.

What about gluten-free bread?

Read: Gluten-free bread: a guide to choosing your flour

Bake: Gluten-Free Sandwich BreadButtery Gluten-Free Bread; Gluten-Free Artisan Bread 

Watch: Impossibly Gluten-Free Baguettes Baked at Home

Because gluten is so essential to the taste and texture of bread, it can be extremely difficult to make a satisfying version of gluten-free bread. That’s why it’s important to use the right flour and a well-tested recipe.

When it comes to flour, most of our gluten-free bread recipes rely on two options: Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour and Gluten-Free Bread Flour.

Part of the reason Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour is a great choice for gluten-free bread is because it doesn't contain xanthan gum — which means the amount of xanthan gum you add to a recipe is controlled by you, as is the case in this Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread recipe. That’s noteworthy because gluten-free bread recipes typically need additional xanthan gum to make the dough slightly stretchy and allow it to capture carbon dioxide bubbles during both its first and second rise. This flour is also made from refined starches like white rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch, so there’s none of the grittiness or heaviness that can come from unrefined gluten-free flours.

Then there’s Gluten-Free Bread Flour, which, true to its name, is particularly well-suited to bread recipes like Buttery Gluten-Free Bread. In addition to having xanthan gum already included, it also contains gluten-free wheat starch, which helps mimic the flavor of conventional flours and acts as a thickener — resulting in dough that can easily be shaped and even braided, like challah. (While the starch undergoes rigorous testing to ensure it’s gluten-free, it’s not wheat-free, so if you have a wheat allergy or sensitivity, this flour is not suitable for you. See more information on our product page.)

Unlike Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour, Gluten-Free Bread Flour can be substituted for all-purpose or bread flour in your favorite bread recipes. See full details in our blog post: How to substitute Gluten-Free Bread Flour for regular flour.

Bag of Measure for Measure flour next to tray of cookies Kristin Teig
Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour is the easiest way to make any non-yeasted recipe gluten-free.

Learn how to adapt recipes to be gluten-free

Shop: Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour; Gluten-Free Bread Flour

With the right knowledge and ingredients, you can adapt just about any recipe to be gluten-free. For most non-yeasted recipes, we suggest swapping in Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour for the all-purpose flour called for in the recipe; you won’t need to make any additional adjustments.

For bread recipes, we suggest using our Gluten-Free Bread Flour in place of the all-purpose or bread flour called for in your recipe. For best results, you’ll want to make a few tweaks to the recipe, such as adding a few tablespoons extra liquid, letting the dough rest 20 minutes before kneading, and being prepared for faster proofing times. See full details in our blog post: How to substitute Gluten-Free Bread Flour for regular flour.

Gluten-free brownie mix next to a plate of gluten-free brownies Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
With over 800 five-star reviews, our Gluten-Free Ultimate Fudge Brownie Mix is a major hit with gluten-free bakers.

Feeling overwhelmed? Try gluten-free baking mixes

Shop: Gluten-Free Baking Mixes

Is your head spinning? You can skip all of the above and start baking immediately with any of our gluten-free baking mixes. All certified gluten-free, our gluten-free mixes make moist scones, fudgy brownies, perfect party cakes, and beautiful loaves of I-can't-believe-it's-gluten-free bread.

Cover photo (Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies) and food styling by Liz Neily.

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About Rossi Anastopoulo

Rossi Anastopoulo grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, which is how she fell in love with biscuits. She didn’t have any bakers in her household (with the exception of her grandmother’s perfect koulourakia), so she learned at a young age that the best way to satisfy her sweet tooth was to make dess...
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