Gluten-Free Cacio e Pepe Clover Rolls
Gluten-Free Cacio e Pepe Clover Rolls

Gluten-Free Cacio e Pepe Clover Rolls

Recipe by David Turner

Holiday Breads 2023

These gluten-free clover rolls have all the flavors of the classic Italian pasta dish cacio e pepe, which quite literally means "cheese and pepper." The dough is infused with Pecorino Romano and freshly cracked black pepper and then each roll is flavored with more cheese and pepper before and after baking, resulting in savory richness with a tinge of peppery spice. Thanks to our Gluten-Free Bread Flour, these rolls have a similar texture to their conventional-flour counterparts.  

View our entire collection of Holiday Breads here.

25 mins
18 to 20 mins
2 hrs 20 mins
12 clover rolls
Gluten-Free Cacio e Pepe Clover Rolls  - select to zoom
Gluten-Free Cacio e Pepe Clover Rolls  - select to zoom
Gluten-Free Cacio e Pepe Clover Rolls  - select to zoom


Prevent your screen from going dark as you follow along.
  1. To make the dough: Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, add all of the dough ingredients. Mix until a sticky, batter-like dough forms, about 1 minute on medium speed. If mixing by hand, there may be some lumps that’s OK. It’s normal for the mixture to resemble cake batter at this stage. 

  2. Cover the mixture and set it aside for 20 minutes. It’ll firm up slightly during this time and begin to look more like dough than batter. 

  3. On a greased or (gluten-free) floured work surface, gently knead the dough — fold the dough in half towards you (use a bowl scraper for assistance, if needed), then pat it down, rotate the dough 90° (a quarter turn) and fold again — until it becomes firmer to the touch, smoother, and easier to handle, 5 to 6 times. As you work, dust your work surface and the dough lightly with gluten-free flour (or apply more grease), as needed, to prevent sticking. The dough may still be sticky to the touch but should have some bounce and body by the end of this kneading. 

  4. Return the dough to the mixing bowl. Cover and allow it to rise for 40 minutes, or until slightly puffy. 

  5. To make the topping: While the dough is rising, combine the cheese and pepper in a medium bowl. In a separate small bowl, melt the butter and set it aside to cool slightly. 

  6. Toward the end of rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the upper third. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan

  7. To assemble the clover rolls: Transfer the dough to a greased or (gluten-free) floured surface, gently deflate it, and knead it 5 to 6 more times. Using additional gluten-free flour or grease on your hands and work surface as needed, divide the dough into 12 portions (about 79g each). Divide each of those portions into 3 pieces (about 26g each) for a total of 36 balls. Cover the dough loosely with plastic or your favorite reusable wrap to prevent it from drying out. 

  8. Working with one piece at a time, loosely shape the dough into rounds: Pull the edges in toward the center and then turn it over and roll it into a smooth ball using your cupped hand. Re-cover the dough balls once shaped. 

  9. Working with 3 pieces at a time, dip the dough balls into the melted butter and shake off any excess. Then dip them into the cheese and pepper mixture to coat lightly, shaking off any excess. Nestle the 3 coated dough balls side by side in one of the wells of the muffin pan. Repeat with the remaining dough. Set aside the remaining butter and cheese-pepper mixture to use for topping the rolls after baking. 

  10. Cover the dough with greased plastic wrap or reusable wrap and allow it to rise for about 30 minutes, or until the rolls have risen 1/2" above the rim of the pan. 

  11. Bake the gluten-free clover rolls for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top and a digital thermometer inserted into the center of one roll reads 190°F. Allow the rolls to cool slightly for 5 minutes, or until you can safely handle them.   

  12. If needed, re-melt the butter. Brush the tops of the rolls with the melted butter and sprinkle the remaining cheese-pepper mixture over the tops. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

  13. Storage information: Store leftover gluten-free clover rolls in an airtight container at room temperature, covered, for up to 3 days. 

Tips from our Bakers

  • To make plain gluten-free clover rolls, leave out the cheese and pepper in the dough. Follow the rest of the recipe as written without coating the dough in cheese and pepper before baking. After baking, brush the rolls with melted butter. 

  • Be aware: Some of your baking ingredients can be a hidden source of gluten. Learn more at our blog post: For gluten-free baking, think beyond just flour. For additional information on King Arthur-produced products, read the complete details of our allergen program, including our contact-prevention practices.