Guide to Holiday Baking with Gluten-Free Flours

Going gluten-free can be a headache when you love to cook; it can become a downright nightmare during the holiday season. If you’re getting away from wheat and gluten-based flours this holiday season, don’t give up the cookies and cakes just yet. With a bit of practice and diligence, you can get your gluten-free sugar cookies and peppermint mocha cupcakes just like the ones Grams used to bake. Here are four essential tips to keep in mind when baking with alternative flours, along with a basic chart to make wheat substitutions a no-brainer.


  1. Gluten-free treats don’t last as long as those baked with wheat flour. To avoid spoilage, bake smaller batches or freeze leftovers right away and save for later. Prepare your cakes and cupcakes the day of; sitting overnight leads to a “day after” taste.
  2. Gluten-free baked treats often require the use of eggs in your recipes to create balanced moisture and structure. If you’re opting for an egg-free batter, use a trusted recipe that has a tried-and-true egg replacement.
  3. Think small with gluten-free goodies. Since they have a tendency to crumble, bake your batter in smaller receptacles, like cupcakes over cakes or small loaf pans over larger cake pans. You’ll have less crumbling when you slice or decorate your treats later.
  4. To avoid over-sticking and eventual crumbling when you remove your baked items from the pan, always line with parchment paper. Don’t substitute with wax paper—it’s not the same and won’t give the same non-stick results.


One cup wheat flour equals:

  • 7/8 cup rice flour
  • 5/8 cup potato starch flour
  • 1 cup soy flour + ¼ cup potato starch flour
  • ½ cup soy flour + ½ cup potato starch flour
  • 1 cup corn flour
  • 1 scant cup cornmeal

Image: Sugar Daze