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6 Gluten-free Baking Staples

Here are my 6 favourite gluten-free baking staples and some recipes you can enjoy them in!
Feb 8, 2021 | Joy McCarthy

When I began my healing journey back in the early 2000's I realized that my typical so-called "healthy" breakfast of bran buds with cow's milk was making me constipated and bloated. I cut both gluten and dairy out of my diet and within 24 hrs I was starting to feel better.

Fast forward 20 years later, I will always choose gluten-free flours over glutenous ones when making my own recipes because I know that it's the best way to keep my inflammation in check, manage my rosacea and have great digestion. It doesn't mean that I never take a big bite of one of Walker's giant sammies made with the best sourdough money can buy, but 99% of the time I avoid gluten because I feel better without it. 


This is why I wanted to share my favourite gluten-free (gf) flours with you today because you've likely noticed that's pretty much all I use in recipes here and in my three cookbooks. I definitely lean towards more paleo baking and less grain-based gf flours but I still use them from time to time. 

Here are my 6 favourite gluten-free baking staples and some recipes you can enjoy them in!

gluten-free baking staples

Buckwheat flour 

It has a distinct nutty flavour but it can be used in many recipes. I love baking Banana bread, my famous Blueberry Pancakes from Joyous Detox, Crackers, and loaves with buckwheat flour. I prefer "light" buckwheat flour because it has a lighter flavour but if you've got a lot of flavourful ingredients the "dark" flour will work too. It's typically a 1:1 ratio with whole wheat.

Almond Flour

almond flour cake

It's a pricey flour, but it's one of my absolute favourites. Almond flour makes grain-free baking a breeze, plus it's loaded with fibre, healthy fats, protein, and lots of flavour! I love making Pumpkin Chocolate Chip CookiesGluten-Free Pizza, the Almond Flour Cake which is pictured in the photo above (a McJordan family favourite) and of course, a joyous reader fave is the Hearty Hemp Flatbread. Last but not least are the Double Chocolate Cookies - pure heaven!

Rolled Oats And Oat Flour

baked pancakes

Buy certified "gluten-free" if you want to be sure it's GF but be aware that if you have a severe gluten intolerance/sensitivity there can be cross-reactivity with oat products. From bagels to cookies and everything in between Oat Flour is a versatile gluten-free flour and it's packed with fibre. Make your own oat flour by blitzing rolled oats in a blender or food processor. Oat flour is usually a 1:1 ratio with whole wheat.

The photo above is my Baked Pancakes with Almond Butter Blueberry Swirl - a weekend favourite. You'll find oat flour in these delightful Breakfast Muffins that are hearty and delicious. 

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour can be tricky to work with because it's super absorbent but it's a must-have for grain-free baking. Just remember to stick to a recipe if you haven't used it before like my most popular recipe from 2020 - this Chocolate Chip Banana Bread which was originally featured in my Little Food Lovers free ebook. Also, this Apple Spice Walnut CakePumpkin Spice Cake and Coconut Banana Muffins are all amazing!

Brown Rice Flour

Before I became super comfortable with coconut flour, brown rice flour was my go-to gluten-free flour. I still like it, but I don't use it as much. Brown rice flour has a great texture but it definitely can impart at "rice-ish" taste. This is why all the spices in these Carrot Cake Cookies do a wonderful job of hiding any rice flavour. This Strawberry Banana Cake and these Chocolate Chip Cookies that are perfect for ice cream sandwiches are a must-try!

Tapioca or Arrowroot Starch

Savoury Galette

These grain-free flours are essential for your gluten-free pantry. I love using these flours interchangeably in pizza crust, cookies, bagels, breads, and to thicken sauces. You'll find tapioca in my famous Galette recipes both here on the blog and in my cookbooks, as well as these wonderful Cinnamon Raisin Paleo Bagels. Tapioca and arrowroot starch and flour are the same thing and the word is used interchangeably. 


A final note I wanted to make about flours is that not all brands are created equal and this can make things a little tricky when you are new to GF baking. On the weekend I made a recipe with tapioca flour I bought at a bulk store. It was a recipe I've made at least 10 times and the taste was atrocious! I had to throw the whole thing out.

Brands that I've found to be reliable and consistent are: Bob's Red Mill (I don't like their buckwheat flour though because it's dark, as mentioned above), Cuisine Soleil, One Degree Organics and a new favourite is Anita's Organic Mill - best oat flour!! 

And finally, I also have a flour substitution chart you can check out here. It is not foolproof and will require a bit of tweaking. 

I hope you found all this information helpful. Happy GF baking my friend!

Joy xo

Nima   •   February 20, 2021

This post was quite helpful! Thanks for sharing šŸ™šŸ¤—

Joy McCarthy   •   February 20, 2021

Brenda H.   •   February 25, 2021

Iā€™m excited about gluten free baking. Iā€™m wanting to order all 3 of your cookbooks but one is currently sold out. Can I be notified when they are all available so I can qualify for free shipping :) Also what flour do you recommend for making bread. I previously used organic wheat flour but want to use a gluten free flour. Thank you for your time Brenda

Joy McCarthy   •   March 1, 2021

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