My Best Gluten Free Dessert Recipes | GF Sweets and Treats + Tips and FAQs (2024)

Since most cooking is naturally gluten free, on this blog I try to stick to what you're probably missing most: gluten free baking. If you ask me, that's all the good stuff: cookies, bars, cakes, pastries, breads.

If you're brand new to gluten free baking, click through for our beginner's guide. But if you're ready for a deep dive in how to make all your favorite classic gluten free desserts, well then what are we waiting for? Let's get started!

My Best Gluten Free Dessert Recipes | GF Sweets and Treats + Tips and FAQs (1)

What's special about this guide to 30 of my best gluten free desserts

This guide has everything you need to know about baking (and no-baking) all of your favorite gluten free desserts. We talk all about common gluten free desserts ingredients, helpful tips to keep in mind as you read through a recipe, then answers to all the questions that get asked again and again.

Then, there's everything from creamy, delicious no bake desserts like creamy cheesecake with a touch of gelatin, every flavor of gf bar (classic brownies, blondies, lemon brownies!), and of course all the classic cookies (chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal, sugar) to all the best bakery-quality cakes (vanilla, lemon, chocolate, carrot), pies, crisps, and pastries, and all the best sweet quick breads like everyone's favorite, gf banana bread.

Helpful tips for making the best gluten free desserts

It's easy for me to say that you should just follow my gluten free desserts recipes carefully, and you'll never go wrong. But we all have our own, unconscious habits in the kitchen, and many of them just don't work when you're baking gluten free.

This list of tips will help set you up for early success, so you're inspired to keep baking along!

Choosing the right gluten free flour blend

There are two main differences between gluten free baking recipes and conventional baking recipes: the type of flour you use, and the way the other recipe ingredients are balanced. The remaining ingredients are usually just what you'd expect (often the usual butter, sugar, eggs, milk), but in different proportions.

I take care of balancing the recipe properly, but you have to select your all purpose gluten free flour blend carefully. I have a few favorite store-bought blends, plus DIY recipes for building your own blends that are just as good.

Click through to our comprehensive guide to all purpose gluten free flour blends, read it carefully, and you'll be set up for success! That post is so important that it's linked in every recipe that calls for a gluten free flour blend, and it's right there at the top of the homepage!

Always double-check product labels

Once you've picked a great gf flour blend, the other ingredients should all be pretty familiar. You'll still need to read those product labels carefully to ensure that there's no hidden gluten in even those most familiar ingredients, like cookie mix-ins or food colorings.

Keep the kitchen scale handy

Every gluten free desserts recipe on this blog works best when you measure as many ingredients as possible by weight, not volume. Volume measurements are inherently unreliable, since the cup sizes aren't standardized and human error is unavoidable.

If you're worried about making a big investment, rest assured that you can get a really durable, reliable digital kitchen scale for about $20. Escali is a great brand (that's an affiliate link; shop around!).

Follow those gluten free dessert recipes carefully

We're all tempted to jump right in and start following the first instruction (baking is super exciting!), but slow down and read the whole recipe all the way through before you begin. Then, gather your ingredients and begin.

Be mindful of ingredient temperatures

In almost all baking, your ingredients should be at room temperature (pastry is the exception). If even one ingredient that is meant to be at room temperature is cold, when you mix it in with the others, it will cause other ingredients to clump.

When ingredients clump, they won't combine properly. For example, if the recipe calls for eggs and butter at room temperature, and your butter is softened, but your eggs are cold, take a few minutes to float those eggs in warm water, so your ingredients blend as intended.

Always use an oven thermometer

Most ovens drift out of proper calibration all the time, so what reads on the dial as, say, 350°F might actually be 375°F or even higher. (In rare cases, ovens run cold.) The quickest, easiest solution to this simple, but important, problem is to use a simple analog oven thermometer to gauge oven temperature, and replace it often.

Check doneness in the manner directed in the recipe

Baking times in gluten free desserts recipes are always approximate. Pay more attention to how the recipe describes doneness than to the baking time the recipe specifies.

There are so many factors that influence how quickly something bakes, from ingredient substitutions to whether your oven has hot spots and/or holds a consistent, reliable temperature.

Always read the recipe instructions carefully, all the way to the end, and take special note of the particular test for doneness that the recipe says is most reliable. Here are some basic guidelines, though by gf dessert type.

When are gf cookies done?

Some gf desserts recipes, like gf cookies especially, are done when they look set in the center (they won't glisten like they're wet) and have browned, especially on the edges.

When are gf cakes, gf brownies and bars, and other gf quickbreads done?

Something that bakes in a square or rectangular pan, and is then portioned by cutting, is usually done when a cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, but no loose or wet batter.

Some cakes are so moist that that test just isn't reliable, so doneness is best judged by waiting for the cake to pull away from the sides of the pan and the gf dessert springs back when pressed gently in the center with your fingertip.

When is gf pastry done?

When making gluten free pie crusts, we will often parbake, or half-bake, the bare crust before we fill it. That ensures that the bottom of the crust is never soggy, and will hold the filling. Some fillings are different, and the crust bakes right along with the filling from start to finish. Just follow the recipe instructions.

Sweet, individual pastries, like crullers, sweet drop biscuits, and cream puffs, are usually done when they are lightly golden brown all over and firm to the (gentle) touch.

Common gluten free dessert ingredients

Other than the all purpose gluten free flour blend, gluten free desserts call for most of the same ingredients as conventional baking. Here are a few examples, and what to keep in mind as you shop.

Gluten free oats

In the United States, we can purchase what are called “purity protocol” certified gluten free oats. They're great for gluten free baking, both savory and sweet, and my family eats them often.

If you're not comfortable using them for any reason, I have a whole guide on how to substitute oats in gluten free recipes that call for them, so you don't have to miss anything.


Chocolate is just as big in baking gluten free desserts as it is in conventional desserts. Just be careful to source chocolate that is safely gluten free, without additives or contamination that might make it unsafe.

For example, stay away from Wilton brand candy melts, which the company says may be contaminated with gluten-containing ingredients. Always check the product's label, and contact the company directly if you're at all unsure.

Cocoa powder

Some recipes call for Dutch-processed cocoa powder, which is treated to be less acidic. Others call for natural cocoa powder which is more acidic and usually has a less rich flavor. Both should be gluten free, unless there's the potential for cross-contamination in manufacturing, so check labels.

If a recipe specifies one type of cocoa powder over the other, that means the recipe needs more or less acid. Stick to the recipe, which also may say either type is fine.


All of my gluten free desserts recipes call for unsalted butter, except for our gluten free sablé cookies, which are made with salted French butter. Unsalted butter is common in all sorts of baking as it allows us to control the amount of salt in the recipe, as a separate ingredient.


If a recipe calls for milk as a liquid, I always suggest staying away from anything nonfat. Nonfat cow's milk has no richness, and won't add anything to your recipe. Whole milk is usually best, unless lowfat is specified.


Most of my baking recipes call for two main types of refined sugars: granulated sugar, which is also called “white” sugar, and light brown sugar, to which some molasses has been added.

My Paleo recipes, by definition, avoid all refined sugars, so they use unrefined sugars like honey, maple syrup, and granulated coconut palm sugar.

Nut butters

Nut butters like almond butter and peanut butter make great bases for baking sweets. I always bake with smooth (not crunchy) nut butters that are “no-stir,” meaning that the oil doesn't separate in the jar. They combine smoothly with other ingredients in your baked goods.


Most cooking oils with a neutral flavor, like grapeseed, canola, vegetable, and peanut oils, are interchangeable in baking. Oils with a strong aroma, like olive oil or avocado oil, will compete with the other flavors in your baked goods, so I suggest avoiding them.

Substituting gluten free dessert ingredients

Many of my gluten free desserts recipes contain other allergens like dairy and eggs. If you have to avoid these other allergens, don't forget to seek out the “Ingredients and substitutions” section of each post, where I provide suggestions on how to substitute those allergens in that particular recipe.

If an allergen-friendly substitution is really not possible, I'll tell you that, too. Here are some of the most common additional allergens and how I usually suggest trying to replace them—but for the most reliable recipe-specific advice, please see that particular post!

Dairy free, gluten free desserts

Dairy is in most conventional desserts, so it's also in most gluten free desserts. Some dairy ingredients are easier to replace than others. Here's a general overview.


In place of milk in baking, you can almost always use an unsweetened nondairy milk, particularly one with some fat. My favorite nondairy milk for baking is unsweetened almond milk. Canned coconut milk is only appropriate as a substitution for heavy whipped cream, not milk, as it's very, very thick.


In place of butter, if you're avoiding dairy, you can usually use vegan butter in my recipes. My favorite brands are Melt and Miyoko's Kitchen.

If vegan butter isn't available, you can often use virgin coconut oil (the kind that's solid at cool room temperature, which you can tell because it's white, not clear). Spectrum brand nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening is also often a good butter replacement, but it has very little moisture, unlike butter, so cookies spread less.

Vegan, gluten free desserts


To make your gluten free desserts more vegan friendly, you can often follow the suggestions for replacing the dairy in the recipe, and replace each egg with one “chia egg.” Each chia egg is made by combining 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds with 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, and allowing it to gel.

Some people really like to use “flax eggs,” which are made by boiling flax seeds and then straining out the seed particles after they create a gel. They have a relatively strong flavor, and the process isn't easy, so I prefer “chia eggs.”

Egg whites can often be replaced with aquafaba, which is the brine from a can of chickpeas. You can also purchase aquafaba powder on Amazon, but it's pretty expensive.

Refined sugars

Many refined sugars, like granulated sugar and brown sugar, are not appropriate on a strict vegan diet, as they're often processed with bone char. For full information, please see My Darling Vegan's vegan sugar discussion.

My All-Time Best Gluten Free Dessert Recipes

There are hundreds of gluten free desserts recipes here on the blog, and I love them all, or I would never share them with you!

But here we're highlighting 30 of my favorite gf desserts. There are 5 recipes from each of 6 different gf dessert categories

  • No bake gluten free desserts
  • Gluten free cookies
  • Gluten free brownies and bars
  • Gluten free cakes
  • Gluten free pies/pastries/crumbles
  • Gluten free sweet quick bread loaves

5 of my best no bake gluten free desserts

This recipe collection doesn't include even most of my no bake recipeshere on the blog, which is actually over 40 recipes strong. But these are the 5 no bake recipes that are easy wins for hot days, or when you just can't be bothered!

The Easiest No Bake Cheesecake with Gelatin | Simple GF Cookie Crust

This is the easiest no bake cheesecake recipe you’ll ever find, and it always sets up quickly. A plain vanilla cheesecake made with cream cheese, sour cream and a touch of gelatin, it’s quite simply perfect.

Click for the recipe

Healthy Fudgesicles Recipe | How To Make It With Just 4 Ingredients

This fudgesicles recipe is made with just 4 healthy ingredients, and couldn’t be easier. Put the ice cream truck to shame this summer. Any ice pop mold will do, and even a paper cup and a stick work in a pinch!

Click for the recipe

No Bake Oatmeal Cookies Without Peanut Butter | The Only Foolproof Recipe

No bake oatmeal cookies are the classic chocolate no bake cookie you remember, made with or without peanut butter—even with or without oats. Naturally gluten free. This is how to make perfect gluten free cookies, whether you can bake … or not!

Click for the recipe

Peanut Butter No Bake Bars | Easy, Delicious, Gluten Free

Satisfy your sweet tooth the easy way with this smooth, creamy peanut butter no bake bars recipe. Add the almost-instant rich chocolate ganache topping, and they taste just like a peanut butter cup!
When you want a little something sweet without turning on the oven, these bars are the perfect treat—any month of the year. Plus, these naturally gluten free bars keep for ages in the freezer!

Click for the recipe

Foolproof Gluten Free Marshmallow Fudge Recipe With Easy Homemade Fluff

This gluten free fudge recipe is smooth as silk, with tons of rich chocolate flavor. The sugary sweetness is balanced with just the right amount of buttery flavor and rich, melted chocolate.
Serve it chilled until cold, or at cool room temperature for the type of fudge you can really sink your teeth into!

Click for the recipe

5 classic gluten free cookies recipes

We have many, many gluten free cookies recipes here on the blog, but these are the 5 types of cookies that I return to again and again. They're classic desserts for a reason!

Best Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Recipe | Cut Out Cookies for Celebrations!

These soft gluten free cut out sugar cookies with a meringue-type frosting are in a class by themselves.

They’ll hold any shape you like, and they’re absolutely scrumptious with that thick layer of buttercream frosting.

Click for the recipe

Thick & Chewy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

These classic gluten free chocolate chip cookies are deliciously rich and thick, with slightly crisp brown edges and the perfect chewy center. They really are the best you'll find!

Click for the recipe

Classic Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies | Thick & Chewy

These classic gluten free oatmeal cookies recipe makes big, satisfying with that gorgeous chew that no one can resist!

Make them with chocolate chips, or more traditional raisins. Just make them!

Click for the recipe

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Monster Cookies | No Rice Flour

These big, beautiful monster cookies are naturally gluten free, made without any all purpose flour of any kind. Packed with chocolate pieces and chocolate chips, and plenty of peanut butter, they really satisfy!

Click for the recipe

Plain Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies | Naturally Gluten Free

These plain flourless peanut butter cookies are made simply with just 5 regular pantry ingredients, and have that crispy outside and soft and chewy inside.

Use a sugar substitute, and they’re an amazing low-carb cookie!

Click for the recipe

5 of the best gluten free brownies and bars recipes

I'm partial to cookies, but these gluten free bar desserts are a win for the baker and the eaters alike. One pan, no real shaping, and every texture imaginable!

Chewy Gluten Free Brownies | Decadent, Delicious, and Super Easy Recipe!

These are the ideal gluten free brownies: made with lots of cocoa powder, very little gf flour, and have that crinkly top no one can resist.

Ditch that box and make it better from scratch!

Click for the recipe

Black Bean Brownies – No Flour and they’re so GOOD!

Black bean brownies are a special kind of flourless gluten free brownie, and this amazing recipe doesn’t taste like beans at all. Tasting is believing!

Click for the recipe

3 Ingredient Nutella Brownies | Grain-free, and naturally gluten free

These chewy, rich Nutella brownies are naturally gluten freeand are truly made with just 3 simple ingredients: Nutella hazelnut spread, eggs, almond flour.

They even have that crinkly top of the best brownies!

Click for the recipe

The Best Gluten Free Lemon Brownies | Lemonies

The best gluten free lemon brownies have tons of bright lemon flavor, with or without a simple lemon glaze, and are chewy and light.

All the lemon flavor you can imagine, with all the texture of the best chewy brownies!

Click for the recipe

Gluten Free Blondies (Applebee’s copycat) | Maple Butter Sauce

This recipe for classic thick and chewy gluten free blondies has that rich butterscotch flavor you expect in a blonde brownie.

Imagine what it’s like if you add maple butter sauce on top of a scoop of vanilla…

Click for the recipe

The 5 gluten free cake recipes you absolutely need

According to my children, it's not a celebration without cake. We each have our favorite flavor (mine's vanilla, my husband's is chocolate, the kids all differ), but all the classics await you right here.

The Very Best Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Recipe | Gluten Free on a Shoestring

Celebrate birthdays, special occasions, and everyday moments with this light and airy gluten free vanilla cake recipe. No one will guess this is a gluten free cake!

Click for the recipe

The Best Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Recipe | Just One Bowl!

This easy gluten free chocolate cake is rich, dense and fudgy, and it’s all made in just one bowl. Make a double layer or single, with the simplest chocolate ganache frosting.

Click for the recipe

Fluffy, Tender, and Easy Gluten Free Carrot Cake (or Cupcakes!)

Enjoy gluten free carrot cake (or cupcakes!) all year long with this easy recipe. You'll love this perfectly spiced gf carrot cake and tangy cream cheese frosting.

Click for the recipe

Gluten Free Angel Food Cake | Impossibly Light, Fluffy, and Delicious!

The ultimate light and airy vanilla cake, this gluten free angel food cake is made with the simplest ingredients, in just the right amounts. Let me show you how to make the perfect fluffy white cake for serving with berries and cream, or chopping up for a trifle!

Click for the recipe

Gluten Free Lemon Cake | Olive Garden Copycat | GF Shoestring

Tender gluten free lemon cake with smooth and fluffy lemon cream topping. Wait until you taste it, bursting with lemon flavor.

You’ll have dreams of everyone’s favorite Olive Garden cake!

Click for the recipe

5 amazing gluten free pies, pastries, and crumbles

Start with the very best, extra flaky gluten free pie crust, and the sky's the limit for gf pie fillings. If fruity crumbles and crisps are your thing, we've got that, too. Plus all sorts of sweet pastries like crullers and cream puffs from one simple but special French gf pastry dough.

Gluten Free Dutch Apple Pie. Great Gluten Free Recipes

Gluten free Dutch apple pie, made with a simple pie crust on the bottom, filled with 2 pounds of apples and topped with a warm crumble topping.

Click for the recipe

How to make Gluten Free Choux Pastry | pâte à choux

Gluten free choux pastry is a classic French pastry made by cooking butter, milk, and flour into a paste, then adding eggs. Bake or fry the dough into classic cream puffs, éclairs, profiteroles, or even crullers.

Click for the recipe

Easy Gluten Free Apple Crisp Recipe | Simple, Delicious GF Fruit Crisp

A combination of warm spices, brown sugar, big chunks of tender apples and extra crisp topping make the best gluten free apple crisp.

Click for the recipe

Classic Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie (or Sweet Potato Pie)

Smooth, creamy and rich, this classic recipe for gluten free pumpkin pie is the very best way to dress up your holiday table.Make it with a pumpkin filling, or even as a sweet potato pie.

Click for the recipe

The Perfect Gluten Free Pecan Pie Recipe | Easy and Delish!

This classic gluten free pecan pie recipe combines the perfect sweet, salty, and nutty tastes, all in an impossibly flaky gf pie crust that browns and never burns. You won’t believe how easy the filling is to make—all without corn syrup!

Stash some slices in the freezer and defrost at room temperature for a little treat any time!

Click for the recipe

Classic recipes for 5 sweet gluten free quick breads

Quick breads are the most versatile of sweet baked goods, since you can serve them for breakfast without a second thought. You're not going to make a sandwich on any of these breads (savory gf breads are a different story entirely), but you won't mind…

Easy Gluten Free Banana Bread | So Moist and Delicious!

Impress everyone with this easy gluten free banana bread recipe. It takes just one bowl to make a gf banana bread everyone will love!

Click for the recipe

Gluten Free Zucchini Bread | The perfect classic loaf

Incredibly moist and tender gluten free zucchini bread, made with tons of summer’s pushiest vegetable. Even your vegetable-haters will love this sweet bread!

Click for the recipe

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Yogurt Quick Bread | The Perfect Loaf

This super simple recipe for chocolate chip yogurt gluten free quick bread always makes a perfectly moist and tender loaf.

The yogurt keeps it extra tender, and no one can say no to mini chocolate chips.

Click for the recipe

Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Bread | impossibly tender

This gluten free blueberry muffin bread is a tender and rich quick bread made with sour cream, packed with fresh blueberries. Crumble topping (sort of) optional!

Click for the recipe

Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread | Lightly sweet, classic Irish-American quick bread

This authentic-tasting gluten free Irish soda bread, rises with baking soda and buttermilk, but without any yeast.

A classic Irish-American bread, now made gluten free!

Click for the recipe

FAQs about gluten free desserts

What are naturally gluten free desserts?

Naturally gluten free desserts are desserts that, in their most basic form, are regularly made without any gluten-containing ingredients. An example is our recipe for classic flourless peanut butter cookies, which are made with granulated sugar, peanut butter, egg, baking powder, and salt.

Do gluten free desserts taste different?

No! Gluten free desserts should taste like you'd expect the best version of that dessert to taste—no exceptions. Gluten free baked goods that are made with gritty rice flour blends and are just “good, for gluten free” are just not good enough.

What is xanthan gum, and do I need it?

Xanthan gum is a common food additive. It's a carbohydrate made up of a number of sugar molecules bound together, and is used to bind foods together.

Yes, you need xanthan gum for most gluten free baked goods, as it helps them hold together as you'd expect, and helps keep gluten free baked goods from going stale more quickly than they should.

What are some healthy gluten free desserts?

I don't usually concentrate on “healthy” gluten free desserts, but if you'd like to avoid high calorie baked goods, you can check out our WW-friendly gluten free recipes. I also love our healthy Paleo chocolate mousse, and our chocolate chia pudding.

What are some quick and easy gluten free dessert recipes?

If you're looking for easy gf desserts, there are many simple gluten free desserts recipes on the blog that only call for 3 and 4 ingredients. Here are some examples:

  • Homemade 3 ingredient no churn vanilla ice cream (naturally GF, no special ingredients)
  • Super simple 4 ingredient gf pudding mix (chocolate or vanilla)
  • Simple chocolate chip gf cookie breakup (made with butter, sugar, gf flour, and chocolate chips in a sheet pan)
  • Gf vanilla mug cake (or gf chocolate mug cake (made in the microwave. enough said?)

What are some gluten free treats that kids love?

Kids love anything they can eat with their fingers. The classic gluten free cookies that we talked about above are the most fun treat, and the first thing to go at a party (even if there are fancy desserts being served!).

Aside from gf cookies, you can't go wrong with gluten free vanilla cupcakes. Add some funfetti to make it extra special, with no added effort.

What are some unique gluten free desserts ideas?

If you're looking for something a little unexpected that's still a surefire crowd pleaser, go with gluten free strawberry cupcakes. For that ‘wow' factor, gluten free marble bundt cake is a winner.

The easiest way to get to wow? Gluten free chocolate lava cakes. No question!

What are the best gluten free chocolate chips?

My favorite gluten free chocolate chips are made by Enjoy Life brand, since they're very high quality, come in a mini chocolate chips variety, and are appropriate for almost any dietary restrictions (they're top 8 free).

For melted chocolate, I don't like using chips since they contain wax to help them keep their shape even when heated. The best all-around chocolate to use for melting or for breaking into rough chocolate pieces as a mix-in is Ghirardelli dark chocolate wafers.

What's the best way to store gluten free desserts?

Crispy gluten free desserts should always be stored in a sealed glass container at room temperature. That's the only way they'll maintain their texture (plastic will make them absorb moisture).

I rarely, if ever, store cake in the refrigerator, or really any baked goods, since it tends to dry out baked goods. If I make a cake even one day before I plan to frost and serve it, I wrap it tightly in freezer-safe wrap (Glad Press ‘n' Seal is great) and freeze it. Defrost at room temperature, still covered.

This post was originally published in 2013, modified in 2017, and made even better in 2022. Most everything has been changed because the blog has grown a lot since then!

My Best Gluten Free Dessert Recipes | GF Sweets and Treats + Tips and FAQs (2024)
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