Reader Recipe Favorites: 12 Best Gluten-Free Breads to Bake
Those of us on a gluten-free diet don’t have to miss out on that basic meal staple, bread. Check out our 12 best gluten-free bread recipes, as ranked by our readers.
[Updated June 22, 2015]
Humans have been making it a practice to “break bread” at meals for tens of thousands of years. Vegetal food processing and possibly the production of flour, in fact, may date to 30,000 years ago, according to a study conducted by the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.
Of course, if you’re on a gluten-free diet, including bread in your meals can be a bit more challenging than picking up a traditional loaf at a local bakery. But with just a little extra time—and the right recipe—you’ll be enjoying gluten-free bread whenever you want.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our readers’ 12 favorite gluten-free bread recipes. To give you some variety, we’ve included related items like tortillas, rolls, and baguettes.
In need of an easy and flavorful bread type for sandwiches? This recipe for Italian flatbread will work, and can be made with dairy and egg replacements. Each serving of two slices has 335 calories.
One reader’s comment (and question): “I would love to try this for my son, since he can never have garlic bread when I do (he’s 14 and the only gluten-free person in our house). I do have a question, though: Can I use a GF multi-purpose flour in place of all the individual flours? And would it change the amount, or should I just add up the individual measurements to make 1 measurement for the multi-purpose flour?”
Our always-helpful food editor, Beth Hillson, replied, “The answer is ‘yes.’ Measure out an equal amount of your multi-purpose flour—in this case, 1 3/4 cups—and proceed with the remaining ingredients and steps in this recipe.”
Author Nicole Hunn tells you how to create quick and simple gluten-free tortillas in this excerpt from her book Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. They’re best used, she notes, when still warm. Ingredients include all-purpose gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, kosher salt, and vegetable oil, plus water. Hunn's recipe produces six tortillas, each providing 2 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber.
This light-textured everyday bread is ideal for breakfast toast and lunch sandwiches. With a mixer, you’ll be able to knock off the recipe in a few minutes. Each slice of bread you’ll get out of this one-loaf recipe has 1 gram of fiber. Note that it includes variation recipes for Sesame Bread and Granola Bread.
“This bread is delicious,” raved one reader who tried our recipe for this sweet oatmeal bread flavored with maple syrup (or, as an option, amber agave nectar). “It will be a family favorite in our house,” she predicted.
Another reader was equally complimentary: “This is the best gluten-free yeast bread I’ve ever made. I’ve just made it for the second time with a few minor changes. I don’t use potato flour so I used arrowroot; I used guar gum instead of xantham gum; and I used half butter and half beef tallow. I also put everything in my bread-maker until it all mixed (with some help because of the large amount we’re working with) and then put it in pans.”
Author Mary Capone serves up a recipe for 36 Parker House rolls—“tender on the inside with a nice, crunchy shell”—and also offers a variation with an egg replacement. One reader wrote, “I made these last night, and my 27-year-old non-gluten-free son said, ‘These are really good!’—and ate about six of them.”
The same reader noted that she improvised half of her batch to make cinnamon rolls. “I just sprinkled brown sugar and cinnamon onto the rolled out sections and dotted with a small amount of butter, rolled it up from the long edge, placed them in a square pan with sides touching, let them rise with the other rolls, and baked all together. Easy—and delicious!”
You’ll be able to “slice and feast,” as our author wrote, within two hours of starting this gluten-free baguette bread recipe. “I’m a baking-challenged, mostly-just-cook type,” one reader noted, asking, “What do you recommend doing in place of a mixer (I don’t have one): by hand, or with a blender or Cuisinart?”
Food editor Beth Hillson responded, “I'm glad you like the recipe. I would use a Cuisinart food processor rather than trying to mix this by hand or with a blender. If you ever decide to buy a mixer, KitchenAid has hand-held mixers that are easy to handle and store and are full of power (200 to 250 watts). The price tag is between $60 and $75 and worth every penny.”
Another reader asked, “Do you think that active dry yeast would work for this recipe? Again, Hillson offered a detailed response: “Instant active dry yeast and active dry yeast work similarly with gluten-free breads. Neither requires proofing (adding to warm water to activate). I add either to the dry ingredients just before adding liquids. I do not use rapid rise yeast as it is a bit too energetic and looses its punch too soon.”
This one, courtesy of Rebecca Reilly, is a cinch: With eight ingredients and five steps, you’ll have an 8-inch round loaf of old-fashioned Irish bread in 30 to 35 minutes.
Love your buttermilk biscuits flaky and light? Author Robert Landolphi put together a 13-ingredient, four-step recipe that makes 12 biscuits for his book Gluten Free Every Day Cookbook, and offered it to our readers in a special excerpt.
This 15- to 20-minute (baking time) recipe produces 24 light croissants perfect to enjoy with a fruit spread. The recipe’s "Comments" section includes a number of questions about substitutions with helpful answers from food editor Beth Hillson. For example, she explains how you can “replace the recipe’s chickpea flour with the same amount of millet, quinoa or amaranth flour—basically any high-protein flour.”
Egg substitution? “That’s a tougher issue—literally,” Hillson writes. “Eggs tenderize this dough, and help create lift and elasticity at the same time. You could try to add flax gel (1 tablespoon of flax meal plus 3 tablespoons of hot water per egg) and add 2 teaspoons of baking powder to the flax gel. Because this sits for a while, the leavening power of the baking poser will be diminished, but should help some.”
Pita bread is a worthy alternative for sandwiches and perfect for dipping. Our recipe notes that you can freeze it (using freezer bags) for up to a month. “I keep coming back to this recipe,” one reader wrote. “I've increased some flours and decreased others to my liking, along with replacing the egg with Ener-G Egg Replacer. All the breads turn out great.” Click here for directions to our low-calorie (140 per serving) pita bread.
Author Niole Hunn offers this popular gluten-free—and, if you want, dairy-free (see link on page for sourdough starter)—from her book Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. The recipe calls for one loaf; each serving (one slice) contains 170 calories.
This popular recipe for Quinoa Banana Bread comes from actress Danica McKellar, a main character on the long-running TV series The Wonder Years. (She played the girlfriend of star Fred Savage; see photo.) Our readers flipped over this unique mix; some even tried substitutions or modifications, as you’ll read in the "Comments" section.
One reader, for instance, said she added “some gluten-free vanilla extract and a bit of cinnamon,” and it worked well. “I will make it again,” she noted. “I like that it is low in calories yet very moist.”
P.S.: Danica McKellar was the subject of an exclusive interview with Bonnie Siegler in our October/November 2010 issue.
P.P.S.: For newcomers, note that quinoa is pronounced “keen-wa.”
Compiled by Larry Canale. Original recipe authors noted above.