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How to Make Almost Any Recipe Gluten Free

 

How to Make Almost Any Recipe Gluten Free! (It’s easier than you think!) 

How to Make Almost Any Recipe

Going on a gluten-free diet can be overwhelming! It certainly was for me. It seemed like it was a huge challenge recreating our favorite dishes and making them into a gluten free version.

This post is for you, if:

  • You are not gluten free but are trying to cook for someone who is.
  • You are overwhelmed with cooking gluten free.
  • You miss your favorite recipes and aren’t sure how to make them gluten free.
  • You won’t try a new recipe unless all the ingredients are specifically gluten free. 

Getting Started

The most important step to gluten free cooking is to find a gluten free flour mixture that you love and works well as a substitute for regular wheat flour. Check out this post for 5 different gluten-free flour blends. My favorite is the first one listed in that post! Of course, these days it’s easy to go out and buy a gluten free blend from almost any grocery store, you just might pay a little bit extra.

diy gf flour

Another important step is to make sure that the ingredients you are going to use actually ARE gluten free. Reading labels and knowing terminology is extremely important. 

Even though listed ingredients themselves are gluten-free, it doesn’t mean that the whole product is truly gluten-free. Many times the product becomes contaminated during the packaging process. (For example, bacon may itself be gluten free but when packaging the bacon the factory may use a dusting of flour to keep the plastic from sticking to the bacon. Therefore, the gluten free bacon is no longer gluten free). 

Many more brands are starting to label their products certified gluten-free, which is extremely helpful. Never be afraid to contact a company regarding their products. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Most companies are very good about answering questions.

For more on this topic read my post, Gluten Free 101.

Gluten Free 101

Another post on this topic is Gluten Free Diet: What’s Allowed, What’s Not. 

gluten free diet

Baking

Simple Solution: Use 1:1 ratio of gluten free flour blend plus xanthan, guar gum or any binding agent (see a full list here).

When baking you can usually substitute a gluten free flour blend for regular flour in a 1:1 ratio. Just be sure to add a thickener, such as a xanthan gum or guar gum. If there isn’t one included in the blend you can add this separately, (it only takes a small amount). These binding agents prevent your food from turning into a pile of tiny crumbs. This is especially true for cookies, bars, cakes, muffins, pies, etc…

Check out all of our gluten free desserts under our Desserts and Snacks page.

Sauces/Soup

Simple Solution: Use corn starch, potato starch or rice starch as a thickener instead of flour. 

If you are making a sauce or soup from scratch and the recipe calls for flour as a thickener the easiest way to change this recipe to a gluten free one is by using corn starch instead. Corn starch can substitute for flour in a 1:2 ratio (example: recipe calls for 1/2 C flour, use 1/4 C corn starch instead). If corn bothers you or you don’t have any you can also use rice starch or potato starch. 

Check out my Made from Scratch Spaghetti Sauce which is naturally gluten free! 

gluten free spaghetti

Check out these delicious gluten free SOUP recipes soup roundup1_edited-1

Pasta

Simple Solution: Use gluten free pasta. 

My family avoided pasta all together for a long time. Thankfully, in the 3 years we have been gluten free, many more delicious gluten free pasta options are available. Cooking gluten free pasta from a package is the same as cooking regular pasta. It may take a few extra minutes to cook; be sure to read the directions. You will want to be careful not to overcook it because it can easily turn to mush. After the pasta is finished cooking, strain it immediately, and rinse with cold water to prevent it from getting clumpy. Now just make sure your sauce is gluten free (see above). 

 

Check out this recipe for Spaghetti Pie, all I did to make it gluten free was use gluten free noodles.

spaghetti pie 2

Breads

Unfortunately, this is where it gets tricky. You can’t just substitute gluten free flour for normal flour. Gluten is what makes bread awesome. Gluten makes bread fluffy, soft, and elastic. When you remove the gluten then the bread turns into a brick. There is a fine science to making awesome gluten free bread and you really do need a specific gluten free recipe for a loaf of bread. 

Check out this recipe for GF Cinnamon Raisin Bread that is made in a bread machine! 

gluten free bread made in bread machine

There is an exception! Most non-yeast loaves of bread are easy to convert. Take these: Old Fashioned Praline Apple Bread and Cream Cheese Zucchini Bread. These recipes were originally made with wheat flour. The only thing my mom did differently when she made them was that she used a gluten free flour blend and a binding agent. 

Praline Apple Bread

Cream Cheese Zucchini Bread

gluten free zucchini bread

So how can you tell when you can use gluten-free flour as a substitute and when you can’t? If a recipe calls for yeast it’s probably best to avoid trying to change it and go find a gluten free specific recipe. If a there is some sort of stabilizer to it that will keep it moist (such as, cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt, applesauce, mashed banana, etc.) it is probably safe to attempt to substitute gluten free flour for normal flour. After trying a few recipes you’ll get a better feel for what works and what doesn’t! 

Casseroles

A lot of casseroles call for a cream soup, such as chicken, mushroom, celery. I used to avoid these recipes altogether since these canned soups contain gluten. Over time I’ve figured out how to my own homemade gluten-free cream soups. This has opened up my world to casseroles once again. It might seem intimidating at first but this homemade soup is very easy. Once I became comfortable making creamed soups I can easily whip up a batch in just a few minutes. 

You can buy gluten-free creamed soups, however, they will probably be very expensive and they won’t be as healthy as a homemade version. 

Cream of Chicken soup
(I’ve made this so often I don’t even measure anymore, these measurements are estimates)

  • 1 Cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1/2-3/4 C half and half (or whole milk)
  • 2-4 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 clove crushed garlic (garlic powder can be substituted)
  • Parsley (fresh or dried) 
  • salt and pepper 

Directions: 

  • Heat chicken broth over medium heat in a saucepan.
  • Mix cornstarch and half-and-half and stir well.
  • Add half and half mixture to chicken broth and stir until slightly thick and bubbly.
  • Add seasonings.
  • Remove from heat. 

Optional: Add small pieces of diced chicken for cream of chicken; small pieces of mushrooms for cream of mushroom; chopped pieces of celery for cream of celery. 

If your casserole calls for noodles you can easily substitute rice to make it gluten free. Cook your rice before adding it to the casserole. My family does this all the time! 

Check out this Upside Down Chicken Pot Pie 

chicken pot pie gluten freeA Few More Tips for Random Recipes! 

Meatloaf: my meatloaf recipes calls for bread crumbs. I substitute gluten free organic oatmeal for the breadcrumbs and it turns out AMAZING!! Check out the recipe here. Side note: My family loves smoked meatloaf but this recipe is also delicious cooked in an oven.

gluten free meatloaf

Mexican: When making homemade Mexican food you probably are going to need taco shells, burrito wrap, or nacho chips. You can still use your normal recipe by making sure you by corn shells, tortillas, or chips. Most of these are gluten free.

Check out Dessert Nachos that calls for corn tortillas and this No-Wrap Ice Cream Burrito that calls for a gluten free burrito wraps. 

Dessert Nachos 5

 

ice cream burrito

Taco Seasoning: I have not found a taco seasoning packet that is gluten free. I’m sure they exist somewhere. I’ve learned to make my own, which is actually a lot cheaper. The main ingredient in these seasoning packets is cumin. Cumin gives it that taco flavor. When I brown my meat for Mexican dishes I add a tablespoon or so of cumin and a shake or two of whatever spices I have on hand, such as, chili powder, onion powder, garlic salt/powder, salt, pepper, etc. I might add a few tablespoons of water if it looks dry. 

UPDATE: Check out this post for a homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe.

If you hare having a hard time finding Allergy-Friendly Products check out this post.

allergy friendly food

 

Over the years, I have discovered that modifying recipes to be gluten free really isn’t a big deal. All it takes is some knowledge, some time and some experimenting.

What recipes do you struggle with making gluten free? 

Anna

 

About the author: Linda and Anna are a mother-daughter team that enjoy cooking, crafting and sharing advice with each other. Here they enjoy sharing all their new recipes and ideas with their readers.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Sheri January 6, 2017, 1:36 pm

    When I make soups I thicken with instant potato flakes! It’s wonderful and no corn

  • Lisa-Ann Geddes November 24, 2016, 8:30 am

    Thank you for sharing this information. It has proven to be helpful to me.

    Question: Is it normal for gluten-free flours to have a distinct taste- especially in baked products?

    I combined cooked quinoa and bananas with all purpose gluten free flour (to make a banana tread) and the taste was still there although not as noticeable.

  • Lisa Lovell September 12, 2016, 5:51 pm

    Thanks so much I just went gluten-free I’m 44 and freaking I’m a pizza addict lol I need a good recipe for dough please

  • Ashley September 6, 2016, 4:41 pm

    Thank you so much for your suggestions, ideas & recipes! Eating GF is new for me & your ease with which you presented your suggestions has encouraged me more than I can express.

    • Blessed Beyond Crazy September 8, 2016, 9:24 am

      Hi Ashley,
      Yay! We know how frustrating it can be when a person first starts out on a gluten free diet. Glad you hear we were able to help you in some small way!
      Have a great day!
      Linda

  • Stephanie August 16, 2016, 8:42 am

    Hi!
    Just wondering about your homemade cream soups. Do you think it would be possible to sub a dairy-free option for the half and half or not? Thanks!

    • Blessed Beyond Crazy August 16, 2016, 12:57 pm

      Hi Stephanie,
      Yes, you should be able to sub with a dairy-free option. We substitute ingredients all the time. Just be aware that sometimes you may also need to adjust any thickening ingredients just a little. Our motto is: give it a try.
      Good luck!
      Linda

  • Rosalind June 3, 2016, 7:33 pm

    I was diagnosed with celiac in 2015 and am still trying to figure out how to make cakes like I used to without wheat. I don’t know which flours I should use or quantity. Also how to you make and what flour combination to make self rising flour?

  • Kim May 22, 2016, 10:21 am

    Thank for taking the time to post this information I am new at glutin free(3days). After living the same life style for nearly 32 years I was feeling lost when my doctor told me that I can no longer eat gluten, eggs or dairy after reading your post I have a new hope inspiration.♡

    • Blessed Beyond Crazy May 22, 2016, 8:57 pm

      Hi Kim,
      We are so happy to hear this post has given you encouragement. Since we have several family members that must be on a gluten free, dairy and soy free diet, we know how overwhelming it can seem in the beginning. Our suggestion is to take time to educate yourself as much as possible on your new diet, then start by gathering some basic gluten free supplies; you can gradually add as you go. Now, more than ever, there are many great gluten free products on the market and tons of great recipes available. Please let us know if we can help you.
      Take care and good luck!
      Linda

    • Blessed Beyond Crazy May 26, 2016, 10:06 am

      Kim,
      Thank you so much for your comment! This is why we blog! I’m so happy that we could help you out and I’m thankful for your encouragement!
      Have a great day!
      Anna

  • Holly March 25, 2016, 5:29 pm

    Try Wildtree taco seasoning. Wildtree has an amazing line up of allergy friendly spices, and fantastic recipes.

    • Blessed Beyond Crazy March 25, 2016, 9:20 pm

      Hi Holly,
      Thanks so much for that tip! We’ll have to try that particular brand.
      Thanks again for stopping by and letting us know.
      Linda

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