My hunt for the best gluten-free cookbooks began when my doctor diagnosed me with severe gluten intolerance in March 2020 (yes, I’m aware of the unfortunate timing). I went into overdrive, looking for gluten-free pastas, snacks, and other alternatives to the gluten foods I used to love. The biggest takeaway from all my research: Stop comparing gluten-free products to the “real” thing because you’ll only be disappointed.
I grew up in a half-Italian-American, half-Jewish home with fresh homemade pizza and bagels almost every week, so I refuse to accept a future life of subpar options thanks to a condition I can’t change. I went back to the cookbooks. As a preteen, I made my way through the Martha Stewart catalog, which I, a suburban kid, thought was the epitome of gourmet. I then graduated to reading vintage Textbooks Le Cordon Bleu who taught me techniques like tempering chocolate and how to properly fill an éclair. All these skills immediately felt useless because, while many recipes can be easily adapted with gluten-free flour mixtures one by one (I prefer King Arthur), you cannot use it for bread or pastries. And it certainly won’t work as a substitute when you make something fried, like squid or chicken; most of the time, the bread congeals in an oil-soaked mess regardless of how good your technique is. At some point, you need to use recipes that are specifically gluten-free.
Over the next couple of years, I bought almost every highly rated and interesting gluten-free cookbook that was recommended by gluten-intolerant friends, passionate Amazon reviewers, magazine reviewers, mom bloggers with celiac kids, and anyone who they want to offer advice. I’ve baked my way through them all, baking everything from gluten-free cannolis and four-layer cakes to sourdough bread and bagels. Some of the books I’ve tested, as with most online recipes, adhere to the adage “beggars can’t be choosers,” yielding bread that won’t rise and cakes that are too dense. But others innovate on classic recipes with unique flours and techniques that make gluten-free food indistinguishable from the original. Below are the seven best gluten-free cookbooks I’ve tried, and, honestly, I’ve never made a bad recipe from any of them.
The best gluten free cookbook for bread
Lots of gluten-free books claim to have cracked the code to baking moist, fluffy, gluten-free bread with a delicious crust, and some come close (most don’t). Ma Cooked to perfection, written by a food blogger with multiple degrees in chemistry and food sensitivities, he actually nailed it. I looked at the first bread I made in wonder after it came out of the oven because it looked – not to brag too much – absolutely perfect. Every bread since has had the same texture, taste, rise and crust as its wheat counterpart.
Before each chapter, you can read the best practices for baking, such as how to fill cupcake tins to get the right rise and how to shape the dough correctly. It explains the importance of weighing your ingredients instead of using volumetric cups and even tells you the science behind how each of the ingredients, like psyllium husk and tapioca starch, work. The book also offers other dessert recipes, so it also has some versatility, but the bread recipes alone are worth the purchase.
What to do: Homemade white crusty bread, burger bun, pita, chocolate babka
The best gluten-free dessert cookbook
Gluten-free aromatic flours it was the first book I bought because many sources recommended it as the best gluten-free cookbook, period. After all, he won a James Beard award. Instead of separating the book by dessert genre, it breaks down the recipes by flour used – such as buckwheat, teff, corn, chestnut and more – and gives a comprehensive explanation of the benefits of using the flour Nothing here is meant to replicate a grain-based version; all recipes highlight the specialty flour used. A note for all those who are lactose intolerant or maintain a plant-based diet: Many recipes require dairy products, and while some can be easily adapted with Lactaid products, it does not always work as hoped (trust to me, I tried). However, there is more than enough here to make it a worthwhile purchase, even for gluten-free vegans.
What to do: Sorghum Layer Cake with Walnut Praline Buttercream, Apricot Walnut Rugelach, Saffron Rice Pudding
The best gluten free dinner cookbook
This book takes a genius, but somehow previously untapped approach to gluten-free cooking; complete recipes from around the world that are naturally gluten-free. With dishes from Iran, Japan, Brazil, Nigeria and more, The Gluten Free Cookbook he shares the history and cultural importance of each dish, giving you a full understanding and appreciation of your meal. Some ingredients can be hard to find depending on where you live, but I get a lot of spices and pantry items that are harder to source. Umamicart and My Spice Sage. I make at least one or two recipes from this book for dinner every week.
What to do: Bibimbap, crispy saffron rice, marinated mussels, steamed layer cake
The best gluten-free and dairy-free cookbook
Lauren Conrad spoke to me Sweet Laurel in an interview a few years ago. I own this new tasty book and also the original dessert cookbook (With a foreword by Conrad), both feature grain-free recipes from the famous paleo bakery in LA. They are easy enough for beginners to follow and respond well to those working on a vegan or dairy-free diet as well. I love the dessert book – if you buy it, I suggest making the pecan cake with Mexican hot chocolate ganache first – but I actually think the savory book is much more useful because it has quick recipes for all the meals that are nutritious, healthy . conscious, and easily adaptable for a vegan. We tend to skip bread recipes, which rely mainly on almond flour, egg substitute powder and coconut oil and come out dense and flat.
What to do: Huevos rancheros, butternut squash puree, turmeric waffles, mini sunny-side up mushroom galettes
The best gluten-free cookbook to impress guests
When I find myself in need of baking for company, I turn to cookbook author Aran Goyoaga. I can be this newest book and his predecessorwhich came out in 2019. As with the Sweet Laurel series, I recommend both, but actually I think Simple Cinnamon and Vanilla Bakes it can be a little better. The original focuses on fun, complete meals, while the following features recipes for desserts and artisan breads—the kind of treats that feel like they came straight from a high-end bakery with a minimalist logo that serves everything on at East Fork Pottery. You won’t find a simple chocolate chip cookie here. Each recipe takes things a step further, introducing unique flavor combinations and techniques that you might not have imagined possible for gluten-free baking (like a quiche crust that is neither rock hard nor overly crumbly). And although many of the recipes inside will be a project, Goyoaga makes everything accessible to the home cook with easy-to-follow steps. I never had a flop.
What to do: Chocolate and hazelnut cake, lemon meringue cakes, olive oil brioche
The best gluten-free book for classic treats
Reading this book feels like a time capsule – and learning from it even more. I found this book, along with the rest of the book Gluten free gourmet books, in a thrift store. Author Bette Hagman, a self-taught food scientist who supposedly was one of the first to write about gluten-free cooking in 2000, was diagnosed with celiac disease at a time when gluten-free diets were rare . All of her books have hundreds of highly worded recipes that read like a handwritten recipe card found in your Aunt Ida’s kitchen. It also explains how to adapt everything to a dairy-free diet.
What to do: Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake, Toll House Mock Cookies, Chocolate Mousse Cake
The best gluten free pastry cookbook
To bake gluten-free, you need to understand how alternative flours work and specific techniques to get the best possible product, and Gluten-free baking does an excellent job of laying it all out. The recipes aren’t exactly easy—most are a full project, rather than just a quick baking session—but the book gave me the foundation to be a better gluten-free baker. I especially rely on more complex items, such as pastries. It relies heavily on piping, though, so don’t buy it unless you’re confident in your piping skills (or want to learn). This is because gluten-free pasta tends to be softer and stickier than regular wheat pasta—this book actually calls it a pasta, and some experts recommend using a paddle attachment rather than a pasta hook.
What to do: Cannoli shells and fillings, éclairs, soft pretzels, quiche Lorraine