The Only Gluten-Free Cooking Tip You’ll Ever Need

If there is one thing that I’ve learned since my husband discovered his gluten allergy, it is that most gluten-free recipes are terrible. They start by asking you to buy 17 different kinds of flours. Then they ask you to mix said flours in careful proportions. Then the flour gets all over your counter and makes everything sticky. Then you cook the recipe you’ve so carefully prepared, and it tastes gritty and weird.

Skip the flours. Make room in your cabinet. Save your counters (and your sanity). There is only one flour that you need, and that is a gluten-free all purpose flour substitute. There are a few out there, and you can probably buy any of them and they’ll do the trick, but my favorites are Cup 4 Cup, Pamela’s and King Arthur. Not that I’ve done a head-to-head comparison with the rest, but I’ve had consistently good results with these, and they’re fairly easy to find. I’ve seen Cup 4 Cup at Whole Foods, Williams-Sonoma, Sur La Table, and you can even order it on Amazon.

This brings me to my #1 gluten-free cooking tip. Are you ready? Are you sure? It’s a good one. Maybe you should sit down. Ok here it is…

Follow regular recipes and substitute the flour with a gluten-free blend.

Voila! It really is that easy! I’ve tried cooking the same thing following a gluten-free recipe and a regular recipe with the flour substituted, and every time the regular recipe comes out better.

Knowing this one trick means that you can save both money and shelf space on not buying a million gluten-free cookbooks. We’ve already covered the benefits of not buying 17 different kinds of strange flours. And your recipes will come out better. I guarantee it or your money back! (Figuratively, that is, because this tip is free.)

But seriously. I used to buy all of those flours, mix them in the suggested proportions, store them in a special container, use them in gluten-free recipes I’d found, buy more flours, mix them, pull my hair out when I realized that I had just enough tapioca flour but not quite enough potato starch to make another batch of muffins, go to the store looking for more potato starch only to find it sold out, frantically look up on my phone whether arrowroot starch could be used in place of potato starch…etc. And then the recipe would turn out just ok. I did find one gluten-free baked goods book that I liked, and the muffins turned out pretty well, but still not as good as when I just used Cup 4 Cup on a regular muffin recipe.

Since discovering this trick, I’ve made muffins, brownies, cookies, cupcakes – and people haven’t even known they were gluten-free until I’ve told them. And isn’t that the biggest gluten-free cooking accomplishment of all?

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