When you’re living gluten-free, desserts aren’t always the easiest recipe category to navigate, especially with flour as one of the main ingredients of sweet treats. Fortunately, with the growing prevalence of gluten-free living, the market has plenty of flour alternatives like almond flour, coconut flour, and various gluten-free blends.
Check out some of the best ideas and recipes for gluten-free desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth.Jump to Recipe
1. Gluten-free Oatmeal Cookies
This is one of my favorite gluten-free desserts, but I’m a firm believer that all oatmeal cookies need chocolate chips. So add a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips to this recipe before baking if you’d like!
Preheat your oven to 350°F, then line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place 1-1/2 cups of all-purpose gluten-free flour, 1-1/4 tsp xanthan gum (omit if your flour includes it), 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, and whisk to combine well. Add 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 2-1/2 cups of certified gluten-free oats, and whisk again.
Add 1 cup of light brown sugar and mix, breaking up any lumps. Add 10 tbsp of unsalted butter, and mix with a large spoon, pressing down with the back of the spoon.
Add 2 beaten eggs and 1 tsp vanilla, and mix until the dough comes together. It will be thick but continue to work the ingredients spoon and stir until the dry ingredients are nearly absorbed. Add 6 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and mix to distribute the chips evenly. Divide the dough into 24 even pieces and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Lightly flatten each piece of dough into a 3/4-inch thick disc. Place the baking sheets in the freezer until the dough is firm, about 15 minutes. Bake them for about 12 minutes, or until they’re a light golden brown. The cookies will still be soft. Remove the baking sheet and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet until firm (about 10 minutes), then move to a wire rack. They taste great on top of a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but you didn’t hear that from me!
2. Gluten-Free Carrot Cake
I request carrot cake every year for my birthday. It’s hard to imagine a birthday without it. So naturally, I had to include it on the list of gluten-free desserts for those of us who proudly like vegetables in our cake. It’s not the simplest recipe, but still, making a cake from scratch will always be tastier than anything pre-packaged or store-bought. Check out this great recipe from Well Plated.
3. Pavlova: A Naturally Gluten-Free Dessert
Fortunately, this meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova is one of only a few naturally gluten-free desserts, so you don’t need any modifications!
Preheat the oven to 265° F. Wipe your utensils with a paper towel dipped in a bit of lemon juice or vinegar to remove any greasy residue.
Pour 4 large egg whites (room temperature) into the mixing bowl. Begin whisking with a mixer at medium-low speed to break them up. Continue whisking until soft peaks form.
Begin slowly adding 1 cup plus 2 tbsp of superfine sugar (you can make this by pulsing regular sugar in a food processor), one tablespoon at a time, until you’ve added all the sugar. Allow about 20-30 seconds between adding more sugar. Increase the speed and whisk until stiff peaks form. Add 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 tsp vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
Remove from the mixer and sift 2 tsp cornstarch over the meringue and fold throughout. Dump onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and use a spatula to shape into a 4-6 inch-high round. Create a crater in the middle and then use a smaller spatula to create texture along the sides.
Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 210° F and bake for 90 more minutes. Turn off the oven, leaving the meringue inside. Remove the dessert once the oven is fully cooled (at least one hour).
Pavlova needs to be assembled right before serving (within a maximum of 1-2 hours). Place fresh, homemade whipped cream and a homemade berry sauce in the crater. I won’t tell if you use store-bought.
4. Gluten-Free Mini Cheesecakes
What’s better than one gluten-free cheesecake? A bunch of mini gluten-free cheesecakes, of course! They’re perfect for a small, after-dinner sweet treat. Or whenever you want to eat them. I’m not here to judge.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. For the crust: crush 1 package of gluten-free graham crackers in a food processor; you should have 1-1/4 cups. Stir together the crumbs, 2 Tbsp light brown sugar, and 5 Tbsp melted butter.
Add about 1-½ tablespoons of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin liner and press down to make a crust.
Beat 2 (8 oz.) packages of room temperature cream cheese with a mixer on low-medium for 1-2 minutes, until fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup room temperature sour cream, 2 large eggs, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, and 1 tsp lemon juice.
Using a greased cookie scoop, evenly divide the cheesecake filling among crusts.
Bake for 20 minutes, just until they begin to brown. When they come out of the oven, the cheesecakes will be puffy, but they’ll sink as they cool. Cool completely and then cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Allow them to thaw for 2-3 minutes before removing from the muffin pan. Serve plain or with your favorite toppings!
5. Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
These gluten-free chocolate chip cookies are soft, chewy, easy-to-make, and irresistible. No one would ever guess that they’re eating gluten-free desserts!
In a medium bowl, whisk together the ⅓ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (make sure it has xanthan gum), 1/4 cup of almond flour, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt until evenly combined. Set aside.
Now, you’re going to brown some butter. Melt 1/2 cup of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, start to whisk constantly. The butter will begin to foam, then brown on the bottom of the saucepan.
Turn off the heat as soon as the solids turn brown and the butter gives off a nutty aroma. Pour into a glass mixing bowl to prevent burning. Add 1 Tbsp milk, 3/4 cup of brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of white sugar to the mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add 1 egg and 2 tsp vanilla and whisk until smooth and creamy.
Using a rubber spatula, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well combined. Stir 1 cup of chocolate chips. Cover the bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Scoop the cookie dough (about 2 Tbsp each) and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they’re golden and the centers are set. Let them cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling. Enjoy!
6. Flourless Chocolate Cake
It almost seems like a “flourless cake” is an oxymoron. The whole base of a cake is flour, eggs, and sugar, right? Not anymore! This gluten-free chocolate cake isn’t just for those on a gluten-free diet! It’s one of those gluten-free desserts so that’s fudgy and tasty, everyone will love it!
Flour-less Gluten-free Chocolate Cake
- 1 8 inch round cake pan
- Parchment Paper
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease an 8-Inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray, then cut a piece of parchment paper to fit and place it the bottom of the pan. Spray it again with nonstick cooking spray, then Set aside.
- For the cake batter, put the chocolate chips and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the butter is melted and the chips are soft (about one minute) Stir until melted and the mixture is smooth. If you need to reheat, do for 10 second increments,stirring in between.
- Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
- Add the eggs and stir until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and stir until just combined, careful not to over-mix.
- Pour the batter into the prepped pan and bake for 25 minutes or until the cake has a thin crust on the top.
- Let the cake cool on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the edges of the pan with a butter knife and carefully turn it upside down onto a cake plate or serving plate. Let the cake cool completely.
- Combine the chocolate and cream in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream's heat melts the chocolate. Heat and check it in 30 second intervals. It might take longer depending on the microwave. Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
- Spread the chocolate ganache evenly over the cooled cake. Let it set for a few hours before cutting and serving the cake. You can put it in the fridge to speed up the process.
- Cut the cake into slices and serve with powdered sugar and raspberries, if desired. This cake is also great with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
7. Coconut Chocolate Mousse
If you have the chance, start by placing a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight (This helps separate the coconut cream from the coconut water. Pour off the non-fatty coconut water; you’ll just use the cream.
Combine 2 Tbsp dark cocoa powder and 3 Tbsp maple syrup in a small bowl. Stir until it transforms into a syrup. Add in 1/4 tsp vanilla and a pinch of sea salt.
Measure 1 cup of coconut cream into a large clean bowl (preferably chilled). Whip with a mixer until it’s light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. It should form mostly stiff peaks.
Once coconut cream is light and airy, add the chocolate syrup and fold it in. Try not to lose the air from the coconut cream.
Pour into two large ramekins or mugs. Tap them gently on the counter 2-3 times to settle, then place in the freezer for 1 hour or the fridge for at least 4 hours or until ready to serve.
Serve this creamy dessert garnished with chocolate shavings, cacao nibs, fresh raspberries, or even shredded coconut.
8. Vegan, Gluten-free Bombshell Blondies
Vegan and gluten-free? Is it too good to be true? No way! These tasty squares of goodness are thick, gooey, and loaded with chocolate chips!
Prepare a flax egg by combining 1 tablespoon of flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water. Let sit for 10 minutes to form a gel. Preheat the oven to 350F and line an 8 x 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup of gluten-free flour, 1/2 tsp of baking soda, and 1/4 tsp of salt and mix well. Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup of white sugar, 6 Tbsp brown sugar, and 6 Tbsp vegan butter. Using a mixer, cream together until combined.
Add the creamed butter/sugar to the dry ingredient mixture. Add 1-1/2 tsp of vanilla extract, 1 Tbsp of molasses (optional) and flax egg and mix together, until just combined. Fold in 1-1/2 cups of chocolate chips, reserving a handful to top the blondies.
Transfer the batter into the lined pan and top with extra chocolate chips. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the edges are just starting to get brown (no longer than 17 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.
9. Cinnamon Apple Crumb Cake
This reminds me of the cinnamon coffee cake my grandparents always had on the counter growing up. But add apple pie flavors and make it low-carb and gluten-free.
Cream 6 Tbsp butter and 1/3 cup of erythritol sweetener together until smooth and fluffy. Add 2 eggs one at a time, beating well after each, then add 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the 1 cup of almond flour, 1/3 cup of coconut flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp xanthan gum, and 1/8 tsp of salt and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix. Pour in 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk and mix until just blended. Spread the cake batter into a greased 9×9″ baking pan.
Now, for the cinnamon streusel topping :
Melt 3 Tbsp of butter in a medium skillet. Add 1 cup of granny smith apples (peeled and chopped), 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of sweetener (erythritol or coconut sugar) and cook for 2 minutes, stirring the entire time. Remove from the heat and stir in 3/4 cup of almond flour, a pinch of salt, and 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts. Stir well until a loose, crumbly dough forms. Spoon the topping evenly over the cake layer and spread out.
Bake the cake at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes. If the topping is getting too brown, loosely cover it with aluminum foil for the final 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before slicing into squares.
No Gluten? No Problem!
When you’re living gluten-free, a good dessert recipe is like a gold mine. Which of these gluten-free dessert recipes are you excited to try? Share your favorites with the people you love!