When I was talking to my boyfriend’s sister who is also gluten-free, she mentioned that a lot of gluten-free recipes call for ingredients that she doesn’t have. I’ve come across the same thing with gluten-free recipes that call for things like tiger nut flour, rice flour, xanthan gum, arrowroot flour, and more.
In general, I’d rather not buy a ton of special ingredients, especially to make just one recipe. First, specialty gluten-free products tend to be expensive! Also, when I started writing this post, I was living in my Winston-Salem apartment with two small pantry shelves and any extra pantry items had to fit in my clothing closet, so it was a tight squeeze.
I try to mostly eat foods that are naturally gluten-free, like vegetables, fruits, proteins, rice or oats, nuts, etc. But I definitely do love to bake treats, I love my pasta, and there are a few snacks I don’t want to give up. So, this is how I make gluten-free cooking work with pretty basic pantry staples, plus a couple of splurges I love.
None of the products I mention are sponsored and are just the things I happen to love and use all of the time.
Gluten-Free Flour for Baking
With just two or three types of baking flours, you can make lots of gluten-free baked goods!
Almond flour gives an awesome texture to a lot of baked goods. I use it most often in apple crisp and banana bread. The best deal for almond flour I’ve found is at Costco!
Regular Oats & Oat Flour
I use oats and/or oat flour in a lot of the recipes on my blog because I think it’s the most affordable and accessible gluten-free flour option! Oats and oat flour work well in a lot of healthy treat recipes.
If you’re very sensitive to gluten, make sure you buy certified gluten-free oats to avoid oats that have been processed around gluten and cross-contaminated.
How to Make Oat Flour: To make 1 cup of oat flour, all you have to do is blend a heaping cup (1 cup + 2 Tablespoons) of regular or quick oats in your blender or food processor! You can also buy oat flour already ground at the store, but it’s more pricy.
Oat Recipes: these peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with flaky sea salt, these 4-ingredient chocolate peanut butter energy bites, and my go-to blueberry banana baked oatmeal
Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour Mix
I love being able to sub a 1:1 gluten-free baking flour into other recipes. I try to buy GF baking flour that has xanthan gum added, as it acts like a gluten substitute and helps to bind and thicken gluten-free ingredients. I often buy Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 baking flour (the blue bag below has xanthan gum, while the red bag doesn’t).
Recipes that use gluten-free baking flour: Bryan’s breakfast cookie bars
Gluten-Free Pancake Mix
I always keep gluten-free Kodiak Cake mix on hand. It makes really good pancakes, has a simple and wholesome ingredient list, and is a great base for making different flavors of pancakes or waffles. I especially loved the peanut butter Kodiak Cakes back in the days before I went gluten-free.
So now, I make my own gluten-free peanut butter chip pancakes: just mix Kodiak Cake mix with powdered peanut butter (PBFit), a little bit of mashed banana, water, and sometimes a few peanut butter chips 😋 or chocolate chips for the BEST peanut butter banana pancakes. I also add collagen peptides sometimes, too! Such a good gluten-free pancake breakfast with some protein, too.
Flourless Baked Goods
This isn’t an ingredient, but another great option for gluten-free baking is flourless baked goods! Some recipes are specifically written with no flour at all, like healthy peanut butter double chocolate muffins or flourless chocolate cake.
Okay, onto pasta, orzo, and rice!
There are so many different types of gluten-free pasta! You can find gluten-free pasta made from lentils, rice, beans, quinoa, corn, or a mix. You can also use spaghetti squash for noodles, which I do all of the time.
Lentil and Chickpea Pasta
I’ve tried a bunch of gluten-free pasta, and I especially love lentil or chickpea pasta for the extra boost of protein they have. Some of my favorites are:
• Trader Joe’s Organic Yellow Lentil & Brown Rice Spaghetti – tastes most similar to traditional pasta compared to anything else I’ve tried.
• I also really like POW! brand lentil pasta, Barilla, or Banza chickpea pasta. Also, as a heads up, you can buy Banza at Costco!
• I have also tried black bean pasta, but it’s not my favorite because I find that it has a stronger taste than other bean or lentil pasta.
• I also use rice noodles to make chicken & veggie stir fry! I get these organic brown rice noodles at Costco to use in noodle stir-fry with chicken and veggies, but you can find similar ones at lots of grocery stores.
Traditional orzo is just a small pasta (not rice) so it has gluten, but fortunately, lots of orzo substitutes exist! Trader Joe’s used to carry a chickpea “risoni” but now I buy Banza’s chickpea “rice” which is shaped like orzo and makes a good orzo substitute.
Finally, for traditional pasta alternatives, I love spaghetti squash and have one or two in my kitchen most of the time.
Rice is naturally gluten-free, and it’s definitely a staple for grain bowls and side dishes. I love making rice bowls with roasted veggies, chicken, and a good sauce or hummus on top.
Quinoa isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you want to change up your usual rice, it’s a good swap. I always buy quinoa at Costco.
I don’t always have gluten-free bread on hand since I’m not a big sandwich person, and I usually just use a lettuce wrap for burgers instead of a GF bun, mostly for ease. But if I do buy bread at Whole Foods, I buy the 365 gluten-free bread, and at Costco, there’s Udi gluten-free bread!
I love how inexpensive corn tortillas are! I use corn tortillas for recipes like this 30-minute enchilada skillet.
Gluten-Free Snacks & Treats
Although it’s probably ideal for cost savings and health reasons to eat mostly unprocessed foods, there are a few gluten-free snacks I really love and tend to keep around.
These are definitely not must-haves, but I think it’s nice to have a few fun gluten-free splurges to switch things up. I usually stock up whenever they go on sale!
Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers (sold at Costco, too!). I also like most varieties of rice thin-type crackers to dip in hummus.
Quinn Gluten-Free Pretzels: I love all of the pretzels that Quinn makes, but my favorites are the peanut butter pretzels, followed by the sea salt pretzels (the sea salt are a good deal right now– 8 bags for $21 on Amazon currently!). You can find Quinn Pretzels on Amazon, at Walmart, at Whole Foods, on Thrive Market, and on Vitacost.
Sweet Loren’s Cookies: For a sweet treat, I love Sweet Loren’s cookie dough, which is break-n-bake style. I’ve tried Immaculate Baking Co., too, but Sweet Loren’s is definitely my favorite. Sweet Loren’s chocolate chip & brownie cookies are both amazing.
So, those are my gluten-free staples! If I have just the above ingredients in my pantry, I’m happy.
Do you have any gluten-free favorites I didn’t mention?!