Getting started with gluten-free dairy-free baking? Check out this list of 30 ingredients to keep on hand for gluten-free dairy-free desserts, breads, and cake recipes.
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When it comes to baking on a gluten-free dairy-free diet, there’s a lot to think about – especially if you’re a beginner. There are so many more ingredients to take into account. It can seem like you need an endless amount of different types of flours instead of just the one ‘white flour’ – better yet two – ‘whole wheat flour’ – that we’re all mostly familiar with. Then there’s the dairy alternatives for butter, substitutes for milk and cream, and the list of foods and ingredients we need for the simple pleasures of baking just feels daunting and overwhelming.
I’ll be honest – it took me over a year to take on baking and dessert making without gluten and dairy before I finally decided it couldn’t be as scary as I thought. I was beyond overwhelmed with looking at the back of packages and seeing four or six different flours and starches, plus different gums (I’d wonder… what the heck is a gum used for in baking??). That didn’t even cover some of the other staples I’d have to buy to really take this on.
But I’ll tell you what… despite what you see in this ultimate gluten-free dairy-free baking food list, once you take the plunge, it’s not NEARLY as scary as you may have been hyping yourself up. Or like I was.
I started out small, buying just a handful of flours and xanthan gum. Luckily, I had a lot of other sweeteners and baking soda and powders that were already gluten-free in my pantry. Then after a couple months of dipping my toes in, my husband got into and wanted to stock our entire pantry full. And that’s where this list was born.
Tapioca flour (also known as tapioca starch) is often called for in a mixture of gluten-free recipes. You’ll often need a combination of flours and starches in most gluten-free recipes to get a decent consistency and texture from your baking.
Coconut flour is a great gluten-free flour, but it doesn’t function like most flours. It’s extremely absorbent so be sure to follow a recipe until you get familiar with working with it as an ingredient on its own (I can tell you from a few tried-and-failed experiments haha).
Sorghum flour is a sweet gluten-free flour that lends itself to creating delicious GFDF baked goods. It’s even better for packing a nutritional punch if you combine it with other gluten-free nutrient-dense flours like the others listed here.
Teff flour has an extremely nutty and earthy flavor that is great when combined with other gluten-free flours for baking yummy treats.
Millet flour is found in many gluten-free baking recipes and is actually pretty tasty – it’s fairly sweet and light.
You’ll find many from-scratch gluten-free baking recipes will call for a mixture of many flours and starches to give you a decent flavor and texture. Amaranth flour isn’t the most tasty thing on it’s own, but is great when mixed with other flours – which is why it makes the list.
Xanthan gum is often found in many GFDF baking recipes, because without gluten, your recipe might not bind properly. This ingredient helps keep your baked goods from crumbling the second you pick them up.
I try to keep our refined sugar consumption to a minimum in our house, so we stock up on this maple syrup from Costco pretty regularly. I use it a lot when making raw desserts.
Brown rice syrup is another great natural sweetener and this one has an almost caramel-like flavor. You might not find it in too many recipes, but it’s a great substitution for honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, or molasses.
Xylitol is an obscure sweetener, but is sometimes found in healthy GFDF baking recipes. I don’t use it in my own baking (due to it not agreeing with my tummy), but I trust this brand and recommend it.
Stevia is often called for in many healthy GFDF baking recipes. While I personally don’t eat it (it kills my stomach), this looks to be one of the best brands as far as stevia goes.
Coconut sugar is a great alternative to white or brown sugar in many baking recipes. I like to swap this ingredient out for it’s health benefits and if I don’t think I (or whoever else will be enjoying my treats) will mind the slight taste difference.
This is a great brown sugar and I keep this brand on my baking shelf at all times for when a GFDF baking recipe calls for it.
While I try to keep my refined sugar intake as minimal as possible, when you’re baking, sugar is sometimes necessary. This is the giant bag of sugar I keep on hand in my own pantry for when the recipe calls for it.
Honey is a great natural sweetener that’s better on your blood sugar levels than more refined options. This is a great brand.
This is another thickening starch/flour that you’ll find many gluten-free recipes calling for. I’m a big fan of Bob’s Red Mill, so this is my top choice for this ingredient.
I keep raw cacao powder on hand for making raw desserts. You could also purchase cocoa powder, but the raw variation simply just has more health benefits that regular cocoa powder doesn’t. I love adding this to baked goods, raw cookies and brownies, and even to my morning smoothies.
Corn starch can be used as a thickening starch in many gluten-free dairy-free baking recipes. This is my go-to choice.
This isn’t an essential for baking, but many recipes call for almond extract. This brand is gluten-free and I can vouch for the great flavor.
This is the best vanilla extract I’ve found. It’s caramel flavor is excellent in baked goods – and my go-to ingredient for making anything taste more like “home.”
Another GFDF essential that goes in so many of our baked goods, this baking powder is certified gluten-free.
Essential for most baking, this Bob’s Red Mill baking soda is certified gluten-free and is safe from cross-contamination with grains containing gluten.
Brown rice flour is one of my staple flours in my GFDF pantry. I use a blend of this and other GF-friendly flours to create all kinds of cookies, bars, rolls, and even pizza dough.
Almonds are tasty and great for you! Almond flour offers healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E – and is an excellent flour to incorporate in any GFDF baking.
If you’re a baker, yeast is a necessity to keep on -hand. This one from Bob’s Red Mill is certified gluten-free so you can rest easy that there isn’t any cross contamination.
While on the pricy side, these chocolate chips are the easiest to find in most grocery stores. They’re worth the splurge if you plan to do a decent amount of baking while eating a GFDF diet.
There are a number of gluten-free flour blends – some are great, others taste like beans. This is the best one I’ve come across in my GFDF journey that can be used for a variety of different recipes. I’d recommend trying a few different blends out to find your favorite!
If you also avoid eggs along with gluten and dairy, flax seed meal is an ingredient you’re going to want to keep in your pantry. I use “flax eggs” in most of my baking to replace regular eggs. I also like to add it to smoothies or my morning oats.
Oatmeal doesn’t contain gluten, but it’s often cross-contaminated with glutenous grains. I like to be on the safe side and eat only Bob’s Red Mill certified gluten-free oats. I like to make my own oat flour for baking or use them plain in cookies.
Coconut oil is my go-to oil for high heat cooking and I use a lot of it in my baking since going GFDF. I highly recommend switching to some coconut oil as it’s loaded with health benefits like promoting healthy digestion, reducing inflammation, and being a great immune booster.
Out of all the coconut milks available on the market, this is the one that I have found to be my favorite in terms of flavor and texture. I use this in raw desserts, or as a replacement for cream in my dairy-free baking.
Of course, if you’re just getting started, you don’t need to have ALL these ingredients on hand. You can start small. Find a recipe or two that you want to try and gradually build your baking items out from there. There’s no right or wrong way to go about getting started. I hope this list is helpful for you if you’re just looking to get started with gluten-free dairy-free baking!
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