It wasn’t too long ago that gluten-free desserts were disappointing and unimaginative.
The cookies were grainy, the cakes were dense, and the only decent option was a fruit salad.
Boy, how times have changed!
Gluten-free flour has come leaps and bounds in terms of texture and taste, and some truly inspiring pastry chefs have gone out of their way to create recipes that everyone will enjoy.
Now, people with intolerances can enjoy cakes, cookies, brownies, banana bread, and more, and it doesn’t take fancy kitchen skills or equipment.
On this list of 30 gluten-free desserts, you’ll find a few classics, a couple of naughty treats, and even a few healthy sweets for when you want something light and tasty.
Let’s get to it!
Looking at that picture, I’ll bet you wouldn’t think this cake is gluten-free. It looks so moist, light, and super-rich.
Gluten gives cakes and bread a lighter texture, so when baking without it, you’ll need a substitute.
If you don’t make your own, be sure to buy gluten-free flour that includes it if you want light and fluffy cakes.
Chocolate pudding might seem like a kid-only dessert, but how many of your friends would seriously turn away a bowl?
The beauty of making it yourself is that you can dress it up and serve it like a restaurant-style dessert.
One option would be to fold whipped cream through half to give you a lighter finish. Then layer the two in a tall glass and serve with fresh berries.
Flan is naturally gluten-free since it’s made with eggs, cream, milk, and sugar.
So, how can you make it vegan?
You’ll need a blend of coconut milk to get that creamy texture, maple syrup for sweetness, cornstarch for thickness, and agar-agar for stability.
If you don’t need it to be vegan, check out this super easy, 5-ingredient recipe instead.
Since these cookies are no-bake, you’re not aiming for a light and fluffy texture.
Instead, they’re rich, chocolatey, chewy, and a breeze to whip up!
Between the peanut butter and cocoa, you won’t be able to stop at just one.
When shopping for the oats, be sure to double-check that they’re “gluten-free” since many brands have to make you unaware that their products can come into contact with flour.
Note: I used the term “gluten-free” because oats naturally contain a gluten protein known as avenin.
Avenin is usually OK for people with mild intolerances, but those with celiac are more likely to be affected.
In countries like New Zealand, this is enough that oats cannot legally be termed gluten-free.
I’m a massive fan of creamy desserts, and panna cotta is the peak of perfection in my eyes.
The flavor is so clean and just sweet enough that you hardly feel like you’re indulging.
Feel free to experiment with flavors, but I recommend you start with this classic, milky-vanilla dish.
These amazing panna cotta molds make turning these beauties out a cinch. Just remove the small lid to let the air flow, and they will pop right out.
Keto is a high-fat, low-carb diet that many people find easier to follow than other restrictive diets.
That’s probably because keto encourages you to eat meat, cheese, and peanut butter!
Obviously, low-carb and gluten-free go hand in hand since many high-carb foods are also loaded with gluten (I’m looking at you, breadsticks!).
One thing is for sure: with these tender and flavorful cookies, you won’t feel like you’re missing out one bit.
Shortbread is supposed to be “short” (crumbly) and richly flavored. It should be crisp on the edges and tender in the middle.
But it’s not supposed to be light and fluffy. So, making it gluten-free is super simple.
Almond meal is naturally gluten, as it’s made simple by blending almonds until they’re very fine and flour-like.
Using almond meal is the only substitution here, and the method will be the same as a standard shortbread dough.
Neapolitan ice cream involves individual scoops of vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate in one heavenly sundae.
This parfait includes those flavors, only the strawberry component is fresh diced berries, and the vanilla part is yogurt.
As for the chocolate, you’ll need to buy a pack of ready-made gluten-free chocolate muffins. Or you could use leftovers from the chocolate cake above.
Cobbler typically has a crumble or biscuit-like topping over a dish of bubbling sweet fruits.
This recipe uses a crumble-style topping that involves gently stirring sugar with an egg and gluten-free flour.
Of course, you could also use almond meal instead, or even the shortbread from above would work if you broke it up and scattered it over the fruit.
I give fudge as gifts to everyone, but it’s extra special for my gluten-free friends.
Most fudge recipes are gluten-free, but this one is extra easy.
All you’ll need is peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar, plus around 5 minutes of your time.
Here’s another drool-worthy picture that I would never have believed to be a gluten-free (and vegan!) dessert.
You’ll need some Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer for the absolute best results here.
Flax seeds are an excellent alternative, or even mashed banana, if that’s all you have.
This recipe calls for “2 flax eggs,” which is two tablespoons of ground flaxseed meal mixed with six tablespoons of water.
One whole mashed banana would be your alternative.
Just imagine how special your gluten-free friends will feel when you tell them their dessert isn’t just ice cream, it’s homemade-with-love ice cream.
Did you know it’s as easy as whipping up some cream and folding through condensed milk and vanilla?
Once you have your base, it’s time to let your wild side out!
I suggest you double this batch and play around with flavors.
Maybe try salted caramel and fudge pieces, raspberry and white chocolate, coffee and chocolate chips, or mango and passion fruit.
Trifle is a tall, show-stopping dessert made with lots of lovely layers. Traditionally, these layers include cream, custard, fruit, and cake.
If you want to keep it simple, the provided recipe for gluten-free angel cake is light and delicious.
Or, you could always let out your dark side and use the chocolate cake from above with layers of homemade chocolate pudding and lashings of ganache.
This might be as easy as it gets, but you can’t deny how fabulous chocolate-covered strawberries look!
They scream elegance, and it’s always so pleasant to see people face’s light up when you bring out a tray full of these juicy and decadent treats.
These might just be the chewiest, fudgiest, and tastiest blondies I’ve ever had.
Not to mention, they’re full of creamy white chocolate and buttery pecans to boot.
If you need this dairy-free, go ahead and use coconut oil in place of the butter.
Just remember that it needs to be solid so you can cream it with the sugars until fluffy.
Also, remember that white chocolate and milk chocolate aren’t vegan-friendly, so you’ll need to find an alternative.
I just adore the swirl effect on this fudge, and it’s extra exciting when you see how straightforward it is to recreate at home.
You’ll make a dangerously easy white chocolate and peanut butter fudge, over which you’ll pour melted chocolate.
The trick is not just to pour and spread the chocolate but almost dollop it over and use a sharp knife to swirl it around.
As a cookie-lover, it’s always fun to try out new recipes. When that recipe is a one-bowl-wonder, I can’t help myself!
Thanks to the cream of tartar, baking soda, and powdered sugar, these cookies are wonderfully tender and will melt in your mouth.
The cookie dough alone is so good, I’ve used it for other cookies too.
I added mini-chocolate chips to some, rolled a few in chopped pecans, and mixed in orange zest and dried cranberries, too.
I’m 100% guilty of buying bananas with the sole intention of making banana bread. I mean, you don’t want them to go to waste, right?
Since this recipe is dairy-free and not vegan, it does include eggs.
Oddly, it also has flax seeds, which I think are included more for their nutritional benefits.
Dessert doesn’t always have to mean a massive slice of cake.
I know that if I’ve just finished a big meal, though I may want something sweet, sometimes just a bite or two is enough.
That’s why I love these little almond clusters. You’ll get that lovely, rich chocolate with the crunch of the almonds, plus a pop of sea salt to round it all out.
The filling for Mounds Bars is distinctly coconut, so if you’re not a fan of that texture, go ahead and skip to the next recipe.
I like the flavors of these, but a whole bar is too much for me.
With that in mind, I’ve taken to making mini’s by portioning the coconut filling into ice cube trays. Let them freeze and pop a toothpick inside for easy dipping.
Why would you make peanut butter cups when you can just run to the local store and buy a pack?
Well, having lived abroad, I spent far too long not having access to these addictive little treats, so making my own was the only choice.
It’s a pretty easy recipe, and if you want to, you can add some extras to the filling. For example, I like to drizzle a bit of salted caramel into the mix.
Bananas foster is a sinful blend of warm, sweet bananas, brown sugar and butter caramel sauce, and a splash of deep, dark rum (optional but highly recommended!).
You can eat these with pancakes or a slice of leftover pound cake, or serve them over some of that great homemade ice cream.
This pineapple soft serve is the stuff of legends. I think it’s a rite of passage to go to Disney and get a serving at least once in your life.
Although, when you hear how crazy-easy it is to make at home, you might want to save your hard-earned cash.
All you’ll need is a decent blender, top-quality vanilla ice cream, pineapple juice, and chunks of frozen pineapple.
I say you’ll need a decent blender because the cheaper ones might struggle with the frozen fruit, and you won’t get the smoothest texture.
Blueberries are such a stunning fruit when cooked.
The colors range from bright purple to deep, dark blues, and when they’re covered in golden oats, they pop that much more.
They’re also naturally sweet, so a drizzle of honey and a splash of lemon juice is all they need.
Again, this recipe calls for gluten-free oats.
Keeping in mind that people with severe celiac might not be able to handle any oats at all, you can always increase the amount of almond meal instead.
When making macaroons, it’s essential to work the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then very gently stir in the rest of the ingredients.
I like to toss the coconut in a bowl and break up any clumps with my fingers before mixing it in.
Also, since this mix is so sticky, try these baking wafers. They’re totally edible, so just scoop the mixture onto the wafers and bake.
This is one of those lighter recipes I mentioned at the start. But that doesn’t mean it’s not super sweet and decadent.
When they’re ripe, peaches are bursting with flavor, and when you grill them, you’ll help the juices to flow and caramelize, making them even tastier.
Adding brown sugar will just help make them extra sweet and encourage the edges to crisp up.
Baked apples are a warm and filling sweet treat to have with your morning oats, on the side of a scoop of ice cream, or on their own with maybe a dollop of cream.
But when you’re only cooking for one or two, it’s not always worth it to crank up the oven.
The good news is that these baked apples need only two to four minutes in the microwave, and if you want them with added texture, just broil them for a minute or two once they’re soft.
Caramel can be tricky when you’re not using dairy, and though this version isn’t your standard sweet and sticky sauce, it’s very creamy and works wonders with chocolate and shortbread.
I think this recipe includes maple syrup in the base because the “caramel” layer isn’t as sweet as you might generally expect.
However, it’s not a lot, and it does the trick nicely.
If you want these to be nut-free, try using gluten-free flour instead of almond meal.
You may have to play with the quantities, but start with half as much and work from there.
I had to include one more fudge recipe because this one is the best. Plus, it’s nut-free, which the ones above are not.
This is the same recipe you’ll find right on the can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk, so you can only imagine how much work went into getting it just right!
Although, it’s super easy to modify by adding fun toppings, like chopped nuts, Reese’s Pieces, or freeze-dried raspberries.
Peanut brittle is a type of hard candy made by boiling sugar until it reaches the “hard-crack” stage.
If the candy doesn’t reach this stage (300°F/148.89°C), it won’t harden and break into pieces like you want.
Using a microwave may seem dangerous, and I was skeptical at first.
But as long as you use thick oven gloves to handle the bowl, this is actually pretty simple.
Just be extra careful when taking the bowl in and out and when adding the baking soda, which might spit and foam as you stir.
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