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  • Writer's pictureMarne Platt

Gluten Free Baking? Watch Out For These Hidden Gluten Sources!

woman peering through magnifying glass

If you’re here, you’re interested in gluten-free baking. Welcome!  It’s a fun and adventurous world, so let your self go wild. Experiment with different types of flour. Find some reliable recipes and, when you’re ready, get creative with substitutions.

But always, always, read the label on every ingredient you buy. Companies can change ingredients, and some items that sound safe can be dangerous. Others that sound dangerous can be safe (buckwheat, I am thinking of you!)

In this post, I share some tricky ingredients that you should know about


Obviously, we have to watch out for the flour, right? Right! Anything that is derived from or related to wheat, rye, or barley is off-limits– that’s wheat, triticale, spelt, low-gluten flour, the whole kit and caboodle.


It also means oats – not because oats themselves contain gluten, but because they are often grown on the same field or become contaminated during packaging. So make sure to read your oats and oatmeal labels. If they don’t say gluten free, don’t buy them.


You can buy pre-made gluten-free flour mixes  - and there are good ones out there  - but be sure to read the label every time.  Some brands have similar packaging for their gluten-free and gluten-containing versions.  Though ours are usually more expensive  -I wrote about how to manage that here and here. `


Most of my recipes use rice flour and sweet rice flour that I buy at the local Asian market. I’ve done it in 5 countries on 3 continents so far and it’s always reliable.


Hidden glutens

Once you change to a gluten-free flour, you still have to stay vigilant. These are the places I have found hidden gluten most often, in nearly 30 years of living gluten free.

Baking powder

While this should be just baking soda and cornstarch, it can be made with flour.

Pre-made frostings

 Read these very carefully! I find the labels for gluten free and gluten-containing versions of these products can be particularly easy to confuse.

Candy toppings and additives

I love to add candy to brownies and cookies, but I have learned to be careful. Whether it’s m&ms®, smarties®, Reese’s products, or other favorites, some varieties are safe, some are not. Always read the label!

Cooking spray

I made myself very sick many years ago before I figured this out. Some cooking sprays, like Pam® Baking, have flour added, while others, like Pam original, do not. Who would have thought?


Enjoy yourself

Enjoy gluten-free baking  -lick the spoon!

Yes, we celiacs have to be careful while baking delicious gluten free treats. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun! Easy, Tasty, Gluten Free is all about enjoying baking and sharing the love with your family and friends. So go out there and read your labels, then come home and bake!

Wondering where to start? My Easy, Tasty, Gluten Free cookbook has 50 recipes for cakes, cookies, brownies and more that will have you baking gluten free with confidence in no time. Get your copy here.

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