Better Than Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Flour Blend: D.I.Y. how-to

A D.I.Y. all-purpose gluten-free flour blend that is better than Cup4Cup, and way cheaper, too! more »

Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour Blend - DIY Better

When you’re first starting out baking gluten-free, sometimes there are tears. Okay – when I first started out baking gluten-free, there were a few tears. Okay, fine. Lots of tears. A great all-purpose gluten-free flour blend is salve for our psychic wounds.

I’ve tested 4 different available gluten-free flour blends, and I really liked Cup4Cup. I did not care for the price, so I hacked it and created a D.I.Y. version of Cup4Cup. I know many of you really enjoy that blend, and I’m so glad. I just didn’t find myself turning to it that often, though. Then I realized that, if I’m making the blend myself, I’m the Boss of the Blend. And I think Cup4Cup is a bit too starchy. It tends to make overly fluffy baked goods, and they sometimes don’t brown as well as I would like. So guess what? I fixed it. And now I really love it. I think you will, too. Just be sure to use superfine rice flours.

Oh, and a word on flour sources. I had been buying GF superfine rice flours exclusively at Authentic Foods online, but recently switched to They have better prices & great customer service, and even though they don’t bill their certified GF rice flours as superfine, they are, indeed, superfine. All they’re missing is maybe sometimes every-once-in-a-while free shipping. The quest to have it all goes on!

Prep time: 10 minutes       Cook time: none       Yield: 580 grams (4 cups + 20 grams) all-purpose GF flour blend

80 grams finely ground nonfat dry milk

180 grams superfine white rice flour

105 grams cornstarch

100 grams superfine brown rice flour

85 grams tapioca starch/flour

20 grams potato starch

10 grams xanthan gum

  • In a blender or food processor, grind the nonfat dry milk into a fine powder. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, and whisk to combine well. Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to use.

  • The recipe can be halved or used in multiples easily. Just be sure to whisk fully in a large enough container. It makes a total of 580 grams, which is 20 grams more than 4 cups.

  • I have not tested this recipe with any substitutions. If you avoid dairy for any reason, feel free to experiment!



P.S. Don’t forget your copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy! I can’t keep the blog going without your support!

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  • Gahunt5

    So…making sure I understand correctly. I can substitute this for regular flour? Any other changes? I have your first cookbook. I would use this as the flour? Yes, no, maybe so? Thank you! Love your site and your wit!

  • Susan

    Do you have any suggestions on how to make this non-dairy? Thanks

    • gfshoestring

      As I mention in the recipe, Susan, I haven’t tested this recipe with any substitutions. If you avoid dairy, feel free to experiment!
      xoxo Nicole

    • Cyn

      I make it with soy milk powder and it seems to work fine.

  • Cyn

    FYI I find superfine brown rice flour at my local ethnic grocery (It’s called the Super Global Market) SUPER cheap. It’s worth checking out if you have something nearby.

    • gfshoestring

      Hi, Cyn, 
      I don’t recommend that anyone purchase gluten-free flours at ethnic markets. They are not certified gluten-free and are notorious for cross-contamination, both in processing and in the stores when they are stored in large bins. I’m glad you have been pleased with that resource, but I recommend caution to others.

  • Jazzoasis3

    Can you please include the equivalent conversion measurements in Cups (math is not a strength of mine)? Affordability is key, since money is saved on this cup for cup flour substitute recipe, this rookie can now get one of your books!

    • gfshoestring

      You don’t need math to make this blend, Jazzoasis. You just need a scale. The weights don’t translate neatly into volume measurements, I’m afraid. To make this blend effectively, you need a scale. 

  • BVarner

    Grams? I don’t own a food scale. Can you give us the proportions in tablespoons, cups, etc.?

    • Jennifer S.

      you really need to weigh your flours – doing it by a measuring cup will give you horrible horrible results.

      • kclark

        I couldn’t agree more. Once you get a scale you will be super annoyed at recipes that don’t use weight measurements.  Get one.  They are 20 bucks and no messy measuring cups anymore.  You just put in the first ingredient and zero the scale and add the next.  

        Making any GF flour blend should be done with a scale or you risk ruining your recipes. 

        It took me four months to get one (laziness or fear I guess) and I would never go back. ever. 

    • Betty_homemaker

      Definitely get a scale! I just got one after months of saying to my husband, “We need a kitchen scale!” I finally found some at Bed Bath and Beyond, ranging from $10-$60. I went with a $20 and it works great. Why didn’t I just go for months ago?! Totally worth it.

  • Faithy

    Do you think you could figure out a corn starch and dairy free version as well? Then I would be eternally grateful!!! :)

  • Barb C.

    oops – just saw the xanthan gum …. I won’t be able to use it unless I can find a good sub.

    • Mrsaletzkus

      have you tried guarm gum? 

  • Carole

    Can this blend be substituted in all of your previous recipes both on line and in your books????

    • gfshoestring

      Hi, Carole, Yes, it can.

  • Candaceiw

    I received two bags of cup4cup as a gift this for making pizza. I know how expensive the flour is and have been using your flour hack using Better Batter instead of using the real cup4cup..goofy, I know…cannot wait to try your new and improved version! Thanks Nicole for sharing your baking food science with us! I have your gluten free on a shoe string….which books start using a scale with measurements. I hate pulling out my measuring cups ;) you have now spoiled me…I used to think my rotary cutter and my board were my favorite gadgets (for sewing of course), but I think my escali scale is my new fav ;)

    • gfshoestring

      I have long measured my ingredients by weight, and regret not including weight measurements in my first cookbook (the second book has both weight and volume measurements wherever possible). I was afraid of putting people off by including weights in the first book. Given the opportunity for a second edition, that would be my first edit! You can easily convert the recipes in the first book to weight measurements, though. The most important measure, that of all-purpose GF flour, is 140 grams per 1 cup measure.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kathyisme

    I am confused.  I know you love your Better Batter flour,( which I just purchased),
     and you love your cup 4 cup flour.  How does one know when they need to use each one ? 
    I’m assuming we need both. 

    • gfshoestring

      You don’t need both, Kathy. You can really use either one. I don’t love the traditional Cup4Cup for every recipe, since it is so starch-heavy. I like this blend more than that one, but it’s really personal preference. No all purpose flour is perfect for every type of recipe. They’re just good for all purposes, not necessarily great. For a more in-depth explanation of my thoughts on flour blends, read this post, which is linked to in the sidebar of the blog.

  • Carole

    Thank You.
    Bet you didn’t think you were going to have this kind of day.
    How do they compare moneywise???

    • gfshoestring

      I actually don’t know, Carole, especially since I’m now using another online source for flours. You could definitely bust our your calculator, though! 
      xoxo Nicole

  • kclark

    I can’t wait to try this! It will be nice because so many times that I go to order Better Batter they are out of stock! It’s frustrating.

    I also have friends in Europe that will be thrilled with this blend and being able to make it themselves.

    • Anneke

      kclark — if BB is out of stock on the website, try calling them directly.  They sometimes have some for phone orders even if out of stock online.  I have been desperate enough to call!  Anneke

  • Alberta44

    How do I know what the grams are in cups?  I am not that savvy on knowing how to compare the grams to cups or any other measurements.  I would like to make this flour.

    • gfshoestring

      It doesn’t require savvy, Alberta. Just a scale. :) The measurements do not fit neatly into volume measurements, and you will not get the intended result without a scale.

  • Rochelle

    How smart! I’ve not tried Cup4Cup, mostly because of the cost. I’m just going to skip buying it now and try this instead. Thank you! :)

  • Sugasu

    I am excited to try this new blend! Just need to finally get that scale I keep looking at… I am also interested in your Jules hack, but I can’t find a link to it. I checked “All About Gluten Free Flour Blends” and “The Gluten Free Flour Blend Test”. Did you test it, but not create a hack of it?

    • gfshoestring

      I did not hack Jules’ flour, Sugasu. I don’t care for it at all.

      • Sugasu

        Thanks for the reply! I’m hoping to use this new blend to finally try a baked brie! ;)

  • Sugasu

    I was also wondering if you have experimented with Expandex?

    • gfshoestring

      Sugasu, feel free to browse the Bread recipes in my recipe index. In the later recipes, I have often incorporated Expandex.

  • Ecvirik

    I know that Better Batter is your sponsor, but could you make some things that are made with some of the nut flours? I have a diabetic husband and what is okay for me in your recipes, is laden with rice flours and starches that are bad for him. I used to read your recipes, have bought your books and passed them off to family as they are celiac, but we are slowly seeing the rice flours and starches as not so good for us. The nut flours are more paleolithic and perhaps we need to start looking at that for us. Just wondering if you ever make anything other than using Better Batter or Cup 4 Cup to something more healthier.

    • gfshoestring

      Hi, Ecvirik,
      Actually, Better Batter is no longer my sponsor. But even when they were, I never refrained from experimenting with different flours and blends (as you can see from my flour blend hacks, like this one, and my unbiased testing of 4 blends). I do bake from time to time with almond flour, and there are a couple recipes on the site, but I haven’t found that there is too much interest in them. I think that people tend to go elsewhere, like the paleo sites, for those recipes. I have been thinking about making some of the recipes in the new Wheat Belly cookbook and reporting back on how well I like them. I wouldn’t share the recipes themselves, as they are copyright protected, but would just post my photos and my opinions. If there were enough interest, I would consider posting some more of my own recipes made with almond flour.
      xoxo Nicole

      • Annie M

        Ooh! Please do share – recipes cannot be copyrighted. As weird as that sounds, it’s true.

        • Gfshoestring

          Annie, first, as a recipe developer and cookbook author myself, I would never ever reproduce someone else’s recipe entirely, as it is unfair and wrong. Second, although recipe ingredient lists are technically not copyrightable, the instructions most certainly are protected under most circumstances. I will not be reprinting anyone else’s recipes here, or anywhere else. And I would expect the same consideration from others.

          • Tinylittlemama

            Thank you for your integrity, Nicole! Respecting others intellectual property once apon a time there was a young maiden her name was (you are supposed to finish this story) artistic endeavor is indeed important. I love your cookbook, btw, once apon a time there was a young maiden her name was (you are supposed to finish this story) will be purchasing #2!

      • Meojohnson

        how can a recipe be copyrighted…they are to share…thats what a cook or baker does. we copy then from books and magazines all the time…its just plain silly to think they are not to be copied or shared

        • gfshoestring

          They are to be shared under certain circumstances, Meojohnson. Copying it for your own use is different from posting it on the Internet so that the thousands of people who can get the benefit of something that is for sale, but without paying for it. The instructions in a recipe are protected as artistic expression, and the entirety of a cookbook is protected as a entire work—the same as you can’t reprint a work of fiction and distribute it to whomever you like. If you would like to see the recipe for Basic Bread in the Wheat Belly cookbook, you won’t find it here, even if I post about it and share my own photos. You will have to buy a copy, or take it out of the library.

  • Bren

    OMG – I am BOUNCING up and down in my chair in excitement over this recipe!  Honestly, of all the GFers out there, your word is the law as far as experience has shown and this just makes me SO happy because I too loved C4C but had wonky results.  I feel like there’s a new sun on the horizon!  WOO-HOO!!!!!

    • gfshoestring

      So glad, Bren!
      I’m too ashamed to tell you how long it took for me to realize that at this point I could just fix what I didn’t like about Cup4Cup, and make it better. So glad I could help. Thanks for your enthusiasm, Bren! It’s contagious. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Leanne @ healthful pursuit

    I had a river in my kitchen those first couple of years. Ah! So many amazing recipes, wasted. But you’re right, the AP mix definitely saves the day!

  • Jean

    Can I make gluten free bread in my bread machine?

  • Jean

    So need to go gluten free!

  • Mary

    My two cents on the use of expensive superfine rice flours:

    When I was first diagnosed (13 years ago) I ordered $70 worth of superfine rice flours and some other stuff from Authentic Foods. A few days later a teency-weency package weighing not quite as much as a feather arrived on my doorstep. That’s when I cried. In my experience, the key is to match the flour combination to the type of baked good. For me, “regular” rice flours work just fine in most situations. My baked goods are not gritty, which when you think about it, makes sense, because no matter how finely ground the flour is, it absorbs liquid and becomes soft–cooked rice is not gritty, and the whole grain rice sure isn’t finely ground!There might be some baked goods, cakes perhaps, that turn out better with superfine rice flour, but for my everyday baking of just about everything, the plain old stuff works well, and is far cheaper.

    • gfshoestring

      Hi, Mary, 
      I’m glad you have found something that works for you. What I have found is that, with recipes like yeast bread that spend time rising before being baked, even otherwise gritty rice flours do tend to soften. But with recipes like cookies that go right into the oven, it can matter much more. If cookie dough is allowed to chill for days in the refrigerator, it, too, may be able to tolerate grittier flours. 

      The most important thing for someone who is new to a gluten-free diet, however, is early success. To many, many people, any hint of grittiness from a rice flour that is not finely ground is intolerable. I have had many readers tell me over the years that all rice flours are gritty. Of course, that isn’t actually true, but it was their early experience, so they swore to avoid rice flour at all costs. 

      In addition, what might not taste at all gritty to you might taste gritty to someone else. It is a very individual experience. I personally have not generally been bothered by a nonsuperfine rice flour, at least not after doing this for so many years, but for others, it is like nails on a blackboard. 

      All of this is to say that I strongly recommend that, at least for those new to the diet, they begin with superfine rice flours. Beyond that, experimentation might be worth a try.


  • Gran

    What can be used in place of powdered milk if there are also cow milk allergies(also allergies to soy, nuts, mustard, eggs).

    • Megan

      There’s a product called DariFree that I use that is gluten free, soy free, casein free, msg free that is a powdered milk substitute.

      • gfshoestring

        DariFree is also protein-free, so I don’t think it would be an appropriate sub here. Thanks for chiming in, Megan!
        xoxo Nicole

        • GypsyMama

           It isn’t vegan or anything but I use gelatin a lot to replace eggs, since my daughter is sensitive to them…. it has 6g of protein per Tb…. not sure about it replacing the powdered milk 1:1 but with a bit of tweaking it might work…I’ll have to test it out and get back to you all.

    • Ligea

      If you can have goat’s milk, there is goat milk powder.

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  • Tara0802

    Sorryif this is a dumb q but im gonna ask anyway. Can u just take regular rice flours and grind them a bit further to make them superfine? Like what you do w powdered milk? Just wondering. I have so many half open bags of crazy gf flours! Used for this or that. I relate to tears in the kitchen. Early on i had an incident that we now refer to as the brownie incident which involved tears, a lot of “u have no idea how hard it is to b gf screaming”, and an entire tray of goopy brownie mess dumped in the trash and on the floor! Im by nooooo means an expert but i just made several gf cookies over xmas and faked out my whole fam!

    • gfshoestring

      Generally, I’m afraid the answer is no, Tara. The only home machine I can imagine coming close, though, is a Vitamix since it’s so turbo-charged, but I have heard of people having mixed results. 
      Such a sad brownie story! 
      xoxo Nicole

  • Ligea

    As usual, you are AMAZING!!! So, which flour blend would you use to make pizzelles?

    • gfshoestring

      Aw, shucks, Ligea. ;) I would use this one!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Michelle

    I am excited to try this and the biscotti you posted today. I might put in a little anise extract, as my Noni always put it in hers and I love that familiar flavor. (now I’ll just need a juice glass of chianti to go with it!) Anyway, I wanted to mention something I have recently learned about scales. After many fabulous successes using your recipes, I has two things in a row turn out soggy. I was so sad and mystified, but then discovered that when my scale (Oxo) needs new batteries it still looks like it is working, but the weights are w-a-y off, which is what ruined the things I made. I changed the batteries and weighed a couple of pre-measured bags of beans and all was well again. Just thought I’d mention it, in case anyone else has a similar problem.

  • Kristinr

    love to try it but don’t do anything in grams, can you transpose it for t, T and Cups? Thanks

  • Kristy B.

    I was just curious, is there a possibility that carnation milk powder contains gluten? I sure wouldn’t care to make myself sick, and I see you finely grind your milk powder so I assume that’s not what you use.

  • Sandra

    Why do you use Grams instead of cups or ounces T,tsp And the like

  • Wicksclane

    Could you please make this recipe read into cups for us US people.As iI am GF and this recipe looks good , but you have got me over a barrel. HELP please,
            Thank you.
                Irene Wicks Yager.

    • gfshoestring

      Irene, please refer to the other comments in this post. The amounts do not fit neatly into volume measurements. You cannot make this blend accurately without a scale. There are many other, commercially available, gluten-free flour blend options for you if you do not want to use a scale.

  • Toni

    I just made this and it seems to be a wonderful blend. I have cornbread in the oven and it mixed beautifully for my recipe! I used Bakers Special Dry Milk from King Arthur Flour, it may be a little more money but it’s really fine and all I had to do was blend everything. I might just switch to making my own blends all the time!

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  • Wickedhazel

    Thank you! Your recipe has made a great change in my life!! It’s restored my hope in an enjoyable GF lifestyle. Thank you so very much!!!

  • Jean

    Nicole, Just wanted to let you know That I just bought both of your books. :-)

  • Christinejp

    Check again as they do ship to Canada on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m in Ottawa and get my order in 2 business days.

  • Colleen

    Could you convert grams to cups?

  • mishb

    So… I got REALLY excited about after reading this post and ordered a ton of stuff right away :) I got my order today. I couldn’t believe how fast they shipped! I am very happy with the order except for the brown rice flour (I got oats, gf flours, stuff to make a hot cereal mix, and some other grains) Unfortunately, I do not agree that is is superfine. I had some Authentic left and the difference is very noticeable to my hand, we’ll see if my mouth can tell… I’m hoping it won’t make too much of a difference in my AP blend (which contains other superfine rice flours and some starches). To be clear, the company does NOT say it is superfine and I have no issues with the company (nor with you Nicole), but I just want to put my two cents in to say that next time I want to order superfine, I’ll pay more to use Authentic. 

    • gfshoestring

      I had noted that rice flours were not designated as ‘superfine’ by the company. I have found them to be a good buy. Sorry it didn’t work out for you.

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