The Best Gluten Free Flour Blend | Better Than Cup4Cup

The Best Gluten Free Flour Blend | Better Than Cup4Cup

The best gluten free flour blend is made using superfine rice flours, milk powder, a few starches and a touch of xanthan gum. Make it yourself at home!

Flour in a jar

What makes this all purpose gluten free flour blend the best?

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.

Cup4Cup Gluten Free Flour Blend - DIY Better

I’ve done extensive testing of various all purpose gluten free flour blends, and one of my two favorites is 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.

Flour in a bowl on a balance

Where to source and how to substitute for the components

Rice flours

In the past, I had only bought gluten free superfine rice flours exclusively at Authentic Foods online on Amazon.com and Vitacost.com. But then I learned that they weren’t the only source for superfinely ground rice flours.

I also buy gluten free rice flours from Nuts.com. They have better prices & great customer service, and even though they don’t bill their certified gluten free rice flours as superfine, they are quite finely ground.

Vitacost.com also came out with their own brand of “superfine” rice flours. It’s not quite as finely ground as Authentic Foods, but it’s certainly close enough. I also buy rice flours there.

You can also make your own finely ground rice flour using a grain mill from long grain rice. I’ve shown how to make rice flour at home, and it works surprisingly well.

There is no substitute for either brown rice or white rice flour. Substituting rice in an all purpose gluten free flour blend is like substituting gluten in a conventional flour.

They both also must be superfinely ground, or you’ll be able to feel grittiness in your mouth. That is the hallmark of baked goods that are “good, for gluten free.” Don’t do it!

Everything you need to know about gluten free flour blends, including when and where to use them for best results in gluten free cooking and baking and my recommended blends. It's all here!


There are 3 different starches in this recipe: cornstarch, potato starch, and tapioca starch/flour. I have never found a difference between brands of cornstarch and potato starch.

Buy those starches wherever you like, as long as you’re not buying them from bulk bins which have a very high incidence of cross-contamination. I often buy Argo brand cornstarch from the grocery store.

If you can’t have corn, you can try replacing the cornstarch in this recipe with more potato starch. It should work alright (although it’s not an exact match).

If you can’t have nightshades, this it the right blend for you. Unlike our mock Better Batter, it doesn’t call for potato flour, which has no substitute. And there is only a very small amount of potato starch that you can replace with more cornstarch.

Tapioca starch/flour is a different story entirely. It varies significantly in quality from brand to brand. I can only recommend the tapioca starch/flour sold by Authentic Foods and that sold by Nuts.com.

It also has no proper substitute, I’m afraid. It adds unique stretch to gluten free baked goods.

Overhead view of flour in a jar

Milk powder

I typically use Carnation brand nonfat dry milk powder in this recipe, which I find in my regular grocery store. Most other milk powders, including the baker’s milk powder sold by King Arthur Flour, are not reliably gluten free.

I have also find whole milk powder that is certified gluten free at Amazon.com. That works fine, too. The added fat is welcome.

If you’re dairy-free, this blend along with Cup4Cup and our mock Cup4Cup blends are a challenge. They rely heavily on milk powder.

I have successfully replaced milk powder in baking with coconut milk powder. I think it might work in this blend as well. The brand I typically use is Native Forest, but there are others.

Xanthan gum

I have used a number of different brands of xanthan gum, and I’ve never had a problem with any of them. Bob’s Red Mill brand xanthan gum is often sold in regular grocery stores. You won’t have to buy xanthan gum very frequently, as a little goes a long way.

Xanthan gum can be replaced with the same amount of guar gum. Guar gum is better in cold applications, and xanthan gum in heated applications. So for a baking blend, it’s best to use xanthan gum.

If you can’t have “gums,” I’m afraid there is no viable substitute. Some people like to use psyllium husk, a soluble fiber.

I’ve baked using ground psyllium husk, and it does work quite well, especially in gluten free bread. However, no matter how small the amount of psyllium husk I’ve used in baking, I find that it has a very unpleasant flavor once baked.

Image of my favorite all purpose gluten free flour blend with multiple images, meant for Pinterest

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Yield: 2 cups (280 g)


86 grams superfine white rice flour

50 grams cornstarch

48 grams superfine brown rice flour

42 grams tapioca starch/flour

40 grams dry milk powder (nonfat or whole milk)

8 grams potato starch

6 grams xanthan gum

Special equipment
A digital kitchen scale


  • 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.


Comments are closed.

  • Elaine
    May 26, 2020 at 9:26 PM

    Hi, Nicole.
    Just wanted to comment that I have all your books and love how they have made gluten-free cooking and baking easier for me. Anyways, on this recipe for better than cup for cup, at the top of the recipe it says the yield is two cups then in the second paragraph of the directions it says it makes a little more than 4 cups or 580 grams. I added all the ingredients together and they come out to 280 grams, so the amount at the top of the page is correct but not the one under directions.

    • Nicole Hunn
      May 27, 2020 at 8:50 AM

      Thank you so much for pointing that out, Elaine! I recently edited this post and added photos, a video, etc., and hadn’t made all the changes uniformly. It’s fixed now. Thank you again!

  • mishb
    January 24, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    So… I got REALLY excited about nuts.com 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
      January 24, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      I had noted that nuts.com 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.

  • Colleen
    January 22, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Could you convert grams to cups?

  • Christinejp
    January 21, 2013 at 8:28 PM

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

  • Jean
    January 20, 2013 at 7:12 PM

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

  • Wickedhazel
    January 20, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    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!!!

  • Toni
    January 18, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    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!

  • Wicksclane
    January 18, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    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
      January 18, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      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.

  • Sandra
    January 18, 2013 at 12:33 PM

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

  • Kristy B.
    January 17, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    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.

  • Kristinr
    January 17, 2013 at 11:36 AM

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

  • Michelle
    January 17, 2013 at 12:59 AM

    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.

    • Michelle
      January 17, 2013 at 6:09 AM

      Oh, and I had fun looking at nuts.com. Thanks for mentioning it! That could be a dangerous place for me- so many choices! That superflour looked like it might be interesting in bread. I always liked sprouted bread in my pre-gf days.

  • January 17, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    Wow, that’s a lot of comments about flour. Thanks for the head’s up about nuts.com! I’ve stayed away from anything having to do with superfine because of Authentic super crazy shipping prices, but I’ve been intrigued by your mock mix so maybe I’ll invest. Because a girl can’t have too much flour. Um, you can actually, but I can’t stop myself.

  • Ligea
    January 16, 2013 at 7:40 PM

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

    • gfshoestring
      January 16, 2013 at 8:40 PM

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

  • Karlie
    January 16, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    So depressing – nuts.com doesn’t ship to Canada! :(  There has to be SOMEWHERE that has (affordable) shipping to Canada for superfine flours.

  • Tara0802
    January 16, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    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
      January 16, 2013 at 8:40 PM

      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

  • Chris
    January 16, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    I simply adore nuts.com!  Have purchased several times from them and am ALWAYS happy!  And, yes indeed, the rice flours are DREAMY!!  The options are plentiful but I did run across a time where a few things were temporarily unavailable…..  I’ve never seen free shipping.  I guess that means I need to visit more often and keep my eyes peeled, in case it ever happens!  Glad you found them, too!!

  • Gran
    January 16, 2013 at 8:14 AM

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

    • Megan
      January 16, 2013 at 9:23 AM

      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
        January 16, 2013 at 3:47 PM

        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
          January 21, 2013 at 9:49 AM

           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
      January 16, 2013 at 7:39 PM

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

  • Megan
    January 16, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Nuts.com also has a great gluten free hot cereal, which I make with their almond slices and homemade candied ginger and homemade rice milk. I’ve generally done my own blends, depending on what I’m making, usually using arrowroot and tapioca as my starches, and using different combinations of millet, sorghum, teff, and white & brown finely ground flours. I also never use xanthum, because I can’t tolerate it. I’ll use guar on occasion, but I’ve found that in a lot of recipes that I’ve found on line, I can eliminate the xanthum and still have excellent results. Your flour blends all seem to use potato starch, which has got me curious about how it might alter some of my breads, etc., so I’m going to check it out, although I’ve been pretty happy with the arrowroot/tapioca combination.

  • Mary
    January 15, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    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
      January 15, 2013 at 7:33 PM

      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.


  • Jean
    January 15, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    So need to go gluten free!

  • Jean
    January 15, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    Can I make gluten free bread in my bread machine?

  • Leanne @ healthful pursuit
    January 15, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    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!

  • Bren
    January 15, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    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
      January 15, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      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

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