Gluten-Free Pop Tarts

Gluten-Free Pop Tarts

Pop-Tarts were the breakfast of champions in the 1980’s. I don’t remember ever having anything else before school, latchkey kid that I was. And it seemed like such a good idea, too. Until an hour later when I was hungry again. Then, not such a good idea.

But I’d do it again the next day. We had a seemingly endless supply of them. I took that to mean that I was doing what I was meant to do by eating them every morning.

Everyone has a favorite kind. Frosting or no (none for me, thanks). Fruit filling or no. I just used some straight-up jam in these. There’s a recipe for Apple-Cinnamon Filling on page 70 of My Cookbook, if you’d rather go that way. Or if you just haven’t yet bought a copy. *wink wink*

You can make toaster pastries with a basic gluten-free pastry crust. They’re mighty fine.

These, though. These are a dead ringer for the Pop Tarts you remember. The butter is melted, not cold like in traditional pastry. So they don’t puff like pastry. They flake, more like shortbread, but they’re not nearly as fragile as all that.

And that’s the thing with these nostalgic foods. Sometimes, when you’re gluten-free, it can feel like you’ve closed one chapter without opening a new one. Not on my watch, sister. I’m opening all the chapters. Wide open.

Here’s what you’ll find inside this particular chapter:

Gluten-Free Pop Tarts
Recipe Type: Breakfast Pastry
Author: Nicole @ Gluten-Free on a Shoestring.com
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 14
Gluten-free toaster pastries. Pop Tart Clones!
  • 2 1/2 cups (350g) high-quality gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (112g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz.) milk, at room temperature
  • seedless jam for filling
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
  2. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the melted butter, vanilla and milk, and mix to combine. The dough will be thick and a bit greasy. Knead the dough until it is smooth. It should hold together well.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a large sheet of unbleached parchment paper, and cover with another sheet of parchment. Roll into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick (the thickness of a nickel). With a pastry cutter or sharp knife, slice into 2-inch-by-4-inch rectangles. Gather, reroll and cut the scraps into rectangles.
  4. Spread about 1 tablespoon of jam on top of half of the rectangles in an even layer, stopping about 1/4 inch from the edges. Cover each with another rectangle, and press along the edges to seal.
  5. Transfer the tarts carefully to the prepared baking sheets and bake, rotating once, until very lightly golden brown all over, and a bit darker around the edges (about 15 minutes).
  6. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. They can be toasted before serving, just like the original.
  7. Freeze leftovers. Defrost in the toaster oven.

If the dough becomes difficult to handle, try chilling it for a few minutes until it firms up a bit.

Oh, and my fave Pop Tart? Brown sugar and cinnamon. No frosting, please (easier to take out of the toaster oven, ‘course).


P.S. If you haven’t yet, please pick up a copy of My Cookbook! I can’t keep the blog going without your support!


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  • Suisapere
    September 18, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Will this work if I made the milk almond milk (allergy to cow milk). I’d love a poptart once and awhile!

    • gfshoestring
      September 18, 2012 at 9:45 PM

      I haven’t tested this recipe with any substitutions, so I can’t say for sure, but almond milk is typically a reasonably good dairy milk substitute since it is rich in protein and in fat. You’ll have to experiment!
      xoxo Nicole

  • Amanda Brown
    September 13, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    OMG I just stumbled across your blog (pinterest I think) and I LOVE YOU! You’ve got recipes for everything on here and it is so awesome to breath easy that when I have kids I’ll be able to give them the same treats other kids have without giving them something that (well if they take after me) will give them years of hell if eaten reagularly. Thank you thank you and thank you :D

    • gfshoestring
      September 13, 2012 at 8:17 AM

      Why wait for kids, Amanda! Go for it now, just for yourself. Gotta take care of #1. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Katie
    September 12, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    This is wonderful! I’m about to make these for a friend who was just diagnosed with Celiac’s.  How did you make the brown-sugar-cinnamon mixture that you used?  Thanks!!!

  • Karen Montalvo
    September 11, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! I miss pop-tarts so much. :)

    • gfshoestring
      September 11, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      So, what you’re saying, unless I’m misunderstanding, Karen, is … you’re excited? ;) You’re very welcome!
      xoxo Nicole

  • […] you, silly. So what I’m doing today isn’t about, well, my today. Maybe it’s about gluten-free Pop Tarts for your fast-paced tomorrow morning. Or about how to use up the last of summer’s bounty in […]

  • Rebecca
    September 5, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    I am gluten free, dairy free, corn free, and soy free. I am interested in your cookbook, but am wondering how many of your recipes would fit all the above restrictions. Do you have a section in there on substituting for these items in recipes that contain them?

    • September 5, 2012 at 7:11 PM

      Hi, Rebecca,
      I’m honestly not sure. I suggest you use the “Look Inside” feature on amazon and browse the table of contents. All the recipes except those in which I have indicated otherwise can be made with a dairy-free substitute, but I can’t make any representation as to corn or soy. Best of luck.

  • Christi M
    September 4, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    THANK YOU! I have been scouring the internet to find a pop-tart like recipe for our son… most look like pie crust, which doesn’t seem right! He has never had one since his wheat and soy allergy was discovered before he had the chance to try one! I feel like he misses out on so much because of that! I am going to do lemon curd & cream cheese, cherry & vanilla curd, and apple cinnamon! He is going to be THRILLED!

    I also am a huge fan of your cookbook and can’t wait for #2 to come out! Thank you for continually making recipes so both my kids can enjoy some of the staples of childhood!

    • September 4, 2012 at 3:55 PM

      You’re welcome, Christi! I have made more than a few pastry-crust toaster pastries in my time, and they have their place. I have enjoyed them. But … they’re not Pop Tarts. So glad you are willing to make these treats for your kids! And thank you for supporting me with my cookbooks. It means a lot to me.
      Lemon curd and cream cheese sounds like a winner, by the way.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kristi
    September 1, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    I made these this morning while my kids were still asleep. My gluten eating son was the first one up and is eating one right now. I put cinnamon, brn sugar and butter in the middle. He proclaimed that they are sooooo good and that I have become a master chef like person. hahahah. Thanks Nik!!!!

  • August 29, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    One time in college I had (this is insane) 2 s’mores pop tarts and a Mountain Dew. I vibrated for days.
    Hm. Peanut butter and jelly GF pop tarts? Any reason why it couldn’t be done?

    • August 30, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      You can really put whatever you like in between these layers of pastry, Jen, as long as it’s thick so it doesn’t fall out during baking. Why not PB&J? Just be sure the J is actually jam, not jelly.
      xoxo Nicole

  • August 29, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    I also grew up on Pop Tarts, strawberry frosted was my favorite, though cinnamon sugar a close second :) Thanks, Nicole, for making all the old and new favorites GF.

  • Mary
    August 29, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    If I can get these to work, my 9yo will LOVE you. :)

    I second the question about the brown sugar and cinnamon. With the frosting, too, please?

    Your book is in my cart. As soon as I get enough GCs built up…

  • August 29, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    These look so great!! Other recipes floating around seem to have pastry layers that are too thick. These look much more authentic. My favorite pop tart is also the brown sugar one, but bring on the frosting for me!!

  • Tanya
    August 29, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    I just wanted to add that when I make these I use a can of pillsbury frosting ( most are gf and cf) to frost them. I put a little on a spatula and as soon as they come out of the oven I frost them. The pillsbury often come with sprinkles of some sort so I put them on right away too while the frosting is hot. When it cools, it makes a hard glaze, just like the frosted ones you grew up with! Also, williams-sonoma makes a really cool cutter for these too!

  • kelly grace
    August 29, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Hi Nicole-
    I really appreciate your creativity and spunk. I’m wondering what flour blend you have used here. As you remember from your review of flours, different blends have different optimum uses.
    Will be making these this weekend!! Would love to use the best flour blend possible.
    Thank you!!

    • August 30, 2012 at 11:22 AM

      Hi, Kelly,
      In this particular recipe, I used my version of a mock Cup4Cup flour, since I wanted the pastry to be as light and flaky as possible.
      xoxo Nicole

      • kelly grace
        August 30, 2012 at 12:15 PM

        Thanks so much!! :)

  • Shelly
    August 29, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    First let me say thank you from the bottom of my heart…for all of your recipes! You have changed my 11 year olds gluten free life! It’s tough being an 11 year old girl but it’s even tougher when you can’t eat what your friends can…especially when you could until just a year ago.

    Question…how would you make a filling and frosting for the brown sugar and cinnamon kind? Those were her favorite kind in her gluten eating days.


    • August 30, 2012 at 11:23 AM

      I’m so glad my recipes have been a comfort to you and your daughter. That is a tough age to suddenly go GF, indeed.
      I think I will probably do a few posts with different Pop Tart fillings in the near future. Stay tuned. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • JoAnn C
    August 29, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    For me, I would probably put Nutella inside. ; ) I have even seen recipes where pizza sauce and cheese are put in. Yum pizza for breakfast. I noticed you didn’t prick holes in the top crust and wondered why.

    • August 29, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      Hi, JoAnn,
      Good question. Since it isn’t a pastry, and doesn’t become flaky by having chunks of cold butter expand in the hot oven, having holes to allow steam to escape aren’t necessary. You can poke them, though, if you are so inclined. They won’t hurt. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Becky
    August 29, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    I am SOOOOOO missing Pop-Tarts! I’m excited to try these. I am one of the ones that like the frosting kind though so I’ll have to try to find one I like.

    I do have a question. My favorite growing up (and right up until my dx in March 2012) is the frosted fudge kind. Would it be possible to make the pastry dough chocolate/fudge flavored? How would I go about that? (I’m a baking novice in general but definitely in GF baking!)

    Loving all the recipes from the emails. I just need to stock up on the cookbooks now! LOL

    • August 29, 2012 at 2:04 PM

      Hi, Becky,
      The chocolate fudge pop tarts would be an entirely different recipe. But it’s on the list, now. Good idea! ;) And thank you for your support with the cookbooks!
      xoxo Nicole

  • August 29, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Just in time for back-to-school! I like to bake on Sundays and freeze stuff for the busy week, and I bet these will work perfectly in the toaster.
    P.S. Brown sugar and cinnamon WITH frosting, please.

    • August 29, 2012 at 2:05 PM

      They hold up beautifully in the toaster, Gina! Just be careful – that frosting gets really hot. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

  • August 29, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    These are great! I’m going to share with my sister so my niece can have pop tarts again!

  • Kristi
    August 29, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    I am with you, Brown Sugar and Cinnamon with no frosting. Of course!

  • August 29, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    I miss toasted pastries SO MUCH, now I have a recipe to recreate those little junk food goodnesses :P

  • August 29, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    I have a couple of questions for you. First of all, in many of your recipes you make reference to unbleached parchment paper. Where do you find it, and what’s the difference? Why bother with it?

    Second, some of your recipes specify that low fat milk is fine, but fat free is not. Is that true of this recipe? I tend to buy skim milk, so it helps to know if I need to buy something different to make a recipe.

    Still loving all your stuff! And waiting on cookbook #2!

    • August 29, 2012 at 11:47 AM

      Hi, Stephanie,
      Thanks for your support with the cookbooks. That means a lot to me.
      Fat free milk is inappropriate for this recipe, as the fat is necessary for the recipe to taste and behave as intended. I buy unbleached parchment paper on amazon. The brand I buy is called If You Care. It is durable, doesn’t burn in the oven like bleached parchment paper and is flexible so you can press it into corners in baking pans. It is also perfect for rolling out gluten-free dough.
      xoxo Nicole

      • Kristi
        August 29, 2012 at 12:12 PM

        I have to second Nicole on the parchment paper. I thought “why bother” but I tried it and it is so key to gluten free baking in my opinion. It handles easier especially when rolling dough between two sheets. I now order it online and I don’t buy the stiff white stuff at the stores anymore.

      • Sarah LM
        August 29, 2012 at 2:00 PM

        What’s the deal with soy milk? Can it be substituted for dairy milk? It does have fat in it I’m pretty sure but a different sort…

  • Melissa
    August 29, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    What if you want to do a frosted version. Any suggestions? P.S. Love your book!!!

    • August 29, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      Thanks for your support of my cookbook, Melissa! For frosting, I would use a simple royal icing for that thin, almost crackly appearance.
      xoxo Nicole

  • August 29, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    OMG I love you SO MUCH!!! You are my dream come true. Getting your book on my nook right now.

    • August 29, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      Thanks for the support, Andromeda. And the love. ;)
      xoxo Nicole

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