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Gluten Free Pop Tarts

Gluten Free Pop Tarts

These brown sugar and cinnamon frosted gluten free pop tarts are just like the “real” thing. Fill them with jam, nut butter, or a bit of Nutella to make them your family’s favorite!

These brown sugar and cinnamon frosted gluten free pop tarts are just like the "real" thing.

Do you have memories of Pop Tarts for breakfast?

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.

Filling options

Everyone has a favorite kind. Frosting or not. Jam filling or brown sugar and cinnamon (the latter for me, thanks).

You can use 1 tablespoon of your favorite type of seedless jam in the center of each of these, instead of the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. It should not leak, as long as you resist the urge to add too much. Same goes with Nutella or even a dab of peanut butter.

If you’re willing, you can make the same filling as we used for our gluten free apple slab pie, dice the apples a bit smaller, and use that filling here. At that point, though, you might as well make our McDonald’s style handheld apple pies, though. Those are a true indulgence!

Shaped, raw gluten free pop tarts with a brown sugar and cinnamon filling, on the baking tray ready to bake.

These homemade pop tarts are different from most

You can make toaster pastries with a basic gluten free pastry crust. In fact, if you search for homemade pop tarts recipes, that’s mostly what you’ll find. 

But if you want them to taste like the Pop Tarts you remember, you’ll need a different crust recipe. In this recipe for gluten free pop tarts, the butter is melted, not cold like in traditional pastry.

The crust doesn’t puff like pastry. Instead, it flakes, more like shortbread, but the crust isn’t as fragile as shortbread cookies. And it’s made with an egg, more like butter cookies.

Just-baked gluten free pop tarts that haven't yet been glazed.

How to store and refresh these gluten free pop tarts

The finished pastries can be stored in a sealed glass container at room temperature and should maintain their texture for at least 3 days. Storing something in a glass container maintains texture, although a plastic container tends to make anything crispy become soft and weepy. 

For longer storage, try piling the prepared pastries in a freezer-safe container (a rectangular container that is at least 5-inches tall is ideal). There’s no need to freeze them first in a single layer, as they’re very stable at room temperature. Once the glaze is completely set, it shouldn’t be damaged in storing them.

To refresh them, do just what you do with a Kellogg’s Pop Tart: pop it in the toaster oven! There’s no need to defrost the pastries if they’ve been frozen. But remember that, if they’re frosted, that part gets super hot so be careful with those fingers!

Three brown sugar and cinnamon gluten free pop tarts, one with a bite taken because someone couldn't wait.

Ingredients and substitutions

Dairy: The butter in the crust is the essential dairy in this recipe, and what you’ll struggle to replace perfectly. I would try Melt brand or Miyoko’s Kitchen brand vegan butter, or butter flavored Spectrum brand nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. The milk can be your favorite nondairy milk, or even water. 

Egg: There is only one egg in this recipe, but it really helps stabilize and add richness to the pastries. You can try replacing it with a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel). 

Corn: The cornstarch in this recipe can easily be replaced with arrowroot, tapioca starch/flour, or even potato starch. If you’re using a higher starch blend like Cup4Cup, replace the cornstarch, by weight, with more Cup4Cup. 

Sugar: These are not “lightly sweet” breakfast cookies, like our oatmeal breakfast cookies. When I give them to my children, I do not kid myself that they’re “healthy.” There is plenty of sugar in the dough, and the filling. 

If you’re really motivated, the crust might work with a granulated sugar replacement (I like Lankato brand monkfruit granulated sugar replacement), but those tend to be drying so you’ll almost certainly need more moisture. The risk is that the dough will be tough, since sugar is a tenderizer. 

Image of brown sugar and cinnamon and jam-filled gluten free pop tarts, with some bites taken.

 

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 12 pastries

Ingredients

For the crust
2 1/4 cups (315 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter), plus more for sprinkling

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1/4 cup (36 g) cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) milk, at room temperature, plus more by the half-teaspoonful as necessary

For the filling
1/2 cup (109 g) packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon (9 g) cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the glaze
1 cup (115 g) confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons lukewarm water, plus more by the half-teaspoonful as necessary

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • Prepare the crust. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, salt, and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the melted butter, vanilla, beaten egg, and 1/4 cup milk and mix to combine. The dough will be thick. Knead the dough with your hands until it’s smooth, adding more milk by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to bring the dough together. Divide the dough into two equal parts and work with one at a time, covering the other with plastic wrap or a towel to prevent it from drying out. Place the first piece of dough on a lightly floured surface and dust lightly with more flour to prevent it from sticking. Roll out the dough about 1/4-inch thick, moving the dough frequently and sprinkling it with more flour as necessary. Slice it into rectangles approximately 3-inches x 4-inches. Reroll each rectangle a bit more until it’s a bit less than 1/4-inch thick. Gather and reroll scraps, and repeat with the other half of the dough. There should be at least 24 rectangles in total. If you have fewer, try for at least an even number of rectangles because you’ll be pairing them.

  • Prepare the filling by placing all of the filling ingredients in a small bowl and mixing them to combine well. Place about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of of half of the rectangles of dough and spread it into an even layer, leaving about a 1/2-inch border clean on all sides. Cover the filling on each rectangle with a matching rectangle, and press all around the clean edge to seal. Trim any unmatched or jagged edges. Place the pastries about 2-inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet. Dock the pastries by piercing them all over the top with a toothpick or the tines of a fork. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the pastries are very lightly golden brown on the edges and set in the center, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the pastries to cool completely.

  • When the pastries are nearly cool, make the glaze. In a small bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar and ground cinnamon, and mix to combine well. Add the 2 teaspoonful of water and mix until combined into a thick paste. Add more water by the half-teaspoonful as necessary to create a thickly pourable glaze. Spread the glaze generously on top of each cooled pastry. Allow to set completely at room temperature.

  • Originally published on the blog in 2012. Recipe revised somewhat, all photos, video and most text new.

Love,
Nicole

Comments are closed.

  • 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

  • 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. :)

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

    Thanks!

  • 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.

  • 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 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
    THANK YOU! :D

  • 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.

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