How to Make the Best Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes

Gluten-free baked goods can be fluffy, delicious and just as tasty as traditional bakes. Here's how to make foolproof gluten-free vanilla cupcakes.

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Gluten-free baking has come a long way—these days, gluten-free baked goods are as fluffy and delicious as the real thing. Cupcakes are a great choice for beginning bakers, since they’re way less fussy than large cakes or wheat goods. We’ll walk you through a gluten-free vanilla cupcake recipe from scratch, plus pitfalls to avoid.

How to Make Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes



  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cups 2% milk


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons 2% milk



Step 1: Mix the wet ingredients

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

Step 2: Mix the dry ingredients

In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients: the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt. Whisk them together until they’re combined (you don’t want any pockets of baking powder).

Step 3: Combine the ingredients

Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients. Add one-third of the flour mix, one-third of the milk, and beat well. Repeat twice more, alternating flour mix and milk, and beating well after each addition.

Editor’s Tip: Avoid beating the batter too much, which can make cupcakes sink.

Step 4: Pour into muffin tin and bake

Slowly pour the batter into the prepared cups. Fill each about three-quarters full, so the cupcakes have room to rise.

Step 5: Bake

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center cupcake comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Step 6: Make the frosting

In a large bowl, beat the butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth. Gradually, beat in just enough milk to achieve a smooth, spreadable, fluffy consistency.

Step 7: Frost the cupcakes

When the cupcakes are completely cool, frost them. Any leftovers? Keep them in the refrigerator. The cream cheese in the frosting can spoil at room temperature.

Craving chocolate? Try these gluten-free chocolate cupcakes.

Gluten Free Cupcake FAQs

Q. Why Do My Gluten-Free Cupcakes Sink?

Cupcakes generally sink if the batter was overbeaten. Beating for too long adds too much air, which expands in the oven, making the cupcakes rise, and then escapes as they cool, resulting in that sad sinking. In each step, simply beat the batter just long enough to combine the ingredients.

Q. Can You Freeze Gluten-Free Cupcakes?

Yes, you can freeze them! For best results, freeze completely cooled, unfrosted cupcakes. Wrap them carefully so they don’t stick together.

Q. How Do You Thaw Gluten-Free Cupcakes?

Defrost the cupcakes at room temperature. Set them on a cooling rack to prevent the bottoms from getting soggy. When they’re thawed, top with frosting.

Q. How Long Do Gluten-Free Cupcakes Last?

Sadly, gluten-free baked goods have a shorter shelf life than gluten-containing goods. They should last about two to three days. They’ll keep even better without frosting, so frost only what you’re going to eat immediately for best results.

After devouring your cupcakes, try more gluten-free desserts.

Kelsey Rae Dimberg
A former in-house editor at Taste of Home, Kelsey now writes, cooks and travels from her home base of Chicago. After going gluten-free over a decade ago, Kelsey turned to home cooking and baking as a way to recreate her favorite foods. Her specialties include gluten-free sourdough bread, pizza and pastry. When not wrangling her toddler, she enjoys reading, watching old movies and writing. Her debut novel, Girl in the Rearview Mirror, was published by William Morrow in 2019, and her second is forthcoming.