Gluten-Free, Keto, and Vegan Baking Tips for Better Healthy Treats

December 16, 2022

’Tis the season for homemade baked goods, but what do you do when everyone’s got different dietary restrictions? Easy: you get your ingredients at Thrive Market, where it’s a cinch to find baking essentials like flour, sweetener, and chocolate chips that suit every lifestyle.

Whether you’re searching for gluten-free flour, keto sweetener, or vegan egg substitutes, we’ve got you. Read on for products and tips that will help you make the best gluten-free, keto, and vegan treats this holiday (or any time).

Gluten-Free Baking Tips

Baking is basically chemistry, which means messing with ingredients is a bit like playing mad scientist. Your best bet for successful gluten-free baking is to use a recipe that’s designed to be gluten-free rather than making too many swaps. Here are a few more tips:

  • Measure by weight, not volume. This is good general advice for any recipe, but especially when working with gluten-free flours. If you bake often, invest in a kitchen scale and measure your ingredients in grams and milliliters for the most accuracy.
  • Mix well…like, really well. You’ve probably heard that overmixing can turn baked goods tough. Overdeveloped gluten is the culprit—which is a nonissue with gluten-free baking. In fact, your batter may actually need a bit more mixing than those made with regular flour.
  • Be careful not to overbake. Baked goods made with gluten-free ingredients don’t set the same as their glutenous counterparts, so don’t wait for your GF cake or brownies to look completely done before pulling them out of the oven. On that note, cool your treats out of their pans to prevent overbaking from residual heat.

Best Gluten-Free Flours For Baking

Stock your pantry with these gluten-free baking essentials.

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour

Using this flour in your favorite recipes is a no-brainer. Member Christina from Minnesota says it’s “Definitely my favorite gluten free flour blend. This is a great blend to use for everyday baking, without too much of a change in texture or taste.” 

Thrive Market Non-GMO Super Fine Almond Flour

Nutty, single-ingredient almond flour is a popular choice for gluten-free baking. The healthy fats in almonds will lend moisture to your recipes. 

Thrive Market Organic Coconut Flour

You don’t have to be a coconut lover to use this gluten-free flour. Members say the tropical flavor isn’t overpowering in the slightest. 

Thrive Market Organic Quinoa Flour

Using quinoa flour results in a hearty texture that’s perfect for muffins and quick breads.

Keto Baking Tips

Thanks to ingenious ingredients and smart swaps, you can still enjoy holiday delights even if you’re following this no-sugar eating plan.

  • Choose the right sugar swap. For granulated white sugar, look for a one-for-one replacement like Swerve, which our members say is imperceptible in recipes. If your recipe calls for brown sugar, try a sugar replacement marked “golden” for richer flavor. Avoid liquid keto sweeteners unless your recipe expressly calls for them.
  • Do the same with flour. Nut-based flours like almond and coconut are popular in keto baking. If you’re dealing with nut allergies or don’t want to add any unintended flavor, try a wheat fiber-based blend (like this one from King Arthur Baking Company) for something that more closely resembles AP flour.
  • Stock up on nut butters. Grain-free baking often relies on ingredients like peanut butter, almond butter, or tahini for dreamy texture without the carbs. Make sure you’re using true nut butters, not spreads, which often have added ingredients.
  • Don’t forget the chocolate chips. ‘Semi-sweet’ still means sugar, so make sure to grab a few bags of keto-friendly chocolate baking chips, like these stevia-sweetened mini morsels or these classic chips made with dates.

Best Keto Baking Mixes

Don’t want to risk your keto baking experiment going south? These keto baking mixes are an easy shortcut, and the end results are just as tasty. (We won’t tell a soul.)

GoodSam No Sugar Added Chocolate Cake Baking Mix

This brand known for its ethical and sustainable sourcing makes its baking mixes—like this decadent cake mix—with allulose, a keto-friendly sweetener.

Birch Benders Keto Classic Yellow Cake Mix

Thrive Market member Nicole from New Jersey says this is “the best keto cake mix.” It’s also endlessly adaptable; our members report using it for cobbler, pancakes, cookies, and muffins in addition to cakes.

Lakanto Sugar-Free Cookie Mix

These simple, no-sugar sugar cookies are begging to be cut out into shapes and decorated for the holidays. 

Birch Benders Keto Frosting

Top your keto treats with ready-to-spread frosting made from cassava, coconut oil, and monk fruit.

Vegan Baking Tips

You don’t have to be 100% plant-based to enjoy a vegan treat, but you do need a little culinary know-how if you’re going to make one. Here are two things you’ll need to master:

  • Substituting eggs. Eggs play an essential role in baking because they bind ingredients together. You can DIY an egg substitute by combining one tablespoon of ground flaxseed and three tablespoons of water and letting it sit for five minutes. For an easier option, try a ready-to-use version like this one, made from potato starch, tapioca flour, and psyllium husk.
  • Substituting butter. Many plant-based baking recipes will call for coconut oil or nut butter as a fat source, but if you’re trying to veganize a traditional recipe, try a plant-based butter like the one from Miyoko’s Creamery, which is made with ingredients like cashew and coconut. 

One more tip: if you’re strictly vegan, make sure you only use organic cane sugar in your plant-based baked goods. Conventional, refined sugar is often processed using bone char.

Best Vegan Chocolate for Baking

If your plant-based baking recipe calls for chocolate, try one of these vegan picks, organized from smallest to biggest.

Endangered Species Oat Milk Chocolate Baking Chips

Not only are these dainty chips dairy-free, but they’re also low in sugar. Member Nicolle from Massachusetts says “they taste like normal choco chips,” and really, what better endorsement could you ask for?

Thrive Market Organic Paleo Baking Chocolate Chunks

There are chips, and there are chunks. These hefty morsels of ethically sourced chocolate are free from animal ingredients. 

Dr. Bronner’s Magic All One Chocolate Bar

Sometimes you need more than a chip and more than a chunk. For those occasions, chop up a whole bar (or a few). Of this beloved brand’s new chocolate bars, member Tara from California says, “Dr. Bronner’s did it again.” We couldn’t agree more.

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Kirby Stirland

Kirby Stirland is a writer, editor, and New York transplant living in Los Angeles.

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