Gluten- & Dairy-Free Desserts

by Carly Schuna ; Updated April 18, 2017

Gluten is in grain based products.

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If you have dietary restrictions or allergies that exclude gluten and dairy products, it may seem as if you’ll never be able to eat dessert again, but there are plenty of sweet options that are still on the table for you. Pies, cakes, cookies and even ice cream can all be made gluten-free and dairy-free with a few modifications.

Baking Mixes

Purchase gluten-free baking mixes or pre-blended gluten-free flour combinations from any national baking company to streamline the baking process. Often, the only ingredient necessary to add to these mixtures is water or milk. Almond milk, soy milk or another dairy-free milk can be used in place of whole dairy milk.

Gluten-free flours such as quinoa, rice, tapioca, nut or millet flours can be blended to form a gluten-free baking mix that is OK to substitute in many conventional dessert recipes, and they simplify the baking process considerably.


Make a pie crust in the traditional way with just a few substitutions to cater it to gluten-free and dairy-free individuals. Use a gluten-free flour blend instead of wheat flour, and add vegetable shortening or a non-dairy butter product as the fat in the dough. After cutting in the fat, add water until the dough moistens and holds together in a ball. Roll it out, and bake it as usual.

The Living Without website recommends taking advantage of fresh cherries during the summer to make a free-form pie. Fill the crust with cherries -- or any fresh fruit -- seasoned with cinnamon and lemon juice and sprinkled with tapioca flour and sugar.


Substitute a gluten-free flour mixture for traditional wheat flour in almost any cake recipe to make a suitable replacement. You can also seek out gluten-free and dairy-free recipes, such as those for flour-free chocolate cake. If dairy-free individuals also can’t eat eggs, use an egg replacement product or ground flax seed mixed with water to set the cake properly.

When you’re preparing a flour-free chocolate cake or any chocolate dessert, read the ingredients on the chocolate package carefully to make sure that the variety of chocolate you use is completely dairy-free and gluten-free.

Fresh Fruits

Focus on fresh fruits when you prepare desserts for gluten-free and dairy-free individuals. Fruits add natural sweetness and color and can be cooked into a sauce, baked into a cake or used to garnish any dessert to improve its look.

You can also serve fresh fruit that’s lightly seasoned as a dessert. Wash and slice fruit well, and sprinkle it with cinnamon, lemon juice, and sugar. Serve the fruit in a parfait glass with a dollop of non-dairy whipped cream or vanilla soy yogurt.

Ice Cream

Buy vegan ice cream or make your own for a simple dessert option that’s satisfying in hot weather. Garnish a small bowl of the dessert with melted chocolate or fresh fruit.

If you have an ice-cream maker, you can make your own dairy-free and gluten-free ice cream. The Go Dairy Free website recommends a recipe for banana-almond-coffee ice cream that uses almond milk as a replacement for cream or regular milk in traditional ice-cream recipes.

Photo Credits

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About the Author

Carly Schuna has been freelance writing and editing for more than a decade. In the lifestyle sector, her specialty areas are wellness, food/drink, and entertaining. With hundreds of recipes and nutrition-focused articles in her portfolio, Carly loves helping readers put a healthy spin on classics in the kitchen without sacrificing taste.