This amazing gluten-free cupcake recipe makes moist and fluffy cupcakes that are perfect for any occasion.

This recipe was originally published in 2014 and continues to be a reader and family-favorite! PS – If you’re looking for a great cake recipe, try this gluten-free vanilla cake!

close up shot of gluten free vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles
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Looking for the best gluten free cupcake recipe? You’re in the right place. This post has all the tips and tricks you need to make fluffy, light, and moist gluten-free cupcakes, every time.

There are so many occasions in life that call for perfect, fluffy vanilla cupcakes. From birthday parties to special occasions, there is no need to miss out on cupcakes if you eat gluten-free!

VIDEO: How to Make Them

This gluten-free cupcakes recipe is my go-to anytime I need a good cupcake base. The gluten-free vanilla cupcakes are delicious topped with any kind of frosting and are made with ingredients that I always have on hand.

These gluten-free red velvet cupcakes, gluten-free pumpkin cupcakes and gluten-free vanilla cupcakes also turn out amazing every time!

For more gluten-free cake recipes try this gluten-free angel food cake, gluten-free pineapple upside down cake, gluten free carrot cake and gluten-free birthday cake.

You also might like this flourless chocolate torte or these gluten-free chocolate cupcakes.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Light, tender crumb
  • Made with pantry staples
  • Come together quickly
  • Perfect for so many occasions!

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Gluten-Free 1:1 Baking Flour: These gluten-free cupcakes turn out best when you use a high-quality 1:1 gluten free flour blend. Look for a gluten free all-purpose flour blend that contains xanthan gum to give these gluten-free cupcakes the structure they need. This is my favorite gluten-free flour brand for this easy recipe.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar and almond milk act as a great substitute for buttermilk. The cider vinegar helps to “curdle” the milk and creates a pleasant tang!
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch acts as a thickening agent to give the batter the perfect consistency—moist, but light and fluffy!
  • Egg yolk: Adding extra egg yolk to these gluten-free vanilla cupcakes helps the batter hold more liquid and create a more moist, rich cake that has an improved structure.

NOTE: I use King Arthur gluten-free flour for many of my baked goods, but I like Bob’s Red Mill best for these cupcakes. (KAF will still work!) Gluten-free flour tends to be dense so be careful not to pack the flour into the measuring cup when you measure.

How to Make Gluten-Free Cupcakes

how to make gluten-free cupcakes
  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, including the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Mix together the almond milk and apple cider vinegar, let sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the room temperature, unsalted butter and white sugar to a stand mixer or using a hand electric mixer, mix until creamy. Mix in the large eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Add the wet ingredients (almond milk and apple cider vinegar) and dry ingredients alternately. This allows the flours to absorb and creates fluffy cupcakes.
  5. Stir any cake batter up from the bottom and sides then mix again briefly.
  6. Scoop the cupcake batter into a lined muffin pan and bake. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.
  7. When the gluten-free cupcakes are cooled, using a piping bag to frost and give the cupcakes a professional-looking finish. I love topping these with chocolate buttercream frosting! You could also use vanilla buttercream to keep this a vanilla cupcake recipe.

Recipe Tip

Be sure you almond milk, butter and eggs are all room temperature for best results. This allows the gluten-free flours to absorb properly into the batter and make perfect gluten-free vanilla cupcakes. 

Storage/Freezing Tips for Gluten-Free Cupcakes

TO STORE: These easy gluten-free cupcakes cake will stay moist and soft for up to 2 days. To store, simply cover the cooled cupcakes tightly with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature.

TO FREEZE: Want to prepare these gluten-free cupcakes ahead of time? No problem! Bake the cake as usual, let it cool, and then wrap it tightly before freezing in an airtight container or freezer bag. When you’re ready to assemble and eat the cupcake, take it out to frost and let it thaw for a couple hours before eating. (Don’t frost the cupcakes before freezing.)

shot of gluten free cupcake with bite

Gluten-Free Cupcakes FAQ

What flour should I use for this gluten-free cupcakes recipe?

I recommend using a high-quality, gluten-free all-purpose flour for gluten-free baking. For best results, pick a blend that contains xanthan gum or another binder. These blends are usually called measure-for-measure or 1:1 baking flour.

This is my favorite gluten-free measure-for-measure baking flour. I also add a little cornstarch to the dry ingredients for these cupcakes. A little extra starch mimics cake flour and yields a nice fluffy cupcake.

How do you make gluten-free cupcakes moist?

Using the right kind of flour and the right flour-to-starch ratio will help these cupcakes bake up nice and moist, along with mixing on medium speed (instead of high speed), and using quality cupcake liners.

Do you need xanthan gum in gluten-free cupcakes?

Yes, xanthan gum is a key ingredient in high-quality gluten-free flour. It makes all the difference in producing cupcakes with a light, moist, crumb and sturdy texture.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Adding a little cornstarch to the gluten-free flour helps to mimic cake flour in this recipe. This combination will create nice fluffy gluten-free cupcakes!
  • These gluten-free cupcakes are delicious with any frosting recipe you like! My favorite combination is vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. But you can also try vanilla frosting, strawberry frosting, or any other frosting flavor you dream up!
  • Make sure you mix the batter on medium speed rather than high speed. Mixing some air into the batter is good, but if the batter is beaten to hard of for too long it can incorporate too much air and the cupcakes will fall.

You also might like this round-up of the TOP 25 gluten-free desserts!

Original photo from 2014!

More Gluten-Free Cake Recipes

I hope you love these gluten-free cupcakes as much as we do! If you try these gluten-free cupcakes, be sure to leave me a comment/rating below. I’d love to hear from you!

close up shot of gluten-free cupcakes
5 from 55 votes

Perfect Gluten-Free Cupcake Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes
This PERFECT gluten-free cupcake recipe makes moist and fluffy cupcakes. It's sure to become your go-to cupcake recipe! 

Video

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup almond milk or regular milk room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free 1:1 baking flour 6 1/2 ounces
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch 1 ounce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 7 ounces
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Frosting:

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter softened to room temperature
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or milk or almond milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
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Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  • In a measuring cup, whisk together the almond milk and cider vinegar. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  • In a bowl, mix together the gluten-free flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, egg yolks, and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the 1/3 of the milk mixture alternately with 1/3 of the dry ingredients, beating on medium speed to combine after each addition.
  • Scoop the batter into the lined muffin pan. The batter will be slightly thick. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Careful not to overbake.
  • Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely. Top with frosting of choice. Enjoy!

For the Frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cocoa powder. Mix to smooth any lumps. Add the butter and mix until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix on low until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Spread or pipe the frosting over the cooled cupcakes. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Be sure you almond milk, butter and eggs are all room temperature for best results. This allows the gluten-free flours to absorb properly into the batter. 
  • I recommend using a high, quality gluten-free all-purpose flour for gluten-free baking. For best results, pick a blend that contains xanthan gum or another binder.
  • Adding a little cornstarch along with the gluten-free flour mimics cake flour in this recipe. This combination will create nice fluffy cupcakes.
  • It also helps greatly to use a good quality cupcake liners any time you’re baking gluten-free cupcakes or muffins.

Nutrition

Calories: 211.66kcal | Carbohydrates: 27.83g | Protein: 2.93g | Fat: 10.04g | Saturated Fat: 5.4g | Cholesterol: 66.26mg | Sodium: 193.81mg | Potassium: 105.2mg | Fiber: 0.88g | Sugar: 16.87g | Vitamin A: 296.3IU | Calcium: 55.45mg | Iron: 0.69mg

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Hi, I'm Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I'm here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have used this recipe as a base for several flavors of GF cupcakes and even modified it to vegan GF. It always works perfectly. It has the right amount of loft and tenderness in the cupcake and looks, feels, and tastes like a regular cupcake. I have modified it to make strawberry, lemon, chai spice, and more. It’s the “perfect gluten free cupcake” recipe! To make vegan GF, I recommend Myokos cashew butter substituted for real butter in the cupcake batter and the frosting and two “flax egg” substitute for the eggs. It turns out really nice and fluffy and doesn’t taste fishy.

    1. 5 stars
      I made these cupcakes yesterday, and these are the most amazing gluten-free cupcakes I have ever had. I am following you on Facebook I will definitely go to your page for my baking. Thank you so much

      1. We are so happy to hear you loved the cupcakes, Margarita! Thanks for following Meaningful Eats on Facebook too!

  2. 5 stars
    These were so moist and delicious! What a wonderful cupcake. I used 1.5 teaspoons almond extract and 0.5 teaspoons vanilla. They were PERFECT. Thank you for this and all of your wonderful recipes.

  3. I wondering if we can reduce the sugar, they are kind of sweet for my. and I noticed they are kind of flat and over flow in the cupcake mold.

    1. Make sure you only fill the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way up to prevent overflow. The sugar is important for the proper structure in the cupcakes so unfortunately you can’t reduce it. You could reduce the sugar in the frosting to 2 1/2 cups.

  4. I have now tried making these twice with Cup4Cup gluten free flour and failed miserably both times. The batter ends up super thick and rises very tall in the oven and then falls and shrivels up when I take them out of the oven to cool. I’m truly baffled as I’ve never had issues with Cup4Cup gluten free flour not working in a recipe even when another is used by the author. Does the bobs red mill truly make that much of a difference here? That was what I used before I switched to using the Cup4Cup. Hoping you can help this experienced baker

    1. I do not recommend using Cup4Cup for this recipe – or cakes in general! I have had the exact same issue. Cup4Cup make them gummy! These cupcakes turn out way better with King Arthur Flour or Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour. I hope this helps!

  5. 5 stars
    Best gf cupcake recipe I’ve tried so far! So fluffy and light ❤️ and the growing is delicious too! Thank you so much!!

  6. 5 stars
    These cupcakes are unbelievably good! It’s hard to describe just how delicious they are! Many of the gluten-free baking recipes I’ve tried before left my palate disappointed. Not this one! Thank you.

    1. 5 stars
      I made these for the first time. They are so delicious! I used plant-based butter and added crushed freeze-dried strawberries and some fresh strawberries cut into very small pieces. They were excellent! They were so moist, and they did not fall in the oven. They were so moist and delicious! Anyone eating them would be shocked to find out they were gluten-free!

      1. Adding the strawberries sounds so delicious! Great to know they worked well with plant-based butter as well. I’m happy you enjoyed them!

  7. 5 stars
    Erin, these turned out marvelous! I’ve tried other cupcake recipes that were not as moist. Very good recipe. I’ll have to share with my other GF friends.

  8. 5 stars
    I was just diagnosed with celiac and this is the first gf baking recipe I tried. And wow! I am blown away. It is so so good. Can’t wait to make it again and show my friends that gf doesn’t mean tastes bad. Going to check out your other recipes too. Thank you!!

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