Is King Arthur gluten-free flour all-purpose?

Gluten-free baking has become increasingly popular, both for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and those simply looking to cut back on gluten in their diets. With so many gluten-free flour blends on the market, it can be tricky to know which ones will work best for your baking needs. One of the most well-known brands of gluten-free flour is King Arthur, which offers an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. But is King Arthur’s gluten-free flour truly all-purpose? Can it be used as a simple swap for regular wheat flour, or are there limitations? In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at King Arthur gluten-free flour to see if it lives up to its all-purpose claims.

What is King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour?

King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour is a premixed blend of various gluten-free flours and starches, designed to mimic the texture and baking properties of wheat flour. It contains rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, and xanthan gum. The blend is protein-enriched, providing a higher protein content than many other gluten-free flour mixes. This helps give structure and rise to baked goods. It is an off-white flour with a fine, smooth texture.

King Arthur markets this flour as an all-purpose baking mix that can be used as a simple 1:1 substitute for regular, wheat-based all-purpose flour. They state it can be used in any recipe that calls for all-purpose flour, from breads to cookies, cakes, muffins and more. The key benefits touted are its versatility, ease of use, and ability to produce tasty baked goods with a lighter texture akin to wheat flour.

All-Purpose Baking Properties

So how well does King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour actually perform as an all-purpose baking mix? Here is an overview of its key properties:

Binding and structure

The added xanthan gum and higher protein content give this flour blend more binding power and structure than many other gluten-free flours when baked. It helps provide lift and a less crumbly texture in finished goods. It can produce baked items that hold together nicely. However, it still lacks the elasticity of wheat gluten so results may be denser and more delicate than wheat-based baked goods.

Rising ability

The blend has moderate rising capabilities, better than single-ingredient flours but still less than wheat flour. It produces decent lift and rise in breads and baked goods, though not as much loft as wheat flour typically achieves. Items made with it will be shorter and denser than wheat counterparts.


This blend produces a relatively light and tender crumb texture in finished baked goods. It has more airiness and less grittiness than some standalone gluten-free flours. The texture is pleasant and cake-like. However, it still lacks the true fluffiness of wheat flour.


King Arthur gluten-free flour has a mild, neutral flavor that doesn’t impart any strong tastes or aftertastes into baked goods. This makes it versatile for both sweet and savory recipes. The taste lets other ingredients like butter, sugar and spices shine rather than overpowering them.


Baked goods made with this flour blend have an off-white color and lower browning capabilities than wheat flour. Items will take longer to brown and won’t achieve the deep golden tones of wheat baked goods. However, results are still appealing.


The hygroscopic starches in this flour blend help baked goods retain moisture well. Goods baked with it tend to remain tender and moist longer than those made with single-component gluten-free flours. It has good moisture retention abilities.


As an all-purpose blend, this flour is extremely versatile. It can be used successfully in a wide variety of baked recipes from cakes and cookies to muffins, breads, pie crusts and more. It delivers fairly consistent results across applications. The blend is not overly starchy or gritty.

Shelf life and storage

Like other gluten-free flours, this blend has a shorter shelf life than wheat flour and should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent spoilage. It will maintain optimal freshness and performance for 6-8 months in the freezer.

How Does It Perform in Specific Recipes?

Let’s evaluate how King Arthur’s gluten-free all-purpose flour holds up in some of the most common baked good categories:


This flour makes decent cakes, though not quite as fluffy and light as wheat flour cakes. It provides enough structure for cakes to hold their shape nicely without crumbling. Texture is tender and cake-like, though still denser than wheat cakes. Rise will be lower so cakes are shorter. Moistness is excellent. Overall, tasty cakes can be achieved. A binder like eggs or yogurt may help.


Cookies made with King Arthur gluten-free flour turn out quite well. The blend provides enough binding power to hold cookies together without them spreading or crumbling excessively. Texture is tender and crisp. Cookies may spread and flatten more than wheat versions. Rise is limited so cookies may be shorter too. But overall, delectable gluten-free cookies can be made successfully.


This flour performs nicely in muffin recipes. It supplies sufficient structure to yield muffins that hold together well and rise adequately. Texture is moist and cake-like. The muffin tops are rounded and pleasing. They brown acceptably, though not as deeply as wheat muffins may. The blend makes tasty gluten-free muffins.


Breads and other yeast-risen baked goods prove more challenging with this flour. It can be used to make bread with decent flavor and a passable crumb texture. However, rise will be quite limited. Loaves will be much shorter and denser than typical wheat breads. The crumb has a tender, cake-like quality. Gluten development is minimal so breads lack chewiness. Overall, acceptable quick breads can be achieved but yeast-leavened loaves will lack the proper rise.

Pizza Crust

Pizza crusts are one of the most difficult items to produce well with gluten-free flours. This blend can make a pizza crust but it remains soft and floppy rather than crisp and chewy. There is not enough gluten formation. The resulting crust will be short, dense and delicate. It tastes fine but the texture differs greatly from a classic pizza crust.

Pie Crust

This flour can produce a decent gluten-free pie crust, though again it is more tender and delicate than a wheat crust. Pie crusts hold together acceptably but are crumbly. They may need to be patched and handled gingerly when rolled out. They won’t achieve the flaky layers of wheat crusts. But they have acceptable flavor and provide a suitable vehicle for fillings.

All-Purpose Performance Summary

Here is a summary of how King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour performs across common baked good categories:

Recipe Binding Rise Texture Appearance
Cakes Good Fair Tender, dense Pleasing
Cookies Very good Fair Tender, crisp Round, small
Muffins Good Good Tender, moist Domed, pleasing
Breads Fair Poor Tender, dense Short, heavy
Pizza Crust Poor Poor Soft, floppy Thin, blistered
Pie Crust Fair N/A Tender, delicate, crumbly Off-white, cracks

Does It Work as a 1:1 Substitute for All-Purpose Wheat Flour?

Based on its performance across various baked goods, King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour generally works quite well in place of regular all-purpose flour, but there are some limitations. When it comes to recipes that depend heavily on gluten formation for structure and rise, such as yeast breads and pizza crusts, this flour does not produce very satisfactory results on its own as a direct 1:1 substitute.

However, for recipes where binding power and rise are less critical, like cakes, cookies, muffins and quick breads, this flour blend can typically be swapped in measured-for-measured for wheat flour with fairly good outcomes. The results may not be identical to wheat versions but very tasty gluten-free baked goods are achievable.

Some tips for using King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour as a 1:1 substitute:

– Adjust your expectations, particularly for items relying on gluten development like breads. Don’t expect your gluten-free version to mimic wheat-based recipes exactly.

– Add binders like eggs or xanthan gum to help hold baked goods together if needed.

– Increase leavening agents slightly to boost rise. Adding an extra 1/4-1/2 tsp baking powder per cup of flour can help.

– Watch baked goods closely and tent/cover if browning too quickly since gluten-free flours brown faster.

– Handle doughs gently; don’t overmix or over-knead since it damages starches.

– Add a bit more moisture to account for dryness of starches.

– Allow baked goods to cool completely before removing from pan as they are more delicate while warm.

Is King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour Worth the Cost?

King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour costs significantly more than all-purpose wheat flour, ranging from $6-$12 per 42 oz bag depending on retailer. So is it worth paying the high price tag for this blend?

There are a few key benefits that help justify the cost for many home bakers:

Convenience: Having an already blended, all-purpose flour takes the guesswork out of gluten-free baking and saves the step of mixing your own custom blend for each recipe.

Reliability: Because it’s premixed by professionals, you can expect consistent results batch after batch. No worries about proportions or quality varying.

Quality: King Arthur has very high standards and only includes whole grain, gluten-free flours rather than starches. This provides better nutrition and flavor.

Versatility: The blend’s balance of binding, rise, moisture makes it able to adapt well to most recipes so you can use just one flour for everything.

Taste: King Arthur’s blend produces great flavor in baked goods. No bean flours or overpowering tastes.

For most home bakers, the added convenience, reliability, and quality is well worth the premium price, especially if you use it frequently. However, more occasional gluten-free baking may make the cost harder to justify. It comes down to your needs.

Professional bakers making gluten-free goods for retail may prefer buying customize flour mixes in bulk quantities to reduce costs. But for home kitchens, King Arthur provides excellent functionality in an easy, reliable package.

How Does It Compare To Other Gluten-Free Flour Brands?

King Arthur is one of the most popular and well-respected gluten-free flour brands, but how does it stack up against some other major players in the market? Here is a brief comparison:

Bob’s Red Mill: A top competitor brand. Their all-purpose gluten-free flour is more bean-heavy, with a distinct bean flavor. Better cost but King Arthur has superior flavor, texture.

Pillsbury: Another trusted brand. Their blend contains fewer whole grains than King Arthur and more starches. King Arthur performs better but a budget option.

Cup4Cup: Developed by chef Thomas Keller. Excellent blend but professionals only. King Arthur is the home baker equivalent.

Better Batter: Smaller brand but gains popularity. Their flour is minimally processed, whole grain, and non-GMO. Comparable quality and cost to King Arthur.

Namaste: Mix focused on simple whole grain ingredients. Has more bean flours so stronger taste. Good nutrition but King Arthur has better baking qualities.

While personal preferences vary, King Arthur remains the most popular and acclaimed all-purpose gluten-free flour brand for home bakers. It strikes the best balance of quality ingredients, ease of use, baking performance and great taste. The price reflects its premium status.

Tips for Baking Success with King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour

While King Arthur’s blend aims to make gluten-free baking as easy as possible, it still differs from wheat flour. Here are some tips for achieving the best results:

– Stick to recipes designed for gluten-free flours rather than trying to directly convert wheat-based recipes.

– Add an extra egg or binder to help hold baked goods together.

– Increase leavening agents like baking powder slightly.

– Use butter or oil rather than margarine for better flavor and less moisture.

– Handle batters gently; don’t overmix.

– Allow baked goods to cool fully before removing from pans.

– Store unused flour in freezer to prevent spoilage.

– Grease pans well as GF batters are stickier.

– Watch oven carefully as GF items brown faster.

– Allow yeast doughs extra time to rise as they’ll be slower.

With some care and practice, you can master gluten-free baking with King Arthur flour and enjoy delicious results! It just may take a few tries to adjust.


King Arthur Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour is a high quality, convenient gluten-free flour blend that makes baking a little easier for the gluten-free home baker. It performs well in a wide variety of recipes from cookies to cakes to muffins, delivering decent binding, moisture, rise and structure. Items baked with it have a pleasant taste and tender crumb.

While it can be used as a simple 1:1 substitute for all-purpose wheat flour with success in many recipes, it does have limitations particularly with yeast-leavened baked goods. Some adjustments may be needed to achieve optimal results. And the price is higher than buying basic wheat flour or gluten-free flours separately.

Overall, King Arthur’s blend is an excellent product that simplifies gluten-free baking with reliably good outcomes across a range of applications. Just bear in mind it is not an exact replica of wheat flour. With practice and care, most home bakers can use it successfully as their go-to gluten-free flour. It delivers accessible gluten-free baking for the majority of recipes you want to create without the headache of complex flour mixes.

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