Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls {Gluten-free}

Gluten-free Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

After I had to give up gluten, I tried making my own rolls at home, using my old favorite recipes, just substituting gluten-free flour, and each time they failed miserably. Thankfully, just a few months after my celiac diagnosis and transition to cooking & eating gluten-free, my local gluten-free store brought in Rachel aka Gluten Free Mama for a baking class. I sat there amazed as she whipped up these super easy dinner rolls, then when I got to sample them, I couldn’t believe it. They actually tasted like real homemade dinner rolls! These don’t taste like cardboard, crumble like sawdust, require a knife to saw through, or need to be toasted to be palatable. What a relief, right?!

Look at that texture:

Gluten-free Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

After learning how to make these from Rachel, and buying her fabulous cookbook, In the Kitchen with Gluten Free Mama, I started making these at home regularly. These really are my family’s favorite gluten-free dinner rolls, and you will find them on our table at every holiday meal and at least once a month at dinner.

You can find Rachel’s original recipe here; you’ll find my adapted recipe below. I’ve cut the amount of time that the rolls need to rise by about half by using instant yeast. The instant yeast I use is SAF Instant Yeast. You can buy Saf Instant Yeast from Amazon or King Arthur Flour. I love using this product to cut the rising time down in some of my yeast bread recipes. When using instant yeast, you do not proof the yeast in water. You add the instant yeast with your dry ingredients, and the water with the liquid ingredients. My directions below reflect this change.

If you haven’t worked with gluten-free yeast dough much yet, it is important to note that it is very different from regular yeast doughs. When making gluten-free yeast doughs, the end result is typically a very wet, sticky dough. Do not be tempted to add extra flour! You will not be kneading the dough by hand at all. Your mixer does all the work mixing the dough well, then you use a large cookie scoop (about 2″ diameter) to scoop the dough in mounds in your baking pan. Another important thing to note is that your pans will actually help you shape your gluten-free dough. For example. if you were making regular dinner rolls, you could get by having the balls of dough spread out on a big baking sheet almost like cookies. If you did that with gluten-free dough, you would end up with very flat breads. So here in this recipe, I definitely recommend you grab yourself a 9″ cake or pie pan to bake your rolls in. I’ll talk more about your pans helping shape your dough when I share my french bread and hamburger bun recipes.

Another difference you might spot between my recipe and Gluten Free Mama’s is that I choose to not brush the unbaked rolls with an egg wash. I prefer leaving them plain for baking, then after baking I brush on melted butter.  Mmmm!

Here’s a pic that shows how the rolls look at the different stages:

Gluten-free Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls

Substitutions:

  • Yes, you can use regular, active dry yeast in this recipe. Use the same amount of yeast called for, but go ahead and proof the yeast in the warm water with a bit of sugar. Then you are going to need to extend the rising time for the rolls by at least double what I have listed here.
  • Can you use another all-purpose flour blend in this recipe? Maybe. There are so many flour blends out there, that I simply cannot test them all. I can’t say whether your homemade blend or your favorite store blend will work in this recipe. I have only had success using Gluten Free Mama’s Almond Blend All-Purpose Gluten-free Flour in it. You can get this in single or multiple bags from Gluten Free Mama’s website or in bulk from Amazon: Gluten Free Mama’s Almond Blend All-Purpose Gluten-free Flour in it. Using any other gluten-free flour blend means you are bringing in a different combination of flours & starches, and I can’t guarantee that will work well. That said, feel free to play with this and see if it works well with your favorite blend.  I would recommend you be sure to measure your flour by weight, and be sure to use the same weight I have listed in the recipe. Read through the reader comments below to see what flour blends have worked well for other readers! Also, if you are using a blend that already contains xanthan gum, try adding an additional 1/2 tsp when making this.
  • Yes, I tried this recipe with Gluten Free Mama’s Coconut Flour Blend as well, but alas I didn’t have good results. I bet you could play with it to make it work fine.  The problem is that coconut flour really absorbs the liquids in a recipe, and mine turned out like hockey pucks.
  • Yes, you can make this egg-free if you need to. I have tried GFM’s egg free option and it worked well & tasted great! Gluten Free Mama recommends this egg free option: ¼ cup water + 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed.  Simmer water and flaxseed over medium low heat for about 5 minutes until thickened.  Stir frequently.  Allow to cool.  This is equal to one egg.
  • Yes, you can make this dairy-free if you need to. Substitute the 2 T of butter for a good dairy-free margarine or Spectrum shortening, melted.  You can also either not brush the finished rolls, or brush with a good tasting dairy-free margarine.

If you are looking for great non-yeast breads to make as well, don’t miss my gluten-free sweet cornbread and gluten-free buttermilk biscuit recipes!

4.8 from 52 reviews
Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls {Gluten-free}
 
Recipe from:
Recipe type: Yeast Breads/Rolls
Ingredients
  • 2¾ cups (11½ oz.) Gluten Free Mama's Almond Blend Flour
  • 1½ tsp. xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp. SAF instant yeast
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup warm water (105-110°)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, dairy-free margarine, or Spectrum shortening, melted
  • 1 egg (preferably room temp)
  • 1 tsp. cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. In the mixing bowl of your electric mixer, mix together flour, xanthan gum, instant yeast, sugar, and salt.
  2. With mixer running on low speed, add in the water, melted butter (or substitute), egg, and cider vinegar.
  3. Mix on medium speed 3 minutes.
  4. Spray 8" or 9" round cake pan or pie plate with cooking spray. Using a 2" scoop or ⅓ cup measuring cup, scoop dough into 9 mounds in the pan. I place one mound in middle, then scoop 8 mounds of dough side by side all the way around the pan.
  5. Dip your fingertips into warm water and use to smooth out the tops of the rolls, continuing to wet fingers as needed.
  6. Cover with a dry towel and let rise in a warm place 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. During the last few minutes that the rolls are rising, preheat oven to 400°.
  8. Bake in 400° oven for 26-28 minutes. Tops should be golden brown and if you measure temperature of dough, it should measure 200°.
  9. Brush rolls with additional ½-1 Tablespoon of melted butter.
Notes
Please see blog post for information on egg-free and dairy-free substitutions. If you would like to use a different flour blend, please read through the reader comments below to see what flour blends have worked well for other readers! Make sure you measure the flour by weight!

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Sharing these over at Gluten-free Wednesdays with gfe and The Gluten-free Homemaker.

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Comments

  1. Krystle says

    Has anyone tried this recipe without the xantham gum? I have an intolerance to it and usually use a mixture of psyllium fibers, chia seeds and flax for a binder.

    • Jessica says

      Try guar gum. Usually with the flours at a health food store. If u research xanthum gum and guar gum, u will find that xanthum is basically made in a lab using moldy corn, guar is made from a type of tree syrup…. Basically guar can be substituted as xanthum in equal amounts

  2. Sara says

    I made these yesterday, and I was unable to type after stuffing myself with them! I almost cried from joy over these rolls. I went gluten free almost a year ago, I am allergic to albumin in cow’s milk, and I recently cut out nightshades. Prior to all of this, I was baking bread, cookies, cakes, and pies with ease. Trying to bake gf is like learning to bake all over again. Words cannot express how thankful I am to you for this recipe, which I will use repeatedly. I followed the directions exactly (other than I measured the flour by cups, not weight) after buying the ingredients you listed in the recipe. I couldn’t believe the bread actually rose! I had been having so much trouble getting gf bread to rise, so this was so wonderful to see it. My house can smell like freshly baked yeast bread again! Thank you so much. I wonder if this could be a universal recipe for bread, hot dog buns, hamburger buns, and pizza crust.

  3. Adele says

    i am allergic to all nuts, which other flour is best for this? I have some Jules flour, can I use this brand, to make them light and fluffy?

  4. Meggan says

    I’ve yet to see someone mention a substitution for the yeast… My son is allergic to gluten and even more to yeast! Do you think/has anyone tried the ole baking soda and lemon juice trick instead of yeast yet?

  5. Anne says

    Could you freeze the dough balls and then pull them back out to rise overnight, or only freeze once they’re already baked? I’m looking for something to use in place of the frozen rhodes dinner rolls in a recipe.

    • says

      The only way I’ve frozen these is to bake them up completely, let cool, then freeze. Then to reuse, I let them thaw completely, put back in a pan and baked for about 5 minutes to warm them up good and freshen them up, then brush on the butter. I totally think you should give it a try freezing the dough balls and trying them out in your recipe! Please report back to let us know how the experiment works!

  6. Shari says

    Turned out great! Only after I measured, as you recommended (and I ignored the first time). I only needed 1 cup of Better Batter and 1 cup of almond meal, and they were fabulous. My only question is, can these be made ahead and, if so, pre-baked or after baking? Thank you so much!

  7. Marlene says

    Can you make these a day ahead,or do they turn into hockey pucks?
    Can you rise, form and freeze and then bake them off, and how long do you need to defrost?
    Have a great Thanksgiving!

    • says

      Marlene, the only way I’ve frozen these is to bake them up completely, let cool, then freeze. Then to reuse, I let them thaw completely, put back in a pan and baked for about 5 minutes to warm them up good and freshen them up, then brush on the butter. I’ve also just made them a day ahead of time, completely baked, let cool, cover and keep at room temperature. Then to warm them up, put them in the oven, uncovered for just a few minutes. I thought they turned out well both ways. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  8. says

    Hi, Has anyone made these rolls using Mama’s Coconut blend flours instead of the almond? Couldn’t get the almond blend before Thanksgiving so I ordered the coconut. Would love to hear from anyone who’s tried it! Thanks

    • Tammy says

      Michelle Palin mentions that she tried the coconut flour and wasn’t happy with the outcome because coconut flour sucks up all the moisture.

  9. says

    These rolls are amazing. I still cannot believe that they are GF! My 11 year old son went GF about 2 years ago due to massive intestinal pains. After removing gluten from his diet the pains vanished. I am supposed to be gluten free too due to my Hashimoto’s Disease so our whole family has converted.

    I didn’t have time to order the GF Almond blend four so I used Pamela’s GF bread mix instead. I also omitted the Xanthum Gum since it was already included in my bread mix. This is by far the very best recipe for gf rolls I have every tried. Just linked it on my facebook page. I took pictures and they look exactly like they do here on the recipe page. Thank you so much Michelle for this recipe. I can’t wait to try some of your other recipes. I’m sold!

  10. Sam says

    I made these last night in two batches. one using King Authur’s GF flour the other using Pillsbury GF flour. Pillsbury turned out more flat and more dense. KA turned out larger and fluffier for sure. still not a huge hit with my 10 year old wheat free daughter. She said they were “gummy”. with KA I added the whole amount of xantham gum. maybe too much for this kind of flour? also, the dough was pretty runny. i scooped with an ice cream scoop and that worked well. i can’t use almond flour at all. she is allergic to all nuts too. any suggestions?

  11. Nancy says

    Hi-have a question regarding the rolls-is there a substitution I can use for the yeast? I can’t have yeast which makes things like this really complicated-

    thanks!

    • Alan says

      Nancy,

      I just posted what I did to create my own flour blend and at the same time posted my use of Baking soda and powder to remove the yeast. I used 8g of Baking Soda, 16g of baking powder, and 5 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother. Mine rose more than what is pictured above and you do not have to wait for the rolls to raise.

      • Samantha says

        Alan you mentioned using 8g of BS and 16g of BP with 5tsp of ACV – in place of the yeast…
        Did you just mix the dry in with the dry and the ACV in with the wet – and no rising time necessary?
        Also is the 5tsp in addition to the ACV already i the recipe?

        Thanks

    • Tivne says

      If you can eat eggs, you can make a pate choux dough with a little almond flour lots of brown and white rice flour, pototo starch and a smidge of baking powder. They will taste like southern drop biscuits.

  12. says

    I used Red Mill all purpose baking flour. They are heavy but tasty.
    Won’t rate the recipe because I didn’t follow it. I will try it with the almond flour blend next time to see if I can get them lighter.

  13. Lucette :) says

    I just tried making these with Krusteaz’ GF all purpose flour. (I’m still new to GF baking.) I forgot to read the bag (mistake #1); the blend already had the xanthan gum in it. Oh well. They worked out pretty well, a lot more dense than the pictures above, but my son is thrilled to have a soft roll that tastes wonderful when warm and slathered in butter.
    I actually thought of rolling it out and making cinnamon rolls out of it…which is something I crave and miss!! :)
    Thank you for sharing this recipe! :) Happy Thanksgiving!

  14. ItalianCypress says

    Intro: Just made these as an experiment and doubled the recipe so that I could fill a large deep dish pan.

    Ingredients: Used a blend of 1/3 Namaste Perfect Flour Blend, 1/3 Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour, and 1/3 homemade raw almond meal/flour. (It’s what I had on hand.) Also used active dry yeast which I had to start with half the warm water and some sugar. I omitted half of the xanthum gum due to the fact that the first flour blend already had it in it and used Kerrygold Butter. Oh, I also used
    BRAGGS Apple Cider Vinegar.

    Method: I buttered the deep dish instead of spraying it. The dough is very sticky so to manage it I had a bowl of warm water to the side. I wet my hands and then quickly yet gently scooped some dough into my palm and again quickly yet gently rolled it into a ball. I found this method effective and quick. No sticky spoons to wash. I warmed the oven a tad, turned it off and placed the rolls in the oven to rise without a covering (my house is cool today). I left them for 45 minutes and then started the oven with the rolls inside and baked for 30 minutes. I took the pan out promptly and brushed the rolls with butter.

    Results: I didn’t experience any issues doubling the recipe or baking in a large pan. The rolls did rise, they came out golden brown, they were perfectly rounded due to the previous method shared, and they just touched each other. I took a smaller roll out and broke it open. They smelled like a muli-grain roll and appeared like one as the raw almond meal has flex in it. They came out lighter than I expected (used to boulder weight buns), they bounce back when pressed, and in my opinion needed more salt. Other than that you couldn’t tell the difference between a typical multi-grain dinner roll and these gluten-free rolls. They remind me more of those breads that restaurant serve with butter before a meal. Not super light but not super dense.

    Words of Wisdom: I think the rolls would have came out lighter had I not used Bob’s Red Mill flour. It is a very hearty flour and they might have come out lighter otherwise. I would not use all Bob’s Red Mill flour as I believe it would make a very dense bread. If you like that then go for it or if you like a muti-grain bun use a blend like I did. I plan to make the next batch without it. I have worked a lot with almond meal/flour baking and I credit it for the nice texture in these rolls. Omitting it might throw the whole recipe off (sorry anti-nut people). Also, there is something about using apple cider vinegar with almond that makes a recipe better. I would not omit that either.

    Thoughts: I have a hunch this recipe would benefit from molasses to boost flavoring and would work well with grated cheese and/or minced roasted garlic.

  15. LeeAnn says

    I used Bloomfield Farm Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix from Kroger. I followed the recipe above and the rolls looked like the ones pictured. They were in between a biscuit and roll consistency and were not quite as light as I like my rolls. However, they are a great alternative for a little guy who would otherwise have no rolls to enjoy on thanksgiving. Thanks for the recipe!

  16. Marian says

    The rolls were delicious but very dense. Is there something I did in the process that caused them to be dense? I followed the directions with one exception. My husband put the egg I left out to warm to room temperature back in the fridge and I did not notice until I needed to add it. Would the cold egg have made it more dense? I also used butter as my oil.

  17. Cindy says

    I made these the day before thanksgiving just to see how they would turn out. I followed recipe to the T. They are great! I made them smaller for thanksgiving so one recipe would go around. Note: if made too big they are heavy. I got 18 out of one recipe and that size should be perfect.

  18. Shannon says

    I used the Glutinous bread mix for the flour in this recipe and omitted the xanthan gum and it turned out great with a bit of a sweet taste to it. This is a great recipe.

  19. Amanda says

    Made exactly according to the recipe (except my scoop was a little big and I got one fewer roll from each batch), and they were absolutely fantastic. They rose perfectly, and were yeasty, buttery and delicious. Loved by those who can eat gluten too!

  20. Krista says

    Just wanted to pop in and let you know what kind of flour we used and that it worked! I used a homemade GF flour which is made of 3 parts rice flour (brown or white is fine), 2 parts potato starch, and 1 part tapioca starch. I used 11 oz of it – which was about 2 cups. I proofed the yeast in hot water and a touch of sugar and then added the yeast in step #2 with all the rest of the wet ingredients. Everything else was the same (used butter – not an alternative) except I cut the ACV in half. I made these last year and the ACV was overpowering but it’s possible I spilled as I was adding it so it could be that the 1t is perfect, I was just erring on the side of caution. I wanted so badly to try these again and this year they turned out perfect!! Thanks so much for the recipe!! Oh – I also didn’t top them with butter when I was done. Just forgot to – but I doubt that would affect the overall outcome. They were delicious!!

    • Cheryl says

      Thanks for posting Krista. Your GF flour mix is very close to mine. You’ve given me the definite confidence to try the recipe with my mix. ;-)

  21. Meggan N says

    Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe! I came across your site while killing time Thanksgiving morning waiting for my desert to finish baking, and am very glad I did. I usually forego dinner rolls (or bread of any kind) on Thanksgiving, mostly because I just don’t have the time to make it myself. This recipe came together super quickly, and I even sped up the rising time by placing the pan of rolls in an oven warmed with a bowl of water in it (warm oven, NOT hot!) So the rising time was only about 20-30 minutes.

    I was a bit hesitant to try this recipe, since usually the first time I try a new recipe I make it exactly like the recipe says to, just to see how it turns out, and if anything could be adjusted for the next time. This time, I was winging it, as I didn’t have the flour blend the recipe called for, and I usually do not buy GF flour blends, and I’ve never had very good luck with them. I always make my own. Which is all I had on hand when I wanted to make these. Thankfully, they turned out great! I accidently over cooked them a touch (too busy getting ready to leave for Thanksgiving dinner, and not paying enough attention), but they were still great! I look forward to making these again, this will definitely be my go-to recipe! Even the gluten eaters at Thanksgiving ate these rolls, and genuinely enjoyed them!

    The changes I made are my own flour blend ( for 1 cup of flour: 1/8 c. potato starch, 1/8 c. tapioca starch, 3/8 c. millet flour, 3/8 c. brown rice flour 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum) I make this blend in big batches and use it for most of my baking. The only thing I’ve found it doesn’t work well in is bread… I also added the additional 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum that was suggested for flour blends that already have it in them. The ‘dough’ looked amazing too, it was pretty sticky still, but it was surprising how close it resembled ‘normal’ dough. I also only baked these for 25 min. and that was still too much in my oven, so next time, I’ll probably start checking them at the 20 min. point and go from there.

    Thank you again!

  22. Cindy says

    This recipe made great Monkey Bread! Drop balls into melted butter and then a brown sugar/white sugar/cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle 1/2 cups of chopped pecans in the bottom of baking pan then sugared balls. Let raise and bake. They are wonderful!

  23. Jaime says

    I have been trying recipes since 2009 and have never com across one that was so easy and YUMMY! I am in roll heaven! Can’t wait to try it as a loaf. Thank you:)

  24. Alan says

    So…I found this recipe on turkey day and decided to try something. I don’t know if you can leave this up (or will) but I created my own blend for the flour mix. Here is what I did:
    35% White Rice Flour
    25% Tapioca Flour
    18% Potato Starch
    12% Almond Flour (did not have almond meal)
    10% Sweet Rice Flour
    I use all Bob’s Red Mill flours and using this break down you will have a mix at 150 gpc (grams per cup)
    In our house, we are not only gluten free but yeast free as well. So the other part of my hack to this recipe was to use:
    8g Baking Soda
    16g Baking Powder
    5tsp Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother (I find this works better when not using yeast)
    I may increase this a little next time but they rose rather well. Since this is now a soda type of bread you will save lots of time not waiting for the yeast. Once you mix this up, you get the normal type of bread batter….slightly loose and sticky. I turned the water on for my sink and would just run both hands under it then grab a ball of batter and make it smooth. Once you have your 9 balls in the pan just put it in the oven and let the magic happen.
    Cooking without yeast will always give you a slightly more dense bread but the family loved it. For those of you who cannot spend the extra on a pre-mix package of flour this worked great and the flavor was amazing. Enjoy.

  25. Shonda says

    These are the softest GF dinner rolls ever. Made them the first time tonight and they were wonderful. I was out of cider vinegar and substituted with white wine vinegar and they were perfect.

    Thank you

  26. Cheryl says

    I just made these tonight. My grandson has been put on a glutton free, dairy free diet and all of us love bread! The favor is wonderful and the rolls were not grainy; however, they did come out dense. I used a brown rice, white rice, tapioca flour blend. He is also has been banned from nuts, so I couldn’t use the almond flour, suggested. I used 2/3 c brown rice flour, 2/3 c of Tapioca Starch, and 2/3 c of white rice flour. Measured 11.5 ounces and instead of using water I used the flaxseed milk along with the substitute for eggs (ground flax seed and water) that was suggested. My question: I used the dough hook, which I normally use; but should I have used the regular beater hook with my Kitchen Aid mixer? Also, I will attempt these again, using the regular yeast and proofing it first. Any other suggestions? Once I get them to rise well, this will definitely be a 5 star.

  27. Florence says

    I’ve tried it yesterday evening, I replaced the yeast by a special sweet bun gluten free yeast, the flour by a gluten free mix flour (since I’m allergic to almonds), and the butter by dairy free margarine.
    I followed the recipe except that, since it was late, I’ve put the dough in the fridge overnight, hoping it would raise during the night. But in the morning it was still not raised, I’ve tried to put it in a hot room to make it rise, but it didn’t and then in the oven on a very low heat, and it still didn’t raise…

    Is all of that because of the changes or because of the night in the fridge ? How can I prepare it the night before to cook in the morning ? Should I let it outside during the whole night ?

    I’m so disappointed right now, so I’m going to try again tonight, I hope it would work this time !

  28. linda says

    i’m rather new at baking gluten free dishes (and a baking newbie overall)…i followed the instructions and the only ingredients i used that were different was the flour blend (i used KA) and used an egg replacer…

    my batter didn’t come out smooth; instead it came out like really horrible playdough (very thick, cracks everywhere)…not exactly sure what i did wrong? could it be that the water i used was too hot?

    • says

      Linda, I’m sorry for the frustration you are having. I hope we can figure this out. What egg replacement are you using? That would be my first suspicion. I know it works with the flaxseed/water replacement, as I mentioned, but I don’t have another egg replacement method that I can recommend that for sure works here.
      Aside from that, just make sure you weigh your flour, use the amount of xanthan gum called for, and be sure your yeast is good and water at correct temperature. Hope you’ll try it again and have better success!

  29. says

    almost exactly my recipe but i use glutafin (you get free yeast) in the box i also add a tablespoon dried milk powder. never tried melded butter sounds great. will try next time. lol heather

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