Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake

This easy recipe for the most amazing gluten free strawberry shortcake is bound to make your summer infinitely more delicious. It’s really the ultimate combination of flaky, buttery gluten free buttermilk biscuits, juicy strawberries and luscious whipped cream. And it’s super easy to make, plus you couldn’t possibly guess that it’s gluten free!

Gluten free strawberry shortcake on a white dessert plate, drizzled with strawberry syrup.

I’m definitely making the best of the strawberry season this year. From the best strawberry cheesecake I’ve ever tried to the showstopper that is my strawberry shortcake cake, I’ve been enjoying an overabundance of strawberry treats.

So, it’s only right that this latest recipe is another strawberry classic: strawberry shortcake – gluten free edition.

I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making gluten free buttermilk biscuits for absolute ages, and this seemed like the perfect occasion.  And oh my goodness, I’m so glad I did because these gluten free biscuits are absolute PERFECTION – flaky, buttery and soft, with slightly crisp edges, they’re everything a proper biscuit should be.

Paired with lightly whipped cream and juicy, ruby-red strawberries, it’s quite obvious why this is one of the most beloved summer desserts.

To take it a step further, I like to finish my gluten free strawberry shortcake with a generous drizzle of strawberry syrup. Yes, that same one that also made an appearance with the strawberry cheesecake and the strawberry shortcake cake. What can I say, it’s delicious and I’m obsessed.

Gluten free strawberry shortcake on a white dessert plate, being drizzled with strawberry syrup.

Here’s why you’ll LOVE this gluten free strawberry shortcake

  1. The wonderfully flaky, buttery gluten free buttermilk biscuits. They’re everything a buttermilk biscuit should be and you honestly couldn’t guess that they’re gluten free at all.
  2. The juicy macerated strawberries. I like to macerate my strawberries with a bit of lemon juice, which balances out the sweetness and adds a wonderful tart freshness – perfect for these hot summer days.
  3. The strawberry syrup!!! Don’t be tempted to skip this one. By cooking down the juices of the macerated strawberries, you concentrate all those wonderful flavours into a sticky, syrupy, luxurious strawberry flavour explosion. Once you have a taste, you’ll want to put it onto everything – and yes, I’m definitely speaking from personal experience here.
  4. The luscious homemade whipped cream. This one really needs no explanation – I’m sure we can all agree that strawberries and cream are a match made in flavour heaven.
  5. It’s easy to make. Honestly, the most difficult part of this recipe are the biscuits, and even they are a breeze to make.
  6. You couldn’t possibly guess that it’s gluten free! I know I say that for most of my recipes but it’s 100% true!! What’s more, making gluten free biscuits is easier than making regular ones with wheat flour, as you don’t need to worry about developing the gluten or over-working the dough.

Gluten free strawberry shortcake on a white dessert plate, with a bite taken out of it.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this wonderful strawberry shortcake – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

How do you make gluten free buttermilk biscuits?

Making perfectly flaky, buttery gluten free buttermilk biscuits is actually incredibly easy. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s easier than making biscuits with regular wheat all-purpose flour, simply because you don’t need to worry about overworking the dough and developing the gluten.

Below, I’ve outlined all the steps and all the important details you need to keep in mind when making gluten free biscuits – along with plenty of step-by-step photos, so you’ll know exactly what your biscuit dough should look like at every stage.

Making the dough: use frozen butter

When making the gluten free biscuit dough, the main thing is to keep everything as cold as possible. The butter should be grated frozen, straight out of the freezer and used as soon as possible. The buttermilk should be very cold, straight out of the fridge.

And if you’re working in a particularly warm kitchen, you can even chill the mixing bowl and the gluten free flour blend in the fridge before you start preparing the biscuits.

Then, you should work as quickly as possible – you don’t want your biscuit dough to warm up and the butter in the dough to soften, as that will destroy all the flakiness that you want to achieve. If at any point you feel like your dough is getting too warm or the butter too soft, wrap or cover the dough in cling film and chill it in the fridge for about 15 minutes before continuing.

To make the biscuit dough:

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients until well combined: gluten free flour blend, sugar, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. Add the grated frozen butter.
  3. Use a fork to toss the grated butter with the dry ingredients – you want all the butter pieces to be coated in a layer of flour. If there are any larger clumps of butter, break them up.
  4. Add the cold buttermilk.
  5. Use the fork to mix the dough – you want both the dry and the wet ingredients as evenly distributed as possible, so that most of the flour is hydrated by the buttermilk.
  6. Once the dough starts clumping together, give it a quick knead by hand until it only just comes together in a ball (it’s OK if it’s a bit crumbly or slightly dry in places, so long as it’s not completely crumbling and falling apart).

The 6-step process of making the biscuit dough.

Laminating the dough: creating layers and flakiness

The idea behind this step is to create even more layers and flakiness in the biscuits – much like you would laminate puff pastry or croissants through a series of folds. Here, I borrowed the technique used by Claire Saffitz in the Bon Appetit biscuit recipe.

To laminate the gluten free biscuits:

  1. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat it all together into one disc.
  2. Roll it out gently to a thickness of about ¾-1 inch (2-2.5cm).
  3. Try to keep the dough as square as possible – use a bench scraper to straighten out the sides.
  4. Use the bench scraper (or a knife) to cut the dough into 4 approximately equal pieces.
  5. Stack the pieces on top of each other – this multiplies the layers in the final biscuits and makes them extra flaky.
  6. Pat down the stack and roll it out until it’s again about about ¾-1 inch (2-2.5cm) thick. You don’t need to worry about keeping it square or rectangular, as you’ll use a round cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits.

The 6-step process of laminating the gluten free biscuits.

Cutting out the biscuits

Use a round cookie cutter, about 2 ½ inch (6.5cm) in diameter to cut out the biscuits. Dip the cookie cutter into flour between cutting to prevent the biscuits from getting stuck.

Don’t twist the cookie cutter while cutting – make sure to just press it straight down. Twisting will squash together and disrupt the layers in the dough, which can interfere with how the biscuits rise in the oven.

Cutting out the gluten free buttermilk biscuits.

Re-using the scraps

Because you’re cutting out round biscuits, you’ll inevitably be left with scraps (if you want to avoid them, you can roll out the laminated biscuit dough into an approximate rectangle and use a knife to cut it up into a 3×4 grid of 12 square/rectangular biscuits).

You can re-use the scraps/cut-offs: place them on top of each other and pat them down, then re-roll and cut out the biscuits. The biscuits made from scraps will be slightly less flaky (and might rise slightly less in the oven) than the original biscuits, but they will be just as delicious.

The process of re-using the scraps to make more buttermilk biscuits.

Freeze them before baking!

At this point, you’ve handled the biscuits quite a bit – so, in order to achieve maximum rise and flakiness, it’s best to freeze them for 15-20 minutes before baking. This will firm up the butter in the dough, ensuring that you get well-defined layers and a beautiful rise in the oven.

Just place the cut out biscuits onto a lined baking sheet or tray, cover with cling film and freeze for 15-20 minutes.

Buttermilk biscuits before freezing, arranged on a lined baking sheet.

Assembling and baking the gluten free biscuits

Once thoroughly chilled, it’s time to assemble and bake the buttermilk biscuits:

  1. Place the biscuits right next to each other on the baking sheet. This will help them rise higher.
  2. Brush the tops of the biscuits with extra buttermilk.
  3. Sprinkle them with some granulated sugar for an extra delicious, sweet crunch.
  4. And then: bake! I bake them at 375ºF (190ºC) for about 20-24 minutes on the upper middle oven rack, until they’re golden brown on top.

The 4-step process of assembling the gluten free buttermilk biscuits.

Before and after the gluten free buttermilk biscuits are baked.

How do you make the strawberry filling?

To make the strawberry filling, you need only 4 ingredients: fresh strawberries (halved or quartered depending on size), sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. The lemon juice adds a hint of tartness to the sweet strawberries, while the vanilla enhances their flavour and makes them extra scrumptious.

Just toss everything together and allow the strawberries to macerate either for 1-2 hours at room temperature or in the fridge overnight. Maceration causes the strawberries to release their juices and also enhances their flavour.

The process of macerating strawberries.

I like to drain the released strawberry juices and cook them down until syrupy – this strawberry syrup, with its concentrated flavour, is a wonderful finishing touch that makes the gluten free strawberry shortcake extra delicious.

Homemade whipped cream

For the homemade whipped cream, you need just 3 ingredients: cold heavy/double cream (or whipping cream), powdered/icing sugar and vanilla. It’s best to use cold cream as it whips up faster, to a greater volume and it’s more stable.

You can easily whip it by hand, using a large ballon whisk – in fact, I almost always prefer whipping cream by hand because it gives you much better control over its consistency and you’re less likely to over-whip it than if you were using a stand or a hand mixer.

Finally, if you want to stabilise your cream, you can add a bit of cream cheese into it (which will have the added benefit of giving it a bit of delicious tanginess). Check out my Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake Cake recipe if you’re interested in making stabilised whipped cream.

Assembling the gluten free strawberry shortcake

And finally, the fun part! We have the individual components ready, and it’s time to put them all together into the most beautiful, mouthwatering gluten free strawberry shortcake.

It’s best to assemble the cakes just before serving. You can make them with either warm or completely cooled biscuits.

Just layer the biscuits with the (drained) macerated strawberries and whipped cream, and finish it all off with a generous drizzle of the luxurious strawberry syrup.

The process of assembling a strawberry shortcake.

Gluten free strawberry shortcake on a white dessert plate, being drizzled with strawberry syrup.

Do you refrigerate strawberry shortcake?

I actually don’t recommend refrigerating the strawberry shortcake. Because of the high butter content of the biscuits, they can get a bit dense if you keep them in the fridge.

Furthermore, if you keep the assembled shortcake in the fridge for a long time, the whipped cream and strawberries can make the biscuits quite soggy.

So, I definitely recommend that you assemble the strawberry shortcake just before you plan on serving it – you can still prepare the individual components (biscuits, strawberries and cream) ahead of time, but put them all together at the very last minute if at all possible.

Top tips for making THE BEST gluten free strawberry shortcake

  • Keep everything as cold as possible at every stage of making the gluten free biscuits. This will ensure maximum flakiness and rise.
  • Laminating the dough creates more butter-dough layers and makes the flakiest biscuits.
  • Unlike with “regular” biscuits made from wheat all-purpose flour, you don’t need to worry about developing the gluten through kneading in this recipe. However, you should still handle the biscuit dough as little as possible as you don’t want the heat of your hands to melt the butter.
  • Don’t roll the biscuits too thin – they need to be at least 3/4 inch (2cm) thick to rise properly.
  • For best rise in the oven, arrange the biscuits on the baking sheet so that they’re lightly touching.
  • After macerating the strawberries, reduce (cook down) their juices to create a strawberry syrup – this concentrates the flavour and also prevents the juices from making the biscuits soggy.
  • For the best homemade whipped cream, make sure to use cold heavy/double cream.
  • If you want to stabilise the whipped cream (so that it keeps its shape better and for longer), you can add some cream cheese.

And there you have it, friends. Everything you need to know to make THE BEST gluten free strawberry shortcake you’ll ever try. It’s the ultimate summer treat, and the perfect way to make the best of the wonderful strawberry season.

I hope you’ll love this recipe as much as I do.

Happy baking!

Signature of the author, Kat.

Gluten free strawberry shortcake on a white dessert plate, drizzled with strawberry syrup.

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Gluten free strawberry shortcake on a white dessert plate, drizzled with strawberry syrup.
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Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake

This easy recipe for the most amazing gluten free strawberry shortcake is bound to make your summer infinitely more delicious. It’s really the ultimate combination of flaky, buttery gluten free buttermilk biscuits, juicy strawberries and luscious whipped cream. And it’s super easy to make, plus you couldn’t possibly guess that it’s gluten free!

Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten Free
Prep Time 1 hour
Bake/Cook Time 20 minutes
Macerating + Chill Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

For macerated strawberries & strawberry syrup:

  • 320 g (about 2 ½ cups) strawberries, halved (for smaller strawberries) or quartered (for larger strawberries)
  • 50 g (¼ cup) granulated or caster/superfine sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

For gluten free buttermilk biscuits:

  • 360 g (3 cups) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour, which doesn't contain xanthan gum. You can also mix your own blend from 50% white rice flour, 30% potato starch and 20% maize flour by weight. **Note that maize flour in the UK is equivalent to corn flour in the US.**)
  • 1 ½ tsp xanthan gum (Reduce to ¾ tsp if your gluten free flour already contains xanthan gum.)
  • 1 tbsp granulated or caster/superfine sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra for sprinkling on top of the biscuits
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 170 g (1 ½ sticks) frozen unsalted butter, grated
  • 260 g (1 cup + 1 ½ tbsp) cold buttermilk, plus 1 tbsp extra for glazing the biscuits

For whipped cream:

  • 230 g (1 cup) cold heavy/double cream
  • 30 g (3 tbsp) powdered/icing sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)

Instructions

For macerated strawberries:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the halved and quartered strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix well until the strawberries are evenly coated with the sugar.

  2. Cover and allow to sit either at room temperature for 1-2 hours or in the fridge overnight, stirring occasionally.

For gluten free buttermilk biscuits:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the upper middle position, pre-heat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC) and line a baking sheet with baking/greaseproof paper.

  2. Whisk together the gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until evenly combined.  

  3. Add the grated frozen butter and use a fork to toss the butter together with the dry ingredients – you want all the butter pieces to be coated in a layer of flour. If there are any larger clumps of butter, break them up.

  4. Add the cold buttermilk and use the fork to mix it into the dry ingredients – you want both the dry and the wet ingredients as evenly distributed as possible, so that most of the flour is hydrated by the buttermilk.

  5. Once the dough starts clumping together, give it a quick knead by hand until it only just comes together in a ball (it’s OK if it’s a bit crumbly or slightly dry in places, so long as it’s not completely crumbling and falling apart).

  6. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat it all together into a disc.

  7. Roll it out gently to a thickness of about ¾-1 inch (2-2.5cm). Try to keep the dough as square as possible – use a bench scraper to straighten out the sides.

  8. Use the bench scraper (or a knife) to cut the dough into 4 approximately equal pieces. Stack the pieces on top of each other, then pat down the stack and roll it out until it’s again about about ¾-1 inch (2-2.5cm) thick. You don’t need to worry about keeping it square or rectangular, as you’ll use a round cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits.

    Tip: This laminating step helps to create even more layers and flakiness in the biscuits – much like you would laminate puff pastry or croissants through a series of folds. 

  9. Use a round cookie cutter, about 2 ½ inch (6.5cm) in diameter to cut out the biscuits. Dip the cookie cutter into flour between cutting to prevent the biscuits from getting stuck. Re-roll or flatten any scraps to make more biscuits, this recipe makes a total of 10-12 biscuits, depending on how thick you roll the dough.

    Tip: Don’t twist the cookie cutter while cutting – make sure to just press it straight down. Twisting will squash together and disrupt the layers in the dough, which can interfere with how the biscuits rise in the oven.

  10. Place the biscuits onto a lined baking sheet, cover with cling film and freeze for 15-20 minutes.

    Tip: The freezing helps to achieve the maximum rise and flakiness by firming up the butter in the dough.

  11. Once chilled, arrange the biscuits on the baking sheet so that they lightly touch each other (this will help them rise higher).

  12. Brush the tops of the biscuits with extra buttermilk and sprinkle them with some granulated sugar.

  13. Bake at 375ºF (190ºC) for about 20-24 minutes on the upper middle oven rack, until they’re well risen and golden brown on top. If your oven bakes unevenly, you can rotate the baking sheet after about 15 minutes.

    Tip: The oven temperature of 375ºF (190ºC) gives the best rise and flake, and the softest biscuits. Baking them on the upper middle rack prevents the bottoms of the biscuits from browning too much, while also giving nice golden brown tops.

  14. Allow to cool on the baking sheet until warm or completely cool before assembling the strawberry shortcake.

For strawberry syrup:

  1. Once the strawberries have released their juices, pass them through a sieve to drain the juices, then return the strawberries back into the bowl and set aside until needed.

  2. Pour the juices into a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat with frequent stirring until thickened and syrupy, but not quite jam-like. This should take about 5 minutes. Once thickened, set aside to cool.

    Tip: I always like to err on the side of over-reducing (rather than under-reducing) the juices, as it’s easy to dilute them to the right consistency with a splash of water or lemon juice. A too runny, under-reduced syrup, on the other hand, will be rather messy and can make the biscuits too soggy.

For whipped cream:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the cold heavy/double cream with powdered/icing sugar and the vanilla. Whisk them together until soft peaks form. You can do this by hand using a large balloon whisk, or using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer fitted with the double beaters. If using a stand/hand mixer, whisk on the low/medium-low speed setting, this will ensure that you don't over-whip the cream.

    Tip: Using COLD cream is very important, as it whips up faster, to a greater volume and it’s more stable.

Assembling the strawberry shortcake:

  1. Slice or cut the biscuits in half, then fill with the macerated strawberries and whipped cream. As a finishing touch, drizzle generously with the strawberry syrup. Serve immediately.

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