Home » Easy Gluten Free Biscotti

Easy Gluten Free Biscotti

This is my go-to recipe for THE BEST gluten free biscotti. It gives biscotti that are perfectly dry, crisp and crunchy – without being too crumbly. The recipe makes simple vanilla biscotti, but you can easily modify it to your own personal taste by adding spices, nuts or dried fruit. I’ve also included all my top tips for making the rather soft biscotti dough easier to handle, as well as for preventing your biscotti from being too crumbly or not crisp enough.

Overhead view of gluten free biscotti on a sheet of parchment paper.

It’s December and that can only mean one thing: it’s time to bake as many cookies as we possibly can.

And no cookie baking marathon is complete without the classic treat that are the crisp, crunchy and oh-so delicious biscotti. So, today, I’m sharing with you my go-to recipe for the PERFECT gluten free biscotti.

First of all: it’s basically impossible to tell that these biscotti are gluten free. Over several test runs, I’ve optimised the recipe to give gluten free biscotti that are perfectly crisp and crunchy without being too crumbly. They are sturdy enough so you can easily slice the initial cookie log into the individual biscotti without too much breakage, and they hold up beautifully when you dip them into coffee, hot cocoa or hot chocolate.

This recipe makes simple vanilla biscotti that are flavoured with a bit of extra almond extract to make them even more scrumptious. There are no nuts or dried fruit in this recipe – I wanted to keep it as easy and straightforward as possible, so you can use it as the basis for your own gluten free biscotti creations.

Biscotti in an enamel cup, with a "Stay Cosy" sign on it.

As with most other cookie recipes, the crucial thing is to have one reliable, basic recipe that you know will work every single time. Then, you can tweak it to your own personal taste, by adding spices, citrus zest, nuts or dried fruit – once you’ve mastered that one fundamental recipe, there’s no limit to how many other cookie variations you can make.

This is one such recipe.

Now, before we get to all the bits and bobs of making these wonderful gluten free biscotti, here’s a quick “biscotti 101”, just in case you’re not very familiar with them.

What are biscotti?

Biscotti, also known as cantuccini when made with almonds, are Italian cookies (or biscuits) that originated in Tuscany. The name “biscotti” means “twice cooked”, referring to the fact that these cookies are baked twice during their preparation. First, the cookie dough is shaped into logs that are baked until fully cooked through, and then they are sliced into individual cookies and baked again.

The second round of baking dries them out, resulting in their characteristic dry, crisp and crunchy texture. Because of the second bake, they have a very long shelf life. They are a wonderful accompaniment to coffee, tea or hot chocolate, and absolutely perfect for dipping.  In Italy, they are often enjoyed dipped in Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine.

Traditionally, biscotti don’t include any fat at all (no butter, oil or milk) and they usually contain some form of nuts (most commonly almonds and/or pine nuts). However, nowadays there are hundreds (or, more likely, thousands) of different biscotti recipes out there made with all sorts of delicious add-ins.

Biscotti on a lined baking sheet.

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

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

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 to make the PERFECT gluten free biscotti

Making your own homemade gluten free biscotti from scratch is actually surprisingly straightforward. You don’t need any special equipment (no stand or hand mixers, no food processors) and the recipe uses only your standard gluten free pantry staples.

This recipe makes simple vanilla gluten free biscotti (additionally flavoured with a bit of almond extract), but you could easily add in extra chopped (or whole) nuts, such as almonds or pistachios, dried fruit, citrus zest or chocolate chips. 

Ingredients for gluten free biscotti

Here’s what you’ll need to make these delicious gluten free biscotti:

  • Melted unsalted butter. Although many traditional biscotti recipes don’t include any fat at all (no butter or oil), I do like to add butter into my biscotti. It gives them a much richer, more well-rounded flavour. And especially with gluten free biscotti, it also prevents them from being too dry, crumbly and “floury” in flavour.
  • Light brown soft sugar. I prefer to use brown sugar in this recipe, rather than using white granulated sugar. It gives a subtle caramel-like undertone to the baked biscotti.
  • Eggs.
  • Vanilla. I use vanilla bean paste in the recipe (as it’s my favourite form of vanilla), but you can use vanilla extract instead.
  • Almond extract. This is optional, but I definitely recommend adding a few drops of almond extract to your biscotti – it makes a huge difference to the flavour, making them even more delicious. Just don’t go overboard: with almond extract, a little goes a long way.
  • Plain gluten free flour blend. You can either use a shop-bought blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour) or you can mix your own – get the recipe for my go-to homemade gluten free flour blend here!
  • Xanthan gum. This acts as a binder (gluten replacement) and prevents your biscotti from being too crumbly. Read more about the role of xanthan gum in gluten free baking here!
  • Baking powder.
  • Salt.

Ingredients for gluten free biscotti.

Making the dough

  1. In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar and eggs.
  2. Whisk well until combined and smooth.
  3. Add the vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  4. and almond extract.
  5. Whisk again to combine.
  6. Add the dry ingredients (gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt),
  7. and mix well until you get a smooth dough. Note that the dough will be very soft, although it shouldn’t be too sticky to the touch. Chill the dough for 15 minutes before shaping it into a log (see below for more details).

The first 4 steps of the 7-step process of making biscotti dough.

The last 3 steps of the 7-step process of making biscotti dough.

Chilling the dough makes it easier to handle

Now, many biscotti recipes will tell you to shape the biscotti dough directly without this intermediate chilling step. However, I don’t recommend doing that as the dough is VERY soft at this stage. If you tried to handle it, you’d end up with a big mess and sticky hands. At the same time, you’d probably be tempted to add more and more extra flour – which would negatively impact the texture of the final, baked biscotti by making them too dry and crumbly.

By chilling the dough in the fridge for just 15 minutes, you make the dough much easier to handle and shape. Chilling firms up the butter in the dough and therefore the dough itself. It also gives the gluten free flour in the dough some time to properly hydrate, which also helps to make the dough more manageable.

Shaping the dough

  1. Once chilled (and therefore firmer and easier to handle), transfer the dough out of the bowl and onto a lightly floured surface. You don’t want to add too much flour onto your surface, but just enough so that the dough doesn’t stick to it. Shape the dough into a short log. Don’t worry about its exact size or shape at this point.
  2. Transfer the log onto a large lined baking sheet and use a pastry brush to remove any excess flour.
  3. Use your hands to shape the dough into a roughly 14 x 3 ½ x ¾ inch (35 x 9 x 2cm) log. I usually do this so that the log lies along the diagonal of the baking sheet (note that the log will spread slightly and increase in volume during baking). Alternatively, you can shape it into two 7 x 3 ½ x ¾ inch (18 x 9 x 2cm) logs, if you find it easier.
  4. I like to check the dimensions of the log with a ruler. But in general, the length isn’t that crucial, as long as it fits onto the baking sheet. Just make sure that the log isn’t too thick and narrow, as that would give you rather odd-looking biscotti.

The 4-step process of shaping the cookie log.

The first bake & cooling

Bake the cookie dough log at 350ºF (180ºC) for 28-30 minutes or until it’s evenly golden brown in colour, fully baked through and hard to the touch.

Because the dough contains baking powder, it will expand during baking, and you will see a few cracks running along the surface. That’s perfectly fine and to be expected.

Left: the biscotti log before baking. Right: after baking.

After this first bake is done, remove the biscotti log out of the oven and allow it to cool on the baking sheet for about 20-25 minutes, or until warm or lukewarm to the touch. Don’t be tempted to slice the log into individual biscotti while it’s still hot: it will be too fragile, and the biscotti will break and crumble as you try to cut them.

Slicing & the second bake

Once warm or lukewarm, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the log into about ¾ inch (about 2cm) thick slices. Use a sawing motion when you cut, this gives the cleanest slices and the least amount of breakage.

That said, be prepared for a few biscotti to break or crack a bit (especially at the ends) – it’s not the end of the world! And like with most bakes, practice makes perfect. After you’ve made a couple of batches, you’ll get hardly any breakage at all.

Left: slicing the cookie log into individual biscotti. Right: arranging the biscotti on a baking sheet for second bake.

Once sliced, place the biscotti (cut sides down) back onto the lined baking sheet. Bake them again at 265ºF (130ºC) for 40 minutes, flipping them over half way through.

The function of this second bake is to really dry them out, which is why it’s best to use a low oven temperature and a long baking time. By flipping them over after 20 minutes, you ensure even moisture evaporation from both sides of the cookies.

Once they finish baking, transfer them immediately to a wire rack to cool completely (cooling them on the baking sheet would cause condensation to form underneath, which rather destroys the point of being careful to really dry them out as much as possible).

And that’s it!!

Overhead view of gluten free biscotti on a lined baking sheet.

How do you store gluten free biscotti?

The gluten free biscotti keep well in an air-tight container at room temperature for 1-2 weeks. They store really well, and I always like to have some hidden away in a cupboard – they’re the most wonderful accompaniment to a cup of coffee.

Why are my gluten free biscotti too crumbly?

In theory, if you follow the recipe below to the letter, your biscotti definitely shouldn’t turn out too crumbly. You should be able to easily slice the initial cookie “log” into the individual biscotti without too much breakage or crumbling.

However, if your gluten free biscotti are too crumbly, that can be due to two possible reasons:

  • Not enough xanthan gum. Xanthan gum acts as a binder in gluten free baking. So, if you’ve decided to either reduce its amount or even omit it altogether, then your biscotti will definitely turn out too crumbly. Note that if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum, you only need to add about 1/2 teaspoon (and not 1 teaspoon as per the recipe). Also, cornstarch is NOT a good xanthan gum substitute (no matter what you read online).
  • Too much gluten free flour blend (or not enough butter). In this recipe, it’s all about the ingredient ratios. If you’ve added too much flour (for example, if you’ve over-measured it when using cups or if you’ve decided to add more flour when your initial cookie dough was very soft) or if you’ve decided to reduce the amount of butter in the recipe for whatever reason, then your biscotti can end up too dry and crumbly. For best results, use a digital food scale to measure out all the ingredients. Also, don’t be tempted to add more flour to the initial cookie dough – yes, it will be very soft, but that’s how it should be! The short chilling time in the fridge will make the dough much easier to handle. Just trust the process and the recipe.

Why are my gluten free biscotti too soft & not crunchy enough?

If your biscotti are too soft, that’s probably because you didn’t bake them for long enough.

During the first round of baking (at 350ºF/180ºC for 28-30 minutes), you need to bake the log(s) until evenly golden brown and hard to the touch. The log(s) should be completely baked through.

Although the biscotti are fully baked at this point, don’t skip the second baking step!! If you want your biscotti to be crisp, crunchy and to have a nice “snap” to them, you need to dry them out as much as possible.

This drying out happens during the second round of baking (at 265ºF/130ºC for 40 minutes). The low oven temperature and long baking time ensures that the biscotti dry out thoroughly without burning or browning too much.

Biscotti on a lined baking sheet.

Other gluten free biscotti variations

This is the base biscotti recipe, from which you can make all sorts of different versions just by playing around with the add-ins. You can:

  • Add nuts, such as almonds (to make the classic almond biscotti), pecans, peanuts, pistachios or toasted hazelnuts.
  • Incorporate chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.
  • Add dried fruit, such as raisins, sultanas, dry figs, apricots, dates or cranberries.
  • Add citrus zest, such as orange or lemon zest.
  • Consider adding spices, such as ground cinnamon, ginger or cardamom.
  • Dip the fully baked biscotti in dark, milk or white chocolate.

More amazing gluten free cookie recipes

As we’re nearing Christmas and we’re therefore officially in the cookie baking season, here are a few other gluten free cookie favourites:

There you have it! This covers everything you should know in order to make your own homemade gluten free biscotti that are perfectly crisp and crunchy. And it’s really impossible to tell that they’re gluten free – as confirmed by my non-gluten-free taste testers!

I love this recipe because once you’ve mastered it, there’s really no limit to the different biscotti variations you can make. Just let your creativity run wild and have fun with it! And if a few biscotti break along the way – don’t stress about it. They make a perfect snack while you put the finishing touches on the more “presentable” ones.

Happy baking!

Signature of the author, Kat.

Overhead view of gluten free biscotti on a sheet of parchment paper.

If you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

WEEKLY NEWSLETTER

Easy Gluten Free Biscotti

This is my go-to recipe for THE BEST gluten free biscotti. It gives biscotti that are perfectly dry, crisp and crunchy – without being too crumbly. The recipe makes simple vanilla biscotti, but you can easily modify it to your own personal taste by adding spices, nuts or dried fruit. I’ve also included all my top tips for making the rather soft biscotti dough easier to handle, as well as for preventing your biscotti from being too crumbly or not crisp enough.
Print Rate
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook/Bake Time 1 hr 10 mins
Chill & Cool Time 35 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Servings 20 biscotti

Ingredients

  • 113 g (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
  • 130 g (½ cup + 2 ½ tbsp) light brown soft sugar
  • 2 US large/UK medium eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • ¼ tsp almond extract, optional (You can increase or decrease this amount depending on your personal preference. Note that with almond extract, a little goes a long way.)
  • 280 g (2 ⅓ cups) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour that doesn't have any xanthan gum added. You can also mix your own gluten free flour blend using this recipe. Note that for this homemade blend, 1 cup = 150g, so ideally use a digital food scale for best results.)
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (If your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum, add only ½ tsp.)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions

Making & chilling the dough:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar and eggs until well combined and smooth.
  • Add the vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract) and almond extract, and whisk to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour blend, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt. Add them to the butter-egg mixture, and mix well until you get a smooth dough. Note that the dough will be very soft, although it shouldn’t be too sticky to the touch.
  • Chill the dough for about 15 minutes.
    Tip: Before chilling, the biscotti dough is very soft and difficult to handle. Chilling firms up the butter in the dough and therefore the dough itself. It also gives the gluten free flour in the dough some time to properly hydrate, which also helps to make the dough more manageable.

Shaping the log:

  • Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a large baking sheet with parchment/baking paper.
  • Transfer the chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface.
    Tip: You don’t want to add too much flour onto your surface, but just enough so that the dough doesn’t stick to it.
  • Shape the dough into a short log. Don’t worry about its exact size or shape at this point.
  • Transfer the log onto the lined baking sheet and use a pastry brush to remove any excess flour.
  • Use your hands to shape the dough into a roughly 14 x 3 ½ x ¾ inch (35 x 9 x 2cm) log. I usually do this so that the log lies along the diagonal of the baking sheet (note that the log will spread slightly and increase in volume during baking). Alternatively, you can shape it into two 7 x 3 ½ x ¾ inch (18 x 9 x 2cm) logs, if you find it easier.

First bake & cooling:

  • Bake the log at 350ºF (180ºC) for 28-30 minutes or until it’s evenly golden brown in colour, fully baked through and hard to the touch.
    Tip: Because the dough contains baking powder, it will expand during baking, and you will see a few cracks running along the surface. That’s perfectly fine and to be expected.
  • Remove the biscotti log out of the oven and allow it to cool on the baking sheet for about 20-25 minutes, or until warm or lukewarm to the touch.
    Tip: Don’t be tempted to slice the log into individual biscotti while it’s still hot. It will be too fragile, and the biscotti will break and crumble as you try to cut them.
  • In the mean time, reduce the oven temperature to 265ºF (130ºC).

Slicing & second bake (drying out):

  • Once warm or lukewarm, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the log into about ¾ inch (about 2cm) thick slices (see post for photos). You should get around 20 biscotti in total.
    Tip: Use a sawing motion when you cut, this gives the cleanest slices and the least amount of breakage.
  • Arrange the sliced biscotti (cut sides down) on the lined baking sheet.
  • Bake them at 265ºF (130ºC) for 40 minutes, flipping them over half way through.
    Tip: The function of this second bake is to really dry them out, which is why it’s best to use a low oven temperature and a long baking time. By flipping them over after 20 minutes, you ensure even moisture evaporation from both sides of the cookies.
  • Once they finish baking, transfer them immediately to a wire rack to cool completely.
    Tip: Cooling them on the baking sheet would cause condensation to form underneath, which rather destroys the point of being careful to really dry them out as much as possible.

Storage:

  • The gluten free biscotti keep well in an air-tight container at room temperature for 1-2 weeks.
Tried this recipe?Mention @theloopywhisk or tag #theloopywhisk!

Pinterest image for gluten free biscotti. Pinterest image for gluten free biscotti. Pinterest image for gluten free biscotti. Pinterest image for gluten free biscotti.