Home » Quick & Easy Gluten Free Puff Pastry (Rough Puff Method)

Quick & Easy Gluten Free Puff Pastry (Rough Puff Method)

This gluten free puff pastry is the real deal: incredibly flaky, buttery and tender, and it puffs up beautifully in the oven. The recipe is 100% reliable and fail-proof: it requires minimal effort and very little active prep time, and it’s suitable even for baking beginners. You need just 6 ingredients to make it (no frozen butter!) and you’d never know that it’s gluten free.

Puff pastry sheets, cut in half, stacked on top of each other.

If there’s one thing I firmly believe (aside from the fact that there’s no such thing as too much chocolate, but that’s a whole other story) it’s that no matter how good a recipe is, if it’s too complicated or likely to fail if you make even the tiniest mistake, it might not be worth it.

Well, I can confidently say that this gluten free puff pastry recipe is the total opposite of that. Because it’s almost ridiculously easy, it requires minimal effort and very little active prep time, it’s suitable even for total baking beginners, and it’s super forgiving – and therefore essentially fail-proof.

At the same time, it gives truly PHENOMENAL results. I honestly still can’t quite believe that a gluten free puff pastry that’s this easy to make can be so fabulously flaky, buttery and tender. It puffs up beautifully during baking and it has that incredibly delicate, shattery texture that’s characteristic of a really good puff pastry. AND IT’S GLUTEN FREE!!!

And yes, this might all sound too good to be true at this point… but I promise you that it’s 100% real and 1000% fabulous, and in this blog post, I’ll take you through the whole process of making it step by step.

Laminated puff pastry dough on a floured work surface, with the rolling pin in the background.

Another great thing is that you don’t need to use frozen butter for this recipe – and that’s really a huge plus in my book (mostly because I usually forget to freeze the butter in time).

I should add that there’s also an amazing gluten free (rough) puff pastry recipe in my gluten free cookbook, Baked to Perfection. However, I’m chronically incapable of not fiddling with my own recipes and if or when I find an even better (easier, quicker, more efficient) way of preparing something, I’ll always share it with you. So, here we are.

Finally, before we get to the technical bits of how to make this puff pastry: you can also use this recipe as an *even flakier* alternative to my Extra Flaky All-Butter Gluten Free Pie Crust. Both recipes are great, so just choose whichever one you fancy more at the time.

Puff pastry sheets on a lined baking sheet.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making this amazing gluten free puff pastry – 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.

Ingredients for gluten free puff pastry

You need just 6 ingredients to make this gluten free puff pastry:

  • Plain gluten free flour blend. I used Doves Farm FREEE plain white gluten free flour, but my homemade gluten free flour blend will also work great in this recipe.
  • Sugar. You don’t need a lot of sugar in this recipe, just enough to help with the browning and caramelisation of the pastry during baking. This doesn’t make the pastry sweet at all, so you can definitely use it in both sweet and savoury recipes.
  • Xanthan gum. This acts as a gluten substitute – it gives the gluten free puff pastry some elasticity and flexibility, so that it’s not too delicate and you can easily handle it without being afraid that it will tear, crack or crumble. You can read more about the role of xanthan gum in gluten free baking here!
  • Salt. As with pretty much all recipes (both in baking and in cooking), the salt is here to bring out all the other delicious flavours.
  • Cold unsalted butter. It’s important that you use cold butter, directly from the fridge (but it doesn’t need to be frozen). You’ll use the butter in two forms: one quarter (25%) cubed and the remaining three quarters (75%) cut into about 1-2mm thin slices about 1-2cm in size.
  • Cold water. Either very cold tap water or chilled water from the fridge will work best here. It doesn’t have to be ice cold, so no need to add ice cubes to it or anything like that.

Ingredients required for gluten free puff pastry, arranged on a small baking tray.

Preparing the gluten free puff pastry dough

To make the gluten free puff pastry dough:

  1. Whisk together all the dry ingredients (gluten free flour blend, sugar, xanthan gum and salt) and add the cubed cold butter (one quarter/25% of the total butter amount).
  2. Work the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a texture resembling fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Cut the remaining cold butter (three quarters/75% of the total butter amount) into 1-2mm thin slices about 1-2cm in size (no need to be super precise here, just aim for that approximate thickness and size), and add it to the dry ingredients.
  4. Toss the butter slices in the dry ingredients, so that each butter slice is coated in flour. Make sure to separate any slices that have stuck together.
  5. Start adding the cold water, 1-2 tablespoons at a time.
  6. After each addition of water, use your fingertips or a fork to toss the mixture around so that the flour gets evenly hydrated (that is, so that the water gets evenly absorbed by the dry ingredients).
  7. Continue adding the water and tossing the mixture until all the flour has been hydrated (there should be no patches of completely dry flour) and the mixture starts clumping together in places. It will still look crumbly at this point – that’s OK! You might need slightly more or less water than is listed in the recipe (the exact amount will depend on the type/brand of gluten free flour blend you use and some other factors). If there are patches of dry flour, sprinkle them with some extra cold water until all the flour has been hydrated.
  8. Bring the puff pastry dough together into a ball. To do this, give it a gentle knead and press it against the sides of the bowl. Don’t overwork it, as that can cause the butter to start melting due to the heat from your hands, which can reduce the flakiness of the final pastry (you want the butter to stay in discrete pieces/sheets embedded in the dough). Knead it only until it comes together in a ball.
  9. Your dough won’t look perfectly smooth at this stage – it will look slightly “shaggy” and uneven, with a few cracks here or there. That’s perfectly OK. Again, as long as you don’t have any patches of dry flour, you’re doing great.
  10. Wrap the prepared gluten free puff pastry dough in plastic wrap/cling film to chill. I like to arrange the plastic wrap loosely around the pastry in a roughly rectangular shape and then run over the pastry with a rolling pin to work it all the way to the edges of the plastic wrap. This helps to smooth out the pastry and it gives you a rectangular shape that will come in handy when you roll out the dough during the lamination process.

The first 4 steps of the 10-step process of making gluten free puff pastry dough.

The last 6 steps of the 10-step process of making gluten free puff pastry dough.

Chilling the dough

The next step is to chill the puff pastry dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes. This cools down the butter in the dough and firms it up, so that it won’t melt into the surrounding dough during the laminating process.

In the photo below, you can clearly see that the dough looks marbled – with distinct yellow-ish patches of butter among the off-white pastry. That’s a great sign, as it means that the butter sheets haven’t melted into the surrounding dough. 

Hands holding a block of gluten free puff pastry dough wrapped in plastic wrap.

These pieces of butter in the pastry are very important – this is what will form all the butter-dough layers during the laminating step, and those layers are what gives the puff pastry its flakiness and what allows it to puff up in the oven during baking.

Lamination: two letter folds

Lamination is the process that creates all those lovely butter-dough layers that are responsible for the puff pastry being deliciously flaky and puffing up during baking.

If your puff pastry dough has been in the fridge for longer than 30 minutes, leave it out on the counter at room temperature for a few minutes. You want the dough to be cool but not so cold that it’s hard as a rock. It should be pliable and malleable enough so that you can roll it out without too much cracking.

This lamination consists of two letter folds, where you fold the pastry rectangle as you would a letter – one third towards the middle and then the other third over it.

To laminate the gluten free puff pastry:

  1. Roll out the chilled dough into a long rectangle on a lightly floured surface. The exact dimensions of the rectangle aren’t important, aim for a length that’s about three times the width. Don’t worry if the dough cracks slightly along the edges, the pastry will smooth out with the two letter folds.
  2. First letter fold: Fold one third of the rectangle towards the centre
  3. and then fold the other third over it.
  4. Rotate the folded pastry by 90 degrees, so that the open ends point towards and away from you.
  5. Roll out the pastry again into a long rectangle.
  6. Second letter fold: Fold one third of the rectangle towards the centre
  7. and then fold the other third over it.
  8. And that’s it! This is the finished gluten free puff pastry. Just wrap it up in plastic wrap/cling film and chill in the fridge until needed.

The first 4 steps of the 8-step lamination process for making gluten free puff pastry.

The last 4 steps of the 8-step lamination process for making gluten free puff pastry.

Storing gluten free puff pastry

You can make the gluten free puff pastry ahead of time (including the lamination) and then wrap it tightly in cling film and keep it in the the fridge or freezer until needed. I don’t recommend freezing the pastry before the laminating step.

It keeps in the fridge for about 1 week and in the freezer for up to about 1 month. When you want to use it, allow it to thaw at room temperature before using. If you press down on it with a finger, it should leave an indentation – but it should feel firm, not too soft to the touch.

Baking: achieving flaky, buttery, puffed-up perfection

You can use this gluten free puff pastry in any recipe that calls for puff pastry.

I recommend baking the gluten free puff pastry at oven temperatures at or above 400ºF (200ºC) – this will ensure that it puffs up beautifully without any butter leakage.

For example, I pre-heated the oven to 425ºF (220ºC) and then reduced the temperature 400ºF (200ºC) immediately after putting the puff pastry sheets into the oven. And as you can see, this gave the most perfectly flaky, puffy results:

Puff pastry sheets, cut in half, stacked on top of each other.

What makes this recipe work?

I wanted to add a short section that quickly explains the science behind this recipe – because it’s really interesting!

The main thing is that we have two forms of butter in the puff pastry dough:

  • The butter that you work into the dry ingredients. This is responsible for making the pastry layers tender and delicate, so that they shatter when you cut or bite into them. It prevents the pastry from being hard or tough.
  • The butter sheets that stay intact, evenly distributed throughout the dough. Through the process of lamination, these sheets give rise to all the butter-dough layers, which in turn result in that characteristic flaky texture. Because we’re using the rough puff method here, these butter-dough layers aren’t as even as in a puff pastry or croissant dough prepared with the butter block method, but they still give truly astounding results (especially when you consider how low-effort this recipe is).

Laminated puff pastry dough on a floured work surface.

As the gluten free puff pastry enters the oven, the butter in the butter layers melts and the moisture content in the butter turns into steam, which forces the dough layers apart – and the pastry puffs up. (Butter contains about 15% of water by weight.)

You can, of course, also “compress” the puff pastry during baking – for example, by placing another baking sheet on top of it. This prevents it from puffing up and results in these ultra-flaky sheets of golden puff pastry, which are perfect for making mille-feuille or vanilla slices:

Puff pastry sheets on a lined baking sheet.

Puff pastry sheets, cut in half, stacked on top of each other.

And that’s it! This is just about everything you need to know in order to make this truly outstanding gluten free puff pastry. It’s a total game changer and I promise you that it’s impossible to tell that it’s gluten free. 

I really hope you’ll give this a try because it’s incredibly easy and so very, very delicious.

Happy baking!

Signature of the author, Kat.

Puff pastry sheets stacked on top of each other.

More gluten free baking basics

Here are some more 100% reliable, fundamental gluten free recipes that you definitely need in your repertoire:

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Quick & Easy Gluten Free Puff Pastry

This gluten free puff pastry is the real deal: incredibly flaky, buttery and tender, and it puffs up beautifully in the oven. The recipe is 100% reliable and fail-proof: it requires minimal effort and very little active prep time, and it’s suitable even for baking beginners. You need just 6 ingredients to make it (no frozen butter!) and you’d never know that it’s gluten free.
Print Rate
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 mins
Chill Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Servings 1 batch (500g or 1lb 2oz of pastry)

Ingredients

  • 240 g (2 cups) plain gluten free flour blend, plus extra for flouring the work surface (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.)
  • ½ tbsp caster/superfine or granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum (If your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum, add only ½ teaspoon.)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 40 g (3 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cubed (Keep in the fridge until needed, so that it's as cold as possible.)
  • 120 g (1 stick + ½ tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-2mm thin slices about 1-2cm in size (Keep in the fridge until needed, so that it's as cold as possible.)
  • 100 g (⅓ cup + 1½ tbsp) cold water (Either very cold tap water or chilled water from the fridge will work best here.)

Instructions

Making the gluten free puff pastry dough:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients: gluten free flour blend, sugar, xanthan gum and salt.
  • Add the 40g of cold cubed butter and, using your fingertips, work it into the dry ingredients until you get a texture resembling fine breadcrumbs.
    Tip: You can also use a food processor for this step. Once you've achieved a breadcrumb-like mixture, transfer it from the bowl of the food processor into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the 120g of cold butter slices to the dry ingredients. Toss the mixture with your fingertips so that each butter slice is coated in flour. Separate any slices that have stuck together.
  • Start adding the cold water, 1-2 tablespoons at a time.
    After each addition of water, use your fingertips or a fork to toss the mixture around so that the flour gets evenly hydrated (that is, so that the water gets evenly absorbed by the dry ingredients).
  • Continue adding the water and tossing the mixture until all the flour has been hydrated (there should be no patches of completely dry flour) and the mixture starts clumping together in places. It will still look crumbly at this point – that’s OK!
    Tip: You might need slightly more or less water than is listed in the recipe (the exact amount will depend on the type/brand of gluten free flour blend you use and some other factors). If there are any patches of dry flour, sprinkle them with some extra cold water until all the flour has been hydrated.
  • Bring the puff pastry dough together into a ball. To do this, give it a gentle knead and press it against the sides of the bowl.
    Your dough won’t look perfectly smooth at this stage – it will look slightly “shaggy” and uneven, with a few cracks here or there. That’s perfectly OK.
    Tip: Don’t overwork the dough, as that can cause the butter to start melting due to the heat from your hands, which can reduce the flakiness of the final pastry (you want the butter to stay in discrete pieces/sheets embedded in the dough). Knead it only until it comes together in a ball.
  • Wrap the prepared gluten free puff pastry dough in plastic wrap/cling film.
    Tip: I like to arrange the plastic wrap loosely around the pastry in a roughly rectangular shape and then run over the pastry with a rolling pin to work it all the way to the edges of the plastic wrap. This helps to smooth out the pastry and it gives you a rectangular shape that will come in handy when you roll out the dough during the lamination process.

Chilling the puff pastry dough:

  • Chill the puff pastry dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
    Tip: This chilling step cools down the butter in the dough and firms it up, so that it won’t melt into the surrounding dough during the laminating process.

Lamination - two letter folds:

  • If your puff pastry dough has been in the fridge for longer than 30 minutes, leave it out on the counter at room temperature for a few minutes. You want the dough to be cool but not so cold that it’s hard as a rock. It should be pliable and malleable enough so that you can roll it out without too much cracking.
    If at any time during the laminating process the pastry feels too soft and the butter starts melting (for example, if you're working in a very warm kitchen), chill it in the fridge for about 15 minutes before proceeding.
  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the chilled dough into a long rectangle. The exact dimensions of the rectangle aren’t important, aim for a length that’s about three times the width.
    Tip: Don’t worry if the dough cracks slightly along the edges, the pastry will smooth out with the two letter folds.
  • First letter fold: Fold one third of the rectangle towards the centre and then fold the other third over it (as you would a letter).
  • Rotate the folded pastry by 90 degrees, so that the open ends point towards and away from you.
  • Roll out the pastry again into a long rectangle.
  • Second letter fold: Fold one third of the rectangle towards the centre and then fold the other third over it (as you would a letter).
  • Wrap the finished gluten free puff pastry tightly in plastic wrap/cling film and chill in the fridge until needed.
    It's best to chill the pastry for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out, if you want to use it straight away.
  • Use as instructed in the chosen recipe.
    You can use this gluten free puff pastry in any recipe that calls for puff pastry.

Storage:

  • The gluten free puff pastry keeps well tightly wrapped in plastic wrap/cling film in the fridge for about 1 week or in the freezer for up to about 1 month.
    Tip: I don’t recommend freezing the pastry before the laminating step.
  • When you want to use it, allow it to thaw at room temperature before rolling it out. If you press down on it with a finger, it should leave an indentation – but it should feel firm, not too soft to the touch.
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