Gluten free cupcakes recipe

(2214 ratings)

Our gluten free cupcakes take 40 minutes to make and are under 300 calories per cake.

gluten free cupcakes covered with buttercream and sprinkles
(Image credit: Future)
Preparation Time20 mins
Cooking Time20 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories284 Kcal14%
Sugar23.3 g26%
Fat16.4 g23%
Saturated Fat10.1 g51%
Protein2.4 g5%
Carbohydrates18.315 g7%

These delicious gluten free cupcakes are topped with a simple vanilla buttercream and a generous scattering of sprinkles. 

With a few simple tweaks to our classic cupcake recipe, we’ve managed to create the best ever gluten free cupcakes! Once you’ve mastered this basic recipe you can have fun and experiment with the toppings and flavourings. Head down to our tips for some cheap and easy suggestions.


  • 125g butter, melted
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 3tbsp milk
  • Few drops of vanilla extract

For the Swiss meringue buttercream:

  • 2 medium egg whites
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 100g butter, softened
  • Few drops of vanilla extract
  • Royal icing sprinkles




  • Set the oven to 190C (170C fan, Gas 5). Line a cupcake tray with paper cases.
  • Pour the melted butter into a bowl and add sugar, flour, eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Beat the mixture, preferably with an electric hand whisk, to give a smooth batter which may appear a little runnier than a usual sponge-cake mixture.
  • Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until they've risen and are light golden. Remove tray from the oven and leave cakes to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • To make the buttercream: Place egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely. It should be 72C. Remove the bowl from over the pan and whisk the egg whites until stiff. Gradually whisk in the butter and then the vanilla. The mixture may appear to separate, but keep whisking it at a high speed until it's light and fluffy - this is easiest done in a stand mixer, but can be done with an electric hand whisk.
  • Fill a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle with the buttercream and pipe a swirl on top of each cupcake. Scatter over the sprinkles and serve. 

Watch how to make gluten free cupcakes 

Top tips for making gluten free cupcakes

These cupcakes are best eaten within 2 days of making and are not suitable for freezing once iced. Icing sugar is gluten-free in the UK and US (though always check individual labels). You could always top these cakes with some traditional icing instead and play around with food colouring (also gluten-free). For more tips and tricks that will help you make these cupcakes, continue reading below.

Do you need xanthan gum in gluten free cupcakes?

Our recipe does not use Xanthan gum in the ingredients. We use a gluten free self-raising flour and many brands have Xanthan gum as an ingredient in their flour blends. For example Freee Gluten Free Self-Raising White Flour has raising agents in the ingredients as well as Xanthan gum as a thickener. 

What is the difference between buttercream and Swiss meringue buttercream?

Unlike regular buttercream, Swiss meringue buttercream is made by heating egg whites with sugar until it reaches 72C and the sugar has dissolved. Many people prefer it because it has a soft mousse-like texture and tastes a little less sweet. 

How long does Swiss meringue buttercream last?

You can make the buttercream ahead and store at room temperature for two days in an airtight container or five days in the fridge. If you chill it, allow it to stand at room temperature before using it to pipe onto your cupcakes. 

When making Swiss meringue buttercream it is much easier to use a stand mixer. Read food editor Jessica Dady’s Kitchen Aid mixer review here if you still need some convincing.

KitchenAid Mixer Design Series 4.7l Blossom Artisan - View at KitchenAid

KitchenAid Mixer Design Series 4.7l Blossom Artisan - View at KitchenAid

This mixer has 10 different speeds and comes with a solid stainless steel whisk, dough hook, flat beater and pastry beater. You can also buy lots of additional attachments including pasta cutters and much more. We love the copper and sage colour combination but there are lots of other colours you can choose from. It will make kneading bread a breeze and is perfect for making Swiss meringue or Italian buttercream too. 

If you’d like more gluten-free recipes, we have hundreds of options including some special gluten-free recipes for kids. One of our most popular recipes is this gluten free shortbread.

Rosie Conroy
Food Writer

Rosie is an experienced food and drinks journalist who has spent over a decade writing about restaurants, cookery, and foodie products. Previously Content Editor at and Digital Food Editor on Woman&Home, Rosie is well used to covering everything from food news through to taste tests. Now, as well as heading up the team at SquareMeal - the UK's leading guide to restaurants and bars - she also runs a wedding floristry business in Scotland called Lavender and Rose.