These are the BEST gluten free vanilla cupcakes! Not only are they super moist, but they’re fluffy, bouncy, and loaded with real vanilla flavor. Seriously, they’re so good you would never even know they’re gluten free. I topped mine with chocolate frosting, but I’ve also included a vanilla option in the recipe below!
What makes these the BEST gluten free vanilla cupcakes?
After sharing my perfect vanilla cupcake recipe, I knew I had to make a gluten free version! So what makes these so good? It’s based off of a regular cupcake recipe in order to mimic that moist but bouncy consistency.
And these cupcakes are just that. They’re so moist, so tender, and so fluffy with loads of vanilla! So how is this possible with gluten free cake?
- Whipped Butter & Sugar – The key to fluffy gluten free cupcakes is lots of lift. By creaming together the butter and sugar, tiny air pockets are whipped into the butter to add some extra bounce to this cake.
- Gluten Free Flour – This recipe doesn’t require a bunch of individual speciality flours. One good gluten free baking flour blend does the trick! They’re specially formulated to mimic real flour, and that’s definitely the case for these cupcakes.
- Oil – To make these extra moist, a 50/50 blend of butter and oil is used in this recipe. Butter provides that lift, while oil adds tons of moisture.
- Buttermilk – To round everything out, buttermilk is used to add richness to these cupcakes. Not only that, but the extra acidity activates with the baking soda to help leaven the cupcakes even more.
- Vanilla – Of course, we can’t leave out the vanilla. An entire tablespoon is used in these cupcakes to add TONS of flavor. I used pure vanilla extract, but I think vanilla bean paste would also work really well here!
The combination of these ingredients is what creates a light, fluffy, rich, and moist gluten free vanilla cupcake. To be quite honest, I might even like these more than my regular vanilla cupcake recipe. The gluten free flour makes these so delicate that the cake just melts in your mouth.
How to make gluten free cupcakes
Now that we know WHAT makes these cupcakes so good, let’s get into the process of baking them. They follow the standard creaming method like most cake recipes, but here are a few tips to ensure they turn out just right:
- Measuring Flour – For true accuracy, I always recommend weighing the ingredients with a food scale. Otherwise, when measuring by cups, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with a flat edge. Don’t scoop directly into the flour or shake the flour down into the cup. We want a light and fluffy cup of flour.
- Butter & Sugar – When mixing the butter and sugar, really mix them for a good 3 minutes. They should appear light, fluffy, and paler than they were at the start. This is important for providing extra lift to the cupcakes.
- Filling – Fill each cupcake liner about half full. If they’re filled too much, the cupcakes run the risk of sinking in the middle. This batter is enough to make exactly 15 cupcakes, so if it’s evenly divided there shouldn’t be any issues!
- Cooling – The thing with gluten free cake is that it’s the weakest when warm, and the strongest when cooled. Really allow these cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
What is the best gluten free flour for baking cupcakes?
To make this recipe as simple as possible, I opted for a gluten free baking flour blend. It’s a special blend of different gluten free flours to mimic the affects of regular all purpose flour.
My two favorites are Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 baking flour and King Arthur Flour measure for measure flour. I tested these cupcakes with both and each batch turned out the exact same.
Different frosting options for gluten free cupcakes
For this recipe, I paired the cupcakes with a simple and silky chocolate buttercream.
If you prefer a vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream, I suggest the vanilla buttercream recipe I used for my perfect vanilla cupcakes. It’s soft and smooth but still pipeable and holds its shape well.
To take it a step further, my cream cheese frosting recipe would also be so delicious on these cupcakes! In that post, I share how to make it into chocolate cream cheese frosting as well as a strawberry cream cheese frosting so you have tons of options!
Gluten Free Cupcakes FAQs
Yes, I suggest swapping out the butter with a vegan baking butter and the buttermilk with a homemade plant-based buttermilk. Measure 3/4 cup of the milk of your choice, remove a scant tablespoon of milk and replace it with a scant tablespoon of vinegar. Mix and let it sit for 5 minutes to curdle.
As for the buttercream, use the chocolate buttercream in my vegan chocolate cake recipe. Or swap in vegan butter for your preferred buttercream of choice!
Unfortunately I can’t confidently make substitution recommendations for the eggs because I haven’t tested any myself. But I do plan on creating a vegan vanilla cupcake recipe and I’ll be sure to test a gluten free version for those as well!
I haven’t tested these cupcakes with anything other than the vegetable oil, but a safe replacement would be melted coconut oil. Just make sure all other ingredients are at room temperature, otherwise the coconut oil can harden while mixing. Another option is unsweetened apple sauce but I can’t guarantee the cupcakes will turn out the exact same.
I love parchment cupcake liners because nothing stick to them. I linked my favorite at the bottom of the recipe card!
Yes! Click here for my gluten free chocolate cupcakes.
Store the cupcakes in an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator. They’ll keep moist for up to 4 days.
For more gluten free cakes, check out my:
- Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes
- Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
- Flourless Olive Oil Chocolate Cake
- Vegan Banana Snack Cake
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and leave a review below if you make these gluten free cupcakes. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!
Watch how to make these gluten free vanilla cupcakes:Print
Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 15 cupcakes
- Diet: Gluten Free
These gluten free cupcakes are so moist and bouncy that you would never even know they’re gluten free! They’re also baked with a tablespoon of vanilla for extra flavor and topped with a smooth chocolate buttercream.
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
- 1/4 cup (50g) vegetable oil
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temp
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (195g) gluten free baking flour*
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (190ml) buttermilk**
Chocolate Frosting *see notes for vanilla option
- 1 cup (220g) unsalted butter, room temp
- 1/2 cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or dutch process)
- 3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
- 2–3 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- Rainbow sprinkles
- Preheat the oven to 350F and line one cupcake tin with 12 liners an another with 3 liners. This recipe makes 15 cupcakes total.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl using a hand or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the butter and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Mix on medium-high speed until smooth, light, and fluffy.
- Mix in the remaining sugar and vegetable oil until smooth, followed by the eggs and vanilla.
- Dump in half of the dry ingredients and mix. With some flour still showing, pour in the buttermilk and mix again.
- Dump in the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until smooth and well combined.
- Scoop the batter into the liners, filling each about halfway.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean with a few moist crumbs. The cupcakes bake pretty flat, so it’s normal to not see rounded tops.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a cooling rack.
- Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting. You can pop them in the refrigerator to speed this up.
- In a bowl using a hand or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the butter and cocoa powder and mix until smooth.
- Scrape down the bowl and begin to mix in the powdered sugar one cup at a time.
- Between each cup, mix in a tablespoon of milk, along with the vanilla and salt.
- In the end, the frosting should be thick but smooth and glossy. If it’s TOO thick, mix in another tablespoon of two of milk.
- Pipe the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and top with sprinkles. Enjoy!
*GLUTEN FREE FLOUR – Make sure to use a cup for cup gluten free baking flour blend, one with xanthan gum in the mix. I used both Bob’s Red Mill 1 for 1 and King Arthur Measure for Measure flour and they worked the exact same! Also, when measuring, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it off with a flat edge. Don’t scoop directly into the flour or shake the flour down into the cup. We want a light and fluffy cup of flour.
**BUTTERMILK – You can also make your own buttermilk. Pour 3/4 cup of milk and remove a scant tablespoon. Then replace with a scant tablespoon of vinegar. Mix and let it sit for about 10 minutes to curdle before use.
VANILLA BUTTERCREAM – If you prefer vanilla frosting for these cupcakes, use the frosting recipe I used for my perfect vanilla cupcakes. My cream cheese frosting recipe is another good option!
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cooling Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: gluten free cupcakes, gluten free vanilla cupcakes, gluten free cupcake recipe, gluten free vanilla cupcake recipe
Linda kraner says
Can I make this a While gluten free cake or cupcakes? Than you Linda kraner
I haven’t tried it but I bet you could! I think this batter would be the perfect amount for two thick layers of 6″ cakes or two thin layers of 8″ cakes. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes
I have made these cupcakes multiple times. Every time I make these they turn out perfect.
I didn’t try the frosting. But the cupcakes were delicious, I served them to a large crowd and everyone enjoyed them immensely. 💕💕💕☺️
Yay! Thank you!