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Gluten Free Friendship Bread

Gluten Free Friendship bread is a delicious gluten free version of the classic Amish Friendship Bread recipe!

Gluten Free Friendship Bread

Did you grow up in the late 1980’s or 1990’s? Do you remember the friendship bread that was so popular?

It was the recipe where a friend gave you a bag or jar of starter to make your own bread. You added to the starter, made the bread, and gave some of the starter on to a friend.

Some of you may have no clue what I am talking about. Others of you are going YES, my mom made that all the time. Or I made that bread and my family loved it.

For those of you that don’t know or remember what I am talking about it, it was a bread starter/recipe that was popular in the 1980’s and 1990’s. It probably started long before that, and might have been popular after that, but that is the time frame that I remember it.

My best friend’s mom made it all the time when I was a teenager. Then when my husband was in college, and we were newly married and in our “poor” years, it went around the wives of the college group we hung out with. It went around the church group and other groups of friends too.

There was a five or so year period where this bread kept circling around and everyone seemed to be making it and giving away starter.

And it was so good!

Gluten Free Friendship Bread

The basic recipe was similar to a sourdough type of recipe, but it was a sweet bread dessert type of starter. Most of the time the starter was in a ziploc type of bag. There was directions to add to the starter and to make the bread.

You kept some of the starter for yourself, so that you could keep making the bread, and you gave the rest to friends. That is where the name friendship bread came from.

I used to make this bread all the time. My husband loved it. He is not a huge dessert eater, but he loved this bread. Over the years I got tired of making it and trying to keep the starter going, so I stopped making it.

The bread became less popular, we went gluten free, and I kind of forgot about it. That was until earlier this year when I saw several recipes online for a homemade nonstarter version of the classic Amish Friendship Bread.

It brought back so many memories and I instantly wanted a piece. Isn’t it strange how food can do that. You can go years and years without thinking about a certain food and all of the sudden something triggers your memory and you long for that food again. That is what happened to me and this bread.

I saw the recipe and had to have it.

The problem is that I am gluten free. I couldn’t just make the bread. It was obviously full of gluten and I couldn’t have it, but I really really wanted it.

I knew I had to come up with a nonstarter gluten free version. It took a few, okay quite a few, tries to get this one right. I tried it with a premade gluten free flour blend and it didn’t work right. It was okay, but it wasn’t like the original. It was just off texture and taste wise.

So I worked on using different individual gluten free flours until I came up with a version that tasted just like I remembered.

My husband tasted the gluten free version and he basically said, “This is it. This is just like I remember.” Then he went on to eat most of the loaf all by himself.

And that is when I know that I have perfected a gluten free version of a favorite food. When those in my family that don’t eat gluten free, love a gluten free food, I know I got the recipe right.

If you are gluten free and miss friendship bread this is a must try! If you are gluten free and have no clue what friendship bread is, this is still a must try. It is a dessert type of bread that is so good. Kind of like a cross between a quick bread and a coffee cake.

A quick note though. I will say this has an ingredient that some may not feel safe giving their family. It contains a box of vanilla pudding. I always use the Jell-0 brand instant pudding. The real stuff, not the off brands. From the research I have done, I feel it is gluten free and safe for my family. Kraft is usually very good about labeling gluten in it’s products. But please do what you are comfortable with and what is safe for your family. 

Love quick breads and need more gluten free ones. You might like these.

Now for the recipe!

Gluten Free Amish Friendship Bread (2)


4 from 2 votes
Gluten Free Friendship Bread
Gluten Free Amish Friendship Bread
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins

A homemade gluten free version of the classic Amish Friendship bread. This is so good that you will not know it is gluten free. 

Course: Bread, Breakfast
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding (3.4 ounce) You use the dry pudding, do not mix up.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 

  2. Grease two loaf pans and set aside. 

  3. In a bowl combine cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum. Set aside. 

  4. In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, oil, sugar,buttermilk, and vanilla. Stir until well combined. 

  5. Stir in flour mixture and box of vanilla pudding. Mix until well combined. 

  6. The topping is optional, but good. In a small bowl combined 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the mixture in the bottom of the loaf pans and turn pan to coat. You are basically coating the pans with the cinnamon sugar mixture. 

  7. Pour batter into pans, dividing batter evenly between the two pans. Sprinkle remaining topping mixture if using, on top of the batter. 

  8. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. 

  9. Let bread cool in pan for about ten minutes. Then remove loaves from pan and cool on wire rack. 



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  1. Dana DiPasquale says

    4 stars
    This sounds delicious!! I am excited! One problem – in my world, I can not find rice flour, potato starch, or tapioca starch. Can I use equal amounts of GF flour, Coconut flour, or Almond Flour (those are what I have)? Thank you!!! BTW – we LOVE the Chicken and Black bean oven tacos – it is on our menu almost weekly 🙂

    • I tried it with Bob’s Gluten free flour blend and it worked, but wasn’t quite the same. The texture was off and I think it was because had too much gums for what the recipe needed. So yes I think you could use your favorite gf flour blend, but I also think adding in something like a little almond flour to it might be a good idea. I wouldn’t add to much of the almond flour though. I definitely think it is worth trying with your favorite gf blend though if you can’t get the individual flours.

  2. I love this, but I can’t use the pudding mix. What do you think I could substitute?

  3. I don’t see in the instructions when to add the buttermilk?

  4. Debbie Medina says

    Have you tried this recipe with coconut sugar instead? I need to stay way from white sugar, and have been wanting to make the friendship bread for years.

    • No I have not. If you have used it in other quick breads it is probably worth trying in this one. But I have not done a lot of cooking with coconut sugar, so I am not sure.

  5. Have you tried to make it with a gluten free starter? I just made one with my gf flour, almond milk, half raw sugar and sugar substitute for a lower carb version. Just wondering how it would taste. I was looking for a gf recipe.

    • No I have not tried it with a gluten free starter. This is the recipe that I came up with to make a gluten free version without a starter. I wanted a quicker easier way to make it gluten free because I didn’t want to keep a gluten free starter going. We think this is really close to the real thing. I hope that helps.

  6. Lynne Deen says

    4 stars
    We are becoming more gluten-free , just trying
    To learn to eat more healthy, finding the right ingredients is challenging b

    • Gluten free can be challenging especially at first, but it does get easier the more that you get used to it. Let me know if you have any questions. I love to help people make gluten free easy and delicious!

  7. Phyllis Atchison says

    My bread turned out very moist and delicious. But it was very thick when I finished mixing it and couldn’t pour it into my prepared pans.I had to scoop it in. Plus, it didn’t rise during baking. What did I do wrong?

    • Did you use the flours as listed or did you use a gf blend in place of them? And what brand of flours and gum did you use? Sometimes brands can vary so I always ask that when something doesn’t turn out quite right.

      • Phyllis Atchison says

        Thanks for responding so quickly! I used Naturvibes, Bob’s Red Mill, flours and Judee’s gum. I did use dry buttermilk and water for the liquid. I usually have to order my flours online because they aren’t readily available where I live.

      • Phyllis Atchison says

        Thanks for responding so quickly! I used Naturvibes, Bob’s Red Mill, flours and Judee’s gum. I did use dry buttermilk and water for the liquid. I usually have to order my flours online because they aren’t readily available where I live.

  8. Lumberjack Country Certified says

    I grew up in the logging industry in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and I have the fondest memories of amish friendship bread thanks to amish customers that I adored. (Those pies!) I appreciate this recipe so much. I am eating it with a hot cuppa pumpkin spiced tea and I made it exactly as your recipe stated. My bread didn’t rise as much as I thought it would but it’s not dense and it has a nice cinnamony crumb. 🙂 I taste a little more oil than I would like. Did one of your attempts to make this include butter? I’m curious. I wish we could meet in my kitchen and talk recipes and look at our cookbooks and dissect them like workbooks. Thanks for a wonderful recipe. I appreciate the fond memories more than you know. Hope you’re staying safe during these uncertain times!

    • I am so glad that you enjoyed the gluten free friendship bread! And I grew up in logging country too, but in NW Oregon. I developed this recipe a few years ago and if I remember right I did try it with butter, but not half butter half oil. If you are wanting more of a butter taste I might try using half butter half oil. If you try it I would love to hear how it works.

      • Lumberjack girl again. says

        I’ll let you know! Gladly. I’ve been GF for only two years but I cried like I was at a funeral for days after I was diagnosed as being gluten-intolerant. Bakers like you have just been a treasure trove for me because learning how to bake gluten free has been a journey. Some things have been a joy though in the kitchen-I used to be so worried about overworking my gluten doughs. Now that is no longer a concern. That’s a nice silver lining moment I suppose. I hope your hometown has been safe in the midst of the wildfires. Stay safe and I’ll let you know when I make this recipe again how replacing just a bit of the oil with butter goes. This recipe is most definitely a keeper and I really appreciate you sharing it.

        • I am so glad that you enjoy my recipes. I have been gluten free since 2009 and I shed many tears the first year that I was gluten free. I totally get how hard it is at times. That is why I love to share easy and delicious gluten free recipes and tips. And I love it when a recipe is so good that no one will know that it is gluten free. Have a great day!

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