Gluten Free Focaccia

Gluten Free Focaccia

Focaccia is an Italian yeasted bread with a distinctive dimpled appearance. It can be eaten on its own, dipped into olive oil and balsamic vinegar, topped with herbs or vegetables, or sliced in half horizontally and used to make sandwiches. It’s beloved for its chewy texture, fluffy interior, and rich olive oil flavor.

Why This Recipe Works

Because its main ingredient is wheat flour, focaccia isn’t viable for those following a gluten free diet. To make a gluten free version, I swapped out wheat flour for a one-to-one gluten free baking flour blend and added a boost of baking powder in addition to instant yeast. I prefer a baking blend that has xanthan gum included, so that it holds together well and you don’t have to purchase that ingredient separately. The result is a focaccia very similar to the standard version, but slightly chewier. In addition to being gluten free, this bread is vegan–meaning it’s egg and dairy free, too.

The Process

To make this gluten free focaccia, you’ll bloom instant yeast and sugar in very warm water, then add the flour, baking powder, and salt. It requires no kneading and only a half hour of rising time. Because no kneading is required, it can be made in a mixing bowl, with no mixer required.

How to Serve Gluten Free Focaccia

This focaccia stands up well to toppings, and slices easily enough to be used as a sandwich bread. We think it’s perfect as is, with a little dip in some extra olive oil, to round out any Italian meal. Or serve alongside a bowl of minestrone.

“I was skeptical about a gluten-free focaccia, but this was excellent. The focaccia was crusty on the outside, soft in the center, and delicious. With a quick mix and fast rise, the focaccia was baked and ready to eat in no time.” —Diana Rattray

Golden squares of focaccia stacked on a white plate A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 110 F)

  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant or quick rise yeast

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 2 1/4 cups (350 grams) 1:1 all purpose gluten free baking flour with xanthan gum

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided, more as needed

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    gluten free focaccia ingredients gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Stir together the water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl until the sugar and yeast are dissolved. 

    water, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl blooming

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Add the flour, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, baking powder, and salt. Stir until combined; it will be thinner than a typical bread dough.

    flour and other ingredients added to yeast and water mixture

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

    gluten free focaccia dough in bowl covered with plastic wrap after a rise

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400 F. Oil a 9 x 13 x 1-inch baking sheet or a 9 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with 1 tablespoon of oil.

    greased baking pan

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Add the dough to the pan. With lightly oiled fingers, gently stretch the dough to fit the pan.

    gluten free focaccia dough in prepared baking pan

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. Using your fingers, poke dimples into the dough. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over the dough.

    dimples in focaccia dough drizzled with olive oil before baking

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  8. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

    baked gluten free focaccia in pan

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

How to Store and Freeze

  • Store leftover focaccia in a tightly sealed Ziploc bag or container at room temperature for up to 2 days. To reheat, warm the focaccia in a 350 F oven.
  • To freeze, wrap the baked and cooled focaccia tightly in plastic wrap then seal in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge, then reheat in the oven once thawed.

Recipe Tips

  • There are several brands of 1:1 gluten-free flours and results can vary. Some brown faster and more deeply than others, weights can vary, and the flavors may be slightly different. Choose your favorite brand and keep an eye on it the first time you make the focaccia. The bread should be golden brown, and the internal temperature should be between 200 F and 210 F.
  • For this recipe, I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour. I liked this better than their baking flour without gums because that resulted in a comparatively gritty texture. I also tried the King Arthur version without xanthan gum, but the focaccia didn’t hold together as well.
  • Measure gluten free flour exactly as you would wheat flour, by scooping and leveling. Do not pack flour into the measuring cup.
  • Instant rise yeast is forgiving, and easy to activate. If you’re unsure about water temperature, think as warm as bath water. Boiling or too hot water will kill the yeast.
  • Proof the dough in the warmest area of your kitchen or home. If your home is chilly, place the dough in the oven on the middle rack, with a large bowl or pan of hot water on the rack just below it.

Recipe Variations

  • For additional flavor, use basil or garlic-infused olive oil.
  • After drizzling olive oil over the unbaked bread, sprinkle with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of flaky sea salt.

Any of these toppings will add flavor to your focaccia, and can be added right before baking:

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
  • 1/4 cup sliced olives
  • 1/4 cup caramelized onions

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