The BEST Gluten and Dairy Free King Cake Recipe: A Way For Those With Food Allergies to Enjoy Carnival

The BEST Gluten and Dairy Free King Cake Recipe: A Way For Those With Food Allergies to Enjoy Carnival

While the rest of the country is winding down from the holiday season, those of us in New Orleans are eagerly preparing for Carnival season. And with King’s Day swiftly approaching, we can expect King cakes to begin lining people’s kitchen counters. You see during Carnival Season, King Cake is a way of life. Everyone has their favorite place, favorite type of king cake, and let’s not even get started on the knife in versus out of the bag debate! For me personally, I’m an Antoine’s traditional King cake, knife-in-the-bag kinda gal. But what about our friends who have certain food allergies? Where are they to find a king cake that they can partake in?

About 5 years ago, when my daughter was 3, my husband and I found ourselves asking that very question. You see, our daughter had been diagnosed with a non-specified autoimmune disorder, and gluten seemed to be one of her primary triggers. As you might imagine, gluten-free New Orleans cuisine (at least traditional cuisine) is hard to come by. We found this to be especially true during Mardi Gras when King Cakes basically double as breakfast entrée.

We tried several different store-bought, gluten-free options, but found that none of them really seemed like the real deal. They were either a completely different texture, consistency, or taste. So when we were unable to find an appropriate store-bought option, my husband learned how to bake strictly so he could make our baby girl her very own king cake (be still my heart). You see, every Friday at her daycare, they had King Cake as a treat, and he would be damned if his daughter was going to miss out. So, he got to baking. He tried several different recipes and variations until he finally settled on one that seemed to match the texture, consistency, and taste of a traditional king cake. Best of all, it was daughter approved.

To this day, he still bakes multiple cakes every carnival season, just so she doesn’t get left out of one of the best parts of celebrating carnival. He’s even expanded his baking skills to include gluten-free cupcakes, cookies, cakes, pecan pies, and his famous pumpkin bread. It’s all delicious, and the best part is that our daughter can enjoy it without fear of a reaction. So if you or someone you love has a gluten or dairy allergy, give this king cake recipe a try!

Gluten and Dairy Free King Cake Recipe

Cake Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Pamela’s Gluten Free Bread Mix
  • 3 TSP instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted dairy free butter (we use Earth Balance)

*Regular butter can be used for those without a dairy allergy

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 TSP vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup and 2 TBSP warm almond milk
  • 3/4 cup warm water

Cinnamon Filling Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TSP ground cinnamon

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 TSP vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP almond milk

*Double the serving size


  1. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, combine the GF bread mix, yeast, sugar, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, almond milk, and water.
  3. Using a whisk attachment, mix the ingredients for 3 minutes on medium speed.
  4. Pour all the batter into a gallon zip lock bag and push the batter down into a corner to make a cylinder. Twist the top and cut the bag 1 inch from the tip of the cylinder.
  5. Squeeze the batter onto the parchment paper to make an oval shape. (You can then use your hands to flatten out the batter).
  6. Sprinkle the cinnamon filling all over the batter.
  7. Use the remaining batter to zig-zag around the first oval, creating the braided pattern of a traditional king cake. Use all the remaining batter to do this.
  8. Allow the cake to rise for 1 and a half hours, then brush the top with 1-2 TSP almond milk.
  9. Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool to room temperature, and then apply your frosting. You may add purple, green, and gold sprinkles as desired.

From our gluten-free family to yours ….. HAPPY CARNIVAL!!! And we hope you love this cake as much as we do!!


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