Flaky pastry with a sweet jam filling, these strawberry gluten free pop tarts are so much better than the original! They are a classic snack made perfectly safe for anyone who has celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy.
This gluten free pop tart recipe includes directions on how to make the frosting. Don’t forget the sprinkles!
Are pop tarts gluten free?
Pop Tarts are a popular brand of toaster pastry made by Kellogg’s. They are square pastries, filled with a jam centre. Most flavours are frosted, but there are some that are not.
Unfortunately, the pastry of Kellogg’s Pop Tarts is made from wheat flour, so they are not safe for anyone on a strict gluten free diet.
Are any pop tart brands gluten free?
There are a few gluten free pop tarts brands on the market, if you’d prefer buying them instead of making them.
- Bobo’s Gluten Free Pop Tarts: Bobo’s makes toaster pastries that are gluten free, as they are made with a pastry flour containing oat flour, rolled oats, garbanzo bean flour, millet, and buckwheat groats. The flavours they carry are Apple Pie, Cinnamon Brown Sugar, Strawberry and Raspberry. All flavours do not have frosting.
- Katz Gluten Free Toaster Pastries: Katz has started making gluten free pop tarts made with tapioca starch, sorghum flour, white rice flour, and cornstarch. They offer strawberry and cinnamon flavours.
- Glutino Pop Tarts: Glutino used to offer a gluten free toaster pastry; however, they have been discontinued.
How to make your own pop tarts
Since the choices for gluten free pop tarts on the market are pretty slim, I’d highly recommend making your own. Sure, I’m biased because I love gluten free baking, but I promise these are so easy to make!
Here’s how to make gluten free pop tarts - it starts by making a simple pastry crust. This involves mixing together gluten free flour with xanthan gum, icing sugar and salt into a bowl. Then, cubed and cold butter is added and worked into the dough. A bit of cold water is added to bring the pastry dough together in a ball, then chilled in the fridge for 30 minutes.
After chilling, the pop tart dough is rolled out onto a lightly floured surface to ⅛” (3mm) thickness and cut into 3” by 5” (7x13cm) rectangles. Jam is spooned onto half of the rectangles and topped with another rectangle of pastry. After sealing the edges, the pop tarts are baked in the oven at 375°F for about 20 minutes.
Frosting is made by combining icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Once the pop tarts are fully cooled, icing can be spread on top and finished off with sprinkles.
Can you make these ahead of time?
Yes, you can definitely make these gluten free toaster pastries ahead of time!
Make the pastry dough as directed in the recipe, then refrigerate the dough for up to 1-2 days before rolling. Allow the dough to warm up slightly on the counter before rolling to make it more pliable. (If needed, work it with your hands a bit.)
You can also freeze the dough for up to a month and defrost in the fridge overnight prior to using.
Gluten free pop tarts anytime you want them! What’s better than that?!
Here’s an ingredient list of everything you’ll need to make the best gluten free pop tarts:
- Gluten free flour: I use my own Gluten Free Flour Blend. It only has 3 ingredients!
- Xanthan gum: an essential gluten free binder.
- Icing sugar: used in both the pastry dough and the frosting.
- Unsalted butter: cold and cubed, to help give the pastry a light, flaky texture.
- Water: ice cold, to help out the butter!
- Strawberry jam: for the classic toaster pastry taste!
- Milk: to make a smooth frosting.
- Vanilla extract: to give the frosting that classic vanilla flavour.
Need to change something in the recipe? Here are a few suggestions on how to do just that:
- Gluten free flour: you can substitute any of your preferred blends, but I’d recommend following the weights in the recipe, rather than the cup measurements. Please keep in mind that not all gluten free flours are the same, so results may not be exactly the same. Omit xanthan gum if the blend you are using already contains it.
- Icing sugar: you can substitute granulated sugar in the pastry dough; however, it may lead to a grittier texture.
- To make dairy free pop tarts: you’ll need to substitute the milk in the frosting for any of your dairy free favourites such as almond, soy or cashew. For the unsalted butter, you can attempt to use a dairy free alternative, such as Earth Balance or Melt Organics, but I haven’t tested them with this recipe. I have, however, have had good success with Earth Balance for making Gluten Free Dairy Free Sugar Cookies, so it might work here. Make sure the dairy free butter is cold.
- Strawberry jam: don’t have any strawberry jam in the fridge? That’s ok! Use any flavour jam you like. Keep reading for more filling ideas if you don’t want to use jam.
Not a fan of gluten free strawberry pop tarts? I won’t hold it against you, especially considering there are so many flavour options out there for a delicious gluten free pop tart filling! Try these alternatives instead:
- Using other jam flavours: substitute the strawberry jam for any other jam you prefer. Berry blend, blueberry, raspberry, apricot or strawberry rhubarb - the options are endless! I love marmalade, and I think a sweet citrusy burst inside one of these flaky pastries would be a delicious option, too!
- Gluten free peanut butter pop tart: instead of using jam, smear the same amount of peanut butter in the center of the pastry before assembling. Ensure the edges are well sealed, since the peanut butter will heat up and become very liquid during baking.
- Gluten free nutella pop tarts: add in 1 ½ tablespoons of a chocolate spread, like Nutella. For real chocolate lovers, skip the vanilla icing and frost them with melted chocolate instead. (If milk chocolate is your favourite, check out this post: Is Dairy Milk Chocolate Gluten Free?)
- Gluten free brown sugar cinnamon pop tart: Mix 1 cup of brown sugar with 1 ½ tablespoons of cinnamon. Spread 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture onto the pastry dough before assembling and bake as directed.
Tips for making the best gluten free pop tarts
Making homemade gluten free pop tarts with strawberry filling isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here are a few tips to ensure your baking experience is a successful one!
- Make sure the unsalted butter and water is cold when making and handling the dough. Cold butter will puff up in the oven as it bakes, creating those light, flaky layers everyone goes crazy for in a pastry. If your hands are too warm and the butter is melting, run them under cool water for a minute and dry. Alternatively, you can chill the dough in the fridge when handling to prevent the butter from getting too warm.
- Roll the pastry dough out on a lightly floured surface. Gluten free doughs are notoriously sticky, so make sure to use a bit of gluten free flour on your work surface before you roll it out. Flour the surface, your rolling pin, and the dough before starting.
- Use a ruler. I always use a ruler to measure out the thickness of my dough (perfectionist nerd, right here) but it comes in handy to cut out perfect rectangles for these pop tarts. Using a butter knife, cut a straight line vertically in your dough, then go across horizontally, measure the dimensions needed and cut straight lines using the ruler. Classic pop tarts are 3” by 5” (7x13cm).
- Frost the pop tarts only when cooled. If the pop tarts are too warm, it will melt the icing before it has a chance to set. Cool the pop tarts on a wire rack fully before frosting.
A note about sprinkles
Believe it or not, sprinkles can contain gluten. I’ve seen a few brands that have wheat listed as an ingredient (likely used as a thickener), but most others have the dreaded “may contain wheat” warning. This means some sprinkles are manufactured on the same equipment as gluten products.
Always check labels to ensure they are gluten free before you purchase and eat sprinkles.
Store cooled pop tarts in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days - pastries can be plain or fully frosted. If decorated, ensure the frosting has fully set and separate each one with a bit of parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Freeze plain or fully decorated pop tarts in the freezer for up to a month, in an airtight container or freezer bag. Defrost pop tarts in the fridge overnight or leave them on the counter to come to room temperature.
Can I use a toaster to reheat these?
I do not recommend using a toaster to warm these gluten free pop tarts. The pastry dough is so flaky and delicate, they will make an absolute mess of your toaster!
Instead, warm them in the microwave, briefly heat in the oven, or use a toaster oven. The frosting will melt if they become too hot.
Gluten Free Pop Tarts
For the pastry dough:
- 2 ¾ cups (350g) gluten free flour blend (see note below)
- 1 teaspoon (3g) xanthan gum (if using a commercially available gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum, omit this from the recipe)
- 1 tablespoon (10g) icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon (7g) salt
- 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 6 tablespoons water cold
For the filling:
- ¾ cup strawberry jam
For the icing:
- 1 cup (130g) icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons (32g) milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sprinkles optional, but highly recommended!
To make the pop tarts:
- In a large bowl, mix together the gluten free flour, xanthan gum, icing sugar and salt until combined.
- Add the cold and cubed butter into the mixing bowl and work the butter into the mixture with your hands. Pinch the butter cubes together with the flour mixture until it begins to resemble sand.
- Add the water, 1 tablespoon at time, into the bowl and mix between additions using a spatula. The dough will be crumbly, then will turn sticky and can finally be worked into a ball. Use your hands if needed.
- Roll the dough into a ball and wrap with plastic or place in an airtight container. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- After chilling, preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough and place on the counter for a few moments to warm up. If the dough was chilled overnight, it may need a few additional minutes, or a bit of kneading with warm hands to soften up slightly. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to ⅛” (3mm) thickness on a lightly floured surface.
- Cut 3” by 5” (7x13cm) rectangles out of the dough and place onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Only place 6 rectangles on the sheet, as the remaining rectangles will be used for the tops of the pop tarts.
- Put 1 ½ tablespoons of jam into the center of each rectangle on the baking sheet, making sure the jam does not touch the sides of the dough. (Leave about ½” or 1cm worth of space around the edges.)
- Gently add a rectangle of dough on top of the first one, lining up each side and covering the jam. Use a fork to lightly pinch the edges of dough together, to prevent any jam from escaping. Don’t use too much pressure as the fork will split the dough - press hard enough just to seal the edges.
- Dock the center of each pop tart using a fork or a toothpick, to allow steam to escape.
- Bake the pop tarts for approximately 20 minutes. The dough will be set and the pastries may turn a slightly golden colour.
- Cool the pop tarts fully on a wire rack prior to icing.
To make the icing and finish the pop tarts:
- In a small bowl, mix together the icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Continue to mix until the icing becomes smooth and no clumps remain.
- Frost cooled pop tarts using a butter knife or icing spatula. Add sprinkles before the icing sets, if desired.
- Gluten free flour: I used a blend of 50% white rice flour, 30% tapioca starch, and 20% sorghum flour. You can blend your own by following this recipe: Gluten Free Flour Blend (All Purpose). Another blend can be used; however, results may not be the same.
- Storage: store cooled pop tarts in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Pastries can be plain or fully iced. If decorated, ensure the frosting has fully set and separate each one with a bit of parchment paper to prevent sticking. For longer term storage, freeze plain or iced pop tarts for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge overnight, or leave on the counter to bring to room temperature.