Gluten-free Parmesan and Herb Muffins

Parmesan and fresh oregano make these savory gluten-free muffins a perfect addition to the dinner table. For an easy variation, switch out the cheese and herb for another flavor combination. Extra sharp cheddar and fresh chives are a popular duo, as are Swiss cheese with mild green chilies. If you’re out of fresh herbs, substitute two tablespoons of dried herbs.

One of the joys of gluten-free baking is that you can’t over mix the batter, so don’t worry about making a well in the center of the flour and working quickly like regular muffin recipes call for. If you’re baking with wheat, mixing activates the gluten, which makes quick breads tough. Since that’s not a problem with gluten-free flours, the muffins are sure to be a success no matter what your mixing technique is. The recipe doesn’t call for xanthan or guar gum either, since the only time you need them in gluten-free baking is when you’re working with yeast. For best results, weigh the flour instead of using volume measurements, as flours easily compact, which can result in too much flour and a dense, heavy muffin.

This recipe works equally well with buttermilk or soured milk. To make soured milk, add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice or vinegar to the bottom of the measuring cup, then fill the cup with warm milk. If you can’t tolerate dairy, use lactose-free milk or one of the milk substitutes such as almond or soy. The batter will be thinner and won’t rise as high as it does with buttermilk, but the moist, tender crumb will be equally delicious. Unlike many gluten-free baked goods, these muffins still taste good the next day, though if your house is like mine, they seldom last that long.

According to “Food Intolerance Management Plan”, by Sue Shepherd, Parmesan cheese is a low lactose cheese. The nutrition facts state that it contains 0 grams of carbohydrate, so it’s safe to eat if you are lactose intolerant. Most people with lactose intolerance can handle about 4 grams of lactose per serving of food without experiencing problems (page 29). As always, only eat what your body can tolerate, and only you know what that is.

Note:  Research now says that almonds should be limited to about 10 nuts per serving, so only eat a small serving of this. Ten nuts weigh about 12 grams. To calculate how much of this you can safely eat, divide the 123 grams of almond meal in the recipe by the 12 grams per allowed serving to get 10.25 servings total. The recipe makes 12 muffins, so a safe serving is a little over 1 muffin.

Gluten-free Parmesan and Herb Muffins

Makes 12

122 grams (7/8 cup) brown rice flour
123 grams (1 1/4 cup) blanched almond flour (almond meal)
52 grams (1/2 cup) tapioca flour/starch or arrowroot
53 grams (1/3 cup) potato starch
2 1/2 teaspoons (12.5 ml) baking powder
1 teaspoon (10 ml) kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon (3.75 ml) baking soda
40 grams (packed 1/3 cup or 80 ml) Parmesan cheese, grated
15 grams (1/2 cup) chopped fresh oregano or 2 tablespoons (30 ml) dried
300 grams (1 1/4 cups or 300 ml) buttermilk or soured milk (see notes above)
100 grams (1/2 cup or 120 ml) canola or grapeseed oil
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C). Use a paper towel to grease a muffin tin.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, almond flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Stir in the cheese and herbs. Put the buttermilk or soured milk, oil and eggs into a small bowl and beat until combined. Pour the liquid into the flour and stir until there are no lumps or dry flour remaining, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, dividing it evenly between the cups. Bake until golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Take the muffins out of the oven and let them sit for a few minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin to loosen it, then move it to a wire rack to finish cooling.

19 thoughts on “Gluten-free Parmesan and Herb Muffins

  1. These sound fantastic. I love the combination of parmesan, oregano and buttermilk but then again, the combination of swiss cheese and mild chilli sounds pretty delicious too. Thanks for sharing the great recipe and all your fantastic knowledge on gluten free baking

    • It’s hard to say which is my favorite- kind of depends on my mood. If you have a chance to try them, let me know what you think.

  2. Delicious! Thank you Donna. I found that in Aus Tapioca flour is Arrowroot flour and Almond flour is Almond meal! In case any one else is as confused as I was!

    • Hi Jenny, I had no idea either that the names were different in Australia, but it doesn’t surprise me. I know some of the vegetables have different names in Australia vs. the U.S. What you call pumpkin, we call squash, and our rutabaga is a swede. Thanks for letting me know about the arrowroot and the almond meal. I’ll try to remember and use both names in future recipes.

      • This is a work in progress, so it’s a relief to know that people are helping me sort out what’s what. I never dreamed how much I would learn when I started this project.

  3. Love parmesan and oregano – can’t wait to try these! I don’t have all the types of flour, but I think an all-purpose GF flour mix would probably work?
    p.s. I’m American and living in England, and learning about all the food “translations” – like canola and rapeseed oil are the same thing! 🙂

    • Any gluten-free flour should work- just make sure you substitute by weight. Use 350 grams of your flour in place of the 4 flours I listed. The food translations are something else! I’m learning all about them too. The most recent one I found out about is corn starch, also known as corn flour in Ireland.

  4. This is something that my taste buds would enjoy … so this has gone on copy too. I’m sure that I can use normal flour for this or ?????

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