If you are looking for the perfect, easy-to-braid gluten-free challah recipe, this is the recipe for you! This gluten-free challah bread is light and fluffy and doesn’t taste gluten-free! I share all of my tips and tricks, preferred gluten-free flour blends, and more so you can make this incredible challah recipe.

The top view of a sliced gluten free challah on a cutting board.

I am so excited about this gluten-free challah recipe. It is soft, tender, and has that fluffy springiness you typically find in regular challah. One bite of this soft bread, and you will be completely hooked.

This gluten-free challah bread is so special that you can braid it. Like real dough!! Many gluten-free challah recipes require a mold and don’t allow you to handle the dough. In my recipe, you can work the dough and braid it beautifully!

Recipe At A Glance:

  • Skill Level – Advanced beginner.
  • # of Ingredients – 8
  • Tested Flour Blends – Authentic Foods Steve’s GF Bread Blend and Cup4Cup.
  • Total Time – 2 hours, 15 minutes with rise time.

Why I love this recipe:

There are so many things to love about this gluten-free challah bread…here are a few of the most important:

  1. This challah is soft, like the real deal! I have made it a few times, perfecting the recipe each time. It even tears like actual challah!
  2. You can work the challah dough! This means you can make some beautiful braiding designs!
  3. This leftover bread makes the best French Toast!
  4. You can use this recipe to make a gluten free round challah for Rosh Hashana.

If you love this challah, you will also want to try my delicious Gluten-Free Monkey Bread recipe!

Love this recipe! I had been looking for a gf challah bread recipe with just a few eggs so that its easier to make vegan (Ive found with bread recipes its generally easier to find a gf version and then adapt it to be vegan rather than the other way around, both vg and gf versions are hard to come by). For those wondering, I used JUST egg (absolute favorite egg replacement for literally EVERYTHING) and I replaced the 2 eggs with 8 tablespoons of JUST egg mixed with 2 tablespoons of non dairy milk, and you can use a smaller version of this (about 2 tablespoons JUST egg, 1 tablespoon non dairy milk) for an “egg” wash! Came out beautifully, and was super easy to braid (I did the traditional challah shape with the four rolled segments braided in a circle).

Riley A, Blog comment

Allergen Information:

This delicious challah bread recipe is gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free. If you use a plant-based dairy-free butter, the recipe is dairy-free. See reader Riley’s comment above to see how she made it egg-free!

If you love baking as much as I do, check out my delicious gluten free bread recipes.

A round challah on a wooden cutting board.

Check out ALL of my recipes using Authentic Foods Steve’s Gluten-Free Bread Blend.

Photos of the challah ingredients.

Ingredient Notes:

  • Gluten-Free Flour Blend – I tested this recipe with two gluten-free flour blends, Authentic Foods Steve’s GF Bread Flour and Cup4Cup. I have to say, Steve’s gluten-free blend performed way past my wildest dreams. You need to use this flour to get the same results that I did. Cup4Cup was okay, but you could not work the dough as well. Note using Cup4Cup: I had to add 1/4 cup additional flour plus two tablespoons. That doesn’t mean others will not work; I have not tested other flours, and I can not guarantee the recipe will work if you use other mixes.
  • Xanthan Gum – If your gluten-free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add one teaspoon. Note Steve’s GF Blend is gum-free and has already been added to the blend with a binder.
  • Yeast – double-check the brand you use is gluten-free. Red Star Platinum is NOT gluten free!
  • Eggs – Size large; ensure your eggs are at room temperature.
  • Butter – I used unsalted butter. To make this dairy-free, use a dairy-free butter like Earth Balance.
  • Seeds – You can add them on top. I used poppy seeds.

You will get only one really good rise from gluten-free dough. To take advantage of this good rise, you must braid the challah dough BEFORE the first rise.

Tips For Sucess

1. You will get only one really good rise from gluten free dough. To take advantage of this good rise, you must braid the challah dough BEFORE the first rise.
2. Rising gluten free dough is tricky, especially during colder months. The best way I have found is to preheat your oven to 200º F, then turn the oven off. This makes the perfect warm environment to rise the challah.
3. Cup4Cup Tip – If you use ANY other gluten free flour blend, you will need additional flour in this recipe. I only tested one other, Cup4Cup. If you use this blend, add 1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP of additional flour. In addition, you will need to dust the mat when you roll the dough for braiding.

Step-By-Step Photos and Directions:

Yeast bubbling in a measuring cup.

Step 1: Combine the dry yeast, sugar, and warm water to a small bowl. Be sure your water is 110º F and no hotter. If the water is too hot, it can kill the yeast. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until it is nice and frothy.

Why Water Quality Is Important:

I always use purified water when baking with yeast. Chlorine and chemicals in our tap water can kill your yeast and inhibit the rise. If you want the best rise, you must use purified water that doesn’t contain these chemicals.

Photos of steps 2 and 3 making challah dough.

Step 2: Add the gluten-free flour, salt, eggs, and melted butter to a standing mixer. When the yeast is ready, pour that in as well. Use the paddle attachment and mix slowly until the flour is mixed in. Turn the mixer speed up to medium and mix for 30 more seconds.

If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can mix the batter in a mixing bowl by hand.

Step 3: Remove the challah dough from the mixer bowl and place it onto a lightly flour-dusted silicone mat. I slide and place my mat on a cookie sheet for stability. (You can also use the counter if you prefer. Do not use wax paper, or the dough will stick to the dough.) This photo is what your dough consistency should look like.

A photo showing three dough ropes ready to braid.

Step 4: It is important to shape your challah before you rise the dough. Break the challah dough into three equally sized pieces. You can braid your challah in a traditional way, as I did (just like braiding hair), or get fancy! Tori Avery has a great braiding tutorial on how to braid challah in multiple ways, with three, four, and six strands.

You can make one challah loaf or several mini challah loaves. This Jewish braided bread has lots of options!

A braided challah dough ready to rise.

Step 5: Use wet hands to pat the dough gently. This gives the challah a little extra moisture before rising. You can also do an extra egg wash by brushing the mixed egg over the challah. You will repeat this step after rising, too, if you choose to do this.

Twisted challah strands.

For round challah, make two strands and twist them together. Next, tuck one side in and roll the challah dough into a circle.

Now, it is time for the rise! Cover your challah in plastic wrap and let it rise for one hour until it doubles in size.

The braided challah dough after rising.

Step 6: Check out how much the challah dough rose! It is ready for the next steps! Preheat your oven to 350º F. I use the convection oven setting. If you don’t have a convection option, you can use the bake setting.

Step 7: Mix an egg in a small bowl with a whisk.

Photos of brushing the challah with egg wash and sprinkling poppy seeds.

Step 8: Use a pastry brush to brush the egg mixture over the challah, making sure to get into all of the braid’s nooks and crannies.

Step 9: Sprinkle a topping like poppy seeds on top of the egg mixture or bake it plain without any seed topping.

Step 10: Move the oven rack to the middle position and bake the challah at 350º F for 45 minutes. The actual baking time will vary depending on the size of your challah bread.

Step 11: Take the temperature of the bread by inserting a digital thermometer into the bread to the bottom of the loaf. When the loaf is finished baking, you want the temperature to be 190º F.

A whole gluten free challah that came out of the oven.

🔑 Sandi says: Check out my recommendations for the Best Gluten-Free Bread-Making Tools. Store this challah the right way! Learn How to Store Gluten-Free Bread so you can keep it fresh.

Allow your gluten-free challah to cool for 45 minutes before slicing it. This gives the bread a chance to be completely set.

Fun flavor swaps:

There are lots of fun ways to vary and change up your recipe. Here are a few ideas

  • Add cinnamon and raisins to the dough.
  • Many kids love challah with chocolate chips mixed into the dough.
  • Make round challah with diced apples and cinnamon sugar.
  • Use pumpkin and spice to make this Gluten Free Pumpkin Challah!

Challah Braiding Tips:

There is nothing like gluten-free braided bread. It makes your bread special.

  • Be sure your strands are close to the same size.
  • Determine how many strands you want to braid ahead of time, and break the dough up into that many pieces.
  • When you start the braid, pinch the strands together so they stick together before you continue braiding.
  • You can braid the bread traditionally or make a round challah for Rosh Hashana. Flatten the dough as you would, making cinnamon rolls to make round challah. Add a layer of raisins (or finely diced apples and cinnamon sugar) to the dough. Roll the dough like cinnamon rolls. Twist the roll around itself like a snail shell. Pinch the ends to seal it.

Bread Troubleshooting:

Why is my gluten-free bread sticky or gummy?

If you notice your gluten-free bread dough is too sticky, it usually means you have too much liquid in the dough or you didn’t bake the bread long enough. The best way to fix sticky dough is to add more gluten-free flour or bake it for a longer time period. Some gluten free flour blends are very starchy, and you need to use more flour with these blends than other blends.

Why didn’t my gluten-free bread rise?

There are many potential reasons why your gluten-free bread didn’t rise. Here are the three most common issues I have found in my experience with making gluten-free bread:

  1. Was the yeast expired? Did you use the right type of yeast that the recipe called for? (Active dry yeast or Rapid-rise yeast.)
  2. What temperature was the water in which you proofed the yeast? It should be no hotter than 110º F.
  3. Did you use purified water? Chlorine and other chemicals in tap water can kill yeast.

Why did my gluten-free bread fall apart?

If your gluten-free bread is falling apart, chances are that you didn’t use a binder in the flour blend. Gluten in wheat is the “glue” that holds regular baking together. Gluten-free flour doesn’t have the same “glue,” so you have to add it. Here is a good article on gluten-free binders and how they work.

Ensure the gluten-free flour blend contains either xanthan gum, guar gum, or psyllium husk. Note: One of the blends I often recommend in yeast recipes, Authentic Foods Steve’s Gluten Free Bread Blend, uses vegetable fiber, which includes psyllium husk. If your blend doesn’t have one of these, you must add it to your ingredients.

For more bread troubleshooting, read my Gluten-Free Bread Troubleshooting Guide for more information and tips. Also, be sure to store your bread properly. Read How to Store Gluten-Free Bread to see how I store my gluten-free bread to keep it fresh the longest.

Slices of gluten free challah on a cutting board.

How To Serve Challah

Challah is typically served on Shabbat at sundown, before the evening meal. A prayer is recited over the challah, and everyone grabs a piece. You will also see challah served on special occasions, Jewish celebrations, and holidays.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is challah?

Challah is a Jewish bread typically served for Shabbat on Friday evenings. Challah is a yeasted bread enriched with eggs and butter (or oil if you keep it kosher). It is sweetened with a bit of sugar and then baked to perfection. Challah is typically braided in a loaf, but to celebrate Rosh Hashana, it is braided into a round, circular loaf.

Is challah gluten-free?

Challah is not gluten-free unless it is labeled gluten-free.

What are good toppings for challah?

You can top your challah with many things, including poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and everything bagel topping.

Storage/Freezing Instructions:

Storing this bread is easy. You can store it in an airtight container, sliced or whole, on the counter for up to 2 days. I like to freeze my challah. To do this, you can freeze it sliced or whole. Place the cooled loaf into a freezer bag and squeeze the extra air before sealing it.

A slice of gluten free challah on a white plate.

More Gluten-Free Bread Recipes:

Love This Recipe?

If you made and enjoyed this recipe, I would be incredibly grateful if you could leave a comment below. Please include which flour blend you used. This will help others know this recipe is delicious. Thank you!

The top view of a sliced gluten free challah on a cutting board.

The Best Gluten Free Challah

Sandi Gaertner
This incredible gluten free challah is soft and springy like regular challah, and a bonus, this challah dough is easy to handle and braid!!
5 from 22 votes
gluten free allergy icon
nut free allergen icon
soy free allergy icon
vegetarian icon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Rise Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course Gluten Free Bread Recipe
Cuisine American, Jewish
Servings 16 slices
Calories 127 kcal

Equipment

  • Standing mixer

Ingredients
  

Yeast Mix:

  • 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast * see notes
  • 3 tablespoons cane sugar or honey
  • 1 ¼ cups water warm, no hotter than 110º F

Flour Mix:

  • 3 cups gluten free flour blend * see note
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg for egg wash

Instructions
 

  • Add the dry yeast, sugar, and warm water to a small bowl. Be sure your water is 110º F and no hotter. If the water is too hot it can kill the yeast. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until it is nice and frothy.
  • Add the gluten free flour, salt, eggs, and melted butter to a standing mixer. When the yeast is ready, pour that in as well. Use the paddle attachment and mix at low speed until the flour is mixed in. Turn the mixer speed up to medium and mix for 30 more seconds.
  • Remove the challah dough from the mixer bowl and place it onto a lightly flour-dusted silicone mat. I slide place my mat on a cookie sheet for stability. (You can also use the counter if you prefer. Do not use wax paper or it will stick to the dough.) 
  • You will get only one really good rise from gluten free dough. To take advantage of this good rise, you need to braid the challah dough BEFORE the first rise. Break the challah dough into three equally sized pieces. You can braid your challah in a traditional way as I did (just like braiding hair) or get fancy! 
  • You can make one challah loaf or several mini challah loaves. This Jewish braided bread has lots of options!
  • Use wet hands to pat the dough gently. This gives the challah a little extra moisture before rising. You can also do an extra egg wash by brushing mixed egg wash over the challah. You will repeat this step after rising too if you choose to do this.
  • Now it is time for the rise! Cover your challah in plastic wrap and let it rise for one hour. Rising gluten free dough is tough. The best way I have found is to preheat your oven to 200º F, then turn the oven off.
  • Check out how much the challah dough rose! It is ready for the next steps! It is time to preheat your oven to 350º F. I use the convection oven setting. If you don't have a convection option, it is okay to use the bake setting.
  • Mix an egg in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush the egg mixture over the challah. Be sure to get in all of the nooks and crannies of the braid.
  • Sprinkle a topping like poppy seeds, or you can bake it plain without any seed topping. You can top your challah with many things including poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and everything bagel topping.
  • Bake the challah at 350º F for 45 minutes.
  • Take the temperature of the bread by inserting a digital thermometer into the bread to the bottom of the loaf. You want the temperature to be 190º F when the loaf is finished baking.
  • Allow your gluten free challah to cool for 45 minutes before slicing it. This gives the bread a chance to be completely set. 

Notes

  1. I tested this recipe with two gluten free flour blends, Authentic Foods Steve’s GF Bread Flour and Cup4Cup. I have to say, Steve’s blend performed way past my wildest dreams. This is the flour you need to use to get the same results that I did. Cup4Cup was okay, but you could not work the dough as well…it was apples to oranges comparing the two flour blends. That doesn’t mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours, and I can not guarantee the recipe will work if you use other mixes.
  2. If you use Cup4Cup, add 1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP of additional flour. In addition, you will need to dust the mat when you roll the dough for braiding.
  3. Xanthan Gum – If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add 1 teaspoon. Steve’s Bread GF Flour is gum free and uses a different binder. There is no need to add xanthan or guar gum.
  4. To make this recipe dairy-free, substitute the butter for vegan butter.
  5. Yeast – double-check the brand you use is gluten free. Red Star Platinum is NOT gluten free!
  6. This gluten free challah will keep for up to 3 days in an air-tight container or up to 4 months in the freezer.

SPECIAL NOTE

Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn’t test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 127kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 4gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 111mgPotassium: 30mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 132IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @FearlessDining or tag #FearlessDining!

Nutrition Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.

This post was updated from an older March 2022 post with round challah instructions and photos.

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Recipe Rating




44 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this recipe today, adding chopped fresh rosemary to the dough. We’ll eat it at dinner tonight as a side to GF pasta with a tomato-based sauce. We couldn’t help trying the Challah as soon as it was cooled, though, and it is wonderful – moist, spongy, buttery and eggy – just perfect! Thank you for the recipe.

  2. Can you make this without a stand mixer, i.e. just mixing by hand? Would it require kneading if you did that?

  3. Ok. I am still confused. If I use Steve Blend, do I add the 1 teaspoon xantham gum or not ? It is gum free but has other binders. What did you do ??

  4. 5 stars
    I bought the Steve’s bread flour specifically for this recipe and I finally got around to making it. Wow! If you didn’t know it was GF, you wouldn’t guess. The dough was so easy to work with – don’t be intimidated by the braid. Even though I made my strands fatter than shown (I didn’t look at the photos closely), it still came out great. For a nice braid, make them long and thin. However, I’m going to experiment and try this recipe in different shapes, and using an Emile Henry baker. Unlike other GF breads, it is a genuine dough, not a batter, so shaping is possible. The bread is also not overly moist, which I liked. I did the egg wash even though I didn’t use topping, and it looked great. In my convection oven, 40 min was long enough. Next time I’ll let it rise longer – perhaps 1.5 hours, rather than 1 – in my proofing box set at 85. Sandi, thanks for this great recipe!! On to the panettone!

    1. Hi Terry, I haven’t measured the flour in grams. To be honest, the measurement will vary widely depending on the flour blend you use. You need less flour if you use Steve’s blend I mention in the post…more flour if you use a blend, and some blends vary more depending on the starch content. What blend are you planning to use?

  5. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! I had been looking for a gf challah bread recipe with just a few eggs so that its easier to make vegan (Ive found with bread recipes its generally easier to find a gf version and then adapt it to be vegan rather than the other way around, both vg and gf versions are hard to come by). For those wondering, I used JUST egg (absolute favorite egg replacement for literally EVERYTHING) and I replaced the 2 eggs with 8 tablespoons of JUST egg mixed with 2 tablespoons of non dairy milk, and you can use a smaller version of this (about 2 tablespoons JUST egg, 1 tablespoon non dairy milk) for an “egg” wash! Came out beautifully, and was super easy to braid (I did the traditional challah shape with the four rolled segments braided in a circle).

    Thank you for this recipe!

    1. Hi Jessica, the rise is about 45 minutes (if you use the flour blend brands that I suggest.) I store my gluten free flour in the pantry because I go through it fairly quickly. If you don’t use it often, you can store it in the freezer. The exception being Better Batter. Patrick, the developer of that brand, says not to store their blend in the freezer.

  6. My convection oven automatically changes the recommended temp to 25 degrees lower than if baked conventionally. What do you recommend.

  7. 5 stars
    This bread was amazing. I absolutely loved working with it and how well it came out. The flour is absolutely the key. I’ve been baking gluten free for 30 years and never seen bread work like this.

  8. I followed the instruction very closely. The only difference is that I used Multi-Blend Flour by Authentic Foods and the Challa came out flat. The Bread version was out of stock.

    1. Hi Ori, I haven’t tested that blend in my recipe. It isn’t frequently used in yeast recipes, though I know the website said it can be used. It has a very different mix of ingredients compared to the Authentic Foods bread blend. I have tested my challah recipe with Cup4Cup so maybe that blend would be better until the Bread Blend is back in stock. I do like the Multiblend for muffins and cookies.

  9. going to try it with Bob’s Red Mill 1:1. I have had good results, what about using a bread machine? I don’t have a stand mixer.

    1. Please keep me posted Robin. I don’t often have great luck with yeast recipes and Bob’s 1 to 1. I would think a standing mixer is fine. Would you use the bread machine to make and rise the dough?

  10. This sounds delicious! And if there were to be any leftovers, imagine the French Toast this could make…
    I’d like just to point out that actual challah needs to be made from one of the five species of grain ( wheat, barley, spelt, rye(?,) or oats .) Obviously only one of those can be found in GF format ( though there is de-glutened wheat flour!) and needs to be the majority flour present.

    1. Thanks for your note. Unfortunately, oats are often cross-contaminated in the growing process with wheat and many with Celiac can not tolerate even certified gluten free oats. I wanted to make sure all of my readers could have a safe flour to make this with. Also, it would be impossible to make challah with just oat flour because it would be dense and fall apart. Gluten free baking is truly a science experiment and you need to blend multiple flours with starch to get the right consistency.

    1. I am so glad you will give it a try. The secret is in the gluten free flour blend. I haven’t found any other to replicate that true challah flavor and texture. Keep me posted, I would love to hear what you think.