Pasta (Homemade), Gluten-Free

This post is inspired by my maternal grandmother.  My Iowa grandmother.  Odd, I know.  I had a Midwest grandma who routinely made pasta.  And she was of Irish and Scottish stock–not a smidgen of Italian in her (as far as I know).  And every time I eat homemade pasta, I think of her.

Of course, she didn’t call it pasta.  She called them “noodles.”  And she routinely mixed and rolled out the dough, then quickly cut it into thick and uneven ribbons.  She boiled it for a few minutes, tossed it with some butter and salt, and served it to us hot.  For some reason, I remember that there were always steamed fresh green beans on the plate with the noodles.  To this day, two of my favorite foods are homemade pasta and fresh green beans.  I could eat both of these every day and not tire of them.

Even though I grew up in California, I spent several childhood summers at my grandparents’ house in Des Moines, Iowa.  Because of this, I think of myself as having a Midwest childhood.  In Iowa, I went barefoot most of the time, caught tiny fish and tadpoles in the creek down the street, had a bike I rode everywhere–most importantly to the Dairy Queen up the one hill in the neighborhood–and a whole slew of other kids I hung out with all day and into the evening.

Every morning my grandmother would wash my hair after breakfast, squeeze some lemon juice into it to increase the blond highlights (this part cracks me up) and then shoo me out the door to play.  I left the house and went with my pack of pals around the neighborhood, making up games, riding bikes, and chasing grasshoppers.  At a certain point, we would all end up at my grandparent’s house, where my grandma would give us bubblegum (the kind with the cartoons in the wrapping), or Popsicles and ice cream sandwiches from her well-stocked freezer.  Often, she would have taffy pulls, which had all of us kids pulling the hot taffy with butter covered hands, and laughing as it got harder and harder to pull.  We would then hack it into pieces and suck them while hanging out on the front steps.

My friend Lisa, across the street, had parents who had some sort of connection to the local community theatre.  Therefore, they had a huge trunk full of amazing costumes for us to use in our elaborate imaginary adventures.  One of my most fond memories was of dressing in a big, fancy satin dress with all sorts of crystals and faux pearls sewn into it.  It had several layers of netting underneath that made the skirt puff out–just like one would expect from a princess dress.  Lisa and I would sit on my grandmother’s settee for hours and pretend that we were in a carriage on our way to a ball.  I can’t tell you how wonderful that was for me, a kid who constantly read fairy tales and was certain that a prince was coming soon to take me to his castle.

In the evenings, my grandparents and I would sit on the lawn, chatting and getting chigger bites.  We would catch fireflies.  All the kids would gather in the island lawn in the middle of the street to play Kick the Can or Capture the Flag.   We ate more Popsicles and maybe lit some sparklers with which to draw circles in the night sky.  Or, we would all be inside, around the big walnut dining room table that now sits in my dining room here, and play poker.  My grandfather taught all of the neighborhood kids how to play poker and we loved it.  We used chips for betting.  The chips were never traded out for anything–we just loved the thrill of using our newly-learned strategy to try to build piles of chips next to our places at the table.  Sigh.  Just writing about it now makes me realize what unique and special times those summers were.

And, of course, throughout those summers my grandmother made noodles.  They were just another part of the entire magical world that was that Iowa house during my Midwest summers.  I haven’t eaten homemade noodles for years.  Of course, not since I’ve been gluten-free.  But, even longer than that.  My grandmother died when I was in college and at the time, I didn’t think to ask for her noodle recipe.  Now, as I think about my grandparents, especially my grandmother, I want to recapture the magic of making and eating homemade noodles.

I was inspired by a recipe from volume 3 of the Canal House Cooking series by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton.  The Canal House Cooking series just makes me happy.  If you don’t know it, you should check it out.  Each issue looks like a book.  There is no advertising.  It comes out of the small kitchen in The Canal House, an old house on a towpath in the Delaware River Valley that has been a photo and design studio for cookbooks and magazines since 2006.  Each issue has a range of recipes–from cocktails, to appetizers, to main dishes, to desserts.  There are other types of recipes scattered here and there, even some for a category close to my heart–preserves and jams.

The photos in the series are beautiful.  They lend a sense of a wonder to the old canal house and to the cooking series.   My wonderful mother-in-law gave me a subscription to them for my birthday and Christmas this past year and I’ve been drooling over them every since.  (Take a minute to read more of the history of Canal House.)  Anyway, I thought this magical series was an appropriate starting place for my adaptation of gluten-free pasta since it was spurred by my memories of a magical part of my childhood.

Note: the Canal House recipe that I adapted is a fairly standard recipe for homemade pasta.  You will find the same one in many places devoted to pasta.  And it works like a charm!  I am so happy to now have it my repertoire.

Homemade Pasta, Gluten-Free

Yield: 1 lb pasta


2 cups (280 g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix, plus more for your work surface
4 extra-large eggs
Large pinch of salt

Place the flour in a medium bowl.  Make a well in the middle of the flour.

Add the salt and the eggs to the well.

Using a fork, pierce the yolks of each egg and then slowly beat the flour into the eggs and salt by going around in a circle and gradually incorporating more and more flour from the sides into the eggs in the middle.

When the dough becomes too lumpy to work with the fork, use your hands to press the remaining flour into the dough ball.

Lightly flour your work surface with additional Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix. I know that in all other of my recipes I ask that you use tapioca flour for the work surface.  This recipe is different.  You will be kneading more flour into the dough via the work surface.  So, you want to have more of your working flour to add to the dough.

Sprinkle your lump of dough with some flour.  Pull a corner of your dough from the back to the front of the lump and press it into the opposite corner of the lump just as if you were kneading (wheat) bread.

Give your dough a quarter turn, sprinkle with more flour, and repeat the kneading process.  Make sure the work surface is adequately floured throughout.  Keep turning, adding flour, and kneading.

The dough will be quite stiff and you will be using a bit of “elbow grease” to knead the dough.  After a few minutes of adding more flour via the kneading process, the dough will become smooth and will no longer feel “tacky” (sticky).  Press your finger into the middle of the ball to check to see if the inside is tacky.  If it is, continue the kneading process for a few more turns.  Check the inside again.  It might feel the slightest bit tacky–that’s OK.  You just don’t want it to be really tacky inside.

Form the dough into a disk, wrap it plastic wrap so no air gets to it, and let it rest on the counter for about 30 minutes.  This resting time will give the dough and the xanthan gum in the dough time to relax a bit.  You can let it rest for longer–even overnight (place in the fridge if you do this).  When you unwrap the dough, you will be surprised at how much more supple the dough is than it was before you let it rest.

When you’re ready to roll out and cut your dough, unwrap your dough and cut it into four equal(ish) wedges–each wedge will be about 1/4 lb of dough.

You will now work separately with each wedge.  I roll the dough out on a long wooden board (the same one I used for my puff pastry recipe).

To roll and cut the pasta by hand:
Flour your work surface with more Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix.  Take your 1st wedge of dough and hand-shape it into a little rectangular block.

Place this block on your work surface, sprinkle it with flour, and start to roll it into a long rectangle.  The dough will be elastic and will bounce back a bit as you roll it.  Keep rolling it, making sure you roll it out to the sides, as well.  Sprinkle the dough with flour as needed so the dough doesn’t stick to the rolling pin.  Roll the dough until it is as thin as you can get it.

Now you will cut your pasta.  You may cut it into any (flat) shape you want.  I usually cut it into 1/2″ or 1/4″ wide noodles.  If you really want your pasta to look uniform, you can go crazy like I do and measure out your noodles with a ruler.  Then cut them with a sharp knife.  Or, you can be like my grandma and just cut them out so they’re all somewhat the same width.  It doesn’t really matter–it will taste delicious either way.

Pile the cut noodles into a medium bowl.

Cover these already cut noodles with a damp dishtowel while you are rolling and cutting out the others.  Repeat the rolling and cutting process until you have used all 4 wedges. (If you need less pasta, you can also use just the number of wedges you need and store the rest, tightly wrapped, the fridge).  The dough will stay good for a couple of days.
To roll and cut with a manually operated pasta machine

Work in wedges.  Take the first wedge and form it into a ball.  Lightly flour a rolling surface with tapioca flour (not my flour mix).  Roll the ball into a fairly even oblong that is about 1/8 in thick.

Set the pasta rollers to the largest size.  On my Atlas machine, this is setting 1.  Carefully and slowly roll the pasta through the rollers, catching it as it comes out.  Set the rollers to the next smallest setting.  On my machine it is a 2.  Again, carefully and slowly roll the pasta through the rollers, catching it on the other side.  Repeat this process until you have rolled the pasta through the 5th smallest setting.  For my machine this is a 5.  The sheet of pasta will probably break somewhere around the 3 or 4 setting.  That’s OK.  Just roll each piece separately, keeping track of what setting each piece is on.

Next, roll the thin sheets through the cutters you want.  My machine comes with a flat noodle cutter and a smaller spaghetti type cutter.  Either is fine.  Place each clump of cut pasta in a bowl (I usually make the whole batch, so it all goes into the same bowl).

You can also cut the thin sheets with a cutter and create ravioli.  Be sure to brush water on the perimeter of each lower piece of the ravioli dough so the upper piece sticks to it.

The rolling tapioca flour that is left on the noodles is usually enough to keep the pasta from sticking to itself in the bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.  If you are using it within a couple of hours, you can store it at room temperature.  If you are storing it in the refrigerator for longer periods of time.

To Cook the Pasta

When you’re ready to cook the pasta, boil well-salted water in a large pot.  Once it’s at a rolling boil, add the pasta and stir a gently to distribute the noodles in the water.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes, until it is cooked through when you test one noodle.



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  1. Sue says

    hi, your recipe looks amazing. I have never heard of sweet rice flour, can I sub with white rice flour?

  2. brie says

    Must this recipe be cooked while fresh or can the noodles be dried and stored for future use? If storing as dried noodles, can you recommend a shelf life and appropriate cook time?

    Thanks! Looking forward to trying your recipes. They have me excited to try gf eating.

    • says

      Brie: I haven’t dried them, so I can’t advise you that. You can freeze them, though: place serving-size piles of noodles on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Place the sheet in the freezer for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the noodle piles and place them in zip-loc bags. Then when you’re ready to use them, place directly in boiling water. You will need to add one or two minutes to the cooking time.

  3. Allison says

    Hi Jeanne: Can I substitute flax meal or chia seed for the eggs? Or should I use a commercial egg replacer? Thank you for this wonderful site.

    • says

      Allison: As of now, the answer is, unfortunately, no. I tried to come up with an egg-replacer that would hold up in pasta. But the problem is that everything is fine until the pasta hits the water–and then it falls apart. I’m so sorry!

  4. Derek says

    Thank the Lord for the internet, so even we Downunder here in New Zealand can enjoy the fruits of others’ kitchen labours and experiments… My daughter made me the first batch of pasta by your recipe above for some GF lasagna and noodles with the left over. Fantastic thank you! Its book marked for frequent future use. (I have had to be GF for over 30 years now and this is the best home-made pasta ever) Cheers

  5. Mattie says

    Could I use egg yolks instead of whole eggs in this recipe? I made a white cake, so now I have eight yolks that I want to use.

  6. says

    Hi again Jeanne,

    Another successful dive into gluten free cooking for The Farmer
    This time pasta. The attempt was messy. The edges of the noodles were very cracked so a pizza cutter was used to trim each one. The trimmings were collected and at the end water was added and they were kneaded back into dough. This dough was a bit wetter and it worked a little better than the first run stuff. Next time I will add a bit to the mix right at the start.
    Ant way check out

  7. Aliyanna says

    You mention on your subs page using flax for the eggs…does that work in this recipe as well or would the powdered egg replacer work better. I would love to make some pasta my kids can have.

    ps I remember my that my Gramma used to make everything…and I mean everything….I wish I had some of her recipes….
    I am sure we are not related….lol…..She was from Arkansas, her name was Keith and she was Native American! tee hee!

    • says

      Aliyanna: No, this doesn’t work well with the flax substitute. The flax substitute doesn’t have the strength to hold this recipe today, unfortunately. Also, so fun that your Grandma was like mine!

  8. Kai says

    Ohhh for the love of God and noodles, I think we are related.

    I too grew up in California, but my dad was born and raised in Iowa, so as a child I spent many days and nights with my Gma, breaking beans and learning how to play cribbage.

    I too got fed buttered noodles at practically every meal!!!

    Thanks for the encouragement on the pasta recipe…. ohhhh how I adore bacon green beans with cold home-canned tomatoes on top and a big bowl of buttered noodles with finely grated parm and pepper!!!

    Ohhhhhhh, and I also really love ricotta and mushroom ravioli… so I think I will go to work on a recipe!!! Thanks for being such an inspiration ( I have an entire book of family recipes I have been updated or converting to GF)

    • Kai says

      I just want to add… that those days with my Gma were in Des Moines, and all your memories mirror my own, from the fireflies to the chiggers, to picking fresh strawberries and helping her can tomatoes.
      My Gpa Pete died the year before I was born so I never had the chance to meet him, but Gma Bernie was a real pistol and made up for his absence.
      I also remember days spent on Grt. Aunt Velma’s farm, out back by the chicken coop making pies in/on an old cast iron stove/oven that she discarded when they went “modern”. I can only assume the mud was a mixture of earth and poop!! So Iowa runs through my veins, much like it does yours. And stirs sooo many fond memories of a time much simpler and free!!

      • says

        Kai: You’re not going to believe it, but my Great-grandmother had a farm somewhere near Des Moines and I remember visiting the farm when I was very young. My favorite part was running through the fields and trying to avoid the cow patties. For whatever reason, it was fascinating to me that there was cow poop everywhere and that they called them “patties.” lol

    • says

      Kai: Wow! That’s incredible. What are the chances of having 2 California kids who had grandmas in Iowa who made noodles? I love it! Also, happy recipe adapting!

  9. Aida says

    I made your flower this evening, My allllllll time favorite food is this egg pasta from “The Enchanted Broccoli Forest”, so I used that recipe (basically the same as yours) but subbed in your GF flour. My mom always added in minced garlic and spinach to the recipe, so I did the same… I could barely tell the difference between the GF version and the original! YUMMM!!! Thank you:)

  10. Kitten says

    What about if you have a pasta maker machine? My husband has one that roles the noodles out, would it work with this machine the way other home made pasta mixes do?

  11. Minette says

    This is way better than the store bought gluten free pasta. What a difference making your own! I used this recipe for a simple garlic, olive oil, mushroom and parsley sauce. Fantastic! Thanks again!!

  12. Jan says

    Oh, thank you!!! Now I can make chicken and noodles again. I’ve missed them so much since going gluten free.

  13. Teresa says

    I have never…ever…made a comment on a recipe website site before but find myself so moved by your childhood memories! Your experiences (pinochle instead of poker) with your grandparents almost mirror my own and I am so filled with sentiment and longing for those days again that I might just cry. I wish for simpler days like that again…especially for my own children! Thank you for sharing both history and recipe!

    • says

      Teresa: Aw, I’m so glad. I was just re-reading this post and remembering how special those days were. I also wish for the same experiences for our daughter!

  14. says

    Thank you so much for this. I was hoping to find a pasta recipe, since when my mother was thinking about how to get away from gluten, she was horrified to think I might not make wonton soup any more, since I could hardly use the wonton wrappers sold fresh at the store. Looking forward to trying this out shortly. :)

  15. Christina says

    Thank you, thank you, and thank you again!! I am an American born , full-blooded Italian, and had the greatest cook for a mom (God rest her soul, she’s past now). She made the best pasta and sauce I’ve ever had. My husband and son had to go gluten free, and I thought my pasta making days were over! I’ve tried making home made gluten free pasta, and your right, it is not like substituting for baking. I can’t wait to give your recipe a try!

  16. Susie says

    I have been using your flour mix for awhile now. My daughter and I decided to make Ravioli’s. They turned out great! I used my machine to roll out and then my ravioli maker with a rolling pin. We used a “make as you go” filling of some cheeses and seasoning. I was able to freeze some so we can have a treat again soon without the work. I found the dough had to be chilled quite a bit to use the machine to roll it out, otherwise the dough would stick under the rollers. Thanks for another great and wonderful recipe. I have photos if you want. Thanks

  17. Megan says

    WOW! Such an amazing recipe for pasta! Thank you thank you thank you! I added some rosemary in the dough! I used this recipe to make homemade ravioli!! Very tasty!! :)

    • admin says

      Sue: Yay! Definitely let me know what you think. This works best with hand-rolling. It’s not as easy to do with machine rolling.

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