Baking is hard. Gluten-free baking is even harder.

Thankfully, there are some really great professional bakers in San Diego who specialize in creating a bounty of gluten-free holiday goodies, from pumpkin muffins and apple pies to stuffing and rolls to modern takes on traditional Christmas cakes and cookies.

These gluten-free goodies are all hand-crafted, so be sure to order well in advance of your holiday gathering.

Pumpkin Oreo Brownies & Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars from Olive Oil Cafe

Offering the largest variety of flavors in town, Frances Quintanilla, AKA “the gluten-free goddess” specializes in creative, decadent bars and pies the likes of southern sweet potato pie, bourbon chocolate chip pecan pie, chunky monkey banana cream pie, slutty pumpkin Oreo cheesecake brownies, and salted caramel apple crumb cheesecake bars. She can even make them vegan, sugar-free and paleo-friendly.

Pro Tip: For customers who order two or more pies, Olive Oil will deliver directly to your door a few days before the holidays.
Order holiday items by phone, text (619-244-4721), or email ( at least one week in advance and pick them up at the Otay Ranch, Ocean Beach, SDSU, Oceanside, Little Italy or Hillcrest farmers market.

Pumpkin Cake & Savory Stuffing at Starry Lane Bakery

One of my favorites, I’ve written before about this bakery's great lineup of sweet and savory baked goods before. Named "America's Favorite Sweet Shop" by Allergy Eats, everything on offer is free from the top 10 food allergens.

Owner Jaime Schultz has a new creation that made me love her shop even more.

Her new pumpkin cream cake is a pumpkin cake topped with creamy cinnamon frosting that’s so good they sell out every day. In addition to this masterpiece, they also carry ten cupcake flavors daily as well as scones, tortes, cinnamon rolls and whole cakes on the weekends. For the holidays they’ll be baking traditional apple and pumpkin pies and dinner rolls, as well as a savory stuffing mix.

Call (619-328-0500) to order holiday pies, specially decorated cupcakes and sugar cookies at least a week prior to the holiday.

Showstopper Cakes, Cookie Kits & Challah Bread at The GF Baking Co

In a dedicated gluten-free kitchen, Roanna Canete, owner of The GF Baking Co (formerly called Coronado’s Gluten-free Pantry) bakes wholesale desserts for some of San Diego’s most distinguished restaurants.

So, if you’re the host known for always having a stunning, showstopper holiday cake (or if you want to earn this reputation), The GF Baking Co’s award-winning cakes will fit the bill.

For special orders, the organic goodies can be tailored to accommodate most any food allergy.

This holiday season, in addition to the cakes they are known for, you can also order gluten-free cookie decorating kits (also available as dairy free), decadent holiday donuts, and staples like challah, dinner rolls, holiday loaves, and pies.

Pro Tip: Canete’s bakery is going to be featured on Netflix’s Sugar Rush this holiday season, so they will likely be busier than usual.

Be sure to order early (at least a week in advance) online, via email ( or by text (858-270-9863) to ensure your special dessert will be ready to pick up in Clairemont or Coronado.

Take & Bake Cinnamon Rolls from Nectarine Grove

Nectarine Grove’s coastal Encinitas location and inland sister store Healthy Creations Cafe offer individual paleo pumpkin and apple tarts, paleo apple coffee cake, lava brownies, lemon bars, and other gluten-free treats, but for Christmas, they are offering something a little different.

Order a tray of pre-proofed, ready-to-bake cinnamon rolls (available only for Christmas week) for the win.

All special orders require 48-hours notice.  Order all Christmas treats over the phone (760-944-4525 / 760-479-0500) or via email ( / before Sunday, December 22nd.

Apple Spice & Pumpkin Muffins from Moxie Baking Company

East County baker Brenda Lazok McDowell, mom of a son with celiac disease, prepares beautiful holiday items from her dedicated gluten-free kitchen, including highly rated cinnamon rolls, carrot cake, apple spice and pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting, and a limited quantity of pumpkin pies.

Most items can also be made dairy-free or vegan upon request.

Order by phone (619-772-0890) or email ( at least two-weeks in advance during holidays. Pick up in Fletcher Hills or get them delivered for a nominal fee.

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