Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines

Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.
  • 2
  • 31
  • 2
  • 3K

Last Updated on

These Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines are just as light and delicious as the regular version.

Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.
Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines

They have a tender crumb with the bright flavour of lemon. There is something very attractive and appealing about how elegant they are, thanks to their pleasantly curved, shell shape. Despite their exotic appearance, these little cakes are made from simple, everyday ingredients. However, you will need a special baking tray to achieve the distinctive shell shape.

What are Madeleines?

The madeleine is a traditional, small, French cake from the Lorraine region of Northeast France. They are elegant little sponge cakes which have an attractive shell shape, acquired from the tins in which they bake.

Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines

Although some people refer to madeleines as cookies, they are, to me, delicate little tea cakes.

The origins of this French classic are not accurately known. There are several legends which centre on someone named Madeleine. Unfortunately, it is not possible to confirm the accuracy of any particular one.  

Wikipedia advises that the term madeleine, to describe a small cake, seems to have first been used in France in 1758.

Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines

However, this little cake also has a literary connection.

It will be forever connected with French writer Marcel Proust.  In the first volume of “Remembrance of Things Past”, the act of eating a madeleine releases a torrent of memories for Proust. I think that we can all identify with that. Most of us are aware that certain foods will trigger memories, be they pleasant or not.


  • A food processor
  • A pastry brush
  • Lemon zester
  • 2 X 12-hole madeleine baking trays
Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.
Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines

Ideally, you need two of the shell-shaped trays as the mixture makes 24. You can, of course, work with one, re-buttering and flouring the tin before the second baking. If you don’t have the tins or are unable to borrow them from a friend, most baking supply stores will carry the tins. Or, you could check op-shops, Amazon or E-bay. Alternatively, patty pan tins will work as they are also shallow. The only drawback being the lack of the shell shape but they will still taste delicious. Deeper muffin tins will not produce the appropriate result.

How to make the Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines:

For some reason, many people find these French tea cakes intimidating. Some recipes, unfortunately, will not offer them much encouragement. Some caution that madeleines are not for the inexperienced cook. On this point, I disagree. Whilst this may be so with some of the techniques, there is absolutely no need to fear them and I will show you how simple they can be. My method is suitable for beginners or experienced cooks alike.

Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines

Some research has shown me that there are many different methods for making the madeleines and all of them more complex than the one I use. Some have eggs and sugar beaten together for 8 minutes to aerate the mixture, others require beaten egg whites to leaven the dough. Some recipes contain browned butter but I have chosen to not go this path. Browning butter can be challenging as it can quickly change from golden and fragrant to burnt and acrid.

So, I have simplified the recipe and I still achieve excellent results.

To begin, I melt the butter and allow it to cool. Whilst the butter is cooling, I prepare the baking tins. I brush each shell with melted butter and dust with flour. This will ensure that the little cakes will be easily released from the tin.

Next, I add the cooled, melted butter and the remaining ingredients to the bowl of a food processor. I whiz all the ingredients together until they are well blended.

Whilst many recipes recommend standing the mixture aside at this point for 30 minutes or up to overnight, I omit this step. I have tried both resting the mixture and not resting the mixture and I prefer the latter.

Supposedly, resting the batter gives the little cakes their characteristic “hump”. However, I found this was best achieved by not resting the batter.

I spoon the madeleine mixture into the tins and bake them for 8-10 minutes. After a brief rest, I release the madeleines from the tins, cool them on a rack, then sit back and enjoy them with a cup of tea or coffee.

The fragrance of the madeleines as they are baking will fill your home. It is warm and alluring, attracting all within reach. But don’t worry, as the little tea cakes are thin, they do not take long to cool and you will soon be able to enjoy them.

Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines

Tips for success:

These Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines are a very simple recipe so there is not much to go wrong, but the few tips below will help achieve success.

  • It really is best, if possible, to use the appropriate, shell-shaped baking pans for this recipe. They add an elegant touch to this little, plain cake.
  • It is important when baking to have eggs and butter at room temperature. Room temperature ingredients will mix more thoroughly into the batter.
  • If I have not thought to bring my cold eggs to room temperature, I just put them in a bowl, cover them with warm water and leave them to sit for a few minutes.
  • As you are using the zest of a lemon, make sure that you do not use the bitter, white pith.
  • Perhaps the most important part of the recipe is that the tins be thoroughly prepared. The shell shapes require a generous coating of melted butter followed by a dusting of flour after which I shake off the excess. The careful preparation of the tins means that the madeleines are easily removed.

We look forward to sharing other delicious Madeleine recipes with you soon. You can also try my friend Sylvie’s delicious recipe here.

Do you love lemon dessert recipes as much as we do? You can also try our Belgian Lemon Tea Cake or Lemon Ice Cream.

I am sure that you will enjoy these quickly and easily made Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines. Make a batch then sit back ready to enjoy one (or more) with a cup of tea or coffee. Please let me know in the comments below if you try them.

Alex xx

Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.
5 from 40 votes

Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines

Just like the classic little French tea cake, these gluten-free madeleines are tender, golden, shell-shaped and fragrant with the scent of lemons. These little delicacies are beautifully light and spongey, easily made and delicious to eat, perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.

Course Dessert, Small Bites, Sweet
Cuisine French
Keyword delicious, dessert, easy, gluten free, lemon, lemon madeleines, madeleines, simple, sweet
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 24 Madeleines
Calories 69 kcal
Author Alexandra


  • 110 g unsalted butter, divided 8 USA tablespoons
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup caster/superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract *
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free plain flour 90 g, plus extra for the baking tins
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest *
  • pure icing/confectioners' sugar * for dusting, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees C (350°F).

    Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.
  2. Prepare the baking trays by heating 20 gm (USA 1 ½ tbsp) of butter in a small saucepan until it is almost melted. Use a pastry brush to generously paint the madeleine trays with the melted butter.

    Silver tray being brushed with melted butter.
  3. Dust the baking tins with a sprinkling of additional flour and shake off the

    Silver tray for Madeleines with a dusting of sugar.
  4. Melt the remaining 90 gm (USA 6 ½ tbsp) of butter over low heat. Set aside to cool.

    Bowl of melted butter.
  5. When the butter is cool, add it to the bowl of a food processor along with the eggs, sugar, vanilla, flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.

    Ingredients in a blender for the Madeleines.
  6. Whiz all the ingredients together to combine them, scraping down the sides of the bowl once during processing.

    Batter in blender for Madeleines.
  7. Evenly divide the batter between the moulds. They will be about 1/2 full. It is not necessary to spread the mixture in the mould; it will spread as it cooks.

    Tray of Madeleines with batter poured into them.
  8. Bake the madeleines for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown, the mixture has risen a little in the middle and they feel cooked. Cool them in the tray for one minute.

    Tray of baked Madeleines.
  9. Set a clean tea towel on your bench and then remove the madeleines by sharply rapping an edge of the tray on the bench. They should easily fall out. Place them on a baking rack to finish cooling.

    Pink towel with white spots with turned out Madeleines on them.
  10. Dust with icing/confectioners’ to serve*. (optional)

    Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.
  11. Although best eaten on the day they are made they are also delicious two days after – if they last long!

    Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines. A recipe by It's Not Complicated Recipes.

Recipe Notes

* Nutritional information is calculated per madeleine. 

*For the best flavour I recommend good quality vanilla extract, not artificially flavoured vanilla.

* You could use orange or lime zest if you prefer.

*It is important to prepare the baking tins with melted butter and a dusting of flour. It ensures that the madeleines will be easily released from the tins.

*I like the madeleines dusted with icing/confectioners’ sugar. However, you may prefer to leave them plain, dip them into a simple icing or you could melt some chocolate of your choice and dip the tips of the madeleines into that.

*Ensure that the icing/confectioners’ sugar is gluten-free. To be certain, I use pure icing sugar; some icing sugar mixtures contain wheat flour.

* The madeleines freeze beautifully, but if you do freeze them, dust them with icing/confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

*The Australian tablespoon is 20ml or 4 teaspoons. In most other countries the tablespoon is 15ml or 3 teaspoons.

Nutrition Facts
Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines
Amount Per Serving
Calories 69 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 23mg8%
Sodium 30mg1%
Potassium 30mg1%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 135IU3%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 13mg1%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

  • 2
  • 31
  • 2
  • 3K
  • 2
  • 31
  • 2
  • 3K

189 Comments on “Gluten-Free Lemon Madeleines”

  1. 5 stars
    I have never made madeleines and would love to try! I love that this is a gluten- free version – perfect for my next work potluck!

  2. Madeleines are my favourite small cake for two excellent reasons – they are super easy to whip up (despite popularly held wisdom) and are best eaten on the day of baking. And that totally works for me!

  3. 5 stars
    Such a perfect recipe for my favourite little French cakes ever! I have tried MANY variation of the classic madeleines, but have never tried to make them gluten free. Giving this a go asap! Super yum 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Fab recipe, tasted great and the how-to tips really helped get them right first time! Superb!!!

    1. 5 stars
      I haven’t tried cooking or even eating a Madeline haha. But your version of it sounds really great.

  5. As always, I really love to read your recipe! Everything is easy to follow and it’s yummy too! I never once had madeleines, but this would be perfect for my day off activity next time!

  6. These little cakes look delish. My coeliac daughter will definitely find these to her liking. The photos in your instructions will be helpful.

  7. 5 stars
    It really is amazing how food brings back memories. In fact, that’s one of the things I like the most about cooking + baking! I’ve never tried gluten-free madeleines, but I totally want to try this recipe now. I love the lemon flavor…perfect for warmer days! (I know days are getting colder down your way, though…)

    1. David, it’s certainly very chilly here at the moment 🙂 It is interesting how food evokes certain memories; some of my favourites are triggered by the aroma of garlic cooking in olive oil. 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    Those look fantastic! Medeleines are one of my favorite cookies. I love that you went with a lemon flavor. Nothing is better in sweet treats than lemon!

  9. 5 stars
    I adore lemon desserts and these look so good! I could use a few with my coffee right now!

  10. These look delicious! I am always looking to add more things that are Gluten Free. Don’t want my daughter thinking shes missing out because she can’t eat it.

  11. They look absolutely amazing! I am convinced that I can’t digest gluten very well as it always leaves me very bloated. I will have to give this recipe a try!

  12. I have never had a madeline before! Lemon is my favorite and gluten free is exactly what I need. I can’t wait to try it.

  13. 5 stars
    I am saving the recipe and I will make these on the weekend. My sister and her kids will be coming over and I found a perfect recipe (thanks to you) for a snack they’d surely enjoy!

    1. Having a lot of lemons is a fabulous problem Michael. 😉 The lemon flavour is lovely in these madeleines, I do hope that you try making them. 🙂

  14. 5 stars
    Wow, that looks really delicious and that sounds like a perfect snacks to prepare for kids. I will definitely try this recipe.

  15. 5 stars
    This is one of my favourite cakes! They remind me of my childhood! My daughter is gluten intolerant so these will be perfect for her! thanks for sharing this great recipe!

  16. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to try these, they look absolutely incredible. There is a very limited range of gluten free goodies in supermarkets where I live, so I’m always excited to try out a gluten free dessert recipe!

  17. 5 stars
    This looks perfect recipe I never tried this madelines recipe I will love to try this for sure. Thanks for the recip

  18. 5 stars
    I love the presentation gluten free is always on my list of comfort food. This will satisfied my cravings for sweets. I can’t wait to try this at home.

  19. We love Madeleines and tend to make these often but never tried making the gluten free version which will be great for some of our friends who are gluten-intolerant.

  20. I’ve tried Madeleines and they are so delicious! Thank you for the recipe I will be making them soon.

  21. These look so cute and sound divine! I definitely want to try them! I have never heard of this before but appreciate your brief historical narrative.

  22. 5 stars
    These are beautiful Alexandra! Madeleines are on my baking bucket list, and I love the idea of the lemon flavour of these 🙂

  23. Oh, who knew the gluten-free world could be so amazing. I will be making these for my family this weekend. Then again, I may not share at all.

  24. I did not think it was so easy to make madeleines which I always get, now I am going to make mine. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Sponge cakes are the best light and yummy treat, paired with tea or coffee and your snack is perfect!

  26. These are very adorable little cakes. I love the way it is shaped. Just perfect for my everyday tea.

  27. Living so close to France, we go over there quite a lot and these are one of the things that I always buy. I might have a go at making some

  28. 5 stars
    It looks so perfect..! And very few ingredients.. ? I would definitely love to try this sometime.

  29. I love madeleines!!!! I’m curious to try and make these and see how the gluten free variation affects the texture.

  30. I have never tried making my own, but I love madeleines! So yummy! It doesn’t look too hard, so I may have to try making them, thanks for the recipe!

  31. you mean it ? is it gluten free ?? oh my goodness this is literally my favorite dessert and i cant believe you manage to make it gluten free ! so exciting , printing the recipe , this weekend im making it

  32. 5 stars
    I haven’t tried it before, but I can imagine how delicious it would taste like when it scented with lemon and served with tea..

  33. I am already loving those madeleines quickly. Perfect delight with a nice coffee I suppose. I am more than happy to make some over the weekends.

    1. Vanessa, they are at their best on the first day and still delicious on the third day. I don’t know beyond that as they don’t last long here. ;)You can, however, freeze them in an airtight container if you want to keep them longer. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *