This parmesan sage focaccia is delightfully crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and so delicious, you won't know it's gluten-free! Dip bread chunks in oil and vinegar, eat it with soup or salad, or cut it open and treat it like a sandwich. Make it dairy-free and vegan by skipping the parmesan!
Who'd a thought that gluten-free focaccia was possible?
And I mean GOOD gluten-free focaccia.
I had had my doubts when I started down the gluten-free breads path over 10 years ago. But a couple of years ago, I managed to come up with, what I thought, was a pretty good recipe.
What a difference a couple of years makes!
I have revisited that recipe, made some tweaks, and with way more gluten-free baking experience and knowledge under my belt, I've created a far superior focaccia recipe that you are going to love!
And you're going to love it whether you're gluten-free or not!
How To Make Gluten-Free Focaccia
As with just about all my gluten-free baked good recipes, I like to separate out the dry and wet ingredients into two groups that you mix together.
For the dry ingredients, I've got a very simple gluten-free blend of brown rice flour, millet or sorghum flour, and tapioca starch. To that, I add sea salt, instant or active yeast, and a bit of xanthan gum.
The wet ingredients are warm water, extra virgin olive oil, and a touch of honey. You can't get any simpler than that!
No Mixer, No Kneading
Add the wet ingredients to the dry in a large mixing bowl and whisk whisk whisk until the ingredients are well incorporated. I beat it for about one minute, making sure I there are no noticeable lumps of dry ingredients still stuck together. The batter should be thick so that it loosely holds its shape when you stop whisking.
Transfer the batter to an 8x8 baking pan that has been coated with extra-virgin olive oil, and spread the batter gently to the corners and edges.
It may seem like a lot of oil, but don't worry. Just like it's done in regular wheat-based focaccia recipes, the generous amount of olive oil gets absorbed into the bread, adds flavor to the focaccia, and is what helps make it crisp on the bottom.
Top with the fresh sage leaves while the batter is still wet and before you let it rise. The allows the leaves to "stick" to the bread and retain their shape while baking instead of shriveling up.
Arrange the sage leaves on the wet batter, gently pressing them in to make sure they're "stuck", and then allow the focaccia to rise in a warm, draft-free location until it has doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
Once it is done proofing, drizzle on some more extra-virgin olive oil, gently spread it over the surface of the focaccia so as not to tear surface, and sprinkle on freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Bake it in a hot 425F/220C oven and in just 20 minutes, you are going to have a beautiful golden and delicious parmesan sage focaccia to devour!
Commonly Asked Questions
You can, and if so, check the ingredients to see if it contains xanthan gum. If so, omit the xanthan gum I have in this recipe. Gluten-free flour mixes can vary in their ingredients from one brand to the next, so I cannot guarantee what the end result will be.
Millet flour is a great substitute and works perfectly. Other possibilities are amaranth or chickpea flour, but I have not tried using these myself.
Poking your fingers into the dough to make dimples is a common technique for making focaccia, but it is not necessary. Also, making dimples in a batter is messy and after the proofing, the dimples mostly disappear. So I skip this step. Dimples or not, it does not affect the taste!
No problem! Omit the parmesan cheese completely and this gluten-free focaccia becomes dairy-free AND vegan! Simply top with coarse salt to add some flavor.
It is best eaten the same day it is made, and preferably soon after it comes out of the oven so it is still warm.
Store any leftover focaccia in a resealable bag and eat it within one day. To reheat, wrap the focaccia in foil, leaving the top just the top exposed and warm in a preheated 375F/190C oven for about 5-10 minutes until the top is crisp again and the bread is warmed through.
Any toppings you would use you regular wheat focaccia, you can use here! Rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, caramelized onions, thinly sliced lemon slices, feta cheese, etc. I would set any of these ingredients in the batter before leaving it to rise so that you do not accidentally deflate the bread before baking. Adding the toppings before the rise will also embed them in the bread, making for nicer presentation.
What Can I Serve It With?
Enjoy this parmesan sage focaccia completely on its own or serve with a traditional side of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It would also be ridiculously delicious dipped in pesto!
Slice a piece in half horizontally, layer in some deli meat and cheese and veggies and devour it as a tasty sandwich.
And here's another unique idea...top the bread with some tomato sauce and your favorite toppings and cheese for a thick-crusted pizza!
For other easy and delicious gluten-free bread ideas, I've got you covered with great recipes like
Crisp, tender, and flavorful...it's sure to be a hit! This parmesan sage focaccia is just one example of how delicious gluten-free bread can be, and you're going to love how incredibly easy it is to make right in your own kitchen.
Gluten-Free Parmesan Sage Focaccia
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh sage leaves
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with a whisk.
- Combine warm water, extra-virgin olive oil and honey and add to dry ingredients. Beat with a whisk until well-combined, about 1 minute.
- Add 1 ½ tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to an 8x8 square pan, swirling the pan to completely coat the bottom.
- Scoop dough into the square pan and spread dough to the edges and corners with a spatula or back of a spoon.
- Arrange fresh sage leaves on wet batter, gently pressing in the leaves to make sure they stick.
- Place pan in a warm, draft-free location and allow to rise until doubled in size, approximately 1 hour.
- Preheat oven 425 deg F (220C).
- Drizzle remaining 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over the top of the focaccia and use a brush to gently spread the oil over the surface.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.
- Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
- Serve warm.
- Measure the flours by weight as per the recipe for the best results.
- Millet flour is a good substitute for sorghum flour.
- I use a ceramic-coated nonstick baking pan. If you are unsure if the focaccia will release from your pan, you can line it with parchment paper.
- If you use parchment, follow the recipe instructions to add oil before to the pan before pouring in the batter.
- If you use a pre-packaged gluten-free flour mix, check the ingredients to see if it already contains xanthan gum. If so, omit the xanthan gum from this recipe.
- Measure out the equivalent total weight of the brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and sorghum flour combined.
- Do not worry about making divots in the batter since they fill up anyway during the rise.
- Other topping options: rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, caramelized onions, thinly sliced lemon slices, feta cheese, etc
- Omit the parmesan cheese to make the focaccia dairy-free and vegan.
- Best eaten the same day.
- Store any leftover focaccia in a resealable bag for one day. Wrap in foil with only the top of the bread uncovered and warm for 5-10 minutes in a 375F/190C oven.
This post was originally published on May 27, 2019 but was republished in November 2021 with an updated recipe, new photos, instructional photos, and writing.