Gluten Free Kuchen |

Kuchen (Gluten Free, Paleo)

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Some of my fondest breakfast memories from my childhood involve kuchen. My parents bought kuchen made at a local bakery in bulk and froze it. Then, on mornings when the whole family is together and not going anywhere, we’d take 4 or 5 pastries out of the freezer to graze on for breakfast.

Kuchen was perfect for holiday mornings, like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter. Making breakfast isn’t a priority on those days, since there are bigger holiday dinners to prepare, presents to unwrap, or eggs to find. So we’d set frozen kuchen on the counter to thaw and dive in at our leisure.

Well, I’m hosting Christmas this year, and it’s one of the few times we’ll all be together. So I decided to recreate this childhood treat for our Christmas morning.

Gluten Free Kuchen |

Now, my mom claims that she and my grandma used to make homemade kuchen every year. At least, until she got too busy working overnights at the hospital. I’m sure she’s being truthful, but I have no memory of this. What I do remember is the kuchen we’d buy from that somewhat local bakery. It wasn’t from a bakery in town, but from an old-German-Russian-lady-run bakery from a tiny town nearby (in rural ND, that counts as local). We’d buy all sorts of flavors, from the traditional peach, prune, and apple to cheese and rhubarb.

Gluten Free Kuchen |

I distinctly remember the labels and the fonts on those labels. The whole family took note when a slightly updated label featured a drawing of the fruit used in that particular custard. Heck, I even remember how the plastic wrap was sealed and the light sprinkling of cinnamon on top of each pastry.

Gluten Free Kuchen |

So, when I decided to make a gluten free and paleo version, that’s the version I tried to recreate. I did some digging online to find other kuchen recipes that might give me inspiration, but I quickly discovered that there aren’t many. Some of what I found I wouldn’t even call kuchen! If you’re looking for kuchen that’s primarily crust with a thin layer of custard, this recipe isn’t for you. If you’re looking for a streusel-topped pastry, this recipe isn’t for you.

Frankly, I’m not sure what traditional kuchen should be. Nothing on the Wikipedia page for kuchen sounds quite like what I’ve experienced (although North Dakota does get a shout-out). I crafted my recipe based on my childhood memories. My kuchen has a yeasted but relatively thin crust, with ample fillings and a heaping portion of custard. I remember it that way. And I like it that way.

Gluten Free Kuchen |

Before you start, I want to say—I know this recipe looks challenging. It’s not that bad! Since I’m providing the recipe in 3 flavors, it seems like a lot. But don’t let that scare you off. This recipe is so worthwhile.

Gluten Free Kuchen

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Gluten Free Kuchen |

Kuchen (Gluten Free, Paleo)

  • Author: Chelsea at Do You Even Paleo
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 kuchen 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: German



For the Crust

For the Filling

Prune Kuchen Filling

Apple Kuchen Filling

  • (enough for 1 kuchen)
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Rhubarb Kuchen Filling

  • (enough for 1 kuchen)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb (can use fresh or thawed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


For the Crust:

  1. Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm, but not boiling, water. Set aside for about 5 minutes while yeast activates.
  2. Mix cassava flour, arrowroot powder, salt, and coconut sugar. Add shortening/butter and mix until the mixture is crumbly and fine.
  3. Form a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the yeast liquid. With your hands, knead the dough only enough to get all the flour moist. Do not overwork the dough. Add the rest of the milk and the eggs and knead until the dough is silky and soft. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with cloth. Let the dough rise while you prepare the custard filling.

For Custard Filling:

  1. Whisk eggs with 1/2 cup coconut milk in a large heat-safe bowl.
  2. Combine remaining coconut milk, honey, vanilla, salt and cinnamon in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the honey has dissolved and the mixture is smooth.
  3. Slowly pour the heated coconut milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Add back to the saucepan and whisk constantly at medium heat for about 4 minutes or until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat.

For Fruit Filling (optional)

  1. If you’re making a fruit kuchen, prepare the fruit filling. For apple or rhubarb kuchen, toss the fruit with cinnamon. For prune kuchen, soak the pitted prunes in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain the prunes, reserving 1-2 tablespoons of water. Add the soaked prunes and reserved water to a blender and blend until no large chunks remain.

For the Kuchen:

  1. Lightly oil four 9-inch pie pans. When the dough has risen to about twice the size, divide the dough into 4 pieces. Place each dough ball in a pie pan and push the dough with your fingers to fill the bottom and about an inch up the sides.
  2. Fill with desired fruit filling. Carefully pour custard over the fruit and dough, filling up to 1/2 inch of the crust. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is no longer soupy. The custard filling will continue to set as kuchen cools.
  4. Store in the fridge, covered, until ready to serve. To freeze, place cooled kuchen in the freezer on a level surface for at least 2 hours. Remove, wrap in plastic wrap, place in a sealed container (like a freezer bag) and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Set on the counter to thaw.

Keywords: Gluten free kuchen


Gluten Free Kuchen - a recreation of a German-Russian custard-filled pastry from my childhood. This version is dairy free, nut free and paleo! |


I'm Chelsea, the author behind Do You Even Paleo! I believe life should be full of flavor. I enjoy creating recipes that are nourishing, flavorful, and satisfying. When not experimenting in the kitchen, I usually have a camera, barbell, or mug of coffee in hand. My posts may include affiliate links, which means if you click through a purchase something, I make a small commission at no cost to you. It helps me fuel my coffee habit and pay rent!

5 thoughts to “Kuchen (Gluten Free, Paleo)”

  1. This looks just like how my grandma used to make! Cant wait to test it out and see what she thinks! We haven’t had kuchen as a family in years since she doesn’t make it anymore and I’m gluten free (I made it from time to time after she quit).

  2. YES!! I’m so excited to be able to have some kuchen! My Grandma made several versions. My favorite was her pumpkin/apple kuchen. Do you happen to have a smaller recipe for just one kuchen?

    1. Hi! I don’t have a smaller recipe. I just found that it was too confusing of a conversion to post as a recipe. I do like to freeze the extra kuchen for later use, so you could do that! Or do the conversion for making just one at your own risk!

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