Image: Gluten Free Phyllo Dough Rolled Into Croissants

Flaky Gluten Free Phyllo Dough – Filo – Fillo Substitute

While it is spelled three different ways, filo, fillo, and phyllo, it is a super flaky and buttery dough, usually used for croissants, baklava, and other pastries. I have a Gluten Free Phyllo Dough Recipe that I developed over two years ago, but it is a simple version of this laborious recipe. While it was fine for a quick, flaky crust, it is more like a pie crust. It actually makes a wonderful pie crust. However, with all of the requests for gluten free phyllo dough, recipe I have received over many years, I thought it was time to create one. We’ll never be able to duplicate the true phyllo dough made with gluten, but this gluten free version of the dough Julia Childs croissant dough is a good substitute. I used this mock gluten free phyllo dough to make Flaky Gluten Free Croissants. You can get it to crisp morelike phyllo dough by baking it in a container that is more open on the sides, rather than up against a baking dish edge. and omitting the yeast Baking for extended periods also creates a flakier, crispier dough.

This dough may be used when several sheets of phyllo dough is called for in a recipe. For those not familiar with homemade phyllo dough, the thin layers of butter melt away during baking, leaving super-thin layers of dough similar to the extremely thin sheets of phyllo dough you purchase in the stores, but without the gluten.

While never having made homemade gluten free phyllo dough, or a gluten one for that matter, the one thing I can tell you is that this recipe is definitely not for a beginning baker.

I started with half a recipe of Julia Child’s Phyllo Croissant Dough, using my gluten free all purpose flour blend which calls for superfine rice flour, added additional milk and yeast, and rolled the dough thinner.

The original recipe calls for making the butter block in an oval. I do not suggest this as the butter block does not reach the corners of the rectangular dough. I have adjusted the recipe below, though I used an oval shape when I made it.

The recipe is not perfected yet, but I had one Facebook followers request that I post my results no matter how it turned out. I made croissants, but they did not rise enough, therefore, they turned out tiny. In addition, the butter leaked out during baking. I have found a fix for that, and added it below under the tips section. I would also like to experiment by adding additional flour to the butter block. Despite all of all this, they were delicious! Even my gluten-eating husband gobbled them up. And he’s still raving about them. I’ll post my gluten free croissant recipe on Wednesday or Thursday, May 29 or 30.

Because of the time it takes to homemade phyllo dough, I am so sure I know I will not make this recipe often, but it was worth every bite! Meanwhile, I only baked half the dough so far. I will update this recipe if I make any changes in the final rolling or baking times or temperatures.

Read the instructions and all of the above material all the way through prior to making this dough.


Gluten Free Phyllo Dough – Filo Dough – Fillo Dough


Yield: Makes approximately twelve 3 to 4 inch croissants.

Gluten Free Phyllo Dough – Filo Dough – Fillo Dough

A very flaky, buttery gluten free phyllo dough for croissants, baklava, and more gluten free pastry recipes.


    For the Dough:
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast (SAF brand) (only for croissants)
  • 1 3/4 cup Carla's Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend Recipe
  • 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons sugar (or evaporated cane juice for refined sugar-free)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • Plenty of cornstarch, for dusting (or potato starch, if corn-free)
  • For the Butter Block:
  • 18 Tablespoons (2 sticks + 2 Tablespoons) cold unsalted butter (9 oz./256.5g), cut into about 30 pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons *gluten free flour


    To Make the Dough:
  1. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in the large bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attached.
  2. Add the milk slowly, beating on low speed. Increase speed to high and beat for 4 minutes. The dough should be soft.
  3. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap loosely, and place it in a ziplock bag. You need to leave a little room to allow it to rise. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then refrigerate it for at least 20 minutes or overnight.
  4. Note: At the end of any turn, the dough and/or butter may be frozen for later use refrigerated overnight. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then place it in a ziplock bag. To thaw frozen dough, transfer to the refrigerate to defrost. You can speed this up by leaving it out at room temperature for a short while. Then refrigerate it so that it is easy to work with.
  5. To Make the Butter Block:
  6. Add the butter to your mixer fitted with the paddle attachments, and cream the butter and flour on high speed (No. 10 for KitchenAid mixers) until smooth, about 90 seconds. Transfer the butter to a sheet of plastic wrap, wrap tightly, and shape it into a rectangle, about 4 x 5 x 1-inch with slightly rounded corners, and refrigerate.
  7. Wrap the Butter:
  8. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for about 5 minutes.
  9. Place the dough on a large, cold, well floured surface (marble or granite counter top, chilled silicone mat, or parchment paper - preferences are listed in their ideal order). Dust the top of the dough with flour. Using a rolling pin (French rolling pin is ideal - long without handles), barely roll the dough out into the shape of a rectangle but so that the edges protrude out. The entire dough should measure 9 x 10 1/2-inches with the shortest portion facing you. Using a pastry brush (not a silicone basting brush), dust off any excess flour.
  10. Place the chilled butter in the center with the longest part of the butter lying across the shortest portion of the dough (the 5-inch portion of the butter facing you). Fold the top of the dough over the butter to the center. Fold the bottom of the dough over the butter, overlapping the other piece of dough.
  11. If necessary, stretch the ends of the dough a bit to ensure it overlaps. If you've rolled your dough too large, that's okay, too. You'll just flatten it out later. Fold the ends towards the center and with your fingers, press closed.
  12. To Pound the Butter:
  13. Using a rolling pin (preferably a French one (without handles) pound the dough just hard enough to push the butter into the corners of the dough. Turn it over and pound the other side. Roll the dough into a rectangle 10-inches long and about 14 inches wide.
  14. For the First Turn (folding in thirds):
  15. With the longest side going from left to right, fold the left and right thirds of the dough inwards, creating a three layer dough. Your dough should be about 10 x 4 1/2-inches. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, transfer the dough to a baking sheet dusted with cornstarch, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Create note with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd turns, and check off the 1st turn. If using a silicone mat, shake off the flour and refrigerate again to chill.
  16. For the Second Turn:
  17. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for about 5 minutes. Line your rolling surface with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Again, be sure to dust your rolling surface well. With the longest side facing you, roll the dough out to a 10 x 14-inches. Dip your finger in water (preferably filtered) to moisten any cracks. Lift the mat or parchment paper to begin to wrap the dough around the rolling pin.
  18. Completely wrap the dough around the rolling pin and transfer the dough to a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet, and cover with plastic wrap (tucking the wrap under all sides). Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and check off "2nd turn" on the note you created.
  19. For the Third Turn (folding dough in fourths):
  20. With the longest portion running from your left to your right, roll the dough out to 12 x 18-inches. Bring the left and right sides towards the middle of the dough, leaving about 1/2-inch space. Fold the dough in half again, like a book. (This is known as the double turn or the wallet.) Remove any excess flour, wrap the dough in plastic, and refrigerate for 20 minutes. (I forgot to take a photo - sorry!)
  21. Once chilled, your gluten free phyllo dough is now ready to roll out to use in your favorite gluten free pastry recipes. You can cut in two pieces and freeze one, if desired. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for about 5 minutes prior to making your pastry. Once baked, allow your pastry to cool at least 45 minutes before consuming. I waited 90 minutes and my croissants were perfect. See the photo below of the inside of a third of one of my gluten free croissants. Leave pastries that do not contain anything that must be refrigerated out at room temperature, loosely covered.


My gluten free all purpose flour provides a choice of tapioca flour/starch or cornstarch. I used tapioca, but cornstarch will only make it crisper. Feel free to choose either one.

At any point the dough is too soft to handle, either refrigerate or freeze the dough until it is firm.

If you see the butter poking through at any point of rolling out the dough, dust it with starch and roll down firmly with your rolling pin. If it is large, take a piece of dough from a corner, place it on the bare spot, dust with starch and roll firmly. If needed, use a bit of water to make it stick.

Be sure to dust the dough before folding it as this helps the dough stick together once folded. Starting on about the second or third rolling/turning, the dough edges may crack easily. Dab a little water on them to moisten and pinch them together.

To avoid the butter from leaking out during baking, ensure that you dust your dough well with starch. And never fold the dough when it is stiff. Thus, the additional step of allowing the dough to rest for 5 minutes prior to folding.

To prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling surface, lift half the dough up and dust the surface with starch. Then lift the other half up and dust that area with starch. While the dough may not be sticky during the first and second rolls, please dust it well when rolling. Dust your baking sheet well each time, too.

I suggest possibly increasing the yeast to 2 teaspoons. I plan on doing so next time I make these, though it will be some time before I get to it again. I will slowly increase the yeast. However, if you increase the yeast too much it will create holes in the inner and outer layers. Therefore, I do not want to increase it too much all at once. I'll gradually increase it each time I make it until I see that what is too much yeast.

Visit Carla’s Gluten Free Online Store.

19 comments on “Flaky Gluten Free Phyllo Dough – Filo – Fillo SubstituteAdd yours →

  1. I think you’re confused about what filo is. This dough is more like a rough puff pastry. It looks delicious and I think I will use it, but it really isn’t close to filo.

  2. That’s not even close to filo dough – it’s more like puff pastry or croissant dough – a completely different type of pastry.

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