Gluten-Free Salt Dough Ornaments

by Maggie on December 22, 2010

Working with salt dough is so much fun for kids, and it’s a great way to get them using the rolling pin and cookie cutters.  It gives them confidence and builds their kitchen skills!  It definitely takes the play-dough experience to the next level.

I made these last year with the kids, but we used spelt flour because Callum and I were still eating gluten at the time.  We used the ornaments to decorate our own tree, but we also used them to give to our friends and family as gifts or present toppers.

This year I modified the recipe to make sure it was 100 percent gluten-free. Did you know that some people have an allergic reaction to gluten just by touching the stuff?  Fortunately that isn’t the case for our family, but we like to play it safe because you never know how your body’s reacting on the inside.

I hope you find some time to make these with your kiddies.  We sure had fun making our salt dough ornaments.

Gluten-Free Salt Dough

1 cup cornstarch or potato starch
1 ¼ cup brown rice flour
½ tsp guar gum or xanthan gum
1 cup salt
5 tsp cinnamon (for scent)
¾-1 cup water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Combine cornstarch, brown rice flour, guar gum, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Slowly stir in the water, a little bit at a time.  If you add too much, add more flour or starch.  If your dough is dry, add more water.  It’s that easy!  Knead dough for approximately 5 minutes.  Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll dough onto a lightly floured surface until approximately 1-inch thickness.   Cut into desired shapes and place ½-inch apart on parchment lined baking sheet.  Use a straw to make a hole in each shape for ribbon or string.

Bake at 325 for approximately 40 minutes.  You want your ornaments to be hard but not burnt!  Remove from oven and let cool completely before painting or decorating.

Yield: approximately 24 ornaments


We painted ours with tempera paint and glitter glue, it worked just fine.  If you want to get all fancy you could go to the craft store and get some glaze to finish off the ornaments.  This might make your paint jobs last until your kids are in their 30s and you can show them all of the cute ornaments they made when they were kids.

I tried to use the cheapest gluten-free flours I had.  Taste doesn’t matter since we’re not eating these (my dog did manage to steal one and seemed to enjoy it…).

I think you could omit the xanthan or guar gum but I played it safe and added some.

If you want to use wheat flour, just use 2 1/4 cups and definitely omit the xanthan or guar gum.

Have a joyous and happy holiday everyone!

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly December 22, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Cool! We make GF salt dough too! Made this last year: =) Merry Christmas!


Maggie December 22, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Hey Kelly – I love the little house you and the girls made. So cute! Thanks for sharing your link! Merry Christmas to you too.


Alta December 22, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Yay salt dough! I haven’t made a since I was a kid.


Maggie December 23, 2010 at 5:39 am

Hi Alta – Well now you can make it again!


Miz Helen December 22, 2010 at 7:44 pm

This post brings back so many fun memories for me when I used to make salt ornaments with my children. So happy you are making wonderful memories. Have a very happy holiday!


Maggie December 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Hello Miz Helen! Things like this are so fun to do with the kids! Everyone is happy and entertained, I love it. I hope you have a Merry Christmas.


Kim - Cook It Allergy Free December 22, 2010 at 9:49 pm

So fun, Maggie! I have made this ever since I was little. In fact, I still have some on my tree from 1985. LOL We have done them with the kids the last couple of years and they love them!
I hope you and your family have a MERRY CHRISTMAS, friend!! 😉


Maggie December 23, 2010 at 5:40 am

Thanks Kim – I would love to see that 1985 ornament! I hope life has settled a bit for you and your family. Merry Christmas to you too! xo


Zoe December 23, 2010 at 1:09 am

Maggie, I’ve never heard of salt dough! At first I thought it was something to eat, until I saw the 1 cup of salt – definitely not! Just for decorative purposes, right? 😉 My brother would love doing this.


Maggie December 23, 2010 at 5:43 am

Hi Zoe – I bet you’ve played with salt dough at some point in your life – maybe at daycare 🙂 Just for decoration, unless your dog gets a hold of it, like ours did!


Shirley @ gfe December 25, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Salt dough ornaments are very cool! We have some on our tree from decades ago and they still look great. 🙂 Looks like they were great fun at your house!

Merry Christmas, Maggie!



Maggie December 29, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Hi Shirley – I’m so glad to hear that you still have some hanging off of your tree 🙂 I’ve started putting the date on things like this, I know my brain won’t remember! Hope you had a great Christmas. xo


Iris December 29, 2010 at 10:08 am

I used to love decorating these when I was a kid! And making them gluten-free is a good idea, since, let’s face it, we all tasted a bite here and there. Or was that just me?


Maggie December 29, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Iris! Definitely not just you! You have to try something…once! Or did you try it more than once…and am I the only one who used to eat that yummy smelling lip smacker stuff? Kind of the same thing, right?


The Mixing Bowl Diary January 4, 2011 at 9:48 am

salt dough ornaments are SOO cute!!!


nicolette @ momnivore's dilemma September 4, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Thank you. We are GF, and I need to get started for this coming holiday season with my sons…



Maggie September 5, 2011 at 11:43 am

Hey Nicolette – You’re welcome! I’m impressed that you’re already thinking ahead to Christmas! I’m still trying to get my head around back-to-school…!


Cindy November 19, 2011 at 1:55 am

Thanks so much for the recipe. My neice is allergic to wheat, it causes major skin reaction when she touches it. She is also allergic to eggs and milk, not lactose but the casin. We thought about making the applesauce and cinnamon ornaments but her Daddy doesn’t like the smell of cinnamon. This will work out perfect. Thanksgiving weekend will be great now.


Maggie November 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm

You’re welcome Cindy. Thanks so much for the comment, it’s comments like these that make it so worthwhile! Happy Thanksgiving!


Leslie Taylor February 19, 2013 at 7:46 am

Hi — hope you’ll still see this even though this is an old post. I need to make gluten free salt dough for my 2nd grader (that has celiac) to take to class when the rest of the class will be doing salt dough maps. Wondering if I can make this in advance? Will it dry out? Should I put it in the fridge? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!


Maggie February 19, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Hi Leslie – I’m not sure, I haven’t made it in advance before. But if I were doing it, I would wrap it well and put it in the fridge. Maybe you could test it out first? I would even consider wrapping it in a damp tea towel. Let us know how it goes!


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