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Twinkies

gluten free homemade healthy Twinkie recipe

I’ve been on a quest this week for gluten-free, dairy-free healthy Twinkies and after several attempts (make that 7) I seem to have come up with a good approximation of this infamous Hostess treat.

Whenever the subject of Twinkies comes up in our house a certain Twinkie vandalism story is told (of which I was not a part!).  My husband likes to talk about the time (in his college days) when he and a buddy were coming home from a night out.  His friend had the munchies and procured a Twinkie.  Apparently his friend was feeling artistic/vandalistic/Keith Harringesque, and using his Twinkie wrote the initials “JS + NA” inside a heart on the outside wall of a building on campus.

Fast forward a decade and a half to their 15th college reunion.  The initials written in Twinkie were still there 15 years later.

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Homemade Twinkiesprint
3 eggs, separated
¼ cup grapeseed oil or palm shortening
¼ cup agave nectar or honey
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons coconut flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt

  1. In a large bowl, whip egg whites to stiff peaks, then set aside
  2. In a medium bowl, whip egg yolks until pale yellow, then whip in grapeseed oil and agave
  3. Whip vanilla and lemon juice into egg yolk  mixture
  4. In a medium bowl combine coconut flour, baking soda and salt
  5. Blend flour mixture into egg yolk mixture, then whip ingredients together until smooth
  6. Gently fold egg whites into yolk-flour mixture
  7. Spoon batter into Twinkie molds until they are half full (you will get 8 Twinkies)
  8. Bake at 350° for 11-12 minutes
  9. Remove from oven and allow Twinkies to cool
Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Twinkie Filling
2 egg whites
¼ cup agave nectar or honey

  1. Whip egg whites to stiff peaks
  2. Blend in agave and re-whip until stiff peaks form again
  3. Place filling in Twinkie filling injector
  4. Place cooled Twinkie flat side up and inject filling into Twinkie in 3 spots on its flat (bottom) side
  5. Serve

Yes, this filling recipe includes raw egg whites and yes, my family and I eat raw egg on a fairly regular basis.  If that’s not your thing, then you could fill the Twinkies with agave sweetened whip cream, which I think would taste delicious.

Be sure to fill your Twinkies just before eating.  Why?  The sponginess of the Twinkie cakes quickly absorbs the filling.  When I left mine over night, all of the filling was absorbed into the cake.

Disclaimer: it is challenging to get a ton of filling into the Twinkie.  If you are striving to obtain the amount of filling in the  photo above, please don’t.  That photo is food-styled (by me) with extra Twinkie cream.  In any event, happy Twinkie time!

…And now for the winner of last weeks Friday Freebie (an Elana’s Pantry tote bag made of 100% recycled cotton)…merav! Congratulations!


posted on May 15, 2009, 64 comments

  1. Gabrielle Dodd

    Hey! I’ve just recently started reading your blog and have become addicted to reading it. My mom who has celiac’s as well is using me as the test subject to try some of your stuff. ^.^

    Anyway, this twinkie made me want a donut. I know that’s weird, but I was thinking of those amazing little chocolate donuts that are always sitting next to the twinkies in the store. The only gluten free donuts I’ve ever seen is from kinnikinnick. Have you come up with a recipe or know of one?

    It’s my birthday today so I’m gunna make myself a treat! ^.^

  2. Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet @ thenourishinggourmet.com

    Oh, my! You topped it off today, as I have to admit that even I never thought of trying to reinvent twinkies! You go, girl! These look delish!

  3. I can’t eat eggs or almonds, so most of your recipes don’t work for me – but I always LOVE seeing what you come up with! Great inspiration. This is fantastic, admirable work! Twinkies have texture and flavor all their own, I’m impressed with your ingenuity, as always. Thanks for sharing!

    Kim – affairsofliving.blogspot.com

  4. Meagan from Mutritious Nuffins @ mutritiousnuffins.blogspot.com

    What a brilliant idea. I think of Twinkies every once and a while, and about how bad they are for you! I loved your story. Another great recipe Elena!

  5. sandy

    Yummy, looks great. Makes me wonder if I can use to same filling recipe to put into chocolate cupcakes to try the whole “hostess cupcake” thing???

  6. Lilly

    Brilliant. I can’t wait to try. Back before i found I was gluten intolerant, I used to love these wonderful “Hostess” cupcakes from a bakery in Brooklyn…Now I want to experiment!

  7. Carol

    This sounds like an awesome treat. I read a suggestion that to avoid the expense of buying a twinkie form and injector a person could use a jelly roll pan for the cake, then spread the filling on top and top that with another layer, cutting them in smaller portions than the usual cake serving, of course. Can anyone tell me what size jelly roll pan the batter might fill?

  8. HA what an awesome and disturbing story. I’m dying for sweets but can only have stevia right now and no agave as I’m on the candida diet. Are there any recipes with stevia as the only sweetener?

    Thanks! I always enjoy your blog!

    • Michele

      Hello! I am diabetic & have had a lot of success with Elana’s recipes by substituting the agave with liquid stevia to taste and a variety of liquid-replacing ingredients.

      For example, in the Pumpkin Pie Muffins, I simply used another 1/2 cup of pumpkin. In the pancakes, I used yogurt to replace the agave liquid.

      The trick is to figure out what the agave liquid is doing in the recipe, other than adding sweetness. Is it just for wetness, or is it helping the ingredients to bind together? Also, your substitution should flow well flavor-wise with the rest of the recipe.

      I am going to try her chocolate chip cookies today using eggs to replace the agave, with stevia to taste, because I think the agave in that recipe is a binder.

      For this twinkie recipe, I would probably try substituting yogurt + stevia to taste for the agave in the cake, since the acid in the yogurt would help it be even fluffier. Not sure about the filling… I haven’t tried my trick with frosting or fillings yet, but I will give it a whirl and get back to you.

  9. Hannah Handpainted @ HannahHandpainted.etsy.com

    Wow…I didn’t see this recipe coming! Congrats. Hehee. I saw a thin mints recipe on 101 Cookbooks which I thought was clever–this is really neat.

    :)

  10. Holy moly!! You have outdone yourself Elana.
    And after 7 tries, are you sick of them yet?!

    These sound so tasty and it just goes to show what the original Twinkie is made of if it’s still on the wall today… yuck!

  11. merav

    ooh those look yummy! and oh gosh! i never win anything! thanks so much! what should i do now?

  12. Vickie

    I “just happened” to stumble across your website when I was looking for astraya stevia. Your recipes are perfect for my husband who has gluten, dairy, and sugar sensitivities, and for me with my hypoglycemia. Thank you SO much for sharing your recipes with us so that we can enjoy foods we’ve missed for a long time. You are a blessing!

  13. Shenan

    I think there is something Hostess in the stars this week. I’m in Denmark and just this Tuesday a classmate in my dance class told me that she loves the U.S. and has always had the simple wish of eating a Twinkie. I was a bit horrified at that representation of American cuisine, but I understood. So my sister-in-law is visiting next week and importing a package of the golden cakes for this 30-something Dane to finally experience. Thank you Elana for giving me this option if I want to take a trip down memory lane with my classmate. ;-)

  14. I wonder if those powdered egg whites (just whites, I think) would work instead of the raw egg for folks who are adverse to using it.

  15. Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen @ meghantelpnerblog.com

    Elana this is brilliant! You have such an amazing talent and devising these recipes. How you can top this creation I have no idea, but look forward to seeing what comes next!

  16. Thank you again for this great site. I discovered it about 2 weeks ago now and already have made your Pumkin muffins (fantastic, I added currents, goji berries and carrot to some and turned out great). I have also made the banana choc. cake, wow is all I can say. We put a little smear of strawberry preserves and whipped cream on top to go along with your banana split idea and it was amazing 2 people wrote down the recipe and asked for your site. Then we also made the orange cake (we have had lots of spring celebrations lately). The cake is great, I think I may have overbaked it a tiny bit but it is still lovely. We made a cream cheese frosting, but I think a little drizzle of lemon and sugar would have been better.
    My next task is your bread 2.0. And I am trying to get my hands on the coconut flour too.
    Thanks again.

  17. Katie

    Elana, these look delicious!! How funny that I actually asked for and received a twinkie pan for my birthday a few weeks ago. You must have read my mind. :) I can’t wait to try these. I’m especially excited they are made with coconut flour, as I’m mildly allergic to almonds. Thank you for all of your hard work on these, and thank you for sharing all of your delicious looking recipes. :)

  18. Mmmm coconut twinkies! I have a Sunday afternoon adventure for my kitchen! I might have to add some shredded coconut goodness to the filling!

  19. OMG! Who would have EVER dreamed that you could make gluten free, grain free twinkies. You are amazing!:)

  20. If my kids see this post, I’m in trouble!

  21. Cheryl

    These are a must make! Gluten and dairy free makes them even better as I don’t have to play around with substitutions. Thank you for all the fantastic recipes. I love trying them out on my family. They are leary of my gluten free foods and I love it when they eat something and rave about it not knowing I made it for myself!

  22. I think I might try these but in a muffin tin format instead of buying yet another pan.

    It really grosses me out that Twinkie Filling could last 15 years on an exterior wall. Really?

    Oh, and someone asked about using Just Whites. I think as long as the directions on the can are followed, they should work just fine.

  23. These look delicious! I love that you are using coconut flour. And I had no idea there were Twinkie molds! :)

  24. Paulette

    Elana,
    Those twinkies look delicious. I’d love to try them. Has anyone made them without eggs? I can’t have eggs so I’ll try using some ground flax seed and water. I may add a pinch of baking powder and see how they turn out. One never knows until one tries!! Have a great week.

  25. LK- healthy delicious @ healthy-delicious.com

    whaaaa? you are awesome. genius. seriously.

  26. So excited about your cookbook, Elana! As soon as my textbooks sell on half.com, I’m preordering it. The twinkie looks scrumptious! I bet you could make a buttercream with nonhydrogenated shortening or coconut oil, so it wouldn’t melt away. Who knew coconut flour could be this sexy? :)

  27. Meghan (Making Love In The Kitchen @ meghantelpnerblog.com

    I’ve left you a little Blog Award along with my out of tune singing of praises. http://meghantelpnerblog.com/2009/05/17/life-loving-blogstresses/

  28. This looks like a fantastic attempt. Although I do not have coconut flour I bet my friend does (her son has celiac) so I will forward the recipe to her.

  29. gfe-gluten free easily @ glutenfreeeasily.com

    Elana–I have to admit when I heard about the twinkie molds a few years ago, I thought they were was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard of. But, now that you’ve made a healthy version, I might change my mind … well, enough to eat one for sure–got any left? LOL

    Now what can you do as far as a gf Hostess Ho-Ho? ;-)

    Shirley

  30. Diane-Thewholegang @ thewholegang.org

    Wow, those look so good. My son would love to make and eat these. He’s not supposed to eat egg yolks so I wonder if egg replacer would work for the cakes. The filling would be fine. I’ve never seen a twinkie pan. Very inventive. I’m guessing this will be on his birthday list. Thanks for all the experiments. I hope they at least tasted good along the way.

  31. Donna

    My gluten free daughters were just saying they were sad that they would never get a chance to eat a Twinkie. I was so excited to see this recipe. We just made them and they were delicious. Your recipes are a huge blessing. Thank you!

  32. Gabrielle -Happy Birthday! I hope it was a great one for you. I will keep your donut request in mind, it’s such a good idea –thanks.

    Kimi -Thanks girlfriend, love your site.

    Kim -I’m going to be coming up with some eggless, almondless recipes just for you :-)

    Meagan -Thanks so much for the award!!!

    sandy -I was thinking about that myself. I bet it would work really well.

    Lilly -Happy experimenting :-)

    Carol -That sounds like a great idea –though I don’t have any jelly roll pans myself and wonder exactly what they are. Time for a search.

    Jessica -If you go to my sidebar and look at the ingredients tag cloud, click stevia and you will be taken to all of the recipes that use this ingredient. Some will have other sweeteners that you are avoiding, some will use stevia only.

    Hannah -Thanks so much. Thin mints, now there’s another idea for a fun gluten free recipe!

    CoconutGal -Hey there, friend. Nope, we didn’t get tired of eating the test batches. They were good, just not perfect and I sent some to my Dad in California.

    merav -Thanks and I hope you enjoy the bag :-)

    Vickie -You are so sweet, thanks for your wonderful comment.

    Shenan -Love your story about American cuisine, thanks so much for leaving your comment!

    Deb -Sounds like an experiment is coming up :-)

    Meghan -Thanks!

    Jodie -Thanks for your comment and by the way, your combinations and additions to the recipes sound delicious.

    Katie -Happy belated birthday!

    Rosy -The shredded coconut sounds super yummy!

    Kimberly -Awww, thanks.

    Debbie -You are just too funny :-)

    Cheryl -I couldn’t agree with you more, isn’t it great when that happens?!

    zebe912 -Nice to see you here again. Thanks for the tip on the egg whites, that will help a lot of people.

    alison -Yup, who would’ve “thunk” it?!

    Paulette -Hope you’ll let us know how the flax sub turns out; I would also suggest trying out some coconut milk, though not sure if that would work either. Good luck and happy adventuring in the kitchen.

    LK -That is a really cute comment. Thanks.

    Lauren B -Thanks and happy end of semester. Great idea on the shortening/coconut oil, by the way!

    Savor -Hope you all enjoy!

    Shirley -I think ho ho’s might be next on my list…

    Diane -They were delicious along the way. I bet you could just use cupcake tins instead of investing in a cake pan. Happy Birthday to your son.

    Donna -I’m so glad you and your daughters liked them!!! And that they had twinkies…that’s so cool.

  33. LSG

    I had the idea while reading the recipe and comments that 7-minute icing might make a good filling. It’s essentially the filling that Elana has listed, cooked (at least partially) in a double boiler. I searched under “7 minute icing agave” and found 2 recipes that might work as guides: http://www.dadamo.com/typebase4/recipedepictor7x.cgi?794 and http://farmtophilly.com/index.php/site/C34/

    I haven’t been doing that well with sweet things lately, so, unfortunately, I won’t be able to test it. (In fact, I realized that I hadn’t commented in a really long time since I’ve not been able to try out many recipes lately.) Even though I haven’t been experimenting with the recipes, I always enjoy reading your posts Elana!

  34. Sam Sotiropoulos @ greekgourmand.blogspot.com

    LOL! I very much enjoyed seeing this recipe on your blog. I look forward to perusing the rest. Nice photos, clean layout, great style. I’m liking your blog very much. :-) Glad to have found you through Twitter!

  35. Hi Elana, Just made these for Memorial Day. They were tasty. Not a twinkie, but my kids never had a real twinkie anyhow. I used whipped cream as the filling. I will make them again but as another poster mentioned, I will fill them with a frosting to make them mad sweet! Thanks. Who else but you would think of making a twinkie. One of the most unhealthy snacks…now good fer ya.

  36. Thanks Debbie, for your sweet comment :-)

  37. Debbie

    LOL, what a fun recipe. Of course I could never make it as is, since it contains deadly agave, probably the worst sweetener on the market in terms of heart health (containing upwards of 90% fructose, the worst sugar for your body to metabolize, causing your liver to flood the blood stream with triglycerides). But I might forward it to my sister who is always looking for gluten-free treats – though I wonder if there is a way to substiture something healthier for the agave?

  38. Could I use canola oil instead? I’m sensitive to most oils/allergic to sesame oil and haven’t tried grape seed oil before, are they similar?

  39. Jenna

    These are amazing! Others were asking so I thought I would inform that I tried these as cupcakes with the filling on top. They certainly worked! I followed the recipe exactly but instead of putting the cupcake batter into a Twinkie mold I spooned the batter into a well oiled (with Grapeseed Oil) muffin pan. I put about 1 1/2 TBSP of batter into each of the eight muffin pan cups. Baked for 12 minutes at 350 and let cool then spread the yummy filling on top! They are to die for! The trouble is, they are so light, fluffy and delicious that you could eat all eight in one sitting! Watch out! :)

  40. Anita Z

    I love these cookies…I had to do some substitutions because I did not have all the ingredients…almond meal + rice flour but they turned out great. Your website and book have really inspired me. thanks

  41. Andrea

    My 40th birthday is in November and I am hosting a dinner party in which the birthday girl (me) wants Tiramisu… I have been eating completely grain free for several months now which really cut out a lot of my gluten free recipes…In my search for a Tiramisu recipe I came across one made with Twinkies (ick!) but it sparked my memory of this Twinkie post and the quest to make gluten/grain free ladyfinger cookies began!!! I ordered an eclair/ladyfinger pan from amazon and it arrived yesterday in the mail…today…sweet success on the first try. This recipe was perfect for the spongy ladyfinger cookies that I will use for my Tiramisu. Thank you so much for this versitile recipe. Today I used the “trial” batch for a wonderful fresh berry and whip cream shortcake…also awesome!!!

  42. Connor

    great recipe. i used to really love twinkies before i found out i was gluten intolerant. thx, i can’t wait to try them!

  43. AnnMarie Deis

    Would you have any idea how many twinkies this recipe makes? I’m planning to make them for my son’s preschool snack tomorrow and there are 15 kids in his class. :)

  44. AnnMarie Deis

    PLEASE disregard my prior post about yield. The number of Twinkies was obscured by a blob of almond batter. LOL!

  45. AnnMarie Deis

    I’m having some trouble getting the filling inside the cakes. I made the recommended egg white filling, but it didn’t “penetrate” the cake. I then tried a more substantial frosting (coconut frosting also by Elana), but that doesn’t penetrate, either. Anyone have suggestions??? I’m fairly certain that the only substitution that I made was butter for the grapeseed oil. I can’t imagine that that would cause a problem, could it????? They taste out of this world, though!!!!! Maybe I’ll just need to do them as cupcakes instead . . . . . :)

    • you need to use a pastry piping tip. it is a 2-3″ long metal pastry tip that you push all the way into the cake and then while providing even pressure to your piping bag, you retract the tip from the cake, thus filling the cake. you should hold the twinkie firmly in one hand and feel the filling pushing the cake outwards. if you fill to much in one spot then you will get a blow out!!! :)

  46. Cathy

    Ok, that twinkie college store makes me want to hurl! So gross that it was still there 15 years later! One more reason to believe that they are not actually food….!!!!! thanks for making a good alternative. :)

  47. Arlee

    I just made these today and I used the muffin tins and they came out awesome! I did do the filling different from a link someone posted in one of the above comments. Thanks!!!

  48. Janina Locascio @ moreoatsplease.com

    This recipe looks great! I was at dinner tonight with my parents, when my dad mentioned something about wanting a Twinkie. I literally haven’t heard the word “Twinkie” in about ten years, especially after all the bad rep they’ve gotten for their (obvious) poor ingredient list. Anyways – that immediately sparked my interest to make a homemade (& healthy!) twinkie. I’ll be using the bulk of your recipe and will let you know how the twinkies turn out :) This was my first time to your site – and it’s great. I also run a food blog – just recently launched – and am always looking for some fun new recipes! Thanks

  49. my one year anniversary is today and we saved our top layer of our wedding cake. to bad the power went out a couple monthes back and we were forced to eat it back then. before paleo living :) i want to suprise my wife with a yummy wedding cake-like creation.

    i bake creative cakes for other people and i make them with flour, butter and sugar, but if i eat that now i get terrible tummy aches.

    so a thought crossed my mind. how about a multi-layer toasted merigue twinkie cake???? twinkies are supposed to be spongie and moist and im sure elena has concocted her recipe to imatate that mouth feel, so why not make a tall cake and layer it with the merigue frosting and then torch it with whispy peaks???? ill make it tonight and it will give me a reason to break out the burlee torch!!!!!

  50. Stephanie @ journeywithgp.com

    What a beautiful and delicious photo!
    Question about the agave…I and many some of those I work with follow a low-FODMAP diet, which eliminates this sweetener. Would you suggest maple syrup or another to replace in this recipe?

  51. Karen

    Do you think subbing the grapeseed oil for melted coconut oil would alter the flavor? I don’t have any on hand and man my hubby would flip if I made these today :)

  52. Karen

    Do you think subbing the grapeseed oil for melted coconut oil would alter the flavor? I don’t have any on hand and man my hubby would flip if I made these today :) And what about the agave, would it be all right to substitute with honey?

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Comments are greatly appreciated! Unfortunately Elana is not able to answer substitution questions, as the only way to know if something works is to test it, and she does not provide this service. If you have a substitution question, please don't hesitate to leave a comment here, and another reader may jump in to answer. ↑ back to top