Recipe: Gluten-Free Walnut Crumb Crust

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The holidays are a great excuse to bake up a storm of sweets for family and friends. If you’re looking for a simple alternative to a graham cracker or cookie crust that happens to be gluten-free, look no further than this easy walnut and oat crumb crust. With just five easy-to-find ingredients, you can use this in your favorite recipe of the season — we’re partial to these layered Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars!

(Image credit: Christopher Broe)

The technique in this recipe is really no different than making a regular graham cracker crust. Just buzz up walnuts, oats, sugar, and salt in a food processor to form crumbs, then drizzle in some melted butter to hold it all together. Press it into a baking dish and bake until fragrant, then fill with whatever your heart desires.

The difference comes in the taste and substance. California walnuts instead of grain-based crumbs and the dish becomes gluten-free and higher in omega-3s. You’ll also end up with a delicious dessert filled with toasty flavors, perfect for the sweet treats (may we also suggest these Magic Cookie Bars?) you’ll be whipping up this holiday season.

(Image credit: Christopher Broe)
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Gluten-Free Walnut Crumb Crust


  • 2 cups

    raw California walnuts (6 ounces)

  • 2 cups

    old-fashioned rolled oats (6 ounces)

  • 1/4 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon


  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick)

    unsalted butter, melted



  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 325°F. Line a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment paper; set aside.

  2. Place the walnuts, oats, sugar, and salt in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse into an even, coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Drizzle in the butter and pulse until incorporated and the mixture holds together in your hand when squeezed, about 10 pulses.

  3. Transfer the crumbs into the prepared dish. Spread into an even layer and press to compact the crumbs into a firm crust. Bake until fragrant and the crust begins to brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Proceed with filling according to the recipe you're using.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The unfilled crust can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance.

Note on oats and gluten-free: To make a long story short, non-contaminated, pure oats are gluten-free. The problem for people who keep gluten-free comes with contamination in the facilities where the oats are processed, so many people buy oats labeled “gluten-free” to ensure they were processed in a facility where contamination won’t happen. Read more here.

This post was created by the Kitchn Creative Studio and is sponsored by California Walnuts.
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