A simple paper-based microfluidic device, fabricated on a highly porous coating consisting of functionalised calcium carbonate (FCC) pigment and a microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) and/or polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) binder, was developed for glucose detection. Both the hydrophobic patterns, consisting of alkyl ketene dimer (AKD), and the enzyme ink, consisting of glucose oxidase (GOx), horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and an indicator containing 4-aminoantipyrine (4-AAP), and sodium 3,5-dichloro-2-hydroxy-benzenesulphonic acid (DHBS) were inkjet-printed. Multiple coating formulations were tested using two indicators, potassium iodide (KI) and 4-AAP/DHBS, to find the optimal formulation with regard to detection sensitivity and assay stability. Higher binder concentrations increased the enzyme activity, especially in the case of PVOH. Two coatings, containing either solely MFC or both MFC and PVOH were ultimately chosen for the glucose assay experiments. For the assays, a 42 nl volume of buffered enzyme solution, containing a total of 5.04 mU GOx and approximately 1.01 mU HRP, in combination with 4 mM 4-AAP and 8 mM DHBS, was printed, and a 1 µl glucose solution, made up over a range of concentrations, was applied onto the samples to evaluate the response. A good linearity was achieved between detection and glucose concentration between 0.1 and 0.6 mM with both coatings. The assays remained stable for four weeks when stored at − 20 °C. The results show that the functional coated substrates offer a viable alternative to cellulose-based substrates for microfluidic applications enabling the use of small reagent and sample volumes.