- Amaranth Flour
- Arrowroot Flour
- Bean Flours
- Buckwheat Flour
- Millet Flour
- Quinoa Flour
- Rice Flour
- Sorghum Flour
- Teff Flour
- Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum
- Why make your own?
- How to Use Gluten-Free Flours
- DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend
- Oat Flour
- Almond Flour
- Almond Meal
- Using Other Gluten-Free Flours (not homemade)
- Honorable Mention: Starches
- A Practical Guide to Alternative Flours
- The Textural Trailblazers
- Tapioca Flour
- Potato Flour
- The Nuanced and Nutty
- Hazelnut Flour
- Coconut Flour
- The Flavor Makers
- Spelt Flour
- Rye Flour
- How To Make Oat Flour
- What is oat flour?
- Where can I find oat flour?
- Why do I use oat flour in some of my recipes?
- How to make your own flour from plain oats ~
- What kind of oats do I use to make flour?
- What can I do with my homemade oat flour?
- How to store homemade oat flour
- Oat Flour Vs. Wheat Flour
- More about wheat flour
- More about oat flour
- A final note on oat flour and wheat flour
- Cooking with oat flour
- What is Oat Flour?
- How is Oat Flour Different from Oatmeal?
- How to Bake with Oat Flour
- How to Cook Whole Oat Groats
- Health Benefits of Oat Flour
- Oat Flour Recipes
- Tips for baking with coconut flour
- Phytic acid
- Coconut oil
- High-Protein Lemon Coconut Poppy Seed Muffins
- Substituting Coconut Flour for Almond Flour
- Low-Carb Flours
- Take a look at the entire series of Ultimate Guides
The world of gluten-free baking is both wonderful and challenging – the results can be incredibly delicious, but it can take some trial and error to discover the best gluten-free flour combinations and which flours to use and when.
We’ve spent many years experimenting with both sweet and savory gluten-free baked goods (a tough job, we know) and have learned a lot along the way. Using this A to Z gluten-free flour guide, you can skip the flops and rock-hard gluten-free muffins and go straight to the scrumptiousness.
The most important thing to know about working with gluten-free flour options is this: you must blend multiple flours together for the best results. Using a singular gluten-free flour will result in those hockey puck cookies that no one wants to eat. So generally, when you are substituting a gluten-free flour for a wheat flour, or a gluten-free flour for another gluten-free flour, you’ll need to play around a bit and see what works best for you.
Without further ado, here are some of our well-loved gluten-free flour options and the best way to use them.
What is it?
Take raw, blanched almonds, grind them to a fine flour and you have almond flour. You can also buy milled almond flour, which is finer in texture, or save your almond pulp and blend it up into almond flour. This and other nut flours — such as hazelnut, walnut, pecan and seed flours — add protein, fibre and vibrant taste to grain-free and gluten-free baking.
Best for: Cookies, cakes, muffins, hearty crusts, pancakes, crumble toppings. Heavily used in Paleo diet recipes.
How to substitute: Use up to 25% of nut flours in gluten-free flour mixes.
Recipe to Try: Grain-Free Almond Flour Cookies
What is it?
The tiny whole grains that make a surprising breakfast cereal can also be ground into a fine flour. Amaranth is rich in protein and has a grassy, earthy taste.
Best for: Due its grassy flavour, use it in savory dishes like pizza dough.
How to substitute: Swap it 1:1 from glutenous flour
Recipe to Try: Amaranth Flour Crackers
What is it?
Arrowroot flour is a fine flour that comes from the arrowroot plant (you may also see it labelled as arrowroot starch or arrowroot powder). It looks very similar to corn starch, potato starch and tapioca starch.
Best for: Use it as a thickener in place or corn, potato or tapioca starch. It’s also helpful when you need any kind of dough to stick together.
How to substitute: Substitute arrowroot flour 1:1 in place of corn, potato or tapioca starch. When using it in baking, aim to have no more than 20% arrowroot in your gluten-free flour mix.
Recipe to Try: Grain-Free Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
What is it?
Dried beans can be ground into flours as easily as grains can. Chickpea flour — also known as garbanzo bean or ceci flour — is used for flatbread in the south of France. Lentil flour shows up in Indian cuisine. Fava beans become flour and show up in some commercial gluten-free baking mixes. They are all rich in protein and fibre.
Best for: You can use bean flours in both sweet and savory dishes, but use them in small doses as their flavour can be overpowering.
How to substitute: Use up to 25% of bean flours in gluten-free flour mixes.
Recipe to Try: The Best Banana Pancakes with Chickpea Flour
What is it?
Buckwheat flour is made from ground buckwheat. Has a rich, nutty flavour and a very high nutritional value, making it popular in many nations, especially in Asia. Buckwheat is the fruit of the buckwheat plant and has no relation to wheat or grasses – so it is a 100% gluten-free flour.
Best for: Muffins, cookies, pancakes, waffles and breads
How to substitute: Add up to 50% of buckwheat flour in your gluten-free flour mixes
Recipe to Try: Healthy Buckwheat Crepes
What is it?
This gluten-free flour is made from coconut that’s been dried and ground. It’s very dense, high in protein and it’s the most fibrous of all of the flours. That’s why you’ll need to add at least an extra 1/4 cup of liquid to your recipes when using it. It’s commonly used in Paleo diet recipes and pairs best with eggs – so it doesn’t always work in vegan recipes.
Best for: Things that don’t need to rise very much like pancakes, cookies, waffles and crusts
How to substitute: Coconut flour soaks up a lot of liquid, so use 1/4 cup of coconut flour in place of 1 cup glutenous flour (or another gluten-free flour). You’ll also need to add an extra 1/4 cup of liquid.
Recipe to Try: Mini Gluten-Free Apple Galettes
What is it?
Mild and ever-so-slightly sweet, millet is an adaptable grain that is rich in magnesium, nature’s relaxant mineral. It soaks up the tastes of the foods surrounding it, making it a very neutral gluten-free flour to use. Millet flour lends a crumbly texture to breads and muffins and is the least allergenic of all the grains.
Best for: Breads, muffins, cookies, cakes, crusts
How to substitute: Use up to 25% of millet flour in your gluten-free flour mixes
Recipe to Try: Dark Chocolate Dipped Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
What is it?
Oat flour is simply made by grinding whole grain oats in the food processor or blender. It’s rich in soluble fibre and it’s great for balancing blood sugar levels. One thing you need to ensure if using oat flour is that it’s 100% gluten-free. While oats are naturally gluten-free, they are often planted and processed alongside wheat, leading to cross contamination. Buy certified gluten-free oats for grinding into flour, or certified gluten-free oat flour.
Best for: Breads, muffins, cookies, cakes, crusts, granola, fruit crisps, scones
How to substitute: Use up to 20% of oat flour in your gluten-free flour mixes
Recipe to Try: Chocolate Cherry Chia Bread
What is it?
As a grain, quinoa is nutty and delicious. As a flour, quinoa is a little bitter. It’s packed with protein, but the texture adds density to gluten-free baked goods. Use a little quinoa flour in combination with other gluten-free flours for the added protein boost without the bitterness. You can also toast your flour in the oven to amp up the flavour.
Best for: Savory baked goods like biscuits, flatbreads, zucchini bread or herbed muffins
How to substitute: Due to its high protein content, you can use this 1:1 for wheat flour, but we recommend only using up to 25% in baking mixes.
Recipe to Try: Herbed Quinoa Flatbread
What is it?
When farmers harvest rice, they shuck the grains of its outer husk, which are inedible. What is left after this process is brown rice. If the farmer also removes the germ and bran from the rice grain, he or she is left with white rice. Brown rice flour is made from the first type of rice, and white rice flour is produced from the latter. Whether it is brown or white, each type can be ground into rice flour. This is a great base for gluten-free baking.
Best for: All kinds of gluten-free baking. Can also be used as a thickener in soups, stews, fillings, etc.
How to substitute: Swap it 1:1 for glutenous flour or any other gluten-free flour. Use up to half of brown rice flour in gluten-free flour mixes.
Recipe to Try: Yummy Gluten-Free Pancakes
What is it?
Sorghum flour is closest in texture and taste to traditional wheat flour of any of the gluten-free flours. In a few cases, it works as a direct substitution for wheat flour, such as in pancakes. It’s also high in antioxidants.
Best for: Muffins, breads, pancakes, crepes, cookies
How to substitute: Swap it 1:1 for glutenous flour or any other gluten-free flour. Use up to half of sorghum flour in gluten-free flour mixes.
Recipe to Try: Butternut Squash + Lentil Muffins
What is it?
What we in the West call tapioca comes from a plant originally from Asia known as cassava (in South America, it is known as manioc).When the root has been dried, it is ground into white flour. Tapioca flour is also known as tapioca starch. Its starchiness makes it an excellent gluten-free flour, but it must be used in combination with other flours to make great baked goods.
Best for: Mixing into gluten-free flour blends. Can also be used as a thickener in soups, stews and fillings.
How to substitute: Substitute tapioca flour 1:1 in place of corn or potato starch. When using it in baking, aim to have no more than 20% in your gluten-free flour mix.
Recipe to Try: Honey Comb Cake
What is it?
The tiny seeds of teff make a fascinating porridge. Dark brown as molasses, with a slight taste of chocolate, teff porridge will fill you up in the mornings. As a flour, teff is nearly miraculous. The fine flour — ground from the tiny seeds — almost dissolves in baking, giving it a slightly gelatinous quality. It binds the baked goods in a somewhat similar fashion to gluten.
Best for: Waffles, banana bread, cookies, muffins
How to substitute: Substitute 1:1 for other gluten-free flours. When making a flatbread like injera, you can use 100% teff. Other times, you may want to use up to 25% teff in your gluten-free flour mixes.
Recipe to Try: Ethiopian Injera
Xanthan Gum and Guar Gum
What is it?
Xanthan gum is used in gluten-free baked goods, toothpaste, salad dressings and frozen foods as a stabilizer. It binds everything together in a uniform consistency. Only a tiny amount (1/2 teaspoon or less) is enough to bind the dough to make cookies and pie crusts.
Guar gum is made from dried and ground seeds of the guar plant, which grows in India and Pakistan. It’s often found in many processed foods such as commercial ice creams and puddings. In small amounts, guar gum can be a somewhat effective binder, mimicking some of the effects of gluten.
Best for: Gums have a tendency to irritate the digestive system. These are often best avoided for this reason.
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When we first started attempting gluten-free recipes, it was a bit overwhelming. Gluten-free flours can quickly add up in cost, and it can be daunting to know where and how to use each flour in recipes.
But now that we’ve been at gluten-free cooking for many years, we figured it was time to share what we’ve learned in the process of experimenting, as well as our go-to recipes for DIY gluten-free flours and flour blends and our favorite gluten-free baking recipes. Let’s get started!
Why make your own?
Making homemade gluten-free flours saves money and allows you to better control the consistency, flavor, and freshness of your ingredients. We like to stock our pantry with the following homemade flours for gluten-free baking:
DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend (click to see individual ingredients)
How to Make Oat Flour
How to Make Almond Flour
How to Make Almond Meal
NEW: How to Make Almond Meal from Almond Pulp!
How to Use Gluten-Free Flours
We’ve found that when baking with gluten-free flours, it’s typically best to use a mix of different flours to achieve the ideal texture and flavor. Our go-to mixture in gluten-free baked goods is (roughly) 2 parts DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend, 1 part oats or oat flour, and 1 part almond meal or almond flour (example here). This combo helps create a light, fluffy texture and pleasant flavor in baked goods, especially pancakes and quick breads.
Now that we’ve covered some basics, let’s dive deeper into which flours to use and when.
DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend
We’ve found that our DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend* is a versatile flour and is the closest substitute for unbleached all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour.
This blend has worked wonders in recipes like muffins, cakes, quick breads, gingerbread cookies, corn bread, waffles, crepes and more.
It’s made with a blend of brown rice flour, potato starch, white rice flour, and tapioca flour. Xanthan gum can be added for additional binding, but we find that in most cases, it’s not necessary.
*The best store-bought alternative we’ve found to our custom blend is the Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour. Thought not an exact match, it can typically be subbed for our custom blend in most recipes with good results.
Oat flour works well in recipes that require a dense texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor. It puffs up under the right circumstances – TIP: Avoid adding too many heavy, sticky ingredients to oat flour like bananas, and give it some help with a leavening agent, such as baking powder, so it puffs up and yields a lighter texture.
Not only is oat flour easy to make, it’s also rich in fiber! We find it works particularly well when making pancakes. Learn more here and try it in recipes such as our 1-Bowl Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes and 1-Bowl Vegan Banana Oat Pancakes.
Almond flour* is a grain-free, protein-rich flour that lends well to cookies, cakes, and more!
Almond flour is made from blanched almonds without skins (as opposed to almond meal, which is made from raw almonds with skins). This is why it has a fluffy, light texture and pale golden color.
We often reach for almond flour in baking recipes when we’re looking for a light, fluffy, cake-y texture with neutral flavor, because almond flour has a milder flavor than almond meal, and tends to fluff up nicely when baked! It works well in both egg and egg-free baking.
Learn more here and try it in recipes such as our Perfect Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, 1-Bowl Vegan GF Vanilla Cake, and 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Cake.
*Find our favorite store-bought Almond Flour here.
Almond meal is made from raw almonds with skins and lends a slightly more wholesome texture in recipes than almond flour – its blanched counterpart.
Almond meal and almond flour can typically be used interchangeably in quick breads and cookies, but almond meal works best in heartier baked goods like muffins, cookies, and crackers.
Learn more here and try it in recipes such as our Banana Almond Meal Muffins (Gluten-Free + Vegan) and 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Crackers.
Note: One of the reasons we like to use almond meal is it can be made from the leftover pulp from making Homemade Almond Milk! When subbing Almond Meal made from Almond Pulp in a recipe that calls for almond meal, you may need to slightly increase the amount of oil or liquid to add back in moisture that gets lost in the process of making almond milk.
Using Other Gluten-Free Flours (not homemade)
Though we most often use the homemade flours listed above, we occasionally use other flours when trying to achieve a specific texture or flavor. Our go-to’s being:
Brown Rice Flour
Brown rice flour is makes a great breading for Crispy Shallots. We don’t use it as a 1:1 substitute in recipes where flour is called for, but it works well when blended with other gluten-free flours.
White Rice Flour
White rice flour is lighter in color and texture than brown rice flour, but we still don’t use it as a 1:1 substitute in recipes where flour is called for. Instead, it works better when blended with other gluten-free flours. We included it as optional thickener in this Egg-Free Frittata!
Chickpea flour (also known as gram flour) is great for making Socca and Egg-Free Frittatas! It has a strong bean flavor and can be quite dense, so it doesn’t work well in sweet baked goods.
Coconut flour is a very dense flour made from dried coconut meat. It typically does not substitute well in recipes using a 1:1 ratio, and almost always benefits from having an egg in the mix since it’s so dense. It’s rich in fiber, more absorbent than most other gluten-free blends, and is excellent in no-bake treats like our Carrot Cake Bites. It also works well in recipes that use eggs such as our Banana Egg Pancakes.
Honorable Mention: Starches
Cornstarch and Arrowroot Starch
Though technically starches (not flours), we do also rely often on cornstarch and arrowroot starch in gluten-free recipes. They both make great thickeners in things like puddings, sauces, and compotes, and can even add a crumb-like, light texture to baked goods! See a few of our favorite ways to use arrowroot in our Gluten Free Vegan Pizza Crust, Best Vegan Gluten-Free Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Easy Vegan Caramel Sauce, Vegan Lemon Curd, and Cinnamon Baked Apples. And see our favorite ways to use cornstarch in our Gluten Free Vegan Biscuits, General Tso’s Tofu Stir Fry, Vegan GF Peanut Butter Cup Cookies, and Cashew-Less Vegan Queso.
Tapioca Starch (a.k.a. Tapioca Flour)
We don’t typically use tapioca starch on its own in recipes as it can yield quite a sticky, stretchy texture. Although it is neutral in flavor, making it a great option for gluten-free blends. Our favorite recipe with tapioca starch is definitely our Easy Vegan Mozzarella “Cheese” which utilizes tapioca for that quintessential stringy cheese texture!
Potato Starch (NOT Potato Flour)
Potato starch works well when trying to achieve a light, cake-y texture, such as in our 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake. We don’t typically use it as a 1:1 substitute in recipes where flour is called for, but it works well when blended with other gluten-free flours, including almond flour.
We hope you found this resource helpful. Find all of our Gluten-Free Recipes here!
A Practical Guide to Alternative Flours
Photo: Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Margaret Dickey and Elise Mayfield; Prop Styling: Kay Clarke and Laura Evans
Once upon a time, buying a bag of flour was a relatively simple endeavor. You’d pick out whichever brand of snowy white all-purpose flour you’d pledged loyalty to. Maybe you’d put a bag of cake flour or bread flour in your cart too, if you were an avid baker.
Those days are gone.
Easy never tasted so awesome.
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You don’t have to shop at a high-end, specialty grocery store to have access to flours that go far beyond wheat. If you’ve taken a stroll down the baking aisle of your favorite supermarket recently, I don’t have to tell you that you have options. A lot of them. Nut flours, gluten-free flour blends, cereal grain flours, starch- and tuber-based flours… they’re all at your fingertips.
Not long ago, I took stock of just how many distinctly alternative flours lined the shelves at my local supermarket. Not including gluten-free and paleo blends, I counted 16 types of flour in addition to the traditional wheat-based varieties. Even for an enthusiastic home baker, that’s an overwhelming number.
But the thing is, all of those options mean something: opportunity. And despite the implication that accompanies the word “alternative,” alt flours don’t necessarily need to be a replacement for the traditional. Sure, plenty of people turn to these options because they are actively avoiding wheat-based flour for health reasons—but having an allergy or sensitivity isn’t the sole reason to embrace an alternative-flour lifestyle.
Here’s an overview of ten of the nontraditional flours our team has found commonly available and deeply intriguing. And while each of these flour varieties offers its own perks and quirks, in researching and experimenting with them, one thing became crystal clear: Alternative flours can act as a replacement or as a supplement to your standby, but either way, they vastly expand what’s possible in a home kitchen.
As you’ll see from the recipes below, expanding your flour horizons isn’t all about going gluten-free. It’s about texture. It’s about flavor. And most importantly, it’s about fun.
The Textural Trailblazers
Image zoom Photo: Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Margaret Dickey and Elise Mayfield; Prop Styling: Kay Clarke and Laura Evans
Rice flour is made, unsurprisingly, from very finely ground rice. While it has a silky, powder-like texture that might seem dainty next to many wheat-based flours, rice flour is valued for the stable structure it gives to baked goods and is a common component of gluten-free blends for that very reason. Aside from GF baking mixes, you’ve likely encountered this flour in the form of rice noodles via dishes like pad thai.
Standard rice flour is available in two varieties: brown and white. Brown being milled from whole-grain brown rice and white being made from white rice. In most baking applications, the two are virtually interchangeable. Brown rice flour offers a slightly nuttier flavor and whole-grain health points, but also has a slightly shorter shelf life than white. Whether you opt for brown or white, go ahead and stash this flour in the freezer between uses to maximize its lifespan. (Actually, this is a good rule of thumb for every flour to follow, if we’re being honest.) You may also come across a product called “sweet” or “glutinous” rice flour, which is still totally gluten-free, but made from short-grain “sticky rice.” This is the variety of rice flour used to make Japanese mochi. And should you ever find yourself face-to-face with a bag a rice starch—no, it’s not the same thing as rice flour and should not be used as a substitute.
Now, there’s a reason I’m listing rice flour first in this guide. Because, to me, rice flour was the most exciting revelation to come out of my deep dive into alternative flour-ing. It’s a versatile flour that can be used for thickening sauces or soups, breading/battering, and making dumplings or noodles; however, I fell head over heels for rice flour due to the unique character it brings to baked goods.
Whether you’re baking something entirely gluten-free (like the Cashew Butter Cookies pictured above) or you’re simply supplementing a wheat-based flour, rice flour contributes a unique texture that I can only describe as pleasantly sandy. Sure, that may sound a little strange, but trust me, it’s a distinct substantiality that’s both delicate and delightful within the context of something like shortbread cookies or a batch of homemade cheese crackers.
WATCH: How to Make Butternut-Nut Butter Bars
Another important trait of rice flour is its capacity for embracing liquid—it’s much more absorbent than all-purpose. This absorbency can be leveraged in the kitchen to achieve a crisp texture where you may have accepted “cakey” as the only option. Take these butternut blondies, for example. Most baked goods that incorporate a moisture-dense ingredient like pumpkin puree (or in the case of these blondies, butternut squash puree) are inherently going to be soft and fluffy due to the moisture content. That’s all well and good when it comes to something like a bundt cake or a quick bread, but it’s downright disappointing when you bite into a “cookie” that feels like an over-baked muffin top; enter, rice flour. Using the absorbent flour means you get the flavor you’re looking for when you stir mashed banana or pumpkin into a batter, but you can also have the substantial texture you want from a cookie bar.
Ready to give rice flour a try? Start with these easy, gluten-free Cashew Butter Cookies. We opted for brown rice flour for added toothiness and toasted it to deepen the nutty flavor.
GET THE RECIPE: Cashew Butter Cookies
Image zoom Photo: Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Margaret Dickey and Elise Mayfield; Prop Styling: Kay Clarke and Laura Evans
Tapioca flour is another neutrally flavored, gluten-free option. Made from the extremely finely ground pulp of the cassava root, tapioca flour is often used to create crispness in gluten-free baked goods. It is also a stable thickening agent for anything from gravy to pie filling (more on that below).
When shopping for tapioca flour, keep in mind that whoever names these flours legitimately wants to trip us all up. Though it is created from pulverized cassava root, it is a distinctly different product than cassava flour. They are not interchangeable. And unlike rice flour, the terms “flour” and “starch” can generally be applied interchangeably when it comes to tapioca. Finally, if your recipe calls for tapioca flour or starch, you do not want a tapioca product that’s been pregelatinized—i.e. pre-cooked and dried for the purposes of instant thickening power. My advice: Skip any packages that open the door to further questions and look for a bag that straight-up says “tapioca flour” or “tapioca starch” from a trusted brand such as Bob’s Red Mill.
Once you’ve brought it home, put it through its paces and see what all this wonder flour can do. As mentioned above, tapioca is prized for its ability to deliver crispness to baked goods, particularly as a part of a gluten-free flour blend, but it’s not a flour you lean on for heft. Thus, one of its more traditional (and mouthwatering) uses is in the cheesy, light-as-air Brazilian bun, Pão de Queijo. Additionally, it can be deployed undetectably to thicken sauces, stews, custards, and more, much like you would use all-purpose flour or cornstarch. I like to use it (in a one-for-one swap) in place of all-purpose flour in my apple pie filling because I find that it’s more seamlessly incorporated with the fruit’s juices and leaves behind no trace of flavor.
In the gluten-free Salted Grapefruit Pie you see here, our test kitchen opted to demonstrate both of tapioca flour’s greatest strengths by incorporating it into the flakey, gluten-free crust as well utilizing it to stabilize the custard filling. Whether you’re looking to get fully acquainted with tapioca flour or you’re simply in need of a downright impressive dessert, this pretty-in-pink pie is for you.
GET THE RECIPE: Salted Grapefruit Pie
Image zoom Photo: Greg Dupree; Food Styling: Margaret Dickey and Elise Mayfield; Prop Styling: Kay Clarke and Laura Evans
Potato flour is the product of grinding peeled and dried white potatoes. Like rice flour, it is a distinctly different powdery product from potato starch. It is commonly used in tandem with wheat flour in products like potato bread, in addition to being a go-to for gluten-free recipes. Like the other fine, starchy flours we’ve covered thus far, potato flour can also be utilized as a thickening agent. Though it is not typically considered as reliably versatile as tapioca in this capacity, it’s an intuitive fit for enriching soups and stews. And if I had to take a stab in the dark at potato flour’s sign, I’d guess it to be Pisces—soft, sweet, artistic, and really into water.
This is the thing to know about potato flour: it has a true (really, the truest!) affinity for liquid. Thanks to the flour’s starch content, it acts as a sponge, soaking up and locking in moisture. Thus, it’s excellent for creating supple baked goods that retain their moistness for an exceptional amount of time. The flour is valued among bakers as a means of extending shelf life, as well as contributing tenderness to both gluten-free baked goods and wheat-based yeast breads.
A great way to welcome potato flour into your kitchen is with a traditional Swedish cake known as sandkaka, or sand cake. Endearing in its simplicity, this recipe requires less than two cups of starchy potato flour to become an irresistibly dense, spongy loaf that’s similar to a pound cake in crumb. And because the buttery cake will retain its youthful charm for a few days, it’s a fantastic standby when you need an easy-to-love, make-ahead dessert.
GET THE RECIPE: Sandkaka
The Nuanced and Nutty
Peanut flour is created by processing roasted peanuts and defatting (i.e. pressing oils from) the resulting paste to create a dry powder. The amount of oil extracted during the defatting process determines the flour’s fat content; you can buy peanut flour with anywhere from 12% to 28%. Because it’s dense in both protein and flavor, this gluten-free flour attracts cooks of all kinds.
Peanut flour is often used to boost the nutritive value of recipes, both savory and sweet, as it packs a notable amount of protein, around 14 grams per ¼ cup, without a significant amount of fat. After all, if you mix peanut flour with a bit of liquid, you’ll find yourself with a peanut butter-like paste that lacks the fat and sugar found in a jar of Jif. (I’m not saying you should make a PB&J with the stuff, just making a point.) This protein content also means it can provide structure in gluten-free baking projects. That said, with peanut flour comes an intense package of concentrated roasted peanut flavor, which lends the flour a strong culinary appeal. Peanut flour can be used to bring structural oomph and impressive toasty flavor to sauces, stews, baked goods, breading, and beyond.
OK, so now for the million dollar question: Is peanut flour the same thing as peanut butter powder?
Answer: Sorta, but not exactly. The difference between the two products is that peanut butter powder, which is generally touted as a healthy way to achieve peanut butter flavor without the fat, contains a bit of added salt and sugar for flavor—whereas plain peanut flour does not. However, peanut butter powder, such as PB2, may be easier to find at your local supermarket and for all intents and purposes is going to act just about the same as peanut flour in the context of whatever you’re cooking.
In fact, we tested the peanutty dredged fried chicken I’m about to tell you about with peanut butter powder and found it to be a seamless swap. For this recipe, our test kitchen went with a blend of peanut flour and Wondra flour (which is all-purpose flour that has been cooked and dehydrated), along with a few dried spices, to create the perfect quick, skillet-fried chicken coating. The Wondra flour contributes intense, instant crispiness, while peanut flour shines as a source of massively roasty-toasty flavor. It’s not gluten-free, but applied to boneless, skinless thighs—which cook fast and retain their juicy succulence with ease—this dredging formula yields a wow-worthy fried chicken experience in just 30 minutes. Can’t beat it.
GET THE RECIPE: Weeknight Fried Chicken
You’re likely already familiar with almond flour—a mealy flour made by grinding almonds. Hazelnut flour is similar, but offers a slightly different flavor profile. Before being milled, hazelnuts are skinned in order to yield a flour with a fine, near fluffy, consistency. Nut flours like hazelnut and almond are also sometimes blanched so that the flour will be closer in color to AP flour.
As you can imagine, hazelnut flour brings a richly nutty, buttery flavor wherever it may go. And it’s an easy flour to understand and experiment with in the kitchen. Try using it when breading chicken or fish, or for topping a casserole or gratin, swap a little into your waffle batter… really, the sky’s the limit here. Being a nut-based flour, it is low in carbohydrates, but has a notably higher level of fat than wheat flour. This is important to take into consideration when incorporating hazelnut flour (or other similar nut flours) into your baking.
For example, a nut flour like hazelnut is wonderful in a pie or tart crust (remember our Salted Grapefruit Pie?), but you’ll likely need less butter than your typical crust because of the oil in the flour. Additionally, you will want another flour or crumb working alongside your nut flour to provide textural strength and to cushion the delicate, oily nut flour from burning. In baking, you won’t often see hazelnut or almond flour acting solo, particularly in recipes that need to achieve volume, like cakes. The nut flour contributes significant depth and character, but needs a little help when it comes to structural integrity.
But here’s a little exception. Hazelnut flour is the only flour necessary to create these dense, dark, unimaginably decadent Chocolate-Hazelnut Brownies. Sure, cocoa powder is there to lean on, but we really wanted play up the hazelnut presence in these show-stopping brownies. Because this is a gluten-free flour, we used fewer eggs than you’d typically see in a brownie recipe calling recipe for 2 cups of flour in order to prevent the brownies from veering too far in the direction of “cakey.” My final word on the matter is this: if you have strong ties to using boxed brownie mix, be mighty careful around this recipe. You may never be able to turn back.
GET THE RECIPE: Chocolate-Hazelnut Brownies
Produced from dried coconut meat that is finely ground, coconut flour is similar to tree nut-based flours in that it offers rich nutty flavor and has a higher fat content than wheat flour. Although it can’t be substituted one-for-one with other nut flours in every recipe, many find it’s a great flour to play with if tree nut allergies are a concern or if you’re looking to infuse a recipe with an added boost of coconutty presence.
The thing to keep in mind about coconut flour is that, like potato flour, it’s highly absorbent. This means you may need to bump up the liquid in a baking recipe if you’re experimenting with incorporating coconut flour for the first time, but once you get the ratio right, you’ll have a luxuriously moist final product.
Such was certainly the case with our Ultimate Coconut Cake, which features coconut flour, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut sugar, coconut extract, and, of course, flaked coconut. Ideal for a real-deal coconut lover, this is possibly one of the most tender, moist layered cakes to ever come out of our test kitchen. People fought over the leftovers.
GET THE RECIPE: Ultimate Coconut Cake
The Flavor Makers
Also known as garbanzo bean flour or besan, this flour is created by grinding raw chickpeas into powder. It’s often used in Middle Eastern, Indian, Italian, and French cuisine. Chickpea flour is high in protein, fiber, and iron, and is sometimes used to lend structure in gluten-free baking. However, one of the flour’s greatest traits also keeps it from being a subtle, all-purpose player in the world of alternative flours: It tastes like chickpeas.
However, for many a savory recipe—from classic dishes like farinata or socca to less traditional applications like this vegan omelet—that bean-forward flavor is just right. And as Cooking Light explains, because of its protein structure, chickpea flour is a real MVP when it comes to binding (foods like patties and fritters) and battering (basically anything for deep frying).
Leaning into both of these strengths, we found that one of the most delightful ways to use chickpea flour is perhaps the simplest: mixing the flour with boiling water yields a simple dough that can be chilled and then fried in oil to form an light and crispy, savory cracker. We paired these salty chickpea crackers with hummus and a rustic castelvetrano olive tapenade for an easy, but impressively dynamic, appetizer.
GET THE RECIPE: Chickpea Crackers with Chunky Tapenade
Spelt is an ancient cereal grain. While it’s in the wheat family, spelt is distinctly different than wheat in many aspects. In fact, for those with sensitivities to wheat, spelt can be significantly easier to digest. That said, spelt flour acts similarly to wheat flour in many cooking applications, so it’s easy to experiment with this flour when making your favorite recipes. And because spelt flour is generally always milled using the whole spelt grain, it’s a great way to get some whole-grain goodness while simultaneously bringing a pleasantly bittersweet, nutty flavor to baked goods.
If you’re new to using spelt and looking to swap it in for all-purpose flour (as with all whole-grain flours), you may want to work it into recipes incrementally as you become acquainted with its hearty flavor and toothsome character. I mean, no one wants to be turned off of a flour they just bought an entire bag of and ruin their most cherished family dinner roll recipe all in one bite, right?
This cereal grain-based flour does contain gluten, but it’s important to note that the gluten present in spelt flour is not as resistant as that found in wheat based flours. Because it breaks down more easily, it’s exceptionally important to avoid over-mixing baked goods made with spelt flour. Unless, of course, you’re trying to buy a one-way ticket to hockey puck city; in which case, have at it.
If you’re ready to dive head-first into a relationship with spelt flour, congratulations! This is an exciting time! This flour will bring such strong, wholesomely comforting flavor/texture personality into your life. It’ll feel nourishing an robustly satisfying—especially if you welcome spelt in with a dish that provides all the deeply savory and earthy complements this flour needs to shine. Might I suggest our Turkey Pot Pie with Spelt Biscuits? See, this recipe gives spelt flour the opportunity to impress in both the biscuit topping and the pot pie’s gravy. In both applications, spelt flour delivers brawny whole-grain sweetness that jives really well with the umami-rich mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and turkey (though, you could definitely sub chicken too) in this soul-warming pot pie. It’s like a snuggly bear hug baked in an 8×8-inch dish.
GET THE RECIPE: Hearty Turkey Pot Pie with Spelt Biscuits
Milled from rye, which is closely related to wheat and barley, but technically falls into a classification known as “true grass,” rye flour is lower in gluten and typically richer in many of the nutrients that are processed out wheat flour. Rye is a noticeably dark and heavy flour, and because of its relatively low gluten content, it is generally paired with another higher-protein flour in applications like bread baking so that a nice rise is possible and the final product is not overly dense.
This whole-grain flour has a strong and distinctive grainy flavor that’s most commonly appreciated in bread products, but can also make a deliciously intriguing addition to sweeter recipes, like pies and scones. There are several types of rye flour—including white rye, cream rye, dark rye, and pumpernickel—but the most common variety for home bakers is medium rye flour.
We originally reached for medium rye flour in developing this Cheesy Rye Pizza, but found ourselves really wanting more rye flavor. See, the thing about rye is that all of its hearty, bittersweet notes pair exceptionally well with cheese. And given the amount of salty, rich cheese going on with this white pie, dark rye flour ended up being exactly what was needed to form a true palate-pleasing power couple.
Get the Recipe: Cheesy Rye Pizza
Oat flour is made from ground whole-grain oats and is popularly used to replace or partially replace wheat flour in recipes to provide a nutritional boost. *As long as it’s made from certified gluten-free oats, oat flour is a gluten-free flour.
Beyond health perks, oat flour can contribute a wonderfully earthy sweetness and chewiness to all kinds of baked goods. (Just think about all of the things you love about oatmeal cookies.) Plus, it’s a whole-grain flour you can easily make yourself simply by buzzing oats in the food processor until you reach a flour-like consistency. Because oats are already a familiar pantry staple in many homes, oat flour is an easy-to-embrace alternative flour.
In these oat-tastic muffins, we take oat flour’s inherent warming toastiness one step further by literally toasting the flour in the oven before incorporating it into the batter. You can skip this step if you really want, but given the depth it provides to these wholesome prune-studded muffins, I’d humbly ask you to reconsider. Topped with a brown sugary oat streusel, these Toasted Oat-Prune Muffins make it easy to see why oat flour deserves a place in your kitchen.
GET THE RECIPE: Toasted Oat and Prune Breakfast Muffins
How To Make Oat Flour
How to Make Oat Flour ~ simple instructions for making your own homemade naturally gluten free oat flour, it takes just seconds! Use it alone or in combination with other flours to give added flavor, a nutritional boost, and an extra tender crumb to your baking recipes.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about oat flour since I posted my Apple Cider Doughnut Cake, where I use oat flour in addition to all-purpose flour in the recipe. Many of you have never heard of oat flour, and don’t know where to find it. So let’s dive deep, you’ll be an expert by the end of the post ~
What is oat flour?
Oat flour is a whole grain flour made from oats. It’s naturally gluten free, and full of flavor and nutrition. Oat flour has a silky texture and a subtle ‘oaty’ flavor which I love. It is similar to wheat flour except that it doesn’t contain any gluten. It’s a very healthy product, with more protein and fiber than regular flour. It’s lower in carbs, too. Basically oat flour has all the nutritional benefits of oatmeal.
Where can I find oat flour?
You can buy oat flour in most large supermarkets, health food or specialty stores, and chains like Trader Joe’s. My favorite brands are Bob’s Red Mill and Arrowhead Mills, both of which you can find online as well. Look for it with the regular flour, or in the health food section of the market. If you’d like to buy it in bulk, just keep the unopened packages in the freezer.
Why do I use oat flour in some of my recipes?
I’ve discovered that a combination of regular all purpose flour with oat flour results in the perfect crumb and a lovely flavor, along with an extra nutrition boost from the whole grain oats. Oat flour generally adds moisure and a fluffier texture to recipes. I like to use it in cakes, shortbread, pancakes, cornbread, etc., and I love the result. I’ve listed out some of my favorite ways to use oat flour under the recipe card, below.
How to make your own flour from plain oats ~
If you’re interested, it’s super easy to make your own oat flour. You’ll need a food processor or a good blender, and oats, that’s it! You use raw oats, any type, and process for a few seconds until they turn into a fine powder. Voila ~ oat flour!
You can use a food processor like the Cuisinart, left…Or you can use a high speed blender like Vitamix, which is my choice for grinding flours because it pulverizes any grain in seconds and creates a super fine texture. Vitamix makes a special dry grains container for grinding ingredients like grains, or nuts, etc., above. If you’re going to invest in a Vitamix it’s smart to buy one that comes with this extra feature. You can also buy it separately.
What kind of oats do I use to make flour?
Any type of oats will work for this. You can use oat groats (the whole oat kernel,) steel cut oats, or old fashioned rolled oats. You can even use quick cooking rolled oats, if that’s all you have, although that would be my last choice because they have been processed. In other words, you can make flour out of raw oats in any form.
What can I do with my homemade oat flour?
Your homemade oat flour can be used in all sorts of recipes from pancakes and waffles, to muffins and breads, to cakes and cookies. Many recipes are formulated for oat flour, but if a recipe calls for all purpose flour you can substitute oat flour for up to 25-30% the amount of regular flour in most baking recipes. Oat flour can be used to thicken gravies, soups, and stews, too.
How to store homemade oat flour
Whole grain flours spoil quicker than processed white flour, and so I like to keep mine in the refrigerator, or even freezer for longer periods of time. Store it in a zip lock baggie, a mason jar, or other airtight container. Since it’s so easy to make, I usually make small batches so it’s always fresh.
Add to Your Recipe BoxGo to Your Recipe Box 2.91 from 98 votes How to Make Oat Flour ~ simple instructions for making your own homemade naturally gluten free oat flour, it takes just seconds! Use it alone or in combination with other flours to give added flavor, a nutritional boost, and an extra tender crumb to your baking recipes. Course diy Cuisine American Prep Time 5 minutes Total Time 1 minute
- 2 1/2 cups oats use steel cut or rolled
- Put the oats in a food processor or high speed blender. Blend until the oats become a fine powder. This will only take a few seconds in a high speed blender, and a little bit longer in a food processor.
- Store the oat flour in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
1 1/4 cup oats will yield approximately 1 cup flour. If you are on a gluten free diet, make sure your oats are labeled gluten free.
Some of tvfgi recipes that use oat flour ~
Irish Oatmeal Soda Bread
Apple Cider Doughnut Cake
Scottish Lemon Sugar Shortbread
Quick Whole Grain Oat Rolls
Best Blueberry Cornbread
Oat Flour Vs. Wheat Flour
One thing we’ll always be thankful for—bakeries. There’s few things as enjoyable as stepping inside a local shop, taking a deep breath, and inhaling the sweet, rich scent of breads, cookies, and pastries. Just thinking about it is enough to get the mouth watering. But with so many options you can choose from to take home—hence, the idea of a “baker’s dozen”—there are just as many choices of flours.
All dough essentially starts out as raw flour, which is the result of finely grinding up wheat. As diets and resources have evolved over the years, other grains, like oats, have been used to make new kinds of flours that can be used in various ways for different results and different diet restrictions. Here we compare the more traditional wheat flour and its contemporary, oat flour.
More about wheat flour
Wheat flour is made when wheat kernels are ground into a fine powder. Standard wheat flour has essential macronutrients and micronutrients that the body needs, like:
- Carbohydrates, a macronutrient, which the body needs a good amount of for usable energy
- Protein, another macronutrient that is the building block of human skin, hair, nails, muscles, and tissues, and is essential for proper function. Wheat flour has more protein than highly-processed white flour.
- B vitamins, which are micronutrients, that help convert food to energy and promote better metabolism
- Lignans, antioxidants which may help support the immune system and regulate hormones. Lignans also have soluble and insoluble fiber to aid in digestion. Soluble fiber takes longer to digest and keeps the stomach feeling fuller for longer amounts of time; insoluble fiber moves through the intestines more quickly, helping keep the digestive system regular and preventing constipation.
On the flipside, wheat flour also contains gluten, and not everyone can eat gluten. In fact, about 1 in 133 people has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder where a reaction to gluten damages the intestines. Gluten sensitives are also abundant, and may cause a number of uncomfortable digestive issues. Still others voluntarily cut gluten from their diets as a personal preference, choosing alternatives like oat flour or almond flour.
What is wheat flour good for?
Wheat flour’s increased amounts of protein keep it from rising or spreading, so it’s not an ideal choice for leavened products like bread or cakes that would require a mix of wheat and white flours to rise. But it’s perfectly fine for making flatbreads and pita products.
Types of wheat flour
There are two types of wheat flour: red and white. While nutritionally similar, they taste very different, and can be used to change the flavor profile of baked goods.
Red wheat flour
Red wheat flour is hearty and heavy. It’s also more bitter, getting its flavor from tannins and phenolic acid. The bitterness is worth it, though since tannins have been linked in some studies to increased metabolism and can help protein digestion, and phenolic acid is thought to protect against stroke and coronary heart disease.
White wheat flour
White wheat flour doesn’t have the tannins or phenolic acid of red wheat. What it lacks in color it also lacks in bitter flavor, though, making white wheat naturally sweeter. That means baked goods made with white wheat need fewer sweeteners to taste good.
Where is wheat flour on the food pyramid?
Wheat falls under the grain category, but only some wheat flours are whole grains. Whole grains always have three parts, each with its own nutritional value:
- The bran. This is the skin of the grain kernel. Packed with fiber and B vitamins, the bran is insoluble, so it helps prevent constipation. The bran can be sold separately and used as a breakfast cereal, or as a healthy additive to get more nutrients into recipes.
- The germ. The germ often gets a bad rap. It’s the fattiest part of the grain kernel, so it’s often discarded during milling. Despite the fat, it’s a great source of iron, and has more protein and B vitamins to offer. Whole grains keep the germ, making them healthier options than their refined counterparts.
- The endosperm. The endosperm is where most of the ground flour comes from. It’s packed with carbohydrates, iron, and protein, and even very refined flours, like white flours, keep this part of the kernel.
All three parts are needed for wheat to be considered a whole grain. Each section holds vital nutrients that keep the body going. Cutting away a portion of the kernel makes the flour less nutritious. Whole wheat flour uses the whole kernel and keeps these nutrients intact, while regular wheat flour just uses the endosperm.
Benefits of wheat flour
Wheat flour is very easy to come by, with virtually no effort needed on the shopper’s part to find it. It’s widely available at almost all grocery stores, so there’s no need to scour the Internet for a specialized ingredient.
More about oat flour
As the name suggests, oat flour is made from grinding up oats instead of traditional wheat. Oat flour is a little harder to find, and can usually be sought out in health food shops and specialty stores. It has virtually all the same nutrients as wheat flour.
The Whole Grains Council states that oats also have the following extra nutrients and benefits that give them a healthy boost over wheat flour:
- Increase in Peptide Y-Y. Diets of whole grains, like oats, are shown to increase the appetite-controlling substance Peptide Y-Y. This is the chemical that tells the brain the stomach is full and signals the body to stop eating. More Peptide Y-Y can mean that you feel fuller faster.
- Whole grains like oats have been studied for their ability to control blood pressure and lower bad cholesterol.
- Whole grains like oats also are seen to help Improve insulin sensitivity because it takes longer for the body to digest them, mitigating blood sugar spikes.
What is oat flour good for?
Since oat flour is generally gluten-free, it won’t make leavened products without a little help. It can be combined with other flours however, like whole wheat flour, to make baked goods rise. Oat flour differs from wheat flour in other ways, too:
- Stays fresh longer
- Retains more moisture
- May feel heavier
- Is more crumbly, which is why many use it to spread over fruit crisps
Where is oat flour on the food pyramid?
Oats are always whole grains, meaning the bran, germ, and endosperm are all intact. Eating the full oat kernel gives a beneficial boost of nutrition.
Benefits of oat flour
Oat flour shares many of the nutritional benefits of wheat flour, while tasting a bit nuttier and being mostly gluten-free (oats are gluten-free themselves, but can be cross-contaminated with products that contain gluten during the milling process). Therefore, it’s best to check the labels to make sure oats are processed in a completely gluten-free facility to prevent contamination.
A final note on oat flour and wheat flour
Choosing which flour to eat depends on each person’s needs. A person with celiac disease should avoid wheat flour and stick to the oats. Or, substitute in other gluten-free flours, like potato flour or almond flour. After all, having a gluten allergy doesn’t mean people can’t enjoy the food they eat. Gluten-free baked goods can be just as delicious, filling, and easy to make as their gluten-containing counterparts.
On the other hand, people who are choosing not to eat gluten can dabble with wheat flour when they need dough to rise. Some people prefer the lighter, less-crumbly texture of doughs made from wheat flour.
It’s really up to each baker to determine what their needs are for a given dish. With all the different types of flour available and with new recipes published online almost daily, it’s impossible not to find new types to try.
Cooking with oat flour
Feeling inspired to try out some alternative types of flour and grains? Give these recipes a try!
Olive Oil Granola Bark
This delightful dish takes oats and puts them center-stage. A great alternative to boxed breakfast cereal, this dish blends sweet coconut, hearty oats, and nutty almonds together with maple syrup. The result is a crunchy, naturally sweet cereal bar sure to make mornings even better.
Tahini Granola Breakfast Cookies
Another fun breakfast alternative to try. Stick with superstar whole grain oats to make these cookies that get the day started right with a boost of protein and a bit of natural sugar from raw honey. Pair with a smoothie to get even more superfoods in your system.
Blueberry Muffins with a Warm Jam Center
Try grinding up oats at home to make an in-house oat flour with a thicker texture. Also spicy with a bit of sweetness, these muffins are great for a morning meal or an afternoon snack—because oats are nutritious no matter what time it is.
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What is Oat Flour?
Changing trends in the way we eat mean that oat flour is making a comeback. Made by grinding whole oat groats into powder, this gluten-free flour can be purchased pre-ground or made right at home. Oats are full of nutrients like magnesium and zinc, and have other healthy plant compounds that deliver high levels of antioxidants. Since oat flour is gluten-free, it can’t always be used in place of all-purpose flour, but you can substitute it for other gluten-free flours like almond flour. Or, swap it for up to ¼ of the flour in a bread recipe – just make sure to increase the yeast a little to help it rise.
How is Oat Flour Different from Oatmeal?
Oatmeal and oat flour are identical in nutritional makeup and flavor because they’re made from the same initial ingredient: whole oat groats. The main difference between meal and flour, though, is how finely the original ingredient has been ground. Meal is coarser and has more texture, while flour is pure powder. If you put steel cut oats next to oat flour, you’ll be able to see this difference clearly.
How to Bake with Oat Flour
Oat flour can be used in place of other flours in a lot of recipes, but as each flour has its own set of characteristics there are some helpful tips to ensure you get the most out of each. Here’s how to best use oat flour:
In traditional baking, a little oat flour can be useful when kneading whole wheat bread dough. It will prevent sticking, like regular flour does, but unlike regular flour it won’t make the dough hard if you accidentally add too much.
To lighten the texture of notoriously heavy baked goods like zucchini bread and bran muffins, reduce your main flour by 25% and add oat flour in its place. This works whether your primary flour is traditional or gluten-free.
Use oat flour in gluten-free white or yellow cake. Doing so will help you achieve that light, fluffy texture that makes cake so irresistible.
Make oatmeal cookies with some oat flour thrown in. This will increase the chewy, thick texture that makes them so distinctive.
How to Cook Whole Oat Groats
If you have whole oat groats, you have a couple of options on how to use them. First, you can make them into oat flour, with these simple steps:
Put groats into a blender or food processor.
Blend or process until you’ve achieved your desired texture. (You could also make oatmeal this way).
Store the flour in the refrigerator or freezer. The higher fat content of oat flour makes it susceptible to going rancid.
Bring the flour to room temperature before you use it.
The other option is to cook whole oat groats as its own meal. Cooked oat groats can make a lovely rice substitute or, more traditionally, can be eaten as a delicious and nutrient-dense breakfast dish. Here’s how to cook them:
1 cup whole oat groats
3 cups water
¼ tsp sea salt
Bring all ingredients to a boil.
Cover the pot.
Turn heat down to a simmer (medium-low) for 50 minutes to an hour.
Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 minutes before serving.
Health Benefits of Oat Flour
Not only is oat flour packed with antioxidants, it also has more protein and fat than most traditional flours, and up to 8g of fiber per half-cup serving. One half-cup serving of oat flour contains:
191% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of manganese
41% of the RDI of phosphorus
20% of the RDI of zinc
34% of the RDI of magnesium
B-vitamins such as B1, B5, B6, and B3
Given that all this goodness comes in at just 303 calories, oat flour is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can consume.
Oat Flour Recipes
Below are some recipes that are perfect for oat flour. Some specifically call for oat flour, while others call for almond flour, but substitution shouldn’t be a problem.
Chia Quinoa Donuts
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Lemon Buttermilk Scones
Also check out rolled oats and whole grain oats.
These days, baking recipes call for all types of flours. And though it may seem like no big deal to swap in what you have on hand, different flours can vary to pretty extreme amounts. Recipes will be written to account for the specific flavor, texture, and absorbency of the flours used, so changing a recipe will often have a drastic effect. Here is our guide to substituting flours, plus their weights per cup to help you do so. Happy baking!
A note on substitutions: There are all kinds of reasons you may want to substitute out a certain flour – you may be looking to boost nutritional value, achieve a different flavor profile, be baking for someone with a gluten intolerance, or simply don’t have a specific flour on hand! Many chefs and bakers have experimented with substituting in flours, and your results at home will vary based on the recipe and your desired results. Trial and error is your best strategy! We’ve listed some common suggestions for subs.
What It Is
Wheat grains are seeds that contain three parts – the germ, bran, and endosperm. When processed, white flour is stripped of the bran and germ, leaving behind the fine, pale endosperm. While this does it mean it won’t go rancid as quickly as whole wheat flour, it doesn’t have as much flavor and you’ll miss out on the nutrition from the fiber and protein in the bran and germ.
When to Use It
If you only have one kind of flour in your kitchen, choose this one – they don’t call it all-purpose for nothing! Most recipes for cookies, bread, pie dough, and other baked goods will call for it. It’s high levels of gluten will create more structure and elasticity in your baked goods, so it’s a good choice for situations where you need the dough to be a little more resilient.
What You Can Substitute it With
For each cup of all-purpose flour, try:
1/3 cup whole wheat flour plus 2/3 cup white flour
3/4 cup coarse cornmeal
3/4 cup rice flour
1.5 cups oat flour
Recipes to Try
- Cardamom Persimmon Cookies with Olive Oil Chocolate Ganache by Betty Liu
- Arbequina Chocolate Brownies
- Cinnamon Pecan Mini Tarts
In contrast to white flour, whole wheat flour is made by processing the whole kernel of the wheat grain – bran, germ and endosperm. This makes it higher in dietary fiber than white flour and gives it that darker color and nuttier flavor. White it has a bit more protein, it actually contains less gluten. This is why breads with 100% whole wheat flour are generally denser in structure.
In recipes, you’ll most likely see whole wheat flour called for in combination with all-purpose flour for heartier breads, or cookies and muffins with higher nutritional value.
Be careful substituting whole wheat flour – it’s high protein content means it absorbs more liquid than other low-protein flours. You can generally substitute up to 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour with oat flour. Or, for 1 cup of whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup can be subbed with all-purpose flour. More than that and you’ll likely have to adjust the ratio of dry to wet ingredients.
- Pumpkin Streusel Bread
- Almond Cranberry Chocolate Chip Quick Bread
- Citrus Olive Oil Cake from Cooke & Kate
Sometimes called cake flour, pastry flour is milled from a soft wheat, but has less protein and a finer texture. This also means less gluten development, and it’s designed for use with leavening agents – baking soda and baking powder.
Less elasticity from the lower protein/gluten content means pastry flour is best for baked goods like quick breads (not yeast breads), biscuits, cookies, pie dough, and pancakes. The final product will be crumbly and tender rather than fluffy and airy.
The Kitchn has this recommendation for replacing pastry flour with all-purpose flour: take 2 tablespoons of every cup of all-purpose flour and replace it with 2 tablespoons of corn starch. (Sift the flour mix for best results!) Cake flour is also similar to pastry flour, and can often be used as a substitute.
- Arbequina Gingerbread Cake by Nik Sharma
- Olive Oil Rosemary Muffins
- Orange Almond Olive Oil Cake
Despite the name, buckwheat flour is not a variety of wheat, and is naturally gluten-free. It’s almost blue in color and has a rich, nutty flavor. You may know it from soba noodles, in which it’s the main ingredient. It’s an incredibly versatile and nutrient-dense flour, supplying all your essential amino acids.
Use buckwheat flour for pancakes or crepes, crackers, noodles, and dense cakes, rather than breads and baked goods. Take note that this flour absorbs a lot of water!
If you want to maintain some sense of distinct flavor, try using equal amounts of quinoa or spelt flour instead of buckwheat, though note that it may change the level of moisture. Flours like oat, barley, rice, or corn may also be fine substitutes, though note that recipes may have adjusted the leavening for use with buckwheat – be open to experiment!
- Buckwheat Banana Cake with Yogurt Espresso Frosting from Bon Appetit
- Carrot and Rosemary Cake with Labneh Frosting from goop
- Whole Grain Mediterranean Pie Crust from NYT Cooking
Oat flour is made by simply grinding oats! The result is a superfine, fluffy, and sweet flour that will make baked goods chewier and crumblier. It will give baked goods more flavor than those made with all-purpose – it’s a great entry into whole grain flour. And as an added bonus, it’s gluten-free! (Though you will need to make sure it was made from certified gluten-free oats if you’re baking for someone with Celiac’s or a serious gluten allergy.)
When combined with wheat flour, oat flour makes a wonderful whole wheat bread. It is often used as a gluten-free substitute in make cookies, quick breads, and muffins as well.
If you have oats on hand, you can easily make your own oat flour by grinding rolled or quick-cooking oats in a food processor. If you have neither on hand, try using a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat flour instead.
- Olive Oil + Dark Chocolate Chunk Bread with Pears from Dolly and Oatmeal
- Vanilla Almond Butter Bread from Heartbeet Kitchen
- Olive Oil Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Food52
Rye is a grain, though not a wheat variety. As a flour, it can be described as tangy and gummy. It’s low in gluten and high in nutrients – it retains much of the bran when processed, which is where the protein and fiber is stored.
You can use rye flour in breads, though start with a smaller ratio of rye-to-wheat flour when starting out. Besides the obvious rye sandwich bread, rye can also be used in sweet bread and cookies – it pairs well with chocolate.
If a recipe calls for a small amount of rye flour, you can most likely leave it out and make up the different with wheat flour. There’s is really no substitute, however, to get that rye flavor in a bread!
- Chocolate and Olive Oil Ice Cream Sandwiches from Food52
- Chewy Semolina Rye Bread from King Arthur Flour
- Chocolate Rye Crumb Cake from Bon Appetit
An ancient grain and distant relative of durum wheat, spelt is growing in popularity. It’s nutritional profile beats out that of traditional wheat flour, and has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It’s relatively easy to work with, and many with a sensitivity to other wheat products find they can more easily digest spelt.
Breads, pizza crusts, cookies, pasta… there is lots you can do with spelt flour! It can generally be used in place of whole wheat flour, though it’ll probably require less liquid.
The easiest substitution for spelt flour would be simple whole wheat flour or even a combination of white and whole wheat.
- Spelt Cake with Caramelized Apples
- Olive Oil Spelt Cake from Martha Stewart
- Citrus and Vanilla Olive Oil Spelt Cake with Rose from Gather and Feast
Looking for more tips on subbing extra virgin olive oil into your baking recipes? Check out our tips here.
Coconut, known as “the tree of life” in the Philippines, “the tree which provides all the necessities of life” in Sanskrit, and “the tree of a thousand uses” in Malaysian, has become quite popular in the Western diet in the past decade. These names reflect the fact that almost every part of the coconut palm can be used by humans in some manner.
Coconut flour, which is naturally gluten free, is one of the many uses of coconut surging in popularity.
More people who follow the glutenfree diet are choosing coconut flour over other gluten-free flours because of its health benefits. Unlike nut flours, coconut flour contains little fat and no phytic acid, which reduces the absorption of minerals. It has the highest fiber of any “flour,” is low in net carbohydrates, with most coming from indigestible fiber, is low on the glycemic index and is high in protein, containing about the same amount as whole wheat flour.
Coconut flour, as well as almond flour and meal, are mainstays in the Paleo diet, which doesn’t allow any grains and as a result is naturally gluten free. In addition to prohibiting wheat flour, the Paleo diet also excludes gluten-free flours including rice, corn, soy, quinoa, amaranth and teff. Coconut flour is used a bit more often in Paleo recipes because it is less expensive than almond flour and contains more nutrients, as well as being lower in calories and fat and higher in fiber and protein. In addition, almond flour contains high quantities of phytic acid.
Still, many Paleo recipes call for a combination of coconut and almond flour in baked items because coconut flour alone does not work as well as when it is paired with another flour.
What to look for
Coconut flour is produced in a few ways, but the most common method is to grind the dried and defatted flesh of coconuts into a fine powder. Some brands use a toasted version resulting in golden-colored flour while others use little to no heat in the process, which produces slightly off-white flour. Because coconut flour is made in a variety of ways, each brand acts differently when used in a recipe.
Choosing a brand of coconut flour for baking is a bit like finding a favorite brand of coffee beans or dark chocolate. It takes some time, some investigation and some experimentation on your own.
Good-quality flour has a sweet, coconut scent and a smooth, but not overly fine, consistency. Although some lumps are to be expected and should be sifted out before baking, overly lumpy and coarse flours are of poor quality and will affect the end result when baking. More than with other flours, recipe results vary widely depending on the brand you use. I’ve tried and had good results with Let’s Do…Organic, Nutiva and Coconut Secret.
Let’s Do…Organic is a bit coarser ground than other brands and therefore absorbs a little less liquid. As result, you can use a bit more of the flour in a recipe and a bit less of the liquid ingredients. Nutiva coconut flour is always consistently ground — slightly coarse but not too fine — and has worked well in every recipe in which I’ve used it. It also has the lowest calorie count I’ve found.
Coconut Secret is the only brand that uses a heat-free method to make its flour, and the company calls it a raw flour. Because it is processed under cool conditions, this flour is lighter in color than all the other brands. It is also a bit clumpy and must be sifted before using. Still, I like using this flour in cakes and muffins because it gives consistent results.
Baking with coconut flour
When you delve into gluten-free cooking, coconut flour alone may not be the best choice for your first few tries. It is a bit trickier to use because it absorbs so much liquid, and recipes that you already have will be difficult to convert. Instead it’s best to use recipes specifically made for coconut flour or coconut and another flour.
Cup-for-cup flour blends that replace wheat flour in recipes in the exact same amount are the easiest choice for gluten-free beginners, but most do not contain coconut flour. A few that do include Gluten Free Mama and Wilderness Family Naturals coconut flour blends.
Gluten Free Mama Coconut Blend combines white rice, tapioca, coconut blend and sweet rice flours and potato starch. The company says it can be used as a cup-for-cup alternative in recipes due to the combination. Gluten-Free Mama also makes an almond blend flour.
Wilderness Family Naturals Blend combines coconut, sorghum and almond flours and tapioca root. The company says it can be used for all types of baked goods, including pancakes, muffins, quick breads and raised breads. These blends can be a good way to start using coconut flour in your baking before trying to combine coconut and other flours on your own or making a complete switch to coconut and almond flours.
Gluten-free recipes often pair coconut flour with almond flour to create baked goods that don’t crumble. Coconut flour can be either the main ingredient or have a supporting role to the almond flour. Pairing the dense and less-absorbent almond flour with the somewhat fluffier and very absorbent coconut flour creates a texture similar to wheat flour, a consistency desired by many gluten-free bakers.
You can also use other nut flours in combination with coconut flour. These include hazelnut, cashew and macadamia nut, all of which can be made easily by grinding the nuts into a fine crumb in a food processor. This is where experimentation comes in. As you begin to learn which combination of flours paired in different quantities affects the outcome of the final product and, ultimately, its texture, you will master cooking with coconut flour.
Coconut flour’s tropical flavor profile works best in baking and dessert recipes, although it can be used as a batter and also to thicken sauces and gravies. The subtle coconut flavor works very well with sweet flavors, so it’s suited to batter shrimp or seafood but would be less pleasing in a savory dish such as beef stew. In baking, coconut flour makes lovely cakes, quick breads, muffins, cupcakes and biscuits, but can lead to softer-textured cookies and pie crusts. Because it is usually very dense and filling, it creates the best texture in layer cakes and quick breads, I have found.
I’ve worked with coconut flour a lot and have learned it is not the most forgiving flour and cannot be subbed in for wheat flour easily, if at all. In baked goods you can’t substitute coconut flour one to one for any other flour called for in the recipe. In fact, most recipes can only accommodate the addition of about 10 to 15 percent coconut flour for other flours without changing every other aspect of the recipe. If you have a favorite recipe to which you are looking to add coconut flour, it may actually be better to find a similar recipe that already contains coconut flour online or in a cookbook and experiment from there.
When using coconut as the main flour in a baking recipe, the first thing you may notice is how little you will actually need. While you might usually use up to two cups of regular gluten-free flour, you will only need two-thirds of a cup of coconut flour. Most recipes that call for coconut flour will also call for another flour to lighten the “crumb” or texture of the final product. I have found that arrowroot or tapioca flour in a one-to-one ratio with the coconut flour produces the best consistency. That means that if you use one cup of coconut flour, you should also use one cup of arrowroot or tapioca flour. Some experimentation is required depending on whether you are making a cake, cookie, muffin, etc.
Another thing to consider is the liquid added to the recipe. A good rule of thumb is to use the same amount of liquid as there is coconut flour, so for one-quarter cup of coconut flour, be sure to use one-quarter cup of liquid.
Role of eggs
Eggs also play a critical role in baking with coconut flour because they are needed to bind ingredients. It’s not unusual to find coconut flour recipes with a half-dozen eggs. I’m often asked if you really need all those eggs and the answer is, it depends. If there are no sticky binding ingredients in your recipe such as dates, syrups or binding agents such as psyllium husk or ground flax, the only thing that can hold your finished product together is the eggs.
You may be able to get away with fewer eggs depending on the nature of the baked good. For example, cookies don’t need to be held together quite as much as muffins or cakes. Most cake made with coconut flour, even when paired with arrowroot, tapioca or almond flours, will need about nine eggs to hold it together. This can be quite a shock to the average baker.
And it can raise health questions about cholesterol since eggs have long been considered a significant source. But eggs are making a bit of a comeback. A solid body of research shows that for most people, cholesterol in food has a much smaller effect on blood levels of total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol than does the mix of fats in the diet, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Recent research has shown that moderate egg consumption— up to one a day—does not increase heart disease risk in healthy individuals and can be part of a healthy diet. Like all gluten-free baked goods, those made with coconut flour and eggs should be seen as a treat and eaten only in moderation.
Coconut oil, also in the health and wellness news quite a bit lately, pairs very well with coconut flour, being that they come from the same source. But they are not mutually exclusive, and coconut flour also works well with butter. (See below for more information about coconut oil)
The end result
If you are used to using gluten-free flours and blends, welcoming coconut flour into your roster should not be too difficult. Keep in mind it is much more absorbent than most other flours, has a slight coconut flavor, and needs many eggs to bind it together. But you will enjoy both health and taste benefits by adding coconut flour to your gluten-free baking repertoire.
Elizabeth Nyland grew up on Vancouver Island, on the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada, enjoying all the natural bounty her hunter/fisher/gardener parents could provide. She writes about food on her blog, guiltykitchen.com, and is the author of Cooking with Coconut Oil: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Recipes for Good Living. She and her husband and two young children enjoy the gluten-free lifestyle.
Tips for baking with coconut flour
• For every ounce of coconut flour called for in a recipe, use one large egg.
• If you use less than the recommended amount of eggs, you will need binders such as flax seed, xanthan or guar gum.
• You may need additional liquid because of the high fiber content.
• Think of coconut flour as being “concentrated.” You need very little for a full recipe.
• Always sift coconut flour before using and never pack it into measuring cups. Use the spoon and sweep method popular with most baking recipes.
• Coconut flour recipes need to sit for 1-3 minutes after the wet and dry ingredients are mixed to allow the coconut flour to fully absorb the liquids.
Phytic acid is produced in certain grains, nuts, seeds and beans. When ingested, phytic acid (also known as phytate) binds to certain minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium and manganese in the gastrointestinal tract, reducing its absorption into the body. Soaking, sprouting and fermenting can help to prevent this.
Coconut oil is the fat pressed from the flesh of fresh coconuts. Almost all of the fat in coconut oil is saturated, making it highly stable for cooking and baking. Most of the saturated fat in coconut oil comes from lauric acid, which is found in abundance mainly in human breast milk. Lauric acid is anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Coconut oil is also high in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which the body and brain convert to fuel almost as soon as ingested.
High-Protein Lemon Coconut Poppy Seed Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
• ¾ cup coconut flour
• ½ teaspoon sea salt
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• ¼ cup poppy seeds
• ¼ cup cacao nibs
• 7 eggs
• Zest & juice of one Meyer lemon
• 1⁄3 cup coconut oil, melted
• ½ cup agave or maple syrup
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• ½ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
• Shredded coconut to garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 12-muffin tin.
In bowl, mix all dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and stir to combine.
Evenly portion out the batter into muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and continue to cool on cooling rack.
Nutrition Analysis: 220 cal, 14 g fat, 95 mg chol, 150 mg sodium, 17 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 7 g protein.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Cooking with Coconut Oil by Elizabeth Nyland (The Countryman Press, 2014)
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Can I use your baking mix and THM Baking Blend interchangeably?
In small amounts (up to 4 T), yes, generally. In larger amounts, use a little less of my baking mix than the THM Baking Blend called for. My mix is a little drier than Baking Blend so not as much is needed. Check out my baking mix recipe page for more details. You can check the comments on that post for suggestions about THM Baking Blend recipes that work well with my baking mix. Here is a list of my recipes that I have tested with my Baking Mix.
Are oat flour and oat fiber the same thing?
In a word, no. Oat flour is ground-up oats (you can do this in a good blender or coffee grinder) and thus a carb source. Oat fiber has no carbs or fats and can be purchased online. Not all brands are created equally, and some have a much lighter taste and texture than others. I like to buy LifeSource brand from Netrition, but Trim Healthy Mama carries a gluten free product. Oat flour and oat fiber are very different in texture, so they are not a 1:1 substitution. to read about the differences between oat flour and oat fiber in more detail.
Can I substitute another sweetener for the sweetener you have listed in the recipe?
Probably. Some recipes specifically call for a granulated sweetener for bulking purposes, and as I noted below, I don’t recommend using pure stevia alone to sweeten chocolate recipes. You can check out this sweetener conversion chart for help converting between sweeteners. My favorite all purpose sweetener is THM Super Sweet Blend (I use it for baking). Pure Stevia Extract Powder is more concentrated and therefore more economical, so I use that where I can (it works great in my ice cream recipes! I use it in certain baked goods, and sometimes I use it in conjunction with THM Super Sweet Blend for best flavor.). Truvia (can be purchased at Walmart and Sam’s Club) and THM Gentle Sweet are also great sweeteners that I’ve used. THM Gentle Sweet is a tasty sweetener blend that measures more like Truvia, is already in a powdered form, and tastes just like sugar (it’s great for sweetening chocolate recipes!). Xylitol is a good sweetener that measures basically like sugar, but it doesn’t like everyone’s digestive tracts and can cause gas and bloating so start with small amounts and work your way up to see how it affects you and let your body adjust. I don’t like the flavor of erythritol, so I rarely use it.
What flour can I substitute for the ones you used?
First off, check out my Baking Mix recipe! It’s so handy to have a blend of flours already made. Most recipes made with alternative flours do best when a blend of flours is used.
That is a loaded question. The best advice I can give you when it comes to substituting flours is to not substitute unless you’re pretty savvy with alternative baking. Different flours soak up different amounts of liquid and have different properties that you have to work around. If you don’t have the flours I used, you’ll have to do a little experimenting on your own. I’ll give you a quick synopsis of some of the flours I use:
- GOLDEN FLAX SEED MEAL (low-carb) – I grind flax seeds in my coffee grinder. The golden flax tastes better than the dark flax. Flax flour is cheap and versatile, but use too much with no other prominent flavors to mask it and you’ll taste flax. I like to use flax flour combined with other flours so I can make use of its cheap bulk without its flavor. Too much flax flour can add an eggy texture to baked goods; it can also be used as a binder (ever heard of a “flax egg”?). Almond flour can usually work as a substitute for flax flour.
- ALMOND FLOUR (low-carb) – I use very little of this because of the price. In fact, I’ve never bought any, but I’ve been given some on a few occasions. I hoard my gifted almond flour for use in crusts because it does a great job there.
- COCONUT FLOUR (low-carb) – This is a great flour that I’ve recently started using because Sam’s Club carries it for a great price! Coconut flour is tricky to bake with as it soaks up a tremendous amount of liquid. You need much less coconut flour than either almond or flax flours. Coconut flour requires lots of “conditioners” such as eggs, sour cream/yogurt, and liquid. If you know how to use it, it works great! If you don’t…crumbly and gritty. Substitutions can be especially tricky with this flour because of these variables. Check out this article from All Day I Dream About Food about baking with coconut flour.
- OAT FIBER (low-carb, low-fat) – This flour is very fine, and I like to use it to thicken gravies and puddings. I also use it combined with other flours for baking. Like coconut flour, oat fiber soaks up a lot of liquid and your end product can be gritty if too much oat fiber is used.
- OAT FLOUR (low-fat) – Not to be confused with oat fiber, oat flour is just ground-up oats. It is not interchangeable with oat fiber because of the differences in nutritional info as well as the extreme texture differences. Things made with oat flour tend to sink on top as well as be slightly gummy, so keep that in mind when creating recipes using this flour. Oat flour makes a great cheap flour, so I’ve started using it more. Things made with oat flour can actually be fairly normal-tasting if done right.
Can glucomannan and xanthan gum be used interchangeably in your recipes?
Generally, yes. I do have slight preferences of one over the other in certain cases, so I always call for the one I prefer.
How do I convert between different brands of gelatin?
Check out this post for details.
How do I make healthy homemade ice cream?
Check out this post to get all your questions answered.
- Just experiment – I give you recipes that I have tried and can stand behind. If you have to make substitutions, you have to be responsible for your own results because I can’t test every eventuality for everyone. I can tell you where I would start experimenting, and after that it’s up to you! If you’re unfamiliar with using alternative flours and sweeteners in baking, you’ll have some flops no doubt. But that’s all part of the learning curve. It’ll come.
- Use a blend of flours – this is one of the most important things I’ve found in low-carb baking. Generally, using a blend of flours will yield the best results, texture and taste wise. I’ve formulated my own blend, which you can find the recipe for here.
- Don’t use straight stevia to sweeten chocolate things. Don’t ask me why, but it just doesn’t work very well. A granulated sweetener such as THM Gentle Sweet, Truvia, THM Super Sweet Blend, or xylitol will work better in chocolate settings. Often I use a blend of Pure Stevia Extract Powder and a granulated sweetener for cost efficiency.
- Heat makes things not as sweet. Keep this in mind as you taste batters before baking. If you got too much sweetener in it, chances are after baking and refrigeration, it’ll be edible. If you under-sweetened, better luck next time.
- As a general rule, less is more when it comes to alternative sweeteners, especially pure stevia. Start with less than you’ll need, taste, and keep adding sweetener a little bit at a time, tasting as you go. Here’s a helpful article from Gwen’s Nest about sweetening with stevia. THM Gentle Sweet is a more forgiving sweetener for those people getting used to alternative baking.
- Refrigeration overnight helps most low-carb baked goods immensely in terms of texture and taste. Don’t ask me why, but that’s just the way it is.
Important note about allergies:
I try to label my recipes with allergy information, but I’m a human and I can make mistakes! Please double check all your ingredients and recipes to make sure that they fit your own personal dietary needs. Ingredients can vary by region and what some people generally consider acceptable to a certain allergy may not be true across the board. Always, always double check and do your own research and consult with your doctor if you have any questions!
Substituting Coconut Flour for Almond Flour
By Adriana Harlan
Part of Paleo Desserts For Dummies Cheat Sheet
Coconut flour and almond flour are two of the most commonly used flours in Paleo and grain-free baking. Both these flours produce soft and tender baked goods, and each has its own unique delicious taste.
Baking with coconut or almond flour is very easy and both are great substitutes for wheat and refined white flours. Coconut flour also can be used as a substitute for almond flour in a recipe. Coconut flour can replace almond or wheat flours in any recipe.
However, when making substitutions, the properties of each of these flours have to be taken into consideration. Coconut flour is particularly absorbent and sucks up a lot of moisture. Replacing coconut flour for almond flour (or grain flours) requires that you adjust the amount of liquid and eggs added. A good starting point is to substitute 1 cup of almond flour with 1/4 cup (1 ounce) of coconut flour. You will also need to add 1 egg for every 1/4 cup of coconut flour used in addition to the eggs called for in the original recipe.
Doubling the amount of liquid in the original recipe may also be necessary, but it’s best to add the same amount the recipe calls for first and then add more as needed. If your mixture seems too dry, add more liquid until you get the right consistency, or if your batter is too wet, add more coconut flour one teaspoon at a time until you get the right consistency.
Another way of substituting coconut flour for almond or wheat flours in a recipe that doesn’t require using a large number of eggs is by adding a starch such as arrowroot or tapioca to your recipe. The starch gives baked goods made with coconut flour elasticity and structure. You can use a combination of half coconut flour and half starch, plus a few eggs and enough liquid to make tender Paleo baked goods. For instance, substitute 2 cups of almond flour with 1/2 cup coconut flour and 1/2 cup tapioca starch, 3 eggs, and 1/2 cup coconut milk as a base for your recipes.
Trust your instincts and start experimenting. Begin by making existing recipes made with coconut flour until you get a good feel for how the flour behaves; then substitute the almond flour in a recipe using your own combinations and proportions of coconut flour, starch, eggs, and liquids. Coconut flour may seem difficult to work with at first, but you can adjust the recipe as you go, and soon you’ll get the hang of baking with it.
When you first start a low-carb diet, you may feel confused with which low-carb flours to use. You may never have used any of them before and how to use them properly can be daunting.
Low-carb flours don’t behave like wheat flour, and how to use them in your old regular high-carb recipes is one of the most common questions I hear.
In this article you will learn:
- How to start using low-carb flours
- Why avoid regular wheat flours
- Why avoid gluten-free flour?
- Why avoid low-carb products?
- Low-carb flours – almond flour, coconut flour, flax meal, sunflower seed and pumpkin seed flour, psyllium husk
How to start using low-carb flours
My advice is to begin baking recipes that have already been developed using low carb flours. Most low carb flours cannot be directly substituted in your old recipes. For example, coconut flour absorbs more liquid than any other low carb flour so generally, it is used in small amounts (1/3 – 1/4 of wheat flour) and many more eggs are required.
Once you have been low-carb for a while, and really understand how to use low carb flours, you may wish to start experimenting with your old recipes using low carb flours instead, I instinctively know which recipes can be converted into a low carb one, and which ones cannot.
Why avoid regular wheat flour?
Wheat is high starch and rapidly turns into blood glucose once digested. just one piece of bread – no matter if it is whole grain, white, brown, organic, or made by some artisan baker, they will all raise your blood sugars.
If you are new here, you may wish to look at these 7 charts – how everyday foods affect our blood sugars. Just look at all these handy charts!
Why avoid gluten-free flour?
Gluten-free flours are generally ultra-processed and use rapidly absorbed starches such as tapioca starch, rice flour or corn flours. We are gluten-free here BECAUSE we are grain free, which makes us gluten-free by default.
Even if they say they are full of vitamins, give the nutrient panel a quick read, you are more than likely to find it has been fortified.
Remember, gluten-free junk is still junk. You can read the full article –
Why avoid low-carb products?
So why would you want to bake low-carb food when you can just buy them instead? Because many low-carb Products have been found to contain ingredients that are actually high-carb in disguise, highly processed and may contain wheat, gluten, and corn.
Those types of low-carb Franken foods will still spike your insulin typically higher than a snickers bar, despite the fact the products are sold as being low carb. By making your own low-carb baked goods, you can control exactly what goes in (and what doesn’t).
These are my favourite low-carb flour options you can buy to help you create your own bread and low-carb baked goods. You don’t need to be deprived of your favourite high carb foods while eating low carb.
Low-Carb Almond Flour
Almond flour is probably one of the most popular low carb flour on the list. The almonds are finely ground and blanched to remove the skins. The flour is rich in vitamins and minerals and provides the most calcium compared to any other nut.
A serving (1/4 cup or 28 grams) of almond flour has around 160 calories, 6 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fibre. Making this only 6 total carbs or 3 net carbs per serving.
Almond flour is available in supermarkets and grocery stores or can be ordered online. It can be cheaper to buy online especially when you order in bulk.
The most popular brands of almond flour:
- Honeyville Almond Flour
- Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour
- NOW Foods Almond Flour
- Anthony’s Almond Flour
- Sincerely Nuts Almond Flour
Since almond flour can go bad fast, I like to put my almond flour in the fridge or freezer after opening. Most almond flour comes in an airtight sealed bag, but you can also use an airtight container.
Related recipes: Almond and Orange Flourless Cake, Fat Head Pizza
Low-Carb Almond Meal/Ground Almonds
Almond Meal is made slightly different than almond flour. Instead of blanching the almonds to remove the skins, the skins on the almonds are kept on. It’s a little bit coarser than almond flour and still bakes the same. For baked goods, I like to use a super fine ground almond flour but I will equally use almond meal as it seems to perform just as well in most recipes, at a reduced cost.
Almond meal may also be known as ground almonds. I have been known to grind almonds using my blender to make my own almond meal, the power of your blender will dictate how fine your almond meal will become.
A serving (1/4 cup or 28 grams) of the almond meal has the same nutrition of almond flour of nearly 160 calories, 6 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fibre. Only 6 total carbs or 3 net carbs per serving.
The most popular brands of almond meal
- Honeyville Almond Meal
- Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal
- NOW Foods Almond Meal
- Anthony’s Almond Meal
- Sincerely Nuts Almond Meal
I do the same thing with almond flour and store the almond meal in the fridge or freezer after opening.
Related recipes: Grain Free KFC, Paleo lemon calamari
Low-Carb Coconut Flour
Coconut Flour has become popular these past few years and with good reason. Coconut flour is low in carbs, extremely high in fibre and protein. If you’ve been struggling to find ways to increase your fibre, then this is one low carb flour that can help you out.
The biggest difference between coconut flour and most low carb flours is that it does tend to need a lot more moisture when baking. It’s fairly common to find coconut flour recipes include 2-3 eggs per ¼ cup. If you’re new to baking with coconut flour, then I recommend not foregoing the eggs, butter or extra moisture you see in recipes.
Top Tip: Coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquid and recipes tend to thicken over a few minutes. If you are making a recipe such as low carb waffles, allow the batter to stand and thicken while the waffle machine is heating up. It will make for a sturdier waffle.
Coconut flour has nearly 45 calories per serving (a serving is 2 tbsp or 18 grams), 11 grams of total carbs, 8 grams of fibre and 4 grams of protein. This makes this flour only 2 net carbs per serving.
The most popular brands of coconut flour:
- Nutiva Coconut Flour
- Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour
- NOW Foods Coconut Flour
- Honeyville Coconut Flour
- Viva Labs Coconut Flour
Since coconut flour can easily absorb moisture, it’s important to keep coconut flour in an airtight sealed bag or container. I store mine in a cool, dark pantry. I don’t normally store it in the fridge.
Related recipes: Flourless berry sponge, Lemon bars, keto waffles
Low-Carb Ground Flax Meal
Flax meal is also known as ground flax, ground flaxseeds or linseed. Flaxseeds are very nutritious and are a good source of vitamin B1, Copper and Omega 3. What’s great about baking with flax meal is that not only can it replace flour in recipes, but it can also replace eggs in recipes.
To replace 1 egg, mix 1 tbsp ground flax meal with 3 tbsp of water and allow it to swell. This can be used to replace the eggs but it will not give to properties that eggs do. Eggs help bind the ingredients, eggs help the baking become light, fluffy and rise. Eggs help emulsify the mixture. This formula is used in many vegan recipes or those who are allergic to eggs. If a recipe is heavily based on eggs, this substitution will not work.
Ground flax has nearly 70 calories per serving (2 tbsp or 14 grams), 5 grams of total carbs, 4 grams of fibre and 3 grams of protein. This makes flax meal flour only 1 net carb per serving, and one of the best low-carb flours in terms of net carbs.
The most popular brands of ground flax meal:
- Flax USA Ground Flaxseed Meal
- Bob’s Red Mill Flax Meal
- Viva Labs Ground Flaxseed
- NOW Foods Organic Flaxseed Meal
- Spectrum Essential Organic Ground Flaxseed
Flax meal and seeds can become rancid very quickly, so it’s always good to store the flax in the fridge before and after opening. Most bags do come in an airtight bag. If not, you can use an airtight mason jar for storage. You can even freeze portions.
Related recipes: Cinnamon crunch granola, grain-free granola bars
Low-Carb Sunflower Seed or Pumpkin Seed Meal
Sunflower seed meal and pumpkin seed meal are good options for those who are allergic to almond flour or coconut flour. They are high in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, copper, thiamine, selenium, and phosphorus. They generally can be used 1:1 in place of almond flour/meal.
The downside of these is that they can be a bit more expensive than most low carb flours and hard to find. But, you can make your own sunflower or pumpkin seed meals using a sturdy food processor or coffee grinder.
The most popular brand for sunflower seed meal:
- Gerbs Allergen Friendly Foods – sunflower seed meal
- Gerbs Allergen Friendly Foods – pumpkin seed meal
Sunflower seed meal can be stored in a cool dark pantry and seems to last up to 4 months outside of the fridge.
Although psyllium husk is not flour, it is a great addition to any low carb pantry. Psyllium husk is all fibre and is used as a colon cleanser. In baking, it can to add volume and thickener to help the recipes bind together. This leaves a recipe with a great crumb-like texture.
The most popular brands for psyllium husk:
- NOW Foods Psyllium Husk
- Yerba Prime Whole Psyllium Husks
Most brands come in a bottle and can be stored in a cool pantry.
Related recipes: Low Carb Focaccia Bread, Wheat Free Crackers
LOW-CARB STARTER PACK: Need help and inspiration on how to start low-carb? Get all the resources you’ll need –
Starting a low-carb diet doesn’t have to be hard. There are ways you can use low-carb flours to enjoy some of your old favourite recipes. It might take some time to get used to low-carb eating and baking with low-carb flours, but soon enough you’ll be your own low-carb baking expert.
Take a look at the entire series of Ultimate Guides
- Ultimate Guide To Carbs In Food 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 lists
- Ultimate Guide To Carbs In Vegetables
- Ultimate Guide To Carbs In Fruit
- Ultimate Guide To Healthy Fats
- Ultimate Guide To Low Carb Sweeteners
- Ultimate Guide To Carbs In Alcohol
- Ultimate Guide To Carbs In Beige Food
- Ultimate Guide To Coconut Flour vs Almond Flour
- Ultimate Guide To Carbs In Nuts And Seeds
- Ultimate Guide To Carbs In Sauces
CARB & FOOD TRACKER: Who else wants to track their carbs the easy way? There’s even a measurement tracker for you too –