29 Alternative Flours to Best Sure Fire Your Love

photo by Vishruth Harithsa for flickr.com
photo by Vishruth Harithsa for flickr.com


29 Surefire Alternative Flours for You to Love More.

Before providing you with a comprehensive chart of alternative flours, I’d like to revisit the gluten – sugar issue.



photo by liz west for flickr.com

Lately, I find myself in an unsought after role as an educator about these two items. I repeatedly find myself in the unenviable position of having to discern if it is the proper time and place to correct people when they make incorrect assumptions such as choosing a gluten free diet to cut out sugar. As a reminder, gluten is a protein and has nothing to do with sugar content. If gluten free (GF), wheat, rye, barley and other derivatives have been removed from the product. However, if a product is wheat free it still may contain gluten. It is best to read ingredient labels to double check if a product is gluten free.

If you haven’t checked out my previous initial post on alternative flours, it might help to peruse it before checking out the list below. Do note that while they are alternative in name, some do contain varying amounts of gluten.

Type Properties


Almond Blanched almonds are ground; high fat flour adds moisture, flavor and texture to gluten free baked goods Pancakes; waffles; cookies; muffins
Amaranth Made from leafy amaranth plant; seeds are high in protein; aka Indian spinach, elephants ear; 15-18% protein; rich in iron; contains 4.29% soluable dietary fiber Pancakes; waffles; cookies; muffins
Arrowroot Ground from plant’s root; tasteless; becomes fine powder when cooked; adds body and texture to GF goods; can replace cornstarch in recipes Thickening for gravies and sauces; breading for chicken, fish and vegetables
Banana Derives from unripe green bananas that are dried and milled to create flour; has bran like taste; Thickener for soups and sauces; use 25% less banana flour than is suggested for flour in recipes
Barley Slight nutty flavor; not gluten free; processed to make malt flavoring Thicken or flavor soups and stews; cakes; biscuits; dumplings; pastries, unleavened bread
Bean Made from chickpea, garbanzo and fava beans; sweet bean flavor; tends to have a slightly bitter taste; can substitute brown rice in recipes Savory baked goods
Brown Rice Heavier than white rice flour; milled from unpolished brown rice meaning it contains the bran of the brown rice; not recommended to buy in bulk as it’s better fresh Gravies and soups
Buckwheat Not related to wheat, but rhubarb; strong nutty flavor; aka beech wheat, kasha and saracen corn; high in fiber, iron and B vitamins Pancakes; pastas; waffles; blintzes
Bulgur Considered whole grain; made by soaking and cooking whole wheat kernel, drying it and cracking remaining kernel into pieces Cereal; salad; side dishes
Chestnut Considered healthier than wheat flour as it contains more vitamin C Italian and Hungarian cake and pastry making; best when combined with foods that contain hazelnut, honey, sugar, or chocolate.
Chia Made from chia seeds; contains omega 3, fiber, calcium and protein; if used for baking, may need to increase liquid levels and/or baking time; 1:1 replacement for wheat flour Egg substitute
Chick pea flour High in protein and fiber; adds moisture and texture to recipes; may be blended with fava beans to make ‘garfava’ bean flour; aka garbanzo or gram flour  Crackers; pizza crust; bread; quick bread; thicken soups, sauces and/or gravies
Coconut Made from dried, defatted coconut meat; high in fiber; often requires additional liquid to baking recipes; short shelf life; refrigerate baked goods made with coconut flour to limit spoilage Works best in recipes with eggs
Coffee From discarded coffee cherry fruit; milled into high fiber, low fat and iron rich grain; contains more potassium than bananas; 42% more fiber than coconut flour; 38% more antioxidants than pomegranates; 3x more iron than fresh spinach  Breads, cookies, muffins, squares, brownies, pastas, sauces and beverages
Corn Bland taste—used in conjunction with other ingredients that will impact flavor Thickens soups and sauces; tempura batters
Hemp Mild, nutty flavor; requires refrigeration after being opened; unless flat bread or crackers are being made, on its own it can not be used in flour–needs to be mixed with other flours Crackers; flat bread; hemp beer
Lupin Made from same legume as peanuts so it contains the same protein that causes allergic reactions/anaphylaxis to peanut or legumes; high in protein and fiber  Replace 20-25% of regular flour with lupin; sprouts; vegetarian like products; yogurts; tofu; baked goods
Maize Ground from corn; heavier than corn flour Not interchangeblae in recipes
Millet Since it’s gluten free, not suitable for baking; nutty flavor; made from the most alkaline and easily digestible grain; rich in magnesium Cereal in Asian and African countries; thickens soups, flatbreads and griddle cakes
Oat Contains avenin, a protein similar to gluten, so it may not be suitable for those with celiac disease; absorbs liquids more than other flours so more liquid may be required Cakes; cookies
Potato Heavy flour, so a little goes a long way; not recommended to buy in bulk; short shelf life; attracts and holds water, producing moist yeast bread Pancakes; waffles; thickening sauces, gravies and soups
Potato Starch Undetectable potato flavor; best when stored in an airtight jar Thickener for sauces, soups and stews
Quinoa  Ideal for gluten free, vegan and/or vegetarian diet; pairs well with nuts, fruits and spices (e.g. cinnamon, cardamon, cumin, coriander and rosemary) Breads; pancakes; waffles
Rye Flavoured, dark flour; creates dense breads (e.g. pumpernickel); low gluten content Muffins; pancakes
Sorghum Ground from sorghum grain Porridge; flat unleavened bread
Soy High in protein and low in fat; only ¼-1/3 soy flour can be used to replace wheat flour; tenderizes baked goods; can develop ‘off’ flavors if stored at room temperature, so it should be well wrapped in fridge Muffins; bread; cakes; cookies
Soya High protein flour with nutty flavor; if not stored properly, the high fat flour can go rancid quickly Often combined with other alternative flours; flavor enhancer; thickener
Tapioca Made from cassava plant; adds chewiness to baking; resilient flour Thickener
Teff Milled from polished white rice, rich in calcium, protein, iron and fiber; very bland Ideal for light textured meals (e.g. dumplings)

A good guideline to follow for substituting gluten free flours is to use a flour of similar properties and weight. As you know, gluten free alternative flours require a lot of patience and willingness to experiment. Have you tried some of the flours on this list? How were the results? Any additional tips you would like to offer?

Sources: http://www.wheat-free.org/wheat-free-gluten-free-alternative-flours.html



About Nies, MS, RD, LD

Nikki recently moved to Dallas, TX and is currently working at Christian Care Center, an elder care community, providing nutrition assessments and evaluations to all residents. In her free time, Nikki enjoys biking or challenging herself to a chess game!

About Nies, MS, RD, LD 111 Articles

Nikki recently moved to Dallas, TX and is currently working at Christian Care Center, an elder care community, providing nutrition assessments and evaluations to all residents. In her free time, Nikki enjoys biking or challenging herself to a chess game!

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