Cauliflower crust. Corn meal muffins. Chickpea pizzas… all are examples of interesting ways to make some of your favorite foods.
Baking is a great way to create fun and nutritious meals but often gets a bad rap due to the high carb content. I mean, who doesn’t like a freshly baked loaf of bread or a muffin for the road?
All-purpose wheat flour has been a core ingredient in baked goods for years, but now people are looking for other, healthier options.
What’s wrong with all-purpose flour, you ask? Simply because of its processed nature, many of the nutrients your body needs are taken out. This makes it more difficult for your body to process foods normally, contributing to weight gain, metabolic damage, insulin resistance, and even heart disease (5).
You might think gluten-free is the next best choice, and for some it is. But did you know there are flour alternatives you may not even be aware of?
Get your apron and spoons out, because in this article we’re bringing you 13 healthy flour substitutes you can add to your pantry.
First, let’s talk about an increasing issue with using wheat in baked goods: gluten. This is a protein found in wheat and is partially responsible for what holds the dough together.
Some adopt a gluten-free diet because the proteins in wheat, rye, and barley trigger an autoimmune response, including cases like Celiac disease. For others, processed grains and gluten cause inflammation and other sensitivities (1,2).
But even if you don’t struggle with these concerns, you may be wanting to add more fiber to your baked goods. Fiber not only helps your digestive system, but it can also feed good bacteria in your gut, which in turn affects your mood, thinking, and immune system (3).
Related article: The Link Behind Gut Microbiome and Your Health (4)
13 Healthy Flour Substitutes
If you’re looking for healthy flour substitutes that are gluten-free and fiber-rich, there are several options that can help spice up your culinary creations.
Keep in mind, though, that not all alternatives will make the cut for your flour-free recipe. To prevent any major disappointments, remember that different flour substitutes will have different structural properties and may need to be adjusted accordingly. For best results, follow the directions on the back of the bag.
1. Buckwheat Flour
A seed in a class all its own, buckwheat is often used to make teas, groats, noodles, and yes — flour! Its high fiber content helps keep blood sugars level, and antioxidants help your body fight off cellular damage (10).
Buckwheat can be finicky, so start slowly when substituting for all-purpose flour.
2. Coconut Flour
Nothing says tropical paradise like fresh coconut. Made from the by-products of coconut milk, coconut flour is a sweet way to switch things up. Although slightly higher in fat, it’s also gluten-free and is an excellent source of fiber (9).
This flour alternative works best in desserts, where you’ll trade 1 cup of all-purpose flour for between ¼-1/3 cup of coconut flour.
3. Amaranth Flour
Another ancient grain that’s been around for a long time, amaranth flour is an excellent source of fiber, protein peptides, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (12).
Because amaranth flour is dense, it’s recommended to mix it 50:50 with a lighter flour with a substitute for all-purpose flour.
4. Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Flour
This hearty bean is famous for being a core ingredient in hummus. Not only is it gluten-free and a great source of protein, fiber, and iron (7), but when dried and ground it makes a fabulous flour substitute.
Note that because it retains a slightly “beany” flavor, it’s best used for more savory dishes, like pizzas or flatbreads. Swap out 1 cup of all-purpose flour for ¾ cup of chickpea flour.
5. Rice Flour
This small grain is collected and ground up to offer a lovely wheat flour substitute. High in Vitamin B, Vitamin E, iron, and zinc (15), it’s a nutritious way to enjoy delicious recipes at home.
Rice flour can be used at a 1:1 ratio for all-purpose flour.
6. Potato Flour
This starchy tuber offers a host of nutrients including short-chain fatty acids that support gut health (16). It’s naturally gluten-free and makes an excellent wheat flour substitute.
When trying potato flour, use 5/8 cups in exchange for 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
7. Cassava Flour
Similar to wheat flour, cassava flour is high in carbohydrates and low in fiber and protein (18). This hearty root has been a staple in diets for centuries but requires some processing to get it to a flour-like state.
To substitute cassava flour, add ¾ cup for every 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
8. Oat Flour
You’ve heard that oatmeal is good for you, but oat flour? Yep. Made from ground whole oats, its steady energy and high fiber content adds several perks to all your baked goods (17).
Unlike the other flour substitutes, you’ll need about 1 and 1/3 cup oat flour per 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
9. Banana Flour
Made from green, unripe, bananas, this type of flour is a great exotic substitute for all-purpose flour. While not a superhero in the protein department, banana flour is gluten-free and has a resistant starch that makes it a great source of prebiotic fiber (11).
Substitute ratios are ¾ cup of banana flour for 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
10. Millet Flour
Though more popular for being a rice substitute, millet works great for substituting flour for baked goods. With a slight, nutty flavor, this grain is similar to buckwheat in composition. Some of the nutritional highlights of this grain include fiber, protein, and healthy carbohydrates, and has higher antioxidant levels than whole-wheat flour (13).
Millet makes substituting easy with a 1:1 ratio for all-purpose flour.
11. Quinoa Flour
This ancient grain has made headlines in recent years for its alleged superfood qualities. This gluten-free seed is loaded with antioxidants, B vitamins, and other nutrients like fiber, iron, and magnesium (8). Quinoa flour is made by drying and grinding the seeds into a fine powder.
With a slightly nutty flavor, it goes great in pancakes, muffins, and waffles. You can swap out 1 cup of all-purpose flour for ½ cup of quinoa flour.
12. Sorghum Flour
This denser flour comes from a gluten-free grain called sorghum and is packed with vitamins like potassium, iron, zinc, fiber, and magnesium (14).
This flour substitute can be used at a 1:1 ratio in exchange for all-purpose flour.
13. Spelt Flour
Lighter and sweeter than its whole wheat cousin, spelt flour is a nutritious flour substitute packed with protein, and fiber while being low in fat (6). It does contain gluten and comes in both refined and whole-grain varieties, but by using the whole grain you get the benefit of added vitamins and minerals.
Unless otherwise stated, spelt flour can be used at a 1:1 ratio with all-purpose flour.
Wheat flour has been around for a long time, but as more people develop allergies and sensitivities to it, other baking options are being sought out.
Making your meals at home doesn’t have to be boring. On the contrary, with all the herbs, spices, and 13 flour substitutes available, your better baking possibilities are endless.
Know someone who’s looking to shake things up with their baking? Share this with them today!
✝✝This noted statement is based on independent research and is not necessarily the opinion of the author