Best Gluten Free Flour Substitute

A couple years ago my rheumatoid arthritis turned for the worse and I made the decision to change my lifestyle starting with my diet. I have since started down on a roller coaster of emotions. I have been in search of new options especially with my flour options. Not being a great baker more of a cook and prefer making things from scratch over buying pre-prepared items that might have more sugar or sodium than needed.

My first attempts were not successful and I could not understand why coconut flour or almond flour did not function like “flour”. I did not realize that different flours have different amount of proteins, starches, and flavors. Here are some things that I have learned:

Different Types of Flours:

Finding the best gluten free flour substitute can be tricky. Flours vary in starch (stickiness that allows for it to stick together), flavor (nutty, sweet, earthy, or neutral), nutrients, digestive benefits. The key is to do some research, and to mix and match and check to see what are the best combinations you can find.

Flours do not have to come from grains they also come from roots, tubers, rice, nuts. The following list is divided into different categories grain, non-grain, and nut category for those with nut allergies.

Grain:

  • Sorghum
  • Buckwheat
  • Amaranth
  • Teff
  • Oat
  • Rice

Non-grains:

  • Cauliflower
  • Tapioca
  • Cassava
  • Arrowroot
  • Potato
  • Chickpea
  • Tigernuts

Nuts

  • Almond
  • Pecan
  • Walnut
  • Hazelnut
  • Coconut (not a nut, but people with tree nut allergies are usually allergic)

Gluten-Free Grain Flours

Gluten free grain flours are made from non-wheat grains used to substitute wheat products. These often need to be mixed with other flours due to their lack of gluten that makes them more crumbly and less sticky.

You need to be careful with some of these they can be cross-contaminated during processing, during the rotation of crop in the fields or transportation. Make sure the label states it is gluten free.

As the owner of Gluten-Less Flour I am promoting flour and products that I myself believe in. I believe them to be of good quality and would like to share them. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases,  but rest assured that it will by no means change the price of the product. Full Disclosure 

These are the more popular varieties broken down:

Amaranth Flour
Amaranth Flour- AMAZON

 

Amaranth: Dates back the Aztecs in Mesoamerica,

  • Taste: sweet, earthy and grassy
  • Texture: soft crumb, fine, chewy
  • Nutrients: protein, magnesium, iron, rich in fiber, manganese, selenium, potassium, antioxidants
  • Best used in: Pie crusts, tortillas, breads, polenta, granola, pudding
  • Health Benefits: helps bone and brain health
  • Substitute: 1:1 for glutenous flour

 

 

Oat: Made from rolled oats:

  • Taste: bland, slightly earthy
  • Texture: dense, crumby
  • Nutrients: Antioxidants, Fiber, protein, Manganese, Phosphorus, Magnesium,
    Oat Flour
    Whole Grain Oat Flour- Amazon

    Copper, Iron, Zinc, Thiamine, Vitamin B5, Folate, Chromium

  • Health Benefits: Improves Blood Sugar, Lowers Cholesterol Levels, Constipation, Increase feeling of fullness
  • Best uses: Pancakes, waffles, crisps, fruit crumbles, brownies
  • Substitute: 1 1/3 cup of oat flour for 1 cup regular white flour

 

 

Brown Rice: great for blending with other flours

  • Taste: deeper, earthy, nutty flavor
  • Texture: grainy, fine, dry crumb
  • Nutrients: B vitamins, iron, fiber, zinc, copper, phosphorus, Niacin, Thiamine,
    Brown Rice- Amazon

    Magnesium

  • Health Benefits: diabetes, heart disease, lowers blood sugar levels
  • Best uses: Breading, sauces, gravies, muffins, pancakes
  • Substitute: 3/4cup for every 1 cup of wheat flour the recipe asks for

 

Corn:

  • Masa- Amazon

    Taste: very much like corn, earthy, sweet

  • Texture: fine, smooth
  • Nutrients: Thiamine, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper, fiber
  • Health Benefits: gut health, cancer, heart disease
  • Best uses: soups, stews, sauces, tortillas, breading

Corn Flour- AMAZON

 

Sorghum Flour- Amazon

Sorghum: 

  • Taste: mild, slightly sweet flavor, similar to wheat berries
  • Texture: soft, smooth
  • Nutrients: fiber, B-Vitamin, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc
  • Health Benefits: Neural development, skin and hair health, inflammation
  • Best uses: breads, cookies, best in recipes requiring small amounts of flour

Buckwheat:

  • Taste: rich, earthy, can be nutty, mineral flavor

    Buckwheat Flour- Amazon

  • Texture: crumbly, grainy
  • Nutrients: B-vitamins, antioxidants, poly phenol rutin, fiber, manganese, zinc, iron, folate, protein, thiamin, folate, vitamin K
  • Health Benefits: anti-inflammatory, heart health
  • Best uses: breads, pairs best with tart fruits, pancakes
  • Substitute: 25% of wheat flour

Non-Grain Flours

Cauliflower: can be used as all-purpose

Cauliflower Blend- Amazon
  • Taste: slight vegetal taste
  • Texture: same as dry, fine regular flour
  • Nutrients: Protein, fiber,  potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin K,
    Cauliflower Flour- Amazon

    vitamin B6, Folate

  • Health Benefits: Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune boost
  • Best Uses: All-purpose
  • Substitute:  1:1 ratio

 

 

Tapioca: extracted starch from cassava; good for flour mixes

  • Taste: slightly sweet, mild
  • Texture: Starchy, thick chewy
  • Nutrients: Not many nutrients, proteins, fats, fiber
  • Health Benefits: Easier to digest, easy on the stomach
  • Best uses: thickening soups, sauces, pie fillings, baking
  • Substitute: 1:2 ratio to cornstarch : 1:1 to all-purpose

Tapioca Flour- AMAZON

 

Potato: tuberous root

  • Taste: sweet, mild potato flavor

    Potato Flour- Amazon

  • Texture: light, fluffy
  • Nutrients: Iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, thiamin, calcium, phosphorus, niacin, fiber, potassium, protein
  • Health Benefits: lowers blood sugar, improves insulin, reduces cholesterol levels
  • Best uses: Baking, binding, thickener, breading
  • Substitute: 1:1 for all-purpose, whole wheat, or bread flour

 

 

Cassava: tuberous root

  • Taste: neutral

    Cassava Flour- Amazon

  • Texture: Fine
  • Nutrients: protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamin C,
  • Health Benefits: helps in digestion, improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels
  • Best uses: flat breads, tortillas, brownies, biscuits, pizza crust
  • Substitute: 1:1 when substituting wheat flour

 

 

Organic Arrowroot Flour- Amazon

Arrowroot: tuberous root; not compatible with cream based

sauces/non-frozen

  • Taste: no taste
  • Texture: powdery
  • Nutrients: Iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium
  • Health Benefits: immune boost
  • Best uses: thickener, desserts
  • Substitution: 1 teaspoon Arrowroot flour= 1 tablespoon

Yam: tuberous root

  • Taste: subtle sweetness

    Yam Flour- Amazon

  • Texture: velvety, smooth crumb
  • Nutrients: vitamin C, magnesium, antioxidant, protein, fiber, vitamin B6, potassium
  • Health Benefits: inflammation, digestion,
  • Best uses: bread, pancake, brownie, cookies, cakes, muffins, waffles, ice creams, pizza, pasta, smoothies
  • Substitution: between 20-40% of wheat flour

Nut Flours

Almond Flour- Amazon

Almond

  • Taste: natural almond flavor; sweet, nutty
  • Texture: tender, fine
  • Nutrients: proteins, fiber, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, healthy fats
  • Health Benefits: lower heart disease and Alzheimer, lower cholesterol, reduced insulin resistance
  • Best uses:: Baked goods ( products will be denser and flatter)
  • Substitution: 1:1 ratio to wheat flour

Coconut: Not a nut, but people with tree nut allergies are usually allergic to them as well

  • Taste: natural coconut flavor, mildly sweet

    Coconut Flour- Amazon

  • Texture: very crumbly
  • Nutrients: protein, fiber, healthy fats, omega
  • Health Benefits: digestion benefits, fight infections, stabilizes blood sugar,
  • Best uses: cookies, muffins, cakes, brownies
  • Substitution: HIGHLY absorbent, needs to be used sparingly with other flours 1:4 ratio when substituting

 

Hazelnut:

  • Taste: rich, sweet, nutty, buttery, earthy

    Hazelnut Flour- Amazon

  • Texture: dense, chewy, stretchy
  • Nutrients: protein, fiber, healthy fats, antioxidant, thiamin, magnesium
  • Health Benefits: blood sugar stabilizer, digestion benefits,
  • Best uses: pastries, pie crusts, cakes, cookies, bread crumbs
  • Substitution: replace only with 25-30%

 

 

Sources:

All, Medical Sciences, Student Life (2016) The health benefits of chestnutshttps://www.hunimed.eu/news/health-benefits-chestnuts

Pérez, E. E., Mahfoud, A., Domínguez, C. L., & Guzmán, R. (2013). Roots, Tubers, Grains and Bananas; Flours and Starches. Utilization in the Development of Foods for Conventional, Celiac and Phenylketonuric Consumers. J Food Process Technol, 4(211), 2.

Martin, F. W., & Ruberté, R. (1975). Flours made from edible yams (Dioscorea spp.) as a substitute for wheat flour. The Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico, 59(4), 255-263.

de Albuquerque, T. M. R., Borges, C. W. P., Cavalcanti, M. T., dos Santos Lima, M., Magnani, M., & de Souza, E. L. (2020). Potential prebiotic properties of flours from different varieties of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) roots cultivated in Northeastern Brazil. Food Bioscience, 100614. Introductory content.

Amerman, Don (2018) What is Amaranth https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/amaranth-flour-1423.html

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