Gluten-Free Flours

Confused about which flours are #glutenfree? We share our favorites at WholeIntentions.com.(source)

When I first learned I needed to cook gluten-free, I was overwhelmed. There were so many gluten-free flours a person could substitute for wheat! (Please tell me I wasn’t the only one!)

Because trying to keep this all straight in my head just wasn’t gonna happen, I put together this list of common flour substitutes. You’ll also find two reference charts listing the amounts of flour to use when substituting and which gluten-free flours make the best thickeners.

*A word of caution – it’s been a few years now since I’ve made this list. In that time I’ve discovered that many gluten-free flours are starch-based. Starches feed candida, and grains in general should be very limited. If you do choose to use grains in your cooking, be sure to read up on the health benefits of grains that are soaked, sprouted, or sourdoughed as this is the best way to consume them.

Gluten-free flours

Amaranth flour
Flavor
~hearty, nutty flavor
Blending
~can use as 25-50% of total flour blend
Baking
~use in dark-colored goods like spice cakes and dark breads
~use 1 scant (loosely packed) c. amaranth flour to replace 1 c. wheat flour
Thickening
~makes a nice thickener for gravies, soups and stews
Storage
~best if stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator
Nutrition
~loaded with fiber (3x more than wheat), iron (5x more than wheat), calcium (2x more than milk), potassium, phosphorus, and vitamins A and C
~high in amino acids lysine (highest of all grains), methionine, and cycteine
~excellent source of protein
Interesting Facts
~a.k.a. African spinach, Chinese spinach, Indian spinach, and elephant’s ear
~used in Mexico, Peru, Nepal, and Ecuador
~reputed to help regulate the menstrual cycle
~closely related to pigweed with 60 different species

Arrowroot
Flavor
~bland
Blending
~use as a supplemental flour, best if blended
Baking
~use as any other starch
~can use cup for cup in place of wheat flour but best if blended
Thickening
~use to thicken soups
~becomes clear when cooked which makes it ideal for clear sauces
~creates shiny gloss for dessert sauces or glazes
~can be used to thicken acidic foods such as sweet and sour sauce
~do not use with dairy as it makes it slimy
~can freeze arrowroot sauces
~store on shelf, keeps well
~very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium
Interesting Facts
~ground from the root of the plant
~interchangeable with cornstarch and tapioca flour
~was once used in the making of carbonless copy paper

Brown rice flour
Flavor
~slightly nutty; more flavorful than white rice flour
Blending
~can be on the grainy side so combine with finer flours such as cornstarch, tapioca flour, arrowroot, potato starch, etc.
Baking
~good in breads, cakes, cookies, and crackers
~1 scant (loosely packed) c. brown rice flour will replace 1 c. wheat flour
Thickening
~not suggested, use sweet rice flour instead
Storage
~store in refrigerator because natural fats and oils can cause it to go rancid
Nutrition
~higher in vitamins, fiber, and protein than white rice

Buckwheat flour
Flavor
~strong, nutty flavor
Blending
~can be used exclusively in making pancakes but best blended for breads, muffins, and cakes
Baking
~dark color and strong flavor make it good for use in spiced or fruited goods
~popular in pancakes and waffles
~substitute 7/8 c. buckwheat flour for 1 c. wheat flour
Thickening
~not widely used as a thickener
Storage
~when storing long term, place it in airtight containers
Nutrition
~considered a ‘superfood’ because it has more protein than rice, wheat, millet, or corn
~contains all eight essential amino acids
~high in B vitamins, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc
~good source of linoleic acid
~boosts the protein value of beans and cereal grains eaten the same day
~its proteins reduce hypertension and reduce and stabilize blood sugar levels
~most unsurpassed cholesterol-lowering food studied to date
Interesting Facts
~is not a cereal or grass and is NOT related to wheat
~its closest relative is rhubarb
~seed is triangular, almost 3-D looking
~technically considered a fruit

coconut-60395_1280

(source)

Coconut flour
Flavor
~slight coconut flavor
Blending
~can be used alone
Baking
~can be substituted 100% if you use about 1 egg per oz. (or 6 eggs for every 1/2 cup) of coconut flour to help hold it together (in place of gluten)
~when substituting, whatever amount of coconut flour you use, increase the liquid in your recipe by the same amount. (i.e. if your recipe calls for ½ cup of coconut flour, add ½ cup of additional liquid
Thickening
~works well as a thickener in soups and sauces
Interesting Facts
~contains 14% coconut oil which is high in lauric acid, strengthens your immune system, and boosts your metabolism
~58% fiber
~fewer digestible (net) carbs than other flours, and some vegetables
~low in carbohydrates
~considered hypoallergenic because so few people are allergic to it

Cornmeal
Flavor
~sweet, robust flavor; like sweet corn
~create a nuttier flavor by toasting it a dry skillet until golden brown
Blending
~blend with other flours when baking
Baking
~used to make quick breads, cornbread, muffins, pancakes, polenta, and tortillas
~used for a number of Mexican dishes including tortillas, tamales, and dumplings
~3/4 c. cornmeal equals 1 c. wheat flour
~helps to prevent breads and pizza from sticking to their pans when baking
~produces a course, gritty texture with a granular crumb
Thickening
N/A
Storage
~fairly long shelf life if kept in a cool place
~yellow cornmeal has slightly more vitamin A than white
~stone-ground cornmeal is more nutritious because it retains some of the hull and germ
Interesting Facts
~comes in white, yellow, and blue (depending on the color of the corn)
~horticultural cornmeal or whole ground cornmeal is a natural plant fungal disease fighter

Cornstarch
Flavor
~tasteless
Blending
~use as a supplemental flour like other starches
Baking
~interchangeable with arrowroot or tapioca flour
~3/4 c. cornstarch equals 1 c. wheat flour
Thickening
~doubles the thickening properties of regular flour
~used as a binder for puddings or similar foods, or as a thickener for sauces, stews, and similar dishes
~can form clumps if mixed with hot water; stir with cold water then add to recipe
~do not use if freezing the sauce or it will turn spongy when thawed
~doesn’t create as shiny of appearance as arrowroot or tapioca
Storage
~store on shelf
Interesting Facts
~usually included as an anti-caking agent in powdered sugar
~a health-conscious alternative to talcum powder
~the main ingredient in a biodegradable plastic
~In England, cornstarch is referred to as corn flour or cornflour while the U.S. refers to corn flour as finely ground corn kernels

Garbanzo bean flour
Flavor
~slightly bitter
~similar to millet
~blend with fava flour (garfava flour) for slightly sweet flavor
Blending
~blend with starches (cornstarch, tapioca flour) to lighten taste and texture
~can be used alone but best if makes about 25% of mix
Baking
~perfect for all kinds of baking, including breads, pizza, cakes and cookies
~adds moisture, good texture, and nutrition
~use 7/8 c. garbanzo bean flour to replace 1 c. of wheat flour
Thickening
~good as thickener for soups or sauces
Storage
~recommended to refrigerate because of natural oils
Nutrition
~high in protein
~helpful source of zinc, folate, and protein
~high in dietary fiber and a healthy source of carbohydrates
~low in fat (most of the fat is polyunsaturated)
Interesting Facts
~a.k.a. chickpea, Indian pea, chana, kadale kaalu, sanaga pappu, shimbra, Kadala
~chickpea flour = besan flour = gram flour = cici flour = chana flour = garbanzo bean flour
~popular in Middle Eastern cooking and baking
~main staple in India
~ancient people believed it had medical uses to help increase sperm and milk production, provoke menstruation and urine, and to treat kidney stones

Millet flour
Flavor
~mildly sweet, nut-like flavor
Blending
~can replace up to 50% of flours
Baking
~can substitute cup for cup with wheat
Thickening
~could not find substantial information, would not recommend
Storage
~whole millet can be kept safely for up to two years if stored in sealed containers, preferably glass, in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator
~the flour becomes rancid rapidly after it is ground, so it is best to grind it right before using
Nutrition
~nearly 15% protein
~higher nutritional value than rice and wheat
~high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium
~high in fiber, protein, B vitamins: niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin
~high pH
~rich in nitrilosides, some speculate this helps fight and prevent cancer
~easily digested
Interesting Facts
~a grass; in the same family as corn, sorghum, and rice
~millet porridge is a traditional Russian food, eaten sweet (with milk and sugar added at the end of cooking process) or savory with meat or vegetable stews
~millet is the sixth most important grain in the world, sustaining 1/3 of the world’s population

Potato flour (NOT potato starch)
Flavor
~strong potato flavor
Blending
~best if used with other flours rather than alone
Baking
~do not confuse with potato starch (see Interesting Facts below)
~can often be replaced with instant potato flakes
~used in breads, pancakes, and waffle recipes; can make cakes too dense
~adds smoothness and moisture in gluten-free baking
~tends to create a dense, moist crumb
~use ½ c. potato flour in place of 1 c. wheat flour
Thickening
~not recommended (potato starch thickens much better)
Storage
~buy fresh, in small quantities
~should be stored in a cool, dry place out of the light
~keep dry or it can turn into a large, oozing mess
~if you plan on keeping it for more than six months, freeze it to keep it fresh, and double-bag it to prevent moisture from getting inside
Nutrition
~high in carbohydrates but lacks fiber
Interesting Facts
~’potato starch’ and ‘potato starch flour’ are the same thing; however, potato flour is different. Potato flour is produced from the entire potato, skin and all, and is typically denser and less white in color than potato starch. It is also heavier in weight, has more of a potato flavor, and does not thicken nearly as well.

Potato starch (NOT potato flour)
Flavor
~light potato flavor
Blending
~use as a supplemental flour
~often combined with rice flour and tapioca flour in baking
Baking
~Do NOT confuse with potato flour (see Interesting Facts below)
~in dryer recipes like cookies, potato starch or flour can be used, usually without any problems
~good in moist recipes like cakes, potato starch creates a lighter end result
~use ¾ c. potato starch in place of 1 c. wheat flour
Thickening
~thickens gravies, sauces, soups
~can substitute for cornstarch (will tolerate higher temperatures that cornstarch)
~like cornstarch, dissolve the potato starch in a little bit of cold water before adding it as a thickener so it will blend easily with other ingredients
Storage
~store in a cool, dry place for 24-36 months.
Nutrition
~high in carbohydrates but lacks fiber
Interesting Facts
~potato starch and potato starch flour are the same thing; however, potato flour is different. Potato flour is produced from the entire potato, skin and all, and is typically less dense and less white than potato starch. It is also heavier in weight, has more of a potato flavor, and does not thicken nearly as well.
~according to the American Dental Association, potato starch stops bleeding

quinoa gluten free flour grain(source)

Quinoa flour (pronounced keen-wa)
Flavor
~mild and pleasantly nutty
Blending
~combine with sorghum flour, tapioca, and potato starch to create a nutritious gluten-free baking mix (a suggested mix is three parts quinoa flour, three parts sorghum flour, two parts potato starch, and one part tapioca starch)
~you can replace up to ½ of the flour called for in recipe with quinoa flour
Baking
~can be bought as quinoa flakes, much like oatmeal
~higher in fat so it will make baked goods moist
~used for making breads, biscuits, cookies, crepes, muffins, pancakes, and tortillas
~substitute cup for cup with wheat flour
Thickening
~may also be used as a thickener in sauces, soups, and other dishes
Storage
~high oil and fat content; needs to be stored in glass jars in the refrigerator
~use grain within a year and flour within 3 months
Nutrition
~a complete protein by itself (contains more than any other grain) The National Academy of Science says, “the most nearly perfect source of protein in the vegetable kingdom”
~high in fiber, phosphorus, calcium, iron, vitamin E, several B vitamins
~easily digested
Interesting Facts
~the Incas, who held the crop to be sacred, referred to quinoa as “chisaya mama” or “mother of all grains”
~the Inca leader planted the first seeds each season with a solid gold shovel
~from goosefoot family (spinach, beets, chard)

Soy
There’s a lot of controversy about soy and whether or not it’s healthy. We personally do not use soy flour in our gluten-free baking as there seems to be more concerns about its harm than claims of its health benefits.
Here are links to more information:
http://www.westonaprice.org/search/search?q=soy
http://www.healingdaily.com/detoxification-diet/soy.htm

Sorghum flour
Flavor
~bland
~the grain is known for taking on the flavors of the other ingredients
Blending
~baked goods tend to crumble so it is recommended to use sorghum in a flour blend
~add 15% to 20% sorghum flour to flour blends
~wonderful with bean flours, cornstarch, and tapioca flour
Baking
~ good for fruited bread, cakes, cookies
~adds good texture and flavor to baked goods
~replace rice flour with sorghum for a less grainy texture
~use 7/8 c. sorghum flour to replace 1 c. wheat flour
Thickening
~not enough information to justify using it
Storage
~can keep up to 4 months in freezer if properly stored in sealed containers or tightly wrapped
Nutrition
~proteins and starch is more slowly digested than in other cereals and particularly beneficial for diabetics
~rich in nitrilosides – some speculate this helps fight and prevent cancer
~high in insoluble fiber
~rich in iron and phosphorus
~rich sources of B-complex vitamins but do not contain vitamin A and C
~protein content is nearly equal and is comparable to wheat and maize
Interesting Facts
~a.k.a. milo, jowar, juwar, cholam
~grain sorghum is considered to be one of the four most important cereal grains used for human consumption
~in same family as sugar cane, rice, and corn
~tastes and looks most like wheat flour

Sweet rice flour
Flavor
~bland
Blending
~often blended with rice flour
Baking
~common for tender pies and cakes
~smoothes the gritty taste in many flour mixes
~adds nice elasticity to baked goods
~add by Tablespoon to runny or thin batters
~because of its chewy texture, it’s a favorite base for dumplings, buns, and pastries
~use 7/8 c. sweet rice flour to substitute 1 c. wheat flour
Thickening
~excellent for sauces needing to be refrigerated or frozen (inhibits liquid from separating)
Storage
~store on shelf for 6-9 months
Nutrition
~rich in soluble starch, dextrin, and maltose
Interesting Facts
~a.k.a. glutinous rice (does not contain gluten), sticky rice, waxy rice, botan rice, mochi rice, mochiko
~according to legend it was used to make the mortar in the construction of the Great Wall of China; chemical tests have confirmed it was used in the city walls of Xian

Tapioca starch/flour
Flavor
~tasteless, blandest of all starches
Blending
~blends well with all other flours; use as a supplemental flour
Baking
~gives a nice ‘chew’ to baked goods and light springiness
~gives crispy coating in breading
~makes tender breads, rolls, buns, pizza, cakes, cookies, and other delicacies
~use cup for cup in place of wheat flour
Thickening
~used as a thickener for soups, sauces, gravies, pie fillings, and puddings
~thickens without adding fat or much flavor
Storage
~store on shelf for up to 1 year in airtight container
Nutrition
~very low in protein
~high in fiber
Interesting Facts
~a.k.a. cassava, bitter-cassava, manioc, yuca
~tapioca starch and tapioca flour are the same

Teff flour 
Flavor
~sweet, nutty flavor; wheat-like taste
Blending
~use for about ¼ of flour called for
Baking
~use in dark baked goods, brownies, chocolate cakes, etc.
~use 7/8 c. teff flour for 1 c. wheat flour
Thickening
~a good thickener for soups, stews, gravies, and puddings
Storage
~store in a cool, dark, dry place in tightly covered containers
Nutrition
~high levels of phosphorous, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin
~excellent amino acid composition, with lysine levels higher than wheat or barley
~high in protein (nearly 12%), carbohydrates, and fiber
~five times higher in calcium, iron, and potassium than other grains
Interesting Facts
~related to rice family, corn, millet, and sorghum
~teff seeds were discovered in a pyramid thought to date back to 3359 B.C.
~the smallest grain in the world, measuring only about 1/32 of an inch in diameter and taking 150 grains to weigh as much as one grain of wheat
~because of its size, it’s nearly impossible to home mill

biscuit-472410_1280

(source)

Gluten-free flour thickeners

Arrowroot
~creates shiny gloss for dessert sauces or glazes
~do not use with dairy as it makes it slimy
~neutral taste
~can freeze arrowroot sauces
Coconut flour
~used for soups and sauces
Cornstarch
~best for dairy products
~do not use if freezing the sauce, will make it spongy
~isn’t as shiny as arrowroot or tapioca
Potato starch
~used for soups and gravies
~does not work well in boiled liquids
~great for mixing with other flours
~NOT potato flour
Sweet rice flour
~excellent for sauces needing to be refrigerated or frozen (inhibits liquid from separating)
Tapioca starch
~use pearls to thicken puddings and pies
~use flour/starch to thicken soups, gravies, and stews
~flour gives a glossy sheen and can tolerate longer cooking and freezing

Substituting wheat flour with gluten-free

For 1 cup of wheat flour substitute:

Amaranth flour:1 scant cup (loosely packed)
Arrowroot flour: 1 scant cup (loosely packed)
Buckwheat flour: 7/8 cup
Corn flour: 1 cup
Cornmeal: ¾ cup
Cornstarch: ¾ cup
Garbanzo bean flour: 1 scant cup (loosely packed)
Garfava flour blend: 1 scant cup (loosely packed)
Millet flour: 1 cup
Potato flour: ½ cup
Potato starch: ¾ cup
Quinoa flour: 1 cup
Rice flour (white or brown): 1 scant cup (loosely packed)
Sorghum flour: 1 scant cup (loosely packed)
Sweet rice flour: 7/8 cup
Tapioca flour or starch: 1 cup
Teff flour: 7/8 cup

I hope this list makes your gluten-free baking easier!

 Helpful guide to GF flours(source)

Shared with: Flour Me With Love, The Healthy Home Economist, Homestead Revival, Nourishing Treasures, The Modest Mom, Time-Warp Wife, Simply Sugar & Gluten Free, Real Food Forager, Cooking Traditional Foods, Growing Home, Young Living Oil Lady, Rook No 17, Women Living Well, Frugally Sustainable, Deep Roots at Home, Raising Homemakers, This Chick Cooks, GNOWFGLINS, Our Simple Country Life, The Greenbacks Gal, The Nourishing Gourmet, Comfy in the Kitchen, Jill’s Home Remedies, Real Food Whole Health, Day 2 Day Joys,

Paula, CHS, Certified Level 3 Metabolic Effect Nutrition Consultant

Paula, CHS, Certified Level 3 Metabolic Effect Nutrition Consultant

Hi, I'm Paula - wife and homeschooling mom of six. Several family health issues involving candida, food allergies, and Lyme Disease have created a passion to better understand our God-created bodies. Today I help others with recurring candida and stubborn fat learn how heal their gut and shrink their waist - in a way that's DOABLE. You can follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube.
Paula, CHS, Certified Level 3 Metabolic Effect Nutrition Consultant
Paula, CHS, Certified Level 3 Metabolic Effect Nutrition Consultant

Latest posts by Paula, CHS, Certified Level 3 Metabolic Effect Nutrition Consultant (see all)

About The Author

Paula, CHS, Certified Level 3 Metabolic Effect Nutrition Consultant

Hi, I'm Paula - wife and homeschooling mom of six. Several family health issues involving candida, food allergies, and Lyme Disease have created a passion to better understand our God-created bodies. Today I help others with recurring candida and stubborn fat learn how heal their gut and shrink their waist - in a way that's DOABLE. You can follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube.

13 Comments

  • Kathy

    Reply Reply July 5, 2012

    LOVE this helpful information!! Thanks for sharing.

  • Anabel

    Reply Reply July 5, 2012

    Brilliant!

    I think you should turn this into an e-book – it is such useful, well organised and concise information. Thank you!

  • Really, really useful, thank you!

  • Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasures’ Make Your Own! Monday link-up.

    Check back later tonight when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! 🙂

  • Hi Paula,
    Thanks for sharing on Whole Foods Wednesday! Love this post, I bake a lot and always wondered about substitutions. I am going to feature this post in tomorrows hop, but I was wondering in the last segment, substitutions for wheat flour are those amounts that are to be substituted for 1 cup? Just wondering. Thanks for all this great information 🙂 Halle

    • Paula

      Reply Reply July 11, 2012

      Hi Halle,

      Yes, it’s subbing for 1 cup of wheat flour. I updated this in the post – thanks for bringing it to my attention – and thanks for the feature!!

  • KayJay

    Reply Reply September 9, 2013

    This is really useful! Thank you so much for sharing it!
    I agree with you about the soy, however I was hoping that you could point me in a good direction for replacing soy flour when a recipe calls for it? I’m quite eager to try a pan fried foccacia recipe, but soy flour features. I’m considering grinding up some chick peas into flour for it. I’d love to know any other ideas you have! Thanks for your time!

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field