The Best All-Purpose Flour Substitutes If You Run Out or Need a Gluten-Free Swap
Need a gluten-free flour substitute? Maybe you ran out of all-purpose flour. No matter the reason, you've arrived at our ultimate guide of flour substitutes. And since not all flour alternatives are created equal (especially when substituting for all-purpose flour in baked goods), we've got some tips and recipes to set you up for kitchen success.
All-purpose flour, made with soft and hard wheat, is the go-to grain for most baked goods. But as more home cooks are seeking non-wheat (aka gluten-free) or fiber-rich options, a wide selection of flour substitutes are filling grocery store shelves. It's important to note the differences in chemical properties of various alternative flours. They can vary, meaning substituting coconut flour in your chocolate chip cookie recipe might not translate to a perfect one-to-one flour replacement for all-purpose flour. Stick to a recipe that actually calls for the specific flour alternative (almond, rye, etc.) or use our Test Kitchen's recommendations for substituting different flours for all-purpose flour. Read on for a detailed guide to flour substitutes for gluten-free baking as well as easy swaps if you're out of all-purpose flour. From there, get delicious ideas for recipes using these all-purpose flour substitutes.
Gluten-Free Flour Substitutes
Gluten-free flours aren't always suitable as an equal all-purpose flour substitute. To avoid disappointing results, use the specific flour in the recipe or make our Gluten-Free Flour Mix that works as an all-purpose flour substitute in any recipe.
Made from ground raw almonds, almond flour (or almond meal) provides high protein, fiber, moisture, and a nutty flavor to gluten-free baked goods. Almond flour is higher in fat than white flour, however. Since almond flour tends to absorb more moisture than all-purpose flour, you might need to use slightly more almond flour when using it as a flour substitute for baking.
Ground amaranth, made with an ancient grain that contains many amino acids that are absent in most flours, contains no gluten and plenty of protein. It lends a slight earthiness to baked goods but because it's a dense grain, amaranth flour is generally included in recipes in a 50:50 ratio with another lighter flour (i.e. all-purpose or white whole-wheat flour) for the closest-to-classic structure.
Nutty in flavor, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins, this ancient grain flour is another great gluten-free swap. Since it can be chalky in large amounts, try a one-to-one ratio of buckwheat and another flour on this list (for example a ½ cup buckwheat and ½ cup almond flour when 1 cup is called for) when using it as an all-purpose flour substitute.
Cassava flour is made from ground yuca root and is gaining popularity as a flour substitute for those with gluten allergies or following a Paleo diet. When our Test Kitchen baked with cassava flour, the cooks noticed it tends to absorb liquid more than other flours. If using as an all-purpose flour substitute, start by using a little less than the amount called for and gradually work in the full amount if your batter seems a little too wet.
Chickpea/Garbanzo Bean Flour
Made with ground chickpeas, this gluten-free flour is higher in fiber, protein, and iron than white flour. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are generally milled raw, but they can be roasted first. The dense texture of chickpea flour makes it work great as a thickener or binder in items like pasta sauces, fritters, or meatballs. And why not give it a shot as the base for socca (chickpea pancakes)? Make creamy pasta completely vegan (pictured above) by using a blend of water and chickpea flour instead of cream or milk and blending cashews to replace the cheese. Few will notice it's not the typical Alfredo!
Coconut flour is high in fiber and low in carbs, but it has more saturated fat content than white flour. Coconut flour has a high moisture content, and it also has incredible absorbency, which can result in a drier, denser finished product. Using coconut flour in recipes might require adding additional liquid or fat. Try it in a combination of flours like this tropical bread recipe to achieve the perfect mix of heartiness and lightness.
This flour alternative is made with ground oats. High in fiber and slightly sweet in flavor, oat flour will most often be seen as a flour replacement for a portion of the white or wheat flour in homemade bread, pancakes, and other baked goods. It can easily be made at home by just blitzing some whole grain oats (use gluten-free if you have allergies) in your blender or food processor ($40, Bed Bath & Beyond) until it resembles flour.
Test Kitchen Tip: Consuming raw all-purpose flour can risk E. coli contamination, so opt for safe flours like almond, oat, or coconut when you're whipping up no-bake recipes like the colorful, kid-friendly raw cookie dough pictured above.
Available in both white and brown varieties, rice flour is packed with fiber and protein and has a nutty flavor. Rice flours have a tendency to produce a sandy or gritty texture, so look for finely ground rice flours or blend with another gluten-free flour to offset the consistency difference. It's important to note there is also sweet rice flour (aka glutinous rice flour or mochi flour), which is higher in gluten.
Other Flour Substitutes (Not Gluten-Free)
Whether you're out of all-purpose flour or are looking for healthier whole-grain options to add to your recipes, these are some flour alternatives to consider.
Available in white, light, medium, dark, and whole (pumpernickel), rye flour varies based on the amount of the bran that remains on the grain. The darker, more-whole rye flours are heavier and impart a slightly fruity flavor. It's not gluten-free flour, so you'll often find baking recipes that call for rye flour mixed with wheat or white flour.
White Whole Wheat Flour
White whole wheat flour is milled from white wheat rather than the traditional darker wheat used in regular whole wheat flours. It has a similar nutrition profile and lends the same nutty, hearty characteristics to baked goods as whole wheat flour.
Whole Wheat Flour
This coarse-textured flour contains more protein and calcium than white flour, plus nutritious wheat germ. Whole wheat flour makes heavier breads and baked goods. Blending it with all-purpose flour will lighten the texture of the finished product while still maintaining the nutrition benefits.