All-purpose flour is such an everyday kitchen staple that we don’t blame you if you open your pantry and panic when you’ve run out, especially if you are new to baking! All-purpose flour is safe and reliable and is always there for you.
Until it isn’t! Luckily, you can substitute it with other kinds of flour if you have them on hand, or you could even pop to the store and try something a little different. So, without further ado, our best all-purpose flour substitutes list is:
- Cake flour + bread flour
- Cake flour
- Bread flour
- Whole wheat flour
- Gluten-free all-purpose flour
- Tigernut flour
- Einkorn flour
- Peanut flour
- Almond flour and almond flour combinations
Let’s see when it is best to substitute them!
Best All-Around Substitute for All-Purpose Flour: Cake Flour + Bread Flour
Try mixing cake flour with bread flour to get a pretty good all-purpose flour imitation. Bread flour is harder flour, while cake flour is soft, and both mixed together mimic all-purpose flour’s blend of hard and soft flour.
A cup of all-purpose weighs around 130 grams, so for our imitation all-purpose, we need to mix 70 grams of bread flour with 60 grams of cake flour per cup of all-purpose. Before doing this, though, check your recipe! If it is a bread-based product, just use bread flour. If it is a cake product, use the cake flour!
The bread flour plus cake flour hack is also the best budget-friendly all-purpose substitute, and the closest in flavor and consistency, and has a neutral flavor that is easy to work with.
If you don’t have bread and cake flour on hand, you could use self-rising (provided you are making something that needs to rise) and eliminate the baking powder and most other wheat-based flour in a cup-for-cup ratio, though the flavor profiles may change.
Best Easy-to-Bake-With Substitute for All-Purpose Flour: Cake Flour or Bread Flour
This category has two winners, depending on what you are baking! Cake flour is the easiest to bake with substitutes for sweets, while bread flour is the easiest substitute to bake with for bread-based products.
Cake flour is a low-protein, finely ground flour that gives cakes and pastries a light and airy texture. It can be used as a substitute for all-purpose in a 1:1 ratio (1 cup of cake flour to 1 cup of all-purpose). Bread flour is a high-protein, coarsely ground flour used as a substitute for all-purpose in a 1:1 ratio (1 cup of bread flour to 1 cup of all-purpose).
Best Healthy Substitute for All-Purpose Flour: Whole-Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is probably the healthiest substitute for all-purpose while still being close enough in baking properties to all-purpose flour. Whole wheat flour is made by grinding the entire wheat kernel, containing all parts of the grain, so it retains much more of its nutritional profile. Whole wheat flour contains more fiber and protein than all-purpose flour and provides essential vitamins like folic acid. You can use it as a 1:1 substitution for all-purpose in most recipes.
Best High-Fiber Substitute for All-Purpose Flour: Whole-Wheat Flour
An excellent high-fiber alternative to all-purpose flour is also whole wheat flour. Sure, other flours on the market are higher in fiber than whole wheat, but they just don’t substitute as well when it comes to having similar baking properties to all-purpose.
While all-purpose only has around 1 gram of fiber per ¼ cup, whole wheat sits closer to 5 grams. A significant difference is if your diet consists of many bread-based products!
Best Gluten-Free Substitute for All-Purpose Flour: Gluten-Free All-Purpose
If you are looking for a gluten-free substitute for all-purpose flour, there are soooo many you could use, so it was not easy to narrow it down to the best ones!
For ease of use, gluten-free all-purpose is the winner. You can swap it cup for cup, and it is formulated with a blend of gluten-free ingredients that work to mimic all-purpose as closely as possible.
Tiger nut flour is another great option if you are looking for a singular flour rather than a blend. It absorbs a bit more liquid than all-purpose flour, and you will probably need extra binding ingredients to make up for the lack of gluten, but it is an easy one-to-one swap with a nice flavor and is not greasy like some other nut flours can be.
Of course, almond flour and coconut flour are great but harder to work with in baking than tiger nut flour.
Best Low-Calorie Substitute for All-Purpose Flour: Einkorn Flour
Einkorn flour is a great low-calorie substitute for all-purpose. Per ¼ cup, all-purpose flour contains 120 calories, while einkorn contains 100. You can swap it one for one with all-purpose flour in most recipes. Its flavor profile is similar to that of regular wheat but has more depth and is nuttier and toastier.
Einkorn flour comes from the wheat family, but it is a very ancient wheat variety and has not been hybridized like our modern-day wheat.
Best High Protein Substitute for All-Purpose Flour: Peanut Flour
They can make flour from anything these days, and peanut flour is one of the more interesting ones! This high-protein flour is made with ground peanuts that have been defatted, so it isn’t too oily.
The protein content is a whopping 15 grams per ¼ cup to all-purpose flour’s 4 grams. This makes it suitable for adding to smoothies and for a protein boost!
The flavor of peanut flour is nutty, and it works well for both sweet and savory-style dishes. You can sub it 1:1 for all-purpose but keep in mind if it isn’t defatted, it could make your product greasy, so you need to adjust the fat ingredients, and it also will not hold together like all-purpose, so it will probably need extra binders for structure.
Best Keto Substitute for All-Purpose Flour: Almond Flour + Vital Wheat Gluten
Trusty old almond flour, one of the more well-known nut flours, is an excellent sub for all-purpose if you are on the keto diet. Better still is almond flour plus vital wheat gluten to help give the baked good structure! Vital wheat gluten is very low carb, so it is considered keto-friendly, though it cannot be used for paleo or Whole30.
Almond flour can be substituted 1:1 with all-purpose, but other ingredients, such as fats and binders, may need to be adjusted if your recipe was designed for all-purpose flour.
Best Paleo and Whole30 Substitute for All-Purpose Flour: Almond Flour
Vital wheat gluten is not allowed on paleo, so the best substitute if you don’t want to mix a few things together is almond flour, as it can usually be swapped 1:1 with all-purpose with a bit of tweaking with binding agents and liquid ratios.
However, if you are feeling adventurous and plan to make lots of paleo and Whole30 treats, try this flour mix to keep on hand! It is easier to work with and has been formulated to mimic all-purpose (except it will not rise and bind as well, as is the case with all gluten-free flours)
- 2 cups of sifted almond flour.
- 1 cup arrowroot flour.
- 1/2 cup coconut flour.
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour.
Yes! In most cases, plain flour and all-purpose flour are the same. Some people say that plain flour is sometimes softer, which may be, but I am not sure as I’ve not noticed it.
No! All-purpose flour is refined, which means the outer layer of the grain is stripped away, leaving finer and lighter flour. Wheat flour is whole-grain flour, meaning it includes the entire grain. You can learn all about different types of flour and where they come from in our ultimate flour guide!