The Paleo diet emphasizes meat, fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables but is free of grains, which the majority of the most common flours are made from.
There are several Paleo-friendly flours we’ll review (17 of them!) in this article, as well as explain why the majority of other flours aren’t considered Paleo-friendly.
What is a Paleo diet?
A Paleo diet (short for Paleolithic) is an eating style that is meant to mimic what people were able to hunt and gather thousands of years ago before farming began. It’s called the Paleo diet (also called the “caveman diet”, among other descriptions) because it is meant to mimic what people ate in the Paleolithic era, which was from around 2.5 million years ago to 10,000 B.C.
Some of the foods that are avoided in a Paleo diet include:
- All grains, including gluten-free and “ancient” grains
- “Pseudocereals” like quinoa
- Dairy products
- Refined sugar/sweeteners, as well as artificial sweeteners
- Legumes (beans, peanuts, soy, etc.)
What are the best Paleo flours?
Some of the best Paleo flours are grain-free and legume-free and primarily come from sources like nuts and seeds. Let’s take a look at the 17 best Paleo flours below:
- Almond flour
Rich in fiber and protein, almond flour is Paleo-friendly because it’s made from a nut.
- Apple flour
Fruits and vegetables are welcome on a Paleo diet, so apple flour is a good Paleo flour that is also rich in fiber.
- Arrowroot flour
Arrowroot starch/flour is a great alternative to cornstarch, which isn’t allowed on a Paleo diet.
- Banana flour
Because it’s made from green bananas, banana flour isn’t high in sugar and is primarily starch.
- Cashew flour
Another Paleo-friendly flour made from nuts!
- Cassava flour
Cassava flour is made from a tuber, a type of root vegetable.
- Chestnut flour
Fun fact – chestnuts technically aren’t technically a nut, but a type of fruit!
- Coconut flour
Like chestnuts, coconuts are technically a type of fruit and don’t satisfy the criteria for being a true nut, but they’re still Paleo-friendly since nuts and fruit alike are welcome on Paleo!
- Cricket flour (powder)
The highest protein Paleo flour on this list, cricket flour packs 22 grams of protein per serving!
- Flaxseed flour (meal)
Some Paleo dieters debate whether flax seeds are Paleo-friendly since they likely weren’t around in the Paleolithic era, but since they are a type of seed they are generally accepted as Paleo-friendly.
- Fufu flour
Fufu flour is made from plantains, a type of tropical fruit.
- Hemp flour
Hemp seeds are Paleo-friendly and are a good source of both protein and fiber.
- Pecan flour
Another nut-based flour for the Paleo win!
- Sesame flour
Sesame flour is a good alternative to almond flour for anyone who avoids nuts, such as for a nut allergy.
- Tapioca flour
Tapioca flour is made from cassava root, a Paleo-friendly root vegetable.
- Sunflower seed flour
Sunflower seed flour is not only a good Paleo flour but is also very low in carbohydrates.
- Tigernut flour
Because it’s made from a plant, tigernut flour is Paleo-friendly.
Nutritional comparison of Paleo-friendly flours
|Flour (1/4 cup unless specified)||Calories||Carbs||Fiber||Sugar||Fat||Protein|
|Almond flour||160||6 g||4 g||2 g||12 g||6 g|
|Apple flour||100||20 g||4 g||20 g||1 g||0 g|
|Arrowroot flour (1 tbsp)||35||8 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||0 g|
|Banana flour||160||40 g||<1 g||0 g||0 g||1 g|
|Cashew flour||160||10 g||0 g||2 g||14 g||6 g|
|Cassava flour||130||31 g||2 g||0 g||0 g||0 g|
|Chestnut flour||100||22 g||3 g||6 g||1 g||2 g|
|Coconut flour||120||18 g||10 g||6 g||3 g||6 g|
|Cricket flour (cricket powder)||160||4 g||2 g||0 g||6 g||22 g|
|Flaxseed flour (meal)||140||8 g||6 g||0 g||9 g||6 g|
|Fufu flour||106||25 g||1.5 g||0 g||0 g||3.5 g|
|Hemp flour (also called hemp protein powder)||120||13 g||11 g||1 g||2 g||12 g|
|Pecan flour||160||3 g||3 g||<1 g||16 g||3 g|
|Sesame flour (2 tbsp.)||115||11 g||5 g||0 g||4 g||12 g|
|Sunflower seed flour||180||6 g||3 g||<1 g||16 g||6 g|
|Tapioca flour (starch)||110||27 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||0 g|
|Tigernut flour||130||14 g||3 g||5 g||7 g||1 g|
What are the worst Paleo flours?
Most flours aren’t Paleo-friendly because they are made from grains and legumes (only 17 of our list of 61 flours are Paleo-friendly!). While these flours aren’t necessarily considered unhealthy in general terms, they aren’t suitable for a Paleo lifestyle.
Some non-Paleo-friendly flours might be considered worse than others because they are more refined and the furthest away from a Paleo lifestyle. For instance, refined all-purpose flour is less Paleo-friendly than ancient grains like quinoa, which are closer to a Paleo diet but technically still aren’t considered Paleo-friendly.
However, since it’s difficult to objectively categorize non-Paleo friendly flours as which are the “worst” (foods are generally just considered Paleo-friendly or non-Paleo friendly), we’ll list all of the flours that aren’t considered Paleo-friendly below:
- All-purpose flour
- Amaranth flour
- Barley flour
- Bread flour
- Brown rice flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Bulgur wheat (flour)
- Cake flour
- Chapati flour
- Chickpea flour
- Corn flour
- Dal flour
- Durum flour
- Einkorn flour
- Fava bean flour
- Gluten-free flour (blends, all-purpose, etc.)
- Graham flour
- Instant flour
- Lupin flour
- Kamut flour
- Millet flour
- Mung bean flour
- Noodle flour
- Oat flour
- Okara flour
- Pastry flour
- Peanut flour
- Potato flour
- Quinoa flour
- Red whole wheat flour
- Rice flour (white rice)
- Rye flour
- Self-rising flour
- Semolina flour
- Sorghum flour
- Soy flour
- Spelt flour
- Sprouted flour
- Teff flour
- Tipo 00 flour
- Vital wheat gluten flour
- White whole wheat flour
- Whole wheat flour
- Whole wheat pastry flour
While you can’t eat “regular” all-purpose flour or many other common grain-based flours on a Paleo diet, there are plenty of Paleo-friendly flours you can eat on the diet.
Oat flour is made from oats, a type of grain that is not allowed on a Paleo diet.
Coconut flour is a great Paleo-friendly flour!