In the world of gluten-free baking, cassava flour and coconut flour are two popular alternatives to wheat flour.
Both flours have their pros and cons when it comes to what type of recipe they’re best used for and nutrition. But which one is better?
We answer this question and more as we compare the two flours in detail below!
Comparing cassava flour vs coconut flour
|Cassava flour||Coconut flour||All-purpose flour|
|Common Allergens||May trigger latex allergy*||Coconut (tree nuts)||Wheat, gluten|
|Pantry shelf life (unopened/sealed)||Up to 1-2 years||Up to 2 years||6-8 months|
|Best for baking||Most gluten-free baked goods, tortillas, porridge, pancakes, pasta, and pizza.||Most desserts – especially cakes, cookies, and pie crusts, muffins, and dense breads.||Non-yeast recipes (think cookies, biscuits, and some breads)|
*Cassava flour might cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to latex due to a protein called Man e 5.
Differences between cassava flour and coconut flour
Cassava flour is a gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free flour that has been touted as the closest gluten-free flour to white flour in terms of texture and baking properties. It is light and fluffy, so it can easily be used as a substitute for wheat flour in many recipes. Unlike coconut flour, it does not have a coconut taste, but a slightly sweet and nutty flavor.
On the other hand, coconut flour is gluten-free, grain-free, but NOT nut-free. It is made from dried and ground coconut meat, giving it its distinct flavor.
Cassava flour is higher in carbohydrates and calories than coconut flour, so it’s not so great for keto (but coconut flour is considered fine).
Both cassava flour and coconut flour are much more absorbent than all-purpose flour, which can make things dry unless wet ingredients are adjusted. So, I recommend starting with 2/3 cup of cassava flour or 1/4 cup of coconut flour for every 1 cup of all-purpose flour and adjusting the liquid as needed.
Baking with cassava flour vs coconut flour
Cassava flour behaves more like white flour than coconut flour when it comes to baking. Unlike coconut flour and other gluten-free flours, cassava flour doesn’t require extra ingredients like eggs or xanthan gum for binding. It holds up all on its own, making cassava great for recipes that don’t require a lot of leavening or rising. Cassava flour’s light and powdery texture make it perfect for fluffy cakes, muffins, and other baked goods.
Coconut flour can be a bit more tricky to work with if you’re not familiar with it. It has a coarser texture than cassava flour which gives rise to denser baked goods. It is best used in recipes that require less leavening and don’t need to rise much, such as cookies and pie crusts.
Ingredients in cassava flour vs coconut flour
These gluten-free alternatives are made from the dried root of the cassava (yuca) plant (cassava flour) and dried, ground coconut meat (coconut flour). As always, look for minimal, simple ingredients and products without a lot of preservatives or additives.
We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and identified the best coconut flour you can buy.
An important note: Cassava flour and tapioca flour are not the same thing! Both are made from the same plant, but while cassava flour is made from the whole cassava root, tapioca flour is made from the starch extracted from the root.
Cassava flour + coconut flour nutritional facts
|Per 1/4 cup serving||Cassava flour||Coconut flour||All-purpose flour|
|Carbs||31 g||18 g||23 g|
|Fiber||2 g||10 g||1 g|
|Fat||0 g||3 g||0 g|
|Protein||0 g||6 g||4 g|
|Glycemic index score||46||45||85|
Cassava flour is low-fat and cholesterol-free, making it a heart-healthy alternative to wheat flour. Since the entire root is ground up for cassava flour, it retains all the nutrients of the root – vitamin C, fiber, and resistant starch, which helps promote gut health.
Coconut flour is even more nutritionally dense and is higher in dietary fiber, fat, and protein which offers a range of health benefits. See which flours have the highest protein levels. Both cassava and coconut flour have a low glycemic index of 46 and 45, so you don’t have to worry about them causing swings in your blood sugar.
Cassava flour vs coconut flour storage
Both flours have pretty long shelf lives! Both cassava flour and coconut flour can last for up to a year in the pantry, but stored in the fridge or freezer they can last up to two years. I recommend keeping them in air-tight containers to prevent moisture or insects from getting inside, and out of direct sunlight to preserve nutrients.
Cassava flour vs coconut flour: The ultimate verdict
Cassava and coconut flour are both great gluten-free alternatives to traditional wheat flour with long shelf lives. For beginners to gluten-free baking, I recommend cassava flour as it’s a bit easier to work with since it acts very similar to wheat flour when baking. (Of course, for those who want a more nutritionally dense option or are following a recipe that uses coconut flour, you won’t be disappointed with coconut flour!)
I don’t recommend substituting coconut flour for cassava flour. Coconut flour is much more absorbent and requires more moisture than cassava flour, which could make your dish too dry or thick if it’s not properly adjusted. For best results, use a recipe that specifies which type of flour to use.
It really depends on what you’re looking for and the recipe you are using. Cassava flour is more similar to wheat flour in terms of texture and behavior when it comes to baking, however coconut flour is superior in terms of nutrition.
Generally, almond flour is considered to be healthier than cassava flour. Almond flour is lower in carbohydrates and higher in healthy fats and proteins compared to cassava flour. It also contains more fiber, vitamins, and minerals.