All-purpose flour is one of the most versatile flours out there – pretty much anyone that’s baked anything has experience using it.
But if you’ve ever found yourself wanting to bake with a gluten-free flour that adds a little extra taste to your bakes, chestnut flour may be for you.
So how do these two compare? In this article, we’ll look at all the important differences and help you decide which one is best for your needs.
Comparing chestnut flour vs all-purpose flour
|Swap 50% for 50%*
|Unknown – varies depending on processing.
|Pantry shelf life (unopened/sealed)
|Best for baking…
|Cakes, cookies, sweet breads, crepes
|Non-yeast recipes (think cookies, biscuits, and some breads)
*Swap 50% of your all-purpose flour for 50% of chestnut flour, and work up or down from there. Chestnut flour can vary when it comes to baking properties, so it is better to get a feel for it and its strong flavor before using 100%.
Differences between chestnut flour vs all-purpose flour
Chestnut flour is a naturally gluten-free flour made from finely-ground chestnuts, making it a fantastic option for gluten-free baking enthusiasts or someone dealing with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
All-purpose flour does have gluten, giving its dough more of a structured and elastic consistency that’s easy to bake with.
The taste between the two is one of the bigger differences here. All-purpose flour doesn’t really give off a lot of its own flavor, allowing the taste of different ingredients to come through – this can be great if you’re experimenting with different flavors and ingredients, as you’ll know that the flour isn’t really influencing anything.
On the other hand, chestnut flour provides a sweet, slightly nutty flavor that can combine perfectly with your bakes if you’re looking to add that extra little kick – especially in cookies and cakes!
Baking with chestnut flour vs all-purpose flour
It can be a little tricky baking between these two flours.
All-purpose flour produces some light and soft bakes, which are great for things like bread. Chestnut flour is a bit more unpredictable, with the amount of liquid it absorbs depending on the processing of it.
That’s why we recommend swapping out 50% of all-purpose flour for 50% of chestnut flour to start.
From there, work your way up or down from the 50% substitution as you get more comfortable understanding the baking properties of chestnut flour and how it affects the taste of your bakes.
For a gluten-free bake, try mixing in the other 50% with something like almond flour. The gluten-free option will take some experimenting, though.
I’d also recommend using a binder in your chestnut flour bakes, especially if you’re not mixing with all-purpose flour. This is because the gluten-free dough isn’t as structured, so adding something like eggs, egg whites, or flaxseed to your mix will help your bake stay together better.
If this sounds too complicated, check out our massive list of other great alternative flours that’ll give you some options for simpler bakes.
Ingredients in chestnut flour vs all-purpose flour
Chestnut flour is made from finely-ground chestnuts, making it a great natural gluten-free option.
All-purpose flour is milled from hard and soft wheat, sometimes bleached to get that snow-like color and finer texture in white all-purpose flour. It also contains some extra ingredients like potassium bromate to help with shelf-life and baking performance.
Chestnut flour + all-purpose flour nutritional facts
|Per 1/4 cup serving
|Glycemic Index Score
The low glycemic index score is great if you’re trying to keep your blood sugars from spiking or baking for someone with diabetes – lower blood sugar spikes can help avoid fatigue and other health issues as well.
The extra fiber in chestnut flour is also awesome for helping you feel fuller for longer and regulate digestion (if you want a gluten-free flour with a lot of fiber, check out coconut flour)
Chestnut flour vs all-purpose flour storage
Chestnut flour has a pretty short shelf-life – only about 2 months!
All-purpose flour lasts a bit longer — about 6-8 months.
Make sure you store both of them sealed off completely, and put them in the fridge or freezer to squeeze the most shelf-life out of them.
Chestnut flour vs all-purpose flour: The best bake
There’s a lot of things to consider here.
On the one hand, chestnut flour provides a gluten-free alternative to all-purpose flour, and I love the extra taste that it gives my bakes.
On the other hand, it can be tricky to start baking with chestnut flour due to its varying bakes, so it might take some experimenting and practice before you get a density and taste that you like.
The low glycemic index score, lower calories, higher fiber, sweeter taste, and gluten-free properties make me lean towards chestnut flour, personally.
But the versatility of all-purpose flour is nothing to scoff at – it’s definitely easier to use, and still a good option if you don’t mind gluten.
So, it comes down to convenience and what you prioritize – I’d love to hear which one you’re leaning towards in the comments!
Yes, unlike peanuts and almonds, chestnuts are true nuts and are considered tree nuts, so chestnut flour is made from nuts.
Chestnut flour has a lower glycemic score (30), which means that it won’t spike your blood sugar as quickly as all-purpose flour (GI score of 85) would.
Chestnut flour gives off a sweet and slightly nutty flavor that can be a great additive to bakes like cookies and crepes.