If you are looking for gluten-free alternatives to make your baked goods, you’ve probably come up with coconut flour. Not only is it a gluten-free option, but it is also low-carb.
And let’s face it – coconut flour is great for a ton of recipes!
But if you’re looking for a different gluten-free option with some tropical pizzazz, it’s worth taking a closer look at banana flour.
Banana flour is a high-quality and nutrient-rich option to keep in mind when making baked goods or desserts.
Anything that uses all-purpose flour or coconut flour you can easily substitute for banana flour.
Here, we’ll go over the differences between coconut flour and banana flour, so you know when to use each to create the best dishes.
What is banana flour?
To make banana flour, you only need one ingredient: bananas. Peel, cook, and then grind them until you get a fine powder.
(Or if you’d rather just buy, there are good options out there. Make sure to check the label for organic and single ingredient banana flour – no additives or chemicals! Or you can just go with this excellent banana flour brand.)
Not surprisingly given its single ingredient, banana flour has a sweet with a subtle banana flavor – fortunately, it’s not overwhelming at all.
Comparing coconut flour vs banana flour
Now, let’s talk about the differences between coconut flour and banana flour.
To make things easier, here is a comparison table between coconut flour, banana flour, and all-purpose flour.
|Feature||Coconut flour||Banana flour||All-purpose flour|
|Substitution ratio vs. all-purpose flour||1:4||1:1.25||NA|
|Pantry shelf-life||2 years||6 months to a year||6-8 months|
|Best for||Desserts (cookies, cakes, and pies).||Baked goods, desserts, and pastries.||Baked goods, pastries, and desserts.|
As you can see, banana flour generally bakes a lot more like all-purpose flour than coconut flour — you can see it just in the substitution ratio and liquid absorbency. So if coconut flour’s density (a factor of all that liquid absorbency) is a concern – banana can make an attractive gluten-free (and paleo-friendly!) alternative.
Differences between coconut flour and banana flour
Not surprisingly, the biggest difference between coconut flour and banana flour is their liquid absorbency. Due to the high fiber content in coconut flour, it tends to absorb more liquid than banana flour. So, this means if you want to substitute all-purpose flour with coconut flour, sub in 1/4 cup for every cup of all-purpose flour and be prepared to add more liquid.
Another difference between coconut flour and banana flour is its carb content. Banana flour tends to be starchier than coconut flour and has quite a few more carbs. For that reason, you can use coconut flour in a keto diet (in moderation), while you will have to be more careful when using banana flour.
Of course, if you’re allergic to coconuts, banana flour is obviously a better option, as it has none of the major allergens.
Baking with coconut flour vs baking with banana flour
Both coconut flour and banana flour bake well, but they also bake differently.
Your first consideration when subbing either in should be flavor – both coconut and banana can be…somewhat polarizing! And while both flavors are reasonably subtle – the coconut is stronger, but it’s still not overwhelming – that’s something to keep in mind.
And when subbing in either, you’ll need to make some modifications.
As mentioned before, coconut flour tends to absorb more liquids. For that reason, you might need to make some adjustments. If the recipe asks for one cup of all-purpose flour, add only ¼ cup of coconut flour with a couple of tablespoons of extra liquid.
On the other hand, if you want to use banana flour, for every cup of all-purpose flour you can substitute in ¾ cup of banana flour. Since banana flour is higher in starches than regular flour, that is why you might need to add less banana flour.
Besides baking, you can also use banana flour as a thickening agent for your sauces – and a great way to add a pinch of tropical flavor!
Ingredients in coconut flour vs banana flour
Coconut flour and banana flour should each have just one ingredient: Coconut, or banana.
Check the nutritional label before making a purchase to ensure you are buying pure coconut flour or banana flour. Additives might affect the quality of the products or the texture of the recipes. (As I mentioned above, here’s a great banana flour you can try out, and here’s a top coconut flour brand as well.)
Coconut flour and banana flour nutritional facts
Another difference between coconut flour and banana flour is its nutritional value.
Here is a table comparing coconut flour, banana four, and all-purpose flour in ¼ cup of each.
|¼ cup serving||Coconut flour||Banana flour||All-purpose flour|
|Net carbs (g)||8.0||21.0||23.0|
Coconut flour is slightly more caloric than banana flour.
On top of that, it is also lower in carbs, higher in fat, and MUCH higher in fiber.
As for the glycemic index, depending on the ripeness of the bananas, it might have a lower glycemic index than coconut flour, making it a better option for those who need more stable blood sugar levels. (Of course, both are still far better than all-purpose flour, which clocks in at a whopping 85 glycemic index.)
If you have specific dietary needs, check out our full list of flours (with nutritional data).
Coconut flour vs banana flour storage
Coconut flour has a much longer shelf life than banana flour.
Coconut flour might last 2 years in the pantry, while banana flour should probably be good for 6 to 12 months. Keep both flours in air-tight containers to last longer.
(You can also store either or both in the refrigerator or freezer – that should extend the shelf life substantially.)
Coconut flour vs banana flour: The ultimate verdict
Coconut flour and banana flour are excellent flours if you’re trying for gluten-free baking or just want to add a little pizzazz to your recipes.
That said, generally speaking, we prefer coconut flour to banana flour. Given its longer shelf-life, greater flexibility and useability in baking, and the fact that it’s more keto-friendly, coconut flour is the superior option in our opinion.
Of course – if you’re allergic to coconuts, don’t love the denser texture (for example, this coconut bread recipe is great as a side, but the bread is just too dense to be ideal for sandwiches), or just want to try out a different flavor, banana flour is a great option. Which do you prefer? Sound off in the comments!
Frequently asked questions
You can use banana flour for anything that requires all-purpose flour. Besides using it for baked goods, you can also add it to thicken stews or sauces.
Banana flour has a subtle banana taste. Some people might not even notice it. Since it is made from green bananas, it is not too sweet, and it can be a great alternative to all-purpose flour.
Thanks to its high fiber content, probiotics in the gut microbiome can benefit from consuming banana flour. As a result, it can lead to better digestion.