I used to think the limit of a chickpea’s versatility was hummus. Turns out the sky is the limit when it comes to this legume, and it can be used to make SO MANY things. To be fair, though, I used to think coconuts were only for drinking on a tropical beach, and it never occurred to me that both these things could be used to make flour.
Coconut flour is high in dietary fiber, protein, and healthy fats, while chickpea flour is also pretty high in fiber and protein and a source of complex carbohydrates. Both flours have their own unique taste and texture, so let’s look at them a bit more in-depth to help you pick the right one for the job.
Comparing coconut flour vs chickpea flour
|Chickpea Flour||Coconut flour||All-purpose flour|
|Allergens||Chickpea/garbanzo bean (legume)||Coconut (tree nuts)||Wheat, gluten|
|Pantry shelf life (unopened/sealed)||6 months||Up to 2 years||6-8 months|
|Best for baking||Flatbreads, veggie burgers, savory fritters, dense muffins, and breads, savory crepes, and pancakes.||Most desserts – especially cakes, cookies, and pie crusts, muffins, and coconut flour bacon and egg muffins!||non-yeast recipes (think cookies, biscuits, and some breads)|
Differences between chickpea flour and coconut flour
The significant difference between these two flours is their taste. Coconut flour has a slight sweetness to it, while chickpea flour has more of an earthy, savory flavor.
While they can both be used interchangeably in many recipes (usually at a 2:1 ratio, chickpea to coconut), you may want to opt for one over the other depending on what you are baking. I like to use coconut flour for sweet cakes or muffins and chickpea flour for savory dishes like falafel and Indian dishes where a hearty texture is needed.
Baking with coconut flour vs chickpea flour
The main difference when baking is that coconut flour is much more absorbent than chickpea flour, so you need to use less when baking with the coconut. You would use ½ a cup of coconut flour for one cup of chickpea flour (note: each pair of flours has unique substitution ratios that depend on multiple factors including liquid absorbency, differences in how they bake, taste profiles, etc.).
This also affects how much liquid you need in a recipe so that your baked goods don’t come out dry. For example, a recipe calling for 1 cup of coconut flour will likely need 4 or 5 times the amount of liquid ingredients compared to the same recipe using 1 cup of chickpea flour.
When substituting one for the other in recipes, it may be necessary to adjust other elements, such as eggs or fat, since these also contribute to moisture levels in a recipe.
Chickpea flour is easier to work with since it does not clump together or produce lumps as easily as coconut flour does. As such, it works better for batters and doughs that need to be stirred or mixed for some time before baking.
In my opinion, chickpea flour has quite a strong and earthy taste, though many people describe it as neutral. Maybe it’s my tastebuds, but I digress… so I find it needs to be balanced with the right ingredients. The fruit component of muffins and banana bread does this well, as do the herbs and spices in a falafel mix. I don’t love it for a sweet pancake batter, but it is great for a savory crepe.
Ingredients in chickpea vs coconut flour
Coconut flour is made from dried, ground coconut meat and is extremely high in fiber, while chickpea flour is made from dried, ground chickpeas and has a goodly amount of fiber, too. When shopping for either flour, look for 100% of each ingredient, and avoid ones with de-caking agents and other unnecessary additives.
Chickpea flour + coconut flour nutritional facts
|Per ¼ Cup Serving||Chickpea flour||Coconut flour||All-purpose flour|
|Glycemic index score||35||45||85|
Overall, both chickpea flour and coconut flour have more fiber, fat, and protein vs. all-purpose flour while being naturally gluten-free. For diabetics and those concerned about their blood sugar, both also have lower glycemic indexes vs. regular old all-purpose flour.
Chickpea flour vs coconut flour storage
Since both flours are gluten-free, they should be stored in airtight containers at room temperature, away from direct sunlight or heat sources like stoves or ovens.
Both flours keep best long-term if you freeze them; just make sure you use an airtight container that doesn’t allow any water in. When frozen, they can last up to 2 years.
The main issue I find with chickpea flour, if you don’t store it properly, is that bugs LOVE it. It seems to be the first thing they get into if I have chickpea flour more than a few months old in my pantry. I like high-protein flour, but I’m not sure that pantry bugs really sound appetizing.
Chickpea flour vs coconut flour: The ultimate verdict
Allergens and dietary requirements aside, both flours are great for different purposes. As a rule of thumb, I prefer chickpea flour in my savory dishes and coconut in my sweet dishes, though if I have one on hand and not the other, they are acceptable to substitute.
Other flours that have a savory edge to them, in particular, quinoa flour and oat flour are good substitutes.
Chickpea flour is high in fiber compared to all-purpose flour. It takes longer to digest, and yes, in some people, it can cause gas. Maybe don’t have it for the first time on date night, just in case you need to build up a little tolerance for it.