There seem to be endless types of flour out there to meet all of your various baking or dietary needs. If you’ve been on the search for a gluten-free flour alternative, you most likely know that coconut flour is a great option that’s versatile and chock-full of health benefits. But you may never have heard of this one: fufu flour.
What exactly is fufu flour? Is it healthy? What can it be used for? Don’t worry, we’re here to give you the 411 on all things fufu. We’ll share everything we know, and compare it to coconut flour along the way so you can get more familiar with this flour alternative.
Comparing coconut flour and fufu flour
|Coconut flour||Fufu flour||All-purpose flour|
|Substitution ratio vs all-purpose flour||1:4||1:1*||N/A|
|Allergens||Coconut (tree nuts)||No known common allergens||Wheat, gluten|
|Pantry shelf life (unopened/sealed)||Up to 2 years||Up to 2 years||6-8 months|
|Best for baking…||Most desserts – especially cakes, cookies, and pie crusts, muffins, and dense breads (especially pumpkin bread!)||African dishes (fufu), frying batters, thickening agent in soups, sauces, stews, etc.||Non-yeast recipes (think cookies, biscuits, and some breads)|
Looking at the overview, fufu flour seems similar to coconut flour in many ways – but it’s a very unique product and comes with its caveats. The first caveat is its substitution ratio: you can theoretically substitute equal parts all-purpose flour with fufu flour, but since it’s not often used in baked goods, we recommend taking this on a recipe-by-recipe basis. Since fufu flour is dense and absorbent, there may be some cases where you need to use a smaller amount of fufu flour or add more liquid to the recipe.
The next caveat is that fufu flour is gluten-free (like coconut flour), but because different products and brands can be made with different ingredients, it’s important to check the label and ensure that there are no ingredients that contain gluten.
Where coconut flour can be keto friendly, fufu flour is not suitable for a keto diet because it’s generally starchy and high in carbs. However, both coconut flour and fufu flour are grain-free and thus paleo friendly, and fufu flour is a safe flour alternative as it doesn’t pose any known, common allergy risks.
What are the ingredients in coconut flour and fufu flour?
You may still be wondering what fufu flour actually is (and maybe even why it’s called fufu flour). It’s a staple to the African diet, because it’s a flour variety that’s specially formulated to make an African dish called – you guessed it – fufu. “Fufu” means “mash” or “mix,” coming from the Twi language spoken in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
What makes fufu flour different from most flours is that it’s not necessarily made from one specific ingredient. It’s essentially a flour that’s made from various starch ingredients which are processed into a powder – like cassava, plantain, potato, corn, or taro (also known as cocoyam). Often, you’ll see a combination of several of these ground starches, and sometimes spices like saffron and turmeric will be included in the flour blend as well.
Meanwhile, coconut flour is exactly what it sounds like: it’s derived from ground, dried coconut meat. So since fufu flour is a starch and coconut flour is technically a fruit, their nutrition makeup and health benefits differ vastly (which we’ll discuss more in the nutrition section).
Baking with coconut flour vs baking with fufu flour
Coconut flour can be used to bake all kinds of desserts, from cookies and sweet breads to pie crusts and muffins. It works well in baked goods because it’s naturally sweet with a hint of the coconut flavor, and it adds a bit of density to the final texture. Because it’s so absorbent, it’s important to bake with the correct flour ratios and compensate with extra liquid or binders. Overall, coconut flour is a versatile grain-free, gluten-free flour alternative that allows for healthy and delicious baked goods.
Fufu flour is used for very different purposes when it comes to baking and cooking, because it’s specifically crafted to make fufu. As stated above, fufu is a traditional African dish: a spongy, almost sour dough that’s often compared to a dumpling of sorts. It’s made by mixing fufu flour with water into a paste, and then boiling and kneading until it becomes a sticky dough. Fufu is usually used as an accompaniment to soups and stews, for added sustenance.
So can you use fufu flour to make anything other than fufu? Yes! While it’s not typically used to make breads, desserts, or other baked goods, it can be used as a thickening agent in many savory dishes like soups, stews, gravies, and sauces. It can also be used to fry meats or other foods, by lightly dusting them with fufu flour.
Coconut flour + fufu flour nutritional facts
|Per 1/4 cup serving||Coconut flour||Fufu flour||All-purpose flour|
|Carbs||18 g||25 g||23 g|
|Fiber||10 g||1.5 g||1 g|
|Fat||3 g||0 g||0 g|
|Protein||6 g||3.5 g||4 g|
|Glycemic index score||45||31-87*||85|
As you can see, coconut flour and fufu flour are very different when it comes to nutritional breakdown. Coconut flour has nearly double the amount of protein and over six times the amount of fiber as fufu flour, and it also includes healthy fats – which means that it’s good for things like heart health, digestive health, and weight maintenance. Coconut flour is high in beneficial vitamins and minerals like potassium and iron.
While fufu flour is high in carbs (even higher than all-purpose flour), it’s a lower-calorie and zero-fat flour. It’s also rich in resistant starch, which can help feed the “good” bacteria in your digestive system and reduce inflammation.
How to store coconut flour and fufu flour
Coconut flour and fufu flour have a similar shelf life. As long as you store them in a sealed container in a cool, dry place, both types of flour should last in your pantry for up to two years. If you want to ensure a long shelf life or if your home tends to get warm or humid, keep them in the fridge to ensure optimal freshness.
Coconut flour vs fufu flour: the final summary
That was a lot of information, especially if you’re new to these flour alternatives! Both make for healthy flour substitutes, but it depends what you’re looking for. To sum it up for you…
Coconut flour is a grain-free, gluten-free, lower-carb flour alternative that’s made from dried and ground coconut flesh. It’s great for baking desserts and sweet or dense baked goods, and can be very versatile as long as it’s substituted appropriately. It’s not only delicious, but since it’s rich in fiber, protein, and certain vitamins and minerals, it offers plenty of health benefits — promoting a healthy heart and stable blood sugar levels.
Fufu flour is a grain-free, gluten-free, higher-carb flour alternative made from one or more starches that have been ground into a powder – whether it’s plantains, cassava root, or potatoes. It’s processed specifically to make fufu, a dumpling-like dough that’s native to Africa; but it can play other roles in the kitchen as well, like battering fried foods or thickening sauces and soups.
Yes! Although fufu is typically made from starchy flours, it’s possible to use coconut flour for a lower carb substitution – you’ll just need to sift the coconut flour first, and use the right ratio of flour to water (1 cup of coconut flour to 1.5 cups of water).
Yes and no. Both flours are grain-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free. However, cassava is higher in carbs so it’s not as keto-friendly as coconut flour. Cassava flour is richer in vitamin C, but coconut flour is higher in protein and fiber.
Fufu flour is typically made of any combination of the following starchy ingredients: mashed or ground plantains, cassava, potatoes, yams, corn, or taro. Often spices like saffron and turmeric are also included.