Coconut flour and the sometimes controversial hemp flour are two nutritiously-dense natural food ingredients that have become increasingly popular in the health food community in recent years.
Hemp flour is made from milled hemp seeds and has an exceptionally high fiber content. Both flours offer numerous health benefits and can be used for baking or as thickeners for sauces or soups.
Coconut flour is higher in dietary fiber than other grain-based flours and provides healthy fats, making it beneficial for digestion. Both are particularly high in protein, making them ideal plant-based protein sources for vegetarians and vegans.
But which is the best bake? Let’s find out.
Comparing coconut flour vs hemp flour
|Hemp flour||Coconut flour||All-purpose flour|
|Substitution Ratio||¼ cup of hemp, ¾ cup of all-purpose*||1:4||N/A|
|Allergens||Hemp, cannabis||Coconut (tree nuts)||Wheat, gluten|
|Pantry shelf life (unopened/sealed)||1 year||Up to 2 years||6-8 months|
|Best for baking||Cookies, muffins, waffles, pancakes, quick breads, tortillas||Most desserts – especially cakes, cookies, and pie crusts.||Non-yeast recipes (cookies, biscuits, and some breads)|
*As hemp flour does not rise and is high in protein and oil, swapping out 1:1 with all-purpose isn’t suggested. Instead, start by substituting 25% of your regular flour with hemp flour, and work upwards from there, experimenting with different binding agents and other alternative flours. For example, if your recipe calls for 2 cups of all-purpose flour, try 1.5 cups of all-purpose and ½ a cup of hemp. This will fortify your bake with extra nutrients.
Differences between hemp flour and coconut flour
Hemp and coconut flours are similar in a lot of ways when it comes to their nutritional and baking profiles. While coconut flour adds a lovely sweetness to dishes, hemp flour adds a satisfying nutty flavor. Hemp can be dense and also granular sometimes, a little bit like cornflour. Great for tortillas!
Baking with coconut flour vs hemp flour
Baking with coconut flour and hemp flour can be a great way to create a healthy alternative to traditional treats. Both coconut and hemp flour are made from whole plant-based ingredients, making them far superior to regular flour in terms of nutrition.
No matter what recipe you create, it’s important to remember that these flours must be mixed with other ingredients, such as eggs or dairy products, since they do not contain gluten and therefore cannot provide structure like regular wheat-based flours can. It is much better to use recipes designed specifically with these ingredients rather than swapping out the flour in the recipe directly for hemp or coconut. Oftentimes, it just won’t work.
With hemp, you can swap out a small percentage of your regular flour directly for hemp flour, which is usually recommended when using it in baking, so that the product still holds its shape and rises. If you’re making something like a cracker or flatbread, then you can use 100% hemp.
Ingredients in hemp vs coconut flour
Hemp flour is made by pressing hemp seeds. This separates the hemp oil from the rest of the seed and is a bit of a complicated process, so it isn’t easy to make yourself at home. The cake is then dried and crushed into flour. Oh, and did I mention it is green, and that hue will end up in your baked goods? Fun!
Both coconut flour and hemp flour should be made with 100% dried coconut meat and 100% dried hemp seed/cake.
Hemp flour + coconut flour nutritional facts
|Per ¼ Cup Serving||Hemp flour||Coconut flour||All-purpose flour|
|Glycemic index score||4*||45||85|
*This value is for hemp seed; the flour may vary, but will still be low GI.
Hemp is also rich in minerals like zinc, lots of magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium. Additionally, hemp flour contains essential fatty acids like omega 3s which have been linked to reducing inflammation throughout the body. Both flours are gluten-free, so they can be enjoyed by those with a gluten intolerance or sensitivity.
The fiber content is fantastic in hemp and great in coconut, which is often lacking in a lot of diets. Even adding a small amount of hemp flour to your bakes will increase the nutrition of your food considerably.
Hemp flour vs coconut flour storage
Both flours should be stored at room temperature in airtight containers, away from heat sources. They keep much better long-term if you freeze them; then, they can last around two years.
Hemp flour vs coconut flour: The best bake
A lot of the recipes you will find online for hemp flour don’t just use 100% hemp flour. It is usually combined with all-purpose, or almond flour and other things, with hemp at a small ratio. For this reason, even though it is nutritionally superior to coconut flour, it isn’t as easy to bake with.
I love the flavor of both flours, but coconut is a better choice if I want a simple recipe using only one alternative flour. If I want to add a boost of nutrition to my food, then I’ll throw some hemp flour in with my all-purpose flour, or I will use hemp protein in a shake or a smoothie or add it to my pancake batter.
This is usually the first thing people ask, and the reason why my mother is suspicious of a baked treat with hemp. No, it will not get you high. The compound in the cannabis plant that does that is called THC. Hemp seed contains minuscule amounts of THC, certainly not enough to alter your brain chemistry (unless you get high from the pleasure of eating delicious things, that is!)
If you’re out of hemp, coconut flour is actually a pretty good substitute since they bake so similarly (fat, protein, liquid absorbency). Just make sure to follow the substitution ratios in the table!
They are slightly different in the way that they are processed. Hemp protein has a higher protein content and lower fiber than hemp flour, as it is passed through a refiner to make it finer in consistency. This increases the protein but reduces the fiber content.