Coconut flour and white whole wheat flour are both popular types of flours that can be used to bake everything from breads to sweet cakes.
You may be wondering, what’s the difference between white whole wheat flour and whole wheat flour? Think of white whole-wheat flour like white flour meets whole wheat flour. It’s made the same way as whole-wheat flour, but milled from white wheat instead of red wheat, which provides a milder taste and paler color compared to whole-wheat flour, but without the bleaching in refined flour.
Read on as we dive into the key considerations and differences between coconut flour and white whole wheat flour…
Comparing coconut flour vs white whole wheat flour
|Coconut flour||White whole wheat flour||All-purpose flour|
|Common Allergens||Coconut (tree nuts)||Wheat, gluten||Wheat, gluten|
|Liquid absorbency||High||Medium (slightly higher than all-purpose)||Medium|
|Pantry shelf life (unopened/sealed)||Up to 2 years||3-9 months (best if stored in the fridge or freezer)||6-8 months|
|Best for baking||Most desserts and dense breads – in my experience particularly cakes, pie crusts, and muffins.||Most breads, cakes, pizza dough, and baked goods like muffins, biscuits, scones, and rolls.||Non-yeast recipes (think cookies, biscuits, and some breads)|
*When using white whole-wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour, I recommend starting with half the amount of white whole-wheat flour and slowly adding more (up to a 1:1 ratio) until you reach your desired consistency. This is because the germ and bran in white whole wheat flour absorb slightly more liquid than all-purpose flour, so if you use the full amount of flour your dough might be too dry.
Differences between coconut flour and white whole wheat flour
Coconut flour is made from dried coconut meat and is naturally gluten-free, whereas white whole wheat flour is made from finely ground white wheat berries. Each has very different nutritional profiles, textures, and uses.
When it comes to nutrition, coconut flour is a good source of healthy fats, dietary fiber, and protein with fewer carbs making it friendly for most diets: gluten-free, keto and paleo. On the other hand, white whole wheat flour contains gluten and is high in carbs, with a high glycemic index score, so it’s neither gluten-free, keto-friendly, or paleo-friendly.
However, coconut flour is usually more expensive than white whole wheat flour, since it’s made from dried coconut meat, and contains a tree nut allergen (although coconut is not a true nut).
Baking with coconut flour vs baking with white whole wheat flour
Coconut flour has a finer texture than white whole wheat flour and absorbs more liquid. This can make it tricky to work with since too much coconut flour can make your doughs and batters too dry or dense. This issue can be avoided by adding an extra egg or two and carefully adjusting the amount of liquid used in the recipe or by using the correct 1:4 ratio when substituting for all-purpose flour. For more tips on using coconut flour (including the best brands to bake with), check out our coconut flour guide!
White whole-wheat flour has a coarser texture than all-purpose flour but is still finer than traditional whole-wheat flour. It has a mild, nutty flavor which is great for baked goods like breads and waffles – see our guide on when to use whole wheat flour vs all-purpose flour. Coconut flour has a slight coconut taste (much less, in my experience, than coconut milk or coconut cream), which can be great for certain recipes like cookies and muffins.
Ingredients in coconut flour vs white whole wheat flour
When it comes to choosing the best flour available, be sure to check the label. Good quality coconut flour should be made from 100% dried coconut meat, and white whole wheat flour should be made from finely milled white wheat berries.
(And if you’re REALLY concerned with quality and have the time – you can always make your own coconut flour too.)
Coconut flour + white whole wheat flour nutritional facts
|Per 1/4 cup serving||Coconut flour||White whole wheat flour||All-purpose flour|
|Carbs||18 g||22 g||23 g|
|Fiber||10 g||3 g||1 g|
|Fat||3 g||1 g||0 g|
|Protein||6 g||4 g||4 g|
|Glycemic index score||45||85||85|
Coconut flour is a good source of healthy fats, dietary fiber, and protein with fewer carbs. White whole wheat flour has dietary fiber and protein, but less than coconut flour and it lacks the healthy fats found in coconut flour too.
Nutritionally, white whole-wheat flour is similar to whole-wheat flour. Since whole wheat flour contains the bran, germ, and endosperm, it has added fiber and minerals that are not found in all-purpose flour, which is just made from the endosperm. That said, both white-whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour have a high glycemic index of 85, which could spike blood sugar pretty quick.
Coconut flour has a much lower glycemic index score of 45, which is obviously a substantial improvement vs 85. Of course, if you’re looking for a much lower glycemic index, I’d recommend looking at almond flour.
Coconut flour vs white whole wheat flour storage
Both coconut flour and white whole-wheat flour should be stored in a cool, dark place like your pantry or cupboard. Coconut flour can last years in your pantry, while white whole-wheat flour only lasts a few months. It’s best to check the label on the package for an exact expiration date.
For optimum freshness, store your coconut flour and white whole wheat flour in an airtight container or a vacuum-seal bag. For long-term storage, you can store them in the freezer for up to 2 years for coconut flour and 9 months for white whole wheat flour.
Coconut flour vs white whole wheat flour: Everything you need to know
Coconut flour is low-carb, high-fiber, gluten-free, and keto- and paleo-friendly. White whole wheat flour is kind of the opposite… but it’s still a yummy, nutritious choice when you need a light and fluffy bread or dough – something you won’t get with coconut flour. Plus, you’ll feel good knowing both these flours are a healthy step up from all-purpose flour!
Yes, you can! However, because coconut flour absorbs more moisture, you may need to add more liquid or less coconut flour when baking.
Yes, but the texture of coconut flour is much coarser than regular wheat flours. And because of its higher fiber content, it absorbs more liquid, so you may need to use more liquid. So if the recipe calls for 1 cup of white flour you should use around 1/4 cup of coconut flour instead.