In case you haven’t gotten the memo, flour isn’t just made from wheat anymore! Flour can be made from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and more – which means there is a big range of protein content across the different types of flours.
The flours that contain the least protein (two grams or fewer per serving) are:
- Apple flour (0 grams)
- Arrowroot flour (0 grams)
- Cassava flour (0 grams)
- Chestnut flour (0 grams)
- Tapioca flour (0 grams)
- Banana flour (1 gram)
- Tigernut flour (1 gram)
- Corn flour (2 grams)
We’ll review these low-protein flours in more detail, explain the role of protein in flours, and more in this article!
Protein content of flour
Since flour can be made from all sorts of sources, the protein content of different flours can vary quite a bit! For instance, flour made from protein-rich nuts, seeds, and legumes tends to be much higher in protein compared to flour made from sources that aren’t naturally rich in protein.
Some flours aren’t rich in protein depending on their source. For instance, whole wheat flour uses the entire part of the wheat kernel so it contains two more grams of protein per serving than white flour, which only uses the outer parts of the wheat kernel.
Flours with the lowest protein content
We’ve rounded up a list of 8 types of flour which contain two or fewer grams of protein per serving.
- Apple flour
Apple flour is made from dried and ground-up apples and provides a sweet taste when added to baked goods and things like oatmeal.
Apples aren’t rich in protein, so it’s not surprising that apple flour is low in protein with zero grams per ¼ cup serving.
- Arrowroot flour (starch)
Arrowroot flour is considered both a flour and a starch (a type of carbohydrate that provides structure to the plant) and is also referred to as arrowroot powder.
Arrowroot flour/starch is made from a tuber (type of vegetable) native to Indonesia. Arrowroot is popular as a gluten-free thickener used in small amounts, not as a standalone flour like all-purpose flour.
Arrowroot flour contains zero grams of protein per one tablespoon serving.
- Cassava flour
Cassava flour is made from the dried root of the cassava plant, a starchy root vegetable/tuber which is native to South America.
Cassava flour is popular in gluten-free baking and can be used to make a variety of things, such as pancakes, cakes, cookies, bread, and more.
How much protein is in cassava flour? It contains zero grams per ¼ cup serving.
- Chestnut flour
Many types of flours made from nuts contain a decent amount of protein, but that’s not the case for chestnut flour.
Chestnut flour is gluten-free and provides a sweet, nutty flavor in baked goods like cookies and sweet breads. It can also help provide density to baked goods, which is another benefit.
There are zero grams of protein per ¼ cup of chestnut flour.
- Tapioca flour
Also made from the cassava plant, tapioca flour/starch is a great thickener in gluten-free baking. It contains zero grams of protein per ¼ cup.
- Banana flour
Banana flour is made from dried-up and ground green bananas, which are high in starch and lower in sugar. You can add banana flour to baked goods to give them a mild, low-sugar banana flavor. It’s also high in resistant starch, which is considered beneficial for your digestive tract!
Banana flour contains one gram of protein per ¼ cup serving.
- Tigernut flour
Tigernut flour is made from a ground tuber (not an actual nut) called the yellow nutsedge. Compared to regular wheat-based flours, tigernut flour is lower in carbohydrates, which might make it more suitable for lower-carb diets – but it’s not considered keto-friendly.
Tigernut flour (also called chufa nut flour) contains one gram of protein per ¼ cup serving.
- Corn flour
Corn flour is a popular gluten-free flour used to make things like gluten-free breading, cornbread, and tortillas.
Corn flour contains two grams of protein per ¼ cup serving.
Nutritional comparison of lowest protein flours
Serving size=¼ cup unless otherwise noted
|Apple flour||100||20 g||4 g||1 g||0 g||Yes|
|Arrowroot flour (1 tbsp)||35||8 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||Yes|
|Cassava flour||130||31 g||2 g||0 g||0 g||Yes|
|Chestnut flour||142||28 g||6 g||0 g||0 g||Yes|
|Tapioca flour||110||27 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||Yes|
|Banana flour||95||23 g||2 g||0 g||1 g||Yes|
|Tigernut flour||130||14 g||3 g||7 g||1 g||Yes|
|Corn flour||120||25 g||3 g||1.5 g||2 g||Yes|
Benefits of low-protein flours
When it comes to wheat-based flours, the protein content is associated with the gluten content. Gluten is a protein in wheat (also rye and barley) which provides an elastic, stretchy texture. The lower the protein in wheat flour, the lower the gluten.
Why would you want a low gluten content? If you’re making things like delicate cakes and cookies and want a soft, crumbly texture instead of a chewy texture, low-protein flour (like cake flour) is ideal! On the other hand, higher-protein/gluten flours like bread flour are better if you want to make chewy bread, thanks to the higher elasticity from the gluten.
Drawbacks of low-protein flours
One of the benefits of protein is that it provides a greater sense of satiety after you eat it. If you use low-protein flours, your finished product might not be as protein-rich and filling as if you used high-protein flours.
Cake flour is one of the lower-protein wheat flours (along with pastry flour), but it’s not the lowest protein flour compared to other types of flour (e.g. tapioca flour, apple flour, etc.).
Cake flour and pastry flour are low in protein and gluten, making them more suitable for making delicate baked goods compared to higher-protein wheat flours like all-purpose flour and bread flour.
In wheat-based flours, low protein flours mean they are lower in gluten (gluten is a protein!). However, many gluten-free flours are low in protein, so it’s important to note the difference.