Oat flour and all-purpose flour are two of the most popular types of flour around. Oat flour is a gluten-free alternative that’s high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Meanwhile, all-purpose flour is a versatile flour that can be used in just about any recipe.
So which one is better? I’ll cover all the important differences and details below to help you decide.
Comparing oat flour vs all-purpose flour
|Oat flour||All-purpose flour|
|Substitution ratio (vs all-purpose flour)||1.3:1||N/A|
|Common Allergens||None||Wheat, gluten|
|Pantry shelf life||2 months||6-8 months|
|Best for||Pancakes, muffins, cookies, fruit crumbles and crisps||Non-yeast recipes, cookies, biscuits, and some breads|
Oat flour isn’t just gluten-free; it’s one of the best flours for ALL allergies. That’s because oats aren’t a top-nine allergen (unlike many other gluten-free flours, which are made of tree nuts like cashews, pecans, and coconuts). All-purpose flour, of course, is made from wheat and so has plenty of gluten. Neither oat flour nor all-purpose is Keto or Paleo-friendly, and as you can see the substitution ratio of 1.3 cups of oat flour to one cup of all-purpose flour shows that these flours are somewhat interchangeable (within reason).
Oat flour of course does have that heartier taste that works really well with fruit crumbles and denser pancakes and muffins – which is also aligned with its higher liquid absorbency (which tends to yield denser bakes). All-purpose is a general-use flour that particularly shines in some lighter and fluffier baking like biscuits and some breads.
Differences between oat flour and all-purpose flour
Oat flour is made by grinding whole oats into a fine powder. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, oat flour may be a better choice for you as it’s gluten-free. It is also high in fiber, protein, and other nutrients, making it a healthier alternative to all-purpose flour.
On the other hand, all-purpose flour is a blend of hard and soft wheat flours. It contains gluten, which gives baked goods their structure and elasticity.
Oat flour has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor, while all-purpose flour has a neutral flavor. The flavor of oat flour can add a unique taste to baked goods, while all-purpose flour allows the flavors of other ingredients to shine through. All-purpose flour is a more versatile flour that can be used in a wide range of recipes, from cakes and cookies to bread and pizza dough.
Baking with oat flour vs all-purpose flour
Because of their different compositions, oat flour and all-purpose flour have different properties when it comes to baking. For example, baked goods made with oat flour tend to be denser and have a chewier texture (try these chewy homemade granola bars). All-purpose flour, on the other hand, produces baked goods that are lighter and have a softer texture.
Oat flour typically requires more volume or weight than all-purpose flour when used in recipes because it is more dense and absorbs more liquid than all-purpose flour. This means that it can make a recipe thicker and heavier if not properly adjusted. To achieve the desired consistency and texture, more oat flour may be needed in a recipe compared to all-purpose flour. When substituting oat flour for regular flour, I recommend using 1 ⅓ cups of oat flour for every 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
However, oat flour may not be suitable for all recipes. Because it doesn’t contain gluten, it may not work as well in recipes that rely on the stretch and elasticity provided by gluten, such as bread and pizza dough – that’s a better job for all-purpose flour!
Ingredients in oat flour vs all-purpose flour
Oat flour is made by grinding whole oats into a fine powder, so it only contains one ingredient: oats. It is a minimally processed flour that is perfect for those looking for whole-food ingredients.
All-purpose flour, on the other hand, contains wheat and small amounts of other ingredients such as malted barley flour, vitamin C, or potassium bromate, which are added to improve texture, shelf life, and baking performance.
Oat flour and all-purpose flour nutritional facts
|Per ¼ cup serving||Oat flour||All-purpose flour|
|Glycemic index score||44||85|
Compared to all-purpose flour, oat flour is higher in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc.
Not only does it have more nutrients, but oat flour has a lower glycemic index than all-purpose flour. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a high glycemic index can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, which can lead to cravings, fatigue, and other health issues.
Since oat flour has a lower glycemic index AND more fiber (helps regulate digestion and promotes feelings of fullness), it can help regulate blood sugar levels and keep you feeling fuller for longer. One ongoing question is whether oat flour is suitable for a low FODMAP diet.
Oat flour vs all-purpose flour storage
Oat flour can last a REALLY long time – up to 2 years if kept in a dry, cool place. All-purpose flour, on the other hand, typically lasts for up to 6-8 months.
Of course, it’s important to check the expiration date on both types of flour and store them properly to ensure maximum freshness and quality. If you’re not going to use them right away, it’s best to keep them in the freezer (just make sure they’re completely sealed).
Oat flour vs all-purpose flour: The ultimate verdict
Oat flour is a great healthy alternative to all-purpose flour, especially if you’re looking to up your fiber and protein intake, regulate blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy diet.
I prefer oat flour for its health benefits and chewy texture. This is my go-to gluten-free baking flour – it hasn’t failed me yet! Of course, for recipes that require gluten like bread, all-purpose flour is better, or a combination of the two!
Oat flour doesn’t work the same as flour in all recipes. Its lack of gluten means that it may not provide the same structure and elasticity as wheat flour in recipes that rely on gluten for texture and rise.
Oat flour is healthier than all-purpose flour due to its higher fiber, protein, and nutrient content, as well as its lower carbohydrate content and glycemic index. However, the choice between oat flour and all-purpose flour will ultimately depend on your dietary needs and personal preferences.
Oat flour can be used for baking, but it may not work as well as wheat flour in recipes that require gluten for structure and elasticity. It is a good option for gluten-free baking or as a substitute in recipes that don’t require gluten.
Oat flour can be used as a substitute for all-purpose flour in some recipes, but it’s best to use oat flour in recipes that don’t rely on gluten for texture and rise, or to use a combination of oat flour and other gluten-free flours to achieve the desired texture.