In the world of baking, choosing the right flour can make all the difference between the average bake and a unique creation. Among the countless flour options on the market, oat flour and spelt flour are two down-to-earth options that can add dimension to many recipes that use plain all-purpose.
Let’s head on our quest to determine the ultimate verdict: which flour is best for your bake?
Comparing oat flour vs spelt flour
|Substitution ratio vs all-purpose flour
|100% swap with all-purpose if done by weight. If done by cup, you need 1 ⅓ cup of oat flour for every 1 cup of all-purpose
|1:1 – 100% of your all-purpose flour can be swapped with 100% spelt flour
|Low – use 10 – 25% less water
|Pantry shelf life (unopened/sealed)
|3 – 6 months
|Best for baking…
|Dense baked goods like pancakes, bread, and muffins
|Classic recipes like cookies, bread, muffins, and waffles
*Check the label/ingredients to determine gluten-free status
Differences between oat flour and spelt flour
When it comes to substitution ratios, oat flour and spelt flour play by slightly different rules. Oat flour absorbs a lot more liquid than spelt, so don’t forget when you’re swapping flours in recipes – you might need to adjust the amount of liquid. Since spelt has low absorbency, use 10 – 25% less liquid in your bake.
For special diets, here’s where things get interesting. Oat flour is naturally gluten-free, while spelt flour contains gluten but less than traditional wheat flour. So, it’s a potential alternative for those with milder gluten sensitivities. If you’re following a strict keto or paleo diet, though, both flours won’t fit the bill due to their carbohydrate content.
Note: Always choose certified gluten-free oat flour if you are gluten intolerant since some oats are processed on machinery that also handles gluten.
Baking with oat flour vs baking with spelt flour
Oat flour excels in providing a moist and slightly dense texture. Because of this, and the fact that it offers a nice and pleasant nutty flavor, it’s a great flour choice for a wide range of recipes. On the other hand, spelt flour, with its touch of sweetness and nuttiness, stands out a little more in recipes like bread, muffins, and pie crusts.
Spelt flour’s gluten content gives whatever you’re baking a more elastic structure, but you’ll also find that its low liquid absorbency can create an overly moist or runny batter or dough. That’s why you’ll have to be a little more mindful when baking with spelt flour.
In terms of appearance, oat flour adds light brown color to baked goods, while spelt flour can produce a slightly darker, golden hue.
Ingredients in oat flour vs spelt flour
Oat flour is derived from grinding whole oats, which means it contains all parts of the oat kernel. Spelt flour is made from grinding spelt, a type of whole grain wheat that keeps its bran and germ, resulting in a flour with a higher nutritional value compared to refined wheat flour.
Oat flour + spelt flour nutritional facts
|Per ¼ cup serving
|Glycemic index score
|55 – 67
From the table, you can see that oat flour and spelt flour are nearly identical in their main nutritional content. In a ¼ cup, oat flour has 22g of carbohydrates, 4g of protein, 0g of sugar, 3g of fiber, 2g of fat, and 120 calories. Spelt flour has 23g of carbohydrates, 4g of protein and 0g of sugar as well, 0g of fat (making them low-fat flours), and 110 calories per ¼ cup. Where they differ most is their glycemic index score, thanks to their composition.
If their carbohydrate content is so similar, why is oat flour a lower glycemic index flour? Because oat flour contains more dietary fiber, it helps slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. And what does that mean? A slower and more gradual release of glucose.
Oat flour vs spelt flour storage
Oat flour only stays fresh for about 2 months when stored properly, as it contains the natural oils found in oats, which make it spoil more quickly if exposed to air or moisture. Spelt flour tends to have a slightly longer shelf life, ranging from 3 to 6 months.
The oils in oat flour can go bad when exposed to air, heat, or humidity, leading to a shorter storage life. In contrast, spelt flour’s lower oil content helps it stay fresh for a longer period.
Oat flour vs spelt flour: Which is better?
Oat flour takes the crown when it comes to gluten-free delights, as it’s an ideal gluten-free flour that beautifully complements cookies, pancakes, and quick breads. Spelt flour is better if you want to add a fun twist in flavor and texture and want to experiment with wheat-based flour. But if you have a wheat allergy or any dietary restrictions, spelt is unfortunately off the table.
If you want to dive deeper into the world of flour and elevate your baking skills, we’ve broken down 61 different flours for your convenience.
Spelt flour and oat flour may share some similarities, but they’re not exactly twins. Spelt flour comes from a close relative of wheat and contains gluten, retaining its bran and germ. Oat flour is gluten-free and wheat-free, completely made out of oats.
If you’re searching for an oat flour substitute, a combination of buckwheat flour and white rice flour is a great option. This blend provides a similar texture and nutritional profile while also being gluten-free. Want a keto or paleo alternative? Coconut flour is your go-to substitute to avoid grains and gluten.
Einkorn flour is a great substitute as it has a similar nutty flavor and good overall compatibility in baking recipes. As well, whole wheat flour can be a convenient and straightforward option, while almond flour serves as a keto and paleo-friendly alternative.
Spelt flour is essentially a close relative to wheat flour. It shares a lot of similarities with wheat flour in terms of taste and baking properties, but it has a slightly nuttier flavor and a different gluten structure.