If you’re seeking a bit of a change from all-purpose flour or if it doesn’t fit your dietary needs, quinoa flour might be just what you’re looking for. Quinoa (keen-wah) flour is a trendy flour alternative (one of the best flours for people with allergies) that’s been making waves in the health food scene. Although it looks and functions a lot like a grain, it’s known as a pseudo-grain, perfect for those who are gluten-free.
But how does it stack up against the trusty all-purpose flour we know and love? Let’s dive in and explore their differences in nutritional value, baking qualities, and more. Which one should you use in your bake? Find out in this article.
Comparing quinoa flour vs all-purpose flour
|All-Purpose Flour||Quinoa Flour|
|Substitution ratio vs all-purpose flour||N/A||Replace 25% – 50% of your all-purpose or gluten-free blend with quinoa flour|
|Paleo-friendly?||No||No (psuedocereal grain)|
|Pantry shelf life (unopened/sealed)||6 – 8 months||6 – 12 months|
|Best for baking…||Non-yeast recipes (think cookies, biscuits, and some breads)||Gluten-free goods, pancakes, pizza and pie crusts, muffins, cookies, bread, brownies, crackers|
Differences between quinoa flour and all-purpose flour
Being gluten-free, quinoa flour is clearly the way to go if you or the people you’re baking for have gluten intolerance or celiac disease. But if you aren’t concerned about allergens, the gluten in all-purpose flour is what helps that ability to rise and the useful elasticity.
Quinoa flour is a lot more absorbent than all-purpose flour. You can expect a denser texture overall, compared to the lighter, fluffier texture all bakers are used to with standard all-purpose.
There’s also the benefit of the nutty and slightly sweet flavor that comes with quinoa flour, which can provide a natural flavoring that all-purpose flour doesn’t have.
Baking with quinoa flour vs baking with all-purpose flour
As I’ve mentioned, all-purpose flour has that structure and elasticity that quinoa flour doesn’t. This means that quinoa flour has that disadvantage, especially if you need that in the baking process. Quinoa flour is not classically used as a complete substitute for all-purpose flour (think 25% to 50%), and is often combined with other gluten-free flours or starches like potato starch to improve its binding abilities and overall texture.
Because quinoa flour is also so absorbent, you’ll need to take more care and keep a close eye on your bake to prevent burning or over-browning. A potential solution would be to increase the amount of liquid in your recipe or reduce the temperature of your oven.
All-purpose flour has the benefit of being unbelievably versatile, which is why it’s the tried and true favorite of the baking world. Its neutral flavor also means it won’t affect the taste of your baked goods in any way.
Ingredients in quinoa flour vs all-purpose flour
Quinoa flour is – you guessed it – primarily made from ground quinoa seeds. Unlike other alternative flours, however, some quinoa flours might contain trace amounts of other starches or grains simply to improve its texture and baking properties.
On the other hand, all-purpose flour is made up of a blend of hard and soft wheat grains, milled into a fine powder. All-purpose flour is often enriched with extra nutrients to improve nutritional value (all-purpose isn’t really known for its great nutrition).
Quinoa flour + all-purpose flour nutritional facts
|Per ¼ cup serving||Quinoa flour||All-purpose flour|
|Carbs||19 g||24 g|
|Fiber||3 g||1 g|
|Sugar||1 g||0 g|
|Fat||1 g||0.5 g|
|Protein||4 g||4 g|
|Glycemic index score||40 – 53||85|
The quinoa grain has been a staple health food for many years now, known for its fantastic nutritional qualities that contribute to a healthy diet. While it’s best known for being a good source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals (rich in iron), quinoa flour also has a lower glycemic index score than all-purpose flour, two extra grams of fiber, and one gram of heart healthy fat.
Surprisingly, all-purpose flour and quinoa flour have the same amount of protein – 4 g per ¼ cup. All-purpose flour is also slightly higher in calories and carbs. Note that depending on the types of all-purpose flour you buy, it may be enriched with added nutrients – which means you might not be completely missing out.
Quinoa flour vs all-purpose flour storage
All-purpose flour and quinoa flour are sort of neck-in-neck when it comes to shelf life. Either way, you’ll want to always store your flour in an optimal way and place.
All-purpose flour needs to be kept away from moisture and heat to avoid spoilage, and because quinoa flour is higher in fat, it can go bad if it’s not stored well. For quinoa flour, any changes in color or smell can mean that the flour needs to be disposed of.
Quinoa flour vs all-purpose flour: The verdict
All-purpose flour is often our go-to pantry staple for all our baking needs. We love the elasticity and versatility that it offers to make anything and everything. But for those with allergies, want a boost in nutrition, or are looking for a denser bake, quinoa flour can act as the solution.
It’s no secret that we’re fans of coconut on this site, so how does quinoa flour compare to coconut flour? Find out in our article!
Quinoa flour is a versatile, gluten-free flour that can be used in a range of baking recipes, including bread, pancakes, muffins, and cookies. It can provide a slight nutty flavor and a boost of protein and fiber if you want to amp up the nutritional content of your bake.
Quinoa flour can be considered healthier than regular flour in some ways, but that’s not to say regular flour is unhealthy. Quinoa flour simply offers more fiber and various vitamins and minerals, while regular flour is usually low in nutrients. It’s also gluten-free, making it a great alternative for people who are allergic to gluten. While it does offer nutritional advantages, it still might not be the right choice for every recipe.
“Healthy” is sort of subjective, as it depends on what you’re looking for. Overall, whole grain flours are considered healthier than refined flours like all-purpose flour, because they retain the bran and germ of the grain, which are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Alternative flours like almond flour, coconut flour, and quinoa flour can also be great options as they each offer their own nutritional benefits. If you’re REALLY curious, we broke down 61 different flours.