In this definitive guide, we classify flours by type and detail 61 separate flours, including their best uses, nutrition information, glycemic index, whether they are sources of common allergens, and if they are keto- and/or paleo-friendly.
Flour is made by grinding grains, nuts, seeds, beans, or even exotic ingredients like crickets into a fine powder.
Since you can make flour from so many things, the list of different flours is quite extensive – even as we tried to be the most comprehensive guide out there, we had to draw the line somewhere, and we STILL have 61 of them here!
If you read this entire guide, you will be VERY well-equipped to choose the right flour for any baking, cooking, or dietary need. But also feel free to skip around to your favorite flours or bookmark it to come back to when you have a real-time kitchen question!
Here are the sections we broke this guide into:
- Popular high-level classifications of flour
- The ultimate list of 61 flours (with concise summaries of each flour!)
- Nutritional information table (calories, carbs, fiber, sugar, fat, protein, GI)
- Baking information table (e.g. can you substitute it for all-purpose flour?)
- Diet and allergen table (keto? paleo? gluten-free?)
If we missed your favorite flour or if you have an additional tip for other bakers, let us know in the comments!
Popular high-level classifications of flour
Before we get into the many different types of flour, let’s cover some broader classifications of flour. These classifications aren’t necessarily types of flour but explain either how the flour is made or what it’s best used for.
Organic flours are made with grains that haven’t been treated with pesticides and are grown in soil that has only been fertilized by natural substances such as compost, worm castings, and manure (don’t worry, these don’t make their way into your flour!).
Bread flour is higher in protein compared to other types of flour and is best suited for making bread. Bread flour is typically between 12-14% protein and is higher in gluten, a protein that gives bread its chewy and airy texture once it’s baked.
You can find gluten-free bread flour, but the protein won’t come from gluten in those cases.
The opposite of bread flour, cake flour is low in protein and has a finer, lighter texture more suitable for baking cakes. Instead of a chewy texture, cake flour yields a light, tender, and moist result.
Pastry flour is similar to cake flour, but it’s a little higher in protein (around 9% protein for pastry flour and around 7-8% protein for cake flour). Pastry flour is ideal for making pie crusts, biscuits, muffins, and other pastries (things made with dough that contains flour, water, and shortening).
Bleached flour vs. Unbleached flour
All flours will end up turning white (bleaching) when they’re exposed to air. Some types of flours are bleached to speed up the process using chemical agents like chlorine dioxide or benzoyl peroxide.
Bleached flour can result in products with a softer texture and more volume compared to using unbleached flour. The main purpose of bleaching flour is for aesthetic purposes and it doesn’t change the nutritional value compared to unbleached flour.
Perhaps the most popular type of flour, all-purpose flour (also called “white flour” or AP flour) is made with a blend of both soft and hard wheat (soft wheat=low gluten content, hard wheat=high gluten content). The result is a versatile flour that can be used for a variety of products including cookies, bread, muffins, pizza crust, and more.
All-purpose flour is made from refined wheat (also called enriched wheat), which means the outer layers of the wheat kernel have been removed to result in a finer texture and lower protein content.
Refined/enriched wheat flours
If flour isn’t made from the entire part of the grain (whole grain), it’s considered refined. Refining a wheat kernel removes the outer portions such as the bran and the germ, leaving the lower-protein and lower-nutrient parts from which to make flour.
Because nutrients are lost during the refining process, the process of enrichment adds some nutrients back in, such as folic acid, riboflavin, and iron.
Whole wheat flour (including white & red whole wheat)
Unlike refined flour, whole wheat flour uses the whole part of the wheat kernel – the bran, endosperm, and germ (refined flour only uses the endosperm). The result is a denser, higher-protein, higher-fiber grain that is darker in color compared to enriched flour.
Most regular whole wheat flour in the United States is made from hard red wheat, which is higher in protein and gluten than hard white wheat (white whole wheat flour is made from hard white wheat).
Hard red wheat is ideal for harder types of artisan bread, while lower-protein hard white wheat is better for making softer bread like dinner rolls. Hard red wheat can also be described as having a nuttier, more bitter flavor compared to hard white wheat.
Spring vs. winter wheat
Some types of flour specify which type of wheat was used to make the flour. Spring wheat is planted in the spring and usually harvested in the fall, while winter wheat is planted in the winter and harvested in the late spring to early summer.
Spring and winter wheat can be hard (high in gluten) or soft (lower in gluten) depending on the type that’s planted.
Gluten-free flours are made from sources that don’t contain the protein gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, and barley, so gluten-free flours won’t contain these ingredients.
Role of gluten in flour
Gluten is a protein in certain grains (wheat, rye, and barley). Gluten acts as an elastic “glue” that binds the ingredients in baked products together, which helps give regular wheat bread its soft and chewy texture.
You can make baked goods without gluten, but the texture will be different compared to those containing gluten.
If you have a gluten intolerance, sensitivity, or allergy, you’ll need to rely on gluten-free products, including gluten-free flours.
The ultimate list of 61 flours (with concise summaries)
We’ve compiled the ultimate list of several flours below (in alphabetical order). Some of these flours are rare and might only be available at a specialty store or online, while others you can easily find at your local grocery store.
- A blend of hard and soft wheat that results in a versatile baking mix.
- Usually made from enriched wheat; some varieties are bleached while others are unbleached.
- Not gluten-free.
- Made from finely-milled almonds that have usually been blanched (peeled), resulting in a fine texture suitable for gluten-free baking.
- One of the more popular gluten-free flours that is easy to find at most grocery stores.
- Almond meal is similar to almond flour, but it’s made from unblanched/unpeeled almonds.
- Some benefits: keto-friendly thanks to its low carbohydrate content; high-protein; high-fiber; more nutrient-dense compared to enriched flour; gluten-free.
- A nutritious, high-fiber gluten-free flour.
- Best used with other gluten-free flour to make a variety of products from cookies, pasta, bread, pancakes, and more. Can also be used to thicken soups and stews.
- For non-gluten-free baking, replace 25% of the wheat flour with amaranth flour to boost protein, fiber, micronutrients, and iron.
- Made from dried and ground-up apples.
- Best used as an addition to more substantial flours to add flavor and nutrition, or as an additive to already cooked foods like oatmeal.
- Arrowroot is obtained from many tropical plants.
- Arrowroot flour is often used as a gluten-free and corn-free starch or thickener, not as a standalone flour.
- Made from green bananas which have a high starch content (starch is a type of carbohydrate naturally occurring in many plant foods).
- Naturally gluten-free and suitable for Paleo dieters.
- Higher in fiber than wheat and a good source of nutrients.
- Can be used as a thickener or binder in recipes.
- High in protein to produce chewy and ideal bread texture.
- Can be mixed with whole wheat flour to add volume (100% whole wheat flour tends to make more dense, less airy bread).
- Usually made with enriched flour.
Brown rice flour
- Gluten-free and versatile flour that can be used for gluten-free breading, as a thickener for sauce, gravy, etc.
- Brown rice flour can also be used to make gluten-free baking in flour pancakes, muffins and gluten-free bread.
- Despite the ‘wheat’ in its name, buckwheat flour doesn’t contain wheat so is gluten-free.
- Richer in nutrients compared to all-purpose flour.
- Best used in unleavened (non-rising) baking such as making pancakes and other quick breads.
Bulgur wheat flour
- Made from cracked wheat berries, bulgur wheat isn’t necessarily a finely-ground flour, but it is broken down into smaller pieces and then par-cooked to reduce cooking time.
- Bulgur wheat is popular for making tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern salad containing bulgur, onions, tomatoes, parsley, mint, lemon juice, and olive oil as its main ingredients. It’s considered a whole grain.
- Low in protein for use in cakes and other delicate baked goods.
- Not gluten-free.
- Made from ground cashews, cashew flour can be used in gluten-free cookies, quick breads, and muffins. It’s not as high in fiber as other nut and seed flours, but is still low in carbs. However, cashew flour isn’t quite as keto-friendly as other low-carb flours because it has 10 grams of net carbohydrates per serving.
- Gluten-free alternative made from the dried root of the cassava plant.
- A good source of resistant starch, which may be beneficial to gut health.
- Best used to make gluten-free baked goods, tortillas, porridge, pancakes, pasta, and pizza.
- Popular for making Indian breads including Roti.
- Also called whole wheat atta, Chapati flour is not gluten-free.
- Made from finely-ground chestnuts, chestnut flour is naturally gluten-free.
- Popular additive to baked goods to yield a sweet/slightly nutty flavor in cakes, cookies and sweet breads, while also adding density.
Chickpea (garbanzo) flour
- Gluten-free flour made from chickpeas (garbanzo beans).
- Rich in protein and fiber.
- Popular for binding fritters, veggie burgers, and use in gluten-free batters (pancakes, waffles, flatbread, etc.)
- A popular gluten-free flour, coconut flour can be used up to around 20% of the entire flour source in recipes.
- More commonly blended with other gluten-free flours since coconut flour doesn’t bind well and can yield a crumbly texture.
- Excellent source of fiber, making it low in net carbohydrates (keto-friendly).
- For more, check out our free coconut flour e-book.
- Gluten-free flour made from finely ground dried corn kernels (different from corn starch).
- Not to be confused with the UK’s version of corn starch, which they call cornflour.
- Popular for gluten-free breading and making cornbread.
- Cricket powder (flour) is made from ground-up crickets and nothing else! Cricket powder can add nutrients like protein, iron, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
- Made from lentils and popular in Indian cooking.
- Made from extra-hard wheat kernels (hard=high in gluten).
- Popular for pasta, breads, and pizza crusts.
- Made from ancient/wild wheat that hasn’t been bred with other types of wheat.
- Lower in gluten compared to modern wheat, but it isn’t gluten-free.
- Higher in protein, lower in starch, and richer in minerals compared to modern wheat.
- Flaxseed meal (sometimes called flaxseed flour) can be added to baked goods to boost fiber and protein content.
- Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and may promote heart health.
Fava bean flour
- Made from fava beans (also called broad beans) to make a high-protein and high-fiber gluten-free flour.
- Can be used in cooking and baking, but raw varieties of fava bean flour must be cooked prior to eating (not for use in “no-bake” recipes).
- Made from plantains (tropical fruit), sometimes with other ingredients like cassava and potato flours.
- Popular in African dishes.
- Usually gluten-free, but be sure to check the ingredient list.
- Many varieties of gluten-free flour blends exist; e.g., some are meant for baking, some are considered all-purpose, etc.
- Blend of flours will vary depending on the intended use – Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose blend (used in the nutrition chart below) contains garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, whole grain sorghum flour, and fava bean flour.
- Similar to whole wheat flour, but ground more coarsely.
- Popular for making graham crackers, pie crusts, etc.
- Results in less-dense texture than if regular whole wheat flour was used.
- Also called hemp protein powder, hemp flour is made from raw hemp seeds (a part of the cannabis plant that doesn’t contain the stuff that makes someone high – the psychoactive chemical THC) after cold pressing to make hemp seed oil.
- Very high in protein and fiber since it’s made from ground seeds.
- Note that Bob’s Red Mill brand states that hemp protein powder is no longer produced as gluten-free (likely from potential cross-contamination) but other varieties of hemp flour/protein powder might be certified as gluten-free depending on the processing methods.
- Dissolves more quickly than regular enriched flour.
- Popular for making smooth sauces and gravies, but can also be used in cookies, breads, and cakes.
- Considered an ancient grain, kamut flour is a versatile whole grain used in pizza crust, bread, rolls, pancakes, waffles, and pastries.
- Also called Khorasan wheat, kamut flour is richer in protein and nutrients compared to traditional whole wheat flour.
- Some people find kamut easier to digest, even with gluten intolerance.
- Made from lupin beans (a legume similar to peanuts), lupin flour is very high in protein and fiber while being low in carbohydrates.
- Lupin flour is popular among keto dieters and can be used for baking bread, thickening soups and sauces, breading food for frying, and making cakes/pancakes, etc.
- Popular whole grain gluten-free option.
- Produces a “delicate crumb” texture suitable for gluten-free cakes.
Mung bean flour
- Made from finely-ground mung beans, mung bean flour is made by extracting the starch from the beans. It’s more like a starch than a flour, and is used in many Asian dishes.
- Also called pasta flour, noodle flour is typically a blend of flours suitable for making homemade noodles that are strong yet versatile.
- King Arthur pasta flour blend (used in nutrition chart) contains unbleached flour, durum wheat flour, and semolina flour.
- Naturally gluten-free (though you should choose certified gluten-free oat flour if you are gluten intolerant, since some oats are processed on machinery that also handles gluten).
- Adds flavor and nutritional value to baked goods.
- Okara is the leftover product made from tofu and soy milk production. It’s pulpy in texture and is dried and milled to make okara flour, which is gluten-free, high in protein, and low in carbs.
- Lower-protein flour blend suitable for making pastries and tender baked goods (less protein than all-purpose flour but more than cake flour).
- Can be whole-wheat or refined/enriched.
- Not gluten-free.
- Used to add protein and flavor to baked goods, as well as thickening sauces.
- Made from blanched peanuts which have been defatted (fat removed).
- Low-fat peanut butter alternative.
- Like other flours made from ground nuts and seeds, pecan flour is low in net carbs and is rich in healthy unsaturated fats. It’s keto and paleo-friendly and gluten-free, and can be used to make muffins, cakes, breads, cookies, and toppings for things like oatmeal.
- Popular gluten-free flour used to make moist gluten-free grains with long shelf life.
- Naturally rich in nutrients, fiber, vitamins, and iron.
- Different from potato starch, which is the starchy portion removed from potatoes and is used as a thickening agent in cooking and baking.
- Made from ground quinoa, a pseudograin (not actually a grain but a seed).
- Rich in iron, protein, and fiber.
- Naturally gluten-free.
- Can be used in gluten-free baking as well as savory dishes.
Red wheat flour
- Made from hard red wheat berries, which are high in protein (around 12-13%).
- Described as having a “pleasantly bitter” taste and can be used where you use regular whole wheat flour.
- One of the more popular gluten-free flours, rice flour is made from ground white rice. (You can also find brown rice flour made from brown rice.)
- Can be used as a thickening agent, but is different from rice starch.
- Used to make rye bread, sourdough, crackers, and more.
- Lower in gluten compared to all-purpose flour, but isn’t gluten-free.
- Richer in nutrients and fiber compared to all-purpose flour.
- Enriched flour that also contains baking powder and salt mixed throughout to make things like biscuits and other rising breads.
- Can also be used in cakes and pie crusts.
- Flour made from hard durum wheat that is high in gluten.
- Coarse texture with a yellow color and is primarily used to make couscous and pasta.
- Gluten-free flour made from defatted sesame seeds.
- Rich in fiber and protein.
- Good alternative to almond flour.
- Made from sorghum, a gluten-free cereal grain.
- Higher in nutrients like protein and iron compared to quinoa.
- Higher in protein and lower in carbs compared to wheat flour.
- Can replace some of the wheat flour in recipes (up to 30%, per one manufacturer).
- Made from a type of whole grain wheat, spelt is lower in gluten than regular wheat flour.
- Popular for making cookies, bread, muffins, and waffles.
- Has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor.
- Sprouted flour contains more nutrients and fewer carbs compared to unsprouted grains.
- Sprouting is the process of letting a whole grain seed begin to sprout by providing warmth and moisture. Unsprouted grains aren’t allowed to sprout before being made into flour.
- Not gluten-free.
Sunflower seed flour
- Very low carb (3 grams of net carbs per serving) flour that is gluten-free and high in healthy unsaturated fats.
- Made from tapioca, which is derived from the cassava root.
- Used in gluten-free cooking, baking, and frying.
- Excellent binding qualities give baked goods a desirable texture.
- An ancient gluten-free grain that originated in Ethiopia.
- Good source of iron and fiber.
- Also called chufa nut flour, tiger nut flour is made from ground tubers that grow on a plant called the yellow nutsedge.
- Tigernut flour is naturally gluten-free and is relatively low in carbohydrates compared to many wheat-based flours.
Tipo 00 (Italian Double Zero)
- Popular for making pizza dough, bread, and pasta.
- Made from “soft” wheat, which is lower in gluten.
- Designed for high-heat ovens (500-600 degrees Fahrenheit).
Vital wheat gluten flour
- Very high in gluten, giving it an elastic texture.
- Can be added to dough to give it more volume by trapping more gas and steam.
White whole wheat flour
- A type of whole wheat flour that has a lighter color and more mild taste compared to whole wheat flour.
- Naturally lighter in color than whole wheat flour without bleaching.
Whole wheat flour
- Uses the entire wheat kernel, making it higher in protein, fiber, and other nutrients compared to enriched flour.
- Due to its denser texture, products made with whole wheat flour might not rise as much as those made with enriched/white flour.
Whole wheat pastry flour
- Made with soft wheat, which is lower in gluten and more “light” and delicate.
- Ideal for making cookies, pancakes, muffins, brownies, pie crusts, and more.
Nutritional information table (Calories, carbs, fiber, sugar, fat, protein, GI)
Notes on glycemic index
- The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how much a single food affects your blood sugar levels compared to pure glucose, which has a GI of 100. Nutrients that can lower glycemic index are protein, fat, and fiber (they’re digested more slowly and result in a slower rise in blood sugar).
- It’s challenging to find accurate measures of the glycemic index for all types of flours. We used the most reputable sources possible for this article, but note that some GI scores might be a broad range or not accurate. For GI scores from a somewhat questionable source, there will be a ? after the score.
- For flours that didn’t have any reputable sources for GI scores (or none could be found), there is a N/A.
- For flours where there isn’t a reputable source for GI but there is for the flour’s source (e.g. there isn’t a reputable source for the GI of apple flour but there is for apples), the GI of the source is listed. The GI for the flour will likely be a bit higher because it’s finely ground so it’s digested and absorbed more quickly than the whole food.
- For flours where a GI isn’t available for the flour or the flour’s source, and can be somewhat accurately be estimated, there will be a likely low, medium, or high.
- Low GI: 1 to 55.
- Medium GI: 56 to 69
- High GI: 70 and higher
Serving size ¼ cup=~30 g or ~1 oz. unless otherwise stated
***=reliable info not available
|All-purpose flour||120||24 g||1 g||0 g||0.5 g||4 g||85|
|Almond flour||160||6 g||4 g||2 g||12 g||6 g||Almonds=15|
|Amaranth flour (whole grain)||140||25 g||4 g||1 g||2 g||5 g||107?|
|Apple flour||100||20 g||4 g||20 g||1 g||0 g||Raw apples = 36 +/- 2|
|Arrowroot flour (1 tbsp)||35||8 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||14|
|Banana flour||160||40 g||<1 g||0 g||0 g||1 g||Unripe bananas = 42|
|Barley flour||110||24 g||3 g||0 g||0.5 g||3 g||30|
|Bread flour||130||26 g||1 g||0 g||0.5 g||5 g||90|
|Brown rice flour||150||32 g||1 g||0 g||1 g||3 g||Brown rice =50|
|Buckwheat flour||140||29 g||9 g||0 g||0.5 g||4 g||35-71?|
|Bulgur wheat (flour)||160||35 g||5 g||0 g||0.5 g||4 g||48|
|Cake flour||120||26 g||1 g||0 g||0 g||4 g||Likely at least 85 (GI of AP flour)|
|Cashew flour||160||10 g||0 g||2 g||14 g||6 g||Cashews = 25|
|Cassava flour||130||31 g||2 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||46|
|Chapati flour||110||23 g||3 g||2 g||0.5g||4 g||52 +/- 4 for prepared chapati|
|Chestnut flour||100||22 g||3 g||6 g||1 g||2 g||30|
|Chickpea (garbanzo) flour||120||21 g||5 g||1 g||1.5 g||5 g||35|
|Coconut flour||120||18 g||10 g||6 g||3 g||6 g||45|
|Corn flour (whole grain)||120||24 g||3 g||1 g||1 g||2 g||70|
|Cricket flour (cricket powder)||160||4 g||2 g||0 g||6 g||22 g||N/A|
|Durum flour||110||22 g||1 g||1 g||0 g||4 g||44-60|
|Einkorn flour||100||20 g||2 g||0 g||0.5 g||4 g||40-45|
|Fava bean flour||100||18 g||8 g||2 g||0 g||8 g||Fava beans=40|
|Flaxseed flour (meal)||140||8 g||6 g||0 g||9 g||6 g||Flaxseed = 35|
|Fufu flour||106||25 g||1.5 g||0 g||0 g||3.5 g||84|
|Gluten-free blend (all-purpose)||120||25 g||4 g||0 g||0.5 g||3 g||N/A|
|Graham flour||110||23 g||4 g||0 g||0.5 g||4 g||N/A|
|Hemp flour (also called hemp protein powder)||120||13 g||11 g||1 g||2 g||12 g||Hemp seed=4|
|Instant flour||100||22 g||<1 g||0 g||0 g||3 g||Likely high (AP flour=85)|
|Lupin flour||84||11 g||9 g||0 g||1.5 g||10 g||Likely low|
|Kamut flour||110||21 g||5 g||0 g||0.5 g||5 g||40|
|Millet flour||150||31 g||1 g||0 g||2 g||4 g||~53|
|Mung bean flour||***||***||***||***||***||***||Mung beans = 25-31|
|Noodle flour||110||22 g||1 g||0 g||0 g||4 g||Likely high|
|Oat flour||120||22 g||3 g||0 g||2 g||4 g||44|
|Okara flour||70||12 g||10 g||0 g||1 g||3.5 g||Likely moderate|
|Pastry flour||120||26 g||1 g||0 g||0.5 g||3 g||Likely high (AP flour=85)|
|Peanut flour||130||9 g||4 g||3 g||4 g||15 g||Peanuts = 15|
|Pecan flour||160||3 g||3 g||<1 g||16 g||3 g||Pecans = 10|
|Potato flour||160||38 g||3 g||0 g||0 g||3 g||95|
|Quinoa flour||100||19 g||3 g||1 g||1 g||4 g||40-53|
|Red whole wheat flour||140||27 g||5 g||0 g||0.5 g||6 g||59-84|
|Rice flour (white)||150||33 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||3 g||88-95|
|Rye flour (dark)||110||23 g||3 g||0 g||0 g||4 g||45-50|
|Self-rising flour||110||22 g||<1 g||0 g||0 g||3 g||Likely high|
|Semolina flour||160||33 g||1 g||0 g||1 g||6 g||54-66|
|Sesame flour (2 tbsp.)||115||11 g||5 g||0 g||4 g||12 g||Sesame seeds = 35|
|Sorghum flour||130||28 g||2 g||0 g||0.5 g||3 g||66-70|
|Soy flour||140||10 g||3 g||0 g||6 g||12 g||25|
|Spelt flour||110||23 g||4 g||0 g||0 g||4 g||55-67|
|Sprouted flour||100||20 g||3 g||0 g||1 g||4 g||Likely low-moderate|
|Tapioca flour (starch)||110||27 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||0 g||70|
|Sunflower seed flour||180||6 g||3 g||<1 g||16 g||6 g||Sunflower seeds = 35|
|Teff flour||130||27 g||2 g||1 g||1 g||4 g||57|
|Tigernut flour||130||14 g||3 g||5 g||7 g||1 g||Likely low|
|Tipo 00 (Italian Double Zero)||100||21 g||<1 g||0 g||0.5 g||3 g||Likely moderate-high|
|Vital wheat gluten flour||120||4 g||0 g||0 g||1 g||23 g||Likely low|
|White whole wheat flour||110||22 g||3 g||0 g||1 g||4 g||Likely moderate-high|
|Whole wheat flour||140||27 g||5 g||0 g||0.5 g||6 g||59-84|
|Whole wheat pastry flour||110||23 g||3 g||0 g||0.5 g||4 g||Likely moderate-high|
Baking information table
A few points to note for this next table, which tells you 1) Whether each flour can be substituted for all-purpose flour (and vice versa). 2) How absorbent the flour is (which affects how much you’ll need to adjust the liquids in your recipe). 3) The shelf life of the flour in your pantry.
- Any gluten-free flour (see next table for diet and allergy info) on this list will work very differently from all-purpose flour in baking, and baked goods will not rise as they do with gluten-containing flours. So, even if you can substitute 100% of your all-purpose with gluten-free flour on the list, it is best to only do so for recipes that do not need to rise (non-yeast recipes).
- The majority of non-gluten flours should not be subbed directly with all-purpose in recipes designed for all-purpose flour, but instead should be used as a percentage in a mix along with all-purpose or a gluten-free all-purpose flour mix.
- As always, the best way to use alternative flours is to follow recipes specifically designed for them.
- Our liquid absorbency estimate is based on an amalgamation of the water absorption capacity of the flour, oil absorption capacity, swelling capacity, hydrophobia of some flours, and our own baking experience. The low, medium, and high value is based on all-purpose flour being medium absorbency and comparing it to that.
- Absorbency when mixing/baking is often affected by time, agitation such as stirring, and heat, and we have tried to make note of those where possible.
- Absorbency depends on multiple factors, such as the presence of damaged starch, protein levels, fiber levels, fat content, and how all of those components behave. Depending on the brand or processing method of the flour, your liquid absorbency may vary.
- Pantry life is unopened, sealed, and not refrigerated. All alternative flours will last longer in the fridge or freezer.
|Flour||All-purpose substitute?||Absorbency||Pantry life|
|All-purpose flour||N/A||Medium||6-8 months|
|Almond flour||100% almond can technically replace 100% all-purpose but will yield a greasy bake.||Medium||2-4 months|
|Amaranth flour (whole grain)||You can do 100% amaranth for 100% all-purpose, but it will be really dense with a strong flavor. Better to do 25% amaranth and 75% almond.||Just above medium||4-6 months|
|Apple flour (apple pomace flour/dried apple pomace)||Can be switched 1:1 and the liquid adjusted, but due to its sweet flavor, it is better to replace just 25% of the all-purpose.||High||12-24 months (often used in baked goods with all-purpose flour to extend its shelf life!)|
|Arrowroot flour||50% (example: for every cup of all-purpose, use ½ a cup of arrowroot instead)||High||2-4 years, though may lose effectiveness after 2.|
|Banana flour||75% (example: if the recipe says 1 cup of all-purpose, use ¾ cup of banana flour)||Usually high (the riper the banana was when the flour was made, the less water it absorbs due to less starch!)||6-12 months|
|Barley flour||Swap 25-50% of your all-purpose flour 1:1 for barley flour. You can swap 100% of it, but it will greatly change the product’s density.||Medium-high||3 months|
|Bread flour||100% bread flour can be subbed for 100% of the all-purpose flour and vice versa. Dough made with all-purpose will have less ‘chew’||Medium, but slightly higher than all-purpose, needing slightly more liquid.||6 months|
|Brown rice flour||100% rice flour can be subbed for 100% all-purpose and vice versa, but adjust the liquid accordingly.||Low||Up to 6 months|
|Buckwheat flour||100% all-purpose can be switched to buckwheat, with more liquid added. Due to buckwheat’s strong flavor, it’s better to start by switching 25% of your all-purpose 1:1 for buckwheat and working up.||Medium-high – the liquid also takes a bit longer to absorb, so important to rest it for 15 mins after mixing.||1 month|
|Bulgur wheat (flour)||100% bulgur can be swapped for 100% all-purpose in most recipes.||Medium||6 months|
|Cake flour||1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cake flour for every 1 cup of all purpose. |
Better to mix 50% cake flour and 50% bread flour as an all-purpose substitute.
|Medium, but higher than all-purpose.||6 months|
|Cashew flour||Can substitute 100% all-purpose for cashew, but the bake will be much greasier and may need extra binding ingredients.||Low-medium||3 months|
|Cassava flour||75% cassava flour for 100% all-purpose flour (example – if the recipe says 1 cup all-purpose, use ¾ cup cassava instead)||High||1-2 years|
|Chapati flour||100% chapati can be switched with 100% all-purpose but may need a little more liquid.||Medium to high||6-8 months|
|Chestnut flour (NOT water chestnut flour)||Swap 50% of your all-purpose for 50% of chestnut flour, and work up or down from there. The flour can vary when it comes to baking properties, so it is better to get a feel for it and its strong flavor before using 100%||Unknown – varies depending on processing.||2 months|
|Chickpea (garbanzo) flour||75% chickpea flour for 100% all-purpose (example – if the recipe says 1 cup of all-purpose, use ¾ cup chickpea flour)||Medium-high||6 months|
|Coconut flour||You can replace 100% of all-purpose flour with 25% coconut flour (example: the recipe calls for 1 cup all-purpose, use ¼ cup coconut)||High, so you may need to add extra liquid ingredients.||1-2 years|
|Corn flour (whole grain)||50% corn flour for 100% all-purpose (example: the recipe calls for 1 cup of all-purpose use ½ cup of corn flour)||Medium||1 year|
|Cricket flour (cricket powder)||Substitute up to ⅓ of your all-purpose flour 1:1 with cricket flour to boost nutrition in the bake. Any more will mess with structure and taste.||Medium||7-18 months|
|Dal flour (urad dal flour/black lentil flour/gram flour)||Use ½ the amount of dal flour if subbing for all-purpose, but it is not recommended due to the vast flavor differences. There are better substitutes for either flour!||Medium-high||6 months|
|Durum flour||100% durum can be swapped with 100% all-purpose. Better for rustic breads and savory dishes.||Medium||1-2 years|
|Einkorn flour||If swapping 100% for all-purpose, you need to use at least 20% less water or add some coconut flour to absorb the excess water.||Low-medium||6 months|
|Fava bean flour||25-50% fava bean flour for 100% all-purpose flour due to higher liquid absorbency.Due to its strong flavor, best to use just 25% fava bean flour when creating a gluten-free flour mix.||High||6 months|
|Flaxseed flour (meal)/ Linseed meal||Due to its high water absorption and strong taste, swap just 25% of the all-purpose flour or GF flour mix for flax meal, and adjust the liquid.||High||3-6 months|
|Fufu flour||Best to use with recipes specific to this flour, but you can switch out 25% of your gluten-free flour mix/all-purpose for fufu flour.||High||Up to 2 years|
|Gluten-free blend||100% all-purpose flour can be replaced with 100% all-purpose gluten-free blends.||Mostly medium, some may be higher.||3-6 months|
|Graham flour||100% graham can be switched for 100% all-purpose, but you may need to add more liquid.||Medium, but higher than all-purpose||1-3 months|
|Hemp flour (also called hemp protein powder)||Swap 25% of the flour in your recipe for hemp flour for extra nutrition, and work your way up or down. Not recommended to swap 100%.||High||1 year|
|Instant flour (wondra flour)||Can be subbed for cake flour at a 100% ratio. |
As an all-purpose sub: 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons for every 1 cup of all-purpose, but won’t work well for bread.
|Medium to high||6 months|
|Lupin flour||Due to its strong taste, best to only sub up to 50% of your all-purpose flour with lupin flour.||High||18-24 months|
|Kamut flour||75% kamut to all-purpose (example: if the recipe needs 1 cup of all-purpose, use ¾ cup of kamut instead)||Medium, but slightly higher than all-purpose||6 months|
|Millet flour||100% of all-purpose flour can be subbed for millet flour, but it is better to use 50% millet flour and 50% all-purpose, or gluten-free all-purpose.||Medium||2 months|
|Mung bean flour (Moong dal)||100% all-purpose can be switched to 100% mung bean flour if you are okay with the flavor.||Medium||6 months|
|Noodle flour (pasta flour blend)||You can swap in 100% noodle flour for 100% all-purpose flour, but as the noodle is specifically designed for pasta, this is what it should be used for.||Medium||6 months|
|Oat 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.||High||2 months|
|Okara flour||Swap out 20% of your all-purpose flour for okara flour for added nutrition. Use okara only as the primary flour in recipes designed for it.||High||18 months|
|Pastry flour||100% of your all-purpose flour can be switched for pastry flour||Medium||6-12 months|
|Peanut flour||You can substitute 100% of your all-purpose flour for peanut flour, but you may need to adjust the fat ingredients to avoid a greasy bake||High – Varies depending if it is defatted or partially defatted.||1 year|
|Pecan flour (pecan meal)||You can swap it 100% 1:1 and add more binding agents, but it is better to replace 25%-50% of the flour in a recipe with pecan flour.||Medium||3 months|
|Potato flour||You can substitute 20% of the flour in the recipe for potato flour.||High||6 months|
|Quinoa flour||Replace 25%- 50% of your all-purpose or gluten-free blend with quinoa flour||High||6-12 months|
|Red whole wheat flour||You can substitute 100% for all-purpose, but the bake will be denser and darker. The best mix is 50% red wheat and 50% of all-purpose flour or pastry flour.||Medium (a little higher than all-purpose). Rest for 30 mins after mixing for the liquid to absorb.||3 months|
|Rice flour (white)||Swap 30% of the all-purpose flour for rice flour, or make a gluten-free flour mix with 30% rice flour. It doesn’t bake well at 100%.||Medium-high||3-6 months|
|Rye flour (dark)||25% more rye flour than all-purpose (example: Recipe calls for 1 cup of all-purpose, use 1 ¼ cups rye) – warning, the flavor will be intense.||Medium-high||12 months|
|Self-rising flour||1:1 substitute for all-purpose, and eliminate the rising ingredients (baking powder/soda)||Medium||3 months|
|Semolina flour||1:1 substitute for all-purpose||Medium||1 year|
|Sesame flour||Replace 25% of the all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend with sesame flour, and increase the liquids.||High||6 months|
|Sorghum flour||Replace 25% of the all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend with sorghum flour (any more will produce a sour flavor and weird mouth feel)||Low – medium||1-3 months|
|Soy flour||Swap 30% of your all-purpose flour for soy flour.||High||3-6 months|
|Spelt flour||100% of your all-purpose flour can be swapped with 100% spelt flour||Low – use 10-25% less water.||3-6 months|
|Sprouted flour||You can substitute 100% of your all-purpose flour for sprouted flour.||Low||3-6 months|
|Tapioca flour (starch)||You can substitute this 1:1 for all-purpose flour, but it will make the bake gummier.||High||1-3 years|
|Sunflower seed flour||You can swap 100% of your all-purpose flour for sunflower seed flower, and adjust your liquids and binders.||Medium||6 months (if refrigerated – could not find a value for pantry storage)|
|Teff flour||Replace 25% of your all-purpose flour with teff flour.||High||12 months|
|Tigernut flour||75% tigernut flour to replace 100% all-purpose, so if the recipe says 1 cup of all-purpose, use ¾ cup tigernut flour.||Low||12 months|
|Tipo 00 (Italian Double Zero)||100% all-purpose can be replaced with 100% Tipo 00. It will create a slightly different texture in baked goods.||Medium||0 g|
|Vital wheat gluten flour||Not a substitute or stand-alone flour – designed as an addition for low gluten flours to increase gluten content||High||1-7 years, depending on the brand|
|White whole wheat flour||You can replace 100% of your all-purpose flour for white whole wheat flour||Medium||3-6 months|
|Whole wheat flour||You can substitute 100% for all-purpose, but the bake will be denser and darker. The best mix is 50% whole wheat and 50% of all-purpose flour or pastry flour. Rest for 30 mins after mixing.||Medium (a little higher than all-purpose)||3 months|
|Whole wheat pastry flour||100% all-purpose can be swapped with 100% whole wheat pastry flour, but it works better in light baked goods rather than breads.||Medium||3 – 6 months|
Diet and allergen table
- It should be noted that it’s possible to develop an allergy to any food, which could make one of these flours an allergenic food depending on the person. For the sake of this article, we’ll be noting if the listed flour is a source of the top 9 most common food allergens:
- Crustacean shellfish
- Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans)
- Sesame (effective 1/1/23)
If the listed flour isn’t a source of these allergens, it will say “No” in the allergen box.
A keto diet is very low in carbs, typically fewer than 50 grams per day. Whether or not a flour fits into your keto lifestyle will depend on your daily carb goals and your typical diet.
We’ll be listing flours as keto-friendly if they contain 10 grams or fewer of net carbs per serving, but note that some keto dieters might avoid flours with that amount and opt for those in the lower end of the range, such as <5 grams of net carbs per serving.
A paleo diet excludes all grains, legumes, and soy, as well as “pseudo-grains” or “pseudocereals” like quinoa. While a paleo diet is naturally gluten-free, that doesn’t mean that gluten-free flours are paleo-friendly (e.g. quinoa and quinoa flour).
Some paleo dieters might include ancient grains in their diet, but for this article’s purpose, any type of grain is considered not paleo-friendly.
|Almond flour||Tree nuts||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Amaranth flour (whole grain)||None||Yes||No||No|
|Arrowroot flour (1 tbsp)||None||Yes||No||Yes|
|Brown rice flour||None||Yes||No||No|
|Bulgur wheat (flour)||Wheat||No||No||No|
|Cashew flour||Tree nut||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Chestnut flour||Tree nut||Yes||No||Yes|
|Chickpea (garbanzo) flour||None||Yes||No||No|
|Coconut flour||Tree nut||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Corn flour (whole grain)||None||Yes||No||No|
|Cricket flour (cricket powder)||None||No||Yes||Yes|
|Dal flour||None||***||Not likely||No (made from lentils)|
|Fava bean flour||None||Yes||Borderline yes with 10 grams of net carbs||No|
|Flaxseed flour (meal)||None||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Gluten-free blend (all-purpose)||None||Yes||No||No|
|Hemp flour (also called hemp protein powder)||None||No*||Yes||Yes|
|Mung bean flour||None||Yes||Not likely (no info available)||No|
|Pecan flour||Tree nuts||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Quinoa flour||None||Yes||No||No (pseudocereal grain)|
|Red whole wheat flour||Wheat||No||No||No|
|Rice flour (white)||None||Yes||No||No|
|Rye flour (dark)||None||No||No||No|
|Sesame flour (2 tbsp.)||Sesame||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Tapioca flour (starch)||None||Yes||No||Yes|
|Sunflower seed flour||None||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Tipo 00 (Italian Double Zero)||Wheat||No||No||No|
|Vital wheat gluten flour||Wheat||No||Yes||No|
|White whole wheat flour||Wheat||No||No||No|
|Whole wheat flour||Wheat||No||No||No|
|Whole wheat pastry flour||Wheat||No||No||No|
You can use all-purpose flour or a specific pizza dough blend to make homemade pizza dough. Pizza flour blends often contain both hard and soft wheat flours to produce a strong yet chewy pizza crust.
A popular pizza dough blend is King Arthur 00 Pizza Flour, and you can also find a gluten-free pizza dough flour from Bob’s Red Mill.
All-purpose flour is a good choice for making pancakes, as well as pastry flour. For gluten-free pancakes, Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten-Free Pancake Mix is a good alternative and contains gluten-free flours like rice flour, sorghum flour, and tapioca flour.
To make homemade pasta, semolina flour or “00” flour (the same kind that is popular for making pizza crust) are among the top choices. These flours contain enough gluten to give the pasta dough some stretch without breaking.
To give fried food a crispy texture at home, consider using rice flour and cornstarch. Rice flour and cornstarch result in a crispier coating compared to wheat flour, and they usually soak up less liquid compared to wheat flour, which makes for a less-greasy end result.
You’ll want to choose bread flour when making homemade bread. Bread flour is higher in protein than all-purpose flour and works great for making a variety of bread, including sourdough.