The Best Simple Flour Substitutes

flour substitutes

Are your supermarket shelves bare in the flour section? Looking for flour substitutes? You’re definitely not alone!

As one of my readers said…

“Flour is sold out in Germany!
Can you suggest alternative recipes or replacements as well, dear Jules?
Thank you”

– Barbara

The Best Flour Substitutes – Sweet Baking

1. Almond Meal / Almond Flour

Finely ground almonds are my favourite go-to substitute for regular wheat based flour because they’re gluten-free, low carb and more importantly I find cakes baked with almond meal are moister, harder to over cook and much more delicious.

The only down side is the nut allergy thing so they’re not permitted in most school lunch boxes.

You can just replace flour with almond meal 1:1 by weight. But I find adding 20% more almond meal gives the best and most consistent results.

For example if a recipes calls for 100g (3.5oz) flour, I would substitute 120g (4.2oz) almond meal.

This Blueberry Yoghurt Cake is my favourite go-to simple almond meal cake recipe.

Hazelnut meal is another option but I find the flavour too strong for most applications.

2. Ground Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are similar to almond meal nutritionally in that they’re gluten-free and low carb but have the added advantage of being nut-free so OK for school lunchboxes.

The flavour is a little more ‘seedy’ or healthy but in most baked goods you won’t notice. As for almond meal, increase the weight by 20%.

I use a coffee grinder to grind my sunflower seeds freshly.

And be prepared for an increase in cooking time.

3. Rolled Oats

You can make oat flour by grinding rolled oats in your food processor. The texture will be coarser than regular flour and the flavour will be slightly ‘oaty’ but I quite like it!

Oats have the added advantage of more soluble fiber and fat than flour so the results tend to be moister.

Depending on who you talk to, oats aren’t necessarily gluten-free. So if you are avoiding gluten, I probably wouldn’t risk it. Unless you know you can tolerate oats.

4. Chickpea Flour

Also called ‘besan’ chickpea flour is available in middle eastern and indian grocery stores and some health food purveyors. I’ve used it in cakes and while the raw mixture tastes weirdly ‘beany’, once it’s cooked it will be delicious. The beany flavour is an excellent deterrent for licking the spoon :)

Just substitute 1:1 with flour.

5. Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is low carb and gluten-free but is completely differnt from flour in its abiliaty to absorb water. So you will need a recipe specifically designed for coconut flour. Try coconut pancakes, or these paleo brownies.

6. Ground Linseeds (Flax)

I love linseeds because they’re packed with protein, good fats and fiber and are very low carband gluten-free. They give baked goods a beautiful light texture not to mention more nutrition. I wouldn’t substitute 100% though.

I’ve found that I can replace half the flour with ground linseeds in my favourite Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies and I like them even better. And so do my boys. The texture is crisper and more melt in the mouth. So good!

I use a coffee grinder to grind my linseeds freshly because they are susceptible to rancidity. If you’re buying pre-ground keep in the fridge.

The Best Flour Substitutes – Bread

1. Almond Meal / Almond Flour

As with sweet things, almond meal is my go-to for savoury baking as well. I buy it in 10kg (20lb) boxes to make it more cost effective.

Unlike sweet baking though you can’t just sub in almond meal for flour in your favourite bread recipe because it doesn’t have the gluten required for that lovely springy bread texture.

So you’ll need recipes specifically designed for almond meal. Here are my favourties:

2. Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is low carb and gluten-free but is completely different from regular flour in its ability to absorb water.

So you will need a recipe specifically designed for coconut flour.

Try these coconut flat breads or my nutrition-packed Paleo Bread.

The Best Flour Substitutes – Pastry

1. Chickpea Flour

Works surprisingly well in pasty when substituted 1:1. And has the added bonus of a bright golden colour.

Just be prepared for your pastry to be more fragile and a little more difficult to handle.

2. Almond Meal

For an insanely easy quiche or pie crust just sprinkle almond meal over the base of a lined pie dish. Top with your filling and bake as per normal. The base won’t have the crunch of short crust pastry but it’s still absolutely delicious. And so much easier.

For examples see this Egg & Bacon Pie or this Gorgeous Greens Tart.

For pie crust toppings, I also love almond meal but combine it with some thinly sliced almonds for extra crunch. These Creamy Mushroom, Beef & Almond Pies (Low Carb) are an excellent example.

The Best Flour Substitutes – Sauces

1. Skip it

Personally I’m not a fan of gloopy flour thickened sauces. I prefer to just simmer to reduce down the ingredients for my sauce and possibly add a little butter if things are lacking.

2. Chickpea Flour

With a similar starch content, chickpea flour works well to thicken a bechemel of make gravy. Just make sure you cook the sauce enough to get rid of the beany chickpea flavour.

3. Sour Cream + Parmesan

For lasagna or other dishes requiring a bechemel sauce, I skip the sauce making all together and replace it with a mixture of sour cream and finely grated parmesan.

My Seriously Easy Moussaka is an excellent example.

More Ingredient Substitutes

Also see see the Simple Ingredients Substitutes Index.

Have fun in the kitchen!

With love,
Jules x