All-purpose flour, made with soft and hard wheat, is the go-to grain for most baked goods. But as more home cooks are seeking non-wheat (aka gluten-free) or fiber-rich options, a wide selection of flour substitutes are filling grocery store shelves. It’s important to note the differences in properties of various alternative flours. They can vary, meaning substituting coconut flour in your chocolate chip cookie recipe might not translate to a perfect one-to-one flour replacement for all-purpose flour. Stick to a recipe that actually calls for the specific flour alternative (almond, rye, etc.) or use our Test Kitchen’s recommendations for substituting different flours for all-purpose flour. Read on for a detailed guide to flour substitutes for gluten-free baking as well as easy swaps if you’re out of all-purpose flour. From there, get delicious ideas for recipes using these all-purpose flour substitutes.
Gluten-Free Flour Substitutes
Gluten-free flours aren’t always suitable as an equal all-purpose flour substitute. To avoid disappointing results, use the specific flour in the recipe or make our Gluten-Free Flour Mix that works as an all-purpose flour substitute in any recipe.
Made from ground raw almonds, almond flour (or almond meal) provides high protein, fiber, moisture, and a nutty flavor to gluten-free baked goods. Almond flour is higher in fat than white flour, however. Since almond flour tends to absorb more moisture than all-purpose flour, you might need to use slightly more almond flour when using it as a flour substitute for baking.
Buy It: Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal Flour ($9, Walmart)
Ground amaranth, made with an ancient grain that contains many amino acids that are absent in most flours, contains no gluten and plenty of protein. It lends a slight earthiness to baked goods but because it’s a dense grain, amaranth flour is generally included in recipes in a 50:50 ratio with another lighter flour (i.e. all-purpose or white whole-wheat flour) for the closest-to-classic structure.
Nutty in flavor, high in fiber, and rich in vitamins, this ancient grain flour is another great gluten-free swap. Since it can be chalky in large amounts, try a one-to-one ratio of buckwheat and another flour on this list (for example a ½ cup buckwheat and ½ cup almond flour when 1 cup is called for) when using it as an all-purpose flour substitute.
Buy It: Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour ($13, Walmart)
Chickpea/Garbanzo Bean Flour
Made with ground chickpeas, this gluten-free flour is higher in fiber, protein, and iron than white flour. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are generally milled raw, but they can be roasted first. The dense texture of chickpea flour makes it work great as a thickener or binder in items like pasta sauces, fritters, or meatballs. And why not give it a shot as the base for socca (chickpea pancakes)? Make creamy pasta completely vegan (pictured above) by using a blend of water and chickpea flour instead of cream or milk and blending cashews to replace the cheese. Few will notice it’s not the typical Alfredo!
Coconut flour is high in fiber and low in carbs, but it has more saturated fat content than white flour. Coconut flour has a high moisture content, and it also has incredible absorbency, which can result in a drier, denser finished product. Using coconut flour in recipes might require adding additional liquid or fat. Try it in a combination of flours like this tropical bread recipe to achieve the perfect mix of heartiness and lightness.
Buy It: Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour ($10, Walmart)
This flour alternative is made with ground oats. High in fiber and slightly sweet in flavor, oat flour will most often be seen as a flour replacement for a portion of the white or wheat flour in homemade bread, pancakes, and other baked goods. It can easily be made at home by just blitzing some whole grain oats (use gluten-free if you have allergies) in your blender or food processor ($70, Target) until it resembles flour.
Test Kitchen Tip: Consuming raw all-purpose flour can risk E. coli contamination, so opt for safe flours like almond, oat, or coconut when you’re whipping up no-bake recipes like the colorful, kid-friendly raw cookie dough pictured above.
Available in both white and brown varieties, rice flour is packed with fiber and protein and has a nutty flavor. Rice flours have a tendency to produce a sandy or gritty texture, so look for finely ground rice flours or blend with another gluten-free flour to offset the consistency difference.
Other Flour Substitutes (Not Gluten-Free)
Whether you’re out of all-purpose flour or are looking for healthy flours and whole-grain options to add to your recipes, these are some flour alternatives to consider.
Available in white, light, medium, dark, and whole (pumpernickel), rye flour varies based on the amount of the bran that remains on the grain. The darker, more-whole rye flours are heavier and impart a slightly fruity flavor. It’s not gluten-free flour, so you’ll often find baking recipes that call for rye flour mixed with wheat or white flour.
White Whole Wheat Flour
White whole wheat flour is milled from white wheat rather than the traditional darker wheat used in regular whole wheat flours. It has a similar nutrition profile and lends the same nutty, hearty characteristics to baked goods as whole wheat flour.
Buy It: King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour ($5, Target)
This coarse-textured flour contains more protein and calcium than white flour, plus nutritious wheat germ. Whole wheat flour makes heavier breads and baked goods. Blending it with all-purpose flour will lighten the texture of the finished product while still maintaining the nutritional benefits.
Whether you’re intolerant or out of all-purpose flour, it helps to learn about the many flour substitutes for baking.
All-purpose flour is the universal wheat-based powder used for baking cakes, cookies, pies, and other pastries.
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But I’m pretty sure you’ve seen the many different kinds of flour in the grocery, too.
If you’re wondering if they all work the same way all-purpose flour does, this guide is for you.
Fun fact: Did you know that there are at least 15 kinds of flour?
Some flours can be used as an equivalent replacement to all-purpose, others you’ll need to alter the measurement.
There are flours that should be used only for specific recipes.
There are also others that are gluten-free, which is great for those with gluten sensitivity.
Whatever your reason is for needing flour other than all-purpose, here are the best options.
Almond flour is made by grinding dried-up almonds. The fact that it’s nut-based makes this flour gluten-free.
It’s higher in calories than all-purpose flour.
But almonds are a great source of healthy fat and protein, so it’s still the better choice. It’s healthier and will keep you full longer.
Almond flour is great in banana bread and cookies.
Use 3/4 cup almond flour with 1/4 cup of arrowroot or tapioca starch as a replacement for 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
Not only will it make them gluten-free, but will also give them extra flavor.
Oh, and if you’re making macarons, almond flour is the only option.
It has a high moisture content, as well, and absorbs liquid very well. This means using this flour alone will result in a dry and dense baked good.
That said, you’ll want to use coconut flour with additional fat or liquid to achieve the perfect baked good texture.
Cake or Pastry Flour
Cake flour is made from a softer kind of wheat and has the least gluten among all gluten-based flours.
It’s specifically created for baked goods that are supposed to have an ultra-light and tender crumb.
That said, cake flour is perfect for desserts such as angel food cakes and chiffon cakes.
Avoid using it when making chewy bread like sourdough or dense desserts like pound cakes.
Use equal parts cake flour when using it as an alternative to all-purpose flour.
Don’t have cake flour on hand? You can DIY it! Here’s how:
1. Measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
2. Remove 2 tablespoons of the flour and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
3. Sift the mixture twice.
Pastry flour is a lot similar to cake flour and therefore has the same uses.
The only difference is it contains slightly more gluten than cake flour.
Oat flour is personally one of the most common substitutes I use when I run out of regular flour.
It’s basically finely ground oatmeal, and it couldn’t be easier to make. Just throw oats in a blender and pulse until they turn into a fine powder.
Just like almond flour, oat flour is also gluten-free.
It’s slightly sweet, which makes it a great option for cookies, pancakes, and muffins. You can also use it to make breading.
Oat flour, along with almond and coconut flour, is also great for no-bake recipes such as raw cookie dough.
It’s much safer than all-purpose flour, which may contain E. coli.
Don’t use it to thicken soups and sauces, though. It’ll mess up the consistency.
Whole wheat flour is a hearty grain made from the whole kernel of wheat – bran, germ, and all.
It’s not only more nutritious but also gives baked goods a rich and nutty flavor.
Take note that it’s more absorbent than regular flour, though, and can lead to dry baked goods with a coarse crumb.
But there’s an easy fix. When using it to make bread, use a 50/50 combo of whole heat and white flour.
(When I say white flour, I mean either all-purpose, cake, or bread flour.)
When making cookies and quick breads, on the other hand, use 7/8 cup of whole wheat flour in place of 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
Final tip: let the batter rest for 10 minutes before baking to hydrate the flour’s bran and germ. This will result in a more tender baked good.
Bread flour is also made from wheat, much like all-purpose flour. The difference is it uses a harder wheat berry, which gives it more protein and gluten.
It’s precisely why this flour is perfect for making bread and baked goods that are supposed to have a stronger structure and a chewier texture.
Don’t use bread flour when making light and fluffy cakes and cupcakes, otherwise, the goods will be heavy and dense.
Rice flour is, as you may have guessed, made from rice. It’s great for making gluten-free cakes and cookies.
It’s also the number one choice when it comes to making Asian dishes like mochi and dumplings.
Rice flour is also a fantastic ingredient for breading such as in tempura and fried chicken.
It gives such fried treats a light, crunchy, and crispy outer coating.
Its versatility doesn’t end there, as rice flour is also ideal for thickening stews and sauces.
Pro-tip: when buying rice flour, be sure to use one that’s finely ground.
Regular rice flour tends to be sandy and gritty, which gives finished products a similar texture.
Millet flour is another gluten-free substitute. In case you’re not familiar, millet is a whole grain with a mild nutty flavor.
It’s best used along with all-purpose flour (1:4 ratio) to make bread.
Buckwheat flour is made from an ancient seed that also happens to be gluten-free.
I know that sounds strange considering it’s called buckwheat flour. But like I said, buckwheat is a seed, not wheat.
This flour is rich in fiber and vitamins and has a lightly floral and nutty flavor.
It’s got a bit of a chalky texture, though.
You want to use it with equal parts of another kind of gluten-free flour, such as almond or oat, when substituting for all-purpose flour.
Made with ground chickpeas, chickpea flour (also referred to as garbanzo bean flour) is popularly used in India. There, they call it besan.
It’s rich in fiber and protein and is also gluten-free.
Apart from being a healthier option, it’s also a versatile flour that can be used to make bread, dessert, and curries.
Unlike other gluten-free flours, the wildly dense chickpea flour has more binding powder.
Just mix it up with a bit of water, oil, and salt, and it transforms into a dense paste that you can use to bind anything, from fritters to meatballs.
Potato flour is a gluten-free flour made from ground whole (but peeled) potatoes.
It’s very good at retaining moisture and makes fantastic yeasted breads with a moist crumb and a long shelf-life.
Use potato flour to make potato bread rolls, brioche bread, biscuits, and more.
It’s also a fantastic thickening agent for sauces, gravies, and soups.
Rye flour comes in different colors: white, light, medium, and dark.
Its hue is dependent on the amount of bran that remains on the grain used to make it.
The darker the rye flour, the heavier it is and the fruitier it tastes.
It’s great for making sourdough bread, fruitcakes, scones, pasta, and crackers.
Of course, we can’t forget about pumpernickel bread, which is made with the darkest kind of rye flour.
Rye flour is NOT gluten-free.
Amaranth flour is a gluten-free flour made from an ancient grain that’s loaded with protein and amino acids.
It has a dense grain with a slightly earthy flavor, so don’t use a 1:1 ratio when using it to replace all-purpose flour.
Go for a 50:50 ratio instead with another light flour, such as all-purpose or whole wheat flour.
Cassava flour is yet another gluten-free and grain-free flour.
It’s made from yucca root and has a very similar flavor and consistency to all-purpose flour.
It’s more absorbent, though, which means you’ll need to use less of it to avoid a dry baked good.
When using it for baking batter-based goods, start by adding just a small amount and gradually add it until you get the best consistency.
Made by grinding quinoa seeds to a fine powder, quinoa flour makes for another fantastic alternative to all-purpose flour.
The use of high-protein, high-fiber superfood makes this flour super nutritious.
Plus, it’s a versatile flour that you can use to make cakes, muffins, and quick breads.
Keep in mind it has a distinctive earthy and nutty taste, though.
Consider using it in baked goods with bold flavors such as chocolate and spiced cakes to mask its taste.
Try these easy flour substitutes for baking when you want a good alternative. From almond flour to oat flour to potato flour, there are plenty of good options.
- Cake or Pastry Flour
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Choose your favorite flour substitute.
- Use in all your favorite baking recipes (from cookies and cakes to breads!)
You will likely need an all-purpose flour substitute at one point or another because it’s a key ingredient in both cooking and baking! Whether you’re watching carbs, are gluten-free, or simply ran out of flour, you have plenty of easy flour substitutes to choose from!
All-purpose flour is one of the most important staple ingredients in a kitchen. It’s the base for tasty breakfast foods, it helps thicken soups, stews, and sauces, and it provides the structure for many favorite desserts.
All-purpose flour is truly flour that can be used for all purposes! Without it, you are without some of your favorite foods.
Not to worry though. Thankfully, there are several types of flour beyond all-purpose. Therefore, if you run out of all-purpose flour there are several substitutes that will allow you to enjoy your favorite recipes.
Moreover, if you can’t cook with all-purpose flour due to gluten sensitivity, there are several great gluten-free substitutes.
Best Substitutes for All-Purpose Flour
If you do not need gluten-free flour, then these substitutes are your best choices. Each of them is a variation of wheat flour.
The different protein content in each flour will impact the overall texture and density of the recipe. However, they will not impact the flavor (except for whole wheat flour). Therefore, these substitutes are the best for achieving the closest taste to the original recipe.
In addition to using these as substitutes for baking, these alternatives can also be used to thicken soups, sauces, and stews.
If you have cake flour available, it can be used in place of all-purpose flour. The result will be lighter and fluffier baked goods. This airy texture is best suited for cakes, cupcakes, muffins, pancakes, and waffles.
You can use cake flour in a 1:1 substitution for all-purpose flour.
Pastry flour has an even lower protein content than cake flour. It produces light and flaky pastries like croissants.
Unless you are an avid pastry chef, it is uncommon to have pastry flour in your house as a backup. However, if you do have access to pastry flour it can work as a substitute for all-purpose flour. It is best suited for breakfast foods like waffles and pancakes or pie crusts.
Use pastry flour in a 1:1 ratio for all-purpose flour. If the consistency of the batter feels too light, you can slowly add a bit of extra flour.
Compared to cake and pastry flour, bread flour is on the opposite side of the protein spectrum. Bread flour has the highest protein content of all flour types.
The high protein content creates a strong gluten base. This provides a strong base for well-structured loaves of bread.
If you bake bread frequently and have bread flour available, you can use it as a substitute. It is best used for quick bread recipes (like banana bread) and cookies. However, remember that it will shift the texture to a much denser final product.
Bread flour can be used in a 1:1 substitution for all-purpose flour. If you feel like the dough is too thick, add a bit more liquid (water, milk, oil) to get the right consistency.
If you accidentally picked-up self-rising flour at the grocery store you may wonder if it will still work. The answer is, yes! You can use self-rising flour in place of all-purpose flour – in certain recipes.
Self-rising flour won’t work for all recipes though. Self-rising flour already has a leavening agent (like baking powder) in it. Therefore, it will only be a good substitute for recipes that call for a leavening agent. Moreover, you will need to modify the amount of any additional leavening agents.
Use self-rising flour in a 1:1 exchange for all-purpose flour. Leave out some of the baking powder in your recipe to balance out the self-rising flour.
Since it can be difficult to adjust the exact ratio of leavening agents, this is best used in simple recipes like waffles, pancakes, and biscuits. It is not great for baked goods.
Whole wheat flour is a popular choice for making hearty bread and pastries. It has a richer flavor than all-purpose flour, as well as more nutritional value.
With more fiber than all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour produces denser foods. In addition to the denser consistency, whole wheat flour lends a soft nutty flavor and light brown color.
Whole wheat flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour with some slight modifications. Begin with a 1:1 ratio of whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour. However, since whole wheat flour absorbs more water than all-purpose flour, you may need to add additional liquid (water, milk, oil, etc.)
Gluten-Free AP Flour Substitutes
When it comes to flour, you may need a substitute simply because you can’t eat flour. In that case, there are several amazing gluten-free choices!
These substitutes will change the texture and taste of your recipe slightly. However, they will still create a delicious alternative recipe for you to enjoy! You may even enjoy the new take on the taste and texture.
Many people prefer almond flour because it is low in carbohydrates. Therefore, it makes a great all-purpose substitute for those who want a gluten-free and keto-friendly recipe.
Almond flour is simply raw almonds that have been processed into a fine flour powder. There is also a variation called almond meal. Almond meal is courser than almond flour and will not work quite as well. If you only have almond meal, toss it in a blender and pulse until it is a finer consistency.
Begin with a 1:1 ratio of almond flour for all-purpose flour. Then, add additional binding agents as needed. You may need an extra egg or more liquid to help the almond flour bind to the other ingredients.
Almond flour is best used in baking that is done at a low temperature (so it doesn’t burn) and as a thickening agent.
Another popular gluten-free flour is coconut flour. Coconut flour is made from dehydrated coconut meat. Once the white coconut meat has been dried, it is ground into a fine powder.
Coconut flour has a very fine texture but absorbs liquid quickly. It also lends a soft coconut flavor that is mildly sweet. While this flavor won’t work for all recipes, it is a nice pairing for several!
You can start with a 1:1 exchange of coconut flour for all-purpose flour; however, you will probably need to make some adjustments.
Depending on the recipe, you may need to add up to 2 or 3x more coconut flour to get the right structure (for a cake or bread). In addition, since it absorbs liquid quickly you may need to balance out the extra flour with more water, milk, or oil.
Cassava flour is an excellent replacement for all-purpose flour! It is made from cassava root that is ground into a fine powder. This powder has a neutral flavor and offers a similar texture as wheat flour.
Cassava root is a starchy vegetable like a potato or yucca. Therefore, cassava flour also has a nutritional profile closer to all-purpose flour. It is higher in carbs and lower in fat (unlike almond flour or coconut flour).
Use cassava flour in a simple 1:1 replacement of all-purpose flour in any recipe.
A simple and easy alternative to all-purpose flour is ready-to-use gluten-free flour. Several companies make gluten-free flour that you can buy in most grocery stores.
Gluten-free flour will vary depending on the brand. Most are a blend of rice flour and potato and tapioca starch/flour. The nice thing about these pre-blended flours is that they are already made with the intention of offering the closest texture and taste to all-purpose flour.
Each brand is different, so to get the best substitution read the directions on the bag. They will provide the ideal ratio of substituting their gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour.
If you don’t want to use pre-blended gluten-free flour, many of the ingredients in those blends can be used on their own. Such as rice flour.
Rice flour is made by processing rice into a flour-like consistency. There is both white and brown rice flour. White rice flour has a more neutral taste, while brown rice flour is nuttier and denser.
Both white and brown rice can be used in a simple 1:1 substitution for all-purpose flour in any recipe.
When it comes to substitutes, chickpeas are a superfood! They can be used as a substitute for so many different foods. Even the water they are packed in is a great substitute!
Dried chickpeas can be ground into a fine powder and used as flour. While you can do this yourself at home, it is easy to find chickpea flour at a health food store.
The texture of chickpea flour is close to that of all-purpose flour; therefore, you can use an equal 1:1 ratio as a substitute for all-purpose flour in any recipe.
Soy has been used as an alternative for years. In fact, soy milk was one of the first alternatives for dairy, and tofu has been used in place of meat and eggs for decades!
While not as commonly used, soy flour is also a wonderful substitute. It can be used in place of all-purpose flour in many recipes.
Like soy milk though, soy flour has a distinctive taste. Therefore, it is best used in recipes with other strong flavors that will hide the soy flour taste.
Soy flour has a finer consistency than all-purpose flour. Therefore, you will need to use twice as much. Replace all-purpose flour with a 2:1 ratio of soy flour in any recipe.
If you want a hearty and richly flavored taste, then give buckwheat flour a try! Buckwheat flour is made from grinding up buckwheat. Even though buckwheat has “wheat” in the name it is not the same as wheat & is a naturally gluten-free food.
Buckwheat is easy to use and adds a lovely nutty taste to recipes. It is a great alternative to all-purpose flour in pancakes, muffins, and bread.
Buckwheat flour is a simple 1:1 exchange for all-purpose flour. It is best used in baking – it is not ideal as a thickening agent.
When you find yourself stuck at home with a hankering for baking, without all-purpose flour, look for oatmeal. Raw oats can be quickly turned into flour by grinding them in a food processor or blender.
Homemade oat flour lends a soft earthy taste to any recipe. It is perfect for a last-minute substitute or long-term gluten-free alternative to all-purpose flour. You can also pick up oat flour in most grocery stores and health food stores.
Use oat flour in a 1:1 substitution for all-purpose flour in any baking recipe. It can also be used to thicken soups and sauces.
More great substitute pages to help you out with all of your cooking and baking!
As one of the most used ingredients in the kitchen, you never know when you may need an all-purpose flour substitute! Tell us what your cooking or baking down below!
All-Purpose Flour Substitute
- Use cake flour and pastry flour in an equal substitution for AP flour. You may need to add a bit more flour to get the perfect dough or batter consistency. *More so with pastry flour.1 cup cake flour, 1 cup pastry flour
- Use bread flour in a 1:1 ratio for substitution as well. With this option, you may need to add more liquid to adjust and achieve the right consistency. Baked goods will likely be more dense.1 cup bread flour
All-Purpose Flour Substitutes (Gluten-Free Options)
- Almond flour is a tasty, popular AP flour substitute. While you can use it in an easy 1:1 swap for your recipes, there are a few things to note:1) You will need more binding agents (eggs, milk, gelatin) or (psyllium husks, xanthan gum, chia seeds, flax seeds, guar gum, eggs) for gluten-free baking.2) Bake at lower temperatures to prevent the almond flour from burning. I like to bake at temperatures no higher than 350°F (175°C) when using almond flour. In general, reduce any wheat flour recipe temp by 25°F (14°C) and reduce the baking time. Start checking at ¾ of the instructed cooking time (ie. 15 minutes rather than baking for 20 minutes).1 cup almond flour
- Use cassava flour in equal amounts for substituting all-purpose flour in any recipe.1 cup cassava flour
*Nutritional information is calculated for cake flour only.
All-Purpose Flour Substitute, best alternatives for all-purpose flour, substitutions
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma’s kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!
From gluten-free products to higher fiber wheat products, there’s a bunch of all-purpose flour alternatives to choose from.
Let’s be real, all-purpose flour makes some delish baked goods. But some peeps may want to avoid it. Maybe you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, or you simply want a more nutritious flour option.
Here are 12 of the best flour substitutes to suit every preference and dietary need. Just note that most of these substitutes won’t be a 1-to-1 replacement.
If you’re into that low-waste lifestyle, coconut flour may be your new fave flour. It’s made from coconut meat, which is a byproduct of coconut milk and coconut oil production.
This fine, white, naturally gluten-free flour is packed with fiber, which is essential for digestive health and can help support healthy blood sugar levels.
Plus, it’s higher in protein than all-purpose flour and provides minerals like iron and potassium.
How to sub: Swap 1/4 cup (28 grams) of coconut flour for 1 cup (120 grams) of all-purpose flour. You’ll also need to increase the amount of liquid in your recipe since coconut flour absorbs more water.
Almond flour is high in healthy fats and much lower in carbs than all-purpose flour. Plus, it’s a great source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E and magnesium.
How to sub: Swap 3/4 cup (84 grams) of almond flour for 1 cup (120 grams) of all-purpose flour. It’s also recommended that you use a binding agent like xanthan gum in your almond flour recipes in order to improve the texture of your baked goods.
Chickpeas are a fan-fave when it comes to legumes, but did you know that chickpeas can actually be turned into a super-nutritious flour?!
Chickpea flour — also known as gram flour or garbanzo bean flour — has a nutty taste and is a staple in Indian and Caribbean cuisine. This bean-based flour is also high in plant-based protein and minerals like iron and folate. Plus, it’s naturally gluten-free.
How to sub: Swap 3/4 cup chickpea flour (84 grams) for 1 cup (120 grams) of all-purpose flour. Try it in recipes like fritters to act as a gluten-free binding agent. You can also mix it with other gluten-free flours for a 1:1 ratio swap.
Gluten-free flour blends
The easiest gluten-free sub for all-purpose flour is a gluten-free flour blend. That’s because these are usually created to be 1-to-1 replacements.
Gluten-free flour blends often contain a blend of gluten-free flours like brown rice flour, sorghum flour, and tapioca flour. They also can have ingredients like xanthan gum in order to mimic the texture of all-purpose flour.
How to sub: Swap gluten-free flour blends for all-purpose flour at a 1:1 ratio.
If you’re looking for an all-purpose sub that’s a bit higher in certain nutrients, like fiber, whole-wheat flour is a good alternative.
Whole-wheat flour is also higher in protein. Together, these nutrients help keep you feeling full, so baked goods made with whole-wheat flour may be a bit more filling than those made with all-purpose.
How to sub: King Arthur Flour recommends swapping 113 g whole-wheat flour for every 1 cup (120g) of all-purpose flour.
Rice flour is a popular gluten-free flour that can be used in place of all-purpose flour when combined with other flours.
You can buy brown rice flour or white rice flour. But, brown rice flour has a nutty flavor that’s delicious in baked goods.
How to sub: Swapping rice flour can take some trial and error. It’s usually best combined with other gluten-free flours and binding agents like xanthan gum or cornstarch.
Buckwheat flour is actually made from grain-like seeds, making it another gluten-free option. It’s quite nutritious, providing a good source of fiber and minerals like iron and potassium.
Buckwheat flour has a distinct slightly bitter taste that may change the flavor of your recipe. Plus, it doesn’t contain gluten, so it won’t give you the springy result that all-purpose will.
How to sub: Mix buckwheat with more neutral-tasting flours and other ingredients that will lighten its texture when subbing for all-purpose flour.
Spelt flour is an ancient grain that’s related to wheat, so it still contains gluten. If you’re cool with gluten, many bakers say it’s the closest swap for all-purpose flour.
Spelt is a good source of dietary fiber and has more protein than all-purpose flour. It also higher in antioxidants compared to regular wheat.
How to sub: Swap spelt flour for all-purpose flour at a 1:1 ratio.
Amaranth flour is another flour made from ancient grains, but it’s gluten-free since it’s technically a seed. It has an earthy taste and dense texture, so it should not be used on its own when replacing all-purpose flour.
Nutritionally, it’s a good source of fiber and also contains quite a bit of non-heme (plant-based) iron.
How to sub: Blend amaranth flour with other flours to make a 1:1 ratio swap for all-purpose flour.
You’re probably familiar with quinoa, but chances are you haven’t baked with quinoa flour. Another seed-turned-flour, quinoa is gluten-free and has nutty, earthy flavor.
Quinoa flour is a good source of vitamins and minerals like folate, magnesium, iron, and zinc. It’s also rich in protein and fiber.
How to sub: Swap in quinoa flour for half the amount of all-purpose flour in most recipes. You may need to combine quinoa flour with other flours and binding agents to get the desired texture of baked goods.
Cassava flour is made from cassava, a tuberous veggie that’s native to South America. Because it’s made from a tuber, cassava flour is gluten-free.
The flour has a neutral taste and is basically just carbs, providing no fat or protein. So, it’s not a good swap if you want a high protein option.
How to sub: Recipe experts suggest you can use cassava flour as a 1:1 replacement (by weight) for all-purpose, though the results may not be perfect every time.
Rye flour is an excellent sub for all-purpose flour and has similar amounts of fiber and protein. But it has some major differences.
It contains less gluten than all-purpose, retains more moisture, and has an earthy taste. Because of these characteristics, it’s ideal for making breads and more savory baked goods.
How to sub: According to King Arthur Flour, you can swap 1 cup + 2 tablespoons (136 grams) of medium rye flour for 1 cup (120 grams) of all-purpose flour. Just note you may need to adjust this amount depending on your recipe and other ingredients used.
OK, so you’re out of all-purpose flour, but you have some other baking-specific flours in your pantry. Can you use those instead?
Here’s some info on how to use cake flour, bread flour, and self-rising flour:
- Cake flour. Cake flour basically just has added cornstarch. To use cake flour in place of all-purpose flour in a baking recipe, use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (136 grams) cake flour for every cup (120 grams) of all-purpose flour.
- Bread flour. Bread flour is higher in protein, so it’s not a recommended swap for recipes like cakes and cookies. But if you just need a small amount for a recipe like gravy, you’re good to go.
- Self-rising flour. According to King Arthur Flour, you can sub self-rising flour for all-purpose in recipes, just add 1 teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour.
If you’re not into all-purpose flour or have to avoid it for health reasons, there are plenty of flour products you can use in its place.
If you don’t have regular flour on hand, or if you need to substitute it for something else for dietary purposes, there are several alternatives. There are a surprising number of flour substitutes that you can use, and some may already be in your pantry.
Flour is traditionally made with wheat that is finely ground. You can find flour made from soft wheat and hard wheat. Soft wheat is low in protein and is often used for making items that are lighter and fluffier like angel-food cake, which often calls for pastry flour. Harder wheat can be used in recipes that result in denser products like bread. All-purpose flour, the one most commonly found in kitchen pantries, is made to have a mix of flour protein to make it just the right combination for most cooking and baking.
All purpose flour is extremely versatile, but some people may want a substitute, or need a substitute for health reasons. Thanks to many advances in the cooking world, there are a number of different types of flours currently produced that can be found on the shelves in your local stores.
Flour is used in different ways and for different things. Cooking with flour is often used for thickening, or creating a crust or breading, and you’ll need smaller amounts. Baking with flour often uses a larger amount of flour to create things like bread, cake, and cookies.
Using flour substitutes can sometimes result in different textures or flavors, so you’ll want to check recipes to be sure that the alternative you choose will work well with the end product that you’re making.
Here’s a list of some of the best flour substitutes to use in your recipes. While most of these are alternative flours, we’re also including things that aren’t flour, that can be used in it’s place. We’re also including with-gluten and gluten-free options so you have plenty of choices in case you’re looking for alternatives for dietary purposes.
Almond Flour is made from raw, ground almonds, and is sometimes also called almond meal. It is gluten free and vegan and is a good alternative for those with diabetes. Almond flour has a slightly sweet flavor and can affect the overall flavor of your recipe when using it in place of regular all purpose flour. While it is finely ground, almond flour is a bit more grainy than other flours. Almond flour is best used in baked goods like cakes, cookies, and breads.
Arrowroot Flour (Also Called Arrowroot Starch or Powder)
Arrowroot flour comes from the arrowroot plant and is mostly flavorless and odorless. It is a versatile flour alternative that works great in both sweet and savory recipes. Arrowroot flour is vegan and gluten free and is an excellent all purpose flour alternative. Arrowroot is a great thickening agent so it is perfect for soups and stews and pie fillings, but you can also substitute it for wheat flour in recipes for baked goods like bread and cake.
When using arrowroot in your recipes, you’ll usually want to make it into a slurry or paste by mixing it with a cold liquid before adding it to the rest of your ingredients. Generally, baked recipes that use arrowroot flour will be lighter and fluffier than with other flours.
If you use Bisquick to make your pancakes, you probably have a box of this in your pantry. Bisquick is a premade baking mix that includes flour, oil, corn starch, baking soda, salt, sugar, and a few other ingredients. Because it is essentially flour, you can use it in place of all purpose flour in most of your recipes — keep in mind that it does have those other ingredients, so there are things you may not need to add to your recipe, or that you’ll at least need to reduce the quantity of some ingredients. For example, you won’t need to add salt or baking soda, but you will still need to add sugar, as the sugar in the Bisquick likely won’t be sweet enough for the recipe you’re making if it is a sweet dish. You can also use Bisquick as a thickener for sauces, soups, and gravies, but you’ll only want to use a small amount to avoid changing the flavor too much.
Bisquick is perfect for making pancakes and waffles, biscuits, muffins, shortbread, pie, breads and even sausage balls. You can even use it to make dumplings, breakfast bakes, casseroles, churros, and more. Bisquick is vegan but it is not gluten free, as it contains regular flour, but there is a gluten free Bisquick that is made with rice flour.
Buckwheat flour is an ancient-grain flour that is gluten free, vegan, and slightly nutty in flavor. In large amounts, buckwheat flour is very chalky so it is recommended to mix it half and half with another flour when using it as a substitute for all purpose flour.
Buckwheat flour is best used in baking and is great for pancakes, crepes, cookies, bars, biscuits, scones, cakes and crackers. It is commonly used to make buckwheat noodles used for udon, but it can be used in baked goods as well, but it may not create light, fluffy breads because of the lack of gluten.
Canned Chickpeas and Black Beans
These work well in baked goods, especially in brownies. They’ll come out extra fudgy! Use black beans though so the color matches. You can swap 1 cup of flour for 1 cup of mashed chickpeas or black beans.
Note: Chickpea flour is also available on the market which is made from dried and ground garbanzo beans. It is a good alternative flour for those with diabetes and works well to make cookies, pancakes, and flatbreads. When using chickpea flour use about half the amount of regular flour.
Cassava Flour is from the root vegetable yucca. It has a lot of fiber and is similar to wheat flour so it is great for substituting in recipes for baked goods. Cassava flour has a neutral flavor so it won’t change the flavor of your recipes like some other alternative flours might, and you can use it in the same 1:1 proportion as regular flour.
Because of cassava flours versatility, you can use it for different cooking methods. It works well as a crust for chicken and seafood when frying, and works equally well to make baked items like pie crust, cake, biscuits, pancakes, and even tortillas. Cassava flour is both gluten free and vegan.
Note: Tapioca flour is also made from the cassava root but it is different from regular cassava flour. Tapioca flour or starch is much finer and is best used for some baked goods and thickening sauces and soups.
Coconut is made from dehydrated and finely ground coconut meat. Compared to all purpose flour, coconut flour is coarser in texture and the grittiness may be noticeable in some recipes. Coconut flour works well in baked goods, making them light and fluffy, but it is highly absorbent so you will want to use less than what you would use when baking with all purpose flour otherwise your recipe may turn out quite dense. Generally, you’ll only need about 1/4 cup of coconut flour for every cup of regular flour. Coconut flour also does impart its own flavor, so it will be noticeable in the finished product. Coconut flour is both vegan and gluten free.
You won’t necessarily want to bake a cake with this, but if you’re trying to create a breading for your chicken, go for it. Cracker crumbs are great for coating your fish and meat before you sauté, broil, or fry it. Saltines and Ritz are also great for adding to meatballs, meat loaf, and other dishes that need something to hold all the meat together.
Oat flour is made of ground rolled oats. This whole grain flour is a great flour alternative for diabetics and it is gluten free and vegan. Oat flour is good for baking and is often used for making waffles, pancakes, breads, muffins, granola bars, and cookies, and often yields a chewy texture. The flavor is slightly nutty and may be noticeable in some of your recipes. When baking with oat flour, you’ll need a bit more than when using all purpose flour. Try 1 1/3 cups of oat flour for every cup of all purpose flour.
Potato Flakes/Instant Mashed Potatoes
What? Yes! Potato flakes are just dehydrated potato, and potatoes are naturally great thickeners. You can use a teaspoon at a time to stir into your soups and sauces to thicken them up until you reach your desired consistency. But here’s good news – you can use them for baking too! When you’re making bread, biscuits, focaccia, rolls, and other bread-like recipes, you can try using 1-2 tablespoons of potato flake in place of each cup of flour. The end product will be surprisingly moist and fluffy.
Rice flour is found in both white and brown varieties. Compared to all purpose flour, this one is a little more gritty, so choose a finely ground version. Rice flour is great for dredging and making pan fried dishes, resulting in a tempura-like coating. It does have a subtle, slight nutty flavor so it may change the flavor of your recipes, especially if used in large amounts.
Rice flour is often used to make rice noodles and pancakes, but can also be used to make cakes, biscuits, crepes, shortbread, and pastries. It can also be used as a thickening agent for soups, stews, and sauces. Keep in mind that rice flour can not be used in equal proportion to all purpose flour. You’ll want to use slightly less rice flour than you would all purpose flour by removing one to two tablespoons of flour per cup. Rice flour is both vegan and gluten free.
Whole wheat flour is darker in color and coarser in texture than regular all purpose flour. It is a great flour for adding more whole grains to your diet and can be used for for baking, but your cakes and breads may be denser and drier. It is recommended that you use half the amount of all purpose flour. Whole wheat flour can also be used as a breading for pan-fried recipes and as a thickening agent for soups, stews, and sauces. Whole wheat flour is vegan, but is not gluten free.
How To Choose The Best Flour Substitute
Are you looking for a substitute for all purpose flour because you don’t have any on hand or for dietary purposes?
If you’re trying to find an alternative based on what you have in the house, rather than going to the store to purchase more, your options will be limited to what you currently have available. In this case, if you have other forms of flour on hand such as cake or pastry flour, bread flour, self rising flour, or even Bisquick or another pancake mix, these can be easily adapted to sub in for all purpose flour for most baked goods and other cooking preparations.
There are a few other items that can be subbed for all purpose flour in small amounts such as corn starch, bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, panko, potato flakes, and even beans! If you need a large amount of flour, your best bet is to choose another form of flour, but if you need about one cup of flour or less, or if you just need a thickener or a binding agent, choose one of those other crumbly items we just listed, grind them up finely in a blender or food processor, and go ahead and use that in place of regular flour.
Your best option is to choose the alternative that will be most compatible flavorwise or texturewise with the recipe you are trying to make.
If you’re looking for an alternative for dietary purposes, you’ll want to choose the alternative that is most compatible with your dietary preferences. If you’re going gluten free, you have a lot of options. If you have allergies, choose a flour that is not made from grains or nuts. Cassava flour tends to be a great option that is vegan, gluten free, compatible with diabetic diets, and has the least allergenic issues.
Our Top Picks
If you are looking for a flour substitute, your best option is to use another form of flour – or if you have Bisquick, use it. If you need a general flour alternative primarily for dietary concerns, choose cassava flour. It’s affordable, the neutral flavor blends well with all recipes, and it is compatible with most diets.
Best Uses for Different Types of Flour
- Bread Flour
- Cake or Pastry Flour
- Cassava Flour
- Chickpea Flour
- Oat Flour
- Potato Flakes (instant mashed potatoes) – use 1-2 tablespoons per each cup of flour called for
- Rye Flour
- Self-rising flour
- Spelt Flour
- Whole Wheat Flour
Best Flour Substitutes for Thickening
- Arrowroot Powder/Flour/starch
- Potato Flour
- Tapioca Flour/Starch
Best Gluten Free Flour Substitutes
- Almond Flour
- Amaranth Flour
- Buckwheat Flour
- Cassava Flour
- Coconut Flour
- Millet Flour
- Quinoa Flour
Best Flour Substitutes for Breading/Frying
- Almond Flour
- Arrowroot flour/starch
- Cracker Crumbs
- Panko Bread Crumbs
- Rice Flour
Best Flour Substitutes for Diabetics
- Almond Flour
- Coconut Flour
- Chickpea Flour
- Oat Flour
- Spelt Flour
Heidi Deal is an editor, mother of two, and seasoned home cook who enjoys experimenting with new recipes and teaching her kids how to prepare family meals. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, volunteering, and spending time with family and friends.
As the name suggests, all-purpose flour can be used for just about everything! You can mix it into chocolate chip cookie batter, let it form the base of crusty french loaves, or use it to coat crispy fried chicken. But despite all-purpose flour’s versatile nature, it’s not the best flour for everyone.
What if you’re looking for a gluten-free flour option? Maybe you’ve found yourself halfway through a cookie recipe only to realize you’re out of AP flour. No matter the case, you can find an all-purpose flour substitute that works for you.
What Is All-Purpose Flour?
We all know all-purpose flour is the white powder that works equally well in sweet cakes and savory breads. And you might even know that it’s made from wheat. But you may still be asking yourself “where does flour come from?”
It’s true that all-purpose flour is made from wheat. However, it’s not made from the whole wheat kernel—just the protein-rich endosperm. Most all-purpose flour is made from a blend of hard and soft wheat. Since soft wheat has a low gluten content and hard wheat is high in gluten, all-purpose flour has a moderate gluten content. This means it contains enough gluten to produce a strong and stretchy bread dough yet is delicate enough to produce airy cakes and muffins.
Other Types of Wheat Flour
If you’re stuck without all-purpose flour and aren’t looking for a gluten-free alternative, you can turn to other wheat flours.
Pastry flour has less gluten than all-purpose flour, making it a great choice if you’re making pie crust, muffins, and cake.
Bread flour is made from hard wheat, so it has a high gluten content that lends itself well to all types of bread, pizza dough, bagels, and more. Just don’t try to use it for delicate treats like cakes, scones, and muffins, which need to be lighter and fluffier than other types of dough.
Whole wheat flour contains all three parts of the wheat kernel: the endosperm, bran, and germ. If you swap whole wheat flour for its all-purpose cousin, anticipate a denser dough. You may also need to decrease the amount of flour since whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid.
So what are some ingredients that you can turn to when you want to avoid using all-purpose flour?
While almond butter is made from ground almonds, almond flour is what results when the oil is removed from almond butter. It has a nutty taste and coarse texture that is similar to whole wheat flour.
Almond flour can work in everything from tea cakes to fried chicken breading. However, since it doesn’t contain any gluten and doesn’t offer much rise, it is best to mix it with other flours if you’re looking to produce a light and fluffy cake or muffin.
Gluten-free? Yes, as long as the package is labeled as such
Another great thing about oat flour is that it’s easy to make yourself. Just grind up oats in a food processor or blender until they turn into flour.
It’s important to note that while oats are naturally gluten-free, they are often processed on the same equipment as wheat. Therefore, look for a gluten-free label if you need your oat flour to be gluten-free.
All types of rice flour can be used as a substitute for all-purpose flour, but there are various types of rice flour that yield slightly different results.
Brown rice flour is the rice equivalent of whole-wheat flour. It has a full flavor and a bit of a gritty texture. Try incorporating it into cakes and cookies or using it to thicken sauces or stews.
White rice flour is smoother in texture and blander in flavor than brown rice flour. It can be used to make rice noodles, as part of a tempura batter, or as a sauce thickener.
Glutinous rice flour, aka sweet rice flour, doesn’t contain any gluten (confusing, we know.) It can create a gummy texture, so it’s typically used to create chewy items like mochi or as a binder for pastry items.
Rice flour makes an excellent substitute for all-purpose flour, depending on what you’re making.
Also known as garbanzo bean flour, chickpea flour can be used in both sweet and savory baked goods. It works especially well for tortillas, roti, and other types of flatbreads.
Despite its name, buckwheat is not a type of wheat. Rather, it’s a pseudocereal–one of any non-grasses that are used in much the same way as cereals–and is more closely related to rhubarb. This dark flour is known for being used in buckwheat pancakes, but you can also use it as a component of yeasted breads, cookies, and other baked goods.
Compared to flours made from grains, nuts, and beans, coconut flour can absorb a large amount of liquid. That means that you’ll often need to use less coconut flour than you would other flours.
Due to its water-absorbing properties and low-starch content, it’s best to combine coconut flour with other flours in recipes.
Coconut flour is often combined with other types of flour for maximum results.
Explore Ingredients and Techniques in Baking School
While it’s easy to find all-purpose flour alternatives, it’s a bit more challenging to figure out how to best work with each type of flour.
How does a muffin made from almond flour rise differently from one made with coconut flour? What alternative flours should you use to create chewy and soft gluten-free bread? Rather than struggle to answer these questions alone, consider enrolling in baking and pastry school.
“School can teach you each ingredient’s function and the science and chemistry so that you understand what’s happening. And when something does go wrong, you can recognize it and prevent that from happening in the future.”*Anne Lanute, Escoffier Executive Chef
Escoffier’s Baking and Pastry programs introduce students to essential kitchen fundamentals and also dive into more advanced baking skills. Programs can provide students the opportunity to develop new skills and connect with talented Chef Instructors.
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*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.