List of gluten-free flour and starch alternatives with information on how to use it for bread, baking and more. Use this guide whenever you question if a flour is gluten-free or not.
Is Flour Gluten-Free?
Flour is not gluten-free unless it specifically says certified gluten-free on the packaging. Gluten-free (gf flours) are specifically manufactured to prevent cross contamination with other flours that contain wheat and gluten.
List of Gluten-Free Flours
Gluten provides structure and volume in baking and bread. It gives baked goods the leavening and proper air flow to make them light, bind together and hold moisture. But if you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity it can cause havoc on the body including diarrhea, gas, bloating, stomach pain, hives, and even vomiting. It helps to have gluten-free alternatives to prevent accidently being exposed to gluten. I use a lot of combination of these starches and gluten-free flour alternatives in many of my baked goods either by themselves or in a combination, as some gluten-free flours do not work well alone.
So what is gluten-free flour made from? Here is your list of gluten-free flours to use in the kitchen and help you achieve optimal health and healing.
Almond Meal or Flour
Almond meal is also known as almond flour and is made from finely ground almonds. It provides a sweet flavor in baked goods and is a wonderful substitute to whole wheat flour. Substitute almond meal 1-to-1 where flour is called, or combine it with another gluten-free flour such as coconut flour or rice flour.
Amaranth flour is derived from the seeds of the amaranth plant and was an ancient flour used by the Aztecs. It has a nutty flavor, is high in protein, fiber, and lysine (an essential amino acid). This flour is best used in baked goods, rather than served raw because eating it raw can prevent the body from absorbing nutrients. It has a nutty taste that is overpowering so use it combined with other flours and starches such as corn starch, potato starch, or almond meal.
Cassava flour is a grain-free gluten-free flour made from the tapioca plant. It is heavier than tapioca starch (both made from different parts of the plant) and works well in grain-free baking. Use cassava flour combined with small amounts of a starch such as potato starch.
Coconut flour has a beautiful sweetness that is the perfect addition to baked goods. It is a heavier flour and is best to mix with other flours such as almond meal and tapioca flour. It is great to use for those on a Keto diet as it is low in carbs and higher in fat.
Corn Flour and Cornmeal
Corn flour is finely ground corn and great to use in baked goods such as muffins, breads, cakes, coating meats and vegetables in place of flour like in these zucchini parmesan chips. Cormeal is coarsely ground and commonly used in cornbread, pizza crusts, and cornbread muffins. For baking use it with a binding agent such as tapioca flour, egg, or apple sauce.
Garbanzo Bean Flour
Garbanzo bean flour is delicious and very tasty. It is also known as besan, gram, or chickpea flour, and is made from grinding raw chickpeas. It is naturally gluten-free and rich in fiber, protein and other vitamin and minerals. Use it in veggie patties and burgers as a binder.
Despite its name, buckwheat flour is gluten-free and is not a type of wheat. Buckwheat is a fruit that is dried and ground into a flour. It has a strong, robust flavor, is rich in B vitamins, protein, and fiber. Buckwheat is a very heavy and dense gluten free flour so use it in baked goods like pancakes in combination with lighter flours and starches.
Flaxseed meal is ground flax seeds and they work as wonderful binder. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids which are good for heart health and nourishing the brain. Flaxseed meal is an excellent addition to gluten-free baked goods and gluten-free bread to make them moist and hold together. When combined with warm water it forms flax-egg, an egg replacer.
Many people wonder, is masa gluten free? Indeed it is, although not to be confused with corn flour, masa harina is made from finely ground corn kernels that have been soaked in limewater, or calcium hydroxide. It is commonly used in Mexican dishes to make tortillas, tamales, and pupusa where the baked good does not need to rise.
Millet is an ancient grain ground into a flour. It has a mildly sweet yet nutty flavor and is rich in nutrients. Use this gluten-free flour in baking combined with other gluten-free flours.
Oat flour is oats ground into a fine powder that is high in fiber, protein, and iron. Oats are only gluten-free if they specifically say certified gluten-free. Oats can become cross contaminated with gluten products in farming and harvesting so make sure they specifically say certified gluten-free. Oats soak up moisture (think about how to make oatmeal heating it with water) so when used in baking, extra liquid or a light starch may be needed or a starch.
Quinoa flour is milled from a grain native to the Andes Mountains in South America. It is rich in B vitamins, amino acids, and fiber. It is a moist flour with a nutty flavor and is best to mix with other gluten-free flours.
Rice Flour (Brown Rice, White Rice, Sweet White Rice)
Rice flour is gluten-free and the most popular gluten-free flour that is easily found in most stores. It comes in three varieties: brown rice, white rice, and sweet white rice. Rice is a heavy flour that works best in baking mixed with other gluten-free flours and light starches.
Sorghum flour, also known as milo and jowar, can be found in red and white varieties. It has a slightly sweet flavor and is high in fiber and protein. Sorghum flour is dense and works best in baking combined with other gluten-free flours and starches.
Teff flour is a staple in Ethiopia and is available in dark and light varieties. It aids in weight loss, circulation, helps to balance hormones naturally, and is packed with calcium, phosphorus, fiber, and protein. The flavor is mildly nutty and works well in pancakes, muffins and quickbreads when combined with other gluten-free flours and starches such as sweet white rice flour and arrowroot flour.
Tigernut flour is derived from a root vegetable. Despite its name, it is not a nut and is grain-free and gluten-free. It is naturally sweet, so less sugar is needed when using it in baking and is a delicious addition to cakes and pastries.
Guide to Gluten-Free Starches
Root vegetables are well tolerated by people with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Use them as natural thickeners in soups, sauces, and pie fillings in place of flour. They are light and less dense that most gluten-free flours. But they are too light to stand on their own and work best combined with gluten-free flours such as brown rice flour, buckwheat, coconut flour, and sorghum flour and help keep gluten-free baked goods airy.
Arrowroot flour mixes well with gluten-free flour mixes. This starch also works well to thicken soups and sauces. I like to combine it with brown rice, or a premade gluten-free mix, tapioca flour and potato starch to create an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend and to make baked goods light and fluffy. I also like to use it as a filler when making homemade paleo baking powder.
Cornstarch, also known as corn flour, is extracted from the endosperm of corn. It is commonly used in baking powder as the filler, and in soups, sauces, and pie fillings to thicken.
Potato starch, also known as flour, is made from dehydrated potatoes and is a very fine, white, light powder that has potassium in it. It adds a soft, chewy consistency to homemade breads, pizza crust, and baked goods. It works best mixed with a dense flour or almond meal.
Tapioca starch or flour is made from the cassava plant. It is a light powder similar to potato starch and arrowroot starch and mixes well gluten-free flours such as brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, and millet flour.
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