Great Alternatives to Almond Flour and Coconut Flour

Other grain free alternaties to almond and coconut flour

When you go grain-free, you have to get creative to keep enjoying the foods you love. Most grain-free goodies are made with the same ol’ flours, but there are actually some really great alternatives to almond flour and coconut flour. I bet you haven’t even heard of some of them!

While an optimal diet should consist mostly of fresh produce and healthy meats & eggs, sometimes you just want to enjoy a baked treat or even a grain-free bread. There’s nothing wrong with indulging, if you do it right!

Grain-Free Baked Goods

Thankfully, it’s really easy to remake many of our favorites like chocolate chip cookies and pancakes with grain-free flours like almond and coconut. But what if you’re tired of almond flour and coconut flour … or worse, what if you can’t eat them because of an allergy or intolerance?

Coconut and almond flours can be problematic for some people due to health reasons, or taste and texture preferences in some recipes.

Popular Grain-Free Flours

Let’s look at the problems with popular grain-free flours, then we’ll highlight some great alternatives to almond flour and coconut flour.

Almond Flour

One of the most frequently used flours in grain-free baking and cooking, almond flour has a great texture that can mimic all-purpose flour in many recipes, and a neutral flavor that lends itself well to both sweet desserts and savory dishes.

However, almond flour can be problematic for a lot of people, particularly those with nut allergies. Other reasons to limit almond flour include:

  • Almond flour contains A TON of almonds per serving. Just one cup of almond flour contains about 90 almonds. 90! No one would eat 90 almonds in one sitting, and even if a recipe served multiple people, we’re still talking about more almonds than you would eat if you were eating them whole.
  • Almond flour is high in omega 6 fats. We’ve talked about why it’s important to eat a balanced ratio of omega 3 and 6 fats. Today’s standard American diet is full of omega 6 fats, while omega 3 fats get largely ignored, much to our detriment. Almonds are high in omega 6 fats, and have little to no omega 3 fats, making them a source of inflammation for some.
  • The proteins in almond flour can be difficult for some people to digest.
  • Non-sprouted almond flour contains some of the same problematic components that grains do, inhibiting proper digestion, and robbing your body of nutrients.

For many people almond flour is great on occasion, and in moderation, but some people just don’t tolerate it well due to the above reasons, which leads us to another popular grain-free flour: coconut. It is also pretty hotly debated: read the Paleo Mom’s take here and Empowered Sustenance’s opinion here.

Coconut Flour

Perfect for cakes and pancakes, coconut flour is a great grain-free option. However, there are a few reasons to limit it, including:

  • Coconut flour is very fibrous, which may be problematic for those with SIBO or other gut infections or imbalances.
  • Some people just don’t like the flavor of coconut flour, which can be overpowering in some recipes.
  • Coconut flour is very dense and requires a lot of eggs for baking.

Coconut flour is a good option, if you tolerate it, but if you’re wondering what else you can use, here are some additional suggestions.

Alternatives to Almond Flour and Coconut Flour

Here are some great alternatives to both almond and coconut flour, plus a few recipes to get started.

Cassava Flour

The new darling of the paleo world, cassava flour is hitting all the right notes: grain-free, nut-free, and it behaves much like all-purpose flour in many recipes. Made from the tropical cassava root, cassava flour is simply peeled, dried, and ground.

While cassava is starchy and certainly not low-carb, it is a great alternative to almond flour on occasion if you’re wanting to make a nut-free recipe (important if your kids attend a nut-free school).

Note: Cassava flour is not the same as tapioca flour, which also comes from the cassava root, but is more processed and refined and doesn’t yield quite as pleasing results.

Here are a few reasons to give cassava flour a try:

  • a good source of carbohydrates
  • contains resistant starch, which is important for feeding the good bugs in our guts
  • allergen-friendly and doesn’t contain problematic proteins like some flours, making it a perfect choice for the AIP (autoimmune protocol) diet
  • totally gluten- and grain-free

Even with these benefits, cassava flour should be used occasionally, as a treat, as too much starch in the diet can feed bad gut microbes.

Cassava Flour Recipes

1. Cassava flour sugar cookies – Naturally sweetened and grain-free, these healthy cookies are the perfect treat for your kiddos (or yourself!).

2. Cassava flour tortillas – Breakfast burritos, almond butter and banana roll-ups, and quesadillas are a reality again with these grain-free tortillas. My friend Heather once made this when we were visiting her house and I can vouch for their amazingness!

3. Molten chocolate cake with coconut whipped cream – No introduction necessary; go give this impressive dessert a try.

4. Cassava flour pizza dough – Because my kids never get tired of a good pizza.

5. Chocolate chip cookies – These grain-free, naturally sweetened cookies are perfect for a treat.

6. Old-fashioned buttermilk biscuits – Have your biscuit and eat it too.

7. Paleo soft pretzels – I plan to get this fun snack on my to-do list STAT.

8. Grain-free saltine crackers – Not just for morning sickness, saltines make a great snack alone or paired with cheese.

Plantain Flour

If you’ve ever grabbed a bunch of plantains thinking they were bananas, you were probably sorely disappointed by their bland taste and firm texture. However, in baking, plantain is a great alternative to almond flour and coconut flour. I hate bananas but can handle plantains … this is the plantain flour I tried.

Like cassava flour, plantain flour provides carbs and resistant starch, and is AIP-friendly. Use it to create everything from tortillas to doughnuts.

Plantain flour also provides:

  • fiber
  • vitamins C, B6, and A
  • potassium
  • magnesium
  • and iron

Like coconut flour, plantain is dense and fibrous and may need extra moisture.

Plantain Flour Recipes

1. Paleo plantain flour pancakes – I’m always on the lookout for good paleo pancake recipes. This one looks nice and fluffy.

2. Plantain tortillas – These tortillas are not only grain-free, but they’re AIP-friendly too.

3. Chocolate chip cookies – These plantain chocolate chip cookies are also AIP-friendly, and safe to take to nut-free schools.

4. Plantain sandwich rounds – Perfect for when you just really want a sandwich! Stuff these buns with your favorite “sammich” contents and chow down.

5. AIP chocolate cake – This cake is not only totally allergen-friendly but also sneaks in a vegetable ingredient.

6. Blueberry muffins – These muffins are a fun alternative to grain-free breakfast staples like bacon and eggs.

Cricket Flour!?

No, I’m not kidding. crickets are the new kale, so I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you about this alternative to almond flour for everything from baked goods to protein bars.

Cricket flour is packed full of protein, rich in B12, and, like gelatin, provides all the essential amino acids our bodies need.

Note: If you’re allergic to shellfish, cricket flour may not be for you. Insects and Crustaceans both belong to the phylum Arthropoda, so some people with a shellfish allergy will also react to insect protein. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, grab a bag of cricket flour and try one of these recipes:

1. Cricket flour pancakes – Paired with chia seeds, cricket flour makes these pancakes a nutrition powerhouse.

2. Protein smoothie – Add a teaspoon of cricket flour to your favorite smoothie to bump up the protein.

3. No-bake carrot cake protein bites – A perfect post-workout snack, or a treat for the kids, these protein bites are naturally sweetened and full of anti-inflammatory ingredients.

Which Flour Is Healthiest?

When it comes to low-glycemic, nutrient-dense flours, the question is not so much which flour is healthiest, but whether we’re exposing ourselves to a wide variety of quality foods and a well planned meal rotation.

Have I convinced you there’s more to grain-free baking and cooking than almond flour and coconut flour? Try one of these alternatives and get creative in the kitchen. My family loves when I try something new, and I love keeping things healthy and grain-free. It’s a win-win!

Have you tried any of these alternatives to almond flour and coconut flour? Which is your favorite?

Almond flour and coconut flour are not the only grain-free flours out there. Learn why cassava, plantain, and cricket flour have a place in a healthy diet.

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Reader Comments

  1. I love Cassava Flour. I have been using it for about a year now. I like to fry veggies coated with cassava flour in coconut oil.

  2. I love buckwheat flour for pancakes and waffles. Very hardy.

    • ditto! I am experimenting a lot with it readily available in Italy, whereas other specialty flours are not.

  3. What about Oat Flour, banana (unripe) flour, arrowroot, and buckwheat flour?

  4. I love all these flours, and I’ve also had good luck with tigernut flour. But cricket flour is one I haven’t been able to incorporate yet. I just can’t get past the “ick” factor! LOL!

  5. How about TigerNut flour?

    • wondering the same, I have some at home (can’t remember why!) but we don’t have any recipes for it

  6. What about quinoa flour? My son is sensitive to gluten, nuts, and coconut so I use quinoa flour for his muffins, and meatballs.

    • Quinoa is a grain. So people who follow a paleo or AIP diet can’t use it.

      • Quinoa is not a grain. It is a seed with the same amount if protein as meat: 22%.

        • I believe seeds are also taboo on the AIP Diet.

          • Yes, seeds are not allowed on AIP. Paleo would be fine I would think, but definitely NOT AIP.

  7. Wow. I’m totally gobsmacked that cricket flour is a thing! Keen to try it though as I try to keep the flours I make with low carb. Where would one find cricket flour? I’m guessing its not going to be in my local supermarket!

  8. I have not seen cassava flour since I moved to Canada. But in Belize it is very common. I love it. Used to use it for starch too. Cassava pudding is my all tine favourite dessert.

    • Do you have a bulk store such as bulk Barn where you are? I find they offer a greater variety than most grocery stores. I also live in Canada.

  9. I will definitely be on the look out for the flours you’ve mentioned, but sometimes here in Spain finding such unusual items can prove challenging.

  10. What about for GAPS? I know cassava flour is not allowed, and I don’t think plantain flour is either. I don’t know about cricket flour though.

    • I am also wondering myself about alternative flours for GAPS. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  11. Add to the list: Chestnut flour and chickpea flour. When you have those two plus Buckwheat, you can do just about anything and make it turn out close to the results you would get with normal baking flour (wheat); Buckwheat can be good as a savory flour or sweet; chickpea is good as a savory (I love making it thin like crackers or thicker like pita bread) and chestnut, mostly sweet use. The typical Italian recipe for “Castagnaccio” or Chestnut bread, is easy and unique, it incorporates pine nuts, walnuts, rosemary, EV olive oil, and raisins. this is a straightforward recipe, you can use maple sugar instead of white sugar, or none at all. Italians infuse the oil with fresh rosemary, warm the oil, and don’t overheat it, let the rose mary sit for at least 10 minutes in the slightly hot oil. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/castagnaccio-chestnut-flour-cake-50013717 it would be interesting experiment mixing buckwheat and chestnut flour to make a cake or something like carrot cake cookies.

    • She is talking about grain free flours. I’m assuming for paleo and AIP diet. So buckwheat and chickpea flours wouldn’t be allowed. But I agree those are great flours if you can tolerate them.

  12. I love cassava flour! It has made such a difference in our ability to manage all of the food allergies. You can also make some decent chips by rolling the tortillas out thinner and baking them until crisp.

  13. TJ’s now has “Coffee Flour” – that just tells me that anything can be turned into flour when ground up 🙂 The thing I wonder about almond flour though – aren’t almonds heavily sprayed with pesticides? Almonds are really expensive, let alone organic, but I would be wary of using too much almond flour.

    • It is almost impossible to get organic almond flour–I have been looking. Almonds in the US, even organic ones are now required to be pasteurized or irradiated. So much for organic and raw. Spain and Italy produce organic almonds that are available in the US. Bottom line almond flour is very expensive and typically not organic and that includes Bob Red Mills. Read their labels,, most of their products are NOT ORGANIC.

      • See azurestandard.com for Truly Raw organic almonds from Spain. They will ship to you from Oregon or you can find a “drop” that is a freight truck coming near you (or set one up) for very minimal shipping fee.

    • One reason for almond products’ expense is, as a crop, they are a very, very high water user. In the US, they are grown almost exclusively in California, a water challenged state. For these reasons, I prefer non-almond products for non-dairy and flour products. Your listing gives me lots of options! Thanks!

      • This is one of the big reasons I try to reduce my almond consumption. I live in northern California in a particularly water rich county (it rains about half the year here and there are quite a bit of lakes, rivers, and creeks) and according to various sources here, lots of our water is sent out of our county to southern California and the central valley, where lots of nuts and other crops are grown. Losing this water definitely has a negative impact on an environment. One almond evidently takes a gallon of water to grow and if you have ever been to the central valley, you can tell it is not a water rich area. When considering food choices, I try to focus on just more than the healthfulness to the one ingesting them and try to also consider their impact on other life forms including the people involved in their production and the environment. I am really trying to get my diet to be more and more local. We grow some of our own, wild harvest, buy from local people (I get goat milk and eggs from my next door neighbor) and I am at the Farmers’ Market weekly when in season. I would like to reserve my buying non-local for items that cannot be produced where I live, like coconuts and seaweed. I am not there yet but am working on it.

        • Seaweed was a bad example as I do live pretty close to the ocean.

    • A lot of gluten free alternatives have poor fiber content. Any ideas on how to add more fiber to my baked goods? Thanks.

      • Way, way more fiber in vegs! Eat vegs for fiber, not baked goods. All vegs are grainfree too 😉 Eat the skins too!
        By vegs i do not means tubers, such as potatoes and squash. I mean real vegs, fibrous veggies.

  14. What about chickpea flour and brown rice flour! both gluten and nut free… and if used together, it makes a complete protein!

    • I use chickpea flour for my glutenfree pizza crust. Very nice crust.

  15. Thank you so much for the information on alternative flours! Eating grain free is not the easiest and your information will be so helpful!

  16. About almond flour and pesyicides: almonds grow in a shell, which is enclosed in a husk. I would expect the nuts to be clean, bubut have never looked for tests about this.

    • All of the pesticides and herbicides (glyphosate) sprayed are in the soil sterilizing it, being sucked up into the nuts on the trees.

  17. Thanks for this post, it’s an answer to prayer. My husband doesn’t handle coconut well and I recently discovered I have a sensitivity to almonds. It’s been a challenge to find common ground to cook for the entire family. Are these sunstitute flours compatible with candida diet?

  18. ah, i think i have to draw the line with cricket flour–that is more of a yuk factor to me, more like an upchuck factor! I think I’ll stick with all of the other choices! I do enjoy cassava flour!

  19. Chickpea flour is good for some savory things. I too have tigernut flour but don’t know what to do with it.

  20. Cassava flour was one of the first gf flours we tried, and it tastes terrible! I’m shocked at all the people commenting that they love it. It has a vomit quality to it! ? Plus, if you do some reading on cassava, you’ll find that most sources of it contain high levels of cyanogenic glucosides, which upon hydrolysis, convert to HCN (commonly known as cyanide). It ranks about as high in my book as artificial sweeteners (produce formaldehyde upon digesting).

    • $ee my post below with link that overcomes this and other issues with cassava.

  21. Regarding the comments above about chickpea and brown rice flour…chickpea is a legume and rice is a grain so both of them are “off the menu” for Paleo folks like me. Paleo isn’t just gluten-free but GRAIN free too.

    This list of alternative flours sounds interesting…my concern is that for someone like me whose body is very adept at turning starchy things into body fat, that the cassava and plantain flours would promote weight gain.

    Katie–any additional thoughts on this?

  22. I miss bread. I like sandwiches and use flour when a recipe calls for a coating. I’m having to watch my carb intake and my grains have been restricted to amaranth, rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa, teff or wild rice. So I’m hunting for a flour substitute that doesn’t have a strong flavor itself but is dense enough for sandwich bread (so it doesn’t fall apart in my hands) or could be used for coating.

    I don’t know what feature is so special about the grains I can eat and therefore don’t what which of the flours mentioned in these posts have those same features.

    Can you help me sort this out?

  23. There is trully no specific almond allergy … The “experts” are just guessing and creating their opinions based on nothing…. One can be sensitive to them (similar to walnuts) with mouth blisters and swellings but you shouldn’t be scaring people making un-educated articles. Yes, everything should be eaten in moderation but almonds are the taste preference not a “killer”. It’s proven that even the dreaded peanut allergies are only affecting a puny percentile of population (mostly Americans) but we are forcing “peanut free” on everyone.

    • I’ve actually seen someone have a very legitimate allergic reaction to a food that had almonds in it (and no peanuts). Upon researching, it appears that almond based anaphylaxis is certainly a thing and people can absolutely be allergic. That said, many people do seem to react in a much milder way, but it would seem that someone who reacts at all should likely not consume them.

  24. I have read casava is all GMO. Have you ever heard this or do you know anything about it? I’m VERY allergic to almond and somewhat allergic to coconut. I want to do the AIP diet for a while, but the coconut cuts out SO much of the diet. If the casava is all GMO that cuts a lot more. (Plus my allergies and sensitivities cut about half the AIP anyway. Lol)

  25. can you make a good yeast bread with out using wheat flour? I’ve tried so many, only to be disapointed. Thanks s very, very much………….Linda

  26. Sunflower seed flour (aka “sunflour”) is what I use to minimize almond flour intake. It’s low-carb and makes nice baked goods–you just have to be careful to get the pH right to avoid green products. Green is not a problem, just an unappetizing chemical reaction. I’m considering trying to make my own gluten-free flour blend of coconut flour, almond flour, and sunflour. Blended with other flours, coconut flour does not overwhelm the taste or require so many egs.

  27. I was given a 5 lb. bag of Malanga Flour and am a bit hesitant to use it with lack of much information about it other than it has 100 calories per ounce and can be used as a thickener! Ouch, has anyone had experience with using this root flour for baking?

  28. Light buckwheat is my favorite, I’ve even made a sourdough starter with it. Its much better than regular buckwheat and my toddlers love it too!

  29. Thanks so very much for the paleo yeast bread. will try it soon. Hope it’s as good as it’s picture looked.

  30. I love buckwheat flour (and buckwheat noodles too aka soba noodles in Japan – yum). It makes delicious pancakes but I am aware it is a seed (not a grain as the name suggests) and realise it’s not stricly paleo.

    Katie, we don’t eat paleo but do limit grains a lot. I’ve started using wholemeal organic sprouted spelt flour recently and it makes the most delicious bread and pancakes. They are light and fluffy and tasty…..well anyway, was just wondering what your thoughts were on this type of sprouted grain? Thanks.

  31. I have recently started to reduce my grain, especially gluten containing grains, consumption and in the process learned about the flours you have mentioned here. I don’t really use almond flour and I try to minimize using coconut flour due to how it is processed, although I have been making my own lately and feel better about it. I bought cassava, plantain, and cricket flour and have been experimenting with all of them. I am most excited about cricket flour. I have made the pancake/waffle recipe listed above from Eat Beautiful blog. Papa said it is like Lembas bread, which for those of you who aren’t Lord of the Rings fans Lembas bread is elven bread where one bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man. The protein is very filling and my 3 1/2 year old loves them. I like them especially because unlike a lot of other grain free pancakes, these don’t feel like a compromise food. Plantain flour has also worked well for pancakes with a real similarity to wheat. My son also enjoys these. My son used to eat wheat pancakes/waffles, particularly sourdough ones, pretty regularly so finding replacements he enjoys is awesome. I can live without these things but they are pretty handy when transitioning children or just when kids want to eat what their friends are eating.

    Cassava flour has been working well for tortillas, which is nice because my family loves Mexican food and after spending most of my life within 1-2 hours of Mexico, Mexican food is pretty much a must for my quality of life. My son will pretty much eat anything wrapped in a tortilla so I find this is a good time to give him sauerkraut. Cassava flour definitely does not taste just like wheat. It is particularly starchy and I am not crazy about it alone but with other foods it seems to work just fine. I want to try working with fresh plantains and cassava/yuca as well. Predominately Paleo has some interesting recipes. I have also used arrowroot, sometimes with other flours, with good results. I am most excited though about finally harvesting and processing acorns this year. Acorns are a great grain free alternative and from what I hear, quite versatile for baking and other applications where you would use grain based flours. And they are local, free, and abundant. So many traditional people used this wonderful food source. It sure is convenient to buy tropical products from the other side of the world online but how fantastic to be able to source your own food close to home. If you are in north America and have acorns near you, it is worth looking into. I have a huge oak in my yard the leaves lots of acorns for us. Maybe someday Wellness Mama will do a post on acorns.

  32. I just wanted to mention that some of the plantain flour recipes use fresh plantains and not plantain flour. They look like great recipes though.

  33. Thanks for this post, it’s an answer to prayer. My husband doesn’t handle coconut well and I recently discovered I have a sensitivity to almonds. It’s been a challenge to find common ground to cook for the entire family. Are these sunstitute flours compatible with candida diet?

    Cheers,
    Aarti

    • Both plantains and cassava are carb rich foods. I read once that cassava is actually higher in carbs than wheat. So people who are overweight, diabetic, or have issues with candida need to use these flours very sparingly. Cricket flour is a protein food, though and has less than one gram of carbs per serving. You could do a google search for recipes to see if there are anything out there that you could experiment with. Most of the recipes I’ve seen blend it with other flours like cassava, which would raise the protein content and lower the glycemic load. Good luck!

  34. The more I learn reading, the more confused I get. I need a grain-free flour that is low carb and low lectin to make tortillas. Does anyone here have a recommendation ? I would really appreciate your input. Thanks?

  35. Nice and useful post. Thanks for sharing this profound knowledge with us. Keep sharing….

    Thanks!!!

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