Great Alternatives to Almond Flour and Coconut Flour

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Other grain free alternaties to almond and coconut flour
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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.

Sunflower Seed Flour

This nut-free flour alternative has depth of flavor with a touch of natural sweetness. All you need is some sunflower seeds (I buy mine soaked and sprouted for lower phytic acid) and a food processor. Blend, sift, and back!

You can substitute sunflower seed flour 1 for 1 in most recipes. Learn more about its nutritional benefits and how to bake with it here.

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

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

5. 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.

Sources
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.

Comments

104 responses to “Great Alternatives to Almond Flour and Coconut Flour”

  1. Lisa Avatar

    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).

    1. Hélène Avatar
      Hélène

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

  2. Ellen Avatar

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

  3. Karen Avatar

    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!

  4. Stephanie Avatar
    Stephanie

    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?

  5. WES Avatar

    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.

    1. Karen Scribner Avatar
      Karen Scribner

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

  6. Patty Avatar

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

  7. Liz Avatar

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

    1. Helene Avatar

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

      1. Elizabeth Avatar
        Elizabeth

        Would you mind sharing your chickpea pizza flour recipe :)??

  8. Jennifer Avatar
    Jennifer

    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.

    1. tanya Avatar

      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.

      1. Karen Scribner Avatar
        Karen Scribner

        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.

    2. Deborah Avatar

      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!

      1. Nico Avatar

        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.

        1. Nico Avatar

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

    3. Deborah Avatar

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

      1. Hélène Avatar
        Hélène

        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.

  9. Sarah Piela Avatar
    Sarah Piela

    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.

  10. Christy Avatar

    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. https://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.

    1. Natalie Avatar

      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.

  11. Ana Avatar

    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.

    1. Heather Avatar

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

  12. Allison Thompson Avatar
    Allison Thompson

    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.

  13. Beth Avatar

    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.

    1. Stephanie Avatar
      Stephanie

      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.

    2. Janine Leduc Avatar
      Janine Leduc

      Cassava also goes by the name of tapioca, I’m sure you will have better luck finding it by this name.

  14. Dee Avatar

    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!

  15. Olivia Avatar

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

    1. Natalie Avatar

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

      1. Karen Scribner Avatar
        Karen Scribner

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

          1. Kate Avatar

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

    2. Anne Avatar

      How has it worked? Do you use the same amount as what’s said in the recipes ie 1 cup almond flour?

      I need so much guidance.

      Thank you.

    1. Ines Avatar

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

  16. Linda Avatar

    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!

  17. Heidi Avatar

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

  18. Kathleen Kahl Avatar
    Kathleen Kahl

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

    1. Christy Avatar

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

  19. Christie Pollard Avatar
    Christie Pollard

    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.

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