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. Sarah Avatar

    Do you know why it is a lot of recipes will call for an amount of Almond Flour, say 2 cups almond flour, then will also call for 2 tbsp of Coconut flour? Do you happen to know what coconut flour does for the recipes? Consistency of the batter perhaps? I ask because I have tried a couple of these recipes and my stomach cannot tolerate even that small of an amount of coconut flour.
    I know that coconut flour absorbs more than most other flour. Is there a substitute for the coconut flour. I am trying to get a better understanding so that when I see these yummy recipes I can possibly tweak them to make them work for me.

  2. Elizabeth Avatar
    Elizabeth

    I have no idea how many carbs & about lectins, but we use tapioca starch (could probably sub potato or another starch) with chickpea flour. NO nasty taste… amazingly the chickpea flour is tasteless & even my hubby eats the tortillas made with it.

  3. Lisa Avatar

    Which of these flours have the lowest calories? Which has the lowest carb to calories ratio?

  4. Alina Avatar

    Thank you for the suggestions.
    So is the substitution ratio for almond and coconut flours with the other flours 1 to 1?

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      Not necessarily. Non-wheat flour substitutions are tough. I would just google a recipe for whatever you are trying to make with whichever flour (like “cassava flour pancakes”) as there are many great recipes out there now.

  5. Effie J. Sorg Avatar
    Effie J. Sorg

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

    Thanks!!!

  6. Patty Carrier Avatar
    Patty Carrier

    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?

  7. Aarti Avatar

    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

    1. Linda Avatar

      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!

  8. Nico Avatar

    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.

  9. Nico Avatar

    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.

  10. Nicole Avatar

    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.

  11. Linda Avatar

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

  12. Janae Kirby Avatar
    Janae Kirby

    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!

  13. Betty Avatar

    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?

  14. Annie Avatar

    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.

  15. linda kay Avatar
    linda kay

    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

  16. Tracy Avatar

    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)

  17. Layla Avatar

    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.

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      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.

    2. Elizabeth Avatar
      Elizabeth

      People also claim that there is NO such thing as a GLUTEN allergy, but I can tell you it IS such a thing… as is one of my children being allergic to pistachios (they were eaten ALONE as a snack, so there was NO mistaking what made my child react.. the reaction took place w/in about 5 minutes & since we were doubting it the 1st time, she had them again another day a few weeks later & SAME THING) & the same w/macadamia nuts for a nephew.

      You should be careful about spreading MISinformation about what TRULY is and NOT an allergy. People CAN & ARE allergic to many different things… people claiming it isn’t a “TRUE” allergy just makes life even harder for the people WITH the allergies because others don’t take them seriously.

      I am entirely FED UP w/the way people respond to peanut allergies & then don’t take OTHER alleriges seriously too! Another of my kids has an anaphylactic reaction to RED DYE… if it isn’t PEANUTS nobody gives a care. It would seem that red dye is easy to avoid, but it isn’t…we don’t use it at home, but out of the house it’s in SOAP in the soap dispensers of businesses, churches, etc. It’s in lotions… hand sanitizers… etc. People use that stuff & slather up everywhere. We have to bring our own soap everywhere, but honestly, we can’t even stay in public bathrooms long enough to use it… we have to use the potty & vacate the bathroom because having someone in the vicinity slathering up w/soap w/red dye causes her to react. If nobody else is in the bathroom we can wash up, but if there is someone using the sink we have to leave because we can’t risk it. We often have to resort to hand wipes & homemade hand sanitizer spray. But, all hail the mighty peanut.

      Let’s go completely nuts & have “peanut free” zones, even though sometimes that may be ALL we who have to be gluten, corn, & dye free may have on hand (ex. packages of trail mix) to help curb the grumbling bellies of our kiddos when we have to wait 2 hours to get in for a doctor appointment & we are missing naps & a meal.

      I see kids everywhere eating the peanut butter crackers as well as the flaming orange Goldfish crackers that my kids are also allergic to.. and they are SOOOO MESSY.. people could care LESS if their kids leave crumbs all over shopping carts.. & then others w/allergies can’t use them!!!!!! If I would dare ask a parent to put the crackers away so my kids wouldn’t get sick and/or have breathing issues, they would be irate. But man, crack open some trail mix during the 2nd hour in a waiting room & people WIG OUT.

      I had a lady tell me my kids couldn’t eat their trail mix because it had nuts in it… I was trying to let her know it was a last resort as my kids were bawling because they were EXHAUSTED from missing their naps and STARVING… that we had been waiting for about 2.5 hours & I HAD to see the doctor as one of my kids had been sick for a long time & we were trying to get to the bottom of it.. she was in PAIN & we NEEDED help… so I didn’t have the luxury of rescheduling… & it was PAST dinner time… & they had eaten their apples or bananas & cheese sticks already… so the trail mix was ALL I had to stop them from crying.

      Come to find out it was her PREFERENCE for her kids not to eat nuts. They didn’t even have allergies. I was literally feeding my kids directly from the trail mix tube into their mouths so they weren’t touching the trail mix & then touching the books, block table, etc., but she was STILL lecturing me. Had I not been so worn out from my kids bawling & dealing w/a sickn child for months & months, I probably would have let her have it. But I was fighting back tears myself, just trying to get HELP for my sick child.

      Anyway, all that to say WATCH the FALSE drivel you spout off. YOU are part of the PROBLEM for people w/REAL allergies, who can’t get people to take them seriously. Just because YOU don’t think something is a problem for someone, doesn’t make it so. Just because Dr Google doesn’t say it’s a legit allergy doesn’t mean it isn’t TRULY an allergy.

      1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

        Wow- hugs to you. I hope your little one feels better soon and I’m sorry that you had that type of experience in the doctor’s office. I am trying to understand though specifically what I said that you are upset with or which part you consider false drivel? I 100% agree with you that there are certainly gluten allergies, along with the autoimmune diseases that can also be related to gluten consumption. Just like there are almond allergies, and as you mentioned, pistachio and even food dye allergies.

        1. Elizabeth Avatar
          Elizabeth

          TY!

          I have no idea what happened to my reply.. it was in response to “LAYLA”:

          Layla says: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.

          1. Frank Avatar

            But that puny population you are referring to is people, too. My son was in the ER with anaphylaxis with a pistachio, has a severe peanut allergy (I dare you to give him one), and has reacted multiple times when he was accidentally tossed an almond and even a pumpkin seed, then ate other food with unwashed hands.

            I’m wondering where this publication is that claims there is not a true nut/peanut allergy. Clearly that person has not been around humanity. Or my children, and all of the other allergy sufferers, and physicians that have saved my kid’s life, are dillussional.

  18. Pat Avatar

    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?

  19. Sabina Avatar

    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?

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