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. Janice Avatar

    This maybe a little off but I’m going to try it this summer. I’ve read about someone making flour out of dried zuchinni. I’m hoping for a lot of zuchinni this summer to try it out. Has anyone else done this? Because I want better options for flour myself that I can control.

  2. María Avatar
    María

    Greetings from Colombia:

    How much plantain flour should I use to replace the almond flour?

    Thanks for your attention.

  3. Ralph Avatar

    I cannot believe that I read the opening statement correctly. “While an optimal diet should consist mostly of fresh produce and healthy meats and eggs”. Really?
    Where have you been hiding? Whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds…and fresh produce. They are optimal.
    But, thank you for the rest of the article.
    It was informative and I will save it.

  4. Stephna Masters Avatar
    Stephna Masters

    Yes , I do like cassava flour, and it makes great pancakes and biscuits. I have just purchased plantain flour and am eager to try.

  5. Alina Avatar

    Thank you for the great article.
    What is the substitution between the almond flour and cassava flour? is it 1:1?

  6. Jacque Avatar

    So can you use cassava 1 to 1 for almond & coconut flour? Like if I recipe calls for 1/4 c coconut and a 1/2 c almond then I’d just use 3/4 c cassava?

  7. Linda Avatar

    I’d like to use my waffle maker (or pancakes) to make grain free alternatives to bread to be used as a sandwich. I’d also like to pack as much nutrition as I can into them as I don’t eat very much so of course it’s difficult to get enough veggies in me. It’s just me and shopping often to buy the small amounts of fresh food isn’t a great option. (I am 67 and really never get sick which I think is mostly due to a inherited healthy immune system. ) I do eat healthy food but it’s a lot of carbs, avocado, cheese, black beans, more carbs ?, and of course, the beloved sweet potato. I don’t have any food allergies but I am not fond of chocolate or onions, unless the onions are carmelized excessively. I love nut and seed flowers, I use almond milk because I dislike cow milk unless it’s necessary for a recipe.
    I’d appreciate your help. You may already have really great recipes for this, I just came across your website while looking for ratios for substituting wheat flour. I like what I see, maybe you just need to point me in the right direction.
    Thanks so much.

  8. daisy Avatar

    Thank you for the alternatives. My boy is gluten-free, but also coconut sensitive, so we can’t use that flour. It’s good to know there are other choices!

  9. Ronett Avatar

    This helped so much as I am allergic to nuts and have many food sensitivities. Thank you for this post.

  10. Kelley Avatar

    I eager to get on board with trying the plantain and cassava flours. What is your take on brown rice flour? I’ve noticed it in a lot of gf items.

    Thanks!

  11. Mary Hill Avatar
    Mary Hill

    The times I’ve tried using coconut flour, the results are the taste is so very dry, I have a hard time swallowing it. Even if I was careful on the amount used, Have even tried using just a bil less and more butter. It’s still dry, any suggestions? My goal is low carb, it’s the only I can stay with a diet and keep my weight and sugar down.
    Thanks

  12. Nikki Avatar

    Ugh. I’m trying to like almond flour but it has a very strong taste that I can’t quite get over. I just made some chocolate chip cookies everyone at work except one person loved them. Whatever I use has to be low carb and I’ve very picky. I don’t like the taste of coconut, so that pretty much leaves me with the Almond flour unfortunately. I want it to be my best friends, but alas, I think it will only be an acquaintance.

  13. Tina Avatar

    How much cassava flour would you use instead of 1/2 cup of almond flour? Not sure if I would use the same amount, more or less! Thanks! 🙂

  14. Dena Avatar

    I have a recipe for paleo snickerdoodles but I would like to use banana flour instead of the 2 cups of almond flour, so do I use 2 cups of banana flour? Other things I’ve read say I don’t need as much?

  15. Kathy Avatar

    Just curious as to whether or not you’ve ever used cashew flour as it is not a nut but a seed. I’ve been looking for a starting place to use cashew flour as a replacement for almond flour but it appears as though few are using it. I’m specifically interested as it is very low on the glycemic index as opposed to many of the starcy flours which, while low are still double cashew flour. Any assistance is appreciated.

  16. Virginia Avatar

    I love your work and all the important information you you get out there! Thanks!
    Do you have any experience or thoughts on tigernut flour?

  17. deborah Avatar

    MY son and I are both diabetic and I wish I could find low carb flour that was affordable. Guess it’s not going to happen anytime soon.

  18. Yolanda Avatar

    Hello, Wow Plantain flour has too much Carbs. So which is best for lowest carb?

    Thanks so much

  19. Betty Smith Avatar
    Betty Smith

    Ok guess I am thick headed. I am looking for substitutions. for instance if recipe calls for 1 cup all purpose flour, could I use 1/2 cup Tapioca Flour or 1/4 cup Almond Flour. Do I need to adjust sugar such as 1 cup granulated sugar use 1/4 cup Coconut Sugar? I am new to this type of baking so I need help. 🙂
    Betty Smith

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      Hi Betty- I wish I could give an easy answer for this. Unfortunately, because of the vast differences, alternative flours almost never substitute in a reliable way in regular recipes. I’m yet to find any hard and fast rules that allow for substituting coconut, almond or any other flour for regular white or wheat flour. In most cases, you’d need to adjust the sweetener down, the number of eggs way up and the liquid up. I’d recommend searching for a specific recipe instead of trying to adapt an existing one. For instance, if you’re trying to make muffins, search for “Coconut Flour Muffin Recipe” instead of trying to adapt a recipe you already have.

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