The 11 Best Substitutes For Baking Flour

What can I use instead of baking flour? All-purpose flour can be made into baking flour by adding cornstarch. Other substitutes include rice flour, almond flour, spelt flour, chickpea flour, bread flour, coconut flour, buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, oat flour, and potato flour.

Baking flour is made from finely ground wheat grain which has been bleached to give it its pure white color. Baking flour includes cake flour and pastry flour, which have a low gluten protein content of below 10%. This gives baked products a distinctive crumby, cake-like texture. Gluten sensitivity is a major reason people seek wheat-free flour alternatives for baking.

The Best Baking Flour Substitutes

All-Purpose Flour And Cornstarch

All-purpose flour is a commonly available product in supermarkets.

This wheat flour has a slightly higher gluten protein content than cake flour, but it can be used as a substitute for cakes and pastries if you don’t have any light baking flour available.

The best way to modify ordinary all-purpose flour to give a more crumbly baked texture is to inhibit gluten formation. This can be done by adding cornstarch to all-purpose flour.

Measure a cup of all-purpose flour. Then remove 2 tablespoonsful. Next, add 2 tablespoons cornstarch and mix it to create a homemade baking flour that will yield excellent results in all recipes that need a light texture.

Self-rising flour can also be substituted in the same way if cornstarch is added.

Since it is a ready-mixed all-purpose flour containing salt and baking powder, avoid adding more of those two ingredients unless more is required.

All-purpose plus cornstarch mix can be used in the same ratio as baking flour when making baked goods like cakes and cookies.

Rice Flour

There are three types of rice flour available, white, brown, and whole wheat. The white variety is the closest in color and texture when substituting it for baking flour.

Rice flour is an excellent and easy-to-obtain alternative for anyone with gluten intolerance.

This, however, means that if it is used for baking items that need a cohesive consistency, like cakes, an additional binding ingredient would need to be added.

Rice flour won’t alter the taste of a recipe like some nut flours.

Use rice flour at a 1-to-1 ratio substitute for baking flour, but don’t forget to add a binding agent when required.

Almond Flour

Almond flour is made from ground almonds. Unlike almond meal which includes the outer skin, almond flour has a light texture and color.

Almond flour is naturally gluten-free and has a low glycemic index rating, so it is an excellent alternative to regular baking flour for people with diabetes.

However, it is a high-fat flour, so when heated, it may yield unexpected greasy results unless it is substituted carefully.

While almond flour can be substituted at a 1-to-1 ratio for baking flour in most applications, recipes may require an additional binding agent because it lacks gluten.

Almond flour is much denser and heavier, so baking time and heat must be adjusted downward to prevent baked goods from burning.

Spelt Flour

Spelt flour is made from a different variety of wheat to conventional flour. It is, therefore, not suitable for anyone with wheat sensitivity or who needs gluten-free flour.

The texture of spelt flour is a little coarser than ordinary baking flour.

This should be kept in mind when using it as a replacement for baking flour in some recipes, as it may not be an ideal substitute when the lightness is an important factor.

Nutty flavored spelt flour can work well as a 1-to-1 substitution when baking bread, muffins, loaves, and cookies.

Chickpea Flour

Chickpea flour is made of ground garbanzo beans. Like all beans, it is a high protein, high fiber food option.

It is not a great solution to baking flour for things like cakes as it is too heavy, but it will work well for making bread or pancakes.

Chickpea flour is both gluten and wheat free. When substituting chickpea flour for baking flour, you may need to adjust the quantity of liquid required to get the correct batter or dough consistency.

Also, add a binding agent to compensate for the flour’s lack of gluten.

Substitute 7/8th of a cup of chickpea flour per 1 cup of wheat flour required in recipes.

Bread Flour

If you are stuck without baking flour and need to use something similar, bread flour can be an occasional stand-in.

Like baking flour, bread flour is a wheat product, so not suitable for anyone that needs to avoid wheat-based products.

The difference between baking flour like cake flour and bread flour is the overall amount of protein they contain.

Bread flour has a much higher amount, which, when baked into a cake, will result in a noticeably heavier, denser texture than if you use baking flour.

Bread flour can be used at a 1-to-1 ratio to replace baking flour, but take care not to overbeat the mixture because it will make it more doughy.

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is a naturally gluten-free product made from dried coconut meat and is often a by-product of the coconut milk industry.

Visually it is a white powdered flour that looks similar to baking flour and can work well as a substitute in some recipes.

While the coconut flavor won’t be overpowering, a subtle taste of the fruit will still come through when it is used for baking.

This can work well when coconut flour is used for baking items like muffins or cookies, as the mild taste can complement the recipe.

Coconut flour is exceptionally dense and absorbent, so it cannot be used as a direct replacement for baking flour.

Also, add extra moisture to the mixture in the form of more eggs or another liquid required in the recipe.

When scooping coconut flour to measure, first loosen it with a fork to fluff it up as it tends to clump.

For most recipes, it should be substituted at a 1-to-4 ratio for baking flour.

Buckwheat Flour

Although ‘wheat’ is in the name of this baking flour alternative, it is entirely wheat-free. Buckwheat flour is made from a flowering plant that is neither cereal nor grain and is more closely related to rhubarb and sorrel.

Buckwheat flour is most commonly used to make pancakes but can also be used for baking. It provides an earthy, nutty taste which is more suited for making savory baked items.

It can also work well in many applications where the mixture doesn’t need to rise.

Because it is gluten-free and high in fiber, it won’t result in light baked goods if used on its own.

It is recommended to use buckwheat flour only as one component mixed with another variety of flour if it is used for baking cakes.

Quinoa Flour

Quinoa flour is a high-protein, non-wheat flour made from quinoa seeds. It can be made from unmilled or milled seeds.

When using quinoa flour as a substitute for baking flour, the milled variety will provide a closer visual match.

Because of the high protein content of around 17%, quinoa flour may not be an ideal substitute for all recipes requiring baking flour.

However, it will work admirably for smaller items that can get away with a denser texture, like bread, muffins, or pancakes.

Quinoa flour is denser than baking flour, so it should be substituted at a ratio of 1-to-2. This means you should use half of the amount of baking flour required by a recipe.

Oat Flour

If you have rolled oats in your pantry, you just have to grind it finely to create oat flour.

This versatile, healthy whole grain flour is an excellent and readily available product that offers a nutty, chewy consistency to many recipes where baking flour is required.

Oat flour is an excellent gluten-free alternative to regular wheat flour. It has a satisfying texture, and the taste will not overpower recipes.

Since it does have more protein than baking flour, recipes may be chewier than if you use baking flour, so it is a great alternative when making things like muffins or banana loaf.  

When baking with oat flour, substitute it for baking flour by weight rather than measuring.

You will need more oat flour than baking flour. If you don’t have a scale handy, the ratio is usually around 1⅓ cups oat flour for every 1 cup baking flour required by the recipe.

Potato Flour

Potato flour is made from dehydrated whole, peeled potatoes. It is an excellent choice for many people with food allergies.

Take note that potato flour and potato starch are not the same.

Although potato flour is an excellent alternative to baking flour in some recipes, ratios must be adjusted mindfully to ensure that baked items don’t become too dry.

Potato flour holds more water than baking flour, so checking the consistency and using the correct conversions is essential when making the substitution.

The usual ratio is about 5/8 of a cup of potato flour per 1 cup baking flour required.