Guide to Gluten-Free Flours

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Bowls of oat flour, almond flour, almond meal, and almond pulp for our guide to how to use gluten-free flours

When we first started attempting gluten-free recipes, it was a bit overwhelming. Gluten-free flours can quickly add up in cost, and it can be daunting to know where and how to use each flour in recipes.

But now that we’ve been at gluten-free cooking for many years, we figured it was time to share what we’ve learned in the process of experimenting, as well as our go-to recipes for DIY gluten-free flours and flour blends and our favorite gluten-free baking recipes. Let’s get started!

Why make your own?

Making homemade gluten-free flours saves money and allows you to better control the consistency, flavor, and freshness of your ingredients. We like to stock our pantry with the following homemade flours for gluten-free baking:

DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend (click to see individual ingredients)
How to Make Oat Flour

How to Make Almond Flour
How to Make Almond Meal
NEW: How to Make Almond Meal from Almond Pulp!

How to Use Gluten-Free Flours

We’ve found that when baking with gluten-free flours, it’s typically best to use a mix of different flours to achieve the ideal texture and flavor. Our go-to mixture in gluten-free baked goods is (roughly) 2 parts DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend, 1 part oats or oat flour, and 1 part almond meal or almond flour (example here). This combo helps create a light, fluffy texture and pleasant flavor in baked goods, especially pancakes and quick breads.

Now that we’ve covered some basics, let’s dive deeper into which flours to use and when.

DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend

We’ve found that our DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend* is a versatile flour and is the closest substitute for unbleached all purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour.

This blend has worked wonders in recipes like muffinscakesquick breadsgingerbread cookiescorn breadwafflescrepes and more.

It’s made with a blend of brown rice flour, potato starch, white rice flour, and tapioca flour. Xanthan gum can be added for additional binding, but we find that in most cases, it’s not necessary.

*The best store-bought alternative we’ve found to our custom blend is the Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour. Thought not an exact match, it can typically be subbed for our custom blend in most recipes with good results.

Jars of tapioca flour, white rice flour, potato starch, and brown rice flour for making our DIY Gluten-Free Flour Blend

Oat Flour

Oat flour works well in recipes that require a dense texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor. It puffs up under the right circumstances – TIP: Avoid adding too many heavy, sticky ingredients to oat flour like bananas, and give it some help with a leavening agent, such as baking powder, so it puffs up and yields a lighter texture.

Not only is oat flour easy to make, it’s also rich in fiber! We find it works particularly well when making pancakes. Learn more here and try it in recipes such as our 1-Bowl Peanut Butter Protein Pancakes and 1-Bowl Vegan Banana Oat Pancakes.

Jar of oat flour for our tutorial on how to make and use gluten-free flours

Almond Flour

Almond flour* is a grain-free, protein-rich flour that lends well to cookies, cakes, and more!

Almond flour is made from blanched almonds without skins (as opposed to almond meal, which is made from raw almonds with skins). This is why it has a fluffy, light texture and pale golden color.

We often reach for almond flour in baking recipes when we’re looking for a light, fluffy, cake-y texture with neutral flavor, because almond flour has a milder flavor than almond meal, and tends to fluff up nicely when baked! It works well in both egg and egg-free baking.

Learn more here and try it in recipes such as our Perfect Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, 1-Bowl Vegan GF Vanilla Cake, and 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Carrot Cake.

*Find our favorite store-bought Almond Flour here.

Jar of homemade almond flour beside a bowl of blanched almonds

Almond Meal

Almond meal is made from raw almonds with skins and lends a slightly more wholesome texture in recipes than almond flour – its blanched counterpart.

Almond meal and almond flour can typically be used interchangeably in quick breads and cookies, but almond meal works best in heartier baked goods like muffins, cookies, and crackers.

Learn more here and try it in recipes such as our Banana Almond Meal Muffins (Gluten-Free + Vegan) and 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Crackers.

Note: One of the reasons we like to use almond meal is it can be made from the leftover pulp from making Homemade Almond Milk! When subbing Almond Meal made from Almond Pulp in a recipe that calls for almond meal, you may need to slightly increase the amount of oil or liquid to add back in moisture that gets lost in the process of making almond milk.

Jar of homemade almond meal on a tile

Using Other Gluten-Free Flours (not homemade)

Though we most often use the homemade flours listed above, we occasionally use other flours when trying to achieve a specific texture or flavor. Our go-to’s being:

Brown Rice Flour

Brown rice flour is makes a great breading for Crispy Shallots. We don’t use it as a 1:1 substitute in recipes where flour is called for, but it works well when blended with other gluten-free flours.

White Rice Flour

White rice flour is lighter in color and texture than brown rice flour, but we still don’t use it as a 1:1 substitute in recipes where flour is called for. Instead, it works better when blended with other gluten-free flours. We included it as optional thickener in this Egg-Free Frittata!

Chickpea Flour

Chickpea flour (also known as gram flour) is great for making Socca and Egg-Free Frittatas! It has a strong bean flavor and can be quite dense, so it doesn’t work well in sweet baked goods.

Coconut flour

Coconut flour is a very dense flour made from dried coconut meat. It typically does not substitute well in recipes using a 1:1 ratio, and almost always benefits from having an egg in the mix since it’s so dense. It’s rich in fiber, more absorbent than most other gluten-free blends, and is excellent in no-bake treats like our Carrot Cake Bites. It also works well in recipes that use eggs such as our Banana Egg Pancakes.

Honorable Mention: Starches

Cornstarch and Arrowroot Starch

Though technically starches (not flours), we do also rely often on cornstarch and arrowroot starch in gluten-free recipes. They both make great thickeners in things like puddings, sauces, and compotes, and can even add a crumb-like, light texture to baked goods! See a few of our favorite ways to use arrowroot in our Gluten Free Vegan Pizza Crust, Best Vegan Gluten-Free Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Easy Vegan Caramel Sauce, Vegan Lemon Curd, and Cinnamon Baked Apples. And see our favorite ways to use cornstarch in our Gluten Free Vegan Biscuits, General Tso’s Tofu Stir Fry, Vegan GF Peanut Butter Cup Cookies, and Cashew-Less Vegan Queso.

Tapioca Starch (a.k.a. Tapioca Flour)

We don’t typically use tapioca starch on its own in recipes as it can yield quite a sticky, stretchy texture. Although it is neutral in flavor, making it a great option for gluten-free blends. Our favorite recipe with tapioca starch is definitely our Easy Vegan Mozzarella “Cheese” which utilizes tapioca for that quintessential stringy cheese texture!

Potato Starch (NOT Potato Flour)

Potato starch works well when trying to achieve a light, cake-y texture, such as in our 1-Bowl Vegan Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake. We don’t typically use it as a 1:1 substitute in recipes where flour is called for, but it works well when blended with other gluten-free flours, including almond flour.


We hope you found this resource helpful. Find all of our Gluten-Free Recipes here!

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Autumn says

    For the gluten free vanilla vegan birthday cake, could I possibly use oat flour instead of almond flour and all corn starch instead of corn and potato starch? Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Autumn, maybe, but we haven’t tried with those modifications so we can’t guarantee results. Almond flour has a higher fat content compared to oat, so we’re a little hesitant on that. Let us know if you try it!

  2. Tessa says

    Hi
    My housemate is celiac and can’t have oat flour (even gluten free oat flour) but many gluten free recipes call for GF oat flour. What would be a good substitution for it?
    Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Tessa, it will depend on the recipe, but we’d say buckwheat flour (ground from raw buckwheat groats) or quinoa flakes/flour would be the best options.

  3. Ignacio says

    Hi! I’m doing gluten free waffles! I’m currently using Rice flour. Should I still use only rice flour? Or combine it with some corn starch, tapioca, etc. Thanks

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sofie, we like to use a blend of gluten-free flours for best results. When used individually, they don’t typically produce as desirable a texture/flavor.

  4. Cph Media says

    So if a recipe calls for a heavy flour like almond (and I already have a zillion different flours but not that one), can I just substitute it for any of the other heavy flours and get the same or similar results?

  5. Sarah Hadi says

    Hi! i want to make sweet potato brownies but i want it to be keto, so if i were to replace the oat flour with almond flour, would the measurements be the same ?

    • Natalia says

      Hi. I love the taste of almond flour but I don’t like the texture. I made banana bread and muffins and it was too wet to my liking. Can I combine almond flour with oat or coconut flour to get a fluffier texture?

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Natalia, Oat and coconut are also dense. We would probably recommend combining it with a gluten-free all purpose blend, tapioca starch, and/or potato starch.

  6. Kris says

    Thanks so much for this great info! We love baking with almond flour, but have grandkids who are allergic to all nuts. How much GF flour (a blend like your homemade or Bob’s Red Mill) would you substitute when a recipe calls for almond flour. Thanks so much in advance!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kris, it will depend on the recipe. We would recommend commenting on the specific recipe as sometimes it can be subbed and other times it will impact the texture too much. To see what others have tried, you can press “ctrl+f” on a PC or “command+f” on a mac and a find bar should pop up that allows you to search for specific words (such as “nut allergy”) in the post and comments. Hope that helps!

  7. Maria says

    Hi! I have a question, when I do that mix I can replace it for the flour by that exact same amount? Because I tried baking a cake replacing the exact amount and it didn’t work

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Maria, we find it can sometimes be used 1-1 in recipes, but gluten-free baking is a little more tricky! We typically like to use a combo of GF blend, almond flour, and/or oat flour. If you look at some of our baking recipes, you can get an idea for how we like to use it. Hope that helps!

  8. Haleigh says

    Hello!
    I love your blog! So helpful -Thank you! I received a Cook book that uses mix of flours and Xanthan gum. While I often do make my own blend-I do have Bob’s red mill flour-1-1. If the recipe calls for 1/2c sorghum flour, 1/3cup tapioca flour ect.- do you recommend adding up the flour quantities in the recipe and add the equivalent of the 1-1 flour?

  9. Yuta says

    I’m looking for a coconut flour rusk recipe and I’m not winning. A seedless, buttermilk sweet rusk. Coconut flour if possible, as it’s the most affordable flour in South Africa. I’m on Keto and I miss buttermilk rusks. Almond flour/meal is expensive in South Africa. Do you perhaps have a type recipe I can use for low carb buttermilk rusks?

  10. Kali says

    I have tried some of your recipes (brownies and lemon bars for ex) and I love them!!!
    It is a treat but feels nourishing at the same time.
    I am looking for a classic pie crust for an apple pie for example but gluten free of course as I am celiac.
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks
    Kali

  11. Emily says

    I have absolutely loved the recipes on your site, but I unfortunately have an almond allergy. Would subbing a rice-based gluten free flour blend work in most of your recipes that call for almond flour? Or would you recommend substituting ground up sunflower or pumpkin seeds?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Not necessarily, the two have different textures / behave differently in recipes. Sorry but I can’t recommend a 1:1 swap for every recipe. If there’s a recipe you are curious about using a substitute for, comment on that recipe and we’d be happy to help!

  12. Cheryl says

    Thank you for sharing these GF flour combinations. I am allergic to rice and flax so do you have some substitutions for the rice flour in your GF flour?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Cheryl, another reader mentioned in the comments of this recipe that they successfully substituted rice flour with quinoa flour! We haven’t tested with this modification, but if you do try, let us know how it turns out!

    • Anonymous says

      Are you allergic to millet? I find millet flour to be a good sub for rice flour. Ground chia seed can sub for flax meal. Good luck! (I love the recipes here, by the way. Thank you Dana!)

  13. Emaleigh Downey says

    This is amazing. I have sent it to friends and family for a concise explanation of everything GF flour! You are great!

  14. Ross Gibson says

    At my local bulk Barn, they frequently have Teef flour, and I’ve really enjoyed using it as a substitute for flour in more savory dishes. It’s great in meat loaf, and in pie crusts for meat pies. It definitely binds things together a lot more consistently. I’ve even used 1/4th cup to 2 cups almond when making cookies to give them some good structure almond flour tends to lack. I’m no professional, but it’s an interesting flour to try.

  15. Jim Webb says

    Hi. You have a fine site. I wss diagnosed a celiac 45 yrs ago. Believe me nothing was available. I do all my gluten free baking. I must say ive seen the changes over yhe years.
    If i may id like too share my diy gf flour blend. I use it for all my baking, it works very well. Regads james webb
    1c brown rice
    1 1/4 white rice flower, but i sub with quinoa, amaranth, or light buckwheat.
    1/4c potato starch, not potato flour
    2/3c tapioca starch
    3/4c sweet rice flour
    1/3c corn starch
    2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
    1/4c ground flax
    I usually make a double batch and store it in a air tight container in a dark cabinet

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