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Guide to the Best Gluten-Free Flours

Guide to the Best Gluten-Free Flours

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Wondering what are the Best Gluten-Free Flours? Let me break them down for you!


Hi Bold Bakers!

Recently I shared with you some of my favorite sugar alternatives as cutting down on refined sugar has become a part of my lifestyle. As I have swapped out sugary and processed foods for monkfruit based sweeteners and whole foods, I have started using dairy-free milk, and of course, alternative flours too.

There are so many reasons to bake with alternative flours, like added fiber, healthy fat, and overall nutrition compared to wheat flour, but the main reason many of you might be making the switch is because of going “gluten-free.” Gluten has been found to be like an allergen to many people and to be a cause of inflammation to the body. By making the switch from gluten-based foods to gluten-free foods, you don’t have to lose out on baked goods and bread.

Thanks to the best gluten-free flours below I’m able to make all kinds of things with zero gluten!

What is Almond Flour?

Almond flour is probably my most used ingredient and is for me, the best gluten-free flour. From my Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies to my 3 Ingredient Gluten Free Flatbread, this is the basis of so many of my recipes.

Before folks ever went gluten-free, bakers were already utilizing almond flour in making things like cakes and macaroons. Almond flour is simply blanched almonds ground into a fine powder. This can easily be made at home, and Gemma’s has a great method for how to make Almond Flour!

Almond flour has a neutral taste but adds lovely moisture and richness to whatever it’s used in. When using almond flour you might notice a recipe requiring a bit more liquid, egg, or flax egg. This is because of the lack of gluten in the flour, thus almond flour requires a good binder or glue.

Almond flour can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months, and I ALWAYS have a big tub on hand.

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What is Coconut Flour?

Coconut flour, similar to almond flour, is exactly what it sounds like: dried coconut ground into a fine powder. Aside from adding healthy fat, fiber, and a slightly coconutty aroma, coconut flour is the trick to a cakey, moist texture.

Anytime you want something to be almost fudgy and sponge-like, it’s great to use coconut flour, or a mix of coconut and almond — like I do in my Gluten Free Low Carb Banana Bread. The almond flour is the bulk of the flour making for a cake-like texture, but the coconut flour absorbs the liquid in the recipe aiming for a super moist slightly denser texture. This denser moist texture is what you are looking to create in pound cakes, brownies, and cupcakes.

If you think about it, the reason this works makes a lot of sense: coconuts are full of liquid — coconut milk. When the coconut is dried and stripped of its liquid, it can act like a sponge, waiting to absorb and really hold onto moisture like in the original state. What’s great is even after baking, the coconut flour combined with the other ingredients holds onto that liquid, making whatever it’s added to super rich!

Coconut flour can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 year, and that longevity alone is why it’s one of the best gluten-free flours.

What is Oat Flour?

Oat flour is… you guessed it! Oats that have been processed into a fine powder. This is another one Gemma has a method for, so if you can’t find oat flour, you can super easily make it at home with her Oat Flour recipe.

Oat flour has no gluten as long as you use gluten-free oats. While I do like to use oat flour in some of my recipes it’s not as much of a go-to for me due to the higher carbohydrate content in comparison to almond and coconut flour. Oat flour is really lovely to use in raw recipes as it can be eaten raw just as oats can. It also has a very neutral flavor and sort of acts the opposite way of coconut four: it actually lightens your baked goods that normally may come out heavy, like bread and muffins.

The texture added from the use of oat flour is a nice light bite and chewy texture. Oat flour is slightly more delicate so whether you make your own or buy it you’ll want to use it up slightly quicker as it can get stale.

Oat flour will keep covered in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

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What is Gluten Free 1:1 Flour?

I myself have only just become familiar with gluten-free 1:1 flour, so whether or not it’s one of the best gluten-free flours is still up in the air. This is another wheat-based flour substitute that utilizes a mix of flour that mimics the way flour that contains gluten acts. The trick to this substitute is in the blend of flours and starches that each play a role in stabilizing the flour.

Gluten-free flour blends can often be bought at the store, but can also be made at home. They are usually comprised of rice flour, tapioca starch, and some xantham gum, which sounds odd but is a very common ingredient.

How to Make Your Own GF All-Purpose Flour Blend

Here is a recipe for all-purpose gluten-free flour that can be used 1:1 in baking.

  • 1 Bag (24 oz or 4.25 Cups) Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 Bag (24 oz or 4.25 Cups) White Rice Four
  • 1 Bag (24 oz or 4.25 Cups) Sweet Rice Flour
  • 1 Bag (20 oz or 4.5 Cups) Tapioca Flour (aka Tapioca Starch) **NOTE: If using Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Flour – Bob’s recently changed their Tapioca Flour packaging to smaller 15-ounce bags – Since you will still need 20 oz (4.5 Cups) per batch. You will need to add an additional 1 1/2 cups from a second bag.
  • 2 1/2 TBSP (0.8 oz) Xanthan Gum (this is the gluten replacer – you can often get it cheaper at Vitacost – one bag will make 10 batches, so be sure to store the remainder in an airtight container)

Is Gluten-Free 1:1 Flour Really 1:1?

While this 1:1 flour recipe does wonders, and in many cases, looks, acts, and tastes like flour would, it is different — it’s missing gluten of course. This means some of the time your recipes may require a bit more of this flour or a bit of extra liquid added to whatever you’re making.

If you’re an experienced baker and you feel comfortable making a recipe knowing it might come out with some slight differences, I say it’s worth it for those that truly can’t have gluten. My personal preference is to use the gluten free 1:1 flour or the other alternative flours in recipes that actually call for those ingredients as opposed to subbing things out which can be a bit a of a gamble.

Last but not least be sure to check out Gemma’s recipe for Chickpea Flour, which is naturally gluten-free and has been used across many cultures for making bread and baked goods.

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Try These Gluten-Free Recipes

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Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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14 Comments

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  1. Marian Reece on June 21, 2019 at 6:58 am

    Hi Gemma, I’m coeliac and have been for nearly 30 years. I’m an experienced baker and I make a lot of my own bread and cakes with good success at this stage! However, you can never have enough information. I love your enthusiasm and you’ve never lost the Irishness. Thanks and much love from a Belfast woman (living in Dublin.)

    • Gemma Stafford on June 22, 2019 at 9:52 am

      Hi Marian of Belfast! Always love to hear from my Irish Bold Bakers! Thank you for the lovely note. Believe me, I too am always and still learning new things everyday. Thanks for being here! Gemma 😊

  2. Kat on June 18, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Hi Gemma:

    As mentioned in a previous comment. I am desperately trying to find good keto recipes for breads and rolls.

    The biggest problem for us is a lack of crustiness on the outside. Have you had any luck?

    Thanks in advance.
    Kat

    • Gemma Stafford on June 19, 2019 at 2:58 am

      Hi Kat,
      Here is our recipe for Keto bread (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/keto-bread-best/).
      Some bold bakers have had success making rolls from this recipe, you can try it!
      The problem with keto is that it is so difficult to get the same texture, the flavor that is particular to wheat bread. There is a reason that wheat dominates the bread world, it is the best for the job, other grains and alternatives will always be a compromise. For some people, it is so worth it to have an alternative. For other people it is a real need, allergies are a big issue, but it is still a compromise!
      I hope you like our recipe,
      Gemma 🙂

  3. Ana on June 18, 2019 at 5:36 am

    Thank you so much for this great explanation of the different types of flours. I have just started experimenting with alternative flours but was not quite sure which did what. This is great. Thank you!!!

    • Gemma Stafford on June 18, 2019 at 11:49 am

      Hi Ana,
      we are all getting to grips with these alternatives. The move towards Keto has obliged us to try the alternatives, and celiac disease and gluten intolerance is also a good reason to experiment.
      Happy that this post has been of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

  4. kat on June 17, 2019 at 8:25 am

    I am so excited about seeing you venture into Keto friendly flours and hope to see lots of recipes, especially like recipes for all sorts of Breads!!
    Thanks so much. Your’e awesome.

  5. svscoa on June 16, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    Gluten-free flours can’t produce artisan-grade breads or other gourmet-class baked goods. They have strange tastes and textures.

    IMO unless gluten-free foods are medically necessary, they’re just overhyped ripoffs. People have eaten megatons of wheat flour for thousands of years with no health problems.

    Same with sugar and dairy products. None of the foods scrawny hipsters who can’t cook are whining about will harm healthy people if they’re eaten in moderation.

    My programmable bread machine has a setting for gluten-free flour, but I never use it.

    • Gemma Stafford on June 17, 2019 at 9:52 am

      I think there are ways to work with gluten-free flours. It will require a lot of experimenting and experience to handle such a different flour / combination of flours. I’d like to think we are all learning our way around this.

      There are people with gluten-free needs and would not like to deprive them of access to bread. We’d really like for everyone to get to bake and enjoy what they’ve bake. No matter the constraints

      Gemma 😊

  6. Charlotte on June 16, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    What a wonderful article. Answered many of the questions I had about alternative flours — and all in one place! 🙂

  7. Belle on June 16, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you for all the gluten free info and recipes. Love your stuff and now it’s nice to see some GF, too!

    • Gemma Stafford on June 17, 2019 at 9:39 am

      You are most welcome! Gemma 😊

  8. ggervais on June 16, 2019 at 11:52 am

    Thank you!

    G

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