Gluten-free flours come from a variety of sources including rice, other grains, nuts, seeds, and beans. They vary in color, taste, texture, and levels of protein, fiber and other nutrients, as well as culinary and baking performance characteristics. Many of these flours come in organic versions also. Some flours are also referred to as a “meal,” which have a courser ground texture with higher moisture content than flour.
Gluten-free flours are usually found in natural food stores both large and small, online malls, individual product manufacturers, and Asian food markets. Also, starches provide essential properties and work well in combination with flours, but are not used by themselves as a substitute for flour in baking
Made from raw almonds that have been blanched, this nutty flour is packed with protein and flavor. Particularly well suited for making sweet delights such as cakes, cookies, sweet breads, and an array of desserts.
Ground from the hearty, nutritious South American grain amaranth, this flour boasts of a nice protein content and is recommended to be used with other gluten-free flours and starches for baking breads.
Black Bean Flour:
This robust flour lends itself well for culinary uses that have Mexican and South American influence as well as vegetarian concoctions.
Brown Rice Flour:
Look for brown rice flour with a fine grind to avoid grittiness. Best used in conjunction with other gluten-free flours for baking.
Known for its unique flavor that gives buckwheat pancakes a signature flavor, this flour is particularly high in protein and works well as a complementary flour for baking.
For sumptuous gluten-free pastries, Italian chestnut flour is a delightful flour with a particularly sweet and nutty flavor. The Italian cake, Castagnaccio, uses this flour exclusively.
This sweet, nutritious flour is high in fiber and is a good source of protein. Enhances baked goods with a rich texture and imparts a distinguishable coco-nutty flavor.
Fava Bean Flour:
Fava beans, a part of the pea family, are found in Mediterranean and Chinese cuisine. Finely ground flour from the fava can be a unique addition for gluten-free cooking and baking.
Known for being high in omega 3 fatty acids and fiber, flaxseed meal is a favorable option for adding nutrition to gluten-free baked goods. Use in small amounts. A little goes a long way.
Garbanzo Bean Flour:
The garbanzo bean is widely featured throughout Middle Eastern cuisine and is often found in gluten-free flour blends as a complementary flour.
Green Pea Flour:
A nice option for culinary uses such as thickening a creamy pea soup. This can also be a nice addition to incorporate into gluten-free baked goods as a complementary flour.
This nutritious flour made from freshly ground hazelnuts has a sweet, nutty flavor and is well suited for using in sweet baked goods, similar to how almond flour would be used.
Indian Ricegrass/ Montina:
Particularly high in fiber, this is a robust flour that is used in combination with other flours or as a flavorful, nutritious supplement for gluten-free baking. Once an important staple to the Native American diet, Indian ricegrass has made a comeback via the growing gluten-free food industry.
Made from succulent bean pods of the mesquite tree, this particularly sweet, richly-colored flour is known for its nutrientdensity and low-glycemic index. Brings a distinctive flavor to baked goods when used in small quantities.
Yellow in color and subtle in flavor, millet flour is a versatile flour for gluten-free baking and is used in conjunction with other gluten-free flours to not only boost nutrition and flavor but also adds beautiful color.
Heartier in texture than millet flour, the meal can enhance texture and flavor for gluten-free whole grain breads.
Unlike potato starch, potato flour is a highly transitional flour suitable for baking and cooking. A foundational ingredient in gluten-free flour blends and great for thickening gravies, soups, and sauces.
This nutritious flour, similar to amaranth flour, plays a leading role among gluten-free baked goods because of its favorable protein properties and for mimicking the “gluten” factor. Can be used as a full-replacement for wheat flour depending on the recipe but is typically best when used in combination with other gluten-free flours for baking.
White Rice Flour:
Widely used in conjunction with potato flour and tapioca flour, this flour was a pioneering ingredient in gluten-free baking and is still widely used in a multitude of gluten-free goods including Asian noodles.
Sweet White Rice Flour:
Sticky by nature, this flour is glutinous in texture and is prized for enhancing the binding qualities of gluten-free baked goods when used in conjunction with other gluten-free flours.
Sweet White Sorghum Flour:
Known for having properties closest to wheat flour, sorghum flour is particularly favored for its high protein content that helps give baked goods their structure and imparts great flavor. Used in combination with other gluten-free flours, sorghum, also known as milo, is becoming a leading ingredient in gluten-free baking.
High in protein, soy flour is often found in gluten-free flour blends for baking despite the strong flavor it imparts. Not recommended to be used by itself as a replacement for wheat flour.
Made from the South American tuber root manioc (or also known as cassava or yucca), tapioca flour is a staple ingredient in gluten-free baking. Neutral in flavor and not particularly nutritious by itself, this flour shines as an ingredient to help add chewiness to baked goods. Used in the delicious South American cheese bread rolls, Pao de Quejo.
Made from the smallest grain in the world native to northern Africa, teff is a high-protein flour with a unique flavor. Can be used in combination with other gluten-free flours in baking to help give structure to baked goods such as cookies and breads.
White Bean Flour:
This nutritious, low-glycemic flour is a versatile culinary ingredient for thickening soups and sauces. Also shines in its ability to bring a lift to gluten-free baked goods when used in conjunction with other flours.
Used primarily as a thickener, the flavor of arrowroot starch is completely neutral and it will not impart an “off” flavor to your recipes. Becomes translucent when cooked and for this reason it appearance. But beware. The starch can make your meat sauce have a gluey, fake appearance.
Valued for its thickening properties, cornstarch is widely found in creamy products like puddings and soups. To avoid clumping, the starch is often combined with liquid such as water, shaken to create a slurry, and then added to the food to thicken.
Not used alone, this starch is favored for its ability to bring moistness to gluten-free baked goods. Also, it is a suitable replacement for wheat flour in thickening gravies, sauces, soups, and stews.