Healthy Flours to Use Instead of White Flour

Looking for a healthy alternative to processed white flour? This healthy flour guide will help you figure out what flours are best and how to use them!

The wild world of… flours! It feels like five years ago healthy alternatives to all-purpose flour made their debut and they have just grown in popularity since. You can find traditional recipes using alternative flours so you don’t have to take a guess on how the final product will turn out.

Before we dive into each individual flour, I wanted to address something: there is no #1 alternative flour! One flour doesn’t stick out from the rest in terms of nutrition profile, texture or performance. One flour is not “the best” for weight loss. Any of these flours are all great options if you’re looking to incorporate more nutrients into your baking in place of a traditional all-purpose flour.

Measuring cup with whole wheat flour.

Whole Wheat Flour Facts

With the rise of alternative flours, whole wheat flour seems to get some flack, but I love using it and am going to be a whole wheat flour advocate! It is made by grinding the entire grain – including the bran and germ. It is packed with protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals and is really easy to bake with!

Whole Wheat Flour Recipes

  • Whole Wheat Honey Brown Bread – Making bread doesn’t get much easier than this! This recipe is yeast-free and doesn’t require kneading… just mix everything together and bake!
  • Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread – Another simple bread recipe! This old fashioned Irish soda bread tastes like a mix between cinnamon raisin and rye bread.
  • The Best Banana Bread – Ready for the best banana bread of your life? Yep, it truly is the best banana bead I’ve ever had.
  • Apple Cinnamon Muffins – The mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flour in these muffins give them the perfect fluffy texture. They’re loaded with fall flavor and extra moist thanks to pumpkin!
  • Pumpkin Bars with Chocolate Chips – These healthy pumpkin bars with chocolate chips are made with whole wheat pastry flour and less oil than traditional pumpkin bars! You’ll love the combo of pumpkin and chocolate.

Measuring cup with oat flour.

Oat Flour Facts

I’m obviously a big fan of all things oatmeal. I recently made my own oat flour and am hooked with using it in as many recipes as possible! I always have oats on hand so I love that I can simply take out my food processor and have oat flour in no time. Oat flour is naturally gluten-free but oats are commonly cross-contaminated during processing, so be sure to reach for gluten-free oats or gluten-free flour if needed. Oat flour is a great source of fiber from a wheat-free source.

Oat Flour Recipes

  • Oatmeal Date Cookies – These delicious oatmeal date cookies are studded with dates and have the perfect soft and chewy texture.
  • Vegan Zucchini Bread – Delicious and easy vegan zucchini bread made without oil, regular flour or refined sugar!
  • Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies – These cookies are healthier than most and made with just 10 ingredients and one bowl.
  • Healthy Oatmeal Cookies – Healthy oatmeal cookies made with fiber-rich oats, coconut sugar and coconut oil and applesauce instead of butter.

Measuring cup with almond flour.

Almond Flour

Almond flour is made from… you guessed it! Ground almonds. Almond flour is more finely ground than almond meal but depending on the recipe, both can be used interchangeably. It is packed with protein, fiber and important vitamins and minerals – most notably: vitamin B and magnesium. Almond flour is naturally gluten-free so great for those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance.

Almond Flour Recipes

  • Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies – These almond flour chocolate chip cookies are absolutely delicious, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside!
  • Vegan Zucchini Bread with Almond Flour – Delicious and easy vegan zucchini bread made without oil, regular flour or refined sugar!
  • Baked Almond Flour Donuts – These baked almond flour donuts with rose petals and dark chocolate are gluten-free, dairy-free and naturally sweetened with coconut sugar. Plus, they only take about 30 minutes to whip up!
  • Carrot Raisin Almond Flour Muffins – Grain-free carrot raisin muffins made with almond and coconut flour. Loaded with cinnamon flavor and studded with raisins, these moist almond flour muffins are sweet without being too sweet and lovely topped with a little coconut butter.
  • Gluten-Free Almond Flour Crescent Cookies – These gluten-free almond flour crescent cookies are a healthy take on my nanny’s crescent cookie recipe. Each cookie only has about 60 calories and 2 grams of sugar, plus they can easily be made vegan!

Measuring cup with quinoa flour.

Quinoa Flour

This is a newer alternative flour on the market and I’m so glad it’s here! Quinoa flour is another gluten-free option that is packed with nutrients. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it has all of the essential amino-acids. If you’re looking for a protein packed, versatile flour to bake with, give quinoa flour a try!

Quinoa Flour Recipes

  • Quinoa Gingersnap Cookies – Gluten-free, vegan gingersnap cookies made with quinoa flour! They’re crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside and absolutely delicious!
  • Quinoa Flour Pumpkin Bread – Spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice this moist and tender quinoa flour pumpkin bread is everything a pumpkin quick bread should be! It’s a tad healthier, gluten-free and vegan.
  • High Protein Quinoa Bread by Simply Quinoa – When the quinoa queen says this is the best bread ever, you believe her! Loaded with protein, whole-grain flours and makes perfect sandwiches!
  • Healthy Zucchini Pancakes with Quinoa Flour by Simply Quinoa – Gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free, but packed with nutrients and flavor!

Coconut flour in a measuring cup.

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is made from dried, ground coconut flesh. It’s packed with healthy fats, fiber and protein and is a great gluten-free flour to use in a variety of recipes. It absorbs more liquid than the other flours on this list (and all-purpose flour) so cannot be swapped in for other flours. In my opinion, it has a unique, slightly sweet flavor but it works well in sweet and savory dishes.

Coconut Flour Recipes

  • Coconut Flour Pancakes – An easy recipe for coconut flour pancakes that are golden in color and perfectly fluffy. Add your favorite mix-ins and toppings to make them your own.
  • Chocolate Chip Coconut Flour Banana Bread – This coconut flour banana bread can be mixed together all in one bowl with 10 simple ingredients. It’s sweetened only with bananas, but still deliciously sweet!
  • Coconut Flour Cookies – Soft and delicious, these coconut flour cookies are so easy to whip up (only 8 ingredients)! Plus they’re grain-free, low carb, low sugar and less than 95 calories each!

I hope you found this healthy flour guide post helpful. I can’t wait to hear what  flours are your favorites and what recipes you’re making with them! 

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    14 comments
    1. Lia
      September 21, 2020 AT 9:23 am

      Well, definitely not almond flour. Almond flour=PUFA. Cassava flour has too much oxalates.

    2. Dawn
      June 7, 2020 AT 9:36 am

      I wanted to find information on alternative flour to use. Recently I have been told to lower my cholesterol through diet. My family history is loaded with both diabetes and high cholesterol on both sides.
      Are there any tips you can give to help me start to add healthier options.
      I am so glad to find your site and will try your recipes
      Thank you!
      Dawn

    3. Ashlee Baskin
      February 2, 2020 AT 9:51 pm

      What about garbanzo bean (chickpea flour)? Any suggestions on how to use it? Thank you!

    4. Ghulam Mohyudin
      January 28, 2020 AT 3:41 am

      This was really interesting to read! I love the range of posts, there is really something for everyone. Thank you for sharing your suggestions too, great post!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 28, 2020 AT 4:47 pm

        So glad you enjoyed this post! 🙂

    5. jillian
      January 27, 2020 AT 5:13 pm

      Nice article and thoughtful to include recipes to go with each flour. Here are some other flours I keep around and enjoy: pecan flour, teff flour, sweet potato flour, garbanzo flour, potato flour, spelt flour and am currently trying more recipes using cassava flour. I used whole wheat since the 70’s, but am not able to eat much wheat anymore in spite of loving the taste.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 28, 2020 AT 4:52 pm

        Thanks for reading, Jillian! I’m glad this post was helpful to you. 🙂

    6. Paige Cassandra Flamm
      January 27, 2020 AT 5:03 pm

      This is such a good and informative post! I have a lot of relatives with gluten allergies, so it’s nice to know the differences between the flours!

      Paige
      http://thehappyflammily.com

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 28, 2020 AT 4:52 pm

        I’m so glad this post is helpful to you, Paige! 🙂

    7. jen soll
      January 27, 2020 AT 12:30 pm

      this is exactly the info i was looking for! what would you recommend to coat on chicken?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 28, 2020 AT 4:56 pm

        So glad this info is helpful for you, Jen! I have a baked chicken tenders and baked chicken nuggets recipe that both use almond meal / flour.

    8. cheri kahle
      January 27, 2020 AT 8:33 am

      I have a great recipe for cornbread, that calls for 1 cup corn meal and 1 cup white flour. What can I use to sub. for the white flour, without changing the texture, flavor, etc.?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 27, 2020 AT 8:46 am

        That’s a tough question. Nothing is going to be 100% the same as white flour, but I think whole wheat white flour would probably be the most similar. Subbing flours in baking is difficult and often takes quite a bit of experimentation and testing.

    9. Sara Anne
      January 27, 2020 AT 8:17 am

      Thank you for this very useful summary.

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