Flour Substitutions

Flour SubstitutionsAll-purpose flour is the most suited and used flour for baking purposes. The gluten content in it makes it perfect to get the desired result, be it taste-wise, texture-wise or appearance-wise. That being said, people are on the look out for flour substitutions for a variety of reasons. Be it for health reasons, allergies, unavailability, etc.

Flour substitution is not as easy as simply using any other flour instead of all-purpose flour in a given recipe. Even though it gives a good taste, texture and look, the nutritional value is almost nil except for the vitamins and minerals which are mandatorily added these days to enrich it. Even then it is just plain starch without any fiber content, which is one of the essential nutrients for our bodies.

So many bakers are moving towards incorporating all kinds of whole grain flours while baking. Whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, oat flour, barley flour, quinoa flour, millet flour, etc just to name a few. But the only problem is these flours usually don't work out exactly like all-purpose flour because it's whole grain and the difference in the gluten quantity in such flours and also because of the high fiber content.

Treats baked using whole grain flours generally tend to be on the heavier side, don't rise as much as it's white counterpart and the taste might also need some time to get used to. But once you start baking with whole grain flours regularly you will crave for that more and more and wouldn't even go back to baking with regular white flour. The recipe might need some minor changes to be incorporated to get better results, like increasing the baking powder/baking soda a little bit, not over mixing the batter thereby over working the gluten which will end up in hard, dense and heavy baked treat, etc.

To start with one might try substituting 1/3rd or 1/2 a portion of all-purpose flour with the whole grain flour of your choice. See how it works out and then from there move on to increase the quantity of the whole grain flour. Pretty soon you will end up baking with it 100%. That's where I'm now. Whole wheat pastry flour especially is a boon for people like me; those who want to bake healthy. This works in all types of baked treats, be it cakes, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, scones etc. Because it is milled from soft whole wheat the gluten content is not as high as regular whole wheat flour making it perfect for all treats.

Other whole grain flours don't work exactly like whole wheat pastry flour so may not be suitable for all types of recipes. Quinoa flour, oat flour, barley flour etc maybe partly used in a recipe in combination with either all-purpose flour or whole-wheat pastry flour. These flours might especially be suited for cookies, scones and sometimes in muffins too.

Some other examples of flour substitution:

Flour Substitution Chart

For 1 cup sifted all purpose white flour, substitute:

  • 1/4 cup soy flour plus 3/4 cup white flour
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ plus 2/3 cup white flour
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour plus 2/3 cup white flour
  • 3/4 cup coarse cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup rice flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1.5 cups oat flour
    Note that these substitutions may require additional leavening, so add 2.5 teaspoons baking powder per cup of flour to compensate. These alternatives to white flour will result in a heavier yeast bread product.

Gluten-free baking is yet another ball game altogether. At least it is not as difficult as it was even a decade ago. Thanks to the wide spread awareness of the Celiac disease in specific and gluten intolerance in general. These days it's not at all difficult to locate gluten-free flours. Some of those are amaranth flour, coconut flour, almond flour etc. But the drawback is all-purpose flour can't be simply replaced by these flours. Recipes have to be tweaked to get decent results. Even ready to use gluten free mix is easily available these days. Gluten-free baking along with egg-free is when it gets really complicated.

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    this really help my cat. he wants to become veagen. can you do substitutes foe eggs and butter?

  2. Shelli Davis

    My son has recently been diagnosed with an allergy to wheat & egg whites. I bake a lot and would like to use my old recipes. I need a wheat free flour to use & can I just use egg yolks?

    • Madhuram

      You can try gluten-free all-purpose baking mixes like the ones from Bob Red’s Mill and many other brands. It should work. I’m not sure about baking with egg yolks because I haven’t done it.

  3. Kathy

    I am making an egg free and butter free cake, it calls for all purpose flour, I would like to use coconut flour, how do I go about that???

    • Madhuram

      Sorry Kathy, you cannot substitute coconut flour for all-purpose flour. Coconut flour being gluten-free, it won’t work without eggs. Gluten-free all-purpose baking mix might work in place of all-purpose flour because that mix has xanathan gum and other leavening agents pre-mixed.

  4. Gloria Gaston

    what type of flour would you recommend for frying foods without the white flour(all purpose)? I would like to come off white flour.

    • Madhuram

      Have you tried chickpea flour? That works well in some recipes.

  5. Diana Stadmiller

    What is your opinion on Almond flour for baking?

    • Madhuram

      Almond flour is gluten-free so baking with it and also egg free is very tricky and might not result as expected. I haven’t tried it so far.

  6. Leroy

    All those are still types of flour. What if I have no flour of Any type?

    • Madhuram

      Baking flourless and eggless is very tricky.

  7. Madi

    What if you don’t have those?

  8. Lala

    Ok. Iā€™m impressed and kind of overwhelm with all this great info. So is whole wheat gluten-free? And if not how do I replace 2 cups and 1/4 of that flour to bake whole wheat bread. What to use instead 1 cup all purpose flour? In the same mix. And finally if I want to use oats flour, how much I need to use with how much of xanthan gum?

    • Madhuram

      Whole wheat is not gluten-free. Do you want to bake gluten-free or whole wheat bread? Baking gluten-free and egg free is pretty challenging. The proportion etc has to be tried to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

  9. Recipe: Oatmeal Zucchini Bread – Mama Drinks Wine

    […] The comments offer lots of great suggestions, I omitted the walnuts because I'm not a huge fan and I meant to add chocolate chips but I forgot and I'm glad I did. I did add a generous (accidental) sprinkle of cocoa powder which was very subtle but I will leave that out next time. I'm sure you could substitute some whole wheat flour for part of the all purpose if you wanted. There's some good-to-know info on flour subs in this article https://www.egglesscooking.com/baking-101/substitutions-for-white-flour/ […]

  10. emiline anitruck

    Hi! I was wondering That do you know how to make flour ?

  11. Bhaskari

    Can you please tell me the difference between all purpose flour and “maida” and how much to substitute for breads and cookies?

    • Madhuram

      Both are the same Bhaskari. Maida is the just the Indian term.

  12. Sumitra (CM)

    Can we use coconut flour and its better or not? Thanks

    • Madhuram

      Coconut flour is gluten-free. It cannot be used to replace all-purpose flour.

    • Helene

      actually you can use coconut flour, depending on what your making, you will either need to use less coconut flour to liquid ratio or increase your liquid i.e. if it calls for 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of milk reduce your milk by 3/4, coconut flour is highly absorbent and will absorb a huge amount of liquid, also if you are using coconut flour, mixing it with a good quality gluten free flour or adding things like xanthem gum to replace the properties of gluten….I recommend if you are trying to reduce your carb intake to use a combination of gluten free flour and coconut flour, but there are plenty of recipes online for coconut flour use…..

      • Madhuram

        Thank you very much for the valuable information Helene. Will definitely keep in mind.

  13. amie

    Hi, is there something i can use that isnt flour or carb? I’m mainly looking at fruits, vegs, nuts, seeds, dairy, eggs and meat. thanks

    • Madhuram

      You can try baking with almond flour, coconut flour. Since you are ok with using eggs baking with one of those flours shouldn’t be a problem.

  14. Catherine


    Can I replace 5 tbsp of all purpose flour for oatmeal? If I can, how many oatmeal do I need?

    Thank you!!

    • Madhuram

      Yes you can Catherine.

      • kayah

        hi i know this is from ages ago but i have not got any flour at all in my house and i was thinking of making cookie dough… so is there anything else at all that i can use to replace flour especially with this quarintine stuff going on

  15. S

    I want to use millet flour. How much do I use when recipes call for whilte or whole wheat flour?


    • Madhuram

      Start trying to replace 1/3rd of it first. Because millet is gluten-free you can’t simply use it instead of all-purpose/whole wheat flour and get the same results especially if you want to make it egg free too.

  16. Dipti Bandekar


    some of the recipes are with coconut flour. But it is difficult to procure coconut flour. How can we replace it with some healthy flour?What is the proportion?



    • Madhuram

      Coconut flour is usually used as a gluten-free alternative. It doesn’t work like all-purpose or whole wheat flour, because it doesn’t have gluten. Gluten-free and egg free is quite tricky. Experimenting with different flours and ratio alone will help.

  17. Huimei

    Good day.
    I am from Singapore. Happened to read this interesting web. Currently my cookies recipe only required 1 dry ingredient tat was 100g of cake flour. May I know how to I replace cake flour with rolled oat meal/ rolled oat flour? Appreciate your advise with many thanks.

    • Madhuram

      You may try using equal portion of oat flour but you may not get the same results as using cake flour.

  18. Marta

    I would like to make a corn casserole but it’s asking for 4 T. of flour. I have an issue with gluten what can I use instead?

    • Madhuram

      Rice flour will work too. Cornstarch as well.

  19. Sarah

    Can you grind the oats in a food processor to get a texture like flour? I’m wondering because I want to use it to thicken a sauce and we are clean eating and staying away from processed flours etc.

    • Madhuram

      Yes you can do that, Sarah.

  20. mikaella

    Can i use quick cooking oats instead of rolled oats ???


    • Madhuram

      Yes you can. But in some granola bar recipes, rolled oats will look better.

  21. Kim

    Umm yeah I was trying to make cookies and none of these sound like s good substitute.

    • Madhuram

      I usually use whole wheat pastry flour for cookies and it turns out great.

  22. madhu

    want to know ,what is self rising flour. how it differ from maida ?

    • Madhuram

      Self-rising flour has baking powder mixed in it. It is maida but with baking powder.

  23. Jessica

    How can I substitute Coconut Flour for white flour?
    Due to food allergies we cannot use soy, wheat, rice, or oats.

    • Madhuram

      That’s not quite easy Jessica. Gluten-free and egg free is complicated. I guess you have to figure it out on a trial and error basis.

  24. Karl77

    I enjoy cooking all the time, cooking is easy, fun and very rewarding.

    • LzqSeller

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