Coconut flour is a great alternative to wheat flour if you are trying to avoid gluten or just want a more nutritious option. Coconut flour offers a lot more in terms of fiber and other nutrients, but it is not without its drawbacks. For example, it will require increasing the proportion of eggs and other liquid ingredients in many recipes. Another downside is the fact that it is not yet a common product so you may not be able to find it in your local grocery store. These are just a couple of the reasons that you may find yourself needing a coconut flour substitute. Your best options are listed below.
Your best bet: Almond flour
Almonds are known to contain high amounts of important nutrients including protein, vitamin E, and fiber. Almond flour consists entirely of ground almonds, which means that it is nutritionally similar to whole almonds. Note that almond flour is different from almond meal, which is made with almonds that still have their skins; almond flour is made with blanched, skinned almonds. Almond meal is coarse; almond flour is fine and the grain-size is more consistent.
Even more importantly, a serving of almond flour will give you far more almonds than you would be likely to eat otherwise. One cup contains the equivalent of 90 nuts. Like coconut flour, almond flour is a low-carbohydrate and gluten-free flour; its low glycemic index makes it a great option for diabetics. As a gluten-free flour, it can be used by people with celiac disease or who just prefer to avoid gluten. Almond flour’s downside is that it is high in omega 6 polyunsaturated fats, which is not something that you want a lot of in your diet. Almond flour is also quite expensive when compared to coconut flour.
Almond flour is not as absorbent as coconut flour, which means that you will need to reduce the amount of liquid in recipes formulated for coconut flour. You will also need to use more almond flour when replacing coconut flour. In some cases, you may need to use four times as much.
A decent second choice: Cassava flour
Cassava flour is made from manioc root, which is also sometimes called yuca. It is far more similar to wheat flour in texture than coconut flour; however, it is gluten-free like coconut flour. The fact that it is gluten-free means that it works as a coconut flour alternative in gluten-free recipes. It is extremely fine and dry, in addition to having a neutral flavor. Unlike coconut flour, you can use cassava flour as a 1:1 replacement for wheat flour in many wheat flour recipes. Cassava flour does have one major downside: it is not carbohydrate free; in fact, it is high in carbohydrates just like wheat flour. If you are a diabetic who is looking for a low-glycemic index wheat flour substitute, cassava flour will not be it.
When using cassava flour in place of coconut flour, use between 3 and 4 times as much. You will also need to eliminate a significant amount of the moisture in the recipe.
In a pinch: Soy flour
Soy flour is made from soybean that has been dried and then milled. Like coconut flour, it contains no gluten and is rich in protein. The downside of soy flour as a coconut flour substitute is that it has a strong bean flavor that may not be ideal for all coconut flour applications.
When using soy flour in place of coconut flour, double the amount and reduce the liquids in recipes.
Flax meal consists of ground flax seeds and can serve as a replacement for both the coconut flour and the egg component in many recipes. It is a good source of protein and of omega 3 fatty acids.