Hazelnut flour is an alternative to wheat flour that is especially attractive for people who want to avoid gluten. It brings a rich, nutty flavor to savory and sweet dishes. If you cannot find it and need some right away — it’s not a widely available ingredient — there are several alternatives that can provide similar benefits. Consider the hazelnut flour substitutes below.
Your best bet: Almond flour
Almond flour is a gluten-free nut flour, just like hazelnut flour. It is made from almonds that have been blanched and ground finely. It is richly flavorful with a strong and nutty aroma, much like what you would get from hazelnut flour. Like hazelnut flour, it is a good source of fiber and vitamin E. Almond flour can also add texture to baked goods.
Use you swap almond flour into any recipe that requires hazelnut flour. It works as a 1:1 substitute. It is an especially good option for cookies and pie crusts but if you are making a cake, you may need to combine it with wheat, quinoa, or cassava flour to get structure in some applications.
A decent second choice: Chestnut flour
Chestnuts are rich in carbohydrates. As a result, chestnut flour has more carbohydrate than any other nut flour. Like hazelnut flour, chestnut flour’s flavor is sweet as well as intensely nutty and it also gives food items a rich flavor. Both hazelnut flour and chestnut flour are widely used in Italian baking.
Chestnuts have an impressive nutritional profile and chestnut flour is rich in many of the same vitamins and minerals that hazelnut flour provides. Chestnut flour has a couple of downsides in that 1) it is seasonal and is not usually made in large batches, and 2) it is low in protein. Its low protein content means that it will need to be mixed with a high-protein flour like wheat or quinoa flour to ensure that baked goods do not fall apart. As a result of being seasonal and a small-batch product, chestnut flour can be pricey.
In a pinch: Quinoa flour
Quinoa has been cultivated in the Andes for thousands of years though it has only recently garnered attention in North America and elsewhere as a healthy food. This grain is a complete protein in that it contains all of the amino acids that are considered essential, this makes it an even better option — nutritionally speaking — than hazelnut flour. The reason is that while hazelnuts are rich in protein, they are not a complete protein.
In addition to being similar in terms of its nutritional value, quinoa flour has other properties in common with hazelnut flour such the fact that it contains no gluten. Its flavor is nutty and it can work in any recipe that requires hazelnut flour though it will not be quite as aromatic.
Like hazelnut flour, quinoa flour works best when you use it as a part of a blend. Ideally, it should not make up more than a quarter of the blend.
Coconut flour is a made from dried and ground interior part of the coconut commonly called the meat. It is a high-fiber, gluten-free flour like hazelnut flour. It is also flavorful though it will not provide the flavor of hazelnuts. The coconut flavor is milder and easier to hide than the flavor hazelnuts. As a result, coconut flour may be a better option where the flour’s flavor is not integral to the dish. Its coconut flavor can work in almost all applications that require hazelnut flour.
It is important to note that unlike hazelnut flour, coconut flour is highly absorbent. You will need to increase the amount of liquid in the recipe. Like other gluten-free flours, coconut flour works best in combination with other flours.