Wheat is the standard grain in the West. Historically, most baked goods in the US and Western Europe have been made with some form of wheat flour. Whole wheat flour is highly nutritious and relatively affordable but also contains gluten. Gluten is what gives bread dough its elasticity. Unfortunately, it can also trigger symptoms for people with celiac disease and other conditions. If you want to avoid wheat flour because of its gluten content or for some other reason, try one of the wheat flour substitutes below.
Your best bet: Chickpea flour
Chickpea flour consists entirely of raw chickpeas, which makes it unique among wheat flour alternatives. It is naturally dense, which gives it binding properties that you will not see in many wheat flour alternatives. Its density compensates for its lack of gluten, which is one of the key benefits of using wheat flour. Chickpea flour can give structure to foods that you would otherwise need gluten to achieve.
Even better, it is considerably more nutritious than wheat flour since it is rich in protein as well as fiber and vitamins. Its protein content is more than twice that of whole wheat flour. Note that when raw, chickpea flour can be slightly bitter. Baking will give it a nuttier and richer flavor.
Replace every cup of wheat flour in a recipe with a cup of chickpea flour, minus 1 tablespoon.
A decent second choice: Oat flour
Oat flour comes from milled oats in the same way that wheat flour comes from milled wheat. One factor that makes it a great wheat flour substitute is its nutritional profile, which is almost identical to that of wheat flour. Like wheat flour, oat flour is a grain flour and has a rich store of minerals and fiber. As a whole grain, it can help to control both blood sugar and cholesterol. The flavor of oats is not much different from wheat flour’s flavor in that they are both nutty.
Oats have the benefit of being gluten-free, which makes oat flour a great option for anyone dealing with gluten intolerance. The lack of gluten means that you may need to increase the quantity of your recipe’s leavening agent. Extra yeast, baking powder or baking soda can help make oat flour baked goods light and fluffy.
Use 1 1/2 cups of oat flour in place of every cup of wheat flour.
In a pinch: Coconut flour
Coconut flour is a great wheat flour substitute simply because of how many nutrients it contains. Coconut flour is a great source of fiber as well as fats that can help to support your metabolism. Coconut flour also has the benefit of a low glycemic index which means that it will not spike your blood sugar the way all-purpose flour would. When using coconut flour as a wheat flour substitute, it is important to keep its absorbency in mind since it will soak up much more liquid than wheat flour would. You will need to add more liquid to the recipe to compensate for this. A general formula is to add an equal amount of additional liquid. This means that for every cup of coconut flour, you will increase the recipe’s combined liquids by a cup.
Cassava flour is another grain-free starch that contains fiber, which means that it can provide structure in baked goods and thus stand in for wheat flour. It has a mild flavor that will not be unpleasant in most wheat flour recipes.
Rye flour does contain gluten, which means that it will not be a good option for people who have celiac disease; however, it is nutritious and can be used to make some types of bread and other baked goods.