Menu
Search
Menu
Close

Gluten-Free Basics & Beyond

Gluten-Free Ingredient List:

Flours & Starches

Gluten-Free Flours and Starches

Say goodbye to wheat flour and hello to these worthy substitutions.

Because protein is an important component in any flour, we have included this information in each flour’s description. (The percentage will vary according to how the flour is processed.) Wheat flour has 6 to 13 percent protein. Like the flours, each starch behaves differently—they are not interchangeable. Most of these starches already will be familiar to you, and you’ll find that you use them in a variety of roles for both cooking and baking applications.

Restocking Your Pantry

  • Almond Flour

    Almond flour has a mild flavor that is subtly sweet and nutty. It is high in protein and has a coarse texture. Almond flour is usually made with blanched almonds, while almond meal can be made with blanched almonds or almonds with their skins on. That said, some manufacturers, including Bob’s Red Mill, use both terms on their packaging, so read labels carefully. We prefer flour (or meal) made from blanched almonds since the lighter color tends to be more versatile. Almond flour is a good choice for rustic cakes, and we have found that it is particularly helpful to cookie recipes, where a small amount contributes richness, heft, and fat without adding a noticeable flavor. You can make your own almond flour by grinding blanched almonds in the food processor.
    Protein: 21% | Best Use: Cookies and rustic cakes | Where to Store It: Refrigerator or freezer [Buy on Amazon

  • Cornstarch 

    This refined product, made from the starchy endosperm of corn, has a neutral flavor and has long been used as a thickener for sauces and gravies. Some gluten-free recipes use it in large quantities in baked goods, but we found this approach sometimes imparted a starchy texture. In addition, cornstarch isn’t the most nutritious ingredient, so using it by the cupful isn’t terribly appealing.
    Where to Store It: Pantry. [Buy on Amazon

  • Millet Flour 

    This light, powdery, pale yellow flour is ground from a seed that is believed to be the first domesticated cereal grain. Millet has a sweet, cornlike flavor and is suitable in both savory and sweet applications. Millet flour has more protein than rice flour, so we often use it to help build structure in doughs; too much, however, can leave a starchy taste, so we add it in small quantities. You can grind your own millet flour from the seeds using a spice grinder; just be sure to rinse and dry the seeds before grinding, and grind in batches until it reaches a fine, powdery consistency.
    Protein: 10% | Where to Store It: Refrigerator or freezer. [Buy on Amazon]

Save Room for Dessert

Recipe Gluten-Free Yellow Layer Cake

A good yellow layer cake should melt in the mouth and taste of butter and vanilla. We had the same expectations for our gluten-free version.

 

  • Oat Flour 

    Made by grinding oats to a powder, this flour has a subtle, slightly sweet whole-grain flavor. It adds a welcome wheatiness to sandwich bread, and because it is high in protein it helps build structure in breads. You can grind old-fashioned rolled oats in a food processor or spice grinder for about 1 minute to make your own oat flour. We also tested a number of widely available brands of oat flour and found they all performed equally well in our breads, with the exception of one type, “toasted” oat flour. We do not recommend using toasted oat flour in gluten-free recipes; the dough will be more sticky and difficult to work with, and breads will be darker in color and denser in texture. Oats are a gluten-free grain, but they’re often processed in facilities that also process wheat, which creates cross-contamination issues. When buying oat flour, make sure to check the label.
    Protein: 17.5% | Where to Store It: Refrigerator or freezer. [Buy on Amazon

  • Potato Starch

    Made by dehydrating a slurry of water and peeled potatoes, potato starch provides structure, along with tenderness and binding power. However, it requires a higher baking temperature (and thus more time and moisture) than other starches to reach its maximum viscosity. This makes it most useful in longer-cooking baked goods that have more moisture, like muffins or quick breads (tapioca starch is more effective in cookies). Do not confuse it with potato flour, which is made from cooked unpeeled potatoes and has a definite potato flavor. If you have a nightshade allergy and cannot use potato starch, we found that sweet white rice flour or arrowroot starch is the best substitute for potato starch in our ATK All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend.
    Where to Store It: Pantry. [Buy on Amazon

  • Brown Rice Flour

    Since it still contains the bran, brown rice flour has more fiber, fat, and protein than white rice flour. It has a sandy texture like white rice flour, but a nuttier, earthier flavor (just like brown rice in comparison with white rice). Because of its fat content, brown rice flour has a short shelf life and should not be stored in the pantry. Look for brown rice flour that is as finely ground as possible. For best results when making recipes in this book, we recommend using Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour.
    Protein: 7.5% | Where to Store It: Refrigerator or freezer. [Buy on Amazon

Raid the Cookie Jar

Recipe Gluten-Free Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

We wanted gluten-free chocolate crinkle cookies that lived up to their name.

 

  • White Rice Flour 

    Made from rice after the bran and germ have been removed, white rice flour has a neutral flavor, light color, and somewhat sandy texture. It is affordable and fairly easy to find, and it has a long shelf life. Look for white rice flour that is as finely ground as possible, with little or no grit. For best results when making our gluten-free recipes, we recommend using Bob’s Red Mill White Rice Flour.
    Protein: 5% | Where to Store It: Pantry. [Buy on Amazon

  • Sweet White Rice Flour

    Despite its name, sweet white rice flour isn’t actually sweet, but it is much starchier than white rice flour. It is ground from a variety of white rice, called glutinous rice (no, it doesn’t contain gluten), that contains a higher ratio of starch than that of white rice flour. Because of its starchiness, this flour acts as an effective binder, so much so that we included a small amount of sweet rice flour in our whole-grain gluten-free flour blend. Look for sweet white rice flour that is as finely ground as possible, with little or no grit. For best results when making our gluten-free recipes, we recommend using Bob’s Red Mill Sweet White Rice Flour.
    Protein: 6% | Where to Store It: Pantry. [Buy on Amazon

  • Sorghum Flour 

    Largely unknown in the United States, sorghum flour is a commonly used ingredient around the rest of the world, and for good reason. It is high in protein, fiber, and iron and has a mild flavor, making it a great addition to both savory and sweet applications; it is also used to make gluten-free beer. We’ve found that it is a good substitute for oat flour in our gluten-free recipes, not only because of its mild flavor profile, but also because of the comparable protein boost it lends baked goods. There is sorghum flour and “sweet” white sorghum flour. We tested a wide variety of available brands and found that while we noticed slight variations in grind, color, and flavor across brands, they all performed acceptably in both recipes. For best results when making our gluten-free recipes, we recommend using Bob’s Red Mill “Sweet” White Sorghum Flour.
    Protein: 12% | Where to Store It: Refrigerator or freezer. [Buy on Amazon

The Best Brownies

Recipe Gluten-Free Fudgy Brownies

We wanted the ideal brownie: chocolatey, intense, and moist.

 

  • Tapioca Starch

    Made from the starchy tuberous root of the cassava plant, this white powder provides chew, elasticity, and structure to baked goods. Tapioca starch is sometimes labeled tapioca flour even though it contains no protein and is a pure starch. Either product can be used in our recipes.
    Where to Store It: Pantry. [Buy on Amazon]

  • Teff Flour

    Teff is an ancient cereal grass that is predominantly grown in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The grain has a large percentage of bran and husk because it is so small, and it is considered highly nutritious. Teff flour, which anchors our whole-grain flour blend, is high in protein and therefore helps provide structure in baked goods. It has a deep brown color, similar to whole-wheat flour, and a mild, earthy, wheaty flavor with hints of molasses. We tested a number of available brands and found they all performed equally well in our whole-grain gluten-free flour blend. We developed our gluten-free recipes using Bob’s Red Mill Teff Flour.
    Protein: 12.5% | Where to Store It: Refrigerator or freezer. [Buy on Amazon

We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Comments