Here’s What You Need to Know About Gluten-Free Flour & Not Making Your Recipes Taste Like Cardboard

Make gluten-free recipes that actually taste good.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

Whether you follow a gluten-free, paleo, or keto diet, it’s hard to get away from the topic of gluten-free flours. And, with all of the new options popping up between cassava flour, sweet potatoes, and yes, even cricket flour (yep, it’s a thing,) you may have some questions as to how to use them.

We are going to break down what you need to know to get started with gluten-free flours and which flours pair best with what. Because let’s face it, gluten-free flours can be tricky and can make your recipes taste kinda funky if you are unsure of how to use them.

But, fear not, with a few tips and tricks, you will be a pro at using gluten-free flour in no time.

The Breakdown on the Most Popular Gluten-Free Flours

#1 Almond Flour

One of the most commonly used gluten-free flour options is almond flour. It comes with a mild flavor and is generally pretty easy to bake with. In most recipes, you can use just about the same amount of almond flour as you would wheat-based flour, so it makes the swap easy (you may need a smidge more for extra moist recipes.) Try making almond flour for any of your gluten-free baking needs from cookies to cakes and muffins.

#2 Coconut Flour

Another popular gluten-free flour option, is coconut flour. It’s also popular among paleo and keto-dieters as it’s low-carb. The tricky thing about coconut flour is that it is super (like really) absorbent. So, you really don’t need much, or you run the risk of a really dry and crumbly recipe. As a general rule of thumb, use about ¼ – ⅓ of a cup of coconut flour for every cup of regular wheat flour, and if you are adding eggs to your recipe, you will definitely need more than usual to help hold the recipe together!

#3 Cassava Flour

Cassava flour came on the health and wellness scene a few years ago when the paleo diet surged in popularity. Cassava flour is a great gluten and grain free alternative to wheat-based flour and can make super delicious cakes, muffins, and even cassava flour donuts (yes, please!)

#4 All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour

It’s always a good idea to have a good all-purpose gluten-free baking flour handy as it can serve as a go-to flour choice when you don’t want to have to mess around with figuring out the gluten-free flour to regular flour ratio. Often times, you can use these flours interchangeably, and they work really well for things like gluten-free pancakes, muffins, and bread. We like Bob’s Red Mills all-purpose flour for all of your gluten-free baking needs.

#5 Arrowroot Powder

Arrowroot powder is commonly used to help thicken up gluten-free recipes, and is a must-have in the gluten-free baker’s pantry. It can be a game-changer for traditionally dry gluten-free recipes and makes a great cornstarch alternative. So, keep this gluten-free staple handy to add to your recipes that need a little extra thickness or a smoother texture.

#6 Gluten-Free Oat Flour

Oats are kinda having a moment. Between oat milk and oat flour, they seem to make just about any gluten-free or vegan recipe taste better. But, the trick with oats and gluten-free baking is to make sure you are getting a certified gluten-free brand as not all oats are guaranteed to be gluten-free due to cross contamination. This is a no-go for anyone with Celiac disease or a serious gluten sensitivity. But, gluten-free oat flour can be an excellent gluten-free flour choice for cookies and muffins as it has a mild taste and a pretty fine consistency keeping it pretty close to tasting like the real thing.

Gluten-Free Flour Baking Tips So Your Gluten-Free Recipes Don’t Taste Like Cardboard

Let’s face it, gluten-free baking recipes have a history of tasting super dry and even chalky. We’re talking dry and flavorless which can make gluten-free eating so not fun. So, we put together a list of some tips to keep in mind when making gluten-free recipes with any of the flours listed above, so you don’t have to worry about your recipes coming out tasting like cardboard.

  • Watch Your Wet to Dry Ratio: Some gluten-free flours (coconut flour in particular) are going to require additional liquid to prevent the recipe from becoming dry. This will really vary based on your recipe, but just remember that you will want to make some alterations to the regular recipe if you are swapping out wheat-based flour for a gluten-free option. If the batter seems too dry, chances are it is, and you will want to add more milk or an extra egg. Your best bet when trialing gluten-free flours, is to follow a specific gluten-free recipe until you get the hang of the correct ratios.
  • Remember Just How Absorbent Coconut Flour is: When making a gluten-free recipe with coconut flour, don’t forget just how absorbent coconut flour is! The longer it sits, the more it will absorb, so remember that a little goes a long way and that your recipe will require additional liquid to balance it out.
  • Let Your Recipe Cool: If you check your gluten-free cookies after they have been baking for a while, and they just don’t seem quite done yet, then you may just have to let them cool off for a bit. There’s a fine balance between overcooking and undercooking when it comes to gluten-free baking, and you don’t want your recipes to turn out completely dry and crumbly.

The Bottom Line

If you’re new to gluten-free baking, or just aren’t sure how to use gluten-free flours without making your recipes super dry, give these tips a try, and experiment with which flour options you like the best! You would be surprised at how delicious a cassava flour pancake or almond flour muffin tastes. Plus, these gluten-free flours make baking just a little bit healthier, so you can feel good about the recipes you whip up!