Gluten-Free Grains & Flours

Wheat flour and all of it’s derivatives are now off-limits. No problem! Ever hear of Amaranth, Teff, Quinoa?  Don’t be intimidated by ingredients you have never thought of using.  Now is the time to experiment with an assortment of gluten-free grains and flours, many of which are packed with nutrients and some are lower in carbohydrates than wheat flour.  Combine flours to make the perfect high-fiber or high-protein dough for pancakes, pizza, pastries and bread or use an all-purpose flour available for purchase in your local market or on-line.   Following is an introduction to naturally gluten-free grains and flours allowable on the GF diet.  Happy Baking!


Flours, Grains & Starches: (highlighted in red are ingredients most commonly used as substitutes to wheat in baking, but why not be a little more adventurous and try some of the more exotic!)

Acorn flour/meal  (tannin free) – made from ground acorns, popular with the Indians of North America, used to  make a darker bread, pancakes, cookies, it is a heavy [provides protein, fiber, carbohydrates and fat]

Almond flour/Almond meal – flour & meal have slightly different textures, made from ground or blanched almonds, provides a sweet, nutty flavor to baked  goods,used for making marzipan [protein, vitamin E, fiber & the good fats]

Amaranth flour food of the ancient Aztecs! –nutty tasting, use sparingly & with little water  [high in fiber,  protein, lysine,calcium, iron, zinc]

Arrowroot flour– easily digested, light flavor, used as a thickener in soups, stews & gravies as well as puddings & pie fillings, not recommended for dairy sauces, used often as a substitute to cornstarch [calcium & potassium]

Artichoke flour – Jerusalem Artichoke flour is often used to make bread&  tortillas, combine with other flours, will not thicken, use sparingly [ protein, fiber, carbohydrates and fat]

Buckwheat flour (kasha) – though wheat is in the name – it is not wheat, but is related to the rhubarb family, use on salads, in soup and for stuffings, or as a baking flour for pancakes, crêpes, can be combined with other high-protein flours, strong flavor so use sparingly if mixing with other flours, not for dredging, used often in Japanese cooking [protein, fiber, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron]

Channa flour – a chickpea, grown in the East Indies, used as a thickener [protein and fiber]

Chestnut flour –  sweet tasting, great for pasta and baked goods, is the original ingredient for polenta, not used for    binding   [high in fiber]

Chickpea/Garbanzo flours – often used in Indian dishes, good for dredging [high in protein, fiber, calcium]

Coconut flour – provides the aromatic taste of coconut to baked goods, can be used in combination with other flours or alone – try mixing in with pancake flour – delicious!  [58 percent fiber, iron, protein & is low carb, high in saturated fat]

Corn flourgood in combination with other flours to make cornbread, tortillas & tomales, several varieties of  colors, used as a  thickener [vitamin A, magnesium, & potassium]

Cornmealused as a thickener in soups, stews & gravies, sweet flavor, grainy & course, good for dredging, used to make polenta, should not used as a substitute for corn flour or cornstarch, more coarse [lower protein, blue cornmeal contains antioxidants]

Cornstarch – used as a thickener in soups, stews & gravies as well as puddings & pie fillings, best for dairy sauces, little nutritional value & has no taste

Fava bean – (some people can have a life threatening allergy to Fava beans) [high in protein, fiber, calcium]

Flaxseed flour/meal – nutty taste, used for baked goods and for adding nutritional value, used in combination with other flours [high in omega 3 fatty acids, lignin & soluble fiber]

Gari or Garri flour – popular West African food made from cassava tubers, a bit sour  flavor [high carb, little protein]

Garfava flour – a blend of garbanzo, fava romano beans, used as a thickener for gravies, strong bean flavor [high in protein]

Guar gum – from a seed of a bean plant, use sparingly, used to thicken, bind and emulsify, an important  ingredient in most gf baked goods, may cause stomach upset in some [very high in insoluble  fiber], while others use to treat constipation

Gram flour (Besan) – NOT to be confused with graham flour which is NOT gluten-free – Gram is made from chick peas, popular in Indian cooking [protein]

Hemp flour – provides nutty flavor to baked goods [protein, amino acids, fiber]

Job’s Tears (Coix Seeds)– grains of Asian grass, used as substitute for Chinese pearl barley, found in Asian markets, may not be suitable for pregnant women [protein, amino acids, fiber, Vitamin B, calcium, iron]

Kasha – see Buckwheat

Lotus Kudzu starch (yes, made from the tuber of the invasive Kudzu vine!)  – used as a thickener, is clear and used for sauces and jellied desserts, often used in Chinese cooking [carbs, insoluble fiber, Vitamin D]

Malanga  flour – closely related to taro, found in many tropical regions, nutty flavor, easily digested, used as a thickener & coating, similar to potato flour [lower protein, fiber, potassium, Vitamin B6]

Mesquite flour – a staple of the Native Americans, used for gingerbreads and other darker baked items, has a sweet, nutty flavor [calcium, potassium, zinc, iron and magnesium]

Millet flour – ancient food, easily digested, used as side dish, cereal, or as a baking flour, mild sweet flavor, can be a substitute for sorghum [high in protein, iron, calcium, magnesium, fiber, B vitamins, phosphorous]

Montina flour – similar to wheat in taste and texture, used for gingerbread, darker breads [high in protein, fiber]

Nut Flours – Almond, Cashew, Hazelnut, Macademia, Peanut, Pistachio – can be used in many recipes [packed with protein & a variety of nutrients]

Pea flour – from split peas, often used in Indian dishes

Plaintain flour – often used for “pastels” and “alcapurias” and other tropical dishes! [low carb, fiber, potassium,      magnesium, phosphate, Vitamins A, B6 & C]

Popcorn – Kernels are milled into corn flour [protein & fiber]

Potato flour (permitted during Passover)use as a thickener for soups, stews & gravies, and provides a chewy texture to baked goods, pizza & pasta, has a potato taste, is cold water soluble [high in protein & fiber]

Potato starch (permitted during Passover) – used as a thickener for soups, stews & gravies/sauces, tasteless, should not be used as a substitute for potato flour

Pumpkin seed flour – provides a nutty flavor[protein, manganese, phosphorus, tryptophan, iron, copper, Vitamin K,  Zinc]

Quinoa flour (keen-wah) –  the food of the ancient Mayans, called the super-grain because very high in protein, has  a nutty flavor, used as a side dish, or as a stuffing – add raisons, nuts, etc.; flour can be used in baking.  A great alternative to rice and it is protein-packed! [protein, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus & copper]

Rice flour (brown or white) – used as thickener for soups, stews & gravies and mainly used in combination with other flours for breads, pastries, has a neutral flavor, brown rice has higher nutritional value (Vitamin B,  fiber & iron) than white

Sweet Rice flour– used as a thickener for soups, stews, gravies and puddings/desserts, binds well

(A variety of rice is available from around the world – Arborio, Japonica, Jasmine to name a few  –  best to be “certified gluten-free” to avoid contamination)

Sahlab flour – made from tubers of the orchid, used often in Middle Eastern dishes

Sago flour – from the palm tree, used for puddings and as a thickener, similar to tapioca, used to make noodles [high carb, little protein or nutritional value]

Sesame seed flour – a variety of black, white or brown seeds, ground to make flour [high in protein & fat, calcium, iron, fiber]

Sorghum flour (milo, jowar) – mild sweet taste, similar to wheat taste and texture. Great for pancakes and a variety of baked goods [high in protein, fiber, potassium & iron]

Soy flour – strong nutty flavor, can be used for dredging and used often for desserts [high in protein, fiber, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, niacin, low in carbohydrates]

Sunflower seed flour – nutty taste [ protein, fiber, calcium, Vitamin C & iron]

Sweet potato flour –produces chewy texture, adds color, used for dredging and as a thickener [fiber, potassium, vitamins A & C]

Tapioca flourfrom the root of the cassava plant (which can be poisionous if not processed properly), used as a thickener in soups, stews & gravies as well as bread, pancakes, puddings & pie fillings, glazes & for  dredging

Taro flour (dasheen) – used in bread-making and other baked goods and as a thickener for soups, [lower protein, fiber, Vitamins C, E & B6, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium & manganese]

Teff flour – from the teff grain, the smallest grain in the world – used as a side dish, hot cereal, topping on salad, as a thickener and adds a nutty taste to baked goods, Ethiopian bread is made from teff  [high in calcium, fiber, iron, magnesium, thiamin, zinc]

Urad dal flour – from dried lentils, peas or beans, used for in Indian cooking [high in protein]

Water chestnut flour – used as a thickener or for dredging [protein, fiber, calcium, zinc, iron, potassium, cholesterol-free]

Xantham gum – corn based, use sparingly, used to thicken, bind and emulsify – an important ingredient in most gf baked goods, used in dairy products and salad dressings [contains no protein or fat]

Yam flour– not as sweet as sweet potato, flavors can range from earthy, nutty or sweet, used for cookies and other baked items [fiber, vitamins A & C, calcium & iron]

Yuca – also known as cassava root, ground into a coarse meal [fiber, vitamin C, high in carbs]

[Note:  We did our best to include a comprehensive listing of nutritional information for each ingredient, however we apologize for any info which may have been excluded or improperly noted]

Visit CeliacCorner Recipes!

For tips on baking with gluten-free flours read this article!

Great graphic by of gluten-free flour blends, here. 

Read THIS, on the importance of choosing ‘Certified” Gluten-Free Flours.