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6 Gluten-Free Flours for Allergen-Friendly Baking

What’s Inside: Having a gluten allergy or sensitivity on top of other aversions can be a real struggle. Here’s a guide of my trusted allergen-friendly gluten-free flours that include nut-free, coconut-free, grain-free options that work well on a Paleo or AIP diet! I’ll share my favorite brands and recipes to try, too.


overhead view of gluten-free flours in glass jars with measuring cups coconut flour tigernut flour and almond flour

How To Safely Bake with a Gluten Allergy or Sensitivity

Adhering to a gluten-free lifestyle can be tricky and requires us to inspect labels, ask questions, and become a gluten-free Martha Stewart at times! It’s especially challenging if you need to also be nut-free, egg-free or grain-free like while following a Paleo or AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet. Finding these substitutes can be a real chore, and a hangry chore if you’ve got a serious cookie or waffle craving, am I right?!

As a nutritionist, I’m always on the hunt for easy, flavorful, and nutritious swaps for commonly used ingredients, which often includes gluten-free alternatives to pantry staples like flour. Thankfully, we live in a time when there are a lot of gluten-free alternatives readily available at health food stores and standard grocery stores alike (in person or online).

Through my own baking experience, I’ve found that you don’t have to sacrifice taste when baking or cooking around your food allergies and sensitivities. Here’s a guide to my all-time favorite allergen-friendly gluten-free flours that I cook with on a regular basis! Whether you’re also grain-free, Paleo, or trying the Autoimmune Protocol— there’s something for everyone.

I’ll share how to use each flour, as well as some nutritional facts, the allergen info, and my favorite brands and recipes to try!

tip!
Try my homemade Paleo All Purpose Flour Blend that can serve as a 1:1 substitute in many wheat flour recipes! Grab the recipe here.
gluten-free flours in glass jars with measuring cups coconut flour tigernut flour and almond flour

Cassava Flour

So, what is “cassava,” exactly? Also known as yuca, cassava is a tuber that’s in the same plant family as taro, yams, and potatoes. Cassava flour is commonly confused for tapioca flour. However, the only thing they have in common is that they are both derived from yuca. Unlike tapioca flour, which is made from the yuca’s drained starchy liquid, cassava flour is made from the entire yuca root that is peeled, dried, and then ground into a fine, dusty powder.

⚠️ Allergen Info: gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo, nut-free, and AIP

More info and how to use: You can use cassava flour as a substitute for all-purpose flour in many recipes. However, it’s not a perfectly equal swap.

  • Cassava flour is lighter than all-purpose flour, but it absorbs more liquid than traditional wheat flour. This means you’ll need a little less cassava flour than the amount of all-purpose flour that a recipe calls for. If you’re wanting to swap out wheat flour for cassava flour in a recipe, then the ratio is 1/3 cup of cassava flour for each 1 cup of wheat flour.
  • Cassava flour imparts an earthy, subtly nutty flavor (even though it’s nut-free). This flavor is perfectly pleasant and quite subtle, but it is something to consider when you’re baking gluten-free recipes.
  • Additionally, cassava flour is very rich in carbohydrates. (One cup of cassava flour contains approximately 110 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, and 4.5 grams of sugar.) It’s also rich in vitamin C, with just one cup containing close to the recommended daily value, which acts as an antioxidant to help relieve stress, support the immune system and improve skin health.

🛒 Recommended Brands: Anthony’s, Otto’s, or Thrive Market

AIP Breakfast Waffles on a plate dusted with cinnamon and made with cassava flour and tigernut flour as a part of this gluten-free flours roundup
AIP Breakfast Waffle Recipe (Eggless, Paleo)

Tigernut Flour

Tigernuts are root vegetables (aka tubers; not nuts) grown in Northern Africa and the Mediterranean. They are roasted and processed into a fine powder to make tigernut flour. This byproduct is used in baked goods as a gluten-free flour alternative. This flour has been a lifesaver for the Autoimmune Protocol as a nut-free flour, especially!

⚠️ Allergen Info: gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo, nut-free, and AIP

More info and how to use:

  • Tigernut flour can’t really be used alone as a wheat flour substitute, at least in most recipes. It’s a great nut-free option that behaves similarly to almond flour in baking, imparting a slight earthy, nutty flavor. And sifting tigernut flour can save you money in volume and make for a finer flour powder, while sorting out any hard pieces. If you want to make a nut flour recipe nut-free, this is a great substitute! It also makes a great binding agent or thickener.
  • Nutritionally, tigernuts are a rich source of prebiotic fiber that feeds the good bacteria in the gut. (Just 1 ounce of tigernuts contains 40 percent of the recommended daily fiber intake.) They’re also rich in iron, potassium, protein, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins E and C.
  • Tigernuts contain natural sugar, healthy fats, and resistant starch that reaches the colon completely intact after being digested. This lowers blood glucose levels and improves insulin sensitivity.

🛒 Recommended Brands: Anthony’s, Organic Gemini, or Thrive Market

a stack of honey tahini tigernut flour cookies as a part of this gluten-free flours roundup
Tahini Tigernut Flour Cookies

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour is an increasingly popular wheat flour alternative because it’s low in carbohydrates but high in protein and healthy fiber. It’s a soft, naturally grain- and gluten-free flour produced from dried coconut meat that’s a leftover byproduct from coconut milk production. 

⚠️ Allergen Info: gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo, nut-free, and AIP

More info and how to use: Unlike other allergen-friendly flours, it can be difficult to work with. Here’s what you need to know before you start baking with coconut flour…

  • Coconut flour is high in protein, fiber, and fat, while remaining relatively low in carbohydrates. A single serving (or 2 tablespoons) of coconut flour contains 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and 1.5 grams of fat. When these nutrients work together, you’re left feeling full and satisfied.
  • However, being so high in fiber means that it will absorb a lot of liquid during baking. So, you’ll need more eggs or milk. Many recipes with coconut flour can include more eggs than you may be used to baking with because of this. It’s usually not a great option if you can’t eat eggs unless it’s used in conjunction with other flours or has other liquid and binding agents— so it’s not impossibly but it’s nuanced. If there’s not enough liquid, the result is dry and crumbly in baking.
  • It’s also rich in manganese, which is an essential nutrient that supports bone health and helps your body use other nutrients like choline and biotin.
  • Coconut flour is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory with other trace minerals like iron, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, and vitamin B6.

🛒 Recommended Brands: Anthony’s, Bob’s Red Mill, or Thrive Market

AIP English Muffin with coconut yogurt and strawberry jam as a part of this gluten-free flours roundup
AIP English Muffins

Tapioca Flour

Like cassava flour, tapioca flour (or starch) comes from the yuca root. But where cassava flour is made from utilizing the entire root, tapioca flour is made by washing the root, pulping it, and then squeezing it to extract a starchy liquid. When all the liquid evaporates, the remaining solids are ground into tapioca flour. (This process is similar to the way coconut flour is produced from coconut milk.)

⚠️ Allergen Info: gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo, nut-free, and AIP

More info and how to use: Along with cassava, tapioca is suitable for anyone following a low FODMAP diet in small amounts, so it’s important to stick to serving sizes.

  • Tapioca flour can be used in place of corn starch as a binding or thickening agent. It’s often used in conjunction with a heartier flour as a starch component (like with almond, Tigernut or coconut flours)
  • It yields a spongy, light, and fluffy texture in baked goods or to make crispy pie crusts and pizzas.
  • Tapioca flour contains a lot of beneficial nutrients, like calcium for building strong bones and iron to help transport oxygen throughout the body. Like cassava flour, it’s also rich in healthy carbohydrates and vitamin C, but low in sodium. Tapioca starch also contains no fat or cholesterol.

🛒 Recommended Brands: Anthony’s, Bob’s Red Mill, or Thrive Market

Looking for an AIP flour blend while you’re on the Autoimmune Protocol? Here are my FAVORITE AIP-compliant baking mixes: cookies, cupcakes, bread, and muffins to bring a little joy to the process.

Arrowroot Flour

Arrowroot powder is made by extracting the starches from the tubers of the arrowroot plant, and then grinding them up into a fine powder. Commercially manufactured from the cassava root, it may include other ground tropical tubers, however. Occasionally, it will contain potato starch, so make sure to read your labels in case that’s an issue for you. Grocery stores market it as arrowroot flour and arrowroot starch, depending on the brand.

⚠️ Allergen Info: gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo, nut-free, and AIP.

More info and how to use:

  • This flour is flavorless and odorless.
  • If you’re avoiding corn, potatoes, and gluten, arrowroot starch is a good substitute for corn starch as a thickening or binding agent. It’s the perfect substitution for corn starch at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Arrowroot flour has gained a lot of popularity in the Paleo and Keto diet communities, so it’s an ingredient I love to keep on-hand.

🛒 Recommended Brands: Anthony’s, Bob’s Red Mill, or Thrive Market

One of my favorite arrowroot flour recipes is my Paleo Fruit Crisp.

I also love to cook with this in thickening sauces, gravy, and binding meatballs in place of eggs!

Fruit Crisp (Paleo, AIP, Vegan) on a white plate as a part of this gluten-free flours roundup
Paleo Fruit Crisp

Almond Flour

A widely popular gluten-free wheat flour alternative, almond flour can be found in most standard grocery stores. However, it is the only non-AIP-friendly flour on this list because it’s derived from tree nuts. It is a very easy-to-use flour however, and can often be used without the use of eggs if there’s an egg aversion.

⚠️ Allergen Info: gluten-free, grain-free, Paleo (NOT AIP compliant on elimination phase)

More info and how to use:

  • Almonds are rich in manganese, vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and fiber. They’ll also give you a boost of protein to keep you full and satisfied while remaining low in carbohydrates. (For every 1/4 cup of almond flour, there are 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of fiber.)
  • And it adds great texture and nutty flavor. It’s delicious in pie crusts, cookies, pancakes, and breads. It’s also a great addition to savory dishes that need a binding or thickening agent and breading!
  • Almond flour can sometimes be substituted for recipes that use all-purpose flour at a 1:1 ratio but prepared to tweak as you go along, you may need more eggs or liquid for binding. I lovee how almond flour works in conjunction with somee of the other flours mentioned here as more of 1:1 sub in my Paleo all purpose flour right here.

🛒 Recommended Brands: Anthony’s, Bob’s Red Mill, or Thrive Market

Some of my favorite almond flour recipes are…

Grain-Free Crescent Moon Cakes on a lined sheet pan as a part of this gluten-free flours roundup
Grain-Free Crescent Moon Cakes

FAQ’s

Is Tigernut Flour low FODMAP?

According to Monash, Tigernuts are low FODMAP! This is great news, as tigernuts are also a prebiotic starch. Enjoying in moderation may be a great addition to a low FODMAP diet, it’s also AIP-friendly and Paleo.

Does Tigernut Flour have lectins?

Since tigernuts are not nuts and are instead root vegetables (tubers), they do not contain lectins and are Paleo and AIP-friendly.

Does Cassava Flour spike insulin?

Yuca, which cassava flour is made from, is high in carbohydrates. So, the flour may cause an insulin spike but it’s bio-individual as with all carbohydrates. In moderation, this may be fine, however tracking your glucose when eating would be the best way to tell.

Is Cassava Flour Keto?

Since it’s high in carbohydrates, no, cassava flour is not Keto-friendly.

Is Arrowroot Flour lectin-free?

Yes, both arrowroot and tapioca which are also derived from yuca, a root vegetable, are lectin-free just as cassava flour is. As a starch, it’s great for thickening and binding, or mixed in flour blends for baking.

Is Almond Flour inflammatory?

Almonds and almond flour contain Omega-6 fatty acids which give us the ability to inflame, in excess, this can be inflammatory. However, in moderation, it can be healthful! Many gluten-free and paleo baked goods may contain a lot of almond flour, so it’s important to be mindful of your intake.

gluten-free flours in glass jars with measuring cups coconut flour tigernut flour and almond flour

More Gluten-Free Recipes To Try

Caught the baking bug? Try some of these recipes!

Looking for some Savory, rich allergen-friendly dishes instead? Try these!

 

Trying to get back to eating healthy again (+ for good)?

Check out the Nourishing You Membership and get weekly done-for-you Paleo/AIP Meal Prep Plans with Grocery Lists delivered to you + Nutrition coaching and community to make this lifestyle easy

 
-Alison Marras
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