Most of my recipes include my homemade gluten-free plain flour blend or homemade gluten-free bread flour blend, but as a number of my subscribers have asked about other gluten-free flours and starches, I thought of providing a list of them and their attributes to help you understand how each one works in gluten-free cooking. It is also good to know how nutritious and high in fibre many of these flours are.

I have also included an alternative homemade gluten-free plain flour blend by omitting cornflour/starch and replacing it with brown rice flour. This flour works well for those who are intolerant to corn. I’ve tested it with good results in my focaccia, cookies and waffles recipes. Due to the absence of corn, I’ve added arrowroot flour to the blend to help bind the flours together. The recipe is at the bottom of the page.

Arrowroot Flour/Starch
  • Ground from the root of a tropical plant called Marant arundinacea, similar to the tubers, cassava or yucca.
  • Used as a binder or thickener; gluten-free flour blends.
  • A perfect substitute to cornflour.
  • No taste.
  • Leaves food glossier and clearer when used as a thickener.
  • Makes things crispier when used as a coating on potato or sweet potato fries.
  • More digestible.
  • Good fibre source.
  • Used in my homemade gluten-free no-corn plain flour blend for those who are intolerant to corn. The recipe can be found at the bottom of the page.
Amaranth Flour
  • Ground from a pseudo-grain similar to quinoa.
  • Used in pizza crusts, savoury crackers, cookies
  • Combines well with quinoa and brown rice flours.
  • Widely used by Aztec and Inca civilisations.
  • Nutty, earthy and grassy flavour.
  • Rich in protein. Highest fibre content out of all the gluten-free flours.
  • Has twice as much calcium than milk.
  • Good source of iron.
  • Gluten-Free Crackers with Feta Ricotta Dip
Buckwheat Flour
  • Ground from the seeds of a flowering plant from the rhubarb family.
  • Used in pancakes, crepes, blinis, bread.
  • Combines well with rice and almond flours.
  • Strong, nutty flavour.
  • High nutritional value, antioxidants and good fibre content. A very good source of selenium and zinc. Lowers cholesterol.
  • Gluten-Free Smoked Salmon Blinis
Bean Flours

Chickpea Flour (also known as Besan, Gram, Garbanzo Flour or Farina di Ceci)

  • Ground from raw chickpeas.
  • Used in savoury crackers, savoury batters, savoury doughs, savoury muffins, pasta dough, Indian, Italian and French flatbreads, Indian pakoras, bhajis and dosas, crepes.
  • Great structure in baked goods.
  • Strong flavour – needs more sweetener to mask the taste in sweet recipes.
  • Good riser.
  • High in protein and fibre.
  • Widely available.
  • Inexpensive.
  • Hummus Dip with Gluten-Free Chickpea Dukkah Crackers

Soy Flour (also known as Kinako, a Japanese flour using roasted soybeans)

  • Ground from raw, roasted or boiled soybeans.
  • Used in baking, bread, flatbreads, thickener, drinks, ice-creams, mochi (Japanese rice cakes).
  • High in protein, soy isoflavones and fibre.
  • Check the packaging for gluten ingredients. Ideally, the packaging should state it is “gluten-free” meaning it was prepared in a gluten-free premises with no cross-contamination from other gluten flours.
Coconut Flour
  • Ground finely from dried coconut meat or desiccated coconut.
  • Used in cakes, cookies, pancakes, savoury batters.
  • Works well with eggs.
  • Very dense – needs extra liquid in recipes.
  • High in protein, fat and fibre.
Corn

Cornflour/Starch

  • Ground from the endosperm of the corn kernel.
  • Used in gluten-free flour blends, crispier fried coatings, thickener/slurry for soups and sauces.
  • Known as cornflour in the UK and corn starch in the US.
  • Not to be confused with cornmeal, which is dried, ground corn.
  • Gluten-Free Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Cornmeal

  • Ground semi-coarse from dried corn kernels.
  • Used in cornbreads, crispy coatings, Polenta, grits, pizza crusts.
  • From light to bright yellow in appearance.
  • Stone-ground cornmeal is wholegrain and much healthier than most of the commercial cornmeal.
  • Good source of fibre.
  • Gluten-Free Cornbread
Masa Harina
  • Ground from dried hominy, which are corn kernels that have been soaked in a limewater solution to remove the hull.
  • Used mainly in arepas, Mexican cooking to make tortillas, tamales, gorditas, tacos.
  • Earthy flavour.
  • Means “flour dough” in Spanish.
  • High calcium and niacin content.
  • HOMEMADE FAJITAS with Gluten-Free Corn Tortillas
Nut Flours

Almond Flour

  • Ground from blanched (skinless) almonds.
  • Used in cakes, savoury crackers, cookies, pie crusts, pancakes, muffins, pizza crusts.
  • Creates a moist texture especially in cakes.
  • Mild flavour and slightly sweet.
  • High in protein and fibre.
  • Gluten-Free Digestive Biscuits
Almond Meal
  • Ground semi-coarse from unskinned whole almonds.
  • Used in cakes, cookies, slices, pie crusts and muffins.
  • Great binding flour and gives structure in baked goods.
  • Natural oils that make baked goods soft and moist.
  • Slight nutty flavour.
  • If buying already made, check the ingredients list on the packaging for gluten as some manufacturers add flour to bulk up the contents.
  • Gluten-Free Fudge Brownies
Chestnut Flour
  • Ground from cooked chestnuts.
  • Used in savoury pie crusts and pastries, crepes, fruit crumble toppings.
  • Smoky, earthy flavour.
  • High in fat – goes off faster than other flours. Store sealed in the refrigerator or in the freezer to lengthen its shelf life.
  • Gluten-Free Brie and Onion Tart
Oat Flour
  • Ground finely from gluten-free oats.
  • Used in cakes, cookies, crusts, muffins, scones, bread and breakfast granola.
  • Check the packaging for gluten ingredients. Ideally, the packaging should state it is “gluten-free” meaning it was prepared in a gluten-free premises with no cross-contamination from other flours.
  • A source of beta-glucan, a soluble fibre that reduces blood sugar, helps you feel full and encourages good bacteria growth.
  • Gluten-Free Nut and Seed Granola
Potato Starch
  • Ground from the dried starch component of peeled potatoes.
  • Used in flour blends for sweet or savoury baking, dumplings.
  • Not to be confused with potato flour, which is made from ground dried whole potatoes. Very rarely used in cooking and hard to find.
  • Flavourless.
  • Helps to bind and adds some lift to recipes.
  • Needs to be combined with other flours to work well.
  • Loses its ability to thicken sauces or gravy once the mixture is boiled.
  • Homemade Gluten-Free Plain Flour
Quinoa Flour
  • Ground finely from white quinoa seeds.
  • Used in bread, cookies, pancakes, pizza crusts, savoury crackers, pasta.
  • Originated from the Andes 3,000 years ago.
  • Highly nutritional value. A source of complete protein.
  • Good texture.
  • Toasting the quinoa flour removes its bitterness and gives a golden appearance (see right bowl in photo).
  • Combines well with Sorghum Flour.
  • Hummus Dip with Gluten-Free Chickpea Dukkah Crackers
Rice Flours
White Rice Flour
  • Ground finely from white rice.
  • Neutral, mild flavour.
  • Needs to be combined with other flours in most recipes.
  • Used in gluten-free flour blends, cakes, pancakes, muffins, bread and wrappers.
  • Gluten-Free Potstickers
Brown Rice Flour
  • Ground from brown rice.
  • More robust in texture and flavour than white rice flour.
  • Higher in fibre than white rice flour.
  • Used in homemade gluten-free no-corn plain flour (recipe at bottom of page)
Glutinous Rice Flour or Sweet Rice Flour

Sorghum Flour (also known as millet flour or jowar, used in Indian cooking)

  • Ground from whole grain kernels of the sorghum plant.
  • Used in cakes, pancakes, muffins, bread, gluten-free flour blends.
  • Creates a light and fluffy texture in baked goods.
  • Mild, slightly sweet flavour.
  • Can be used on its own in most recipes.
  • High in protein, iron and fibre.
Tapioca Flour/Starch
  • Ground from the root of the cassava plant.
  • Used in gluten-free flour blends, thickener, binder, savoury bakes, puddings.
  • Tapioca pearls can be ground down to a powder to make tapioca flour.
  • Contains no nutrients, but very helpful in binding flours.
  • Homemade Gluten-Free Bread Flour
Teff Flour
  • Ground from the seeds of lovegrass, native to the Horn of Africa.
  • Used in cookies, fruit bread, muffins, waffles, flatbreads, Injera, a fermented pancake-like bread from Ethiopia.
  • Mild, nutty and earthy flavour.
  • A heavy flour that needs to be combined with “lighter” flours and starches like almond flour.
  • High in protein, iron and fibre.
  • Binds well.

Most store-bought gluten-free flours have xanthan gum already added in the blend. This gum imitates gluten and provides elasticity, binding and volume in baking recipes.

Xanthan gum is made by fermenting corn sugar with Xanthomonas campestris. This type of bacteria is paired with corn sugar and once fermented; it creates a gooey like substance that gives it a unique binding quality.

I don’t add xanthan gum to my homemade plain flour blend as not all recipes need it. Any recipes that require it are listed with the appropriate quantity in the ingredients list.

However, it is included and essential in my homemade bread flour for that extra binding quality.

In rare cases, xanthan gum can cause some digestive issues. If this is the case, then substitute it with psyllium husk powder. This is a form of fibre made from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. When used in baking, for every part of xanthan gum needed, double the quantity with psyllium husk powder. This powder is more accessible than xanthan gum in some countries, and often found in health stores.

HOMEMADE GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR BLENDS 

Ingredients:

Homemade gluten-free plain flour

  • 200g white rice flour
  • 200g cornflour
  • 200g tapioca flour
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch

Makes 600g

Homemade gluten-free no-corn plain flour (another plain flour blend for those who are intolerant to corn) 

  • 120g white rice flour
  • 120g brown rice flour
  • 120g tapioca flour
  • 90g potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder

Makes 450g

Homemade gluten-free bread flour

  • 450g Homemade gluten-free plain flour
  • 120g whey protein isolate, natural flavour
  • 20g Ultratex – modified tapioca starch
  • 8g xanthan gum

Makes 650g