9 Healthy Gluten-Free Flours

Baking with gluten-free flours can be tricky, but it is worth it. Imagine eating sinfully delicious desserts that are also healthy for you!

When you are just eating gluten-free whole grains, it is relatively simple.  You can just throw some rice or millet in a pot, and with a little variation on the amount of water, you can get a pretty good meal.

Once you get into baking though, it’s a whole new level of complexity and precision to get that perfect cookie or cake.  You can’t just substitute your favorite regular wheat recipe with rice flour for example.  It just won’t work out. I often feel like a chemist in the kitchen fine tuning gluten-free recipes.

The first step is to have the proper flours.  To keep it simple I have limited this list to a small handful of my favorites.  I was extremely sensitive to gluten so I have been cooking and baking gluten-free for almost 20 years.

All my recipes are also 100% white sugar free and 100% unhealthy starch free. Many of the common gluten-free recipes and products are loaded with sugar and starch and that is definitely not healthy.

The healthy ones I like and use for specific reasons include:

Grains

Brown Rice Four

White Rice Flour

  • Use  for shortbread and pastries
  • Add lightness and texture
  • Add somewhat dry gritty crumbly texture
  • Works best when combined with high protein flours to balance texture and build structure

Caution: Use only small amounts as it has less nutrition than brown and tends to be starchy.

Rolled Oats

  • High in fiber, protein and nutrition
  • Add taste, texture and structure
  • Contains lignans which protect against heart disease and cancer.
  • Read many more benefits: 10 Benefits of Oatmeal

Caution: Often contaminated with wheat so must buy special gluten-free oats and flour

More healthy flours on the next page!

Nuts (for grain free baking)

These two have become favourites in my baking for grain-free recipes.

Blanched Almond Flour/Meal

  • Adds a sweet, nutty flavour
  • Adds protein, fiber, vitamin E and healthy fat
  • Adds structure and texture

Caution: It is high in fat and can go rancid easily so keep refrigerated or freeze if not using within a few months.

Coconut Flour

  • Low-carb, high-fiber flour
  • Subtle, sweet fragrance
  • Well tolerated by those with allergies

Caution: It is a very dense flour to use 100% without eggs or flax meal.

Beans and Legumes

Chick Pea Flour

  • Adds moisture, good texture, high protein and high nutrition.
  • Is creamy coloured with a slightly sweet bean taste

Caution:  Never use more than 30% of mixture due to bitter aftertaste.

Seeds

Golden Flax Meal

  • High in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids
  • Mixture of flaxseed meal and warm water is used as an egg replacer in vegan and egg-free baking
  • Healthy substitute for xanthan gum or guar gum

Caution: They can cause a flecked appearance and too much can have a laxative effect, so introduce slowly.

Tubers and Roots

Potato Flour

  • High in fibre and protein
  • Fine creamy white-yellow powder
  • Made from dehydrated whole potatoes
  • Healthy substitute for xanthan gum or guar gum

Cautions: Don’t confuse with potato starch. Use much less.

Arrowroot Flour

  • Well tolerated by food-allergic people, even those with multiple allergies
  • High nutritional properties enhance baking performance
  • Chewy texture and increased browning capabilities
  • A healthy starch- read my article  Arrowroot Flour for Healthy Gluten Free Baking

Caution: It is sometimes suggested to use 40 – 50%, but that is way too much. More than 25% can  produce gummy texture.

There are many more gluten-free flours but these are the basics.  I am always experimenting with new gluten free flours and combinations.  I play with millet, sorghum, quinoa, amaranth, teff, buckwheat and even ancient wheat. Most of those grains are already in my diet and I love them.  I must be careful when teaching to not overload but I like to play and experiment myself. Suggestions of YOUR favorites are welcome.

Our diet needs to consist of is a wide variety of foods; not just the same ones over and over every day.  Sometimes the same food is eaten many times a day like wheat which comes as toast for breakfast, muffins for tea, sandwich for lunch and then pasta for dinner and cake or cookies for dessert.  I believe that is one of the reasons so many have intolerance for the gluten in wheat.

I am also passionate about creating more healthy gluten free recipes.  You can read my rant about this here: 9 Dangers of Common Gluten Free Products and Recipes

Many popular recipes and products are filled with sugar and starch.  Almost everyone knows the dangers of too much white sugar but many people don’t know that starch is very similar to sugar.  It has almost no vitamins and minerals, and extremely low amounts of fiber, and protein.  Read all the difference here:  Starches VS Flours – What is the Difference

All my recipes are filled with only healthy flours and ingredients. I also teach a special Healthy Baking BootCamp – for people to get not only the knowledge but also the skills to bake and cook properly with gluten free foods.  It has the focus and success of a gritty outdoor boot camp but from the comfort of your home.

30 comments

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers18 days ago

TYFS

S Gardner
S Gardner21 days ago

I HAVE BEEN USING ALMOND FLOUR FOR COOKIES FOR A YEAR...NO ONE CAN TWLL THE DIFFERENCE!

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you Diana, for Sharing this!

Magdika Cecilia Perez
Magdika Perez3 years ago

chick pea (beasn), brown rice and almond meal are my favorite ....... and arrowroot a healthy thickener and binder - I always use only a little - combined with other flours (I'm a vegan chef)

Val M.
Val M.3 years ago

Thanks

Thorn Briar
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you so much for the information

Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson3 years ago

Thanking you.

Edgar Zuim
Edgar Zuim3 years ago

Good information.

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush3 years ago

While, I don't have the expertise that Diana Herrington has, I'm giving it my best shot.
I have tried, with much success, substituting oatmeal for part to half of the flour.
I started out doing this with my chocolate zucchini cake.
You can find an amazingly good one at:
food.com ~18693
Feel free to add extra dark chocolate chips and extra nuts.
It needs NO topping and is excessively moist.

No will suspect that zucchini is even in it and you will receive great accolades for your effort.

Bill Eagle
Bill Eagle3 years ago

I am amazed at how many people that I know who have gluten allergies and how many have improved their lives by eliminating gluten from their diets