If you are watching your carbohydrates and eating a paleo or keto diet, or if you want to keep to a grain-free or gluten-free diet because of celiac disease, you're probably familiar with almond flour. Almond flour can be a key ingredient in some recipes, such as macarons, but it's also an excellent ingredient for gluten-free baking. If you don't have any, or if you're allergic to almonds, the are other flours you can use as an almond flour substitute.
What is almond flour?
Almond flour is really just ground almonds. Typically, blanched almonds without skins are ground up to have a flour-like texture. You may also see almond meal, which is the same thing with a coarser texture. You can make your own in a pinch by grinding the nuts in a food processor until they have a fine consistency. Once ground, keep it in an airtight container until you're ready to use it.
Almond Flour Substitutes
The important thing to remember when choosing your almond flour substitute is that it's not always a one to one swap, and you may need to add or change other ingredients, too, such as the number of eggs, chemical agents, or liquid. If you're using flour that's not made from wheat, there's no gluten, so you may need some kind of binding agent to help the texture come out right.
Sunflower Seed Flour
Sunflower seed flour has a similar consistency to almond flour, so it's a popular substitute. One note: Sunflower seeds contain chlorophyll, which reacts with baking soda or baking powder and can turn your baked goods a little bit green. If you don't want the extra color, add a tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, or if your recipe calls for cream of tarter you can double that amount to counteract the green reaction.
You can substitute cashew flour 1:1. It's easy to make cashew flour at home with a good blender or food processor.
Macadamia Nut Flour
The same thing goes for macadamia nut flour. It's a 1:1 swap, plus it tastes fantastic.
If you're looking for nut-free flour, oat flour is a good substitute. It's available at many grocery stores, but it's also easy to make at home. Grind the oats up until they reach a flour-like consistency. You'll need about one cup of oats to make 3/4 cup of flour. Oat flour adds a nutty taste to your baked goods - think oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, but it works in muffins and waffles and quick bread, too.
You may see this in the stores as cassava or tapioca flour, because it's made from the cassava root but more commonly known by the tapioca name. Tapioca has a consistency similar to wheat flour and it has properties that make it stretchy, functioning almost like gluten, which is why it's a popular ingredient in a lot of gluten-free flour blends.
Because coconut flour is incredibly absorbent, you'll need to change up the proportions of your ingredients. To substitute one cup of almond flour, use 1/4 cup of coconut flour. You should also add one egg for each 1/4 cup of coconut flour, on top of the eggs already called for in the recipe.
Gluten-Free Flour Blend
There are some great alternative flours available in most grocery stores now. Bob's Red Mill and King Arthur Baking both have good gluten-free flour blends made up of ingredients including rice flours, tapioca flour, and potato starch. Depending on the blend, the flour may absorb more liquid, so you may need to use less flour, or add something like apple sauce or coconut milk. Read the instructions on the bag carefully and if you need to tweak ingredients as you add them, start off in small amounts.
If you're not gluten-free or doing a low carb diet, you can swap white flour in for almond flour. It's not a 1:1 swap, though. If your recipe calls for 2 cups of almond flour, you'll need only one cup of regular flour.
Whole Wheat Flour
Because it has more density, to substitute whole wheat flour for almond flour, you need to mix it with regular flour. If your recipe calls for two cups of almond flour, mix 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour.