You will likely need an all-purpose flour substitute at one point or another because it's a key ingredient in both cooking and baking! Whether you're watching carbs, are gluten-free, or simply ran out of flour, you have plenty of easy flour substitutes to choose from!
Easy All-Purpose Flour Substitutes
All-purpose flour is one of the most important staple ingredients in a kitchen. It's the base for tasty breakfast foods, it helps thicken soups, stews, and sauces, and it provides the structure for many favorite desserts.
All-purpose flour is truly flour that can be used for all purposes! Without it, you are without some of your favorite foods.
- Easy All-Purpose Flour Substitutes
- Best Substitutes for All-Purpose Flour
- 1. Cake Flour
- 2. Pastry Flour
- 3. Bread Flour
- 4. Self-Rising Flour
- 5. Whole Wheat Flour
- Gluten-Free AP Flour Substitutes
- 6. Almond Flour
- 7. Coconut Flour
- 8. Cassava Flour
- 9. Gluten-Free Flour
- 10. Rice Flour
- 11. Chickpea Flour
- 12. Soy Flour
- 13. Buckwheat Flour
- 14. Oat Flour
- 📋 Recipe
Not to worry though. Thankfully, there are several types of flour beyond all-purpose. Therefore, if you run out of all-purpose flour there are several substitutes that will allow you to enjoy your favorite recipes.
Moreover, if you can’t cook with all-purpose flour due to gluten sensitivity, there are several great gluten-free substitutes.
Best Substitutes for All-Purpose Flour
If you do not need gluten-free flour, then these substitutes are your best choices. Each of them is a variation of wheat flour.
The main difference between these five substitutes and all-purpose flour is the protein content. You can learn more about this in my Guide to All-Purpose Flour.
The different protein content in each flour will impact the overall texture and density of the recipe. However, they will not impact the flavor (except for whole wheat flour). Therefore, these substitutes are the best for achieving the closest taste to the original recipe.
In addition to using these as substitutes for baking, these alternatives can also be used to thicken soups, sauces, and stews.
1. Cake Flour
Cake flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour. Protein is the building block for gluten and gluten is what helps create density. Therefore, when there is less protein, less gluten is formed. The result is a less dense texture.
If you have cake flour available, it can be used in place of all-purpose flour. The result will be lighter and fluffier baked goods. This airy texture is best suited for cakes, cupcakes, muffins, pancakes, and waffles.
You can use cake flour in a 1:1 substitution for all-purpose flour.
2. Pastry Flour
Pastry flour has an even lower protein content than cake flour. It produces light and flaky pastries like croissants.
Unless you are an avid pastry chef, it is uncommon to have pastry flour in your house as a backup. However, if you do have access to pastry flour it can work as a substitute for all-purpose flour. It is best suited for breakfast foods like waffles and pancakes or pie crusts.
Use pastry flour in a 1:1 ratio for all-purpose flour. If the consistency of the batter feels too light, you can slowly add a bit of extra flour.
3. Bread Flour
Compared to cake and pastry flour, bread flour is on the opposite side of the protein spectrum. Bread flour has the highest protein content of all flour types.
The high protein content creates a strong gluten base. This provides a strong base for well-structured loaves of bread.
If you bake bread frequently and have bread flour available, you can use it as a substitute. It is best used for quick bread recipes (like banana bread) and cookies. However, remember that it will shift the texture to a much denser final product.
Bread flour can be used in a 1:1 substitution for all-purpose flour. If you feel like the dough is too thick, add a bit more liquid (water, milk, oil) to get the right consistency.
4. Self-Rising Flour
If you accidentally picked-up self-rising flour at the grocery store you may wonder if it will still work. The answer is, yes! You can use self-rising flour in place of all-purpose flour – in certain recipes.
Self-rising flour won’t work for all recipes though. Self-rising flour already has a leavening agent (like baking powder) in it. Therefore, it will only be a good substitute for recipes that call for a leavening agent. Moreover, you will need to modify the amount of any additional leavening agents.
Use self-rising flour in a 1:1 exchange for all-purpose flour. Leave out some of the baking powder in your recipe to balance out the self-rising flour.
Since it can be difficult to adjust the exact ratio of leavening agents, this is best used in simple recipes like waffles, pancakes, and biscuits. It is not great for baked goods.
5. Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is a popular choice for making hearty bread and pastries. It has a richer flavor than all-purpose flour, as well as more nutritional value.
With more fiber than all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour produces denser foods. In addition to the denser consistency, whole wheat flour lends a soft nutty flavor and light brown color.
Whole wheat flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour with some slight modifications. Begin with a 1:1 ratio of whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour. However, since whole wheat flour absorbs more water than all-purpose flour, you may need to add additional liquid (water, milk, oil, etc.)
Gluten-Free AP Flour Substitutes
When it comes to flour, you may need a substitute simply because you can’t eat flour. In that case, there are several amazing gluten-free choices!
These substitutes will change the texture and taste of your recipe slightly. However, they will still create a delicious alternative recipe for you to enjoy! You may even enjoy the new take on the taste and texture.
6. Almond Flour
Many people prefer almond flour because it is low in carbohydrates. Therefore, it makes a great all-purpose substitute for those who want a gluten-free and keto-friendly recipe.
Almond flour is simply raw almonds that have been processed into a fine flour powder. There is also a variation called almond meal. Almond meal is courser than almond flour and will not work quite as well. If you only have almond meal, toss it in a blender and pulse until it is a finer consistency.
Begin with a 1:1 ratio of almond flour for all-purpose flour. Then, add additional binding agents as needed. You may need an extra egg or more liquid to help the almond flour bind to the other ingredients.
Almond flour is best used in baking that is done at a low temperature (so it doesn’t burn) and as a thickening agent.
7. Coconut Flour
Another popular gluten-free flour is coconut flour. Coconut flour is made from dehydrated coconut meat. Once the white coconut meat has been dried, it is ground into a fine powder.
Coconut flour has a very fine texture but absorbs liquid quickly. It also lends a soft coconut flavor that is mildly sweet. While this flavor won’t work for all recipes, it is a nice pairing for several!
You can start with a 1:1 exchange of coconut flour for all-purpose flour; however, you will probably need to make some adjustments.
Depending on the recipe, you may need to add up to 2 or 3x more coconut flour to get the right structure (for a cake or bread). In addition, since it absorbs liquid quickly you may need to balance out the extra flour with more water, milk, or oil.
8. Cassava Flour
Cassava flour is an excellent replacement for all-purpose flour! It is made from cassava root that is ground into a fine powder. This powder has a neutral flavor and offers a similar texture as wheat flour.
Cassava root is a starchy vegetable like a potato or yucca. Therefore, cassava flour also has a nutritional profile closer to all-purpose flour. It is higher in carbs and lower in fat (unlike almond flour or coconut flour).
Use cassava flour in a simple 1:1 replacement of all-purpose flour in any recipe.
9. Gluten-Free Flour
A simple and easy alternative to all-purpose flour is ready-to-use gluten-free flour. Several companies make gluten-free flour that you can buy in most grocery stores.
Gluten-free flour will vary depending on the brand. Most are a blend of rice flour and potato and tapioca starch/flour. The nice thing about these pre-blended flours is that they are already made with the intention of offering the closest texture and taste to all-purpose flour.
Each brand is different, so to get the best substitution read the directions on the bag. They will provide the ideal ratio of substituting their gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour.
10. Rice Flour
If you don’t want to use pre-blended gluten-free flour, many of the ingredients in those blends can be used on their own. Such as rice flour.
Rice flour is made by processing rice into a flour-like consistency. There is both white and brown rice flour. White rice flour has a more neutral taste, while brown rice flour is nuttier and denser.
Both white and brown rice can be used in a simple 1:1 substitution for all-purpose flour in any recipe.
11. Chickpea Flour
When it comes to substitutes, chickpeas are a superfood! They can be used as a substitute for so many different foods. Even the water they are packed in is a great substitute!
Dried chickpeas can be ground into a fine powder and used as flour. While you can do this yourself at home, it is easy to find chickpea flour at a health food store.
The texture of chickpea flour is close to that of all-purpose flour; therefore, you can use an equal 1:1 ratio as a substitute for all-purpose flour in any recipe.
12. Soy Flour
Soy has been used as an alternative for years. In fact, soy milk was one of the first alternatives for dairy, and tofu has been used in place of meat and eggs for decades!
While not as commonly used, soy flour is also a wonderful substitute. It can be used in place of all-purpose flour in many recipes.
Like soy milk though, soy flour has a distinctive taste. Therefore, it is best used in recipes with other strong flavors that will hide the soy flour taste.
Soy flour has a finer consistency than all-purpose flour. Therefore, you will need to use twice as much. Replace all-purpose flour with a 2:1 ratio of soy flour in any recipe.
13. Buckwheat Flour
If you want a hearty and richly flavored taste, then give buckwheat flour a try! Buckwheat flour is made from grinding up buckwheat. Even though buckwheat has “wheat” in the name it is not the same as wheat & is a naturally gluten-free food.
Buckwheat is easy to use and adds a lovely nutty taste to recipes. It is a great alternative to all-purpose flour in pancakes, muffins, and bread.
Buckwheat flour is a simple 1:1 exchange for all-purpose flour. It is best used in baking - it is not ideal as a thickening agent.
14. Oat Flour
When you find yourself stuck at home with a hankering for baking, without all-purpose flour, look for oatmeal. Raw oats can be quickly turned into flour by grinding them in a food processor or blender.
Homemade oat flour lends a soft earthy taste to any recipe. It is perfect for a last-minute substitute or long-term gluten-free alternative to all-purpose flour. You can also pick up oat flour in most grocery stores and health food stores.
Use oat flour in a 1:1 substitution for all-purpose flour in any baking recipe. It can also be used to thicken soups and sauces.
As one of the most used ingredients in the kitchen, you never know when you may need an all-purpose flour substitute! Tell us what your cooking or baking down below!
All-Purpose Flour Substitute
All-Purpose Flour Substitutes (Wheat Options)
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 cup pastry flour
- 1 cup bread flour
All-Purpose Flour Substitutes (Gluten-Free Options)
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 cup cassava flour
All-Purpose Flour Substitutes (Wheat Options)
- Use cake flour and pastry flour in an equal substitution for AP flour. You may need to add a bit more flour to get the perfect dough or batter consistency. *More so with pastry flour.1 cup cake flour, 1 cup pastry flour
- Use bread flour in a 1:1 ratio for substitution as well. With this option, you may need to add more liquid to adjust and achieve the right consistency. Baked goods will likely be more dense.1 cup bread flour
All-Purpose Flour Substitutes (Gluten-Free Options)
- Almond flour is a tasty, popular AP flour substitute. While you can use it in an easy 1:1 swap for your recipes, there are a few things to note:1) You will need more binding agents (eggs, milk, gelatin) or (psyllium husks, xanthan gum, chia seeds, flax seeds, guar gum, eggs) for gluten-free baking.2) Bake at lower temperatures to prevent the almond flour from burning. I like to bake at temperatures no higher than 350°F (175°C) when using almond flour. In general, reduce any wheat flour recipe temp by 25°F (14°C) and reduce the baking time. Start checking at ¾ of the instructed cooking time (ie. 15 minutes rather than baking for 20 minutes).1 cup almond flour
- Use cassava flour in equal amounts for substituting all-purpose flour in any recipe.1 cup cassava flour
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!