Paleo Plan

How to Substitute Coconut Flour for Almond Flour

almond flourI can’t eat almonds, which means I can’t have almond flour. You may have the same dilemma.

Does that mean you and I are screwed out of any delicious Paleo baked goods – sweet or savory – forever?

Absolutely not.

This girl (I’m pointing at myself here) has indulged many times over the last 3 years without almond meal or its often misunderstood cousin, almond meal.

It’s taken some experimentation, of course. But with the help of my brother-in-law’s perfectionistic culinary skills, masterpieces have been made.

Here are just a few almond-less baked goods you can try for yourself.

and my new favorite from OurPaleoLife.com

But what if you find a recipe that you REALLY want to try and it’s made with almond flour or wheat flour? I find this a lot, which leads to me making giant leaps of faith in the kitchen with usually delicious results.

So what’s the magic trick?

How can you make delicious, moist, smooth Paleo baked goods without using a single almond or speck of grain?

Substitute coconut flour and tapioca flour for the other flour.

The trick is to use a combination of the two or to use enough liquid with JUST coconut flour. You don’t want that grainy, dry consistency that coconut flour so often creates. It’s very dense, so it requires a lot more liquid than you’d think.

The tapioca flour sort of evens things out. It’s made from the cassava root – it’s just a root and many native cultures have used it throughout time (still do). It’s stretchy like gluten. It hardly has any nutrients in it, but it’s a great binding agent, and it provides me with much-needed carbs for my active pursuits.

Anyway…

Here’s what you do.

Substitute other flours with a combination of tapioca flour and coconut flour. I use half tapioca flour and half coconut flour (going a little heavy on the tapioca flour). So for instance, if the recipe calls for 2 cups of almond flour or wheat flour, use 1 heaping cup of tapioca flour and one slightly scant cup of coconut flour. That is the magic recipe.

Coconut flour absorbs a LOT of liquid, so you have to either combine it with other flours or use 6 eggs for every 1/2 cup of flour. Yes, I said 6 eggs with every ONE HALF cup of coconut flour. I said that.

If you’re going to do 1/2 coconut and 1/2 tapioca, add an egg or two to the batter, or some other kind of liquid (apple sauce, mushed up banana, coconut milk, fruit juice, etc.). How much, you may be asking? I’m inordinately comfortable with eyeballing things in the kitchen, but maybe you’re not so keen on that idea, so here’s some guidance.

Basically, you want the batter to be moist enough that it looks like batter and not hardened cement. Your eyeballs will let you know when that happens ;) Taste testing throughout the process is HIGHLY encouraged. But only if you’re using organic or (preferably) pastured eggs. Those conventional things will kill you.

Seriously, I’ve gotten sick THREE TIMES from sampling raw batter that was made with conventional eggs. I mean really, really sick – up all night sick. You’d think I’d learn my lesson, right? But in all the time I’ve been baking with pastured eggs I’ve been totally fine.

Trust yourself.

Anyway, trust your taste instincts here. If it tastes good before it goes in the oven, I can personally guarantee that it will taste good coming out of the oven.

There are a lot of different flours out there now that you can experiment with, beyond just tapioca and coconut. Sarah Ballantyne of thepaleomom.com wrote a really great blog post describing all of the Paleo flours here.

Alright, get your butt in the kitchen and start experimenting! And please let me know in the comments what you use in place of almond flour.

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8 Comments

  1. The coconut flour and the almond flour is so beneficial for the human body because it contains good fats and calories which are good for human body and mind.

  2. Rachel T

    I’ve been using: eggs + gelatin = 1/2 to 1/3 the egg count. I’m an eyeball-it cook, but it’s about 4 cups coconut flour, 3 eggs & 1/4 – 1/3 cup gelatin

  3. Danette

    I can’t eat eggs. What’s a good substitute?

  4. How does water chestnut flour work as a sub dor almond flour?

  5. So I didn’t research before trying it and just substituted 1 1/2 cups coconut flour for 1 1/2 cups almond flour… Is there any way to salvage my tasty muffins???

  6. Lynne S.

    I am trying to recreate my mother’s applesauce spice cake which calls for 2 cps of flour. I don’t want the cake to be dry and grainy. 1/2 c butter, 3/4 c sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 slightly beaten egg – flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves – 1 cp hot applesauce, dates & walnuts…what is the secret to replacing the all purpose flour and have your cake come out light and moist?

    • Lynne S. – It’s important to realize that there isn’t a Paleo friendly all purpose flour replacement that will bake up exactly like the original. Each Paleo flour replacement has its own set of pros and cons, and each will need to be experimented with to get the exact proportion of flour substitute with liquid, fat and egg in the recipe. That’s the trick of Paleo baking–there isn’t a simple formula! I’d suggest trying a blend of tapioca flour with almond meal, and decreasing the amount of butter slightly. The bake time will also need to be adjusted. With the sugar and butter in this recipe, it isn’t truly Paleo, but let us know if you find a flour ratio that works out.

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