Did you know that one cup of all-purpose flour contains nearly 100 grams of carbs? So much for diving into a donut when you crave something sweet! But this doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to enjoy a fried or baked dessert or even a sandwich while you’re on a super-low-carb diet. There’s a whole world of delicious, keto baking waiting for you—if you understand the best low-carb substitutes for traditional, high-carb all-purpose flour.
Yes, it’s true. You can have your cake and eat it too--if you stock up on and use these keto-friendly flours when baking or breading foods at home. The following flours are the most commonly used and versatile in keto recipes. Just make sure you are keeping an eye on your carbohydrate intake, while keto-friendly flours open many doors to you for baking and cooking, their carbs can add up quickly!
Almond Flour: Keto’s All-Purpose Flour Alternative
Almond flour is simply finely ground blanched almonds. A must-have for the keto kitchen, it is a good source of vitamin E, and it’s also rich in magnesium, iron, manganese, calcium, and potassium, and lends a nutty flavor and moist, slightly dense character to baked goods. Even if you haven’t baked with almond flour in the past, you’ve probably enjoyed it: you know those colorful, fancy French sandwich cookies, macarons? They’re made with almond flour! Important to note: the amount of macros in almond flour varies by brand, so look for brands that contain 10 or less net carbs per cup.
Like almond flour, almond meal is made from ground almonds, However for almond meal, the skins are not removed before grinding, so the texture is coarser and more grainy than almond flour. Similar to almond flour, almond meal’s macros vary by brand, so look for brands that have around 10 or less net carbs per cup.
Cooking Tips: Almond meal is commonly used in baked goods like cookies and quick breads (with denser results than if you use almond flour), and because of its texture, it can also be used instead of breadcrumbs to coat meats or chicken or top vegetables and casseroles. Want to explore a delish recipe with almond meal? Try these Almond Cookies with Lemon Zest--yum!
Light and extra fine with barely-there coconut flavor and a low score on the glycemic index, coconut flour is made from ground, dried coconut meat. It’s lower in calories and carbs and higher in fiber than almond flour. It’s also rich in protein and fat, which makes it exceptionally filling. Coconut flour is versatile, too, so use it in savory and sweet recipes.
Cooking Tips: This versatile flour can be used for baked goods, coatings, and to thicken soups. Coconut flour is absorbent, so expect to use more liquid than normal when baking with it. And batters made with coconut flour take a little more time to thicken. Give it a try with this awesome recipe forCoconut Flour Cupcakes--and don’t forget the frosting!
Ground Flaxseed or Flax Meal
Flaxseed, also known as linseed or flax, is best consumed in milled or ground form because whole flaxseed is difficult for the body to digest and absorb. Nutritionally, flaxseed is high in fat, fiber, and cholesterol-lowering Omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also low in digestible carbs.
Cooking Tips: Expect baked items to brown more quickly when they contain flaxseed meal, so consider lowering the oven temperature a bit or decreasing the cooking time. Flax’s high oil content makes it a good substitute for eggs in baking recipes; for each egg you want to replace, mix 1 Tbsp of ground flax meal with 3 Tbsp of water, and let the mixture gel for 10 minutes. Want to give flax meal a try? Start with a keto Slicing Bread recipe!
Other Flours to Explore
Once you get the hang of these key keto flours, you many want to explore the following flours.
Binding agents help your alternative flour mimic wheat flour’s desirable structure by binding with other ingredients; they also add structure and texture to the final product.
A gluten-free food additive that's made from bacteria-fermented sugar, xanthan gum is a powdered binding agent that lends structure to baked goods and thickness to soups and stews. It’s often used as a substitute for cornstarch and contains minimal carbs, making it a favorite source among keto cooks. You’ll find chances to use xanthan gum in our Slicing Bread and Lemon Bars recipes.
Cooking Tips: Use xanthan gum to thicken soups and sauces or give structure to baked goods. You don’t need a lot--a teaspoon or less will usually do the trick!
Psyllium is a seed that is produced commercially mostly for use as a dietary fiber, and its small husk is known for being an excellent, fiber-rich binding agent. When combined with liquid, psyllium husks become thick and gluey and expand to 10 times their original size! You can find them in well-stocked grocery stores and health food stores.
Cooking Tips: Psyllium husk is also an inexpensive binding agent. A half teaspoon of psyllium husk per serving is enough to thicken your favourite recipes.
Ready to get cooking? Your tool kit for clean keto cooking is growing by the day! Keep up the good work and don’t forget to post your success stories on Instagram and tag #ketomojo :)
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