Coconut and almond flour are often combined in low-carb, paleo, and gluten-free baking because they complement each other perfectly. But when it comes to using one or the other, almond flour seems to be everyone’s go-to. That’s because it’s easier to work with and is the closest thing to regular flour you will find.
But what about coconut flour? Can you use it instead of almond flour found in so many low-carb recipes?
You can definitely substitute coconut flour for almond flour in low-carb pancakes, muffins, and cake. But there are a couple of rules you need to follow when doing so.
This article will tell you everything you need to know about subbing coconut flour for almond flour. But first, let’s talk a bit about this popular keto ingredient.
Unlocking the Secrets of Coconut Flour: Its Unique Benefits for Delicious and Healthy Keto Baking
Coconut flour is a grain-free flour alternative made by grinding dried coconut meat. It is a byproduct of coconut milk production with a white or off-white appearance and soft texture — so it’s almost like white wheat flour. But that’s where the resemblance ends.
Compared to regular flour, coconut flour is low in carbs but high in fiber, fat, and protein . It is even a good source of iron and potassium. Besides being different from a nutrition standpoint, this popular nut flour also behaves differently from white flour.
First, almost half of its weight is fiber, which makes it highly absorbent. It also lacks gluten and needs an additional binding ingredient to work in most recipes. And taste-wise, it has a mildly sweet, coconut-y taste and aroma.
Mastering the Art of Keto Baking with Coconut Flour: Tips and Tricks for Perfect Results
Normally, we combine almond and coconut flour at a 3:1 ratio in most low-carb recipes. But when baking with coconut flour alone, your recipe will need a couple of adjustments:
Substitute coconut flour at a 1:4 ratio
A great thing about coconut flour is that a little bit goes a long way. Use one part of coconut flour for every four parts of almond or wheat flour in all your recipes.
Add eggs (and lots of them!)
Eggs replace gluten in low-carb baking, and they’re especially important when baking with coconut flour. They bind ingredients, add moisture, and provide structure. Using 1 egg for every ¼ cup of coconut flour is recommended.
Add more liquid
Besides eggs, recipes with coconut flour need a splash of extra liquid like water, milk, yogurt, or sugar-free syrup. Coconut flour can absorb 4 times its weight in water. It’s usually recommended to use the same amount of liquid as coconut flour or just to add enough liquid until you get the right consistency depending on the recipe.
Add yolks and whites separately.
This is a common tip in baking when your goal is a fluffy and airy consistency — to add yolks first and then slowly and gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter.
Be careful with yeast
Coconut flour has no gluten and barely any sugar — both of which are needed to make yeast rise. That’s why it’s best to stick to baking powder as a leavener with coconut flour. You can, however, add vital wheat gluten, inulin, or xanthan gum to help yeast-leavened almond bread puff up.
Substituting Coconut Flour for Almond Flour
Almond flour is fairly neutral-tasting and creates beautiful crumb in low-carb, paleo, and grain-free baking. But it’s also too moist for its own good and has no binding properties. That’s why it’s usually paired with coconut flour to balance out its moistness and to help the ingredients come together.
But maybe you want to ditch almond flour altogether if you have a tree nut allergy or because it’s expensive. When substituting coconut flour for almond flour, keep these tips in mind:
Substitute at a 1:4 ratio and use eggs
For every cup of almond flour in a recipe, use ¼ coconut flour plus one egg.
Add your preferred liquid until you get the right consistency. This part may involve a little bit of trial and error.
Try xanthan gum
Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide, a type of soluble fiber that’s a popular food additive. It’s a fantastic emulsifier and can improve the texture of baked goods made with coconut flour. Most recipes will do with 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum or less.
Also, keep in mind that baked goods with coconut flour may be on the drier side. In worst-case scenarios, its use can result in gritty baked goods.
(Fun fact: A study published recently in the journal Food Chemistry: X found that almond flour performed better in gluten-free cupcakes and that consumer acceptance analysis shows that cupcakes made with almond flour were preferred over the coconut ones ).
Indulging Your Sweet Tooth: Mouthwatering Keto Dessert Recipes Using Coconut Flour
At My Sweet Keto, we love using coconut flour as a stand-alone flour in our recipes. When paired with the right add-ins, the results can be impressive. Plus, it’s cheaper to use coconut flour alone. Here are just a couple of our keto recipes with coconut flour:
Made with coconut flour, lots of eggs, rich macadamia butter, and psyllium husk powder, this dairy-free bread is fluffy yet moist.
Fluffy and tender pancakes made with Greek yogurt and coconut flour. We’ve added xanthan gum to help the ingredients come together and flavored this with vanilla extract and erythritol.
A whole cake made with just ⅓ cup coconut flour? Make this cake next Valentine’s Day or whenever you’re hit with chocolate cravings.
If you’re still looking for the perfect keto PB cookies, look no further! These are crumbly and soft with loads of flavor. The process of making them is slightly different from what you’re used to — but you’ll see it works great.
Don’t have time to bake but crave something sweet? Then try this 4-minute mug cake made with coconut everything: oil, milk, and flour. We’ve also added a bit of butter and coffee to make it Bulletproof, of course.
Almond flour is usually everyone’s flour of choice in low-carb and grain-free baking. It’s mild in taste, has a whiteish color, and behaves almost like regular flour in baked goods.
But coconut flour can work just as well in recipes when used correctly. You can even substitute coconut flour for almond flour if that’s what you prefer.
The trick, however, is to use only a small amount but combine it with eggs and lots of liquid. Coconut flour is very absorbent and must be balanced with eggs and water to avoid crumbly and gritty goods.
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. ORGANIC COCONUT FLOUR. April 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/602505/nutrients
- Hopkin L, Broadbent H, Ahlborn GJ. Influence of almond and coconut flours on Ketogenic, Gluten-Free cupcakes. Food Chem X. 2021;13:100182. Published 2021 Dec 6. doi:10.1016/j.fochx.2021.100182