Melty chocolate chip cookies, moist double chocolate layer cake with vanilla frosting, delicious donuts, fluffy pancakes, fresh Belgium waffles — just the thought of them will make your mouth water and induce an intense craving. Do you have to fight against these cravings for the rest of your life?
Although only one serving of these sugar-filled foods can easily put you over your carb limit for the day (or, in some cases, the entire week), this doesn’t mean that you have to give them up completely. It’s now easier than ever to make low-carb keto-friendly versions of all your high-carb, sugar-filled favorites.
What’s the secret ingredient? Low-carb, keto-friendly flours.
Flour Alternatives For The Ketogenic Diet
When you consider that 1 cup of all-purpose flour contains nearly 100 grams of carbs, it’s easy to see why you’d need to seek out lower-carb baking products. By using low-carb flours, you can get all the benefits of the ketogenic diet while occasionally indulging in your favorite foods.
However, replacing high carb flours like all-purpose flour, wheat flour, corn flour, and rice flour with low-carb flour is not as simple as just using one for the other. Due to the difference in composition between high-carb and low-carb flours, you will need to use different amounts of low-carb flour together with other essential ingredients that you don’t typically find in traditional baking recipes like psyllium husk, xanthan gum, and protein powder.
For this reason, it is best to learn how to use low-carb flours by following the recipes that you’ll find throughout this article (and on ruled.me). By doing so, you’ll be able to get a tangible feel for how you can keto-fy your own high-carb favorites by using keto flours rather than carb-dense flours.
To help you get acquainted with making keto-friendly baked goods, we decided to put this article together with all the info you’ll need to get started. Below you will find the many low carb flour options you can use on keto, how to utilize them correctly, and some of our favorite low-carb flour recipes. After reading through this guide, you will have the information you need to make the keto-friendly version of the high-carb food that you’ve been craving.
Almond Flour: The All-Purpose Keto Flour
Almond flour is one of the best grain-free alternatives to regular flour. It’s a low-carb flour staple for everyone following a ketogenic diet (and we use it quite a lot in our recipes).
A 1/4 cup of almond flour contains 12 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein, and just 2 grams of net carbs, making it one of the best keto flour alternatives. Due to its high-fat content, and lack of gluten, you may need additional eggs or baking powder to give your baked goods more structure.
The typical almond flour is made from almonds that are blanched (boiled in water to remove the skins) and ground into a fine flour. It tends to add a lightly sweet flavor and a moist texture to baked goods, making it ideal for low-carb cakes, cookies, bread, and pie crusts.
Almond flour is available in supermarkets and grocery stores, but you can find it for the lowest price when you buy it in bulk online. Make sure you purchase the finest blanched almond flour that has no darker specks of skin. The finer the grind of the almond flour, the finer the consistency of your baked goods and the easier it will be for your food to rise.
With that being said, there is a place for more coarsely ground almonds as well. Almond meals, for example, are often less expensive and are still useful in things that don’t require a fine texture, such as muffins and cookies.
Tips on How to Bake with Almond Flour:
- There is no suggested measurement ratio for all-purpose flour and almond flour. This is partly because every brand of almond flour is slightly different. The best advice I can give you is to use the recipes below to get an understanding of what baking with almond flour requires.
- Use a little less oil and liquid to account for the high-fat content of the almonds.
- Try using an extra egg or half an egg to provide more structure for baking quick breads and muffins.
- Adding extra raising agent (e.g., baking powder or baking soda) can be helpful.
- Resist the urge to thin out low-carb batters, as you may end up with a soggy mess. Low-carb batters should be a bit thicker.
- Bake at 25°F lower than you normally would for a longer time.
- Almond flour may brown too quickly, so cover it with aluminum foil if it does.
- Always allow keto-friendly baked goods to sit and cool completely. When they are allowed to cool for a couple of hours, low-carb crackers and pie/tart crusts will become crisper, and muffins and cakes will develop a better texture and hold together.
How to Store Almond Flour Properly:
Since almond flour can become rancid fast, it is best to put it in the fridge or freezer after opening. Most almond flour comes in an airtight sealed bag, but you can use an airtight container as well.
Other Considerations for Almond Flour Use:
The only problem with using almond flour is that it is easy to overdo it. A cup of almond flour, for example, consists of about 90 almonds — an amount that someone would rarely eat in one sitting. Although there are many health benefits that you can get from almonds, consuming high quantities of them will flood your body with inflammatory fats and phytates, which can worsen pre-existing health issues.
Coconut flour is, in my opinion, the healthiest low-carb flour alternative and, if you are looking for a nut-free keto-friendly flour, then sunflower seed flour and pumpkin seed flour are your best options.
Recommended Almond Flour Products:
Delicious Recipes That Use Almond Flour :
This deliciously hearty recipe uses almond flour to help hold the casserole together, so each bite is filled with bacony, cheesy, beefy goodness.
You’ll never miss carb-laden waffles again once these keto-friendly waffles hit your palate. In this recipe, the almond flour (and other essential ingredients that we will learn about later) take the place of all-purpose flour.
Keto chocolate chip cookies with a delicious coconut twist. The almond flour in this recipe is what provides the base and subtly sweet flavor to these cookies.
Almond Meal (Ground Almonds)
Almond flour is not the same as almond meal. Almond flour is made from blanched almonds and finely ground while the almond meal is not so finely milled and may contain almond skin.
If you are running low on almond flour for baked goods like muffins and cookies, then simply throw some almonds in a food processor, make some almond meal, and use it to replace the blanched almond flour. Just make sure you blend it as finely as possible, but not so fine that you create almond butter.
Tips on How to Bake with Almond Meal:
Follow the same suggestions as provided for almond flour above.
How to Store Almond Meal Properly:
Do the same thing with almond meal that you do with almond flour. Store the almond meal in the fridge or freezer after opening.
Recommended Almond Meal Products:
- Honeyville Farms Blanched Almond Meal Flour
- Anthony’s Natural Unblanched Almond Meal / Flour
- Make it yourself with raw almonds and a food processor
Delicious Recipes That Use Almond Meal:
This recipe uses almond meal to provide you with a moist and soft donut that will have you hooked.
For these cookies, you can use almond flour or fine almond meal to provide the perfect delivery mechanism for the sweet and spicy gingersnap flavor.
Although these tart and sweet muffins call for blanched almond flour, the almond meal will work just as well to provide you with a soft muffin base.
Coconut flour is made from dehydrated coconut meat after most its fat has been extracted to produce coconut oil. Each 1/4 cup of coconut flour contains 60 calories, 2.5 g of fat, 6 g of protein, 19 g of carbohydrates, 12 g of fiber, and 7 g of net carbs. Due to its high fiber content, this low-carb flour is perfect for anyone who needs a digestive health boost.
Just like in the case of almond flour and almond meal, coconut flour cannot be directly substituted in your old recipes. In fact, coconut flour is a different beast altogether from nut flours because it soaks up liquids and moisture like a sponge.
Tips on How to Bake with Coconut Flour:
- Substitute 1/4-1/3 cup of coconut flour for every 1 cup of regular all-purpose flour
- For every 1 cup of coconut flour, use six eggs and 1 cup of liquid.
- Coconut flour can be baked at the same temperature as other recipes, no need for adjustment.
- Batters will tend to thicken after they have sat for a few minutes. If you are making a low-carb keto waffle, for example, make sure you allow the batter to stand and thicken for a couple of minutes. By doing this, you will end up with a much sturdier and less crumbly waffle.
- When combining almond flour and coconut flour together, the best ratio is 3:1 almond flour to coconut flour. By combining these low-carb flours, you can closely mirror all-purpose flour without the need for additional eggs. Just make sure that you keep the liquid ingredients at the same ratio suggested for coconut flour, as it will still need the extra moisture.
How to Store Coconut Flour Properly:
Since coconut flour absorbs moisture like a sponge, it’s important to keep it in an airtight sealed bag or container. Store it in a cool, dark spot in your pantry rather than the fridge or freezer to prevent moisture contamination.
Other Considerations For Coconut Flour Use:
If you don’t like the taste of coconut, you may still want to try baking with coconut flour because the taste can easily be masked by other strong flavors. In sweet baked goods, for example, vanilla, chocolate, and cocoa powder help mask the coconut taste. For more savory items, add a little garlic or onion powder.
Recommended Coconut Flour Products:
Delicious Recipes That Use Coconut Flour:
Ditch the all-purpose flour, you will never need it again — especially if you are a shrimp lover. In this recipe, coconut flour provides the base for the delectable coconutty layer on top of every shrimp.
These sandwich cakes are like a frosted cupcake sandwich that can satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. The combination of almond flour and coconut flour in this recipe sets the stage for a deliciously moist cake.
This recipe demonstrates coconut flour’s versatility. The custard in these cream pies wouldn’t be as thick without the help of some coconut flour.
Walnut Meal and Other Nut Flours
You can grind almost any nut to obtain a flour-like consistency and use it to reduce the carb content of your recipes. Walnut meal, for example, can be used in many recipes that call for almond flour. Other nut flours that you can experiment with are hazelnut meal, pecan meal, macadamia nut meal, and pistachio meal. Each one will provide your baked goods with a unique flavor, so choose wisely.
An important caveat, however, is that it is much harder to find recipes using these nut flours. For this reason, you’ll have to go through a lot of trial and error to find out which nut meal works best for the food that you are preparing.
How To Store Walnut Meal and Other Nut Flours Properly:
Store them in the same way that you would for almond flour and almond meal. Put it in an airtight bag or container, and keep it in the fridge or freezer between uses.
Recommended Nut Flour Products?
- Although you can find some specialty nut flours, it is best to buy whole nuts and process them into fine flour or meal on your own.
A Delicious Recipe That Uses Walnut Meal:
This recipe works well with either chopped walnuts or coarse walnut meal. The walnuts add another flavor and texture dimension to the salmon that almonds simply can’t provide.
Ground Flax Meal
Flax meal is also known as ground flax, ground flaxseeds, or linseed. They are super nutritious, providing a good source of vitamin B1, Copper, ALA (plant derived Omega 3s), and lignans (plant compounds that help ward off cell damage from free radicals).
In every two tablespoons, ground flax contains nearly 70 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 5 grams of total carbs, 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and 1 gram of net carbs.
Due to its earthy taste, flax meal is perfect for making keto-friendly bread, muffins, cookies, nutty cakes, and scones. Although it is not typically used as the primary flour in keto recipes, flax meal has many other essential uses.
One of the most valuable things about flax is how it can be used to replace eggs in recipes.
By simply putting some water on the flaxseeds and letting them swell, they acquire egg-like properties. However, this method cannot be used as an egg replacement in recipes that require a significant amount of eggs.
Tips on How to Bake with Ground Flax Meal:
- To replace one egg, mix 1 tbsp ground flax meal with 3 tbsp of water and allow it to swell.
- For the best taste, buy whole golden flaxseeds and grind them up in a food processor right before use.
How To Store Flax Meal Properly:
Flax meal and flaxseeds can become rancid very quickly, so it is best to store them in the fridge before and after opening. Make sure they are stored in an airtight bag or container as well.
Other Considerations: Brown Flaxseeds vs. Golden Flaxseeds
Some keto recipes will call for flaxseeds or flaxseed meal, but which one should you use? Brown or golden?
Although they have similar fatty acid content and health benefits, golden flaxseeds are known as the better tasting flaxseed. So — anytime a recipe calls for flaxseeds or flax meal and you’re not sure what to pick — go for gold.
Recommended Ground Flax Meal Products:
- Bob’s Red Mill Organic Golden Flaxseed Meal
- Bob’s Red Mill Organic Brown Flaxseed Meal
- Buy whole golden flaxseeds and grind them up in a food processor
Delicious Recipes That Use Flaxseed Meal:
Bread and butter — without the carbs! An essential component of these loaves is the flax meal, which gives each slice of bread a hearty and earthy taste.
The flaxseed meal in this recipe helps hold the delicious keto-friendly breading of these nuggets together. Thanks to the egg-like properties of flax, you will get a bite of savory, low-carb breading with every piece of chicken.
By starting off your morning with these hearty and filling pancakes, you’ll be able to experience the flavor of flaxseed meal in all of its glory with some low-carb maple syrup.
Sunflower Seed or Pumpkin Seed Meal
Sunflower seed meal and pumpkin seed meal are ideal options for those who are allergic to any of the nut flours we mentioned above. These seed flours are high in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, copper, thiamine, selenium, and phosphorus, and relatively low in net carbs (less than five net carbs in every 1-ounce serving), making them a healthy keto-friendly option.
Tips on How to Bake with Sunflower Seed Meal and Pumpkin Seed Meal:
- Replace almond flour/meal with the same amount of sunflower seed or pumpkin seed meal. This can be done because almond flour/meal and these seed flours have very similar properties.
- If you are trying to avoid coconut, then use more flour and less liquid than the recipe calls for. Find the ideal ratio by adding small amounts of seed flour and liquid until you get the right consistency.
How To Store Sunflower Seed Meal and Pumpkin Seed Meal Properly:
Sunflower seed and pumpkin seed meal are much more stable than flaxseed meal, so they will do just fine in a cool dark pantry.
The downside of these flour alternatives is that they are a bit more expensive than the more popular low-carb flours and much harder to find. You will probably find it more feasible to make your own sunflower or pumpkin seed flours by using a food processor or coffee grinder.
Recommended Sunflower Seed Meal and Pumpkin Seed Meal Products:
- Ground Raw Sunflower Seed Meal By Gerbs
- Ground Raw Pumpkin Seed Meal By Gerbs
- Buy raw pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds and grind them with a food processor or coffee grinder to make your own allergen-free low-carb flour.
Other Low-Carb Flour Alternatives
If you would rather use other flour alternatives, here is a list of some lesser used options:
- Organic Soy Flour. Soy flour is derived from ground soybeans. It is somewhat similar to coconut flour in that it is quite dry and easily absorbs ingredients. It also has more protein than the keto flours we mentioned above and is an excellent source of dietary fiber. By buying organic soy flour, you can avoid GMO soybeans and the pesticides that are commonly used on them.
- Other Bean Flours. There are many different types of bean flour that you can try. Flours made from chickpeas, garbanzo beans, or fava beans make great low-carb options.
- Organic Sesame Flour. Sesame seed flour is a great alternative to all-purpose flour. It tastes great in both sweet and savory recipes and is especially good for making keto bread. By using sesame flour with psyllium powder, you can make your favorite baked goods more light and fluffy. Keep in mind, however, that this flour is similar to coconut flour in that it has high absorption properties.
As with the flour alternatives that we looked at earlier in this article, make sure you are mindful of the net carbs that these lesser-known flours contain. Although they are known as “low-carb,” some of these flours will have a higher net carb content than the more common keto flour substitutions.
Other Essential Ingredients for Keto Baking and Cooking
Using the right flour is the key to becoming a successful keto baker and chef, but there are a couple of other ingredients that are equally important as well. These ingredients are not technically flours, but they are an essential component of many keto recipes because they provide the properties that keto-friendly flours are missing.
Psyllium Husk Powder
Psyllium husk is typically used medicinally as a colon cleanser, but in the kitchen, it is a thickener that helps the recipes bind together. This helps give the finished product a great crumb-like texture.
For this reason, psyllium husk powder is an essential ingredient for making low-carb bread, cakes, and pies. In fact, this is the one ingredient that makes low-carb bread almost indistinguishable from regular wheat bread because of its whole-wheat texture and flavor (without the net carbs).
How to Store Psyllium Husk Properly:
Keep the psyllium in the container that it comes in, and store it in a cool, dry place. Make sure the container or bag is sealed securely as it may suck up humidity from the air.
Recommended Psyllium Husk Product:
Delicious Recipes That Use Psyllium Husk Powder:
This keto pizza recipe uses the absorptive power of psyllium husk powder to give us pizza crust that is ready in just 5 minutes.
You read that right — keto croutons. They look and taste like the real thing because of how psyllium husk powder mimics the taste and texture of whole-wheat flour.
Sometimes the burger without the bun just isn’t satisfying. Luckily — with the help of psyllium husk powder and almond flour — you can have a keto-friendly hamburger bun in less than 5 minutes (without the extra carbs).
Whey Protein, Casein Protein, or Egg White Protein Powder
Protein powder is a useful tool in baking because it has a similar binding effect as gluten, which is an essential property that is missing from low-carb flours. For this reason, protein powder is able to add the consistency that you are looking for in your cakes and bread.
Grab a pound, and it’ll last you six months or more. Stick with egg white protein powder if you have any dairy allergies.
Recommended Protein Powders:
Delicious Recipes That Use Protein Powder:
These cookies mix whey protein, psyllium husk powder, almond flour, and coconut flour together to provide you with a chocolatey, chewy chocolate chip cookie.
One of the most important ingredients in these keto-friendly donuts is the 100% casein protein powder. It helps emulate some of the properties of all-purpose flour while simultaneously adding some extra flavor.
Mainly used as a thickener, this carb-free substance will last you months and months. You can use it to thicken stews, make ice cream, and provide the right consistency to your low-carb baked goods.
Recommended Xanthan Gum Product:
Delicious Recipes That Use Xanthan Gum:
Although xanthan gum doesn’t bring any extra flavor to these mouth-watering cupcakes, it adds an extra cakeyness to the texture that takes the cake to the next level.
Thanks to the thickening power of xanthan gum, you won’t have to give up on bagels while you are on the ketogenic diet either. These bagels are so good that you’ll forget all about the carb-filled bagels of the past.
Other Ways to Replace High-Carb Flours
If you need to cut the carbs and don’t have time to prepare a keto bread loaf or low-carb buns, there are couple flour-free options you can try.
- Use lettuce leaves to replace bread, buns, and wraps that are usually used to make sandwiches and burgers.
- Instead of making keto-friendly pizza dough, use grilled eggplant slices as the base for your pizza toppings.
- Rather than making your own pasta or using commercially prepared pasta, use zucchini noodles or make a zucchini pasta dish like this.
What About Commercial Low-Carb Baking Mixes?
In the baking aisle, you may find some commercial low-carb baking mixes that contain a blend of flour substitutes, such as oat, hazelnut, and soy flour. The amount of carbs in these products varies widely depending on the blend.
Bob Red Mill’s low-carb baking mix, for example, contains 8 grams of net carbs per 1/4 cup of flour. If you decide to use flours like this, make sure you follow the directions on the box and track the net carbs that you are consuming diligently.
To avoid the unnecessary confusion of finding the right product with the right amount of carbs, stick to following keto-friendly recipes and using the simplest ingredients. Your brain, your body, and your bank account will thank you.
Should You Buy Premade Keto-Friendly Baked Goods?
With all of the new low-carb food products hitting the marking lately, you may be wondering if it is really worth it to make your own keto-friendly baked goods. Unfortunately, many “keto-friendly” products have been found to contain more net carbs and a bigger impact on insulin secretion than indicated by the packaging. For this reason, one ready-made “keto cookie” can kick you out of ketosis, even if the label says “only with four net carbs.”
If you are going to buy premade keto-friendly baked goods, make sure you buy from a company that you’ve investigated yourself and know you can trust. With that being said, even the most trustworthy keto-friendly company cannot replace the control you have over what goes into your body when you prepare the food yourself.
It is easier than ever to eat all of your favorite foods while following a low-carb ketogenic diet. All you need is the right combination of low-carb flours and ingredients to make delicious keto-friendly breads, cookies, cakes, hamburger buns, etc. At this point, I’d be surprised if there are any high-carb recipes that cannot be made into a healthier, low-carb version.
Not sure exactly what ingredients you should stock your pantry with? Follow this link to our recommendations page. Here you will find all of the products that we use the most in our keto recipes.