Best Chickpea Flour Substitutes for Cooking and Baking

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Chickpea flour, also called gram flour or besan flour, is a popular gluten-free alternative used in baking and cooking recipes. However, you may be looking for a substitute for many reasons. Read on to learn about chickpea flour and the substitutes to help you select the best replacement for your recipe.

Five wood scoops filled with different kinds of flour.

What is a Chickpea Flour?

Chickpea flour has been a staple in the Indian subcontinent and around the Mediterranean for centuries. Also known as besan or gram flour, it is made using the most common type of chickpea: desi chickpeas or ground-up garbanzo beans.

Chickpea flour is strong enough to bind ingredients when making veggie burgers, pakora, or falafel. It is gluten-free, high in fiber and protein, and has a neutral flavor. Despite its popularity, you might not be able to find or even want to purchase chickpea flour. In those instances, I have the ten best substitutes.

Four different wooden spoons filled with flours.

Why Substitute Chickpea Flour?

You might want to substitute chickpea flour for several reasons. It might not be easy to find, you might not like the flavor, or you could be allergic, to name a few. In those cases, I have ten of the best chickpea flour substitutes.

What are the Best Chickpea Flour Substitutes?

If you cannot find chickpea flour for the recipe you plan on making, get one of the following substitutes. Let’s find out more about these substitutes:

Four spilling out of a bag.

#1. All-Purpose Flour

Best for General Baking

It is a common and versatile flour that works in most recipes where chickpea flour is used, including baking, thickening sauces, and flatbreads. All-purpose flour has a lower protein and fiber content than chickpea flour.

Substitution Ratio: 1:1
A spoon filled with oat flour.

#2. Oat Four (GF)

Best for Baking Cookies, Muffins, Bread

A gluten-free option with a smooth texture and mild sweetness, oat flavor can also be made at home by placing old-fashioned rolled oats in a high-performance blender and blending them into fine dust.

Substitution Ratio: 1:1,
Might need to slightly reduce the liquid
A bowl of wheat flour next to wheat.

#3. Whole Wheat Flour

Best for Breads and Muffins

Slightly denser and more nutritious than all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour can be a good substitute in most recipes. While whole wheat flour can be substituted at a 1:1, this flour is heavier, and I recommend a mix of 25% whole wheat and 75 all-purpose.

Substitution Ratio: 1:1
A spoon filled with coconut flour.

#4. Coconut Four (GF)

Best for Baked Goods

Another gluten-free option, coconut flour, is made from the meaty part of the coconut. It is highly absorbent and has a distinct flavor. It’s best used in recipes where its coconut flavor complements the dish.

Substitution Ratio: .25: 1 
(¼ cup coconut to 1 cup chickpea)
Almonds next to almond flour.

#5. Almond Four (GF)

Best for Gluten-Free Baking

Almond flour is one of the best replacements for chickpea flour. It is rich in protein and loaded with nutrients. Almond flour has a slightly nutty flavor and is used in making macarons. You can make almond flour at home by grinding almonds in a high-performance blender.

Substitution Ratio: 1:1
Denser, heavier texture
Rice in a spoon next to a bowl of rice flour.

#6. Rice Four (GF)

Best for Baking, Sauces, Noodles

Also popular with gluten-free baking, rice flour is light and can be used similarly to chickpea flour, especially in Asian cuisine.

Substitution Ratio: 1:1
Expect a lighter, crumbly texture.
Quinoa flour in a bowl with a spoon on top.

#7. Quinoa Four (GF)

Best for Pancakes, Flatbreads

Quinoa flour is another gluten-free alternative. It is made with ground quinoa seeds and has a fine consistency. As a bonus, quinoa flour is highly nutritious.

Substitution Ratio: 1/2 quinoa: 1 chickpea
Denser texture and stronger flavor.
A spoon filled with buckwheat

#8. Corn Flour (GF)

Best for Cornbread, Tortillas, Breading

While chickpea flour has a different texture and flavor, corn flour or finely ground cornmeal can be used in some recipes, especially in breading and tortillas.

Substitution Ratio: 1:1
A bowl filled with spelt flour.

#9. Spelt Flour

Best for Bread, Pasta, Crackers.

Spelt flour is wheat flour made from the entire wheat grain. The result is a flour that performs similarly to all-purpose flour but has more flavor than whole wheat flour. In other words, it’s the best of both worlds. However, it is important to note that spelt four does have a nuttier flavor.

Substitution Ratio: 1:1
Dough slightly stickier
A spoon filled with buckwheat

#10. Buckwheat Four (GF)

Pancakes, Noodles, Rustic Bread

Higher in protein and fiber makes it an attractive choice. However, this flour has a distinct, strong flavor and texture. Because this buckwheat is not an easy swap, and I only recommend making it if you are familiar with this flour. Before substituting, I recommend referring to this Buckwheat baking guide from King Arthur.

Substitution Ratio: 1/4 buckwheat: 1 cup chickpea

Chickpea Flour Substitutes Comparison Chart

Use this chart to determine the best flour substitute for your needs. This list is arranged alphabetically, in contrast to the list above, which is in order, starting with my most recommended substitute.

Flour NameGluten-FreeProtein (g)Ancient GrainsBest Uses
All-Purpose FlourNo10.3NoGeneral baking, sauces, flatbreads
Almond FlourYes21.2NoBaking, cakes, cookies, bread
Buckwheat FlourYes13.3YesPancakes, noodles, rustic bread
Coconut FlourYes18.3NoSweet baked goods like cakes and muffins
Corn FlourYes3.6NoCornbread, tortillas, fried foods breading
Oat FlourYes16.9NoBaking cookies, muffins, bread
Quinoa FlourYes14.1YesBaking, pancakes, flatbreads
Rice FlourYes5.9NoBaking, sauces, noodles
Spelt FlourNo14.6YesBread, pasta, crackers
Whole Wheat FlourNo13.2NoBread, muffins, dense baked goods

Note: The protein content is based on average values per 100 grams of each flour type. These values can vary slightly depending on the brand and specific type of flour.

Five wood scoops filled with different kinds of flour.

How to Make Chickpea Flour

Make fresh, gluten-free chickpea flour at home with this simple recipe. Perfect for baking, cooking, and more!
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Course: All Day
Cuisine: all
Servings: 2.5 cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours 20 minutes

Equipment

  • 1 high-powered blender or food processor
  • 1 sifter
  • 1 air-tight storage container

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas

Instructions

  • Rinse and Dry: Rinse chickpeas under cold water. Spread out to dry completely. This can take up to 12 hours.
  • Grind: Place dried chickpeas in a high-powered blender or food processor. Blend until you achieve a fine powder. This takes about 5-10 minutes.
  • Sift: Sift the ground chickpeas to remove any larger pieces. This takes about 5 minutes.
  • Store: Store the sifted flour in an airtight container. Store in a cool and dry place in an airtight container for up to six weeks.

Notes

  • You can blend the flour again after sifting for a smoother texture.
  • Chickpea flour can be used for gluten-free baking, such as pancakes and flatbreads, or as a thickening agent in soups and sauces.
  • 2 cups of dried chickpeas, when ground into flour, will yield more than 2 cups because of the air incorporated during the grinding process.

Nutrition

Calories: 582kcal | Carbohydrates: 97g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 38mg | Potassium: 1400mg | Fiber: 28g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 107IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 168mg | Iron: 10mg
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Ruth holding a whisk to her chin.

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