Guide to Gluten-Free Flours

Learning how to bake gluten-free is overwhelming when starting out. To a newbie, the selection of flour varieties and how to create a flour blend that mimics regular wheat flour can be so confusing! This was just my story when I started to bake gluten free over three years ago. I spent the first six months frustrated over the information that was out there so I took matters into my own hands. I locked myself into my kitchen until I understood exactly the world of gluten free flours and had created a trusted blend of my own that I could sub into every recipe I make. I have been using my own mix now for the past two years and have excellent results but my desire is to educate and encourage others to do their own experimenting to create a blend that fits their preferences. This guide is to help you understand what role each flour plays and how to create your own gluten free flour blend.

Guide to Gluten-Free Flours

Unlike baking with regular wheat flour where all you need is just an all-purpose flour, gluten-free baking requires a fun science mixture blend of at least two flours. Starches help rebuild the binding, texture, and structure that gluten typically provides, which is why you will notice that starch is a huge component to creating your own blend (in addition to one or more whole grain gluten free flours).  Each flour is separated into three categories based off of how dense and nutritious they are and how easy they are to be used alone in a blend of its own:

  1. Light: These are all of the starches—a must when creating a blend of gluten free flours.
  2. Medium: Though nutritious in their own right, these flours are a bit lighter when used in a recipe and are more stable to be used alone paired with a starch.
  3. Heavy—These are the more dense and nutritious flours that are rarely used alone and will need to be used in tandem with another medium-based flour.

 Let’s start off with the first category of gluten free flours: The Light-Based Flours, also known as all of your starch options. You will need at least one starch as a part of your blend but are free to use a mix of any:

Your Guide To Gluten Free Flours: Light Flours

Next are your medium-based flours. Read each description below and choose which one best suits your taste and texture preferences:

Your Guide To Gluten Free Flours: Medium Flours

Lastly are your heavy-based flours. You will want to use a mix of heavy and medium flours because it will balance out the texture in your baked goods. Otherwise you will get the result of a dense and well, heavy products:

Your Guide To Gluten Free Flours: Heavy Flours


Are you ready to create your own blend? Here is a break-down for understanding how to go about it:

Your Guide to Gluten Free Flours: How to create a blend of your own 

The more variety of flours in your blend, the different the results–how exciting! It’s like a controlled science experiment right there in your very own kitchen. You never know what tastes the best unless you start testing it out for yourself so use this as a base guide and branch out on your own to see what you like.

Here is my gluten-free flour blend. As you can see, I prefer to use a ratio of 2:1 whole grain flour per starch. That means for every 1 cup of medium or heavy based flour, I use ½ c. of a starch. This particular blend is a great substitute in recipes that require regular flour, giving it a very nice texture, flavor, and color to all baked goods.

Your Guide To Gluten Free Flours: Fork & Beans' All Purpose Flour Blend 

Now if you are new to the world of baking gluten free, let me say that you will make mistakes. A LOT OF THEM. It is inevitable and you need to accept it now, and accept that this is a learning curve. Be open to it. The work is hard but the rewards are great. Now put your apron and sense of humor on, possibly grab a tissue (for many tears of joy and sorrow) and let’s get baking!

Need more help? This tell-all, secrets exposed eBook guide is just what you need:


Get the book!

Take a peek of what could happen if you buy this eBook:


Is this the end to the conversation? Absolutely not. The entire point of these Baking Series Guides is to help each other out. You might have a new nugget of knowledge I haven’t mentioned and I would love for you to share it with all of us.


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  1. Hi Cara! Loving your site, just discovered it. I read in your comments you buy all your flours from Amazon (yay Prime!) but I just found out about this place called Thrive Market – you might want to check it out if you haven’t heard of it yet. It’s like an online “costco/sams” but for healthy food. You can get free shipping too. The cost is about 30% savings. It’s new to me, I haven’t tried it yet but I noticed for example Bob’s Red Mill sorghum flour is 2.85 – anyway thought you might like to hear of this place. :)

  2. Hi Cara,
    I am new to your website and so far it is amazing – thank you.
    Have only been diagnosed GF & Diary free a few months so all the help one can get is so appreciated. It is an exciting journey and info such as your floor mixes is a gift from heaven.
    Will have to investigate Amazon Aust re flours etc as pretty sure would not be able to receive from Amazon Us.
    Thanks again.

  3. Hi Cara, I’m so glad I came across your site through pinterist. I’m thinking of combining Millet, Brown Rice, White or Sweet Rice (I have 3 bags left of the sweet rice) and arrowroot powder. What would be the measurements for that combination? At the moment, I have a blend using Brown Rice, White Rice, Sweet Rice, and Arrowroot. I think i may have messed up the ratios because whenever i bake sandwich bread, it comes out a bit too “wet.”


  4. Hey Cara :)

    Thanks a lot for this really helpful guide! I now feel a lot less lost in GF baking than I did before! Just one question: would a blend of 3 cups buckwheat flour, 3 cups oat or sorghum flour, 1½ cups arrowroot, and 1½ cups tapioca starch be a good GF blend? I really like yours but I just wanted to see if this one would work as well…

    Thank you oh so much 😛

    – Gaby

    PS: Your blog is one of my all-time favorites! You give a really chill vibe, and make me panic less haha

  5. I notice your blends call for 1 or 2 starches. I am allergic to nightshades…or in this case the potato starch. Could I use arrowroot and tapioca as the starch’s when I blend GF flour?

    • Hi. Tapioca is derived from cassava which is a nightshade. Cara, would storeroom and corn starch work? It looks like it would. Thanks!

  6. So informative and very helpful! Can this flour blend be used to make pasta as well?

  7. Hi Cara–thanks for the great information. I have a friend in our Sunday School class who is gluten-intolerant . When we get together for socials, I’m always concerned that she will have enough she can eat. I have been buying more gluten-free flours to keep on hand, but I live in a rural area & though our local grocery is doing better at adding organic & gluten-free products, it is a far cry from having access to a Whole Foods or Trader Joes store. Do you have any suggestions for online sites that are reliable & don’t charge a high price for shipping?

    • First of all, you are so kind for making sure your friend is not left out! Seriously, for someone who has food allergies and knows that people don’t typically go out of their way like that, it just makes me want you as a friend :) I buy all my flour from Amazon and it’s especially great if you have Amazon Prime. You can even buy the Trader Joe’s All Purpose gf flour mix there (which is a really great flour blend to have on hand). Hope this helps!

    • Pat, I am very fortunate to have a grain mill and I use it often. I buy sweet rice flour and grind it superfine. I go to Super H, an Asian grocery store and buy it in 25 pound bags. It costs about 1.25/pound! I too have bought whole grain buckwheat from Amazon and I grind it into flour. I just bought coconut flour at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago and it was very reasonably priced. Your story is touching to me personally. Many years ago I made baked goods for those at my church who had allergies to dairy and wheat so they would have choices when we got together and shared food. Little did I know several years later my own journey would lead to a diagnosis of gluten and dairy allergies. I hope you will be able to find a source for your gluten free grains.

      Cara, Your website and candor about what you have experienced and learned is invaluable to me. I deeply appreciate your willingness to graciously share your wisdom and insights. I am grateful for the time, effort, and dedication you put into creating, failing, and trying again and again. Because of your successes it is easier for me to live a healthy life gluten and dairy free.


      • Thank you Karen for the incredibly thoughtful response to others and for the very sweet compliment! I cannot express how it made my day but it DID! Let me know if you ever need anything, xo

  8. Hi Cara- thank you for the recipe. I had a question. I am not fussed about GF but more so go eggless, so instead of Cara flour, could I use normal flour? Please do let me know.


  9. Wow! This is a very useful page and I really enjoyed reading article and all users’ comments. BG Bakes is an online store which provides Gluten Free and Allergen Free products. We use high quality ingredients. Our customer’s health is our first priority. Thank you for sharing valuable information.

    • Sandra Coleman says:

      Gluten free posts of Cara’s inspire me to keep learning and keep cooking! I made a gluten free pie the other day that was great. I feel free to add things I would never have tried before due to the wonderful info and the great fun attitude Cara adds to her posts. I am thankful for the insights and help these posts have given me. Please keep them coming!!
      Thank you for all your great help!

  10. This is so awesome!! I’ve been eating gluten free for about three years and I’m still so scared to bake gluten free. It is so overwhelming to read these recipes that call for like 20 different flours, so I usually just use a AP mix or don’t bake at all. I will be coming back to this post alot! Thanks so much for putting this together and I’m so excited about your book :)

  11. Great work. I’m experimenting with gluten free these days, so this is very helpful. I have a loaf if bread in the oven now with my own gluten free blend that I tried to put together using your guidelines but minimizing the amount of starch….but it’s also yeast free so I have no clue how it will turn out. But at least I’m trying right?

    • Absolutely!! When we stop fearing and start experimenting, that is the beginning of becoming master of the kitchen :) Well done! Very proud of you. How did the bread come out?

  12. This is the best. reference. ever.

  13. I’d like to try your recipe for the Gluten Free Bagels, but need to replace the oat flour. Since White Rice Flour is on the list of medium based flours, would that work for this recipe in place of the oat flour ? So nice having the reference guide to all the different gluten free flours. Thanks !

  14. Hi Cara. I was wondering what you thought about vegetable flours, such as homemade carrot or sweet potato flour, to not only make baked goods Vegan but also alkaline. All the best, Catherine.

    • Hi Catherine! I have not yet baked with vegetable flours however I do have samples waiting for me to experiment with. I cannot wait to do so and will let you know my thoughts!

  15. Hey Cara,

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU! I just got into gluten free baking and this has seriously been amazing. I had it alongside me in the health store so I didn’t go crazy and buy every single thing. It’s such a great guide and after two failed GF pumpkin bread experiments (COUPLED with the fact that oops, I didn’t realise my gas oven’s gas was finished 😀 ) I can say my bread came out perfectly by using a mix of the flours! I’m putting together a great resource for a post and will definitely include links to your guides. :)

  16. FINALLY! I found the website I’ve been looking for! I’m just starting out with baking gluten free and it is so incredibly overwhelming searching and searching for a recipe that does not have a milllion ingredients or eggs or xanthum gum. I was thinking of giving up the search – and then I found your site. Now I’m actually excited to begin and with your easy to follow breakdown of what all the different starches and flours are about, I know I will be able to create bread that is gluten free and nutritous. Yay! Thanks – Aria from New Zealand.

  17. Hi Cara, I’m glad to have stumbled on your website. My mom has celiac disease and even though I mercifully do not have, I do like to cook and bake, so I’m always on the lookout for yummy recipes that Mom can eat. Way back before it was fashionable to have gluten sensitivity, one of the few things that was readily available was soy flour, which I noticed is not in your list of flours. It’s a handy thing to use, although like the garbanzo and fava flours, it has a beany taste. I was just wondering where you would categorize that in your schema, along with potato flour and pea flour. (Bob’s Red Mill has a wonderful assortment of flours that I’ve been experimenting with.)


  18. Hi Cara! I’m so exited that i’ve found this website. Your egg substitution guide and gluten free flour guide has been a big help. I wanted to use combo three but i wasn’t sure how many cups of flour that i should use for the flours like arrowroot, sorghum, and brown rice flour.

    • Hi Eunice. I would follow the amount I typically use for my All-Purpose Blend. Now you don’t have to follow it exactly, but it’s a good place to start. I like creating a 9 c. blend just so I can keep it on hand so you will want 6 c. of a mix of medium and heavy flours with 3 c. of starches. Play around and find what you like. Hope that helps! xo

  19. I have a question…I can’t have potato starch, so if I were to use your blend above, what could I substitue for the 1 1/2 cups of potato starch? Thanks!

    • Hi Linda, you can definitely use all arrowroot or use cornstarch or tapioca starch as a sub for potato starch. Hope that helps!

  20. So excited to find this. I’m thinking I might have a gluten allergy and have been trying to do 60-days without it and it’s been so difficult. Not to mention just trying to stay away from highly processed foods which regular flour is.

  21. Oh my gosh what a GREAT resource for gluten-free flours! I have barely ventured beyond almond and coconut flour, and I’ve always been disappointed in the results. Now I know why. Thanks so much for sharing all this info! We’ll be sharing it with our FB fans next week!

  22. You read my mind. I was actually ticked off that going GF took away 90% of my joint & muscle pain. I prided myself on my baking abilities, and never using a “box” for any of my baking, well, except the occasional Bisquick fix. Anyway, I spent a good deal of time & money trying to outfit my new GF pantry. Only to find I don’t like the bean based flours. I wanted to cry last week when all I wanted to do was bake cookies with my son and I had no clue what to do, a literal first for me. Thanks to you and the glutenfree goddess (and asking my friends to pray for me to find joy in the kitchen again) I feel like there’s light at the end of this tunnel. :)
    I’m a wanna be student of Alton Brown. I like to have accurate measurements and love utilizing my digital scale whenever possible. That being said, do you know how many grams of each component to use? I know each flour/starch can vary in weight per cup.
    I enjoy a good experiment… Just can’t afford too many flops.

    • Agreed! Yesterday I used the flour mix posted above, and the chiaseed/flaxseed for eggs and made the brownies inside the Bakers Unsweetened Chocolate box. I substituted coconut oil for butter and cut the sugar by a third… they were one bowl, done in 30 minutes fantastic. Cookie craving totally satisfied. I have enough to take a massive brownie to lunch everyday for a week… if they last that long.

  23. I am poor… destitute in the eyes of an average person, I am sure of it. I find the fact that I have gluten allergy and am a vegan – very very unfriendly to those living poverty – me. This site makes my experimenting less risky and I can’t even begin to tell you how much that means on a tiny budget. Doing a PHD with no job at the end of it has been a challenge enough on its own… starving would be the brutal icing on the ‘follow my dreams’ cake with out a source like this, like yours. Thank you for helping me with informed shopping decisions. It means so much.

    • Linda Lisak says:

      I too sincerely appreciate the education regarding gluten-free flours. I am going to order the book too. John (Mar 1,2014) hoping you find work soon. Good luck. Again, thank you for the wonderful resource here!

  24. What great resources! Love your flour blend! The sourghum brings more protein which is very much need in a gluten free flour blend, especially for cakes and pastries.

  25. Thank you so much, this has made baking so much easier, you are a champ! I’m still having trouble getting my flour mix right to do pizza, please help? :)

  26. Cara mia, GRAZIE! THANK YOU VERY MUCH! MERCI! MUITO OBRIGADA! GRACIAS! TODA RABA! I just found your blog, and looks like you have a recipe book. How should I proceed to get your book? I am in trying my “flat breads” with tapioca flour, and white corn flour, my next step is rice flour but I had no idea which one, now I know! I sent your link to my best friend, and she loved also. You made GF palatable for us. Keep the good job.

  27. Hey there. Oh my goodness I have spent so much money on gluten free flours for waffles, pancakes and all baked goods. Thank you for helping us all.
    I just have one question.
    If we use your flour blends, can we follow a regular recope? Do we need to add guargum?
    Thank you. Sherry

  28. Thank you so much for sharing this… GF baking is not so scary after all! :)

  29. Janeen Mockford says:

    It’s people like you that have taken the ‘scary’ out of gf baking! My girl was diagnosed about 8 months ago and it tipped our eating world upside down. Thank you so much for making the gf journey so much easier for beginners especially. You are sooo appreciated!! xx Janeen

    • I cannot even tell you what reading comments like these does for me! This is why I do what I do–I remember being there myself and remember how lost I felt. If I can take the guess work from one person, it’s worth it. Thank you for telling me this Janeen. Much love to you on your gf journey! If you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask… xo!

  30. So if a recipe calls for a heavy flour like almond (and I already have a zillion different flours but not that one), can I just substitute it for any of the other heavy flours and get the same or similar results?

    • Absolutely, Jen. Especially because when a recipe calls for almond flour (aside from a paleo recipe) it typically requires a smaller amount (ie: 1/4 c. or so). This can be replaced with any flour (medium too!) with slight differences in results–remember that each flour imparts a particular smell, flavor, etc. If you replace something, it will be a little different but shouldn’t affect the overall result from rising, etc. Hope this helps! xo, Cara

  31. Wonderful list and so beautifully presented. Tapioca flour also provides a chewier texture other starches such as corn and potato.

  32. Thank you so much this was so helpful! Not only am I new to gluten-free living, but I am new to baking as well. Im making a yellow cake for my boyfriends birthday this weekend and was wondering which mix you recommend?

    • Hi Tracy! Oh, the infamous gluten-free vegan yellow cake. You would think that would be an easy thing to make but that recipe can be a booger. I suggest using a blend of brown rice flour and white rice flour (not sweet rice)–both superfine ground, along with 2 starches of choice. Take my go-to blend and just replace the sorghum with white rice and this should be A-Okay. Let me know if that helps! xo

  33. LOVE this set up and explanations!

    What is your advice for a sandwich bread? I am thinking adding the teff to your personal all purpose flour? If that sounds like a good idea, how much would you suggest? Once I get the bread thing figured out the house will truly be gluten free (and safer for me!) THANK YOU!

  34. All very interesting ,need all info I can get as I am an anosmic .( I have no taste or sense of smell)diabetic with gall stones, so there is very little of any thing I can

    • Oof Lorraine, that sounds like you have to get really creative in the kitchen. I hope this guide helps you out greatly. xo, Cara

  35. AW YES. I’ve had poor luck with gluten-free flours in the past so this should help enormously! I can’t imagine how many trials it must have taken you to get this right. Thank you so much for sharing with us xoxo

  36. I love how you made this so simple and informative, especially with the photos. Curious, though, why you don’t mention zanthan gum?

    • That’s a great question, Jane! I am actually doing a whole topical series on gums and that is why I didn’t mention it. Thank you for bringing that up!

  37. Very helpful and informative, thanks!

  38. sydney shaul says:

    oh yeah! Thanks, after the recent mashed potato tasting cookies with chocolate chips I knew we needed help staying gluten and soy free! Whoot!

  39. What a great resource Cara! Thanks so much for doing this, it must have taken you forever. Now I feel armed with info and ready to get in the kitchen 😀

  40. Sandra Coleman says:

    I am so pleased to have found your site–you break things down so I can understand this craziness of being suddenly gluten free. I am glad you added the bit about tissues as this can be so frustrating and rewarding at the same time. Thank you so much–I can do this now. At 63 I never would have thought about any of this –I was the one always baking all the time. I agree with Helen –the books I had purchased made everything so daunting I had said no way. But now I am making baked goods -even pizza again!

  41. Another incredible post with invaluable information! Thankfully, I’m not gluten intolerant, but my sister-in-law is, and I’m going to send her (and my brother who does most of the cooking!) the link to this. And it’s great to have this resource for when you want to mix things up (no pun intended!) just for fun. Thanks so much for sharing!

  42. Thanks Cara! I use a mix of 60% starch and 40% grains – the grains I use are usually mostly a mix sorghum and millet but I sometimes add oat or buckwheat or brown rice in depending on what I’m baking. Your chart takes this even one step farther with weights of flours.
    I do prefer to measure by weight when baking though. It makes more sense to me.

    • Hi Bobbi! Loved your comment :) I’m starting to branch out using millet, oat, and buckwheat in another mix as well–I’m having so much fun experimenting again. About weighing when baking, after I wrote my cookbook I started to really understand why this is so important. Prior to that I wasn’t doing it but I am going to start adding weights into my recipes soon. I am also going to have a new series topic talking about weighing and its importance to baked goods. If you want to add anything to that topic I would love to hear why it makes more sense to you! Happy New Year :)

  43. I became very discouraged with each and every gluten free cookbook I purchased as each author had their own variation of flours and/or flour products to sell.Your amazing chart explains so much more than I have learned when reading the cookbooks and self help books. Thank you for this chart!!
    I will send recipe for anise cookies soon!

    • Helen, I totally understand! It also really frustrated me which is why I wanted Fork & Beans to be of help to people who felt the same way. Education is most important, in my opinion. I am so delighted to hear that this chart helps you!! If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them…And I will be waiting for recipe :) Happy New Year :) xo

  44. this is amazing! so helpful.


  1. […] What I have found the works well is a 2:1 ratio of a blend between 2 medium flours and 2 different starches.  I really like how sorghum flour gives a nice texture to my baked goods and brown rice, I find, is a flavor that I personally enjoy. I also like adding a splash (think 1/4 c. total) of teff flour into the mix to give just a slight bit denser, beautiful whole-wheat look. For a more comprehensive guide to gluten-free flours and which are heavy, medium, and light flours, check out my Gluten Free Guide.   […]

  2. […] If you want to you use your own blend or mix up the flours, feel free to do so–always understand that your results might be different and the weight conversion will be different. Nothing is guaranteed in this crazy world of gluten-free vegan baking. Need help with substitutions? Check out this Guide to Gluten-Free Flours. […]

  3. […] If you want to you use your own blend or mix up the flours, feel free to do so–always understand that your results might be different and the weight conversion will be different. Nothing is guaranteed in this crazy world of gluten-free vegan baking. Need help with substitutions? Check out this Guide to Gluten-Free Flours […]

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