Teff flour is, without a doubt, one of the favorite choices when it comes to gluten-free flour. It comes from teff, which is an African crop that offers an impressive nutritional structure.
When it comes to flour, it can be hard to find an alternative for all-purpose flour that offers the same amount of fiber and protein that teff flour does.
However, there are some pretty good substitutes that you may not be familiar with in your cooking but can be used as a teff flour replacement in all your recipes.
Keep on reading to learn more about the best options to replace teff flour in baking and cooking.
The best substitutes for teff flour
Teff belongs to the family of lovegrass, and it originates from Africa, although this crop is now cultivated in other parts of the world as well, including the United States.
Teff seeds resemble poppy seeds in size, but they aren’t always as dark, since they can also be red or even white.
These small seeds are then dried and ground into fine, powdery flour that is an excellent baking flour. The most famous traditional recipe including teff flour is injera, which is Ethiopian flatbread.
Although teff seeds can be found in a range of different colors, teff flour is usually dark brown. Aside from the nutrients it offers, many people like to use it due to its subtle earthy and nutty flavor.
In addition to flatbread, teff flour can be used in numerous baking recipes, including muffins, pancakes, and all kinds of cookies.
However, keeping in mind that it contains no gluten, you may have to mix it with other types of flour to achieve the desired texture and consistency.
In addition to being gluten-free, teff flour is also made of 100% whole grains, which is what makes it nutrient-packed in the first place.
What contributed to its popularity, in addition to being so nutritious, is that Ethiopian runners swear by it in their nutrition.
In case you haven’t been able to get your hands on a quality batch of teff flour, or you’d just like to try some alternatives, here’s a list of the best substitutes for teff flour.
1. Quinoa flour
While quinoa isn’t exactly a grain but a pseudo-grain, it contains everything you need to replace teff flour in your baking and cooking.
Being a pseudo-grain, quinoa isn’t technically a grain, but it is used and treated as one. It is full of high-quality protein and fiber, but it doesn’t contain as many carbs as other popular types of flour.
Just like teff flour, quinoa flour is free of gluten, and it also has that distinctive nutty flavor we’ve mentioned.
Another advantage of quinoa flour is that it has a quite dense structure and it can easily replace other types of flour in baking.
2. Sorghum flour
Yet another gluten-free teff flour substitute is sorghum flour, produced from whole grain sorghum. Just like teff flour, this whole-grain flour is packed with important nutrients.
Another important similarity between teff flour and sorghum flour is that they’ve been around for centuries, and their benefits and quality are scientifically backed.
Sorghum flour has numerous culinary applications, as it can be used as a natural thickening agent, a baking flour (for flatbread, pancakes, etc.), and even in alcoholic beverages.
However, in more complex baking that requires texture and coherency (such as cakes), you will have to combine sorghum flour with glutinous flour such as wheat flour.
Nevertheless, sorghum flour will provide the necessary nutrients, as well as a rich, nutty flavor.
3. Coconut flour
Coconut flour is an absolute favorite when it comes to healthy desserts, as it has a very fine, powdery texture that is easy to mix, while also providing a sweet, milky flavor and aroma.
However, the coconut flavor and aroma aren’t too overpowering, which means that you can also use coconut flour in your savory meals, as well as a thickening agent and batter.
When it comes to using coconut flour as a substitute for teff flour, ¼ cup of coconut flour replaces a cup of teff flour.
Also, keep in mind that coconut flour can absorb a lot more liquid than teff flour, so you want to adjust the amount of liquid to use.
4. Tapioca flour
Tapioca flour is derived from a starchy plant – cassava root. To make the flour, the cassava root is first washed and cut, then dehydrated, after which it can be ground into fine, silky powder.
Just like teff flour, tapioca flour is an ideal choice for all diets, as it contains no gluten. What’s more, tapioca flour is suitable for those suffering from grain, coconut, and nut allergies.
Tapioca flour is also a great choice when it comes to baking, as it is lightweight and perfect if you want to achieve fluffy dough texture and crispy crust.
It is also used as a healthy batter option, a thickening agent in soups and sauces, as well as an addition to cookies and cakes for a fluffier, lighter texture.
5. Oat flour
Oat flour is yet another gluten-free flour option, and it is very easy to make at home if you have some whole rolled oats.
All you need to do to make your own batch of oat flour is to add the desired amount of whole rolled oats into a high-speed blender or a food processor and process the oats until you get a fine powder.
Oat flour does add a distinctive flavor and aroma to dishes, but keep in mind that it isn’t as nutty and earthy as teff flour.
When it comes to the structure, oat flour is quite dense, so you may need to adjust the amount of liquid you’re using.
6. Millet flour
Just like teff, millet also belongs to the grass family, and they have many similar properties. For starters, millet flour is 100% gluten-free, but it has many characteristics of wheat.
What’s more, millet flour also has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor, and a lightweight, powdery texture that makes it easy to implement into all your dishes and baked goodies.
Since it doesn’t contain gluten, it must be combined with other kinds of flour to produce a stable, flexible dough, but this is the case with the majority of gluten-free flour types.
7. Homemade teff flour
Homemade teff flour will be the spot-on replacement choice for store-bought teff flour.
The only reason we haven’t ranked it higher on this list is that it can be quite hard to achieve the fine, powdery texture teff flour usually has.
Instead of a high-speed blender or a food processor you’d use to make other kinds of homemade flour, teff flour calls for a coffee or spice grinder.
Also, you may have to repeat the process of grinding a few times to get the desired consistency.
For 3 cups of teff flour, you will need approximately 1lb whole-grain teff seeds.
8. Rice flour
Rice flour, also known as rice powder, is an excellent teff flour substitute if you’re looking for that smooth, fine flour texture.
It is important to note that rice flour is not the same as rice starch, as the process of producing them is not the same.
Rice flour is 100% free of gluten, even when it is labeled glutinous rice flour. It is often used in dessert recipes, and it is an absolute staple in the Asian kitchen.
This teff flour replacement is used in mochi and noodle recipes, but it can also be used as a gluten-free thickener for both savory and sweet dishes.
9. Soy flour
Soy flour is usually made from roasted soybeans, which gives it a distinctive toasty aroma and a nutty flavor.
You may come across different types of soy flour, including defatted, full-fat, low-fat, and natural.
In case you decide to go for a full-fat variant, keep in mind that over time it may develop a bitter taste and an off-putting smell if you don’t keep it in the fridge or the freezer.
Also, make sure to adjust the temperature when using soy flour in both your baked goodies and cooked dishes, as it tends to burn quicker than teff flour.
10. Almond flour
Almond flour is a perfect solution if your focus is on adding a semi-sweet, nutty, toasty flavor and aroma to your dishes, and you’re not too concerned with the baking properties.
However, just like other types of flour we mentioned, this flavor isn’t too powerful and it won’t take over the entire dish, so you can definitely use almond flour in savory dishes, as well.
Almond flour can replace teff flour in all culinary applications, but you may need to combine it with other flour types or simply use an egg as a binding agent if you’re baking.
Finally, almond flour is a good replacement for teff flour in all diets as it contains no gluten.
Cornstarch, also known as corn flour, isn’t really flour, but it has similar applications. It has an extremely fine, powdery texture, which makes it easy to implement into any dish.
As opposed to teff flour and other alternatives we’ve mentioned so far, cornstarch is mostly used as a thickener for sauces, soups, and dips.
However, due to its smooth consistency and binding properties, it can be added to a flour mixture for a fluffy, light texture.
Cornstarch is also an excellent choice for a lightweight batter, is it creates a crispy, golden layer.
How to choose a teff flour substitute
If you don’t have any teff flour in your pantry, you can still rely on some of these alternatives to make a delicious batch of cookies, or reduce your sauce:
- Replacing teff flour in baking: prioritize quinoa flour, sorghum flour, soy flour, oat flour, millet flour, rice flour, and of course – homemade teff flour.
- Thickeners and light batter: when it comes to other options, you can rely on tapioca flour, almond flour, coconut flour, and cornstarch. However, when combined with glutinous flour, they can still be used in baking – especially when it comes to adding aroma and flavor to your baked goodies.
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