Here are three flour-replacer recipes: One for general purpose, one for people who you know like garbanzo flour, and one that is extra-simple. After the recipes is a discussion of the ingredients, and information about where to find them.

Valerie’s basic gluten-free flour mix:

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5 from 7 votes

Valerie's Basic Gluten-Free Flour Mix

Valerie's everyday gluten-free flour replacer mix.
Prep Time2 minutes
Total Time2 minutes
Course: Valerie's everyday flour mix
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Valerie Mates


To replace 1 cup of flour:

  • 1/3 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/3 cup teff flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch OR potato starch OR cornstarch
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground flaxseeds OR 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum


  • Mix all ingredients.


Valerie’s family gluten-free flour mix:

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5 from 7 votes

Valerie's Family Gluten-Free Flour Mix - only for people who like chickpea flour

Valerie's family gluten-free flour mix -- ONLY suitable for people who like garbanzo flour!
Prep Time2 minutes
Total Time2 minutes
Course: Valerie's family gluten-free flour mix
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Valerie Mates


To replace 1 cup of flour:

  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour / chickpea flour
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/4 cup teff flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch OR potato starch OR cornstarch
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground flaxseeds OR 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum


  • Mix all ingredients.


And, finally, Valerie’s simple gluten-free flour mix:

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5 from 7 votes

Valerie's Simple Gluten-Free Flour Mix

Valerie's simple gluten-free flour mix
Prep Time2 minutes
Total Time2 minutes
Course: Valerie's simple gluten-free flour mix
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Valerie Mates


To replace 1 cup flour:

  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch OR potato starch OR cornstarch
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground flaxseeds OR 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum


  • Mix all ingredients.


In more detail:

To make a good gluten-free replacer for flour, you need three things:

1) What I think of as a “structural” flour.
2) A starchy flour.
3) Something to stick it together.

“Structural” flour can be any of these: brown rice flour, quinoa flour, teff flour, garbanzo/chickpea flour, garfava flour, or almond flour.

Starchy flour can be any of: potato starch, tapioca starch, cornstarch.

To stick it together, you can use: xanthan gum, guar gum, or ground flaxseeds. If you have a recipe with a lot of eggs in it or other things that bind the flour together, you can reduce the binder or even entirely leave it out.

To replace 1 cup of flour with gluten-free flour, use 3/4 cup structural flour, 1/4 cup starchy flour, and either 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan/guar gum or 2 teaspoons of flaxmeal.

The flours in more detail:

Structural Flours:

Brown rice flour works well in recipes. I’ve been trying to cut down on rice in my diet since Consumer Reports found that there is a lot of arsenic (a carcinogen) in rice. But I do still use some brown rice flour — it works great in a lot of recipes. I like the brand Arrowhead Mills.

Quinoa flour adds protein and a magical moist fluffiness to baked goods. I’ve occasionally had gluten-eaters tell me that they like baked goods with quinoa flour better than the same thing made with real flour. I’ve sometimes found that Bob’s Red Mill brand has a bitter taste, so my family buys Ancient Harvest brand, which I have never found to taste bitter – just fluffy and floury. Or lately Vitacost’s quinoa flour.

Teff flour is high in iron, adds a “wheaty” taste to baked goods, and turns them dark brown. It is traditionally used in the Ethiopian flatbread called injera. Gluten-free baked goods sometimes stay pale white even after they are cooked through, so adding some teff flour into the mix makes them look a gorgeous golden color, plus it adds nutrients. Don’t make more than about 1/4 of your flour mix from teff, though, because that turns baked goods a chocolate brown — and then people are disappointed when they don’t taste like chocolate. I wish I could find a source of organic gluten-free teff flour, but so far I haven’t, so my family buys Bob’s Red Mill Teff Flour or Anthony’s Teff Flour.

Garbanzo/chickpea flour is complicated. To some people it tastes like band-aids (yuck!), while other people are genetically wired not to taste it at all. Because of this, I would be tempted to avoid using it. But nobody in my family can taste the bad taste — it tastes fine to us. And garbanzo flour is full of nutrients, and doughs, batters, and flours made with garbanzo flour are very well-behaved and easy to work with. So I use garbanzo flour as part of the mix when I am baking for my own family, but not when I’m baking for non-family members. After much searching for an organic chickpea flour I found Anthony’s organic chickpea flour.

Garfava flour is made from a mix of garbanzo beans and fava beans. It has the same advantages and disadvantages of garbanzo flour, but also some people have an enzyme deficiency that can make fava beans fatal to them. Because of this, I never use fava bean flour in any recipe that anybody outside my family is going to eat. In my opinion, it is just too risky.

Almond flour/almond meal is made from finely ground almonds. It is unique among gluten-free flours because you can replace wheat flour with almond flour one-for-one in many recipes, with no gums or mixing with other flours. Plus, since it is made from almonds, it is full of protein and nutrients. You can also grind your own fairly easily by grinding almonds in a blender or food processor. Just be sure to stop grinding before it turns into almond butter.

Starchy Flours:

Potato starch works really well in recipes, to replace 1/4 to 1/3 of the flour. It is a great thickener for puddings and gravies, and just all-around well-behaved. I went on a long search for organic potato starch, because non-organically-grown potatoes are high in pesticide residues, and finally found Anthony’s Organic Potato Starch. Thank you Anthony!

Tapioca starch /tapioca flour works fine in recipes too, to replace 1/4 to 1/3 of the flour. I used to buy a brand called Let’s Do Organic, but it only comes in little boxes. So I switched to Anthony’s Organic Tapioca Flour, which comes in a much bigger bag.

Cornstarch works fine too, the same as the other starchy flours. I have a child who recently outgrew a corn allergy, so I am out of the habit of using cornstarch in recipes. But if you are not sensitive to it, it should work fine. I recommend buying organic, because non-organic corn is genetically modified to be resistant to herbicides that growers then apply in huge amounts, so you get lots of herbicide residue in non-organic corn. My pick is Let’s Do Organic cornstarch.

Flour contains gluten, which binds baked goods together. Gluten-free flour of course does not contain any gluten. This means that gluten-free baked goods need something to bind the finished food together. Otherwise it will fall apart into crumbs. I have done this!!

For most baked goods such as cake, muffins, or banana bread, for a binder you can add 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum or guar gum per cup of flour, or 2-3 teaspoons of ground flaxseeds. Cookies only need half as much binder. Foods that have a lot of eggs, such as crepes, don’t need any binder at all, because eggs are a good binder.

Xanthan gum is an excellent binder for baked goods. It is grown on corn, so it may be a problem for people who have a corn allergy. Use 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum per cup of flour. Xanthan gum is expensive, but since you use only tiny amounts in recipes, a container of xanthan gum lasts for a long time. My family buys Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan Gum. I have found that xanthan gum not only binds baked goods together, but also binds them to the baking pan! So make sure you are thorough about greasing the pan and flouring it — with a gluten-free flour such as brown rice flour, of course — to prevent sticking.

Guar gum is very similar to xanthan gum, but it is made from ground up guar seeds, whatever those are. There is no corn involved in making guar gum, so it is a better choice than xanthan gum for people with corn sensitivities. Note that guar gum binds baked goods together as they cool down, so if you try to slice a food that contains guar gum while it is hot and fresh from the oven, it is likely to fall apart into a pile of crumbs. Let it cool first, and then it should slice nicely. Guar gum, like xanthan gum, tends to stick baked goods to the pan, so greasing and flouring — with a gluten-free flour — are important to prevent sticking. My shopping pick is NOW Foods Guar Gum.

Ground Flaxseeds are my favorite binder. Compared to xanthan or guar gum, they seem more like a real food and less like a weird chemical. They have some nutritional value. Plus they don’t bind baked goods to the pan the way xanthan and guar gums do. Use 2 to 3 teaspoons of ground flaxseeds per cup of flour. I rarely measure ground flaxseeds when I bake — adding a little too much just adds some extra nutrients to the finished baked goods. I found a huge bag of Flax USA Ground Flax Seeds at Costco. You can also find them on Amazon.


[Updated June 10, 2018, to include new sources of organic gluten-free flours.]


Flour Mix (Gluten-Free!) — 14 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for breaking down the concept of what makes a gluten-free flour blend, including percentages. You seem to have a ton of experience. I’ve been searching the web and found your description the most instructive. Now I get it. I did notice you didn’t include corn flour in your structural flours, and I’m wondering why. In my gluten baking, I often combine several flours and always include corn because it adds a great touch. Sometimes I use cornmeal which then gives a nice texture, too. I’m new to gluten-free, so wonder if there’s anything I should know about corn flour, other than that it should be organic.

    • Hi Arlyne — I love cornbread made with cornmeal, but I’ve found that when I use cornmeal or cornflour in my gluten-free baking mix, the finished baked goods are much more crumbly than with other flours, often totally falling apart. Also my own body has been flirting with a corn sensitivity, and other flours have more nutrients. So, while I think cornmeal / cornflour is a perfectly good flour to use, I personally have tended to choose other types of flour instead.

      I agree — definitely organic! Corn is one of the highest-pesticide crops, so it’s worth seeking out organic.

      (I’m glad you posted a comment here, because I’ve found a source for organic garbanzo flour since I posted this, so I need to edit the original posting to add that. Also I have a cornbread-with-beans recipe that I’ve been meaning to post, and this is a good reminder that I should post it!)

  2. Thanks, Valerie. The input about crumbling is good – I’ll hold off trying corn flour until I get a better feel for GF baking. I’ll watch for your new posts! Best, Arlyne

  3. 5 stars
    Valerie, thanks for this information. I couldn’t find much articles on garbanzo in gluten free blends. I’m trying to make a blend using Garbanzo / Chickpea flour, Sorghum flour and Sweet rice flour (which is a starch) and xanthan gum for a brownie. I read that sorghum is a medium flour, providing very little hold unlike chickpea, which does. Do you know in what ratio i can combine a heavy or structural flour like chickpea with sorghum?

    • Divya Michael —
      Hm. I don’t have a lot of experience with sorghum flour, but other people report that it tastes good, and works well as a gluten-free flour. I think you could probably make a flour mix with two parts sorghum flour, one part chickpea flour, one part starchy flour (such as potato starch), and xanthan gum or guar gum at 1/2 teaspoon per cup of flour mix.

      Are you cooking for family members who you know are okay with chickpea flour, or for the public? Because I worry about feeding chickpea flour to the public, because to some people it tastes like bandaids, and I would hate to surprise anybody with that. Most people seem okay with chickpea flour at up to 1/4 of the mix, but since I *can’t* taste the “bandaid” taste, I am extra careful with it, to try to avoid overloading those people who do taste it.

  4. Yeah, I see what you’re saying. I’ve used chickpea flour only in savory dishes so far, but I happened to recently eat a vegan gluten free brownie made of chickpea flour, sorghum and sweet rice, i tell you it was amazing, really good. I’ve never eaten anything like it before. No smell of chickpea AT ALL. I think the taste and smell of chocolate overpowers it all, and they may have also used small quantities of chickpea. Its high protein content gives good rise and hold to gluten free baked goods is what I read on it for baking and looks like it goes well in small quantities with chocolate

    • I should note that I keep meaning to edit the brownie recipe and reduce the amount of xanthan gum to 1/6 teaspoon, because the eggs bind the brownies pretty well, and they come out with a nicer texture with less gum. I’ll go do that now!

  5. Hi Valeria,

    Just wondering how to I make my own garfava flour? How much chickpea to how much fava?

    Many thanks for your assistance.

    • Hi Kim – I think it’s likely that 50-50 would work. Though plain fava bean flour has got to be hard to find! I used to find garfava flour at the store. However, when I found out that some people have a genetic condition called “G6PD deficiency” — where fava beans can be fatal, and people may not know that they have it — I stopped using fava bean flour. There are so many good alternatives that don’t have that risk. So today when any recipe calls for garfava flour, I use plain garbanzo flour instead.

  6. 5 stars
    Hi Valerie. This is very informative. Thank you.
    I healed my body of psoriasis over 10 years ago by going gf and dairy free. It took over a year. This information is so valuable.

  7. Hi Valerie

    Thanks for this, wow it’s super interesting to read about all the different flours.

    I am looking to use chickpea and white rice with potato and tapioca for a bread recipe.

    I’m thinking, 15% potato, 15% tapioca, 35% White rice & 35% Chickpea… does this sound right?

    No concerns about bandaid tastes, this is just for myself and I can’t taste the bandaid either.

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