SGV Tribune

Can’t find flour at the supermarket? Substitute these healthful substitutes for your comfort baking

If you find yourself out of an important staple ingredient like flour, try out something different using interesting alternative ingredients in a recipe that doesn’t need wheat flour at all.

With everyone hunkered down at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are doing more home cooking than ever before. Grocery store shelves are picked over, so it makes sense to prepare more items from scratch. There’s no doubt the added stress of these challenging times has us reaching for more comfort foods. All of these factors have led to an explosion in baking.

Whether you are using all-purpose flour, cake flour or bread flour, you have likely noticed that your local grocery stores can’t keep their shelves stocked with any wheat flour. If you can’t find flour, don’t fret. Here are some ingredient ideas that can help you whip up no-flour baked goods in your quarantine kitchen.

Wholesome Oats

Oats are a versatile ingredient that can be used in place of flour in many baked goods. Plus, this grain is an important source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Oats contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which yields many health benefits including lowering cholesterol and even reducing the risk of heart disease. Use old-fashioned oats and oat flour in many of your favorite baked items like cookies, fruit crumbles, breads and muffins.

Satisfying Nuts and Nut Butters

Nuts are a terrific source of healthy fats, protein, fiber and a variety or vitamins and minerals. Eating nuts and nut butters can help stabilize blood sugar levels and control appetite. In recipes, nut butters offer a smooth and creamy texture while helping to hold other ingredients together. Use nut butters in rich and decadent flourless cookies, bars, nut butter cups and energy bites.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables

In the mood for pancakes, but still in search of flour? Fruit and even vegetables can be used in pancakes and other goodies to add substance without the flour. Try using ingredients like mashed banana and shredded zucchini, carrots, potato, onion and apple in homemade sweet or savory pancakes. This is a great way to use up produce before it goes bad.

Unexpected Pantry Items

There are many common foods already stocked in the pantry that can be used in baked goods and other desserts that add a surprising, whimsical element. Ingredients like shredded coconut, chocolate chips, pretzel pieces, dried fruit and crushed graham crackers can add texture and body to these fun treats. Many graham cracker crust recipes use only graham crackers with no additional flour. Fill the pie crust with pudding or fruit for baking. Coconut flan is a refreshing cool treat for warmer weather.

Alternative Flours or Flourless

Most supermarkets have a reasonable selection of alternative flours. They are either found in the gluten-free aisle or alongside where all the wheat flour would be found. These alternative flours can work well in tasty baked goods. For example, almond flour can be used to make a crust for a fruit and cream cheese tart. This is a good time to try out a buckwheat pancake recipe for a weekend brunch at home. Other nutritious options to consider include sorghum, teff, chickpea flour and coconut flour. Flourless chocolate cakes that rely heavily on eggs and butter, but require no flour at all pair nicely with berries that will soon be in season.

If you find yourself out of an important staple ingredient like flour, try out something different using interesting alternative ingredients in a recipe that doesn’t need wheat flour at all. You may just create a new family favorite recipe in your quarantine kitchen.

LeeAnn Weintraub, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian, providing nutrition counseling and consulting to individuals, families and organizations. She can be reached by email at