This is a list of some of the different GF flours on the market and what each of them do. This has been copied from Gluten-Free Girl and The Chef which is an amazing resource for those of us with gluten sensitivity and Celiac Disease.

Almond flour

Take raw, blanched almonds, grind them to a fine flour (but not so much that they become almond butter), and you have almond flour. This and other nut flours — such as chestnut and hazelnut, macadamia and pistachio — add protein and vibrant taste to gluten-free baking.

Amaranth flour

The tiny whole grains that make a surprising breakfast cereal can be ground into a fine flour. Frankly, I have never successfully ground them in the spice grinder. I buy this flour in small bags, and add it in handfuls to crepes and quiche crusts. Amaranth has a grassy, earthy taste, so it works best in savory dishes, like pizza dough.

Arrowroot flour

The name alone is enough to make you want to try it. Legend has it that the Arawak people of the West Indies, long before the arrival of Columbus, used arrowroot powder to draw out the poison from arrow wounds. Hopefully, it will have similar beneficial properties for those of you cooking gluten-free. It is best used as a thickener, for rouxs and sauces, and fillings for fruit pies. Those who are allergic to corn are especially grateful for the existence of this starch.

Bean flours

Dried beans can be ground into flours as easily as grains can. Chickpea flour — also known as garbanzo bean or ceci flour — makes a memorable flatbread in the south of France. Lentil flour shows up in Indian cuisine. Even fava beans become flour, and show up in some commercial gluten-free baking mixes. Experiment with the beans you like, in small doses.

Corn flour

You may not have heard of corn flour yet, but you have eaten it. Have you ever enjoyed a corn tortilla in a Mexican restaurant? That was made of corn flour. After corn kernels have been dried, soaked in lime water, and then washed, the corn is ground into a fine flour. Buy some authentic masa harina (as Mexican cooks call it) and make your own corn tortillas at home. You can also try it in gluten-free corn bread.

Guar gum

The seeds of the guar plant, which grows in India and Pakistan, make a granular flour when dried and ground. Take a look at many processed foods — such as commercial ice creams and puddings — and you will see guar gum on the list of ingredients. In small amounts, guar gum can be a somewhat effective binder, mimicking some of the effects of gluten.


Mild and ever-so-slightly sweet, millet is an adaptable grain. It soaks up the tastes of the foods surrounding it. It sings in harmony, rather than blaring out loud. Millet flour lends a crumbly texture to breads and muffins, and it is especially good in quick breads.

Potato starch

Potatoes are endlessly useful. Their starchiness makes them fantastic when mashed. And that starch, when extruded by machines and put into little bags, helps gluten-free cooks to eat well. As is true for all the gluten-free flours, potato starch will not substitute directly for wheat. It needs to be combined with other flours and starches in a blend. Those who celebrate Passover or are allergic to corn are particularly grateful for the existence of potato starch. (This is not to be confused with potato flour, which is dried potatoes ground into a flour. If you want the taste of potatoes, choose potato flour.)


As a grain, quinoa is nutty and delicious. As a flour, quinoa is a little bitter. It is packed with protein, however, and the texture adds density to gluten-free baked goods. I like to use a little quinoa flour, in combination with other gluten-free flours, in something savory: cheddar-cheese biscuits; zucchini bread; or herb muffins.

Rice flours

When rice farmers harvest rice, they shuck the grains of its outer husk, which is inedible. What is left after this process is brown rice. If the farmer also removes the germ and brain from the rice grain, he or she is left with white rice. Brown rice flour is made from the first type of rice, and white rice flour is produced from the latter. Whether it is brown or white (or black or green), rice comes in three different categories: long-grain, medium-grain, and short-grain. Each type can be ground into rice flour. The starchiness of short-grain rice makes it the perfect candidate for rice flour. Smooth and finely ground, sweet rice flour thickens sauces and gravies so well that no one eating them can tell they are gluten-free.


It is astounding that people in India and across the continent of Africa have been eating sorghum for generations, and I only discovered it when I had to go gluten-free. To me, sorghum flour is the closest in texture and taste to traditional wheat flour of any of the gluten-free flours. I’ve come to love it, and I use it in nearly every baked good I make. In a few cases, it even works as a direct substitution for wheat flour, such as in pancakes. It makes the basis for a decent gluten-free bread, which is a godsend. Some people, however, detect a bitter taste in sorghum flour, so you should try some for yourself.

Tapioca flour

What we in the West call tapioca comes from a plant originally from Asia, known as cassava. (In South America, it is known as manioc.) When the root has been dried, it is ground into a white flour. This tapioca flour is also known as tapioca starch (just to confuse us). Its starchiness makes it an excellent gluten-free flour, but it must be used in combination with other flours to make great baked goods.


The tiny seeds of teff make a fascinating porridge. Dark brown as molasses, with a slight taste of chocolate, teff porridge will fill you up in the mornings. You can also cook up the grains the way you would polenta. As a flour, teff is nearly miraculous. The fine flour — ground from the tiny seeds — almost dissolve in baking, giving it a slightly gelatinous quality. This binds the baked goods in a somewhat similar fasion to gluten. Teff flour adds to fabulous waffles and banana breads.

Xanthan gum

Geeky chefs in love with molecular gastronomy adore xanthan gum. So do commercial food producers, who put xanthan gum in salad dressings and frozen foods as a stabilizer. If you have ever looked at the ingredients of your toothpaste, you saw xanthan gum there, since it binds everything together in a uniform consistency. Now, you can buy some for your gluten-free baked goods. Only a tiny amount (1/2 teaspoon or less) is enough to bind that dough to make cookies and pie crusts.

And of course, there are so many other options, ones I’m excited to explore more fully. Pea flour, mesquite flour, soy flour, kudzu starch, and Montina flour. As the world becomes more and more aware of the need for gluten-free alternatives, I’m sure we’ll find even more options.

Thank you so much GF Girl for providing the GF community with such a fabulous resource and recipes!