How to Bake with Coconut Flour: Tips & Tricks for Using this Gluten-free Flour

Have you heard about the benefits of baking with coconut flour? As the interest in grain-free diets continues to rise, many cooks are looking to coconut flour for their baking.  Baking with coconut flour presents unique challenges as coconut flour does not perform the same as grain-based flours in baking; that is, baking with coconut flour requires special techniques before it will yield good results.  So print this post out and pin it to your fridge – so that if you decide to try your hand at baking with coconut flour your well-equipped to work with this unique, but deeply nutritive alternative to wheat.

What is coconut flour and how is it used for baking?

Coconut flour is a soft flour produced from dried coconut meat.  It is a natural byproduct of coconut milk production.   Just as you can make homemade coconut milk,  you can also make coconut flour in your own kitchen if you were so inclined.  To save time and effort, I typically purchase my coconut flour in bulk online (see sources).

When coconut milk is pressed from coconut meat, bits of solid coconut meat are leftover and this coconut meat that is leftover after the production of coconut milk is then dried at a low temperature and ground until it produces a soft, fine powder which is then suitable for baking.  Popular among those adhering to grain-restrictive diets such as paleo diets, the GAPS or SCD diet or any grain-free diet, coconut flour can offer a gluten-free and protein-rich alternative to traditional grain-based flours.

Benefits of Baking with Coconut Flour

  • Coconut flour is rich in protein, fiber and fat which makes it exceptionally filling.
  • Coconut flour is also a good source of lauric acid, a saturated fat thought to support the immune system and the thyroid.  Like most healthy fats, lauric acid also promotes good skin health.
  • Coconut flour is an exceptionally good source of manganese which helps you to better utilize many nutrients including choline and biotin (found in eggs), vitamin C and thiamin.  Manganese also supports bone health, nervous system function, thyroid health and helps to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
  • Coconut flour is not grain-based, and, as such does not present many of the issues that accompany grains.  Coconut flour is gluten-free and, while it does contain food phytate, the mineral-binding effects of phytates in coconut are virtual nonexistent so coconut flour does not need to be soaked (read more about soaking coconut flour).

Baking with Coconut Flour: What you need to know

  • In baking, you cannot substitute coconut flour for wheat or other grain-based flours at a 1:1 ratio.  They are not equivalent.
  • Coconut flour is extraordinarily absorbent and very little coconut flour is needed to successfully produce a recipe.  In baked goods, you generally want to substitute 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup coconut flour for 1 cup grain-based flour.  You will also need to increase the number of eggs.  In general for every one cup of coconut flour you use, you will need to use six beaten eggs in your recipe in addition to approximately one cup liquid such as coconut milk.  When baking with coconut, it is best to use established recipes rather than waste considerable expense and time with experimentation.
  • If you are frying or sauteing and need to dredge meats or vegetables, you can use coconut flour in an amount that is equivalent to wheat flour.
  • Coconut flour is clumpy.  To produce a fine-textured result, the coconut flour must be thoroughly beaten with the other ingredients in your recipe.
  • Coconut flour is dense and can also be dry.  Every flour has its peculiar characteristics and baked goods made with coconut flour tend to be dense and dry.  To reduce dryness, make sure you’re using plenty of eggs and you can also add cooked, pureed or mashed fruit or vegetables to your baked goods to increase the moisture.

Nourished Kitchen Guide to Grain-free BakingCoconut Flour Recipes & Cookbooks

Where to Buy Coconut Flour

You can find coconut flour at most well-stocked health food stores, but it tends to be expensive for a small amount. You can typically save money when purchasing  organic coconut flour in bulk online.

Do you have tips for baking with coconut flour?

Don’t be quiet!  If you have tips for baking with coconut flour or favorite recipes to share, join the conversation by leaving a comment.

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What people are saying

  1. says

    I find that “soaking” coconut flour makes a much better textured final product. I mix the coconut flour with the liquid ingredients from the recipe. Beat very well to get rid of the clumps then let the mixture “soak” for at least 15 minutes. This helps remove the graininess that I found off putting in baked goods made from coconut flour.

      • Jill says

        It also helps to separate the egg whites from the yolk and beat up the egg whites for a fluffier and less dense batter :)

        • Kristine says

          Thank you…do you use coconut oil in your baking too? That seems like an awful lot of eggs/cholesterol. Is that not a worry or a trade off?
          I want to tackle a rum cake that already calls for 6 eggs,…I need to use 12 eggs now?

            • Lisa Marie Sullivan says

              I am vegan and do not eat eggs. Are there any other suggestions instead of eggs to reduce the dryness of the coconut flour? I am using bananas and soy milk in a recipe. Should I add more? Thanks! Lisa

    • Patricia says

      Andra – I am new to the coconut flour – tried it once and it was grainy. I see your recommendation about soaking for 15 mins. Any new updates on your experiences? Thanks.

    • Jane says

      Txgirlwonder — that ratio is in this coconut flour pancake recipe I use from a paleo web site: http://paleopancakes.co/paleo-pancakes-fluffy-coconut-flour-pancakes.

      I have a gluten allergy (not celiac), try to minimize dairy, and watch carbs, but if I’m wanting a “treat” breakfast on the weekends or have a big workout planned I’ll make a half recipe of this, using 2 eggs, almond milk instead of coconut milk, skipping the sweetener and cooking it in coconut oil. I serve it with some berries and no syrup. It does turn out kind of savory — I am wondering if I could make mini pancakes from this recipe and serve something savory on them as a party app some time (smoked salmon and creme fraiche, creamy mushrooms and some parm, etc.).

      Like other posters on here, I also share concern about my cholesterol, but also feel that eggs are not the enemy if sourced carefully and eaten in moderation. Made for one, this dish has only two eggs — which is an appropriate egg portion. In addition, the 2 eggs plus protein in the coconut flour tote up to a protein-rich breakfast with about 20g protein, and the meal (with fruit) has over 10g fiber, and way way less carbs than traditional pancakes. My nutritionist even OKs this for now-and-again variety meal for my particular diet (which involves distributing protein in a particular way during day to modulate blood sugar, and using only low-glycemic and nutrient dense carbs — mainly fruit and nutritious veggies, small amounts of brown rice or squash or the like only at breakfast and lunch).

      • Dan Reed says

        Jane hi listen I make waffels out of the coconut flower and do it all most the same as you But you might want to try this to add to the berrys concentrated cherry juice just 3 tea spoonsand mix with the berrys it has no sugar added and the flavor with the berrys is great

  2. Sandy says

    I want to make the coconut flour cake recipe, however, we have been told by our doctor to lower our cholesterol intake. The recipe calls for 12 eggs. Can we substitute half of the eggs by using only the egg whites?

      • Ninja Nicky says

        I bake ALOT With coconut flour. I use No eggs. No dairy. No oil. Use another flour such as almond flour to help bind it. They both have alot of natural oils as well.
        Jenny, That study is not convincing. Yes, an egg has all of those nutritional properties, but any vegetable has so much more. The choice to eat eggs should not be based on that study. Eggs do contain EFA’s but the balance is not right for our bodies. Sandy is right, eggs will raise your cholesterol but also clog your arteries. If you want a proper balance of EFA’s I would recommend any green leafy vegetable. Yes, They do contain the proper balance of fat and protein that our bodes are designed to assimilate. Above all they are rich in phytonutrients

        • Renee says

          I eat at least 8 eggs a week, sometimes more when I make a quiche or brownies. The eggs are from my mom’s free range hens that eat very healthy themselves, like kale from my parent’s garden and no commercial feed. I have excellent cholesterol, year after year. I also eat lots of fats, coconut oil, nuts, raw grass fed butter, grass fed beef, cheese and ice cream. I have no heart disease, good BP, excellent triglycerides, generally excellent lab values and at 47 years old my PCP thinks I am lying about my age and I am really only 30 years old. So eggs are NOT the enemy.

            • says

              Oh, you funny! :) me too im 46, and look 30, i think i eat even more eggs a week :) and yes, a lot of bacon too, but also i make my own fish and beef stocks, i eat a lot of soups. My grandparents ate a LOT of bacon and they never ever cheecked their cholesterol, they passed away at 88 peacefully, and as all i remember every day of the week we had bacon and eggs for breakfast, only on weekends we had pancakes or french toast, since my mom didnt have much time to cook before work.

            • Bg says

              Check out the Primal Blueprint. You can have bacon ;) and he explains why it’s not “bad” for you.

          • LORI says

            THANK YOU RENEE….EGGS ARE NOT THE ENEMY, IM GLAD SOMEONE FINALLY SAID THAT. WE EAT 2 EGGS SAUSAGE OR BACON, EVERYDAY & HAVE FOR YEARS WITH NO PROBLEMS..IN PERFECT HEALTH. WE ARE IN OUR 50 NOT TAKING ANY DAILY MEDS. LOVE COOKING WITH COCONUT FLOUR. PEOPLE ALSO SAY WE LOOK LIKE WE ARE IN OUR 40’S. THE WHIPPING OF THE EGG WHITES & SOAKING THE FLOUR IN ANY OF THE LIQUIDS DOES HELP WITH THE TEXTURE & IT BEING LIGHT & AIRLY. YOU JUST HAVE TO TAKE A FEW MORE STEPS & IT IS WORTH IT. HAPPY BAKING TO EVERYONE!

        • Maria says

          Would love to know where I can find recipes with coconut flour and no eggs or dairy.
          My daughter is allergic to eggs and casein and gluten. I love coconut flour but have not found any good recipes for muffins or baked goods without the eggs and casein.

        • Randy says

          For those concerned about your cholesterol I highly recommend you watch the video called The Bitter Truth About Sugar. It is from an MD and it breaks the effects of cholesterol and it’s link to sugar down to nearly the molecular level.

          To your health.

        • Derek says

          Actually eating tons of cholesterol is NOT harmful. Neither is eating as much saturated fat as you desire. The current medical thinking is wrong and based on the lies of one man: Ansel Keys. There is tons you can google on this topic to educate yourself. Here is a fun starting point: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8WA5wcaHp4. Another website that is full of good information is the Weston Price Foundation. And finally, here is a great article in the New York times you should look at: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

        • Heather says

          Can you please point me in the direction of egg free or reduced egg coconut flour recipes? I find everything I bake with coconut flour too eggy.

    • Beth says

      Sandy, the mainstream dietary advice to avoid eggs and other cholesterol-rich foods is misguided. It’s a case of mistaken consensus because saturated fat and cholesterol have never been proven to cause heart disease. Rest assured that they have been vital parts of the human diet for eons. Smile and nod to your doctor, then go home and make these muffins. Eggs are fantastic nutrition, especially if they are from pasture-raised hens out in the sunshine and grass eating bugs and such.

    • Lisa G says

      Throughout the years, as the increase in doctors advising to watch cholesterol increased, the rate of heart disease increased. Just eat real food from quality sources and your health will get better. Good luck.

  3. says

    Can some of the excessive amount of eggs in coconut flour recipes be replaced with wet ingredients like pureed fruit? Or would that ruin the proper binding of the ingredients?

    • Willow says

      Good question! I was wondering the same thing. Like what about water or milk? In the right recipe, vinegar, wine, or liquor? And for those who can’t or don’t want (so many) eggs, what about flax meal soaked in water? I haven’t tried it, but I’ve heard that it can replace eggs in baking. I’m not sure about the ratio, but I THINK it’s l like 1 tbsp flax to 3 tbsp water for each egg.

  4. Thom says

    When baking with Coconut Flour, you can cool your baked goods out of the oven and right into the freezer for 45 min. The steam from the baked goods and the freezer work together to product moisture into the baked goods.

  5. madeline says

    am baking a cupcake for my son who is on a gf-cf-sf – modify Gaps diet and grain free the recipe calls for coconut flour and almond flour but my son is allergic to almonds so what can i use to substitute the almond flour? do u think i can use arrowroot flour or flaxseed ? its for his bday .. please help me ….

  6. Shelby L says

    Hi There,
    Do you have some recommendations for flours for baking besides grain flours/nut flours/coconut flour? I hear something about using beans as a flour. Hmmm.. And… what else? Thanks for any advice! (I’m on the SCD diet if that helps).

  7. says

    I have discovered coconut flour about 6 month ago and ever since it has been learning curve for me. Mastering traditional pancakes was the first step, then I moved to smaller cookies and cakes, favourite currently being chocolate chock biscuits. The main factor I appreciate about coconut flour is the fact that in general, we tend to eat less of each serving as it is much more filling then bakes from normal flours. Topped with chocolate or other frosting, with some vanilla essence, it is fantastic baking I can recommend to all.

  8. Erin says

    Has anyone tried replacing eggs with chia gel? A tablespoon of chia gel can be substituted for one egg. To make chia gel soak a Tbsp of chia seeds in 2 Tbsp warm water. Mix a larger batch in an air tight container and store in the fridge.

    • says

      My daughter & I are vegetarians-vegans since my cancer diagnosis back in 2007. Nutrition is everything in this household.
      I have had great success replacing eggs* with mashed bananas. I am not concerned about cholesteral I am concerned with the egg industry practices. That and I have a history of not being too keen on eggs in the first place… eeewwww.

  9. Melissa says

    I’d like to make this tomato bisque but need to replace the whole wheat flour with coconut flour. It calls for 5 T of whole wheat flour. What amount would you suggest if replacing with coconut flour? A couple of T? Thanks so much!

    • Sarah Phoebe Worfolk says

      I have never used any flour when making a tomato bisque as reducing the liquid should help to thicken it.

  10. Dorothy says

    I am looking for cooking and baking ideas using gletten free coconut flour. I tried to make zuchinni bread using this flour and didn’t know about using so much less and the extra eggs. Need some help and would like some recipies. Thank you. Dorothy

  11. Monika says

    Noticed someone asking about substituting almond flour for nut allergies. I’ve recently found a great nut substitute that I use when baking for my son (birthday cake etc), they’re called Tiger Nuts or Chufas and come from Spain. They’re not anut but a tuber of a grass, but they taste like nuts and canbe bought whole or ground. To use in baking, substitute 90% of the weight of nuts with tiger nuts (so for every 100g that a recipecalls for, use 90g of tiger nuts).

  12. Siobhan says

    I’ve just made pancakes with it, 2 mashed bananas 4 eggs (separated and whites whisked until fluffy) and 4 tablespoons of coconut flour. Mixed the egg yolks, banana and coconut flour then loosened and folded in egg whites. Fried them and served them with bacon and a little honey. I wasn’t sure at first but my 17 month old has just scoffed the lot. I couldn’t ask for a better result.

  13. Raine says

    I had heard that coconut was bad becuase it was a cause of heart disease amoung other things. Just recently my husband brought home a book that tossed any preconceptions about coconut out the window. If you like to read get this book, it is a real eye opener The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil by Bruce Fife, N.D. forewarded by Jon J. Kabara, Ph. D.
    Namaste

  14. Stephanie says

    I am trying this detox regimen and I cannot have eggs… Im trying to make avocado fries and have already thought of some substitutes for some of the ingredients and what not. I looked up egg substitutes and fell upon a website that suggested mixing water and flour to make a paste for something that you would normally coat with eggs and flour before you fry it… I cant use regular flour and i could use wheat flour but I was curious about using coconut flour… Is that possible?

  15. says

    Thanks for the great article. I just made sweet potato biscuits with coconut flour and even my fiance thought they were good and then suggested making waffles : )

  16. Dana says

    I’m trying to find a good replacement for coconut flour. My husband has allergies to coconut, tree nuts and most things that grow on trees. I would like to find something I can bake for him for his birthday coming up soon, but am not having much luck. Any suggestions?

  17. Vicki says

    Hi,
    I’m on a low carb diet due to diabetes and a lot of these recipes with coconut flour seem excellent but use a lot of honey which I cannot have. Is it possible to use a substitute such as Stevia or do you have any other suggestions?
    Thanks,
    Vicki

    • Tara says

      Hi Vicki, I use Stevia for a lot of things, but as it’s super sweet, you need to find something to bulk it out. I’ve successfully used maltodextrin – which is a sugar that has bugger all sweetness to it, it’s used in beer making!mixed with Stevia for sweetness. Also, it’s usually available in the supermarket in the home brew section. I’ve also used Rice Malt Syrup, sweetened with liquid stevia in place of honey, and maple syrup. I’m not sure how they would go with diabetes, but I’m sure if you contact one of the diabetes groups, they will be able to point you in the right direction.

  18. says

    Great post! Thank you ! Ive been searching around for how to substitute regular flour with coconut and almond flour and this is extremely helpful.

  19. reds says

    Is it possible to use coconut flour for Doughnuts? Our main problem when we use coconut flour is its texture and the amount of fat absorbed after frying. Can you please help me?

  20. Cookies says

    Hi, I found his recipe for a vanilla cake, but it uses coconut flour.
    http://www.strandsofmylife.com/classic-vanilla-cake-grain-dairy-and-refined-sugar-free/
    I want to make it for a birthday cake, but I wanted to use plain or wholemeal flour. Any suggestions as to how I could replace it? I’d use the coconut but a) the birthday girl doesn’t like coconut and b) I don’t have the time/money to source the coconut flour. Would I have to cut down the number of eggs to one or none? Thanks! XDd

  21. says

    Graininess in making any baked goods with coconut flour puts me off too but I like how light the baked goods are in my belly. I will try the soaking method. I hope it helps.

  22. says

    I have been making my family’s birthday cakes for the last several years and have always had the guilt of feeding my children a sugary lump of wheat flour.

    Since finding and experimenting with coconut flour, I have been able to feel good about creating cakes that are dense in fiber and protein. I make a chocolate birthday cake and I calculated it out to have almost 10 grams of protein per slice, as opposed to the 1-2 grams in a normal chocolate cake.

    I hear a lot about the texture of coconut flour products as being dense, grainy or just unappetizing. I think the best thing you can do is continue to experiment and not give up. The benefits of being able to make a cake or muffin with coconut flour by far outweigh the breaking in period to get you used to the different texture.

  23. says

    I’m curious to find out what blog system you’re utilizing?
    I’m having some small security issues with my latest site and I would like to find something more safeguarded.

    Do you have any suggestions?

  24. Shiela says

    Does anyone have a good recipe for pie pastry. My sister is celiac and I would love to bake tarts or a pie for her once in awhile.

  25. Charlene says

    I’m just curious – I have been asked to make a gluten-free banana bread and I’m thinking coconut flour will work best with this. I’m also considering adding greek yogurt to the recipe – I’m supposed to bake this for one hour when I used wheat flour – will the cooking time be off, too? Increase or decrease?

  26. courtney says

    today i tried to make coconut flour funnel cakes. i used coconut milk and coconut oil to fry. my attempt was a failure because i failed to read the conversion instructions and didn’t know how absorbent the coconut flour was. However, the flour, oil and milk smelled really good. i may try again after more research.

  27. demi says

    hi.i wonder if i make my own coconut milk and pulp and dehydrate it..will the flour be like store bought?i mean….in recipes it will act like store bought or it wont do much?and if using homemade instead store bought flour needs same eggs?i read somewhere online that homemade coconut flour didnt absorb liquid like the store bought that is why i worry.dont want to get in the trouble and end up with nothing

  28. Eric says

    I’m finding that coconut flour tastes grainy in my quick breads and stuff when they’re hot, but when it’s fully cooled to room temperature it congeals into something remarkable, everyone who’s tasted it was blown away. The coconut flour I get has an amazing, slightly spicy aroma that works great with vanilla, caraway seeds, raisins and walnuts. My favorite way to make it is with 2 kinds of sweet potato, though I’ll use buckwheat instead sometimes for a change. There’s also an equal amount of tapioca flour to balance out the coconut.

  29. Hudson Valley says

    CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

    I tried making cookies before I found this site. I used 1 cup of coconut flour (Red Mill) in place of 1 of the 2 1/4 cups flour in a typical Toll House recipe. (I used dark chocolate chips.) I didn’t add any more eggs or liquid than the recipe called for. Oven temp and time the same. The cookies came out fine, even though I reduced the white sugar by half. A bit more “cakey” texture than I would have preferred. But not at all grainy, like some people said here. Next time I’ll reduce the flour a bit and maybe add another egg. I tried this because I’ve always like coconut in chocolate chip cookies, and when I learned that this flour is low carb, I figured it would be ideal for this recipe.

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