Top 5 AIP-Friendly Flours: A Guide to Gluten-Free, Nutritious Alternatives

Top 5 AIP-Friendly Flours: A Guide to Gluten-Free, Nutritious Alternatives

Perhaps the most comforting news of your day: baking doesn’t have to be off-limits while following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Diet!

These days, there are countless whole-food flour alternatives that are AIP compliant. Which means you don’t have to worry about the chronic fatigue, inflammation, or flare-ups that can happen when traditional flours (think: wheat, rye, barley, and oat) are consumed.

So get your apron out, TigerMama! These are the top AIP-friendly (and paleo!) flours you can use to recreate your most beloved recipes.

1. Coconut Flour

Perhaps one of the most common of the AIP compliant flours, this flour is made from the meat of the coconut (which is simply dried and ground into flour). It’s high in protein, low in carbohydrates, and is fairly heavy in weight—which means it absorbs a lot of moisture. For this reason, bakers often combine coconut flour with other AIP flours.

Note: It does have a coconut flavor, which may detract or alter other flavorings. It’s also much easier to find at local supermarkets and may be less expensive than some other specialty flours.

2. Tigernut Flour

Though not actually from a nut, the tigernut flour comes from a small root usually found in Africa or Mediterranean countries. It has a slightly nutty flavor and is a little on the sweet side. It’s lightweight, high in fiber, and has a light brown color.

Tigernut flour doesn’t absorb water well, so it’s usually combined with other flours to keep it from crumbling. (Note that it’s also not as fine as other flours either, so it may require sifting before use.) Best used for cakes, cookies, cobbler, pancakes, and crepes. It’s a bit more expensive, so combining with other less expensive AIP flours will make it go further.

3. Tapioca Flour

Tapioca starch or flour comes from the cassava plant, but unlike cassava flour, it’s manufactured from just the starch of the root. It’s commonly used as a thickening agent in cooking and baking due to its ability to absorb and hold moisture. Its neutral taste—described as mild, bland, or slightly sweet—makes it a versatile ingredient.

Note: It gelatinizes when heated, so it’s best used for thickening gravies and sauces. It can also be used with other AIP compliant flours in breads and baked treats and will make cookies or cakes chewier.

4. Cassava Flour

Made from the whole cassava root (also known as yuca or manioc), this flour is most like traditional wheat flour in baking. It has a very mild flavor and a fine powdery texture. Because it absorbs water, it can be used in conjunction with other flours that don't do well on their own. However, it does fine by itself and makes great tortillas, pie crusts, cookies, and most other baked goods.

5. Arrowroot Flour

Obtained from the rhizomes of the arrowroot plant, arrowroot flour is a must-have for the AIP dieter. It’s neutral in flavor and becomes clear and glossy when cooked, making it ideal for thickening without altering the color or taste of dishes. You can use this in most baking applications and since it binds well, it also does well in soups, sauces, gravies, and desserts. It’s readily available and less expensive than many other AIP compliant flours.

Speciality Gluten-Free Flours (AIP-Friendly)

In addition to the top five AIP flours, there have been additional flours that have increased in popularity and accessibility recently. Though not as available, most can be found in health food stores or online.

Plantain Flour

This is a flour made from dried, ground plantains. The flavor of the plantains does come through, but if you like that and it fits well with your baking, this flour can stand alone in crepes, pancakes, and even crackers.

Water Chestnut Flour

This flour can be found in Indian or ethnic markets or purchased online. It has a slightly nutty flavor and a darker color so it is best used in chocolate-type baked goods such as brownies.

Sweet Potato Flour

Considered one of the most nutrient-dense options, sweet potato flour is made by dehydrating and grinding sweet potatoes. It has a subtly sweet taste and offers a vibrant orange hue to baked goods. This flour is a great source of fiber, vitamins A and C, and minerals like potassium. Sweet potato flour works well in recipes like brownies, cookies, and pie crusts.

Note: Double check the ingredients! You’ll want to make sure that this product is 100% sweet potatoes and contains no additives.

Pumpkin Flour

Made from dried and ground pumpkins, the best place to find this is online. Try using in traditional fall desserts like carrot cake or bread.

Cricket Flour

Cricket flour is just what you may think. Made from crickets. It has a slightly malted or nutty flavor and is high in protein. You can buy cricket flour pasta and it can be used in bread and cookies, but it is more traditionally used in smoothies or wherever else you would use a protein powder. Cricket powder is said to be sustainable, but is also pricey.

Breadfruit Flour

The breadfruit is a bumpy green fruit with an inner texture similar to a potato. It’s most often used with another AIP flour but could be used alone. Great for pizza crust or can be used in cakes, pies, and other desserts.

Squash Flour

Squash flour is made from sliced and dried butternut squash. You will get that subtle sweet taste that you get with squash, so try it in waffles or breads for a change in flavor profile.

Taro Flour

Made from taro root, taro flour is made from the same root where the Hawaiians make poi.  Important to Hawaii and African economies, it has not really made the leap to Western culture.  It is, however, AIP compliant, and may be worth a try.

Fruit Flours  

Apple and Banana flours are also AIP flour choices. They have high fiber content and have a stronger flavor profile than some of the other flours. They are great for most baked goods.

And Remember…

Even when trying a flour that’s AIP-friendly, stay cautious. Start by using it in moderation—just to be be sure that you don’t have any sensitivities to it. Some AIP followers have noticed reactions to water chestnuts or tigernut flour, for instance.

And as always, pay attention to the ingredient label. These flours need to be 100% pure with no additives or mixtures. If you want to combine flours, do it at home and document the combination in case of a reaction.

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