9 Chickpea Flour Substitutes That Will Make Your Heart Pulse
Chickpea flour has many different names! You may see chickpea flour labeled as: gram, chana, garbanzo, cici bean or besan. All these flours are one in the same—finely ground flour made from dried chickpeas! Chickpea flour tends to be pale yellow to white and ranges from coarse to superfine.
Chickpeas, as you may know, are a pulse that is super high in protein, carbs, fiber and iron. They contain no gluten and are one of the creamiest and tastiest of all the beans!
Chickpeas are popular in Indian, Caribbean and Middle Eastern recipes, but it would be difficult to find a country in the world that doesn’t love chickpeas! Some of the most popular chickpea-based dishes include hummus, socca, falafel, papadam, pakora, chana and chole. Chickpeas are also the main ingredient in aquafaba, which is quickly becoming a popular plant-based egg replacer.
When ground, chickpea flour can be used in a variety of dishes, primarily in baked goods, where it lends a sweet, rich flavor as well as loads of nutrients that you might not get with another flour. Chickpea flour is readily available and relatively affordable, so it should be accessible. But if you cannot find chickpea flour, or are looking to play around in the kitchen and try out some alternatives, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top 9 chickpea flour substitutes!
1. Make Your Own Chickpea Flour!
Chickpea flour is relatively easy to make, assuming you have a high-power blender or food mill! If you do, we recommend making your own at least once!
You will want to make sure you grind the chickpeas until the flour is very fine. You can achieve this by blending on high for a few minutes, straining (look out for any clumps or small stones which can turn up in dried beans!) and blending again.
The result will be a super fine, powdery flour. You can also use a food mill such as a Nutri-Mill or something like it, and grind the beans in small batches. Homemade chickpea flour will be very fresh and superior in flavor!
This option is highly recommended if you have dried chickpeas on hand; just be mindful, this process can be very loud!
2. Wheat Flour
Like chickpeas, wheat is another plant that is high in nutrients such as carbohydrates, minerals, and fiber. Wheat flour is used in baked goods around the world and is prized for its flavor and sustenance.
However, wheat flour is not appropriate for those with a gluten allergy, which is becoming increasingly common. Wheat flour and chickpea flour can be used 1:1 and are about the same cost, so it is a great alternative if gluten is not an issue. If gluten is an issue, there are several other suitable options on this list!
3. Other Bean Flours (Fava, Kidney, Black Bean)
There are many types of bean flours on the market, all of which have similar benefits (and drawbacks!) to chickpea flour. The benefits include the fact that all these flours are high in nutrients and flavor, and are gluten free.
But that they may be a bit expensive and can be tricky to find. Any bean flour can be used 1:1 and we recommend fava bean flavor as the best because it is most similar in color and texture to chickpea flour.
4. Quinoa Flour
Quinoa flour is made from finely ground quinoa, which is technically a grass rather than a pulse or grain.
Quinoa, like chickpeas, is incredibly healthy! Quinoa is super high in fiber, carbs, and minerals. It is also high in protein, the highest you can get in a plant-based food. Quinoa is also gluten free so it can be used 1:1 in chickpea flour based recipes. The downside?
Quinoa flour can be quite expensive! Because of its fat content, it will also go rancid quickly and should be used within a few weeks. (You can make your own quite quickly or buy at any health food store!)
Quinoa flour also has a distinct quinoa-like flavor (go figure!) So if you are looking for something neutral, we recommend a different flour from this list such as corn or oat flour.
5. Oat Flour
Oats, like chickpeas, are readily available and therefore less expensive than some of these other options. They are most often gluten-free, but occasionally oats are processed with wheat products, so if gluten is an issue, make sure you look for gluten-free oat flour!
Oat flour is ideal because it is cheap, fairly neutral in flavor (and hopefully gluten-free), and colorless. It is also very easy to make yourself and you won’t need a fancy, high-powered blender for this one… just a regular one or a food processor!
You will need to use about 20% more oat flour than chickpea flour in a baked good because the volume of oat flour is different. Otherwise, it makes a great alternative to any flour, especially chickpea flour!
6. Almond Flour or Almond Meal
Almond flour (or meal, as it is sometimes called) is made from finely ground raw, peeled almonds. It is slightly sweet and makes delicious, gluten-free baked goods!
High in nutrients, especially fiber and protein, almond flour is a great alternative to chickpea flour, and can be used 1:1. It is lower carb, meaning it is more suitable for certain diets.
On the flip side, almond meal can be quite expensive and won’t be suitable for anyone with a nut allergy.
7. Corn Flour
It is prized in Mexican baked goods but is often used for its low price point and fine texture. Corn flour has a distinct corn-like flavor so take this into consideration if using corn flour in place of chickpea flour! Corn flour is also gluten-free, and will make any baked good tender and delicious!
8. Brown Rice Flour
Also gluten-free and full of nutrients, rice flour is an excellent option to use in place of chickpea flour.
Brown rice flour is used primarily in gluten-free baked goods because it is readily available and inexpensive.
It is often used in blends though, because brown rice flour can have a bit of a sandy texture, and is slightly brown in color. Keep this in mind, and feel free to use any of the flours on this list in combination with brown rice flour.
9. Lentil Flour
Whether the lentil flour you choose is homemade or store-bought, it is very similar to chickpea flour as it is made from another pulse that you might already have in your pantry!
Lentil flour will also be very high in protein, fiber, and carbs, and is free from fat, gluten, or salt, making it a very healthy flour! Lentil flour may discolor your baked goods, so it is worth considering that when deciding whether to use it for your recipe.
There are as many substitutes for chickpea flour as there are names for it! Chickpea flour is incredibly popular, especially in Indian cuisines where it is used to make pakora and dosa, but also in France where it is used to make socca and pannise, and in Middle Eastern cuisine for many recipes!
Chickpea flour is popular in vegetarian and gluten-free recipes and you will find it adds a pleasant texture and mild sweetness to anything you are preparing.