Coconut flour is an allergen-friendly flour alternative that is rising in popularity. This fine, soft powder is suitable for those following a gluten-free or grain-free diet.
Coconut flour has an impressive nutritional profile, so may offer health benefits when enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. Add it to baked goods and smoothies or use it as a thickening agent in soups or stews. The possibilities are endless!
This guide will explain how coconut flour is made and what health benefits it could provide if you choose to include it in your diet.
What is Coconut Flour?
Coconut flour is made from the meat inside of a coconut. Coconuts grow on palm trees, in tropical climates. The coconut is harvested, then the meat of the coconut is separated from the liquid. It is then baked in an oven to remove moisture and the process is finished by grinding the coconut solids into a fine powder.
The flour retains the slight taste and aroma of coconut, so it works best in recipes where a hint of coconut will add to the party!
Coconut Flour Nutrition
When compared to wheat flour, coconut flour is higher in fiber, fat, and protein. Although regular coconut is high in saturated fat, the processes that coconut undergoes remove most of it from the flour.
A typical ¼ cup serving of coconut flour typically contains:
- Calories - 120 kcal
- Carbs - 18 grams
- Sugar - 6 grams
- Fiber - 10 grams
- Protein - 6 grams
- Fat - 3 grams
- Iron - 11% of the Daily Value
- Potassium -13% of the Daily Value
This diverse nutritional profile contains high amounts of two minerals, iron, and potassium. Using coconut flour is an excellent and convenient way to obtain more of these minerals.
Coconut Flour Benefits
- Gluten-free - coconut flour is a great alternative for those struggling with gluten intolerances, as it is completely gluten-free.
- May support heart health - a study has suggested that eating 15 to 25 grams of coconut fiber a day can help lower total blood cholesterol by 11%, and LDL by up to 9%. Including a serving of coconut fiber in your diet may help to promote lower blood pressure.
- A source of protein - around 20% of coconut flour is protein, meaning that adding it to baked goods will help contribute towards your daily recommended amount, and may also promote satiety. Adding coconut flour to your diet may also, therefore, help with weight loss. Its higher protein and fiber promote a fuller feeling than typical wheat products.
- High in fiber - coconut flour is largely indigestible and can promote a healthier gut. It is important for gut health as it keeps food moving through the digestive tract, potentially preventing constipation. Increasing your fiber intake can also promote a healthier gut by encouraging the growth of ‘good’ bacteria.
- Antioxidant - research has suggested that coconut flour has antioxidant properties, and can help protect against toxins
Cooking With Coconut Flour
When cooking with coconut flour, it is important to keep in mind that it doesn’t behave like conventional flour. Ordinary flours consist primarily of starch, which absorbs water and binds to proteins differently than coconut flour.
Coconut flour, whilst being starch-free, does contain carbohydrates and fiber. This means that coconut flour tends to absorb lots of moisture when used in baking, and recipes need to account for this if they contain coconut flour.
This quality means it is best to limit how much coconut flour is used in a recipe to around 20-25%, if used in greater quantities it can absorb too much water and result in dry baked goods.
For the best results, pick recipes that already use coconut flour and account for this, rather than trying to substitute coconut flour into regular recipes.
Uses of Coconut Flour
Coconut flour retains the slightly sweet and nutty taste of coconut. The coconut’s unique taste can work superbly in both savory and sweet goods, however, the flavor profile of coconut flour does therefore need to be taken into consideration when picking a recipe. Coconut flour compliments chocolate, lime, and ginger, as well as savory flavors such as curry or vegan chili.
Whilst coconut flour can be challenging to bake with due to its moisture-retaining properties, the results both nutritionally and taste-wise can be huge when it is used effectively.
As well as adding a unique flavor to sweet and savory baked goods, this flour works well as a thickening agent for soups and stews, or as a coating on tofu before being fried.
When first experimenting with coconut flour it is best to use recipes that are designed to account for its absorbent properties. After working with the flour for a while, you will gain some knowledge of when it is appropriate to substitute it into normal recipes. As a general rule, coconut flour can be used as a substitute for around 20% of typical wheat flour in recipes.
Below is a recipe with coconut flour to get you going!
Vegan Chocolate Chip Coconut Flour Cookies
- ⅓ cup of coconut flour
- 2 ½ of maple syrup
- ½ cup of vegan chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp of ground flax meal (to make 2 flax eggs)
- ¼ cup of melted vegan butter
- ⅛ tsp of sea salt
- Mix 2 tbsp of ground flax meal with 6 tbsp of water, and leave for 15 minutes until the mixture becomes gooey
- Preheat oven to 330 °F
- Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, and keep mixing until the consistency turns from liquid to thick and dough-like
- Roll the dough into balls, then place on a lined baking tray in the center of the oven
- Let the cookies bake for 20 minutes, then leave to cool down. As the cookies cool they will form a crisp exterior.
Alternatively, choosing ready-made premixes or already baked products made from coconut flour can be a convenient way to add it to your diet. The market has a large range of options, from pancake mixes to grain-free wraps. Visit PlantX to see our large range of coconut flour products.
Top Coconut Flours To Try
So far, we’ve got to grips with the basics of coconut flour and covered the benefits, facts, and uses. Below, we’ve listed some of our favorite coconut flours to get you started if you want to delve further into the world of coconut flour.
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Coconut Flour
Bob’s Red Mill is an employee-owned company dedicated to making delicious and nutritious gluten-free products. This coconut flour is made entirely out of organic desiccated coconut, with no additives or preservatives. It’s simple and high-quality.
Cadia Organic Coconut Flour
This organic coconut flour is made using non-GMO certified coconuts grown in The Philippines. Cadia believes in product consistency and sustainable farming, so they make long-term partnerships with trusted farmers to ensure they provide only the highest quality products.
Lets Do Organics Coconut Flour
Lets Do Organics hand-pick their organic coconuts before finely milling them to mimic the consistency of wheat flour. This also means it works particularly well in smoothies, the fine texture lending itself well to a smooth and silky beverage.
Get Nutty with Coconut Flour!
Coconut flour is a nutritious flour substitute that can be used as a partial replacement for typical wheat flours in many recipes, or as a stand-alone binding agent in specially designed recipes.
The perceived benefits of using coconut flour in recipes are huge, it can potentially help to lower blood pressure, increase fiber intake, and contains multitudes of micronutrients.
Although cooking with coconut flour requires a little bit of extra pre-planning and thought, the results are well worth it. The subtle hint of coconut pairs beautifully with a whole host of sweet and savory flavors, whilst also adding nutritional value.