Buckwheat flour is a pseudo-grain gluten-free flour that is quickly growing in popularity. Although the term superfood gets thrown around often, buckwheat flour earns this designation thanks to its high nutrient content.
Buckwheat flour is a common ingredient in rustic cooking in many parts of the world. People use it to make everything from soba noodles in Japan to blinis in Russia.
The distinctive earthy, rich taste helps make most baked goods taste more robust. Modern pastry chefs love to incorporate buckwheat flour into pancakes, muffins, and more.
However, buckwheat flour can still be difficult to track down for the average home cook without access to a specialty grocery store. So here are a few substitutes for this excellent ingredient.
1. Oat Flour
Oat flour is a popular gluten-free alternative that is made from ground-up oats. If you are looking for a substitute for buckwheat flour that is easily available, then oat flour is a good choice. Most supermarkets sell it, or you can make it at home by grinding up your own oats. Although oat flour has a slightly milder texture than buckwheat flour, it still has a distinctive nutty flavor that will enhance your dishes.
Oat flour has a different texture than buckwheat flour. While this means that you will have to adjust your calculations when baking, it can actually be beneficial in the end because oat flour is moister and easier to work with. However, double-check the packaging because some oat flours are not gluten-free while all buckwheat flours are.
2. Sorghum Flour
Another flour that has earned the title of superfood, sorghum flour, is a great substitute for buckwheat flour. Sorghum flour is also gluten-free and is packed with nutrients such as vitamin B, magnesium, and zinc. It has a similarly rich, earthy taste to buckwheat flour, leading to unique baked goods.
Sorghum flour has a similar texture to buckwheat flour so it can make a good substitute in breads, muffins, and other recipes. However, it is slightly more robust. While you may need to add extra binders and starches to a buckwheat flour recipe, you do not need those when using sorghum flour, and keeping them in may result in food that is too dry.
Brown rice flour is made from ground-up whole grains of rice. Although first developed in Asia, it is now a common ingredient in gluten-free baking around the world. Brown rice flour and buckwheat flour both come from whole grains or grain-like ingredients and have similar nutritional profiles. Brown rice flour, in particular, is high in heart-healthy dietary fibers.
Brown rice works as a substitute for buckwheat flour because they have similar rich, nutty flavors. Brown rice flour is a bit denser than buckwheat flour, so you may not need to use as many other starches.
4. Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour, also sometimes called garbanzo bean flour, is made from ground-up raw chickpeas. Chickpea flour has long been a staple ingredient in the Middle East and even Italy, but is now finding new audiences as a gluten-free alternative in Western baking.
Chickpea flour works as a buckwheat flour substitute because of its distinctive nutty flavor, high nutritional content, and gluten-free properties.
However, their textures are different, and you will need to keep that in mind as you bake. Chickpea flour binds easily to other ingredients, which is excellent if you are using it as a substitute in fritters but can make for oddly textured baked goods.
5. Wheat Flour
Finally, one of the most reliable substitutions for buckwheat flour is regular old wheat flour. If you want a more robust flavor, you can get whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose white flour. Wheat flour is so ubiquitous for a reason. It binds easily to other ingredients and creates perfectly textured baked goods.
However, wheat flour is not normally gluten-free, although you can find gluten-free all-purpose flour. It is also less nutritious than buckwheat flour. If you were hoping to use buckwheat flour as a substitute for its robust flavor, you would also be missing out on that aspect if you only use wheat flour.