Five Versatile Millet Flour Substitutes

Millet flour is an alternative to all-purpose flour fast, gaining popularity in the world of gluten-free baking.

Millet flour is made by grinding up proso millet and sometimes white teff. These grains are prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa thanks to their ability to grow in poorer soils and semiarid climates. 

Millet flour has long been a staple of cuisines on the continent but is now expanding its reach. Bakers and cooks love it because of its elegant, sweet flavor and light, airy texture.

Millet flour has many health benefits. It is gluten-free and contains higher levels of protein, fiber, and antioxidants than ordinary wheat flour.

Despite its growing popularity, millet flour is still hard to source outside of health and specialty food stores. If you are out of millet flour, here are a few alternatives that you can use.

1. Rice Flour

Rice flour comes in white rice and brown rice varieties. The latter contains more nutrients but has a rougher texture, so you can choose between the two depending on what you are looking for in your baking. Rice flour is made by grinding down rice, and you can find it in most supermarkets or Asian markets (it has been a staple in East Asian baking for a long time).

Rice flour works well as a millet flour replacement because it has a similar light, airy texture. Other replacement flours may make your dish denser and heavier, but you won’t have that problem with rice flour. However, rice flour is grittier than millet flour. To balance it out, you may need to add some cornstarch.

For baking, you can use sweet rice flour as an alternative for millet.

2. Buckwheat Flour

Buckwheat flour is a whole grain that is now considered a superfood thanks to its high protein and fiber content. In addition, buckwheat is thought to lead to improved heart health and better results regarding weight loss.

Buckwheat flour is also gluten-free—although its name contains the word “wheat,” it is a pseudo-cereal.

Buckwheat flour has a robust texture that makes baking very easy. There is a reason it has been a staple of cuisines from France to Japan! You will not have to worry about the texture of your baked goods if you replace millet flour with this alternative. However, buckwheat flour does not work well with delicate, sweet baked goods because it has a strong nutty flavor.

3. Oat Flour

Oat flour is a gluten-free flour made of oats. You can get it from most supermarkets, or you can easily make your own by grinding oats in a blender or food processor. It is easier to get than millet flour, so it can be a convenient substitute.

Oat flour is a good substitute for millet flour for baking because it has a similar consistency. In addition, it works better than most other gluten-free flours, which may need extras like xanthan gum to hold the dough together. 

However, if you are using millet flour because you are allergic to gluten, double-check your oat flour packages before buying—some contain trace amounts of gluten.

4. Nut Meal

If you don’t have any flour on hand, you can use nut meal in baked goods. Nut meal is made out of coarsely ground nuts and has a thicker texture than nut flours. You can find nut meals made out of almonds, hazelnuts, and any nuts.

Nut meal has a slightly sweet texture similar to millet flour, making this a suitable replacement for cookies, muffins, and other desserts. However, it has a slightly thicker consistency than millet flour, resulting in denser baked goods that are still delicious. To combat the density, sieve the nut meal through a strainer and add an extra egg.

5. Potato Starch

Potato starch is a surprisingly versatile ingredient made by isolating starch out of crushed potatoes and drying it. People often use potato starch as a thickener; however, you can also use it in baked goods.

If you use millet flour to thicken a stew or a sauce, potato starch will achieve the same results. You can also use it in baked goods as it has a similar light texture. However, you will need to combine potato starch with xanthan or guar gum if baking and play around with the flour ratios.

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