I am going to be showcasing some coconut flour recipes on this site soon, so I wanted to talk about it a little more before I did. The pro’s, con’s and personal experience.
What’s so Great about Coconut Flour?
First, it’s not only a gluten free flour, it’s a grain free flour too. So for those who follow strict grain free diets, coconut flour opens up a world of delicious baked goods. That’s obviously a huge advantage to some.
It’s a high fiber, fairly high protein flour too. When you make these into muffins, breads, and cakes, they are quite filling (probably because of the fiber content). The flour is also “sweet” by itself because of the natural sugars in the coconut, meaning that you don’t have to sweetened it as much.
It also seems that coconut flour does not effect mineral availability. “Increasing concentrations of dietary fiber from coconut flour did not affect mineral availability from all test food” Check out this study to read more about coconut flour. Unsoaked grains can lead to mineral deficiencies because of a substance called phytic acid that binds with minerals, preventing their absorption. Coconut flour could be one way to avoid that without having to soak anything.
What is Coconut Flour?
Coconut flour is actually made from the leftovers of coconut milk! In some of the test studies using coconut flour I was amused to see it called coconut “residue”. But it is a by-product of coconut milk manufacturing that has been ground into flour.
Can there be any disadvantages to this wonderful item? I won’t say that these are disadvantages for sure, just something for you to consider.
First, like mentioned before, coconut flour is very high in fiber. Flaxseeds are considered high in fiber and coconut flour beats it hands down. Now, we can get into the the mindset of thinking if something is good, more is better. But it’s all about balance, too much fiber can be just as damaging as too little. I am not saying that coconut flour is bad because it’s high in fiber, I am just saying you need to be aware that you consuming very large amounts of fiber at a time with coconut flour.
It’s also not really a “whole food”. Whole wheat flour is a whole food, coconut flour is a by-product, or the leftovers of coconut milk production. That doesn’t make it bad, just something to think about.
Was coconut flour or something like it a traditional food for people to consume? I don’t know. Coconut milk, coconut oil and whole coconut was for sure. I just don’t know enough about coconut “residue” to say that, yes, it was a traditional food.
While coconut flour is less expensive then almond flour, it’s still more expensive than some options, especially when you consider you have to use a lot of eggs in a coconut flour recipe to hold it together.
When I first tried coconut flour baked goods, I had recently gotten off of a low sugar diet. I found two things. First, they tasted much to sweet to me (though my husband liked them), and that the high fiber content translated into a “I swallowed a brick” type feeling. I actually did much better with soaked grain recipes then coconut flour recipes. I seriously wondered how people could eat those “bricks”.
However, more recently I tried making some more baked goods using coconut flour. Now that my body has healed more, I didn’t notice a “heavy” feeling at all after eating it. In fact, I really enjoyed them! So, I think it was all about where my body was at different times.
I think that there are a lot of things to like about coconut flour, and I think you will like some of the recipes I share using it! Any disadvantages are out weighed by the advantages in my mind!
What about you? Do you use coconut flour? Heard of it before? Like it? Dislike it? Any favorite recipes?
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Looking forward to the recipes! What about using half WW flour and half coconut while someone is transitioning to coconut flour?
KH: Some people do use coconut flour just as an additional flour to their regular baked good recipes. Since I soak my grains, this would add an interesting/hard element in trying to figure out how to make it work well! But I am sure it’s possible.
I’ve been making some coconut flour bread & coconut flour muffins & I enjoy them and find them filling. I used the recipes from the nourishing days blog except I did include baking powder. (See the recipe index at http://www.nourishingdays.com)
Things made from coconut flour don’t rise that much. For the last loaf of bread I made, I whipped the egg whites separately and added them at the end to see if it would result in a higher bread, but it didnt’ seem to make a difference.
KH: Hey Jessie, my own experience has been that they actually rose quite well! I wonder why the difference?
I’ve only made one thing with my coconut flour: pancakes. They were, however, the best pancakes I’ve ever made.
Looking forward to your recipes! I tried a cookie recipe recently with coconut flour and it did not turn out well at all! Maybe I didn’t use enough eggs or something. I’m not sure my kids would have liked the strong taste of the cocount flour anyway, even though they do like smoothies using your coconut milk tonic.
I can’t believe you posted on this! I was just about to order some. Thanks for all the great info!
We’ve used coconut flour quite a bit in the past. I tend not to use it as much as I thought because of the cost issue you pointed out. Most of the recipes we’ve used have been from Bruce Fife’s book since as he points out, you typically cannot just replace the flour in an existing recipe with coconut flour. I forget the threshold, but there’s a point at which you can sub some of the flour and still have it work out. After that point it’s definitely not what I’d call tasty eats.
Our favorite recipe to this day is still the coconut flour pancakes from the Fife cookbook. We typically add some cocoa powder to them.
Marillyn @ just-making-noise
I have used coconut flour for banana bread with great success. I actually made banana cake using coconut flour for my daughter’s 2nd birthday. She LOVED it and would’ve eaten the whole thing if we let her :o)
I also made this fantastic Coconut Custard Cake with coconut flour and coconut milk and coconut oil. Check it out on my blog: http://just-making-noise.blogspot.com/2009/05/coconut-custard-cake.html
KH: Sounds delicious! I will check it out. 🙂
Wardeh @ GNOWFGLINS
How interesting! I just had somebody ask me about this and it’s on my list to do some research. I appreciate what you’ve shared. I am surprised to hear that it is not a whole food. I was toying with the idea of grinding dried shredded coconut into flour using the Vitamix and experimenting that way. Is the kind of coconut flour you refer to different from what I had in mind to try? Thanks for blazing the trail. 🙂
KH: I guess it would just be like using the leftover coconut stuff when you make coconut milk. 🙂 I think it’s defatted, as well as the moisture taken out of it. Some companies actually call it “coconut fiber” because that’s mostly what the flour is, fiber. I’ve thought of doing something like grinding up WIlderness Family Naturals coconut flakes (which haven’t been defatted like many are) and working with that like coconut flour. So let me know if it works!
Laurie Ashton Farook
I make coconut milk from shredded coconut for various curries.
In making coconut milk, I first add hot water to the shredded coconut, run it through a blender, and drain as much liquid off as I can. That’s thick coconut milk. I then do that another couple of times, and those two pressings are thin coconut milk.
The coconut residue that’s leftover is sort of transparent compared to the original, which is starkly white. The residue has much less flavour left and very little oil. So making desiccated coconut into flour will be different from the coconut flour that’s a residue from making coconut milk.
How they would perform compared to each other in baking I have no idea since I haven’t tried. 🙂
Serendipity! I was just eyeing the Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour yesterday at the health-food store and wondering, “What can I do with that?”
I’m looking forward to your recipes!
Thanks for the comments! I’ve responded above. 🙂
I’ve been using coconut flour for a couple months with mixed results. We love the light, fluffy muffins coconut flour makes, but they don’t store well and lose so much after a night in the fridge. We like the pancakes, but not as well as the overnight blender method we use more frequently. We love coconut bread as a side dish with a soup or chili meal. It’s as fast to put together as cornbread (with the added convenience of no soaking) and the eggs in it provide a little protein in what could be a low-protein meal. I haven’t had much success with the biscuits or cookies. They seem to come out like flat muffins rather than fluffy, flaky biscuits or soft cookies.
When I make a coconut flour recipe, I make sure there’s lots of cold milk available for drinking, as this tends to help wash down what could otherwise become a “brick” feeling. I like having coconut flour muffins available for snacking on when I’m pushing low-carb. They are very filling and sweet and the protein is just enough to keep my blood sugar level.
I was very shocked at the price when I bought my first package. Five times more expensive than wheat flour? FIVE?! But then I read the recipes, and learned that you don’t measure it in cups, you measure it in tablespoonsful. Aha! All in all, I think I’m a bigger fan of coconut flour than most of my family, but I can get away with serving it from time to time.
Gluten free baked goods do not keep well in the fridge. Try wrapping them really well and freezing them. It makes them a little less accessible for a quick snack, but it’s the best way to keep them.
Hm. I know this is a long shot, but is there any way to make your own coconut flour? I’ve very little experience with coconuts in general.
Check out my blog about how to make coconut milk. The coconut flour is the residue.
I have seen and heard wonderful things about this ‘flour’. I think it is a great way to enhance they way you eat. It may not replace everything but it a good way to incorporate other types of foods that give you that ‘traditional’ feeling baked goods without the high sugar.
I made a basic coconut bread from one of the real food bloggers. It was nice and dense and guilt-free! I recall doing 2 delicious things with it – 1) toasting it and slathering with raw butter/raw honey 2) smothering it with strawberries and pouring whipped cream over it. I think these ideas take it from “brick” to “sponge”. 🙂
I am interested in hearing more about soaking whole wheat grains. Could someone email some info on this. I have been using whole grain wheat for years now, but I have never soaked it first.
You know, it doesn’t sound that much different than whey protien powder that I was drinking and thinking I was being healthy doing, just to realize that it is not really a whole food. Coconut flour doesn’t sound like a whole food. I tried a brownie recipe from Mercola.com when I was trying to eat low-carb and sugar-free, and it sure helped my sweet tooth! Didn’t lose hardly any weight for all the trouble, though. I am going to try those pancakes everyone is mentioning.
I love coconut flour! I mostly make coconut flour bread with it.
However I was very surprised to read that it’s the residue left from coconut milk making.
On Tropical Traditions’ website, they say: “coconut flour is fiber from the coconut meat after most of the oil has been extracted to make Virgin Coconut Oil.”
KH: I am sure they can make it out of the leftovers from making coconut oil too! 😉
Cook 4 Seasons
Coconut flour has been my new favorite ‘project.’ I love all the health bennies and flavor but the texture can be a bit heavy. It does take so many eggs that I am going to play around with the leavening soon. Most of the recipes I’ve used also come from Bruce Fife’s book, and the best success I have had has been with muffins and pancakes. Here’s a tasty version of coconut cupcakes I posted awhile back:
I’d love to hear any successes with combining flours.
I love coconut flour! I have many recipes using it on my blog that all have turned out fabulously (after trying them quite a few times to get ’em right, LOL). It makes wonderful cake and brownies, and combined with oat flour, the fluffiest pancakes ever! It also thickens sugar-free frosting really well.
P.S.–You cannot make coconut flour yourself. It it defatted in a commercial process (you said it–coconut milk production!). If you grind up coconut flakes, the flour will still have a lot of coconut fat and won’t work well in recipes that call for coconut flour. 🙂 Bob’s Red Mill brand is fabulous.
It took me little while to get used to baking with Coconut Flour but my kids love the pancakes and biscuits. Because my husband and I both work, I dont always remember to soak the buckwheat/spelt overnight so this is a fantastic alternative. Coconut bread is also so much cheaper than almond bread. Here in Australia we are paying $26.00 kilo for biodynamic almonds whilst coconut flour is only $7.00 kilo. 🙂
Thank you for sharing this information. I’ve been interested in trying coconut flour to try to reduce our intake of grain. But when I went to my local Whole Foods with the intent of buying some, I couldn’t find it. Where do you buy yours?
My family did not like the fact that the recipes contained so much eggs.
From the perspective of someone who cannot eat grains coconut flour is the best! My favorite is coconut pancakes with bananas and blackberry jam. I had no idea is was made from the milk, thanks for your fun blog and the research on coconut flour.
Great info. Never used it before but have heard of it. Question…would it be possible to mix whole wheat flour and the coconut flour for baking?
KH: Yes it is, though your whole wheat flour will not be soaked. 🙂
I love baking with coconut flour but it can be expensive…has anyone tried making their own with good results??
I’m very excited to have more recipes using coconut flour. I’ve only used it for crepes– though with great success combining coconut flour and buckwheat flour.
I think coconut flour is a very ecological and wise food to use. No it’s not a whole food, but many nourishing foods are fragmented parts of the whole. Butter is not a whole food. Neither olive nor coconut nor avocado oil are whole foods. Broth is not a whole food either. I think our main foods are best whole foods and that there’s a place in a nourishing diet for using some partial or fragmented foods as condiments, flavorings, or accessories in our diets with meat, whole eggs, veggies, and fruits are our main foods.
Making coconut flour is a way to use what’s leftover from pressing coconut oil, kind of like taking the bones left from a chicken or turkey carcass and transforming it into bone building broth.Incidentally, coconut oil is not a whole food, but it’s very beneficial and worthwhile addition to our diets.
I have baked with coconut flour. In fact, I just finished an article on cooking and baking with coconut flour for Living Without Magazine. I don’t yet know when it will appear, hopefully fall or winter of 2009. My friends have raved about the recipes I made w/it; however, it took 3 to 6 tries to get each recipe to turn out great both with and without eggs. Why w/out eggs? For an allergy magazine, recipes need to work for people who are intolerant of eggs. There are tricks to making things come out well w/this super high fiber flour.
One key step to using coconut flour is to SIFT IT before measuring, this can make the difference between a brick and a bar. I like to combine coconut flour w/a homemade gluten free flour blend or at least two different gluten free flours. You also need to ADD MORE LIQUID! Some web sites say if you add 1/2 cup coconut flour you will need an equal amount of additional liquid to make the recipe work. You will also need to USE MORE EGGS AND/OR LEAVENING. There are some web sites that sell the flour that offer baking tips.
KH: Hey Rachel, thanks for the comment and tips. It would be great to hear how you make eggless coconut flour baked goods! I know that a lot of people would benefit from knowing how to do that.
I understand what you are saying about coconut flour being a ecologically sane step to take. 🙂 I think the big difference in my mind between using coconut flour and butter or broth, is that both broth and butter are much higher in nutrients than coconut flour. For that matter, if I had to choose, I would also definitely use coconut oil (a traditionally used, nutrient rich food which is also not a “whole food”) over coconut flour as I think it has much more to offer us. But we still use coconut flour and like it. 🙂
if you bake with coconut oil instead of butter, in the same recipe with coconut flour…
you’ve almost made a “whole food” out of the two parts.
if you bake with coconut oil instead of butter, in the same recipe with coconut flour…
you’ve almost made a “whole food” out of the two parts.
these are great and grain free:
I’ve made drop cookies and bar cookies with coconut flour. You have to add a lot more liquid, and I find that using other fillers (like bananas or pumpkin) works well to make the cookies less dense.
Though I take pride in the fact that I come from the “land of coconuts”(as my hubby calls my native coastal town in South India)-coconut flour is new to me!! I’ve tried everything,even the young plant which germinates inside the coconut(-it’s yum),the neera(sap from the plant which ferments by evening and is then called toddy),the copra(sun-dried coconut),etc,but never ever coconut flour!!
KH: I suspect that coconut flour is not a traditional food, and your comment gives further proof. *smile*
I was wondering about the cholesterol content in Coconut Flour. Do you have any information about that? Thank you for this posting. I’m so excited to try this – I’m always looking for new ways to NOT use wheat.
Coconut flour is such a blessing to us allergic people! I would appreciate seeing what you do with the stuff
Marillyn @ just-making-noise
I found this book on amazon and I’ve never seen it before. It has only 3 reviews, but all of them gave it 5 stars.
I have tried grinding coconut flakes in my vitamix and I thought it worked just fine. I think I just made like pancakes or something with it, so it wasn’t a terribly scientific experiment. I actually didn’t realize there was such a difference between the two. I just figured I was saving a little money by grinding my own flour.
We love coconut flour! My kitchen is now gluten-free and mostly grain-free so coconut flour fits in well with the few things I still make that need flour. I also use almond meal sometimes. I need to keep the starch content low for my blood glucose regulation. Coconut flour renewed my interest in baking. I don’t buy very many prepared gluten-alternative baked goods because they are usually full of ingredients I’d rather not consume, either.
I love that coconut flour recipes use so many eggs. I can justify baking more often knowing that I’m not just baking sugar and starch bombs, but actually providing protein, healthy natural fats, and micronutrients.
This morning I made coconut flour pancakes. I always double or triple the batch to make some extras to use later as “sandwich” flatbreads or snacks.
When my son goes to birthday parties I send him with some coconut butter cookies to eat instead of birthday cake. I’ve made nut & cinnamon topped coffee cake for guests and no one was the wiser that it wasn’t made with wheat flour.
Coconut flour *is* more expensive per pound than wheat flour, but most CF recipes use a much smaller amount of CF compared to conventional wheat flour recipes. So a 1 pound bag of CF might make nearly as much baked items as 3 or 4 pounds of wheat flour. So the flour cost is deceiving.
And yes, making a loaf of CF bread can use 8 eggs. That’s a $2 cost for eggs I buy from a local woman ($3/dz). But that doesn’t seem unreasonable for a loaf of bread that is brimming with good ingredients. I consider eggs a nutrition bargain at just about any price and just buy more eggs for my CF baking needs.
Glad to see you’re featuring CF. IMO, it’s one of the better GF and LC baking flour options.
Note to Allisha: Coconut flour is plant product so it doesn’t contain cholesterol, though it does contain some saturated fat. Cholesterol and saturated fat are not the same thing. Cholesterol in foods can only come from animal-derived foods, not plant-origin foods.
Coconut oil is naturally saturated (stable) and does not contain trans fatty acids, either (unless the oil has been processed via hydrogenation to increase shelf life and is labeled as “hydrogenated coconut oil”, which you would likely only find in commercially prepared baked products like supermarket cookies and other items intended to sit in warehouses and on stores shelves for extended periods, etc.). I avoid all oils that are hydrogenated, including hydrogenated coconut oil. But natural coconut oil is generally fine to consume.
Hi. Can you please share your recipe for coconut flour coffee cake? I have one that I use garbanzo bean flour in and it is great, but when I 1/2 bean flour and 1/2 coconut flour, it turned out gummy. Thanks.
My first comment on your blog! I am a recent follower of your blog and I find your information very helpful and encouraging.
Your timing on your coconut flour post is perfect. I recently got hooked on CF and actually just told members of my organic co-op about it today. I listed several links on CF and your post was one of them. 🙂 I’m looking forward to your CF recipes!
Thanks so much for your time in sharing and maintaining your blog! It’s a blessing!
~ Jocelyn (AZ)
KH: Thanks for the link, that’s so sweet. 🙂
I never had any success with coconut flour until i discovered “Elana’s Pantry,” a woman who eats gluten free and uses coconut flour and almond flour. Her recipes are FANTASTIC, although i switch a few things, like butter or coconut oil instead of grapeseed oil, and honey instead of agave. I highly recommend checking her recipes out.
I have never used coconut flour, but you might be able to cut back some on the eggs if you use xanthan gum. It serves the same purpose.
what a find….i made some cookies awhile back….didnt know all the tricks with eggs and moisture…..good but dense and dry…used the flour as i would have reg. flour….anxious to try the fab pancakes every one is talking about.
great info here thanks loads….m.
looking for a coconut flour scone recipe.
I am thinking about using coconut flour for the first time. I see that most of what is made uses a lot of eggs. Can egg beaters be substituted?
Hi. Love reading about coconut flour and all its uses and doing my best to get my hands on some to add some variety to my starch-free diet.
To answer the question ‘Was coconut flour or something like it a traditional food for people to consume?’ The answer is no. I’m from Kerala in India – the state takes its name from the coconut and we have a million different uses for it. Food is traditionally cooked in coconut oil and coconut in various forms in the cooking – grated, the milk, little slivers of it… The women in the state traditionally use coconut oil on their hair and often on the skin too. The husk is used as a scourer, the leaves are used to make baskets and thatching, the water is even used to make an alcoholic beverage called toddy which is drunk fresh… and despite all this we don’t seem to have figured out coconut flour! In fact, once the oil has been extracted the husk is usually used to feed cattle!
Looking forward to getting my hands on some – it’s not available here in Oman where I live – perhaps there’s a whole industry waiting to happen!
I’m finding that by including more coconut items (flour, oil, supplements, etc.) into my diet is causing my cholesterol to severely imbalance to the high LDL end. The saturated fat in the coconut, plus all the eggs, is giving my doctor conniptions to the point of prescribing statins to me!
Reduced use of coconut products and eggs is recommended if you have cholesterol issues–I didn’t until I started using more coconut products.
Instead of taking the statins, I corrected my diet to use blends of GF flours and coconut, along with civilized numbers of eggs, and that brought me closer to normal.
I have had success baking with coconut flour but every time I eat it, I get bloated, gassy and cramping. I don’t usually have a sensitive stomach so this is very strange.
I just read through these posts and didn’t see anyone else having this problem. Is there a way around this issue? I threw out my coconut flour last week because I couldn’t justify the pain.
I am making a blueberry clafouti tomorrow morning with the WW flour. I am so excited! I love your blog. I couldn’t do NT without you.
I used to experience the same thing. I think it’s because coconut flour is extremely high in fiber and that can a little too much for some of our digestive tracts. For some reason, I stopped experiencing that (which is why I started using it more), but I didn’t cook with it for a while because of that issue.
I hope the clafouti turns our well for you!
@Karen: I’ve been eating “real food,” low carb, sugar free, low grain foods for seven months now, but I continually have the same reaction to coconut flour that you described. It’s frustrating because I like the taste of CF, and the fact that it’s so high in fiber and low in carbs.
After another “episode” this morning, I decided to start using CF in combination with other flours for awhile, just to see if my body needs to adjust. But wow! Eating CF bread makes me feel like I swallowed a brick!
I am wondering if anyone has used CF in pie crust???
Hi everyone… The best price I’ve found on coconut flour so far is from http://www.digestivewellness.com/itempage-1525-24-11-1754.html
I LOVE all their stuff!
Hi. Thanks to all the previous posters. The best price I found with FREE shipping http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002O1IEII/ref=oss_product
Problem: In an attempt to decipher which brand possesses the lowest saturated fat, I gathered all the nutritional labels together. I know I’m not a math whiz, but even with conversion tables, something is drastically amiss among the major labels. Does anyone have a clue on how I can obtain a true side-by-side comparison? I have a jpg (6 labels) but don’t know how to post it here.
Just starting to research the whole coconut flour “thing” 🙂 Was wondering if it leaves a coconut flavor in the food? My DH is not a fan of coconut flavor, although I am 🙂 Thanks!
Here is my tweaked version of coconut flour waffles – They are not terribly coconutty in flavor, the texture is light & moist, and Husband and I LOVE them! They *are* very filling.
I only have a tag for “coconut”, not “coconut flour”, but if you go here: http://thegreenecastle.blogspot.com/search/label/coconut
a few more coconut flour recipes are included in that tag. Enjoy!