By Vanessa Greaves
April 15, 2016

Is there an edible plant more versatile than the coconut? You can drink its water, eat its "flesh," use its oil for cooking or cosmetics, and use its hairy husk to make fiber and charcoal. And yes, you can even grind coconut into flour. Gluten-free and paleo-minded bakers are all over it. And in spite of its name, a coconut is not actually a nut, so it can be consumed by people with nut allergies. But before you dive into that bag of coconut flour, it helps to know a few things about what you're getting into and how best to use it.

Photo by Meredith

Coconut Flour FAQ

Q: What does flour made from coconut taste like?
A: It has a subtle taste and smell of coconut, but it's mild enough to blend with other flavors without overpowering them.

Q: Are there nutritional advantages to coconut flour?
A: It's high in fiber, low in calories, and contains the kind of fat that's good for your heart.

  • Calories: 124
  • Fat: 4 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates: 17 grams
  • Fiber: 11 grams
  • Sugar: 2 grams

Q: What should I look for when I'm buying it?
A: Read the label and make sure the package you're purchasing lists only coconut as its sole ingredient. No sugar, flavorings, or fillers. If gluten is a concern, make sure the label states the flour was produced in a gluten-free facility.

Q: Can I bake with it like regular wheat flour?
A: Not quite. You have to do a little playing around with a recipe if you want to substitute coconut flour for regular all-purpose wheat flour.

  • The rule of thumb is to substitute only 20 percent of coconut for wheat flour.
  • Flour made from coconut becomes dense and soaks up a lot of moisture when it bakes. To compensate for the moisture imbalance, try adding 2 tablespoons extra liquid for every 2 tablespoons coconut flour you substitute for regular flour.
  • Coconut flour can tend to clump up, so be sure to fluff it with a fork before measuring and mixing.

Q: What are the best things to bake with coconut flour?
A: Start with recipes that are written specifically for this kind of flour. Once you become familiar with how it behaves, you can go on and experiment.

Q: What else can I do with it apart from baking?
A: Use it to thicken soups and coat foods for frying.

10 Recipes Starring Coconut Flour

These dark, dense, rich, delicious brownies check off the gluten-free and dairy-free boxes, too.

Photo by Buckwheat Queen

Reviewers give this banana bread rave reviews.

Coconut flour teams up with almond flour and coconut milk for a paleo-friendly donut for the cavepeople in your life.

When you need a warm cuppa cake and you don't want to do more than press Start on your microwave. We've all been there.

Photo by House of Aqua

The title says Daddy Cookies, but it sounds like the kids who named them love them, too.

Need a vegan, gluten-free, paleo muffin? We gotcha.

Throw all the ingredients in a blender and pour it into a pie dish. Doesn't get much easier than this.

These savory crackers are low-carb, high-protein, and crunch-tastic.

Use this coating to bread all kinds of proteins to give them extra crunch. This recipe is fried, but you can try baking it, too.

Pumpkin pancakes for the paleo set.

Go Nuts for Coconuts