Along with cutting way back on sugar, one of the biggest challenges with the low-carb, high-fat keto diet is removing flour-based foods like bread, crackers, and pasta from your diet.
On keto, regular wheat flour and most wheat flour alternatives are off-limits because of their high carb count.
Fortunately, there are still several options for keto cooking and baking.
While they’re not perfect substitutes for wheat flour, they do make it possible to make keto sweets, bread, and batters so you can enjoy low-carb versions of some of your favorite high-carb foods.
While most of these keto-friendly flours contain some carbs, they are also rich in fiber and low in net carbs. Net carbs refer to the number of grams of carbs in a portion of food once fiber grams have been subtracted.
Fiber is a type of indigestible carb, so the carbs from fiber don’t have to be included in your daily carb count.
Here are 8 of the best keto-friendly flours, and how to use them.
1. Almond flour
Almond flour is probably the most widely used keto flour substitute. It’s made simply from crushed almonds and is extremely low in carbs, containing only 3 grams of total carbs and 1 gram of net carbs per 2-tablespoon (14-gram) serving.
You can use almond flour as a 1-to-1 substitute for wheat flour in baking, but baked goods containing almond flour tend to be a little spongy. You can also use it as a breading for fried, air-fried, or baked foods, but its main use is for keto baked goods.
Best for: baking, breading
2. Coconut flour
Coconut flour is a very fine, powdery flour made from coconut flesh. Its mild coconutty taste works in most desserts, which is what it’s most commonly used for. Next to almond flour, it’s one of the most popular and commonly used keto flour.
A 2-tablespoon (15-gram) serving provides 9 grams of total carbs and 4 grams of net carbs.
In most recipes, you need only a small amount of coconut flour. It absorbs lots of liquid, so using it as a 1-to-1 substitute for flour will result in an extremely dry product unless you add extra liquid ingredients.
For this reason, this flour is best used in recipes that were specifically developed for coconut flour.
It also makes an excellent thickener, but keep in mind that you may taste that hint of coconut.
Best for: baking desserts, thickening
3. Chia flour
Chia flour is made from ground chia seeds, which are loaded with soluble fiber. Because of this, chia absorbs a ton of water and moisture, just as coconut flour does.
A 2-tablespoon (12-gram) serving of ground chia seeds contains 5 grams of total carbs and 0 grams of net carbs.
Chia flour isn’t commonly used in keto baking recipes. You’ll typically mix it with other flours when baking.
If you’re looking for dessert ideas outside of baking, though, both whole chia seeds and ground chia seeds can be used to make an excellent low-carb, high-fiber pudding.
Best for: baking
4. Flaxseed meal
Flaxseed meal is made from ground flaxseeds, which are low in carbs — containing 4 grams of total carbs and 0 grams of net carbs per 2-tablespoon (14-gram) serving — and rich in potentially anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.
Like chia flour, it absorbs a great deal of liquid, so it’s usually mixed with other keto-friendly flours in baking. However, flaxseed meal is commonly used on its own or with chia seeds to make crackers.
Best for: crackers
5. Psyllium husk powder
Psyllium husks, which are rich in fiber, are the key ingredient in many fiber supplements. They absorb water and swell up, adding a bit of structure to foods that contain them.
One tablespoon (9 grams) contains 8 grams of total carbs and 1 gram of net carbs.
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In my experience, adding a little bit of psyllium husk powder to keto recipes made with almond flour provides a more bread-like texture, but, again, it’s typically mixed with other flours.
Best for: baking
6. Oat fiber
Oat fiber is made from the crushed husks of oats. It’s a common addition to keto baked goods because it provides some structure and bread-like consistency. One teaspoon (4 grams) contains 4 grams of total carbs and 1 gram of net carbs.
As with many other flours on this list, recipes don’t often use oat fiber as a standalone flour but instead use it in combination with other low-carb flours.
Best for: baking
7. Lupin flour
Lupin flour is made from sweet lupin beans, a close relative to peanuts and soybeans. It’s commonly used in gluten-free pasta and is a key ingredient in several keto-friendly pasta recipes.
A 1/4-cup (28-gram) serving provides 11 grams of total carbs and 1 gram of net carbs. It’s also naturally high in protein.
Although it’s most frequently used for pasta, many baking recipes feature a mixture of lupin flour and coconut flour or almond flour.
Best for: pasta
8. Pork rind dust
Though it may sound weird at first, crushed pork rinds (fried pork skins) make a great breading for fried, air-fried, or baked keto foods, since flour and cornmeal are off the table due to their carb content.
You can buy pork rind crumbs or make your own using store-bought pork rinds.
Pork rind dust is free of carbs and high in fat and protein, so it’s ideal for keto. It’s a great alternative to breadcrumbs as well, so you can use it to make meatballs, meatloaves, and many other recipes that are typically high in carbs.
Best for: breading, meatballs
Just because you start keto doesn’t mean you have to give up all your favorite foods that are made with flour. There are tons of substitutes available for baking and breading foods and even making homemade pasta.
Suggested read: 11 foods that contribute to weight gain
Almond flour and coconut flour are the most commonly used for baking, and high fiber additions like lupin flour, chia flour, flaxseed meal, psyllium husk powder, and oat fiber can be added to them to improve the texture and taste of baked foods.
You can even use pork rind crumbs as a replacement for flour when breading foods to add extra crunch.
These keto flour substitutes make it possible to enjoy your favorite bread, desserts, pasta, crackers, and breaded foods on keto without overdoing it on carbs.