Lifestyle | Tips & Techniques

Choosing a Low FODMAP All-Purpose Flour

How to Choose Low FODMAP Flour

The all-purpose flour that you have always used (pre-FODMAP days) is wheat based and filled with fructans, making it high FODMAP. It also contains gluten, which is an issue for many.

Female baker working with heavily floured dough on wooden surface; Choosing a Low FODMAP All-Purpose Flour
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For more information, read our article, The Low FODMAP Diet is Not a Gluten-Free Diet.

When choosing a flour to use while on the Elimination phase, or possibly beyond, there are many factors to take into consideration.

  • Do you want or need it to be gluten-free?
  • Are you using it primarily for cooking (like for thickening sauce, dredging meat) or for baking?
  • Are you sensitive to xanthan gum or other gums?
  • Do you want to avoid dairy products?
  • Looking for the convenience in a ready-made blend?
  • Want to make your own?

Let’s take this one at a time because your answers to each question will lead you down a different path.

Do You Want or Need Your Flour to Be Gluten-Free?

The low FODMAP diet is not a gluten-free diet, however, there is a lot of overlap. All-purpose flour is made from wheat and wheat contains gluten as well as high FODMAP fructans. This is why you will be eating many gluten-free items, especially during Elimination. If you want a gluten-free product you have to look at flours and starches made from grains and foods that are also low FODMAP, which include those made from rice, sorghum, tapioca, potato, corn, buckwheat, millet, quinoa and teff, among others. The problem with these is that used alone they do not mimic the same results as all-purpose wheat-based flour.

Are You Using Flour Primarily for Cooking or Baking?

You might think this is a funny question but if you’re making a birthday cake or chocolate chip cookies you are asking more of your flour than it you are thickening a sauce. When we bake classic sweets and desserts we are used to certain textures and if we are using gluten-free flour the results will most likely be closer to the original recipes if gums are added to the flour blend. Yes, gums and blends. Blends are created to take advantage of the best qualities of each flour and starch and a little bit of gum, often xanthan gum, does a very good job at mimicking the final results we get when using traditional all-purpose flour.

If you are using a flour blend while cooking, dredging meat and the like, then you don’t need gums and some flours or starches can work on their own.

Are You Sensitive to Gums?

If you want to learn more, read our article Are Xanthan & Guar Gum Low FODMAP? The short answer is no, they are not, which is why you will find us using products that contain them. If you have sensitivity to them, then by all means avoid them.

Do You Want to Avoid Dairy Ingredients?

In a flour blend? Yes! Again, as always, you need to read labels. You will notice that many of the names mentioned below like “measure-for-measure” and “1 to 1” are a play off of a gluten-free flour blend created by the Thomas Keller team (of Napa’s French Laundry fame) and it was called “Cup4Cup”. It created quite a stir in the baking world when it first appeared as it worked quite beautifully in many baked goods, however, it contains milk powder.

Baker working with flour against a dark background; Choosing a Low FODMAP All-Purpose Flour

Do You Want the Convenience of a Ready-Made Flour Blend?

After running a Test Kitchen and developing recipes for over 30 years I can tell you that I have tried many ready-made gluten-free blends.

Hands down my favorite gluten-free all-purpose flour is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour (with the blue label). I find that it most closely creates baked goods with the characteristics that most closely resemble those made with regular wheat-based all-purpose flour. It works very well when cooking, too, so it is the one I reach for most often and truly consider “all-purpose”. Another factor is that it is easy to find for many here in the U.S.

Note that this blend is not the original Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour (with the red label), which contains garbanzo bean (chick pea) flour. That one is high(er) in FODMAPs and it also has a strong taste that I do not like. It also does not do as great a job with texture of your final baked goods.

If I were to have another low FODMAP flour on hand I would also consider King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour for one with added gums and Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend for one without gums.

This King Arthur is a good flour, but it is a very soft flour. Although the manufacturer suggests a 1 to 1 replacement for regular all-purpose flour, I have found it to function more like cake or pastry flour. If I were to be re-creating a recipe that called for cake or pastry flour (which are lower in protein than all-purpose), I would consider using this flour. King Arthur recommends it for “non-yeasted” recipes. Note that this is not the same product as the original King Arthur Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour (see comparisons below). 

The Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend combines brown rice flour, potato starch and tapioca flour for a tidy short ingredient list in a blend that provides a nice, tender crumb, particularly in cakes.

Do You Want to Make Your Own Flour Blend?

You certainly can and this way you can tailor it to what you need in your kitchen. I will offer a couple of suggestions, to try and cover the bases.

Gum Free Low FODMAP Gluten-Free Flour Blend

FODMAP Everyday® All-Purpose Low FODMAP Gluten-Free Flour (contains xanthan)

Choices Count
comparison of white rice flours. Arrowhead on the left and Authentic Flours white rice flour on the right
Comparison of white rice flours. Arrowhead on the left and Authentic Flours white rice flour on the right.

When you are creating a flour blend, you’re choice of individual ingredients can make or break a result. Just look at this chart below. It is not meant to make you crazy (although staring at these varied numbers drives me nuts). It is meant to show you how one rice flour is not necessarily like another. How one brand’s sorghum can differ from another. Our suggestion is to always use the ingredients and brands that are recommended, if indeed specifications are given.

FLOURBob's Red MillArrowhead MillsAuthentic FoodsKing Arthur FlourHodgson Mill  
White rice1/4 cup = 40 g
1 cup = 160 g
1/4 cup = 26 g
1 cup = 105 g
1/4 cup = 40 g
1 cup = 160 g
1/ cup = 36 g
1 cup = 142 g
1/4 cup = 40 g
1 cup = 160 g
Sweet white rice1/4 cup = 51 g
1 cup = 204 g
1/4 cup = 30 g
1 cup = 120 g
Brown Rice1/4 cup = 40 g
1 cup = 160 g
1/4 cup = 26 g
1 cup = 105 g
1/4 cup = 40 g
1 cup = 160 g
1/4 cup = 32 g
1 cup = 128 g
1/4 cup = 30 g
1 cup = 120 g
Sorghum1/4 cup = 34 g
1 cup = 136 g
1/4 cup = 44 g
1 cup = 176 g
1/4 cup = 35 g
1 cup = 138 g
Tapioca Flour (Starch)1/4 cup = 30 g
1 cup = 120 g
1/4 cup = 32 g
1 cup = 128 g
1/4 cup = 40 g
1 cup = 160 g
1/4 cup = 27 g
1 cup = 107 g
1/4 cup = 30 g
1 cup = 120 g
Potato starch1/4 cup = 48 g
1 cup = 192 g
1/4 cup = 40 g
1 cup = 160 g
1/4 cup = 38 g
1 cup = 152 g

At a Glance Ingredients

Here are the ingredients for some of the flours mentioned as well as some others that are popular. Some are low FODMAP and some are not; I have included some commentary:

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour: sweet rice flour, whole grain brown rice flour, potato starch, whole grain sweet white sorghum flour, tapioca flour, xanthan gum.

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour: garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, whole grain sweet white sorghum flour, fava bean flour 

King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour: rice flour, whole grain brown rice flour, whole sorghum flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, cellulose, xanthan gum, vitamin and mineral blend [calcium carbonate, niacinamide (vitamin B3), reduced iron, thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin B1) riboflavin (vitamin B2)]. It is non-GMO sourced and Certified Gluten-Free.

King Arthur Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour: rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, whole grain brown rice flour, vitamin and mineral blend [calcium carbonate, niacinamide (vitamin B3), reduced iron, thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin B1) riboflavin (vitamin B2)]. It is non-GMO sourced and Certified Gluten-Free. 

Authentic Foods GF Classical Blend: brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour. Non-GMO and free of gums. Dairy free, nut free, corn free and soy free.

Authentic Foods Steve’s Cake Flour Blend: rice Flour, potato, tapioca, AF natural fiber blend. Editors Note: We contacted Authentic Foods to discuss their “AF natural fiber blend” and they have shared with us that it is combination of psyllium and cellulose. According to Monash University, even though cellulose is an insoluble fiber and psyllium is a soluble fiber, both are considered to be less “gas forming” than other fibers. We love this product and believe it is worth trying.

Namaste Gluten-Free Perfect Flour Blend: sweet brown rice flour, tapioca starch, brown rice flour, arrowroot flour, sorghum flour and xanthan gum. Non-GMO, vegan, casein-free and dairy-free.

Pamela’s Gluten-Free Artisan Blend All-Purpose Flour: brown rice flour, tapioca starch, white rice flour, potato starch, sorghum flour, arrowroot starch, guar gum, sweet rice flour, rice bran. Non-GMO, Non-Dairy, Certified Gluten-Free

Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Multipurpose Flour: cornstarch, white rice flour, brown rice flour, rBST-Free milk powder, tapioca flour, potato starch, xanthan gum. Non-GMO, Certified Gluten-Free, Made in USA, Kosher.

Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Wholesome Flour: brown rice flour, white rice flour, ground golden flaxseed, rice bran, xanthan gum. Non-GMO, Dairy Free, Certified Gluten-Free, Made in USA, Kosher.

Arrowhead Mills Organic Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour: organic rice flour, organic brown rice flour, organic tapioca flour, organic millet flour, organic inulin, xanthan gum. Non-GMO, Certified Gluten-Free. (Editor’s Note: inulin is high FODMAP).

Arrowhead Mills Organic Gluten-Free Heritage Blend All Purpose Flour: organic rice flour, whole grain sorghum flour, organic tapioca starch flour, organic whole grain sorghum flour, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking powder, monocalcium phosphate), inulin, rice bran extract, xanthan gum. Non-GMO, Certified Gluten-Free. (Editor’s Note: inulin is high FODMAP; we also do not recommend brands with leaveners).

Better Batter All Purpose Flour Mix: rice flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, potato flour, xanthan gum, pectin (lemon derivative). Top 8 free, GMO free, kosher (OU pareve), vegan appropriate.

Glutino All-Purpose Baking Flour: white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, pea hull fiber, acacia gum, rice protein. Non-GMO.