Spelt flour is a less-common form of flour, derived from a grain that is botanically related to wheat.
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Although it has become more popular in recent years, spelt flour is actually an ancient grain that was cultivated by early civilizations, including the Mesopotamian civilization, about 9,000 years ago in the Middle East. In the U.K., spelt has been a main crop since about 2,000 B.C.
Spelt became unpopular in Medieval times, but its popularity was renewed in the 1800s. However, as other crops started producing better yields, spelt was pushed to the side again. Spelt is a cross between Goats Grass and Emmer Wheat. A nut-flavored grain, spelt is a great alternative if you don't want to use regular flour.
If you’re somebody who is sensitive to wheat, it’s possible that you’ve already heard of or tried spelt flour since it’s slightly lower in wheat than regular flour. It’s also a fantastic source of fiber, which eases digestion.
However, the problem with spelt flour is that it’s not gluten-free, so it’s not a good option for individuals with gluten allergies or sensitivities.
It’s also not completely free from wheat, so it isn’t suitable for people with more than very minor wheat sensitivities. Additionally, this type of flour is very expensive.
Thankfully, there are several great substitutes for spelt flour available on the market, which we’ll be discussing in today’s article. So, stay tuned to find your new favorite spelt flour alternative!
Don’t forget to check out our buyer’s guide for more information pertaining to the best specific flour substitute for your lifestyle, dietary requirements, and recipes!
Possibly the best substitute for spelt flour overall is Einkorn flour. Like spelt flour, it’s an ancient, wheat-related grain.
Usually, this type of flour is not refined in the same way as white, wheat-based flour is, for example. Therefore, it has many nutritional benefits. The robust husk around Einkorn grains also helps to ward off the effects of pesticides and other harmful chemicals used in the agricultural industry.
Einkorn flour is high in protein and less starchy than regular flour, so it’s not as heavy on the digestive system. Moreover, while Einkorn flour has roughly the same gluten content as regular flour, the molecular structure of the gluten in Einkorn flour is slightly different and typically much easier for sensitive individuals to digest.
This flour even has a similar taste to spelt flour, being sweeter and ‘nuttier’ than normal wheat flour. Even better, it’s really easy to convert in terms of ratios.
You can use exactly the same amount of Einkorn flour as you would spelt, but you will need to reduce the amount of water in your recipe to about ⅓ because it’s not as absorbent as spelt flour.
OUR TOP PICK
Our top recommendation for Einkorn flour as a substitute for spelt flour is the Jovial Organic Einkorn Flour.
Like all Einkorn flour, the Jovial brand has a sweet and nutty flavor that makes it the ideal substitute for spelt flour.
This Einkorn flour consists of 30% manganese and 30% zinc, both of which are highly beneficial nutrients.
Manganese has proven scientific benefits surrounding metabolism, digestion, blood sugar, and inflammation reduction. Zinc, meanwhile, is essential for immune function and has been proven to promote cellular repair and protein production.
In addition to this, the Jovial Organic Einkorn flour is perfect for individuals with allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, fish, and shellfish. This is because, unlike many other flour brands, Jovial’s facilities are completely free from all of the above foods, so there’s no risk of contamination.
However, Einkorn flour is quite difficult to locate as well as being expensive, and it’s also not wheat or gluten-free, so it’s not a good choice for cooks on a budget or people with allergies to wheat or gluten.
- Sweet, nutty flavor - Closely mimics spelt flour
- High in manganese - Antioxidant, eases digestion and levels blood sugar
- Contains zinc - Immune support and protein production
- No contaminants - Free from peanuts, milk, eggs, tree nuts, soy, fish, and shellfish
- Not wheat or gluten-free - Not for individuals with allergies to these substances
- Expensive - Not very budget-friendly
As an alternative to Einkorn flour, you could also try out Amaranth flour as a substitute for spelt.
Amaranth is a perennial pseudocereal plant with numerous health benefits, including being high in protein, fiber, and several micronutrients.
Amaranth is also gluten-free and has been proven to reduce inflammation and have positive effects on cholesterol levels.
It’s not a sweet as spelt flour, so you may need to add extra sugar or sweetener if you want to mimic the taste perfectly, but it does have a distinctively nut-like flavor.
Amaranth has quite a specific texture that means it won’t work so well on its own as a flour substitute. However, it can easily be mixed in a 1:4 ratio with another type of flour for additional health and taste benefits.
Food to Live’s Organic Amaranth Flour is gluten-free and non-GMO.
Being rich in both energy-releasing carbohydrates and proteins, this flour is much healthier than most standard wheat-based flours. It also has a low glycemic index, making it more suitable than other flour types for people with irregular blood sugar levels.
Moreover, the Organic Amaranth Flour is high in iron, which is an essential nutrient for immune function and energy.
However, as we mentioned earlier, this Amaranth flour isn’t the easiest to incorporate into recipes on its own, so it’s best to use it in conjunction with another type of flour.
- Organic - Natural, regulated production
- Gluten-free - Safe for gluten sensitivity
- High in iron - Immune support and energy release
- Proteinous - Helps build muscles and repair cells
- Distinctive texture - Works best alongside other flours
Kamut flour is another excellent substitute for spelt flour.
Kamut flour is made from a variety of wheat called Khorasan, which is another ancient grain native to certain parts of Asia and Egypt.
Kamut is a great source of fiber as well as manganese and selenium. Manganese, as we already discussed in relation to Einkorn flour, is a fantastic antioxidant with scientific links to improved bone and blood health.
Selenium, meanwhile, is essential for thyroid function, and it has been suggested that it may also improve immune health.
This flour is also high in protein as well as multiple essential vitamins.
While Kamut flour is not gluten-free, it’s similar to Einkorn flour in that the structure of the gluten is different, so it may be more tolerable for people with gluten sensitivity.
Kamut is a pretty easy substitute for spelt flour because it has roughly the same density. However, Kamut is the less absorbent of the two, so a little more water may be needed.
This Organic Kamut Khorasan Wheat Flour has all of the sweetness and nutty aftertaste of spelt flour, but with a whole host of additional benefits!
The brand is 100% free from GMOs with no added toxins. Moreover, it’s full of protein, fiber, manganese, iron, and B vitamins! The high B vitamin content of Food to Live’s Kamut flour makes it an ideal spelt substitute for vegans in particular, since B12 is an important focus of the vegan diet.
Unfortunately, we can’t recommend this flour for people with wheat or gluten allergies because, even though the molecular gluten structure isn’t the same as in wheat flour, it’s still likely to cause internal irritation.
- Very fibrous - Promotes healthy digestion
- Contains protein, iron, and manganese - Immunity, repair, and energy boost
- High in B vitamins - Great for vegans
- Nutty, sweet flavor - Close in taste to spelt flour
- Not wheat or gluten-free - Not safe for individuals with these allergies
If you’re looking specifically for an affordable spelt flour substitute, you should consider rice flour!
Rice flour is an especially good choice for people with gluten allergies because it’s gluten-free. Additionally, if you use brown rice flour, you can enjoy a wide range of nutritional benefits.
White rice flour, however, tends to be the better choice for substituting spelt flour. This is because it’s a bit less grainy, and its flavor isn’t so distinctive, so it’s easier to work with. If you want to closely replicate the flavor of spelt flour, however, you may need to add some ground nut powder or sweeteners.
Rice flour is typically very dense, so you will need to significantly reduce the amount of flour called for by a spelt-based recipe by about ⅔.
Our top recommended rice flour for spelt flour substitution is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rice flour.
This flour doesn’t contain any artificial flavors or preservatives, and it’s gluten-free, so people with gluten allergies can enjoy it without fear of damaging their health.
Best of all, the Bob’s Red Mill Rice Flour is highly affordable and more accessible in stores than most of the flour substitutes in our selection, so if you’re working to a budget, this may be the ideal choice for you.
However, this flour has a 2-month expiration date, so it’s not a particularly long-lasting option. Unless you know you can consume 1.5 lbs of rice flour within this time frame, you may find yourself with waste on your hands.
- No artificial colors or preservatives - Natural flour
- Gluten-free - Allergen safe
- Very affordable - Works on a budget
- 2-month shelf life - Restrictive expiration date
Finally, if you’re substituting spelt flour in baking recipes that require a significant amount of rise and a lot of flavor, we would highly recommend Barley flour.
Barley is a cereal grain native to Eurasia. It’s known for its strong, nutty flavor as well as its several surprising health benefits.
As a whole grain, Barley is better for you than refined grain types. It’s also rich in fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc, amongst other vitamins and minerals.
Barley flour is about twice as dense as spelt flour, so you’ll need to roughly halve the amount of flour called for in the recipe.
Moreover, if you’re not a fan of strong flavors, this might not be the substitute for you. Barley’s nutty flavor isn’t as subtle as spelt flour, so it might be overpowering, especially if your recipe doesn’t call for it.
Food to Live’s Organic Barley Flour is an excellent source of plant-based protein, as well as being high in magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.
Each cup provides 15 grams of fiber for healthy digestion while the formula’s low glycemic index makes it a good choice for regulating blood sugar.
Additionally, the Food to Live barley flour is completely organic and non-GMO. It’s low in gluten, though not completely gluten-free, so it might work for people with mild gluten sensitivities but is not a good choice for those with severe allergies.
- High in fiber - Helps digestion
- Rich in protein - Plant-based protein source
- Low glycemic index - Does not contribute to high blood sugar
- Low-gluten - Better for gluten sensitivity
- Not gluten-free - Not suitable for people with gluten allergies
Best Spelt Flour Substitutes Buying Guide
All of the substitutes we’ve discussed in this article thus far are excellent swaps for spelt flour.
However, it’s important to consider which substitute to use in the context of the specific dish(es) that you’re making, as well as factors such as dietary requirements and accessibility.
Read on for more information about all the factors you should consider when choosing a spelt flour substitute!
If you want your flour substitution to be as seamless as possible, you will need to pay close attention to the flavor of your substitute.
Spelt flour has a slightly nutty, sweet flavor, so ideally, you will want your chosen substitute to mimic this flavor as closely as possible.
Einkorn flour is probably the closest you’ll get to the natural flavor of spelt flour without adding any other ingredients or flavorings, which is why this type of flour features as our top choice.
Kamut flour is generally considered to be the next best option in terms of flavor, followed by Amaranth Barley flour.
Rice flour may need to be combined with other ingredients in order to achieve the desired flavor. However, it does score well in terms of our next factor.
If you don’t have any known allergies, sensitivities, or intolerances to any food types, this section might not be quite so important to you.
However, we still recommend you stick around to weigh up the nutritional benefits of our chosen spelt flour substitutes. After all, even if you’re not allergic to anything or on any particular diet, it can’t hurt to be aware of what you’re putting into your body.
Einkorn flour is high in protein, manganese, and zinc, all of which are essential for immunity, while protein promotes repair on a cellular level. It’s not gluten-free but is better for people with gluten sensitivities than regular flour because of the gluten’s different molecular structure.
Kamut is a high-fiber flour type that also contains a lot of protein, iron, manganese, selenium, and B vitamins.
Amaranth flour has a low glycemic index, which is crucial for regulating high blood sugar. It’s also an excellent source of iron and an effective antioxidant.
Rice flour is a great gluten-free spelt flour alternative in both white and brown forms.
Barley flour, meanwhile, is packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese, protein, and fiber. It also has a healthy, low glycemic index.
The ease of conversion of a spelt flour substitute will largely depend on the density and absorbency of the flour.
Einkorn flour is the closest in consistency to spelt flour and doesn’t need any adjustment in terms of quantity. However, any water or liquid in the recipe will need to be increased because of Einkorn’s increased absorbancy.
Amaranth flour should be mixed with a less grainy flour type at a ratio of 1:4.
Kamut flour can be substituted cup for cup, it’s not very absorbent, so you’ll need to up the water content slightly.
When using rice flour, you will need to use ⅔ less than you would when using spelt flour.
Barley flour is very dense, so the quantity used will need to be about half of what is called for in the spelt recipe.
Rice flour is probably the most easily accessible and affordable spelt flour substitute in our selection, so if a budget-friendly substitute is what you’re looking for as a priority, this is the type of flour we’d recommend.
Barley flour is generally the next easiest flour type to find, although it roughly matches Kamut and Amaranth flour in terms of average price. These last two are, additionally, more difficult to find outside of online retailers.
Einkorn flour, despite being the best match all-around for flavor and consistency, is also the most expensive and the most difficult to find.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are many different flours available nowadays. The choice can become overwhelming and you may soon end up with a whole cupboard dedicated to flour varieties.
Spelt flour has become fairly commonplace in recent years, but that does not mean you will always have it on hand.
There is nothing more irritating than starting to bake only to find out you have the wrong flour. We have rounded up some of the most commonly asked questions about Spelt flour and the best substitutes for you.
Can I substitute regular flour for spelt flour?
You can use regular wheat flour in the same quantities as spelt flour as a substitute. However, be prepared for the gluten content to increase accordingly.
Is spelt flour low fodmap?
No, spelt flour is actually quite a high-fodmap food. This is one of the many reasons why individuals with digestive issues might choose to substitute this ingredient.
Amaranth, for example, is low fodmap, so it’s a good alternative in this respect.
Is spelt flour keto-friendly?
Spelt is quite a high-carb flour, so it’s not the best choice for a keto diet.
The best low-carb, keto-friendly flours are almond flour, soy flour, coconut flour, and flaxseed meal.
None of these flour types feature on our list, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily can’t substitute them for spelt flour. You may have to do some research and experimentation in terms of conversion ratios and flavor, however.
Coconut and almond flour already have the sweet nuttiness of spelt flour taken care of, though, so that’s one less thing to worry about!
Will spelt flour rise?
Spelt flour isn’t one of the best flours for recipes requiring a high rise, like bread or cake.
Wheat flours have the advantage when it comes to rising because of their gluten content. Einkorn flour has less gluten than the average wheat flour, but it has enough to make it work for this purpose.
Barley and Kamut flour both contain some gluten, although it’s a low percentage. If you’re looking for a slight, but not substantial rise from your baking, these may suffice.
If you’re using a gluten-free flour, you may need to incorporate baking powder in order to ensure that the finished product is properly risen.
Can I use plain flour instead of Spelt flour?
Plain, or all-purpose flour, has a protein content of 11 to 12%. This is marginally lower than the protein found in Spelt flour which means that you may need to add slightly more flour or less moisture to create the same consistency.
If the recipe calls for white Spelt flour then this substitution will work better. This is because white Spelt is lighter in texture and the result will be more similar.
How is Spelt flour different from regular flour?
Regular flour is made from ground wheat, whereas Spelt flour is made from Triticum aestivum var. spelta. This is another type of cereal grain from the wheat family of plants.
It is originally from Iran but has spread across Europe and to North America. It has a much harder exterior than wheat grains, giving the flour a nuttier and mildly sweet taste.
It is easier for the human body to digest than regular flour as the grain is water-soluble. This means that for people with gluten intolerances it is often a much less painful substitute.
It has a slightly higher protein content and lower calorie count than all-purpose flour.
Can I substitute whole wheat flour for Spelt flour?
Whole wheat flour has a protein content of 14%, compared to Spelt flour’s 12-13%. This means that on a chemical level, both flours will generate similar results when baked.
White whole wheat flour has a protein content of 13% and will generally perform better as a Spelt flour substitute.
You may need to tweak the liquid content of your recipe accordingly. Stronger flours (with a higher protein content) tend to make batters and doughs too dry.
Weaker flours will make the batter too wet. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time if the batter is too dry, and do the same with flour if the batter is too moist.
What can I use instead of Spelt flour that is gluten-free?
Spelt flour does contain gluten as it comes from a grain in the wheat family. This means that it is unsuitable for celiacs and people suffering from gluten intolerance.
There are many gluten-free flour blends that are commercially available. These can be substituted for Spelt flour but will not create the same flavor profile in the finished product.
Amaranth and rice flour are both completely gluten-free but will interact differently with liquids in your recipe.
For every cup of Spelt flour, your recipe calls for you should use ¼ cup amaranth flour or ⅓ cup rice flour.
To use amaranth flour, you will need to combine it with other flours to make up the same volume as stated of Spelt.
Rice flour can be found in a brown or a white version. White rice flour has a milder flavor and texture, making it more similar to a baked good containing all-purpose flour.
Brown rice flour is a closer substitute for Spelt flour as it has a more intense flavor. The brown rice flour contains the bran and has a grainy texture. It will need to be stored in the refrigerator.
Out Of Spelt Flour? Here Are The Best Spelt Flour Substitutes
- Einkorn Flour
- Amaranth Flour
- Kamut Flour
- Rice Flour
- Barley Flour
- Try our kitchen tested spelt flour substitutes.
Use in or with your favorite recipe.