What can I use instead of all purpose flour for waffles?

When making waffles, all-purpose flour is typically used as the base ingredient. All-purpose flour contains a blend of hard and soft wheats, resulting in a flour that can be used for a variety of baking needs. However, there are several reasons you may need or want to use an alternative flour in waffles:

Wheat Allergies or Sensitivities

If you or someone you are cooking for has a wheat allergy, gluten intolerance, or sensitivity to wheat, you will need to avoid traditional all-purpose flour. There are several gluten-free flour alternatives that can be substituted in waffles:

  • Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour – This flour blend is wheat-free and contains a mix of starches and grains like rice, potato, tapioca, and sorghum flours. It mimics the texture of regular all-purpose flour.
  • Coconut Flour – Made from dried, ground coconut, this flour is naturally gluten-free. It has a mildly sweet flavor that works well in waffles.
  • Almond Flour – Ground from almonds, almond flour adds nutrition and a nutty flavor to waffles.
  • Chickpea Flour – Also known as gram or besan flour, chickpea flour is protein-rich and gluten-free.

When substituting gluten-free flours, you may need to adjust the liquid in the recipe since alternative flours absorb moisture differently than regular flour. Adding an egg or extra milk/butter can help achieve the right batter consistency.

Seeking Whole Grain Options

If you want to add more whole grains to your diet or simply want a different flavor in your waffles, try using these whole grain flours:

  • Whole Wheat Flour – Made from the entire wheat kernel, whole wheat flour contains the fiber-rich bran and germ along with the endosperm. This gives waffles a heartier texture and nutty flavor.
  • Buckwheat Flour – Despite the name, buckwheat is gluten-free and is actually a seed related to rhubarb. It has an earthy, somewhat bitter taste. Pair it with sweeter waffle toppings.
  • Oat Flour – Milled from whole oats, oat flour boosts the nutrition in waffles with fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
  • Rye Flour – Rye flour contains fiber and a distinctive rye flavor. Use no more than half rye flour in waffle recipes.

Adjust liquid when substituting these heavier whole grain flours. A ratio of 1/4 to 1/2 whole grain flour to 1/2 to 3/4 all-purpose flour typically works well.

Seeking Nutritional Benefits

You can also add flours made from protein-rich nuts and seeds to waffles to boost their nutritional value:

  • Almond Flour – Packed with protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
  • Cashew Flour – Made from cashews, with a sweet, rich flavor.
  • Sunflower Seed Flour – Made from ground sunflower seeds. Provides protein, vitamins, minerals.
  • Flaxseed Meal – High in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Use up to 1/4 cup in waffles.
  • Peanut Flour – Adds nutty flavor and protein. Pairs well with chocolate or banana waffles.

Since these nut/seed flours have very absorbent textures, cut back slightly on liquid in waffle recipes when using them.

Avoiding Wheat Flour

If you want to avoid wheat altogether, whether for dietary reasons or because you are out of wheat flour, here are some alternatives:

  • Rice Flour – Made from finely milled rice. Best when blended with other flours.
  • Corn Flour – Adds a sweet flavor and gritty texture. Combine with other flours.
  • Tapioca Flour – From the cassava root. Used to lighten texture and absorb moisture.
  • Potato Starch – Adds binding and a crispy texture to waffles.

Since these alternatives lack gluten, using 1-2 teaspoons of xanthan or guar gum per cup of flour can help replicate the binding properties of gluten to create lighter, fluffier waffles.

Increasing Protein

Adding higher protein flours can result in sturdier, more filling waffles:

  • Soy Flour – Made from ground roasted soybeans. Adds protein, fiber, and vitamins.
  • Quinoa Flour – Contains all essential amino acids. Adds protein and nutrients.
  • Amaranth Flour – Gluten-free with lots of protein, fiber, and minerals like calcium and iron.
  • Chickpea Flour – Packed with plant-based protein. Has a bean flavor.

Balance these protein-rich flours out with lighter flours like tapioca or rice flour. And add liquid as needed for batter consistency.

Avoiding Refined Flour

To avoid refined white all-purpose flour, use these less processed whole food alternatives:

  • Whole wheat pastry flour – More lightly milled whole wheat flour.
  • Spelt flour – Nutty, sweet ancient grain. Contains gluten.
  • Kamut flour – Ancient wheat relative with digestible protein.
  • Einkorn flour – Ancient wheat variety. Has less gluten.

Substitute these at a 1:1 ratio for all-purpose flour. You may need to add a bit more leavening like baking powder to get waffles to rise properly.

Adding Fiber

Increase the fiber content of waffles by adding these high-fiber flours:

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Oat flour
  • Rye flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Almond flour

Since fiber absorbs liquid, be prepared to add a little more milk, yogurt, or other moisture to batters with these flours. Aim for a pourable but slightly thick batter.

Avoiding Eggs

To make vegan or egg-free waffles, use these substitutes in place of eggs:

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax or chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water – forms a gel
  • 1/4 cup applesauce or mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup silken tofu, blended
  • 1/4 cup aquafaba (chickpea can liquid)
  • Commercial egg replacer mixed with water per package instructions

The ground flax or chia and aquafaba mimic the binding properties of eggs. Applesauce or banana add moisture and bind ingredients. Silken tofu and commercial egg replacers also bind and help leaven waffles.

Adding Nutrients

Enhance the nutritional value of your waffles by incorporating these flour additions:

  • 1-2 tablespoons wheat germ – adds B vitamins, fiber, protein
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax or chia – boosts omega-3s
  • 1/4 cup bran cereal – adds fiber, iron
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder – provides antioxidants
  • 1/4 cup dried milk powder – increases protein, calcium

Keep total flour additions under 1/4 to 1/3 cup total per 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Too many additions can make batters heavy. Make sure to account for any extra moisture that ingredients like flax or bran may add.

Adjusting for High Altitude

If making waffles at high altitude, you may need to adjust the flour ratio and leavening:

  • Use 2 tablespoons less all-purpose flour per 1 cup flour
  • Increase baking powder by 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per cup of flour
  • Add an extra 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt to strengthen gluten
  • Increase liquid ingredients slightly
  • Use cake flour instead of all-purpose if waffles are too dense

The reduced air pressure at high altitudes causes batters to rise rapidly. Reducing flour and increasing leavening helps prevent dense, flat waffles. Be prepared to experiment to get the right balance.

Adjusting for Humidity

On very humid days, you may need to tweak your waffle recipe:

  • Add up to 2 tablespoons more flour per cup to absorb excess moisture
  • Reduce any liquid ingredients by a couple tablespoons
  • Add an extra egg yolk for more structure
  • Use bread flour instead of all-purpose for stronger gluten development
  • Let batter rest for 15 minutes before cooking

Excess humidity can throw off the moisture balance in waffle batters. Letting the batter rest gives time for flour to absorb ambient moisture.

Tips for Substituting Flours

Here are some handy tips when substituting flours in waffles:

  • Start by substituting only 25% alternative flour and gradually increase to 50-75% once you see how it impacts the batter.
  • Sift flours together to blend them evenly.
  • Whisk batter vigorously to develop gluten, especially with gluten-free flours.
  • Let batter rest for 10-15 minutes so flour can fully hydrate.
  • Adjust liquids gradually by the tablespoon until you reach desired consistency.
  • Use oven instead of waffle maker if having issues with sticking or burning.
  • Adjust leavening, like baking powder, up or down to reach desired rise.
  • Add a little more sugar or vanilla to mask any bitter flavors from flours like buckwheat.

Substituting new flours takes some trial and error. Keep notes on what works to recreate your favorite recipe when using alternative flours.

Sample Waffle Recipes with Alternative Flours

To give you an idea of how to substitute different flours in waffles, here are a few sample recipes:

Gluten-Free Waffles

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Whole Grain Waffles

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted

Protein-Packed Waffles

  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Get creative and come up with your own combinations catered to your dietary needs and taste preferences!


With so many flour options available today, you can easily substitute alternative flours for all-purpose flour when making waffles. From gluten-free flours made from grains like rice and corn to whole wheat varieties full of fiber, there are healthy and tasty options to suit any diet. Just remember to adjust the liquids and leavening to achieve the ideal texture. With a little experimentation, you can create amazing waffles using whatever flour fits your needs.

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