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The 5 Best Substitutes for Barley Flour

Whether cooking only for yourself or for an entire family, barley flour can be a good food to have in your kitchen.

Not only does it substitute well for wheat flour in many recipes, but barley also has some health benefits over wheat.

Barley flour can often be used in place of wheat flour.

It can have a slightly nutty flavor, so it might not be the best option for sweet baked goods, but many savory recipes are complemented by its taste.

Unfortunately, barley flour can be difficult to find, and it is usually relatively costly when you find it at the supermarket.

This makes it even more important to try and find good substitutes for barley flour.

In this article, we will show you five of the best substitutes for barley flour so that you can continue to enjoy your favorite recipes.

What is Barley Flour?

what is barley flour

Barley flour is a type of flour made by grinding, winnowing, and sifting the bran of the barley grain.

This nutritious flour is gluten-free with an earthy taste that can have additional flavors.

Barley flour does not contain gluten, making it suitable for baking bread and other baked goods for people who need to avoid gluten in their diet.

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It is also rich in fiber, giving it an advantage over other gluten-free flour like rice flour.

Barley flour contributes to the structure of bread due to its high nitrogen content, but it may be useful for adding taste and color.

Since barley flour is gluten-free, it does not contain the same proteins as traditional flour, which can cause yeast to rise.

This makes baked goods made with barley flour denser than wheat flour.

Barley flour works particularly well in recipes that also call for other gluten-free flours since it helps to provide a minimal level of structure and elasticity.

It can also be added to other gluten-free flours for soups, sauces, and gravies to give them a nutty taste.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Barley Flour

As barley flour does not contain gluten, it can be tricky to substitute in recipes that require regular wheat flour.

However, many alternatives can be used for making bread and other baked goods without sacrificing taste or quality.

1 – Tapioca Flour

tapioca flour

Tapioca flour is one of the best substitutes for barley flour.

It contains more starch than barley and tapioca, so it provides quite a few health benefits.

The flavor is rather neutral, and this flour is quite healthy.

It has an acceptable taste that works well in many dishes because it’s a smooth texture.

The tapioca flour has a thick texture, and it can really help to thicken soups and casseroles.

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It’s also suitable for baking as an ingredient in biscuits, pancakes, and other carb-heavy dishes.

In addition to providing a thick consistency, tapioca is a great product for dealing with diabetes or gluten intolerance.

This is because it’s low in calories and high in fiber.

2 – Bread Flour

bread flour

Bread flour is a great substitute for barley flour.

It has a slightly higher gluten content than other flours, and it works particularly well in bread making.

Bread flour is made from wheat which contains high amounts of protein, meaning it’s ideal for bread making because proteins provide structure and elasticity.

This type of flour has a medium-coarse texture and a rich color.

‘Bread flour’ is effective in making dough elastic and thus creating the perfect strands of gluten that rise into fluffy bread when it’s baked.

One must note that not all flours are suitable for bread making.

However, most markets sell bread flour and barley flour separately.

This means you can use either type of flour for baking bread, depending on your preferences.

3 – Cake Flour (in Baking)

cake flour in baking

Cake flour is another substitute for barley flour.

This type of flour creates a very light texture, and it’s often used in cakes, biscuits, and pastries.

Cake flour has a high starch content, making it an optimal choice for fluffy rather than chewy bread.

In terms of color, cake flour is quite white because of the lack of bran.

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This flour has a particularly fine texture, and it’s often sifted before use for this reason.

Cake flour is gluten-free, though it is created from wheat which contains high amounts of protein.

Cake flour works best in recipes that require cakes or pastry doughs to rise – typically, the end product will be quite fluffy.

4 – All-Purpose Flour

allpurpose flour

If you don’t have barley flour or looking to save money, all-purpose flour is a good substitute for baking.

All-purpose flour can be used for foods such as biscuits and pancakes, and it has the advantage of being very commonly available.

All-purpose flour is made from wheat which contains high amounts of protein, so it works quite well in bread making.

It is less nutritious than the other gluten-free flour, but it’s also cheaper and more widely available.

All-purpose flour can be used for biscuits, pancakes, and similar dishes – the texture of these baked goods will be between tapioca flour and barley flour.

All-purpose flour can also be used in cakes and other baked goods, but it won’t have the same light texture as cake flour.

5 – Whole Wheat Flour

whole wheat flour

Last but not least, one must consider whole wheat flour.

Whole wheat flour is made from the entire kernel of the grain, and it contains a significant amount of fiber and other nutrients.

It’s not gluten-free, so it should be avoided in recipes for people with gluten or celiac disease allergies.

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Whole wheat flour has a nutty flavor and medium texture, working well in bread making.

It’ll also give the final product a beautiful golden color, and it can be mixed with other types of flour such as barley or all-purpose to get the exact texture you need for your dish.

Whole wheat flour has a strong flavor which some people may not like, but it’s also full of health benefits.

For this reason, it’s best to experiment with different types of flour until you find the one that suits your taste and nutritional needs.


Barley flour is a popular substitute for people with diabetes or gluten intolerance.

Barley flour is low in calories and high in fiber, making it an optimal choice for those who want to avoid gluten foods.

However, barley flour may not be as available as the other types of flour mentioned in this article.

It can also taste bitter and smell stale, so some people look for substitutes such as bread or cake flour.

Each type of flour has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s best to experiment with different types until you find your favorite.

Yield: 4 Servings

The 5 Best Substitutes for Barley Flour

The 5 Best Substitutes for Barley Flour
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • Tapioca Flour
  • Bread Flour
  • Cake Flour (in Baking)
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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