If you hear “millet” and think of birdseed, you’re not far off, as these tiny grains are often used in poultry and wild bird feeds. However, millet is also a traditional flour that has a proud history in baking and cooking. It adds a uniquely nutty taste to bread and can even be used as a thickener in soups and stews.
When my mother-in-law came for a recent visit, I was in a huff. Usually, I make nice millet bread because my mom-in-law is allergic to gluten, and millet flour tastes great and is gluten-free. But disaster struck, and I had no millet flour in the house!
What could I use to substitute for millet flour? Actually, I had several options in my kitchen, and you can try these too.
Substitute millet flour with oat flour, quinoa flour, sorghum flour, rice flour, chickpea flour, buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, or almond flour. Your choice in substitution will depend on the recipe you’re making, whether you are trying to choose a gluten-free option or if your recipe doesn’t require gluten-free flour.
Other substitutes for millet flour include whole wheat flour and whole wheat pasta flour.
What Is Millet Flour?
Millet flour is made by finely grinding millet seeds, producing gluten-free flour that can be used in baking, to thicken sauces, and in other culinary uses.
Since millet flour is made from whole grain millet, it is nutritionally dense and high in fiber.
In baking, millet flour is usually paired with other flour to help leaven the heavier millet flour.
What Does Millet Flour Do in Baking?
Like adding cornmeal to a recipe, adding millet flour to a baked recipe will produce a crumbly texture that’s perfect for tarts and pies where a crumble crust is desired.
The slightly nutty taste of millet flour also adds an earthy tone to baked goods that is ideal with that “out of the oven” appeal.
8 Best Substitutes for Millet Flour
Several grain flours can be used to substitute millet flour in a recipe, and which you choose depends on the function of millet flour in a recipe.
If your recipe calls for millet flour to add crumble to the dough, you can choose a substitute to achieve that, and if millet flour is in a recipe for health reasons, then base your substitution on flour that meets similar nutritional needs.
Substitute millet flour in equal proportions to oat flour.
For a similar nutritional flour, oat flour is ideal as it’s also whole grain flour and best of all, you can make it at home.
Whisk a cup of breakfast oats in your high-speed food processor until the right consistency or fineness is reached.
Substituting oat flour for millet flour in baked goods like cookies is a great idea for a similar flavor note.
Equally, replace millet flour with quinoa flour.
A great option for my dietary dilemma, when my mom-in-law visited, is to use quinoa flour as it’s nutritionally similar to millet flour and also gluten-free.
Quinoa is whole grain and, as a bonus, it’s also known for a similar nutty flavor that perfectly replaces millet flour in a recipe.
Quinoa has the same strength as millet flour, but it’s slightly less coarse, so if I want extra crumble in a recipe, I add an extra teaspoon of the quinoa flour (and a little love) to replace millet flour.
Substitute sorghum flour in equal parts with millet flour.
For heavier baking like muffins and bread, sorghum flour is ideal to substitute millet flour as it’s also gluten-free, has a slightly stronger binding power, and offers a rich texture and earthy nutty taste.
Replace millet flour with rice flour at a ratio of 1:1.
If you’re trying out the gluten-free option, but don’t like the taste of millet flour, then replacing millet flour with rice flour is a good alternative.
Rice flour is nutritionally dense and also gluten-free, and it has a more neutral taste profile.
Substitute chickpea flour in equal parts with millet flour.
Chickpea flour has many names, but it’s widely available. You can find it labeled as garbanzo bean flour, gram flour, or besan (in traditional Indian cuisine stores).
With a similar nutritional profile, chickpea flour also has an earthy flavor (though slightly less nutty than millet flour).
Chickpea flour is also gluten-free, and it results in a nice texture to baked goods.
Substitute in a ratio of 1 cup millet flour to ⅘ cup buckwheat flour (adding a neutral flour for the remaining ⅕ cup).
For a great nutrition boost, use buckwheat flour instead of millet flour.
However, be warned that buckwheat flour has a much stronger taste than millet flour. It hits a much stronger earthy tone, which could change a recipe’s flavor profile.
All Purpose Flour
Replace millet flour in equal proportions with all-purpose flour.
If you’re not on a strict gluten-free diet, you can easily swap out millet flour with all-purpose flour as both have equal strength and all-purpose flour works well in all recipes.
Since all-purpose flour doesn’t have the same nutty taste as millet flour, you may need to add some extra flavor to your recipes with the addition of herbs or spices.
Replace millet flour with almond flour in equal measure for pastries and cooking purposes, but you will need to add other flours to increase the strength of baking bread.
Almond flour has the same nutty taste as millet flour since it’s made from ground almonds. It has slightly more moisture content than millet flour since almonds are naturally higher in fats.
While this is a great nutritional boost, you may need to add some “drier” flour like all-purpose flour or oat flour to provide enough loft to recipes.
What Is Millet Similar To?
Millet is similar to other gluten-free grain flour, such as oat flour, quinoa flour, sorghum flour, rice flour, and chickpea flour.
Substitute millet flour in recipes with these flours or buckwheat flour, almond flour, or all-purpose flour.
Can You Substitute Regular Flour for Millet Flour?
All-purpose flour can substitute millet flour in baking bread, pies, muffins, tarts, and more. However, note that all-purpose flour is a medium gluten flour, so it’s not suitable for gluten-free baking or cooking.
My Last Foodie Thoughts
Millet flour is a firm favorite in my kitchen, but when I ran out, I was thrilled to discover many other flour types that I could substitute with millet flour within a pinch.
Buckwheat flour and quinoa flour now regularly feature in my kitchen, and my family loves eating quinoa and millet muffins as a health boost.
What is your favorite millet flour substitute?