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27 Mar

The Many Uses of Coconut Flour

A barrage of comments to our post on low-carb thickeners confirmed that while coconut flour is terrible for thickening sauces, it does serve other purposes. Our last post on a Primal flour – almond meal – went over well, so I figured the time was ripe for a look at coconut flour.

Coconut flour is simply dried, ground up coconut meat. Most likely you’ll be buying it online or from a specialty grocer, like Whole Foods or a food co-op, but you’ll occasionally come across highly processed, ultra-white coconut flour. Stay away from this. The good stuff will be like actual coconut – slightly cream colored, rather than bone white. You can make your own at home with a food processor, but without a grain mill you’ll probably have issues getting a “floury” consistency. If that’s okay with you, have at it.

Whether you’re making your own or buying it pre-made, always make sure your coconut flour is unsweetened. Pretty much all that you’ll come across is unsweetened, but it’s always worth it to make sure.

Apparently, defatting is one of the major steps in making it, so coconut flour doesn’t have much of the delicious, hearty coconut fat left over. It’s too bad, but understandable when you realize you’re dealing with a dry flour designed for baking. That’s pretty much my only qualm with coconut flour, as everything else looks good. According to my just-bought bag of Aloha Nu organic coconut flour, 2 tablespoons of the stuff contain:

1.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat)
10 g carbs (with 9 g fiber, bringing the net carb count to a measly 1)
2 g protein

Those are pretty great stats, especially when compared to the glucose-boosting powers of “normal” flours like wheat or white. Less hearty than almond meal, but also less heavy and closer in texture to the other, forbidden flours (if that’s what you’re going for). Coconut flour can be used to bake, but be forewarned that it’s very dry and doesn’t stick together well (hence its uselessness as a sauce thickener); avoid this problem by adding eggs to the mix, which allows it to bond and form batter. I’ve also had success using it in a light egg batter for fried coconut chicken. I’d assume it would work equally well for shrimp or fish.

Okay, onto a few recipes.

Coconut Bread

I’m not a big baker, but I can appreciate those who are. For those budding Primal bakers who still miss bread, why not try to make some with coconut flour? Slightly sweet and fairly light (as opposed to the denser breads made with almond meal), this coconut bread should do the trick.

6 eggs
1/2 cups ghee (or butter)
1-2 tablespoon honey, depending on taste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup coconut flour

Preheat your oven to 350. Whisk it all together, or blend in a food processor until all lumps are gone. Grease a bread pan with butter or coconut oil and pour your batter in. Bake for 40 minutes.

If we split it up into six servings each slice will, according to FitDay, have:
30.9 g fat
13.2 g carbs (9 g fiber)
8.35 g protein

Coconut Pancakes

Drizzle these with honey and berries, wrap up some bacon and eggs for a Primal breakfast burrito, or just eat them plain. These things are incredibly easy to make.

4 eggs
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)

Mix these ingredients and let them sit for five minutes. Oil or grease up your pan and heat over medium heat. Pour about a 1/4 cup of batter for each crepe, allowing each side to brown before flipping it.

Without accounting for toppings or cooking fat, FitDay says the whole batch amounts to:

37.2 g fat (20.9 g saturated)
42.2 g carbs (19.4 g fiber)
30.6 g protein

Coconut Crusted Chicken

This doesn’t even require an ingredient list. Simply take your chicken pieces (or shrimp, or fish), season them with salt and pepper, dunk them in an egg bath (just scrambled up raw egg), then dredge them in coconut flour, then back in the egg bath, and then coat with dried coconut flakes. After that, it’s just a matter of frying them in oil (use coconut) or sautéing them in some butter. Crunchy, delicious, and low-carb.

Any Primal bakers out there with good tips or recipes? Let me know in the comments section!

Photo Courtesy of

Further Reading:

Primal Energy Bar Redux: Making a Better Bar

Smart Fuel: Coconut

Primal Pie Recipes

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I have been making my own flour by pulsing coconut in the food processor. Works pretty well and i know what i am getting (unlike buying it in the bag). It is grrrrrrrrreat for baking but work of warning… it is very VERY dry, so plan accordingly.

    The SoG

    Son of Grok wrote on March 27th, 2009
    • I was wondering if I could make my own coconut flour. Is it as simple as just putting it into the processor? do you use plain shreded coconut? Is it cheaper per pound doing it this way?


      Sidra wrote on April 15th, 2010
    • Is there any substitute for all the eggs needed in recipes that use coconut flour? Any other liquid or thickener?

      MM4Math wrote on September 6th, 2010
      • Instead of the eggs you can use “Ener-G Egg Replacer” or to stay simpler, just grind up some flax seeds (or you can buy flax meal already ground) and use them. Mix about 1 tablespoon of flax meal with 2 tablespoons of water and let them stand for 15 to 20 minutes to thicken to replace 1 egg. We have a vegan bakery so we are always converting recipes. The Egg replacer is quicker, but sometimes we like the simplicity and additional nutrients of the flax seeds.

        Steve wrote on November 1st, 2010
        • I was also going to suggest flax meal and water. I use this all the time. I make my own flax meal by grinding flax seeds in a coffee grinder. Very easy!

          Leah wrote on November 24th, 2010
        • I thought flax does not keep to well this way?

          tcseacliff wrote on July 16th, 2012
      • I think gelled chia seeds would be good, but I’m not sure what the conversion would be.

        Jen wrote on January 18th, 2012
        • Gelled chia seeds conversion is: 1 tbl. chia seeds + 3 tbl. hot water & let stand 5 min. = 1 egg

          Karen wrote on November 30th, 2012
      • I use 1 cup of egg beaters (essentially they are egg whites only) in place of the 4 eggs :)

        Cassie Heinz wrote on June 10th, 2013
    • Yes! I just tried the bread recipe and it was way way too dry. It came out crumbly, and when I tasted it, I felt like I had eaten a brick! I’m NOT a fan of coconut flour.

      If I want bread, I make this recipe:
      1/8 c. ground nuts (pecans or almond meal is good)
      1 egg
      1/2 tsp baking powder
      Mix together, pour in bread-sized glass/ceramic dish, and microwave for ~2-3 minutes.

      Grace wrote on July 4th, 2014
  2. I’d never even heard of using coconut flour. Thanks for the ideas. They all sound tasty!


    Adam Steer - Better Is Better wrote on March 27th, 2009
  3. Definitely trying the chicken… i’m worried my love for bread might surface slightly if i try the coconut bread or pancakes.

    Jane wrote on March 27th, 2009
  4. Coconut shrimp or chicken, i love this idea, i’ve just got to try it, sounds awesome!!

    Donna wrote on March 27th, 2009
  5. I just posted a recipe for a primal gfcf coconut flour cake with coconut oil frosting.

    Shannon wrote on March 27th, 2009
  6. On a related note, coconut flakes + curry powder = deliciousness. I’ve also taken to using arrow root as a thickener recently, just make sure you wash your pans soon after cooking. That stuff turns to cement.

    McFlurry wrote on March 27th, 2009
  7. Thanks for covering this topic! I’ve been experimenting with coconut flour for a few months now and I love its soft, rich texture. Recipes almost always need more liquid to compensate for the dryness of the flour.

    from the Healthy Eating, Naturally blog

    Emily wrote on March 27th, 2009
    • Really you find coconut makes your food dry? What is your secret lol every time I use coconut flour my recipes turn out supper soggy. Any recommendations would be wonderful.

      Kim wrote on January 2nd, 2014
  8. Lots of coconut flour recipes at the Simply Coconut website:

    Jennifer wrote on March 27th, 2009
  9. This looks excellent, I have some organic coconut flour so I will try this recipe. Thanks you :)

    Michelle wrote on March 27th, 2009
  10. I use a cup of hazel nut meal with 1/4 cup coconut flour and melted butter to make pie crusts (just like a gram cracker crust!). Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes, cool and then add filling of choice! Delish!!

    Adam Cilonis wrote on March 27th, 2009
    • Hi! I was looking for a crust recipe to replace gram cracker… how much melted butter do you generally use for this and have you ever tried almond meal instead of hazelnut? I’m trying for a primal-esque cheesecake!

      Bonnie wrote on November 11th, 2011
  11. With almond meal I get lighter texture when I sift the almond meal first and save the bits that are too big for other purposes.

    nonegiven wrote on March 27th, 2009
  12. I made coconut chicken for dinner tonight with coconut flour and unsweetened coconut. Seasoned chicken breasts with curry powder. Yummmmmm!

    primalcanadiangirl wrote on March 27th, 2009
  13. Yeah, I think the coconut chicken needs a seasoning– curry might be good. I made it last night and it was a little bland. I liked the textured, but it needs a little something.

    Ellen wrote on March 28th, 2009
  14. Has anyone made tortillas from it? If so, I’ve definitely got to track it down, because I sure do love stuff wrapped up in tortillas!

    dragonmamma wrote on March 28th, 2009
    • Did you ever find a coconut flour tortilla recipe?

      Kara wrote on September 4th, 2010
    • Here’s one!

      Looks delicious – I haven’t tried it yet, but plan to.


      Martha wrote on September 29th, 2010
      • Oh, Martha, that looks REALLY good! And I was just craving tortillas recently. I’ll have to try this very soon. Thank you!

        Sally wrote on September 30th, 2010
    • I’ve tried the “tortilla” recipe. They come out more like crepes or an “eggier” pita… but still a GREAT substitute!

      Mary Ellen wrote on February 24th, 2013
  15. I have quite a few coconut flour dessert recipes, and a savory recipe for english “muffins” at my blog:

    You cannot make coconut flour at home though. As you said, it has the fat pressed out. Unsweetened coconut ground in a food processor will not work the same way in recipes. 😉

    Lauren B wrote on March 28th, 2009
    • I watched a friend make coconut flour… it is a by-product of making coconut milk from shredded coconut. She processed shredded coconut with warm water in her vitamix, then strained it in a jelly strainer bag and she squeezed it dry… after draining and squeezing, the stuff left in the bag works just like coconut flour… she made muffins and something similar to the coconut crusted shrimp with it. And the coconut milk got a nice later of cream on top as it sat on the counter. I think she used 1:1 ratio of warm water to coconut shreds…

      Best wishes!

      Stephanie wrote on October 22nd, 2010
  16. Wow, this is great info for gluten-free folk like me. I’m going to order this stuff real soon and try your bread recipe (yes, I still miss the stuff). Thanks!

    AmyT of wrote on March 28th, 2009
    • Check out…they have a ton of gluten free recipes with coconut flour, like garlic cheese bread (my chin dropped to the floor when i saw that one), pancakes, cookies and so on.

      Wendy S. wrote on June 1st, 2010
  17. Is this stuff okay to use

    Thats the only type I can find locally..


    gfly wrote on March 30th, 2009
  18. I have here a box of Organic Creamed Coconut: fat 65.4g/100g, protein 7.5g, carbs 9.2g. This either comes in a solid block which you grate, or in sachets which you open and then grate.

    Makes a killer combination with hot chillies. Yum, I think I’ll have some tonight: fried cashew nuts, sesame seeds and prawns with some coloured peppers, garlic, chillies and ginger root with creamed coconut and sesame oil. Also works with chicken. Or chicken *and* prawns . . .

    Trinkwasser wrote on March 31st, 2009
  19. I got hold of some Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour, and I made two of the recipes.

    First, I made the coconut bread. It seemed pretty dry when I put it in the pan, but I didn’t want to mess with the recipe since I wasn’t sure what it should be like. It came out dry, all right; I probably would have choked to death if I didn’t have water at hand! It was fantastic for sopping up the extra sauce in the cauliflower with alfredo sauce I had later on.

    Then, I made the pancakes without the cinnamon and nutmeg, since my husband can’t stand those spices, plus I wanted a more neutral flavor so I could try them out as a tortilla/bread substitute.

    They were great! The consistency is very similar to cornbread, so I was inspired to wrap them around some all-natural hot dogs, along with ketchup and mustard and pickle relish. It was a very satisfying substitution for corn dogs.

    dragonmamma wrote on April 5th, 2009
    • wow I had quite the opposite experience, I loved the Coconut bread, it satisfied all my carb cravings, and was perfect with a little almond butter or agave nectar on top. I really didn’t like the pancakes, they just didn’t taste that good to me and they cooked oddly.

      Ani wrote on June 10th, 2010
    • Sounds like the dry bread would be perfect for French toast. Soak in beaten eggs and milk/cream/coconut milk and fry on the griddle…yummmm!

      Anne wrote on September 18th, 2011
  20. Really enjoyed your post and have saved your blog on my fav’s. wanted to ask have you tried Konjac glucomannan flour as a thickener? Offered from the company that makes Miracle Noodle. Net carb free and some good fiber.

    Milliann Johnson wrote on April 24th, 2009
    • I use Konjac flour for thickening gravy, and think it’s absolutely perfect. And a little goes a long way – seriously. Start with 1/4 tsp and wait a couple minutes before adding more.

      Ailu wrote on December 25th, 2012
  21. Anyone use coconut flour in one of those bread making machines?

    pjnoir wrote on May 1st, 2009
  22. bought some of this yesterday. mixed 50/50 with garlic powder, little salt and pepper and used as breading for frying calamari in lard. good stuff!

    jon winchester wrote on June 25th, 2009
  23. Inspired by dragonmamma’s hot dog wraps, I decided to make some “hamburger buns” from the pancake recipe. Instead of the spices recommended I added a touch of salt and some Old Bay Seasoning. I also sprinkled some hemp seeds on them as they cooked. After frying the pancakes in coconut oil, I realized I had not included the coconut milk in the recipe. Oops. No wonder the batter seemed kinda thick.

    Surprisingly, even without the coconut milk, they turned out great. Just manually spread the batter out when it hits the pan. I agree that they do have a cornmeal pancake texture but without the grit and they made a very nice hamburger bun. Recipe with out the coconut milk made 4 hamburger sized pancakes.

    Sharon wrote on June 30th, 2009
  24. At our cook-out on the 4th of July I made the coconut pancakes again but this time included the coconut milk. Oddly they turned out about the same as when I left out the coconut milk but of course the raw batter was not as thick and it made more pancakes. They were a hit at the party and were especially good wrapped around the hot dogs. Yum.

    Sharon wrote on July 9th, 2009
  25. I noticed that some of the recipes are made using baking powder. My husband is severely gluten intolerant (celiac). He has been told he cannot tolerate corn because of its gluten content.(some celiacs apparently can-but he cannot) Any suggestions of what can be used in its place?

    val norris wrote on July 9th, 2009
    • Despite being GF and Kosher, Calumet baking soda still has corn. We have the same dietary limitations as you, and here’s how we make our baking powder:

      1 part baking soda
      2 parts cream of tartar
      2 parts tapioca starch

      Mix well. Use as you would the store-bought.

      whirlaway wrote on July 14th, 2009
      • Making your own baking powder is the safest way to go if corn bothers your husband. Products may be labeled GF and contain corn. Corn does not contain the mainstream Gluten that most celiacs need to avoid.
        The other option is to call the companies that make baking powder and ask for a list of ingredients.

        Lisa Stafford wrote on December 10th, 2011
    • Whole foods carries wheat and corn free baking powder, further there are many brands of gluten free baking powder at health food stores or a Whole Foods type market. I learned about the gluten thing in baking powder after much detective work as to why I felt crappy after using gluten free baking mix with regular baking powder. Enjoy.

      Joan wrote on November 28th, 2009
  26. Val, I googled “gluten in baking powder” and the first hit I got said: “Calumet baking powder is gluten-free and certified Kosher…”

    dragonmamma wrote on July 9th, 2009
  27. Sharon: Yay, I’m thrilled that I made an eating suggestion that somebody likes!

    They also go great with curry dishes as a chapati/naan substitute for soaking up the sauce.

    dragonmamma wrote on July 9th, 2009
  28. I’m a monster coconut lover… it’s my favorite food on the planet, hands down.

    I’ll share my coconut pancake/waffle recipe, because most of the recipes I’ve seen contain high numbers of eggs compared to mine (for the record: I love eggs, too, but I prefer a coconut-dominant flavor rather than an egg-dominant flavor to my pancakes & waffles).

    1 can (15oz) coconut milk
    3/4 cup shredded coconut
    2/3 cup almond meal
    1 or 2 eggs (one is plenty for waffles, you may want to go to two for pancakes, or if you like ’em eggy)
    tiny bit of salt
    tiny bit of baking powder
    and, if you’re doing them, vanilla and coconut extracts (1/2 tsp and 4-6 drops, respectively)

    Amazing. Seriously. If you make waffles, let them cook a long time until they’re crispy. Enjoy!

    Adam Kayce wrote on July 9th, 2009
    • Thanks for the recipe, Adam. Sounds great. I’ll have to try it. Cheers!

      Mark Sisson wrote on July 9th, 2009
      • You’re welcome! I eat these pretty much every day. And, like you’ve mentioned, once you’re away from sweeteners, you don’t miss the syrup/honey/agave or whatever most people put on pancakes and waffles these days.

        These are so good, they don’t even need butter. But who am I to stop anyone from adding some? (I once learned the cardinal rule of cooking from an organic chef… “When in doubt, add mo’ butter!”

        Adam Kayce wrote on July 13th, 2009
      • I have been searching for the nutrition facts for coconut flour muffins but can’t find the information anywhere! Please help! Thanks!

        Kim wrote on January 25th, 2012
    • Horrible! I followed the recipe exactly. I made waffles, so I only used one egg. I knew something wasn’t right when the batter hit the iron and it looked like it was boiling! They did taste like coconut, but that’s all I can say that was good about them. All the coconut milk evaporates and you are left with coconut and almond grit that sticks to the waffle iron. What a complete waste of ingredients! Please, don’t waste your money, folks!

      Sarah wrote on January 23rd, 2010
      • The exact same thing happened to me.

        Kaitlyn wrote on June 18th, 2010
  29. I’m allergic to coconut, but really love baking. I still want to go primal…Any suggestions?

    curiousj wrote on July 28th, 2009
    • Try ground nuts (almonds, e.g.) instead.

      Mary wrote on August 7th, 2009
    • There are lots of recipes out there for blanched almond flour. I prefer Honeyville Farms brand and order it through their website monthly. Here is my almond flour waffle recipe. Try variations at your own risk. It works really well as written.
      1 cup blanched almond flour
      4 eggs, separated
      2 TBS melted salted butter
      1/4 cup water
      1 tsp vanilla
      1/4 tsp baking soda

      Preheat waffle iron. Prepare any toppings you are going to use, like fruit compote, for example.

      Beat egg whites til stiff. In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients. Fold together with egg whites, being careful to keep them fluffy. Spray waffle iron with any oil spray you like, including canola and coconut oils. Scoop 1/3 cup batter onto iron and cook 4 minutes or til desired doneness.

      I especially like these with strawberry, blueberry or mixed berry fruit compote. Cook frozen berries in a pot with a little arrowroot and a little juice or water and added sweetener of choice, like honey. Cook to desired tenderness and thickness. Use as topping on your waffles. Coconut cream is really good on these too, or a little butter and honey. Delish!

      Lisa Stafford wrote on December 10th, 2011
  30. Last night I tried the coconut bread recipe, but I used a half cup of applesauce instead of the ghee/butter and omitted the honey.

    (I also adjusted the temp to 325 because I was using a dark pan, but I used about the same time: 38-39 minutes.)

    It was delicious! The taste and texture were lovely; it was all I could do not to eat the whole batch all at once. It smelled really good while baking, too.

    It made a great dessert with a little apple-sweetened blackberry spread.

    Thank you, Mark; you’ve really helped me satisfy my bread cravings!

    Sally wrote on August 7th, 2009
  31. I’m getting hungry just reading all these recipes!!! :-)

    In general…will adding back coconut oil instead of butter to the recipes calling for coconut flour bring out more of the flavor…or will the food not cook as well?

    I don’t have a lot of experience cooking with coconut oil…

    Phil wrote on December 6th, 2009
  32. okay.

    i was worried when the batter for the coconut bread wasn’t the sort you can “pour” into a pan… but this is some fantastic breakfast bread!!


    Aimee wrote on December 9th, 2009

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