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Chickpea Flour Is 44% Lower in Carbs Than Regular Flour — Plus It’s Packed With Protein

It's also gluten-free and may help lower your type 2 diabetes risk. Win-win!

When it comes to pantry staples, all-purpose flour often reigns supreme. But while it’s easy to incorporate into many dishes, it’s not particularly nutrient-packed. Now there’s a great alternative that’s not only way healthier than traditional white flour, it tastes great too. Say hello to chickpea flour. It’s full of flavor and essential nutrients including protein, which gives dishes a healthier and tastier kick. Plus, it’s lower in carbs and gluten-free. Keep reading to learn more about chickpea flour, its nutritional qualities and how to use it in your everyday cooking.

How chickpea flour is made

Chickpea flour is simply made by milling dried chickpeas. The milling process gives the crushed chickpeas a fine texture that resembles flour.

Chickpea flour in a wooden bowl next to dried chickpeas
etorres/Shutterstock

The difference between chickpea flour and all-purpose flour

Chickpea flour is quite different in taste and texture than all-purpose flour, which is important to consider before cooking with it. “While all-purpose flour is bland, with virtually no taste on its own, chickpea flour is slightly nutty in taste and much more dense,” says Nosheen Babar, owner and recipe pro at Untold Recipes By Nosheen. “Chickpea flour also absorbs much more water than all-purpose flour. Due to this textural difference, which is a result of its higher protein content, recipes need to be adapted when using one in place of the other.” 

It’s typically recommended that you swap half the amount of all-purpose flour with chickpea flour. However, there are plenty of recipes that specifically call for chickpea flour. So that takes the guesswork out of deciding how much flour to add to dishes for a flavor and nutrient boost — keep scrolling for some delicious recipes below.

The health benefits of chickpea flour

Another unique quality about chickpea flour is that it packs a nutritional punch with fewer calories. One cup of chickpea flour has 356 calories, 21 grams of protein and 53 grams of carbs. This is significantly better than the 455 calories, 13 grams of protein and 95 grams of carbs found in 1 cup of all-purpose flour.

In addition to the calorie count, Lisa Richards, CNC, nutritionist and creator of the Candida Diet, notes that chickpea flour is naturally full of minerals unlike the all-purpose kind. “It contains essential nutrients like folate, iron, phosphorus and magnesium,” she explains. “This makes chickpea flour a suitable option for those seeking more protein and fiber in their diet, especially for vegetarians and vegans.”

While the science on chickpea flour is relatively new, a 2021 study found that eating foods made with it may help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by lowering blood glucose spikes. Also, chickpeas themselves have numerous health benefits for combating hair loss, aiding in digestion and weight management and helping you get a better night’s sleep.

Need one more reason to swap your all-purpose for this alternative? Chickpea flour is gluten-free, which can be helpful if you have a gluten intolerance or just want to clean up your diet. A win-win!

Where to find chickpea flour

If you’re looking to get your hands on some chickpea flour yourself, there’s a few different ways to do it. You can see if your local grocery store sells it — Bob’s Redmill Chickpea Flour is widely available. You can also find many brands online like Navitas Organics Chickpea Flour (Buy on Amazon, $6.36), or even make your own at home as a fun food project!

How to incorporate chickpea flour into your cooking

If you’re looking for inspiration on ways to add your favorite dishes, start with these five ideas from pastry chef Norah Clark.

  1. Pancakes and waffles: Substitute some or all of the all-purpose flour in homemade pancakes and waffles with chickpea flour to increase the protein and fiber content. (Click through to discover a delicious recipe for chickpea flour pancakes.)
  2. Breading and batter: Use chickpea flour as a healthier alternative for breading foods like chicken or vegetables. It can also be mixed into tempura batter when frying shrimp or vegetables as demonstrated in this recipe for Chickpea Tempura Onion Rings.
  3. Flatbreads: Make delicious gluten-free flatbreads using chickpea flour in place of other kinds of flour for a heartier flavor. In fact, this Gluten-Free Flatbread is perfect for replacing teff flour with chickpea flour.
  4. Savory snacks: Prepare nutritious snacks including chickpea flour-based crackers from scratch with the help of this flour. Try this recipe for Chickpea Flour Crackers for a homemade snack that bakes in under 30 minutes!
  5. Vegan baking: Chickpea flour can be used as an egg substitute in some recipes due to its binding properties. It’s commonly used in vegan frittatas, quiches and even desserts like brownies and cookies. To do: For every 1 egg listed in the recipe, the experts at Food Insight suggest using ¼ cup chickpea flour mixed with ¼ cup water or milk.

Related: Chickpea Fries Are the Perfect Crispy Snack That’s Packed With Protein — So Easy to Make in an Air Fryer

2 recipes that use chickpea flour

Ready to start using chickpea flour in recipes? Luckily, we’ve got two that you’re sure to love whether you’re in a sweet or savory mood!

1. Tomato and Herb Goat Cheese Pizza

Tomato and herb goat cheese pizza
Siamionau Pavel/Shutterstock

Who needs sauce? Roasting tomatoes at high heat caramelizes their juices for an extra-tasty topper.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 (¼-oz.) envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cups chickpea flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 (4 oz.) log garlic-and-herbs goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbs. milk
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup Asiago cheese shavings, 1 oz. 
  • ½ cup basil leaves, thinly sliced

Directions:

  • Active: 30 mins
  • Total time: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. Grease large bowl. On low speed using dough hook, combine 3⁄4 cup warm water, 3 Tbs. oil and yeast; let sit until frothy, 4 to 5 minutes. Beat in flour and salt until smooth dough forms, 3 to 4 minutes. (Alternately, on lightly floured surface, knead dough by hand, 10 minutes.) Transfer dough to bowl; cover. Let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  2. Place oven racks in center and lower third of oven; heat to 450°F. Coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray. In bowl, stir together goat cheese and milk.
  3. Punch dough down; on baking sheet, stretch out to 16 ½-by-8 ½-inch rectangle or oval. Brush with 2 tsp. oil. In bowl, toss tomatoes with remaining 1 tsp. oil; spread out on remaining baking sheet. Place tomatoes on center rack and dough on lower rack. Roast tomatoes until softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Bake dough until golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Spread dough with goat cheese mixture. Top with tomatoes. Bake until cheese mixture is melted, 5 minutes. Top with Asiago and basil.

2. Mixed Berry Pancake

Mixed Berry Pancake
Are Media

Satisfy a hungry crowd with our skillet version of the breakfast favorite.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup chickpea flour
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • ¼ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt + additional
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries and/or raspberries
  • 1 cup small strawberries, trimmed, quartered + additional
  • ½ cup maple syrup

Directions:

  • Active: 15 mins
  • Total time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. In medium bowl, combine chickpea flour, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. In separate bowl, combine egg yolks, ¼ cup yogurt, sugar, butter, vanilla and ¼ cup water; stir in flour mixture.
  2. On medium-high speed, beat egg whites until stiff peaks forms. Fold into egg yolk mixture. Coat 10-inch oven-proof nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Transfer batter to skillet. Top with fruit.
  3. Bake until no longer wet in center, 10 to 12 minutes. If desired, top with additional yogurt and strawberries. Drizzle with maple syrup.

For more healthy flour swaps, check out the stories below:

Ancient Grain Flour Has 66% More Protein Than Regular Flour — Here’s How to Use It

This Fiber-Rich Flour Boosts Gut Health, Lowers Cholesterol, and Reduces Inflammation

Green Banana Flour Is a Gut-Boosting Superfood That Speeds Weight Loss

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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