Sunflower seed flour makes a wonderful low carb, nut-free replacement for almond flour. It’s easy to make your own at home and save money! Great for those with nut allergies.
A lot of readers ask me for nut-free alternatives for many of my recipes. While some things can be made with coconut flour easily enough, other recipes cannot. What is a nut-free keto dieter to do?
Sunflower seed flour to the rescue! I have found that it’s the best one-to-one replacement for almond flour, and it’s incredibly easy to make your own at home.
All you need is a coffee grinder, a sieve, and some sunflower seeds. And about 5 minutes of your time. Yep it’s that easy!
Why make Sunflower Seed Flour at home?
So many keto baked goods are based on almond flour. But many people who choose the keto diet have additional allergies and intolerances, and this leaves them with few good, healthy flour alternatives.
While coconut flour can make some pretty great nut-free keto treats, it’s not always a great replacement for almond flour. They behave so differently that the whole recipe needs to be completely changed. More eggs, more oil, more liquid, etc. It isn’t an easy substitution and it may or may not work out very well.
Whereas a seed meal like sunflower seed flour can be used as a direct replacement for almond flour in most recipes.
I used to purchase Gerbs Sunflower Seed Meal on Amazon, but it’s on the pricy side and sometimes they don’t carry it. Whereas the seeds themselves are readily available and usually inexpensive. A 4-pack of Bob’s Red Mill sunflower seeds is only $11.39! Bob’s Red Mill Natural Raw Sunflower Seeds, 20-Ounce Packages (Pack of 4) I also bought some bulk organic sunflower seeds at Whole Foods the other day for only $3.99 per pound.
When I made my favourite Rosemary Parmesan Keto Crackers, I saw how easy it was to get a fine grind with my coffee grinder. But the trick was to get out the bigger seed pieces so all that remains is the finely ground flour. A little sifting in a sieve with relatively large holes solved that. You don’t want too fine a sieve mesh, because the flour won’t go through, but something with a bit of a more open weave works beautifully.
How to use Sunflower Seed Flour
I do have some special tips for using this nut-free keto flour in place of almond flour.
- It can be a 1:1 replacement, but you may find you need a tiny bit more of it to get the right consistency. Keto batters are typically thicker than conventional batter, so just add a bit more of the nut-free flour until your batter is scoopable but not pourable.
- Sunflower seeds are a bit higher carb than almonds, so your flour will be as well. But not significantly so. I’d say each serving will be about 1g higher in carbohydrates than something made with almond flour.
- If you have severe nut allergies, please please please make sure that the sunflower seeds you purchase are not processed in a facility that also processes nuts.
- The funny green reaction: If you’ve never baked with sunflower seed meal before, you might be startled to see that some of your baked goods turn greenish as they cool. This is a reaction between the chlorophyll in sunflower seeds and your leavening agents (baking soda or baking powder). Not to worry, there are ways around this!
- This reaction can be offset using some acid, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. About 1 tablespoon will be enough for most recipes.
- If you’re making something with chocolate, such as nut-free chocolate cupcakes, the dark brown of the cocoa or chocolate will cover the green, so no need to add any acid.
What to make with Sunflower Seed Flour
So what do you do with all your newly ground sunflower seed flour? You get baking, of course! It makes a great allergen-free replacement for almond flour, and I have quite a few sunflower seed flour recipes already. Check out all these great recipe ideas!
Keto Mini Chocolate Muffins (these are made with pumpkin seed meal but can easily be made with sunflower seed flour instead.
Keto Chocolate Cream Cheese Muffins
Sunbutter Chocolate Chip Cookies
How to Make Sunflower Seed Flour
- Raw sunflower seeds (I used Bob's Red Mill)
You will also need:
- Coffee Grinder
- Open-mesh sieve the holes need to be big enough for the flour to fall through
- Medium Bowl
- Set an open mesh sieve over a medium bowl.
- Pour 1 cup of sunflower seeds into your coffee grinder and grind for 10 to 20 seconds. Don't grind too long, or you may end up with sunflower seed butter.
- Pour ground seeds into sieve and shake vigorously, then return remaining seed pieces back into coffee grinder. Repeat until almost all the sunflower seeds are finely ground.
- 1 cup of seeds makes approximately 1 ¼ cups flour.
- Store in an airtight bag or container in the fridge or freezer.
Total fat: 14.55g
Calories from fat: 130
Total dietary fiber: 3.08g
can’t wait to try these.
Oops sa daisy, I clogged up my conical coffee grinder! It made very little flour before I realized it had become gummed up with sunflower butter ????Should I have used a regular bladed coffee grinder?
Thank you Thank you, Carolyn!! I’m allergic to almonds and I have celiac disease. I also try to keep my diet low carb. I’ve tried hazelnut meal in many keto recipes, but it never gives the same results as almond flour. I can’t seem to find it as finely ground as almond flour so my baked goods always end up sort of mealy. And it has a sort of sweet taste that ruins savory food. I thought to try walnut flour, but boy is it pricey…. Now I have an affordable alternative that can be very finely ground! I’m so excited to try so many of your yummy recipes????
The problem with nuts like hazelnut and walnuts is that they can’t be completely free of the skins like almonds. That’s why the flours/meals end up more coarse. Sunflower seeds don’t have skin so it’s a bit better!
Marlene Hollmann says
Would it also be possible to make one´s own almond flour with a coffee grinder?
Almonds are a lot bigger and harder. You could try with sliced almonds (the really thin ones). You probably will never get it as fine as commercial almond flour, though.
Wright Susan says
Whey protein powder. I am somewhat lactose intolerant. Does unflavored whey protein powder have lactose? Is the a good substitute for it if not?
You can try egg white protein powder.
Kim Lippa says
This is awesome. So many recipes are made with Almond flour and sunflower seeds are a low oxalate substitution. I like the coffee grinder you used in the video. What brand is it?
Thank you for the instructions. Is the 1 g serving size a typo?.
YEP! This system puts in automatic weights if I don’t specify. A serving is 1/4 cup.
Joan Mayer says
Hi! What about using a food processor instead of a coffee grinder? Is the motor too powerful, causing the seeds to turn to butter too soon?
In my experience, the larger blades and bowl of the food processor tend not to catch the little seeds as much and get them finely ground. But you’re certainly welcome to try if you want.
gail gordon says
You haven’t mentioned bread making with sunflower seed flour. Is this possible, or is the flour too dense. Please reply to email@example.com. Just started the keto diet and I do love a slice of bread in the morning, I made a mistake in making a bread with spelt, thinking it was keto, and its definitely not and the bread turned out beautifully. Id like to use the same recipe using sunflower flour with yeast etc. Thanks for reading.
I’m sorry, I can’t reply to individual emails. You can use this to replace any almond flour so find a good almond flour bread for that.
I was very happy to see this post. I have developed a sensitivity to almond flour. I’ve been keto for a few years and had come to depend on it for a variety of baked goods. I’ve tried sunflower seed flour in a few recipes and noticed that it seems to not bake all the way through. My cookies, breads, etc. come out a bit raw in the middle. Does the flour have more fat in it? Should I use less fat than called for in recipes? Maybe bake longer at a lower temperature? I’d so appreciate any guidance you can give me on this. Thank you!
I am not really sure, since this doesn’t really happen to me, but I would maybe say add a tbsp or so of coconut flour to help dry things out?
Would a old type flour sifter work for the fine mesh sifter you mentioned for this recipe?
It might but I worry it will be too fine… worth a try.
I find the sunflower flour breaks apart when baking. I cannot use almond flour and I am trying to get away from gluten free flour. How can I make it stick together??
I am not sure what you mean by “breaks apart”? My recipes don’t do that…
If there is a recipe that doesn’t use baking powder and/or baking soda, will there still be a green colour forming during baking when using sunflower seed flour?
No, it won’t if you don’t use baking powder or baking soda.
I have a few questions:
1. Do you grind the whole seed, or only the inner kernels?
2. About how much flour do you get, say, per cup of seeds?
3. Do you have a good multi-loaf bread recipe using sunflower seed flower?
4. I don’t grind my own coffee–don’t even have a grinder. Will a blender or food processor work okay for this?
The inner kernels. If you watch the video, you will see. The recipe states 1 1/4 cup flour (right at the top). And yes, I do have a great recipe with it but it’s in my cookbook The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen. Again, what the video as it tells you why a grinder is best.
sharon a kamin says
could I make noodles with this that call for almond flour,
I should think so.
Laura Reese says
My family loved this. It turned out great. Thanks for your directions.
Loved this! It came out amazing!
Thank you so much for this information!! Does this work for your almond flour breads too?
It should… but they will automatically have a greyish tinge because of the natural color of the seeds.
Lynn W says
Thanks for the information about using sunflower seeds instead of almonds and also adding an acid to diminish the green color. I used sumflower seed butter for a recipe instead of almond butter and the bars were quite green! Almonds are also very high in oxalates which I need to avoid due to kidney stones. Sunflower seeds are a low oxalate seed so now I can try baking a few things that used almond flour.
Are the seeds roasted or unroasted? Thanks!
Unroasted, always. Otherwise they are over-cooked during baking.