5 Substitutes For Spelt Flour

If you have a wheat sensitivity, you’re likely familiar with spelt flour. It’s great for baking, and is considerably higher in fiber than plain white flour. While it isn’t completely gluten free, it’s still tolerable to those whose allergies are only mild. 

There’s a pleasant, grainful flavor to anything you make with spelt flour. It’s great in muffins or cakes, and can add to crumbles and crisps. It’s known as an ‘ancient’ wheat, along with a few other types of flour. 

If you’re out of it, some substitutes for spelt flour include barley flour or rice flour. For a more ‘out-of-the-box’ solution, you can look to amaranth flour, einkorn flour, or kamut flour. The best thing to consider with spelt flour substitutes is the density and absorbancy of the flour. 

Substitutes For Spelt Flour

Some replacements for spelt flour are going to be grainier, or more absorbent. Because of that, in your substitutions, keep in mind how you may need to replace other items in the recipe. 

For example, a flour that is more absorbent will soak up the liquid in a recipe faster than spelt. A denser alternative, meanwhile, is going to make recipes heavy and possibly claggy. 

Flavor is also an important consideration when finding a substitute for spelt flour. One of the many benefits of spelt is that it is delicious. In whatever it is baked in, it imparts a woody, nutty flavor, one that bakers delight in. Finding the right substitute for spelt comes down to balancing the textures and flavors. 

1. Einkorn Flour 

The best alternative to spelt flour takes the form of a similar ancient grain. Einkorn flour is a wheat-related flour that isn’t as refined as white flour is, meaning it’s nutritionally dense. Most brands are full of manganese and zinc, a pair of potent antioxidants. 

This flour is also packed with protein while remaining less starchy than white flour. For most people, it will be as easy on the digestive system as spelt flour. 

It isn’t gluten free, however, and isn’t completely devoid of wheat. It isn’t a perfect solution for those with celiac disease or wheat intolerance. 

As for the flavor, it compares closely to that of spelt flour. It is sweet and faintly nutty, with that ‘grain-like’ flavor indicative of other ancient grains. 

When using einkorn flour as a substitute for spelt flour, take into consideration that it is much more absorbent. You’ll need to add more liquid to your recipe to keep cakes and cookies from drying out. In other doughs, you’ll be able to tell right away if it isn’t nearly sticky enough as you roll or knead it. 

The major hurdle with this flour is that it can be elusive. It is difficult to find a bag of einkorn flour, and it often has a high asking price. This means it isn’t totally accessible for all budgets. 

2. Rice Flour 

If you’re in the market for an affordable, gluten free alternative to spelt flour, rice flour might fit the bill. It’s a nutritious and easily accessible replacement that will work in any recipe you’d use spelt in. 

Rice flour does not have a very distinctive taste, so you will miss some of the richer flavors of spelt. When it’s all said and done, though, you might not notice a huge difference. If you are interested in mimicking the earthy taste, try adding in ground nuts or a sweetener. 

When converting spelt flour to rice flour, use a bit less – specifically, reduce the amount needed by ⅔ . Rice flour is much more dense than spelt, and can make what you’re cooking just as dense in turn. 

3. Barley Flour 

If you’re making something that needs rise and flavor, like a loaf of bread, barley flour is your option. It works well as a spelt replacement because it has a pleasant, rich, nutty taste. 

The flavor that barley flour imparts is noticeable, and can make brown breads feel especially rustic. It isn’t quite as sweet as spelt flour, but that flavor will likely be made up for by sugar or other sweeteners in the dish. 

As an added bonus, barley flour is rich in fiber, usually containing 15 grams of it for each cup used. Not only that, but it has a low glycemic index, so it’s beneficial for blood sugar regulation. 

The only issue is that barley flour is very dense. When you’re subbing it in, only use about half of what you normally would with spelt. 

4. Amaranth Flour 

Amaranth flour is a decent replacement for spelt when it is going to be combined with other flours. In recipes where you’d use spelt, like pretzels or buns that need to rise, you’ll be using another flour anyway. This is where amaranth steps in. 

Amaranth is a pseudocereal plant that is milled down into a slightly granier flour than spelt. That’s why it’s best to pair it with another type of flour, even all-purpose. The grainy texture could negatively impact what you’re cooking. 

In terms of flavor, amaranth is fairly close when it comes to nutiness, but it is slightly less sweet. Other sweeteners or sugars will help it to perfectly match the taste. 

Nutritionally, amaranth is high in iron, and has a low glycemic index. It is also gluten free, making it a valuable alternative for those with gluten sensitivities. 

When you’re using it in a recipe, replace spelt with it at a 1:4 ratio, mixing it with another flour. 

5. Kamut Flour 

A more unique option, kamut flour may be hard to find, but it is actually a fairly easy substitute for spelt. 

Typically milled from a type of wheat called Khorasan, this is an ancient grain native to Egypt. The flavor is sweet and nutty, just like spelt. That makes it an ideal substitute on grounds of how it will taste in the final product. 

While it isn’t gluten or wheat free, it’s still a good replacement option for spelt. It’s rich in fiber, meaning it will be easy on those with light wheat intolerance. It is also high in vitamin B, which is great news for vegan bakers. 

Can You Substitute White Flour For Spelt Flour? 

You can definitely substitute white or wheat flour for spelt. 

Regular flour is made from wheat that is finely ground down after some of the layers have been hulled away. Spelt, on the other hand, is made from the entire grain – it includes the bran, the germ, the endosperm, etc. 

As they come from different parts of the plant, and sometimes different grains entirely, they are very different. What makes spelt flour valuable is that it is easier on the digestive system, performs very closely to plain flour, and has much more flavor. 

Replacing spelt flour with plain flour is possible, but with a few drawbacks. It will lightly impact the flavor of the final recipe, and it will have a higher gluten content. You should expect a change in how much dough will rise if you’re making bread. 

Using wheat flour will edge you just a bit closer to that rich spelt taste, though it falls slightly short. Still, if you’re really in a pinch, either white or wheat flour will suffice. 


There’s no shortage to the advantages of spelt flour. It has some of the benefits of white flour, while adding so much more flavor. It’s lower in wheat content, meaning it will always be a little easier to digest. 

If you find yourself in the middle of a baking project and are out of spelt flour, you have options. You can use rice flour, which is gluten free and easy enough to find on store shelves. Alternatively, barley flour will bring along no shortage of flavor, but will be more dense. 

For other options, take a look at unique grains like amaranth, einkorn, or kamut flour. Einkorn is one of the best substitutes, with the biggest obstacle being that it is hard to find. What’s worse is that when you do locate a sack of it, it might be expensive.