3 November 2022

The 10 best rye flour substitutes for your recipes

By Killian

Rye flour is one of the most common baking ingredients. It is used in all kinds of recipes, from bread, such as sourdough, to fruit cakes, pasta, and even many soups/sauces.

Just like normal flour, there is a range of typessuch as white rye flour, medium rye flour, and dark rye flour. It is produced by grinding rye grains and berries which are then purified by grinding.

Rye flour plays an important role in the baking process. and is often chosen over wheat flour for its stronger, more robust, slightly nutty flavor.

But what if you don’t have any on hand? Or do you need a gluten-free alternative? Well then, today we share with you our top 10 substitutes for rye flour that will continue to produce great results, retaining a very similar flavor and texture to rye flour.

The best substitute for rye flour is almond flour. Alternatively, you can also substitute rice flour, barley flour, or whole wheat flour for the rye flour. Finally, in case you need a very similar substitute due to its texture, you can substitute rye flour for rye flour, chia flour and spelled flour.

The best substitutes for rye flour

Rye flour is a great baking ingredient as it contains less gluten than regular wheat flour, bread flour, and all-purpose flour, resulting in a less “airy” loaf of bread. Some people prefer this tighter, denser bread. It is especially popular in countries like Russia and Germany.

Fortunately, there are many alternatives available that will still create that characteristic density and stronger flavor.

They will allow you to create the densest baked goods with the same earthy, earthy qualities while avoiding ultra-refined white flours and bread.

1. Rice flour

Although rye flour is known for having a lower gluten content than wheat flour, sometimes that’s not enough. This is where rice flour comes in, as it is a completely gluten-free solution, and due to its popularity around the world, it is readily available and quite cheap as well.

We recommend using brown rice flour as it is the closest in flavor to rye flour, thanks to its slightly raw and earthy flavors compared to its refined and white variants.

That said, due to its lack of gluten, which often acts as a binder in baking, the bread may be more crumbly. To fix this, you can add some ground nuts to help absorb some of the liquid and create a slightly more stable/robust final product.

2. Barley flour

As we have mentioned above, rye flour contains some gluten. But it is very important that it does not contain too much or it will simply end up producing the same result that you would get with wheat flour, losing that unique density and earthy quality that Rye brings.

Having the right amount of gluten is the key to creating that characteristic texture that rye flour is so well known for.

This is where barley flour really becomes an ideal substitute. It has “some” gluten, so its operation is very similar to that of rye flour.

Where it perhaps differs a bit is in flavor, as it has a nutty sweetness that is a bit different from the tartness that rye offers.

But even so, the final result is very tasty and we are sure that you will like it.

3. Almond flour

This is another gluten-free alternative, making it especially useful for those who are gluten intolerant or trying to stick to a keto diet.

Unfortunately, almond flour is a bit more expensive than rye flour, but it’s densely packed with protein, fiber, and iron, and it’s also a great alternative for baking.

You can use almond flour as a nice and easy 1:1 alternative.

4. Whole wheat flour

Whole wheat flour is a bit different in that it is much higher in fiber, protein, and minerals, and also produces a denser, less sweet bread compared to regular wheat flour.

Therefore, it is a fantastic alternative to rye flour.

There are some adjustments to make so that the end result is as close as possible to what you can achieve with rye flour. First, you have to use about 25% more whole wheat flour than the rye flour recipe calls for.

In addition, you also have to add an extra tablespoon of water for every cup of whole wheat flour used. This is because whole wheat flour absorbs more water, so skipping this step can end up being too dry and crumbly.

5. Pumpernickel

It is one of the best substitutes for rye, and it produces an almost identical flavor to any recipe that uses rye flour. It is essentially very coarsely ground rye flour that is sometimes toasted, which helps give the bread its dark color.

Due to its high fiber content and the fact that it’s made with whole grains, it has the same rich, hearty flavor you’d expect from rye flour.

In fact, many people prefer rye bread to rye flour for its denser, more flavorful quality. But depending on the recipe it may not be what you are looking for, in which case you can also divide it a little with wheat flour to “weaken” its intensity a bit.

6. Buckwheat flour

This is a pretty good gluten-free alternative. But the first thing to mention is that it doesn’t work particularly well in specific bread recipes, as it can’t rise on its own, so you have to combine it with another flour to get the best results.

In general, it is best to combine it with white flour for baking, but keep in mind that it will no longer be gluten-free.

Other than that, buckwheat flour has many redeeming qualities, primarily that it has a deliciously nutty, salty flavor, which is exactly what we want from most of our rye flour-based recipes.

It is a very popular option around the world, especially in Japan, where it is used to make the well-known soba noodles.

7. Chia flour

Another fantastic gluten free option. This is a very common substitute for rye flour that is often used for any type of savory baking, such as bread or cakes.

It has that distinctive nutty flavor that we associate with rye, and it also does a good job of mimicking that final texture and density thanks to its ability to absorb water.

You will need to make sure to slightly increase the baking time if you choose this as a substitute, a good rule of thumb is to add another 5 minutes just to make sure it has enough time to cook properly.

In addition, it is also very healthy, as it offers a good amount of fatty acids, omega 3 and fiber, which is a great reason for its popularity.

8. Spelled flour

We’ve mentioned a fair number of gluten-free alternatives that, while perfectly fine for many culinary scenarios, don’t always produce the same delicious texture as a gluten-containing flour thanks to their ability to absorb water and bind dough together.

This is where spelled flour comes in handy, which can be used as a full substitute or in combination with another type of flour to add some extra nutritional benefits thanks to its high protein and fiber content.

But, in particular, it’s a good flour to use if you plan to make any type of bread or in any baking application, thanks to the added gluten.

9. Amaranth flour

Due to its lack of gluten content, amaranth produces a flavor and texture very similar to rye flour.

It is made by grinding the seeds of the amaranth plant and as such has become especially popular in many Mexican and Indian dishes that often use rye bread.

Of course, this is fine for many baking applications, but the lack of gluten can become a problem for bread, which can be too dry and crumbly. In this case, feel free to mix it with another flour source to get the best of both worlds.

10. Cornmeal

Cornmeal is a good gluten-free substitute that can give similar results when used for things like cakes, pastries, and various baked goods.

But unfortunately, it’s quite caloric and lacks the nutritional value of some of the other suggestions. So consider it an option of last resort.

How to choose the best substitute for rye flour

With so many alternatives available, it can be challenging to know which one is best for a given context.

Especially considering how much gluten content influences things like the texture and moisture levels of the end result, it’s important to choose a substitute that’s appropriate for the style of dish you’re baking.


It’s certainly hard to find that overall balance of emulating the flavor of rye flour while retaining the right amount of gluten and moisture to maintain that texture as well.

In our opinion, you will get the best results using pumpernickel. It is the closest in flavor to rye flour, maintaining that characteristic nutty and rich flavor that rye offers.

And while it may not offer quite the same texture as pumpernickel, buckwheat gets an honorable mention for offering a similarly nutty and salty flavor, just with a slightly different texture.


The density of the bread and its degree of hardness is one of the main reasons for using rye flour, so getting as close as possible is imperative.

Chia flour is a great choice in this case, thanks to its ability to absorb that extra water and emulate that characteristic density and rich texture that rye flour offers, without making it too crumbly.


Unsurprisingly, whole wheat flour is the one to turn to if you’re looking for the cheapest and easiest way.

While you’ll definitely end up using more grams per recipe due to its natural tendency to create a less dense final product, the fact that it’s so popular means it’s cheap enough to make up for that extra amount you have to use.


This is where whole wheat flour comes in handy too, thanks to how common it is in all sorts of dishes, it’s available in every regular grocery store, and you’ll never be at a loss for where to find it.

Our top pick:

Our number one recommendation is almond flour, which is a bit on the pricey side, but does a good job of flavor and texture, and is easy to use thanks to its 1:1 cooking ratio.