Oat flour is an easy, and useful ingredient to make at home. Oats make a very nutritious flour, and homemade oat flour takes less than a minute to make. You'll just need oats and a food processor or blender.
Health benefits of oat flour
Oats are a super healthy ingredient, and oat flour retains all the goodness of oats. In particular, oats are high in a soluble fibre called beta glutan which has proven health benefits. Beta glucan can benefit your heart and stabilise your blood sugar levels.
The fibre in wholegrain oats is good for your digestive health. It will also help to keep you feeling full (meaning you eat less). Oats are also higher in protein that other grains such as wheat, which also helps to fill you up.
Oats are a great source of a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You can read more here about the health benefits of oats.
Oat flour is also a useful ingredient for gluten free baking. Pure oats are free from gluten. However, they can become contaminated from neighbouring crops and during processing and packaging. If gluten is a health issue for you, you'll need to buy certified oats which have been grown and packaged in designated fields and factories.
What kind of oats should I use?
Rolled oats, porridge oats or old fashioned oats can all be successfully ground into flour. You can also use pinhead or steel cut oats if you have a high powered blender (they are tougher to break down so you won't get a good flour-like texture in an ordinary food processor).
What equipment do I need?
You will need a food processor or blender to grind oats into flour. Unless you are using pinhead/steel cut oats, an ordinary kitchen processor or blender will be fine. My food processor is quite old so my flour is not ultra fine, but it's not noticeable in baking. If you're using a high speed blender, take care that you don't over blend your oats as they will start to clump together.
How to use oat flour
As oat flour is gluten free, it does behave a little differently to wheat flour in baking. It's therefore best to use a specific oat flour recipe rather than simply replace your normal flour with oats. Oat flour can make baked goods slightly more moist and crumbly, and used in the right recipe, it creates a delicious texture and slightly nutty flavour.
With many oat flour recipes, if you are making them with a food processor or blender, you'll be able to add whole oats which will get processed into flour as you make the mixture. So there's no need to make your flour separately.
Here are some favourite oat flour recipes. They are all wheat free, and have been specifically developed to use this kind of flour.
Pancakes and waffles
Oat flour muffins and cakes
This oat flour banana bread recipe is also delicious. It's got all the comforting taste of banana bread, but it's free from gluten and low in added fat and sugar.
Oat flour also makes really good pastry - try this healthy recipe for pastry made with olive oil. You can also use ground oats as a binding agent, for example in these lentil burgers. And adding ground oats to smoothies makes them more filling and adds fibre and nutrients.
How to make oat flour
Simply add your oats to your food processor or blender, and blitz until you have the consistency of flour. The length of time will depend on how powerful your blender is. A high speed blender might take less than 30 seconds, whereas one with less power might need a couple of minute long sessions.
You'll probably need to process at least one cup of oats to get a good result. However, your blender shouldn't be more than half full.
Store any left over homemade oat flour in an airtight container for up to 3 months. You can also freeze it, although it's such a versatile ingredient that you are unlikely to need to.
Frequently asked questions
Oat flour does give a different result in baking than wheat flour. It's best to use a specially developed recipe, but if you do want to try a substitution, limit the proportion of oat flour to one quarter of the total. Make sure to measure your flour by weight rather than volume as oat flour is much lighter that wheat flour.
Yes. Oats are a wholegrain, and wholegrains are significantly better for your health than processed white grains. They contain more fibre, and are naturally richer in vitamins and minerals.
You really need a food processor or a blender to grind oats into flour. An immersion blender will not work, unless you are incorporating the oats into liquid - for example if you are making pancakes or a muffin mixture. It is possible to buy oat flour in health food shops and online, although it is more expensive than making your own.
As oat flour is gluten free, it does not naturally produce a good loaf of conventional yeasted bread. Gluten is the protein which gives this kind of bread it's natural shape and springiness. However, it is ideal for quick breads and muffins.
Provided that you use certified oats, oat flour is suitable for gluten free baking. However, oats do contain other proteins that can cause problems for a small proportion of people. If you have doubts about the suitability of oats, consult your doctor.
How to Make Oat Flour
- Food processor or blender
- 2 cups oats
- Add the oats to your food processor or blender, and blitz until you have the consistency of flour.
- The length of time will depend on how powerful your blender is. A high speed blender might take less than 30 seconds, whereas one with less power might need a couple of minute long sessions.