Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

How do 3 Different Brands of Coconut Flour Differ? {REVIEW}

October 3rd, 2013 · 20 Comments · What to Buy

comparing 3 brands of coconut flour

Everybody’s got some brand loyalty in their lives, whether it’s driven by slick marketing or pure good taste.

For example:

  • My mother was a Jif peanut butter gal for much of my life (but news on trans fats eventually saw her switch to natural PB).
  • When I was in Junior High, I simply wasn’t cool, practically wasn’t fulfilled until I had an over-the-head B.U.M. jacket. (And then I apparently was late to the party because I still wasn’t cool. Go figure.)
  • Back in the day, you could forget about even tempting me to eat an off-brand M&M. Ewwwww. (Now, of course, M&Ms themselves are little bit “ew” for me, thank goodness.)
  • Bet you have an affinity for either Mac or PC.

When it comes to real food, you still might get a little bit of “brand loyalty” behavior, just in a different fashion.

For example:

  • You learn which farmer has the best, freshest peppers and ripest tomatoes.
  • One egg is most certainly not the same as the next – I know who raises the richest eggs in GR, and I get them whenever I can.
  • Almonds direct from the grower top store brand, anytime.

And how about processed real food? There’s even more room for variation there:

  • What’s your favorite coconut oil brand? Is it based on flavor, price, sourcing, or all of the above?
  • How do you decide where to spend your discretionary dark chocolate fund?
  • Do you have a favorite company for buying fermented foods, salsa and tomato sauce, healthy snacks, or frozen vegetables?

Coconut flour is definitely a real food that has a lot of variation across brands, I learned. Here’s how it all compared:

Three Brands of Coconut Flour

comparing 3 brands of coconut flour (6) (475x356)

I’ll start by saying that there are certainly more than three major brands of coconut flour, but I felt this was a pretty good cross-section of the options out there. If you’ve never used coconut flour before, check out yesterday’s coverage of baking with coconut flour and the coconut flour muffin recipe, part of our bake grain-free challenge this week.

The three brands I pitted against each other were:

You can actually see the difference:

comparing 3 brands of coconut flour (3) (475x356)

comparing 3 brands of coconut flour (4) (475x356)

comparing 3 brands of coconut flour (5) (475x356)

I’d describe Tropical Traditions as the finest, most powdery. Honeyville looks almost coarse visually, and Bob’s is somewhere in between.

Testing Coconut Flour

I decided to make two recipes in which coconut flour shines using the various flours. The first and most well-documented was the grain-free coconut muffin recipe I posted yesterday.

coconut flour muffins with 3 different brands (11) (475x356)

I made the recipe exactly the same three times in a row on the same day with the three different brands of coconut flour. I took a quick video of the batter immediately after mixing in the coconut flour and then again after 5 minutes, at which time the coconut flour usually has absorbed some of the liquid in the recipe and thickened up the batter (except for the Honeyville brand, which was first and apparently I didn’t think of the “after 5 minutes” part yet).

Honeyville coconut flour video

If you can’t see the video on You Tube, click HERE.

Bob’s Red Mill Coconut flour videos

Immediately after mixing:

If you can’t see the video on You Tube, click HERE.

After 5 minutes:

If you can’t see the video on You Tube, click HERE.

Tropical Traditions coconut flour videos

Immediately after mixing:

If you can’t see the video on You Tube, click HERE.

After 5 minutes:

If you can’t see the video on You Tube, click HERE.

I also took still photos for those of you who hate watching videos, even if they’re only 15 seconds each! You can see how differently they thicken up:

Honeyville:

coconut flour muffin batter comparison (3) (475x356)

After 5 minutes:

coconut flour muffin batter comparison (5) (475x356)

You can see that the batter remains fairly loose, and also a bit of the graininess of Honeyville is evident.

Bob’s Red Mill:

coconut flour muffin batter comparison (8) (475x356)

After 5 minutes:

coconut flour muffin batter comparison (11) (475x356)

The batter starts out pretty thick and gets thicker. Bob’s demonstrates some clumping, but that doesn’t really affect the finished product.

Tropical Traditions:

coconut flour muffin batter comparison (15) (475x356)

After 5 minutes:

coconut flour muffin batter comparison (1) (475x356)

Although TT’s version does exhibit some clumping, it was more smooth in the long run than Bob’s, and the batter started out thinner and thickened up quite a bit.

Muffin Results

The look and texture of the muffins was quite markedly different for being the same recipe:

coconut flour muffins with 3 different brands (2) (475x356)

Honeyville had the least lift overall (the shortest muffin). I did try very hard to choose muffins that demonstrated the average across that brand of coconut flour. Bob’s and Honeyville both have more air holes than TT, so TT was a bit more solid, not dense as in more tightly packed, but an almost creamier quality if that’s possible in a muffin.

Here are some closeups so you can decide for yourself:

coconut flour muffins with 3 different brands (3) (475x356)

coconut flour muffins with 3 different brands (4) (475x356)

coconut flour muffins with 3 different brands (6) (475x356)

In a lot of ways, the results are kind of what I expected. TT’s flour is much more finely ground, so it integrates more thoroughly with the liquid ingredients and creates a smoother texture. Honeyville is coarse and heavier and behaves that way in the muffin, and Bob is somewhere in between, looking a lot more like Honeyville in the “crumb” but behaving more like the Tropical Traditions brand when mixing the batter.

coconut flour muffins with 3 different brands (14) (475x356)

All the muffins were plenty tasty, by the way, although I personally preferred the Trop Traditions texture the most.

I also made grain-free crepes with each of the flours, but the photos aren’t very informative. In that recipe, which is mostly eggs with just a few tablespoons of coconut flour and a pinch of salt, the Honeyville flour was less work to incorporate into the eggs because it doesn’t clump up at all. However, the crepes all turned out pretty comparably.

Which is the Best Brand of Coconut Flour?

coconut flour muffins with 3 different brands (8) (475x356)

I always have to take cost into account, which currently on 10/2/13 is:

  • Honeyville: $5/lb. (organic)
  • Tropical Traditions: $4.50-5.50/lb. (organic, difference between 2.2-4.4 pounds)
  • Bob’s Red Mill: $6.68-7.49/lb. (organic, on Amazon, up to $12.95 for a single pound package)

Since I prefer the Trop Traditions brand the most anyway based on how fine it seems (although sometimes the clumps drive me nuts) AND it seems to be the best deal of the three, I’m tipping my hat toward Tropical Traditions’ coconut flour (and it’s what I have in the basement storage, too). Watch for free shipping weekends on coconut flour at TT and grab a bag for your own kitchen.

What brand of coconut flour have you had success with?

Are expensive gadgets and specialty foods really worth the cost? Read these super-thorough reviews to see if the item you have your eye on passed the KS tests and truly lives up to the hype.

Need a bit more help? This guide is a big help when deciding what to eat, what to avoid and how to compromise. Balancing God’s gifts is about just that – balance.

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Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to Amazon, Honeyville Grain and Tropical Traditions from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. I received the Honeyville coconut flour as a free product sample, earn goods at the Tropical Traditions store through their referral program, and purchased Bob’s Red Mill brand at my local health food store.See my full disclosure statement here.

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20 Comments so far ↓

  • Tina T

    Thank you so much for this review and especially the videos. I learned a lot. I’ve been using coconut flour for a while, on and off. I get various results so this helps me. Are there times when you would want to use the courser flour over the finer one?

    Thanks!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Tina,
    If sifting or clumps drive you mad, the coarser would be preferred. Ultimately, all the baked goods I made with all of them were very good, but different in certain ways. I like the thickening property of the finer brands myself. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Rebekah

    I like TT. The clumps are pretty maddening sometimes– I hate sifting, but oh well, it is what it is. I’ve also used a brand called Peter Paul that I really liked. It’s a bit coarser than TT but no clumping.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Nicole

    If anyone lives in Oregon, there’s a Bob’s Red Mill store in the Milwaukee area that you can get the BRM products in bulk. If I remember right, the bulk coconut flour price is in the $3/lb range.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Alexandra

    Katie, thanks for doing this research. your hard work is really worth it to me!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts

    I use Tropical Traditions. I think it’s wonderful for the reasons you’ve shown. I’ve learned to always sift it and I don’t have a problem with doing that. I usually take advantage of their 2 for $x specials and it takes me a long time to go through two 2.2-lb bags. Great review, Katie! Will share on Facebook. :-)

    Shirley

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Rebecca

    Bob’s for us as it is the only company on the list that guarantees they process GF flours on gluten free lines free from contamination and does batch testing to back it up.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Oh! Now that’s a very important piece of information for those who have to be strictly gluten-free, thank you!! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Bethany

    Where do you get your eggs from? I live in GR and am curious :-)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    ;) Well unfortunately the very best eggs in GR have chickens who are on strike and mostly eaten by owls right now – Woodbridge Dairy. You can find her meat at the Fulton market, and also duck eggs (delish). :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Zeeee

    Hi, thanks for showing how the different brands compare. I know it takes up a lot of time and effort and I just looked at working with coconut flours myself, so thank you very much!

    Zeeee

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for posting your experiment. It’s hard to decide how to best spend/stretch the dollars. I’ve been wanting to try the TT flour, so now I know I need to go for it, especially since it’s also the most economical. As for coconut oil, I love Spectrum so much that every time I use it for baking/cooking I treat myself to a little spoonful. Yum! But, I haven’t tried any others. I would love to know some other opinions.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Pat Reply:

    I just started using Swanson’s brand coconut oil and it is VERY good. I like spectrum too but it can be more pricey. Tropical T is good but again costs more unless you get the free shipping.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Jennifer Reply:

    Thanks. I might actually be able to find that one at the grocery store here.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Susan C.

    Awesome! Thanks so much for doing this! I haven’t had a ton of luck yet cooking with coconut flour (although we LOVE your coconut muffins). I am really enjoying your posts about cooking with it, and plan to try some of your tips/suggestions. Appreciate all your hard work!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Heather @Gluten-Free Cat

    Wonderful review! Shirley of gfe sent me your way, because I want to learn more about coconut flour. Thank you!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    So glad it was helpful, Heather – I love that Shirley! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Jack

    Thanks for the helpful review!

    There’s one other brand of coconut flour out there I’ve used that you might want to check out too:
    “Coconut Secret.” It’s supposedly raw. I like it pretty well, but it would be interesting to see exactly how well it stacks up to the TT brand.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Nivia

    Has anyone ever made these without sweeteners? No sugar, honey, maple syrup, or anything… Just plain? If so, please let is know how they were.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Lexie

    This was a big help. I am working on a pancake recipe and am realizing, too, the differences among the brands :) I will try Tropical Traditions with my recipe and see how it turns out. So crazy that a tablespoon of coconut flour can make a difference and then figure in the factor of brand differences, aggghh :) Thank you for the great visuals here! xoLexie

    [Reply to this comment]

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