This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.
Bean Flour is a wonderful gluten free alternative for flour or starch when used in a recipe. It’s healthy, full of fiber, and can easily be made when you need it.
Making and Using Bean Flour
Of course, milling your own, is by far the most cost-effective way, if you already own a grain mill.
My mill attachment is on a Champion and it is capable of milling beans, so this is what I use. You can find a large selection of grain mills at Pleasant Hill Grain. Whether you are buying dried beans and grinding them or buying the flour already ground, it is a staple that I keep on hand.
Dried beans are a great source of healthy minerals, vitamins, dietary fiber, magnesium, and are high protein which makes them a staple in every frugal pantry.
Ways to Use Bean Flour
Bean flour is best used as a thickener in your favorite soups or stews.
It can also be used as a thickener in homemade sauces, giving them a higher nutrient amount versus adding ingredients such as corn starch.
Bean flour can replace some of the flour in a recipe for cookies, muffins, or other quick baked goods. Be sure to use no more than a 1:3 ratio when subbing in bean flour for regular flour. (When replacing 1 cup whole wheat flour, use 2/3 cup whole wheat and 1/3 bean flour.)
You can reconstitute the beans in the flour to make creamy refried bean dishes and dips.
Bean flour makes great flatbreads, pizza crusts, and other hearty foods.
Tips on Making Bean Flour
To make bean flour, all you need to do is run your dried beans through a grain mill attachment. Not all grain mills are equipped to handle something as large as beans so double-check your manual before trying.
If you are concerned with the cleanliness of the beans, you can rinse them first, just be sure to dry them completely before running them through the grain mill.
Do not use kidney beans to make bean flour.
I store my bean flour in the refrigerator, just to prolong its life and keep it fresh. You could also store extras in the freezer for longer term.
When you run your flour through your grain mill, make sure that it is coming out as a fine powder. You don’t want a gritty paste when you reconstitute or add liquids to it.
If you grind up a white type of bean (small navy, garbanzos, or lima), you will get a white-looking flour. This flour is excellent for thickening soups or making your own “cream” soups.
I have a recipe for you here on making a Chicken/Rice Crockpot Soup that uses the bean flour as the thickener. It is excellent for this purpose. You can also make up any “cream” soup using the white bean flour. Here is the recipe.
Cream Soup Using Bean Flour
- 2 cups stock (this can be chicken, vegetable, or beef stock)
- 1/3 cup white bean flour
Place stock in a saucepan and add in bean flour, mixing with a whisk. Simmer on low until thickened. Makes the equivalent of 2 cans of cream soup. This flour can be used right away or can be cooled and refrigerated and used in any recipe calling for “cream of” soup.
- If you use chicken stock, this will be comparable to Cream of Chicken Soup.
- If you are needing Cream of Mushroom, you can use beef stock and add in small pieces of mushrooms.
- For any other cream soup, like Cream of Celery, you can use vegetable or chicken stock and add in small pieces of diced celery.
It is very versatile and can be switched up according to your tastes and need.
Dried Pinto Beans
Just recently I have also discovered using the dried pinto bean, also. These can be also ground into flour and used as instant refried beans. I found this recipe in the Country Beans cookbook. You can use the beans in a one-to-one ratio, but this will produce a thicker consistency. I use this recipe:
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup pinto bean flour
Bring water to a boil and whisk in bean flour. Cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring.
This recipe can be used in place of your “canned refried beans” that you buy in the store. You can use it for burritos, or taco dips (with taco seasoning) or wherever it calls for refried beans.
I have also used the pinto bean flour in making a taco dip. I used the recipe above and then I added in taco seasoning to taste. Spread the cooled bean/spice mixture onto a large platter. Add a layer of sour cream and a layer of salsa. Shred up lettuce and cheese to add on top. Serve with tortilla chips.
You can do the same thing with black beans to make “refried black beans” or a delicious black bean dip.
Dried Black Bean Flour
Dried Black Bean flour can be made in the same way as the other flours above, but its uses are a little different. Dried Black Bean Flour is a great one to use in gluten-free baking.
To use it in a recipe such as this one for Black Bean Chocolate Cake, you can replace both the flour and the beans with your black bean flour. Just remember that you are losing some volume with the recipe and you may need to make up for that with something else.
If you have questions about using bean flour, please let me know! I hope that you will be inspired to try these, as they are an excellent way to stretch your grocery dollars!
Recipes Using Bean Flour
For the second half of this blog post, we are exploring a few dishes you can make and use homemade bean flour as the thickener. These recipes had originally called for flour as the thickener, but bean flour is easily substituted and provides a healthier alternative. (and gluten-free!)
The bean flour that I used as a thickener is from white-type beans (great northern or lima beans). Another bean that is good in these recipes would be garbanzo beans which you have made garbanzo bean flour or chickpea flour from.
There is no bean taste or strong flavor when adding in these as thickeners and it is never lumpy, but rather very smooth. These recipes are both made in the crockpot, but probably could be made on the stovetop. I just generally like putting everything together first thing in the morning and then forgetting about it until supper time.
Crockpot Chicken Rice Soup
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons diced onion
- 7 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups chicken or turkey cooked, diced
- 1 cup brown rice or wild rice blend
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 1/3 cup white bean flour
Place in crock pot on low for 4 -6 hours or until the vegetables are tender. Turn to "keep warm" setting and add in:
1 c. milk (can add in more, depending on consistency that you like)
2 c. shredded cheese
Serve when cheese is melted.
Crockpot Cheeseburger Soup
- 1 pound browned hamburger
- 3/4 cup diced onion
- 3/4 cup shredded carrots
- 3/4 cup diced celery
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 teaspoon parsley
- 4 Tablespoon butter
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups diced potatoes
- 1/4 cup white bean flour
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Place in crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until all vegetables are tender.
Turn to "keep warm" setting and add in:
8 ounces shredded cheese
1 1/2 c. milk (can add in more, depending on the consistency you like)
Serve after cheese has melted. Can add in 1/4 c. sour cream right before serving.
Questions about Bean Flour
What is bean flour?
Bean flour is any flour that you make out of dried beans.
What is bean flour good for?
Soups, stews, gluten free baking, starch and flour substitutions, easy to make dips and refried beans…the possibilities are endless!
Can you substitute bean flour for regular flour?
You can use bean flour in a 1:3 ratio, meaning if you needed a cup of regular flour, you can use 1/3 cup of bean flour + 2/3 cup regular flour in the recipe. (For baking only)
Can you make bread out of bean flour?
You can follow the 1:3 ratio for using some bean flour in a bread recipe. Too much bean flour will change the taste of the bread and make it too dense.
I hope this provides you with some inspiration for using bean flours. They are an excellent substitute for flour used as a thickener in soups or gravies. If you have questions about using beans or the bean flour, please let us know.
Until next time, Julie
Julie is Merissa’s mom and she’s committed to living a frugal and simple lifestyle. Julie grows her own herbs in her garden and enjoys making things at home. You can now find her home remedies and ideas here at Little House Living.
This recipe about making bean flour was originally posted on Little House Living in January 2012 and has been updated as of October 2022.