Pro Tip: Cassava flour can provide an effective substitute for wheat flour.

Given the global supply chain challenges, wheat has been in short supply and prices have escalated. To curtail this, bakery manufacturers are looking to alternate sources. An increasing number of bakeries are exploring cassava flour as a substitute for wheat flour in a variety of recipes.

What is Cassava flour?

Cassava is a root vegetable that consists of the underground part of the cassava plant, which is rich in carbohydrates and contains important vitamins and minerals. Cassava is a tuber crop and is similar in shape to a sweet potato.

Cassava is indigenous to many countries and is a dietary staple for more than 800 million people worldwide. Major cassava producers include Nigeria, Thailand, Brazil and Indonesia.

There are several variations of cassava flour. Tapioca, yuca or manioc are technically the same as cassava but differentiated by their extraction processes. Cassava flour is made from the whole root, simply peeled, dried and ground. Cassava flour resembles white flour whereas tapioca flour resembles cornstarch.

How is Cassava flour made?

There are several options to choose on the market with quality depending on several factors, including geographic location, variety, age of the plant, and environmental conditions and milling processes.

Cassava roots undergo a drying process, sometimes using ovens, but more often using the sun to dry and complete within a 36-hour window of harvest. Sun drying could develop an unwanted fermentation flavor to the flour and expose the root to molds and other food droppings.

Larger cassava roots produce more flour than younger roots, therefore this yields less expensive flour pound for pound. However, mature roots have higher amounts of fiber, and cause different water absorption and gritty texture in baked goods.

What are the properties of Cassava flour?

Application of cassava flour in product development and food formulations is guided by their end use properties such as composition, particle size, physicochemical and functional properties such as water absorption capacity, swelling power and solubility. Starch granules consist of two main types of glucans: amylose and amylopectin. Starch granules also consist of minor non-starchy components such as lipids, proteins and phosphates.

In addition, cassava is high in resistant starch, where it passes through the small intestine to the large intestine without being absorbed and functions as a type of prebiotic fiber in the gut that encourages growth of healthy gut bacteria in the large intestine.

Below is a chart depicting the difference between an all-purpose wheat flour and cassava.



Cassava Flour (grams)

All -Purpose Wheat Flour (grams)

Net carbs

36.26 g

73.61 g


1.36 g

10.33 g


0.28 g

0.98 g


38.06 g

76.31 g





1.7 g

0.27 g


1.8 g

2.7 g

Use of Cassava flour in the bakery industry

Cassava flour is relatively neutral in taste and resembles white flour but with a much higher need for water than wheat flour.

Cassava flour is a great clean label ingredient for the baking industry, can be added as a thickener in cake batters and used for breads to better control the freeze thaw cycle. Cassava flour can also be used in bakery applications to create new snacks and to replace wheat flour in gluten-free baking. Being high in resistant starch, cassava flour can be a great alternative in creating keto and low carb bakery options.

When buying cassava flour, it is important to understand that the quality, functionality and performance of cassava flour is determined by factors such as its geological location, granulation size and the type of processes used to convert into a flour.