Which fonio flour is best?

Fonio is the gluten-free super grain native to Africa that you didn’t know you needed. These cultivated grains are related to millet and are a staple of North African cuisine. They come in either white or black varieties. Fonio is prized for its deeply nutritious value and often served at celebratory events. When the whole grain is milled, the resulting flour is an excellent flour substitute for baked goods and savory dishes alike.

On its own, this “seed of the universe” has a mild nutty taste and adds a punch of nutrition to your food. Yolele Fonio Flour has a fine texture and is a great place to start exploring this versatile baking ingredient.

What to know before you buy fonio flour

Intended use

If you want to find a gluten-free flour substitute that is high in protein but works in a variety of applications, fonio is a great choice. For baked goods, make sure that the flour is light and easy to blend. This will help keep textures correct as you substitute it for traditional flours. For thickening, and for cooking that requires less finesse, a coarser blend works well.

Correct substitutions

Fonio flour is heavier than some other traditional gluten-free flour substitutes, such as rice flour or tapioca starch. It works best in place of heavier flours such as wheat or buckwheat.

Keep in mind that the final product of recipes that only use fonio flour may have a denser texture than you are used to. 

Nutritional benefits

Fonio flour has a low glycemic index and works in paleo, vegan and keto diet plans. It is high in fiber and protein; this may aid in weight loss as it keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time.

What to look for in quality fonio flour

Non-GMO

The flour you buy should be made from non-GMO grains. This ensures that organic growing and harvesting practices are followed.

Finely milled

The last thing you want is a gritty texture in your exquisite baked goods. Look for flour that is finely milled to reduce grit in the final product. 

No fillers

Look for an ingredient list with just one ingredient. Your flour should not include any fillers, binders or other unnecessary ingredients. 

How to use fonio flour

  • Origin: Seek out products sourced in Africa. Even if the grain is milled in the U.S., this is how you know the flour is authentic and of high quality.
  • Measurement: Measure flour with the fluff-scoop-level technique. Use a spoon to fluff it, then scoop it into your measuring cup and use a knife to level.
  • Grind it: Consider purchasing whole fonio grains and using a mortar and pestle (or heavy-duty food processor) to make your own fresh flour. This also lets you control its texture — very fine for lighter applications such as pastry, and coarse for muffins or quick bread.
  • Cook it: If you want to experiment with the fonio grain itself, cook as you would rice, using a 2-to-1 ratio of water to fonio.

How much you can expect to spend on fonio flour

The harvesting process is labor-intensive, and fonio flour can be expensive. Expect to spend $10-$20 per pound. 

Fonio flour FAQ

What is the difference between white and black fonio?

A. White fonio is also known as “hungry rice” across Europe. It is the most common variety found outside of Africa and is often used to efficiently feed populations at risk of starvation.

Black fonio is grown in Benin, Nigeria and Togo, and is less commonly exported to other regions. It has a nutritional profile similar to that of white fonio.

How do you use fonio flour?

A. For people who are avoiding gluten or who simply want to add more nutrition to their diet, fonio flour is a great option. The grain can be used in the same way as you would use quinoa or rice, but the flour is great for thickening soups and sauces. It’s perfect in:

  • Breads
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Muffins
  • Cookies
  • Cakes
  • Smoothies

Substitute fonio for a heavier flour such as wheat or buckwheat when baking, or use a 1-to-1 ratio of fat to fonio flour to create a thickening roux or slurry for soups, stews and sauces. 

What’s the best fonio flour to buy?

Top fonio flour

Yolele Fonio Flour

Yolele Fonio Flour

What you need to know: The mild flavor is perfect for those just starting to explore this ancient grain.

What you’ll love: It is fine-milled and has a mild, slightly sweet taste. It’s made from non-GMO fonio harvested in Africa. It has no fillers and is packed with protein, fiber and healthy amino acids. It’s vegan.

What you should consider: For gluten-free baking, adding too much fonio flour can result in very dry baked goods. Be sure to increase hydration accordingly. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top fonio flour for the money

Shipetaukin Multipurpose Fonio Flour

Shipetaukin Multipurpose Fonio Flour

What you need to know: This protein-packed flour is mild and light — good for baking, especially.

What you’ll love: It’s non-GMO and free of all fillers or additional ingredients. Each quarter cup has 2 grams of protein. It is sourced in West Africa but packed in the U.S.

What you should consider: Although it is the cheapest option per pound, it’s a hefty price tag to try a new product. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Iya's Flour Bundle Box

Iya’s Flour Bundle Box

What you need to know: Adventurous cooks will appreciate the opportunity to try three new flours at once.

What you’ll love: This bundle includes fonio flour, plus cassava and tapioca. Each is made only from their respective grains, and all are kosher, vegan and gluten-free.

What you should consider: If you just want to try fonio, pass this by. But at the price it’s a great way to expand your cooking repertoire.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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