Cassava flour comes from the root vegetable cassava. It can serve as a gluten-free substitute for wheat flour in bread, pasta, and other foods.

To make cassava flour, a person must grate cassava, dry it out, and grind it to a fine powder.

This article will explain everything about cassava flour, including its uses and benefits. It will also explain how to make it or buy it.

Cassava, also called manioc, yuca, balinghoy, mogo, mandioca, kamoteng kahoy, tapioca and manioc root, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae family native to South AmericaShare on Pinterest
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Cassava is a root vegetable. It consists of the underground part of the cassava plant.

Cassava is a tuber crop and is similar in shape to a sweet potato. Cassava grows in many countries and is a staple in the diet of around 800 million people worldwide.

Manufacturers make cassava flour as follows:

  1. They grate the cassava into small pieces.
  2. Next, they dry out the grated cassava.
  3. Finally, they grind the dry, grated cassava until it forms a very fine powder.

Cassava flour features in a number of recipes. As cassava flour is gluten-free, people who avoid gluten can use it as a replacement for wheat flour in a variety of recipes.

Learn about 15 gluten-free meals to try here.

Cassava flour and tapioca flour both come from the cassava root. However, there are some key difference between the two:

  • The part of the plant they come from: Cassava flour contains the whole root, while tapioca flour is made up only of the starchy part of the root.
  • Fiber content: Cassava flour contains more dietary fiber than tapioca flour.
  • Calories: Cassava flour has fewer calories per serving than tapioca flour.
  • Their use in recipes: Both flours work similarly in recipes. However, due to the higher fiber content of cassava flour, it can be more effective as a thickener.
  • Their taste: Cassava flour has a more noticeable taste — it has a nuttier flavor in comparison to more plain-tasting tapioca flour.

Learn about tapioca here.

Cassava flour is gluten-free. Many people consider it the most similar gluten-free alternative to wheat flour in terms of taste and texture.

This makes it a great gluten-free alternative to wheat flours in baking and cooking.

Here are some of the ways a person can use cassava flour:

  • In baking: To replace wheat flour in a number of recipes, including:
    • bread
    • muffins
    • cookies
    • cakes
    • brownies
  • In pasta: To make pasta dough.
  • Thickening: To help thicken a sauce, gravy, or pie filling.
  • Farofa: This is a Brazilian dish that involves toasted cassava flour and is similar to couscous.
  • Flatbreads: Cassava flour is great for making flatbreads and tortillas that a person could toast or grill.

Cassava flour does absorb more liquid than wheat flour. Therefore, a person may need to use slightly less cassava flour than they would use regular wheat flour in a recipe.

Learn about substitutes for thickeners such as cornstarch here.

Cassava flour contains carbohydrates, which are the main energy source for the body.

Cassava flour also contains resistant starch. These are starches that the small intestine does not digest.

Resistant starches work in a similar manner to dietary fiber. They pass from the small intestines into the colon where they begin to ferment.

Resistant starches promote gut health by feeding the beneficial gut bacteria as they ferment.

There are a number of possible health benefits to eating resistant starches in cassava flour, including:

Digestive and colon health

As the resistant starch in cassava flour ferments inside the colon, it feeds the healthy bacteria there. During this process, the starches turn into short-chain fatty acids.

One of these short-chain fatty acids is butyrate. Butyrate is an important component in the cells of the colon.

Butyrate can also reduce the levels of inflammation inside the colon. This can help protect a person against a variety of digestive issues, such as inflammatory colorectal cancer and ulcerative colitis.

This means that, in theory, butyrate could also help protect a person from other inflammatory issues in the bowel and colon, including:

However, most of the research into these specific positive effects of resistant starches has involved animals and not humans. More studies on humans are required to find out if these benefits affect humans.

Insulin sensitivity

One 2012 study showed that resistant starch can increase a person’s insulin sensitivity. Cassava flour is high in resistant starch.

During the study, males who were overweight or had obesity ate 15–30 grams (g) of resistant starch each day. These males then showed increased insulin sensitivity in comparison to males who did not eat these resistant starches.

By increasing a person’s insulin sensitivity, resistant starches can play a role in preventing disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

During the study, female participants did not show the same results. More research is necessary to determine why.

Learn about insulin resistance here.

Weight loss

A 2017 study showed that eating resistant starch can help people feel more full. It found that eating 30 g of resistant starch each day for 6 weeks reduced the levels of the hormones that cause hunger in healthy people who were overweight.

Resistant starch in the diet also increased the presence of compounds that help a person feel less hungry in the morning.

Therefore a person may wish to include resistant starch in their diet to help aid their weight loss efforts. By increasing the feeling of fullness after a meal and increasing the period of time for which they feel full, they may be able to prevent snacking and lower their daily calorie intake.

Learn 10 science-backed weight loss tips here.

To make cassava flour, a person can:

  1. Harvest and peel the cassava tubers.
  2. Clean the peeled tubers.
  3. Grate the cleaned tubers into small pieces.
  4. Place the grated cassava into a clean cloth or tea towel before tying the corners.
  5. Hang the cassava for at least 5 hours to allow excess moisture to drain away.
  6. Spread the cassava out on a tray until it is no thicker than a few millimeters.
  7. Leave the cassava out to dry for a few days. Alternatively, use a dehydrator or put the trays in the oven until the cassava is dry.
  8. As soon as the cassava is fully dried, grind it to a fine powder and place it in an airtight storage container.

A person can purchase cassava flour in a number of places, including:

  • the health food section of larger supermarkets
  • at specialty health food stores
  • at a number of online retailers

Cassava flour is a good gluten-free alternative to wheat flours. It comes from the dried, ground root of the cassava plant.

Cassava flour contains resistant starches. There are a variety of possible health benefits to eating resistant starches.

These potential health benefits may include improved digestive and colon health and improved insulin sensitivity. Resistant starch in cassava flour may also help with weight loss efforts.

A person can purchase cassava flour in the health food section of larger supermarkets, from specialty health food stores, and at a number of online retailers.