Coconut Powder vs. Coconut Flour

Coconut powder and coconut flour are both made from dried coconut, but they have some key differences that impact how they can be used in recipes. Understanding when to use coconut powder versus coconut flour can make your baking more successful.

Coconut Powder vs. Coconut Flour

Coconut powder has more fat due to being made from coconut milk/cream. It has a strong coconut flavor and silky texture. Coconut flour is made from dried coconut pulp leftover from making coconut milk. With its mild flavor, high fiber and low carb content, it's popular in gluten-free and keto recipes, acting as a substitute for regular wheat flour.

How Coconut Powder and Coconut Flour are Made

The key difference between coconut powder and coconut flour starts at their production.

Coconut Powder Production

Coconut powder begins life as coconut milk or cream. It goes through a spray drying process at high heat to remove moisture. Some brands use emulsifiers like dairy-based ingredients to help create the fine, white powder consistency from the coconut milk or cream.

Key Takeaway: Coconut powder uses coconut milk or cream as its base ingredient to create a sweet-tasting, high-fat powder with intense coconut flavor.

Coconut Flour Production

Coconut flour's starting point is instead the leftover dried pulp from coconut milk production. This is then ground into a fine flour that looks similar to regular wheat flour. The defatting process to make coconut milk means most oils have already been removed from coconut flour.

Key Takeaway: Coconut flour comes from the byproduct of coconut milk production, creating a mild-flavored, low-fat, high-fiber flour.

Coconut Powder vs Coconut Flour: How They Taste and Feel

With different source materials and production methods, coconut powder vs flour unsurprisingly deliver quite different taste and texture experiences:

Coconut Powder Taste and Texture

Thanks to its high-fat coconut milk/cream base, coconut powder tastes extremely coconutty. It has a sweetness reminiscent of brown sugar but without any added sweeteners.

Its soft, powdery texture means coconut powder blends smoothly into liquids. When hydrated it creates a thick, silky coconut milk with a creamy mouthfeel. Some grittiness may occur with certain brands depending on ingredients.

Key Takeaway: Coconut powder's intense flavor and creamy texture make it ideal for adding coconut taste to drinks, smoothies, desserts and more.

Coconut Flour Taste and Texture

In contrast, coconut flour has a relatively mild coconut taste. Its fiber-rich but lower fat content from being the byproduct of coconut milk gives it a subtler coconut fragrance and flavor.

Despite being ground into a fine powder, coconut flour retains a gritty, floury texture. It becomes very thick and dense when hydrated due to its incredible water absorption properties. This gives it excellent binding qualities in baking.

Key Takeaway: With mild flavor and dense texture once hydrated, coconut flour acts more akin to regular flours in recipes.

Nutritional Profile: How Coconut Powder and Flour Compare

Aside from taste and texture differences, coconut powder vs coconut flour also differ quite significantly in their nutritional makeup:

Coconut Powder Nutrition

True to its high-fat starting point of coconut milk/cream, a 100 gram serving of coconut powder packs over 300 calories just from fat. It also provides dietary fiber and some protein. But with no carbohydrates, it's very low-carb.

Thanks to using actual coconut rather than being highly processed, coconut powder retains nutrients like manganese. Its high monounsaturated fat content provides excellent heart health benefits.

Key Takeaway: Extremely high in healthy fats with great nutrient density makes coconut powder a true superfood ingredient.

Coconut Flour Nutrition

In contrast, a standard 100 gram serving of coconut flour provides around 1⁄3 fewer calories than coconut powder, with just trace amounts from fat. The majority of its calories instead come from high fiber and carbohydrate content.

It also contains dietary minerals like iron and potassium. The high fiber brings digestive and heart benefits, while protein content provides steady energy and balances blood sugar.

Thanks again to minimal processing, coconut flour also retains various vitamins and minerals like selenium, copper and manganese. As a gluten-free flour with gut-friendly fiber as a bonus, it’s very diet-friendly.

Key Takeaway: With high fiber instead of high fat content, coconut flour offers a healthier flour option without lacking taste or nutrition.

Best Uses for Coconut Powder vs Flour in Recipes

So when it comes down to deciding whether a recipe should use coconut powder or coconut flour, what are their best applications?

Coconut Powder Uses

The intense coconut flavor and creamy consistency achieved by blending coconut powder with water make it perfect for:

  • Coconut milk - Just blend powder with water for delicious dairy milk substitute
  • Drinks - Adds tropical taste to smoothies, milkshakes, hot chocolate
  • Baking - Use in cake batters, cookie doughs, etc for moisture and binding
  • Sauces - Provides thick, rich consistency for curries, gravies and more
  • Desserts - Creates silky texture in mousses, puddings, ice cream
  • Toppings - Sprinkled onto yogurts, oatmeal, fruit for sweet coconut kick

Thanks to its versatility and liquid-like properties when hydrated, coconut powder can be used in virtually any recipe calling for coconut milk or needing some coconut flavor.

Coconut Flour Uses

Meanwhile, the absorbent and dense properties of coconut flour make it a great addition to:

  • Baking - Excellent gluten-free substitute for regular flours in cakes, muffins, etc
  • Binding agent - Helps bind ingredients smoothly without grittiness
  • Breading/coating - Can be used like regular flour for frying fish, etc
  • Thickening - Adds texture to sauces, stews, soups without overpowering taste

Coconut flour is best used like you would regular wheat flour thanks to its neutral taste. It helps bind and add structure to baked goods. Just be mindful that it requires more liquid due to high absorption qualities.

Can You Substitute Between Coconut Powder and Flour?

With such different production methods, taste and textures, swapping coconut powder and coconut flour doesn’t usually work out well:

  • Using coconut powder instead of flour makes batters too thin and wet with overly strong coconut taste
  • Meanwhile coconut flour instead of powder loses needed coconut flavor and fat content for binding

It’s best not to substitute directly between coconut powder and coconut flour. Adapt any recipe instead, adjusting liquid ratios and other ingredients accordingly if needing to replace one with the other. Stick with their intended uses for best results!


Is coconut powder keto friendly?

Yes! With barely any carbohydrates but lots of healthy fats, coconut powder fits into keto diets well. Just check your brand has no added sugars.

Is coconut milk powder the same as coconut flour?

No. As highlighted above, they come from different coconut sources, with very different nutritional values, tastes and textures.

What can you use instead of coconut powder/flour?

For coconut powder: almond milk powder, oat milk powder, rice milk powder.

For coconut flour: almond flour, chickpea flour, tapioca flour.

Can you make coconut flour from coconut powder?

No. Coconut powder contains coconut fats/oils. To make flour requires fully defatting coconut pulp.

How long does coconut powder last vs coconut flour?

Both stay fresh for 1-2 years in cool, dark storage. Coconut powder lasts a little longer thanks to low moisture content.


While both coconut powder and coconut flour originated from our favorite tropical drupe, their differences in terms of taste, texture and nutrition means they aren’t interchangeable ingredients.

Coconut powder brings an intense coconut flavor and fatty creaminess perfect for adding to drinks or desserts. Thanks to its high monounsaturated fat content, it also delivers nutritional benefits.

Meanwhile coconut flour has a superb ability to bind baked goods together as a substitute for regular gluten flours. With high fiber keeping it low-carb, it’s a diet-friendly option that retains great coconut nutrients.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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