Semolina flour is made with processed durum wheat, also known as pasta wheat or macaroni wheat. It is different from most regular flours that are made with common wheat. Semolina is used to make popular foods like couscous, cookies, cakes, and some kinds of Italian pasta like gnocchi, and puddings.
Compared to common wheat flour, semolina flour is darker in color, more aromatic, and has a coarser texture.
Best Substitute for Semolina Flour: Durum Wheat Flour
The best substitute for semolina flour is durum wheat flour because, like semolina flour, it is also made from durum wheat. Durum flour has a high protein and gluten content and is less coarse than semolina, making it a great substitute in soft noodle recipes like spaghetti and lasagna, or pastries.
Durum wheat flour is a healthy substitute for semolina wheat flour because it is rich in vitamin E and minerals, and is easy to digest.
Substituting semolina flour with durum flour is easy, but beware that durum flour dough requires gentle handling because it is finely ground, and therefore more delicate than dough made from the coarsely-ground semolina flour.
Substitute semolina flour in recipes for soft noodles or pasta with an equal (1:1 ratio) amount of durum flour.
Other Semolina Flour Substitutes, Alternatives, and Replacements
While there are many types of flour that work well as semolina flour substitutes, no one flour works perfectly in every recipe. The coarseness and gluten content of flour determines the recipe it will complement.
Many substitutes for semolina flour are flours with a gluten content, found in general grocery stores. They make good substitutes for semolina flour in recipes for gluten pasta and pastries.
Kamut flour is made from ancient Egyptian wheat that has never been genetically modified and is always grown organically. Kamut flour is the second-best substitute for semolina flour after durum because of its high protein content, and because it is rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin B1, zinc, and magnesium. It has a nutty flavor that works well in pancakes, and its gluten content makes for easier digestion than does the gluten content in semolina.
Substitute Kamut flour in equal (1:1) quantities in recipes for pasta and bread that call for semolina flour.
All-purpose flour is made from soft, or a mix of soft and hard wheat grains. It offers consistent dough results for pasta and pastries, making it a great semolina flour substitute.
Substitute an equal (1:1) amount of all-purpose flour in recipes calling for semolina flour.
Keep in mind that compared to semolina dough, all-purpose flour results in a more delicate dough that can lose its shape quickly. Boil pasta made with all-purpose flour in copious water and serve while it is still hot.
Spelt flour is a low-gluten, high-protein flour made from whole wheat. Spelt flour’s soft texture and sweet flavor make it a good substitute for semolina flour in recipes for bread and cookies. Spelt is considered a healthy alternative due to its low carbohydrate and high fiber content.
Substitute 1½ cups of spelt flour for each cup of semolina flour (a ratio of 1:1½).
High-gluten flour is made from a mix of hard red spring wheat that is high in gluten due to its cold growing conditions. It functions well as a substitute for semolina flour in recipes that require a firm dough structure. Its gluten absorbs flour, resulting in firm pasta and moist bread. High-gluten flour is easy to find in nearly any grocery store.
Substitute an equal quantity of high-gluten flour for semolina flour (a ratio of 1:1).
Rye flour is made from whole rye grain. Rye has a nutty, bittersweet anise flavor, is low in gluten content, and is high in vitamins B and E. It is often used as an alternative to semolina flour in recipes for sourdough bread and other pastries that display its deep flavor profile well.
Substitute rye flour for semolina flour in equal quantities (a ratio of 1:1).
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is made from the entire, milled hard wheat grain. It has a dark color that matches that of semolina, making it a common semolina flour substitution. Whole-wheat flour’s high gluten content gives bread dough a firm texture, and its bittersweetness compliments many baked goods, from hardy, homemade loaves to delicate desserts.
Substitute an equal quantity of whole wheat flour for semolina flour (a ratio of 1:1).
Pastry flour is made from soft wheat. Compared to all-purpose and bread flours, it is milled to a finer texture and is lower in protein and gluten.
Pastry flour can be used as a substitute for semolina flour in pastry recipes like muffins and some biscuits. Due to its low gluten content, it is not recommended as a substitute for semolina flour in recipes for wheat foods that must keep shapes, like pasta or bread.
Substitute semolina flour with 1½ cups of pastry flour for every cup of semolina flour (a ratio of 1:1½).
Bread flour is made from hard red spring wheat or hard red winter wheat. It contains high amounts of protein and gluten due to its cold growing conditions, though its slight variance in wheat type gives it a lower gluten and protein content than similar, high-gluten flours.
Due to their similar wheat structures, bread flour makes a good substitute for semolina flour. Bread flour can easily be used to replace semolina flour in recipes for bread, pizza crust, pastries, and pasta.
Substitute an equal quantity of bread flour for semolina flour (a ratio of 1:1).
Though semolina flour is not gluten-free, there are many gluten-free flours that work well as substitutes for semolina when in a pinch or for dietary reasons. Recipes where gluten-free substitutes work well include those that do not require the dough structurality and flexibility offered by glutinous flours. Think pancakes, puddings, and muffins.
Rice flour is made by milling rice grains into a fine powder. It is a particularly popular ingredient in many Asian dishes, like soft flat rice noodles, South Indian pancakes, called kallappams, and desserts like sticky rice cake. Rice flour is one of the most popular gluten-free flours used as a substitution for semolina flour.
Rice flour as a replacement for semolina flour works best in recipes for soft foods that don’t require a firm dough structure, and that taste good with rice flour’s distinctly-sweet rice flavor. Some examples include cookies, cakes, and pudding. The replacement of rice flour in pasta that normally are made with semolina flour will result in the thick, sticky consistency of traditional Asian noodles like rice vermicelli.
Substitute an equal quantity of rice flour for semolina flour (a ratio of 1:1).
Amaranth flour is a gluten-free flour that originated in the ancient civilizations of South America and is made from the leafy amaranth plant. Amaranth flour is a common replacement for semolina due to its high protein (up to 25 percent higher) and fiber content that make up for its lack of gluten. It can be used as a semolina flour replacement in recipes for soft baked goods that are complemented by its deep, earthy flavor. Amaranth is not recommended as a semolina flour replacement in recipes for bread or pasta, due to the low dough structure it offers.
Substitute an equal quantity of amaranth flour for semolina flour (a ratio of 1:1).
Buckwheat flour is made from buckwheat, which is a gluten-free, grain-like seed. It is recognized for its sweet and nutty flavor and is commonly used as a gluten-free, healthy alternative to semolina. Buckwheat is high in protein, fiber, and vitamins.
Substitute an equal quantity of buckwheat flour for semolina flour (a ratio of 1:1) to make gluten-free baked goods like pizza, focaccia, pancakes, and sweet pastries.
Almond flour is made from ground almonds. It is commonly used as a gluten-free alternative and flavor variation for semolina flour in recipes for pancakes, muffins, and low-carb bread.
Substitute an equal quantity of buckwheat flour for semolina flour (a ratio of 1:1).
Garbanzo flour is made from ground chickpeas and has a specific sweet and nutty flavor that’s easy to recognize. Garbanzo flour is an excellent gluten-free alternative to semolina flour, and can be used to turn many favorite recipes into gluten-free delicacies. Some foods that can be made with garbanzo flour include gluten-free pizza dough, gluten-free cookies, and gluten-free bread.
Substitute an equal quantity of garbanzo flour for semolina flour (a ratio of 1:1).
Corn flour is a sweet, gluten-free flour often used as a gluten-free alternative to semolina flour in recipes for cookies, and of course cornbread. Though corn flour has a firmer Texture compared to other gluten-free flours, its powerful sweetness and lack of gluten do not make it a good option in recipes for pasta.
Substitute an equal quantity of cornflour for semolina flour (a ratio of 1:1).
There are many great substitutes for semolina flour, some of which can even be gluten-free. If you need a flour that closely matches the characteristics of semolina flour, consider its closest relative, durum wheat flour, which most closely matches semolina flour in its dark color, coarse texture, and full flavor.
The best flours to use as substitutes for semolina flour include those high in protein and gluten, though gluten-free flours can also be used in some recipes if they are high in protein.