Product Review: Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Flour
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As a regular Trader Joe’s shopper, I’m happy to tell you that they now sell an all purpose gluten free flour! My unbiased review so far? It’s complicated. See below … more »

As a regular Trader Joe’s shopper, I’m happy to tell you that they now sell an all purpose gluten free flour! My unbiased review so far? It’s complicated. See below for product details, the product in use and detailed ratings.

Product Review: Trader Joe's Gluten Free Flour

Product Details

Price: $3.99 for 16 ounces (1 pound)

Ingredients: “whole grain brown rice flour, potato starch, rice flour, tapioca flour”

Manufacturing Practices: There are no warnings listed on the package about possible cross-contamination with other allergens. I have sent an email to the company through their website asking those questions. Stay tuned for an update.
*UPDATE*: This is the response I received from Trader Joe’s when I contacted them through their website to ask if the product was made in a dedicated facility and/or on dedicated equipment, and whether it was nut-free:

Dear Nicole,

Thank you so much for contacting us.  Our new Gluten-Free Flour is made in a peanut and tree nut-free facility and on dedicated gluten-free equipment.  The facility does process wheat on other equipment, but the facility’s allergen control program is so strict that the flour tests at well under 20 ppm of gluten.  Please know that we would never actually label a product with the words “Gluten Free” unless it tests at under 20 ppm of gluten or is made in a dedicated facility.

Best regards,
Rachel
Customer Relations
Trader Joe’s

My guess of the source of this gluten-free all purpose flour: King Arthur Multi Purpose Gluten Free Flour. Trader Joe’s almost always purchases products like this from companies that specialize in the niche, and puts their label on the product (a totally legitimate practice called white labeling). Based upon the ingredient list, and the product performance so far, I believe that it is King Arthur’s product. **UPDATE: King Arthur Flour has contacted me and indicated that the Trader Joe’s gluten free flour is NOT their flour. I take them at their word, so I stand corrected!

Product Review: Trader Joe's Gluten Free Flour

What Gluten Free Recipe I Tested With Trader Joe’s Flour

Since I knew you’d be anxious to hear the skinny on this flour blend, I jumped right into the deep end and made yeasted gluten free pizza dough. I used the Trader Joe’s flour to make  4 batches with my super top secret gluten free pizza dough recipe that will be in my new cookbook out December 2013 (for now, try this recipe for gluten free pizza dough). I used the dough in pizza…

Product Review: Trader Joe's Gluten Free Flour

I used it in gluten free calzones. Notice anything? Almost no matter what I did, they simply wouldn’t brown. This blend has waaaaaaay too much starch in it.

Product Review: Trader Joe's Gluten Free FlourProduct Review: Trader Joe's Gluten Free Flour

The Test Results

The dough was very, very easy to handle, though, but frankly that is mostly due to my crackerjack recipe (I know – so sorry I can’t share it now!). And the rice flour does not seem superfine to me, but that doesn’t matter very much when you’re making yeasted dough since the proofing time softens and expands the grains. But when I tried baking the dough until it browned, it baked up like a pale cracker and I literally had to toss it in the trash. And there’s olive oil in the dough! Not cool. My children complained about the texture, saying that it was chalky, and the pizza itself dried out very quickly and easily. I experience none of those things with my favorite gluten free flour blends.

Product Review: Trader Joe's Gluten Free Flour

A Comparison with My Blend

I then made the same super secret recipe for gluten free pizza crust with my Better Than Cup4Cup Flour Blend, changed absolutely nothing else, and it browned beautifully and tasted great. The pizza was also much, much more fragrant as it baked. It tasted … like great pizza.

What’s Next

I will test this flour in other recipe categories (cookies, cake, pastry), and report back. I was really pulling for this flour. I am a regular Trader Joe’s customer (in fact it’s my first shop, every week), and although the price isn’t as good as other blends are when you buy them in bulk, I love seeing basic, important gluten free products in mainstream markets. Especially markets with the vast reach of Trader Joe’s. I think the flour will do just fine in muffins, cakes and cookies (although it will likely be gritty – I so wish they used superfine flour), but I think it will make dry pastry that is difficult to work with. All that being said, I’m thrilled to have something there for when you’re in a pinch and need something to work with.

A Product Review Results Chart

For those of us who enjoy a nice chart, I created one that mimics those I created when I conducted The Gluten Free Flour Blend Test in 2012.

Ingredients

Flour/Pizza Attributes

Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Flour Score (1-10)

Cost$1.23/cup
Cup for cup replacement claim9
Cup for cup replacement result8
Ease of use10
Raw texture9
Cooked texture7
Finished appearance7
Finished taste8
Mouth feel7
Smell8

Love,
Me

 

P.S. Don’t forget your copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy! I can’t keep the blog going without your support, but with you – it can go on forever and ever!

  • Sara Jane

    Nicole, I can’t wait to see what you’re experimenting with next!  Thanks for testing the Trader Joe’s flour, now I know not to buy it.  You saved me money and aggravation trying to make it work in my recipes. You go Girl!

    • gfshoestring

      I’m so glad, Sara Jane! I am definitely going to test TJ’s flour in the other categories to see if it’s worthwhile as a backup (and I’m really really hoping it is). I just really wish TJ’s had picked a better blend. It’s not like blending GF flours is so out of reach any longer, you know?
      xoxo Nicole

      • Beverly

        Reading through all these comments makes me wonder: how about blending Trader Joe’s GF Flour with TJs almond meal to balance their GF blend that is too starchy. Almond meal would add color as well as  increase the nutrition. The dry blend jar of a Vitamix would be great for this, Nicole:-) I use mine every day. I add 3-1/2 cups organic baby spinach to my morning smoothie. The Vitamix makes the spinach disappear and with a half  grapefruit or some frozen pineapple cubes or banana, the spinach taste is masked!  

  • Cemommster

    Could also be Bobs Redmill. Same ingredients and looks the same.

    • Larissa Shapiro

      Doesn’t bobs have garbanzo or garfava?

      • gfshoestring

        Yes, you’re 100% right, Larissa. It is not Bob’s. That is a bean flour blend, and although they call it an “all purpose” flour, it is anything but all purpose.
        xoxo Nicole

        • Tiffany

          I cannot digest Bob’s Red Mill products at all, yet people keep gifting me with Bob’s they found on sale.

          • gfshoestring

            Okay, Tiffany, that is hysterical. Bob’s stuff always shows up in discount stores! Years ago, well-meaning friends of all kinds would buy pretty much anything they saw in a store with a “gluten-free” claim, and it was so hard to dissuade them from spending $7 on a 3 ounce bag of cookies for us! Their hearts were in the right place, for sure.
            xoxo Nicole

  • Teri

    Where do you get the ingredients for your Better than cup4cup flour blend?

    • gfshoestring

      Authentic Foods, usually, for the rice flours. The other ingredients don’t matter as much, Teri. 

  • Larissa Shapiro

    My solution to non-superfine flours isto whirl them around in my vitamix (might work with other blenders) for a bit before I use em. Not as good as superfine, but, not bad. 

    • gfshoestring

      What do you love about your Vitamix, Larissa? I have always been way way way too cheap to buy one, but have always been intrigued. :)
      xoxo Nicole

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511585687 Stephanie Loomis

      I have a coffee grinder that I use to do the same thing. Works like a champ to get things superfine.

  • Pink peppercorn and paprika

    I haven’t seen this flour yet at my local trader joes, but I did pick up a big bag of gluten free oats that I was happy to find! They are a great addition to my baking and are much more affordable than the other GF oats I’ve seen :)

    • mama-de-margarita

      we actually didn’t like the TJ’s GF oats — as much as I really, really wanted to! They just didn’t have the same nutty taste I wanted in a good slow-cooked oat (we eat them pretty much every day for breakfast). Bob’s Red Mill GF Oats seem to fit the ticket and are the ones most often in our bowls (and baked goods) but often I find myself reacting to them too … anyone know if Bob’s is a decent GF oat source? 

  • Eileen Moffatt

    Nicole, I can’t wait until your December 2013 cookbook comes out! You are a goddess and I am obviously a big fan. Please keep on experimenting. And thanks for bringing baking back into my life. Gush…gush…gush…

    • gfshoestring

      Aw, shucks, Eileen! Thank you so much for the support! It’s an honor to bake with you. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Kboorky

    I would think that it’s the dairy in the C4C blend that helps with the browning. We can’t use C4C because of the dairy. 

    • gfshoestring

      I have made my recipe with Better Batter, my “mock” Better Batter, Cup4Cup and my Better Than Cup4Cup. It browns just as well with all 4. It’s not the lack of milk powder in Trader Joe’s that is the culprit. It’s the incredibly high level of starch.
      Nicole

  • Michelle

    So glad you tried it out for us all, but the photos of your new pizza recipe are making me drool! I have yet to find a gf mix at T Joe’s that I like, and they are my first grocery stop as well. Same with King Arthur. I want to be supportive of their efforts, so I have tried several mixes from both of them and they just aren’t very good. I tell my local guys all the time that I would buy more of their gf mix-type stuff if it was any good, and their low sales have more to do with the quality of the product than lack of interest in gf items.  This just makes me even happier that I stumbled on your blog, so I can have yummy baked goods.

    • gfshoestring

      I take your high standards as a sign of real progress, Michelle! I don’t want your local guys to suffer, but they should do some research. There are much better products out there!
      xoxo Nicole

      • Michelle

        I steered a lady away from the Ener-G section (far away, while making the sign of the cross at it) at the local Whole Foods-ish place today. The fact that I had a better place to steer her to is huge sign of progress! My celiac neighbors who have been gf for 20+ years have told me horror stories of  the state of gf food even 10 years ago. I love that we can be gf food snobs and don’t just have to accept crumbly cookies and dry, dense bread as our lot in life. 

  • Gardenbfm

    have your cookbooks they are great ,keep then coming

  • JoAnn C.

    Hi,

    A friend just told me there was a review of this same product, including results of baking cookies, cakes etc. on the Baking Bites blogspot. 

  • http://www.funkiplanet.com/ Debi @ FunkiPlanet.com

    So good to know.  I use your blends and have found the most success with them.  So, I’ll stick with those and pass on the TJs.  Thanks for the great recipes in both of your books!!

  • Juneyb

    Thank you again for being my hero in making my GF world a better and easier place to live!   

  • Agreatshopper

    Thanks for the review and for saving us some money.  :)  Shawn

    • gfshoestring

      Pleasure, Shawn. For you? Anything.
      xoxo Nicole

  • Carolyn

    Is it KOSHER???

  • Kris Angelo

    Hi Nicole,

    As I have to avoid dairy as well as gluten,  I cannot use your Better that Cup4Cup. What do you consider the next best all purpose blend that I should be using? Would it be another of your homemade blends, or Better Batter?

    FYI, I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant a year ago, and as a passionate baker and am still grieving over the difference in gluten free baking verses regular. I just can’t get used to the chalky taste and texture. I have been using Carol Kicinski’s/Simply Gluten-Free all purpose pastry flour. Have you ever tested this flour?
    Will try whatever you suggest…

    Many thanks,

    Kris Angelo

    • Carole

      You must be using the wrong flour . Am 68 and a constant baker and most everything tastes terrific. Stick with Nicole and you can’t go wrong. My husband has celiac disease and I totally eliminated gluten and am perfectly happy being gluten free by choice. The only thing I really miss is a decent hot dog bun and just bought the new england bun pan and hope to resolve that within the week. My husband found out he had celiac at 72.
      My grandkids still eat everything I bake with gusto. Don’t give up.

      • gfshoestring

        I agree with Carole, Kris (thanks, Carole – oh, and there will be a recipe for soft hot dog buns in Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread). There should be nothing to grieve when it comes to taste and texture. I have not tried Carol’s flour, but I just took a quick look at the ingredients and it is likely quite high in starch, which would likely account for any chalky taste and texture (which is what I found with the Trader Joe’s flour). That bland, chalky taste is generally the result of too much starch, although I must stress that I have not tried her flour – and I also don’t know what recipes you are using. I have done extensive research on flour blends that I believe work relatively well (just click on the flour button in the righthand sidebar for a summary with links). If you would like to blend your own flour, I’d use one of my “mock” mixes. If you are looking for readymade, I’d start with Better Batter or Cup4Cup. 
        xoxo Nicole

    • http://www.facebook.com/maggieno Maggie Nowakowska

      There ARE good flours out there, both using rice and those that use no rice at all. Keep reading reviews and the posts that follow for a wide variety of individual responses.  Like the post here that likes some Bob’s Red Mill products but not all (and I’ve got to say that the shortbread I made from Bob’s GF mix was not only chosen as better than the 4 wheat shortbreads we had at a party earlier this year, when I made it for a small wedding, I had the judge and others clamoring for my recipe).

      Sources, like Nicole’ recipe(s) and the local flour mix I use, can be made/found!  Real pierogi (not the starch bombs sold in freezer sections) graced our table for the first time in 30 years just this past fall. Success and wonderful tastes are possible!

  • GF by choice

    thanks for looking out for us. love your posts

  • Drewnbarb

    I’m newly GF as well as my 15 year old daughter, so I am still a little timid in baking with GF flours and such.  This is great information and I have purchased both your books and can’t wait to try some of the recipes.  Thanks for paving the way.

  • Peggy

    Thank you so much for your review.  When I began my GF journey, I kept buying all kinds of flour and wasted so much money.  This review helps me avoid spending money for yet another.  I would also comment that I tried TJ’s GF Ryeless Rye Bread and the taste was OK but it seemed that they bagged it before it was cool and it was all stuck together.  I quit buying it.

  • Sara Jane

    I’m with Tiffany.  I can’t digest Bob’s Red Mill GF flour. Tried the pizza dough mix and gave me wicked stomach cramps.  But I do like the GF hot cereal, it’s yummy with no side effects. Reminds me of cream of wheat when I was a kid.

  • Carole

    Hi Nicole,
      On my weekly trek to town today .I stopped at Tradert Joe’s and noticed the flour but put  it back because it had 0 grams fiber . But, I also noticed a pound bag of almond meal for $3.99. How, and how difficult would that be to make into almond flour .It looked pretty much like whole wheat flour. How fine does it need to be ??? It would sure be more reasonable if not to much work or better yet if it was ok as is ?????

    • gfshoestring

      I’m afraid that Trader Joe’s almond meal is not at all the same as the blanched almond flour that is used in almond flour baking. It won’t work at all, Carole. Sorry!
      Nicole

  • Afcoffin1

    I used King Arthur this week to make an angel food cake. It came out great and my hubby, who is not GF, said he couldn’t tell the difference–and his favorite food group is dessert!! So hope that helps some of you looking for ways to use it. Love your new paleo type recipes. Keep ‘em coming please!!

    • gfshoestring

      I have extensive experience with King Arthur Gluten Free Flour. It is generally fine for cakes and cookies, and quickbreads, but I don’t prefer it for any of them because it is so high in starch.
      Nicole

  • Victoria

    Nicole,
    Thank you for everything you do. I was diagnosed 2 years ago and pretty much gave up baked goods for several months. Let me tell you – that is no way to live! I was using Pamelas mix for most of my baking, with varied success, but when I tried to make your naan recipe last week (and it failed monumentally) I finally ordered some Better Batter. I just made the donuts from your new cookbook – amazing!
    Thank you thank you and another thank you from my (non GF) husband who would eat your lemon bars everyday if I let him!
    Victoria

  • http://www.facebook.com/tiltoncrew Jennifer Tilton

    Of all the gluten free King Arthur Flour products out there, the all purpose flour is the only one I don’t like for the very reasons you outlined in your product test.  Starchy, gritty and won’t brown for d***.  Well, I’m not wild about their bread mix either but that’s another subject.  Thanks for your intrepid investigations, Nicole.

    • gfshoestring

      You make me smile, and you make me laugh, Jennifer! Nice use of asterisks. They’re like fig leaves. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • Pingback: Weekly Menu Plan–February 3, 2012 « Gluten-free is Life

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10500895 Marissa Lauren

    Hmmm… I made your funfetti cupcakes with this flour and they came out great. thanks for the review though

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10500895 Marissa Lauren

    Hmmm… I made your funfetti cupcakes with this flour and they came out delicious. Thanks for the review.

    • gfshoestring

      I’m glad you had a good experience, Marissa. The fact that this blend is very high in starch means that it doesn’t perform well in yeast breads, but should still perform well in quickbreads (like muffins and cupcakes) and in cookies. However, the non-superfine flours in the blend may bother some people, and not bother others. It seems it doesn’t bother you.
      Nicole

  • bibi

    How
    did you know I was asking exactly that question yesterday when I saw it on
    their shelves: hmmm should I get it? Glad I waited and read your review. Love
    TJ’s but didn’t think the price was necessarily that great and I have already
    found King Arthur GF All-purpose for a better price. Thanks a lot your constant
    research helps so much :)

  • Jmhuizenga

    Why don’t you approach TJ’s with your flour and give them the reasons why?   Then we’d be happy

This recipe was brought to you by Nicole Hunn of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/product-review-trader-joes-gluten-free-flour/
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