What Is Graham Flour?

A Guide to Buying and Baking With Graham Flour

Graham Crackers
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Graham flour is a coarse-ground whole wheat flour that's commonly used to make graham crackers as well as some breads and cereals. It is named after Sylvester Graham, a forerunner of the American health food movement. Different forms of whole wheat flour similar to graham flour are utilized around the world.

Fast Facts

  • Shelf Life: Up to 1 month in the pantry, up to 6 months in the freezer
  • Substitute: Whole wheat flour
  • Common Use: Graham crackers

What Is Graham Flour?

Graham flour is unsifted, unrefined, and unbleached whole wheat flour used in baking. White flour (such as all-purpose flour) is finely ground with the germ and bran removed. Whole wheat flours are true to their name, with the milled endosperm, germ, and bran all present in the flour. Graham flour is more coarsely ground than standard whole wheat flour, producing a rustic texture and nutty, lightly sweet flavor.

Inventor Sylvester Graham developed this form of flour during the 1830s in hopes of diverting people away from the refined white flour. He believed that retaining the endosperm, germ, and bran of wheat during the milling process would aid in creating a healthier population after the Industrial Revolution.

Graham flour is sold ready-to-use for baked goods and should be cooked before eating. It is more expensive than standard store-bought flours since it is a harder-to-find specialty product.

Graham Flour vs. Gram Flour

While graham and gram flours have a similar spelling a pronunciation, they are two very different products. Gram flour is made from dried, ground chickpeas and is a staple food in the Indian subcontinent. The gluten-free flour is high in fiber and protein and is used to make papadums, pakoras, bonda, chakli, and more. Graham flour is a whole wheat flour and is not gluten-free. The two flours produce very different textures and flavors and are used in wholly dissimilar dishes.

How to Cook With Graham Flour

Graham flour must be cooked before eating since raw wheat flours of all kinds can carry disease-causing germs. It is sold ready-to-use and can be used to make a range of baked goods including graham crackers, other crackers, brown bread, rustic whole wheat breads, granola, and cereals. Most recipes are baked, but some (like brown bread) can be steamed.

What Does It Taste Like?

Graham flour adds a nutty, toasted, sweet flavor to baked goods along with a hearty texture. The flavor is likely most familiar in graham crackers where the flour is traditionally combined with honey for a high-fiber treat.

Graham Flour Substitute

The best substitute for graham flour is unbleached, unrefined whole wheat flour. If possible, look for unsifted whole wheat flour. Alternatively, use a mixture of 2:1 white flour and wheat bran along with one to two teaspoons of wheat germ per cup. Only graham flour will add it's signature coarse texture or flavor, but these substitutions will work in most baked good recipes.

Graham Flour Recipes

Graham flour is used in baked goods that have a rustic texture and robust flavor such as crackers and dark breads. Try making your own graham crackers for a healthier version of the family favorite.

Where to Buy Graham Flour

Graham flour is sold by the pound or ounce in bulk bins, bags, or boxes in the baking aisle. Look for bags ranging from a pound to 10 pounds or more. It's not commonly found in supermarkets—instead, check your local health food store. You may even want to check a local mill or order from one online. Look for graham flour that was very recently milled since it has a relatively short shelf life.


Whole wheat flours should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place. Since it contains more oils than typical flour that can cause it to go rancid, fresh graham flour will last for about a month. For longer storage, stick the container in the freezer where it will last for up to six months. Make sure to store it in a tight-lidded, thick container so that it does not absorb any flavors from the freezer.