What Is Manioc Flour

Buying, Cooking, and Recipes

manioc flour

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Manioc flour, or cassava flour, as it's commonly called, is an allergy-friendly flour that comes from cassava, a long tuberous starchy root, often found in Latin American and Caribbean cuisines.  

To make the flour, the cassava root is peeled, dried, and then ground into flour. 

Fast Facts

  • Commonly used in Latin American and Caribbean cuisines. 
  • Often called cassava flour.
  • A fairly neutral flour that has a mild earthy taste.
  • Is gaining popularity as a gluten-free alternative.
  • Will keep for at least a year when stored in an air-tight food container in the pantry.

How To Cook With Manioc Flour

Thanks to manioc flour's white color, neutral flavor, and allergy-friendliness—it's grain, gluten, and nut-free—there's almost no limit on what you can cook with manioc flour.

Traditionally, manioc flour has been used to make everything from bread and tortillas to stew—it's an ingredient in ajiaco, a stew popular in Cuba—to cookies. In Haiti, manioc flour is often used to make a cookie called bonbon amidon, and it’s a nice alternative to all-purpose flour for cooking baked goods—just keep in mind that its light texture may require you to make some recipe tweaks. 

You can also use it as a gluten-free alternative to instant flour when you need to thicken, gravies, soups, and stews; and to bread meat and seafood.

What Does It Taste Like?

Like other flours, manioc flour is neutral in flavor with a slight earthy taste and has a soft, powdery texture.

manioc flour

Romualdo Crissi / Getty Images

Substitutions

If you're not concerned about making a gluten or grain-free dish, you can substitute manioc flavor using a one-to-one ratio for all-purpose and wheat flour in most recipes. The exception is baking.  As manioc flavor has a softer texture than all-purpose flour it’s not recommended you swap it when baking unless you’re willing to do a bit of experimenting. 

Manioc Flour vs. Tapioca Flour

Sometimes manioc flour is referred to as tapioca flour, but while both are made from the cassava root, they are different. Manioc flour has more fiber than tapioca flour, which is a starch made from washing and pulping the cassava root, and then evaporating the water. 

Manioc Flour Recipes

Put this versatile flour to use in sweet recipes such as crepes and brownies in savory side dishes and for making gluten, grain, and nut-free bread.

Where To Buy Manioc Flour

Look for manioc flour in health food stores, as well as online. It's also become more common to find this flour in larger grocery stores and big-box stores, including Walmart. Expect to pay about $9 or more for a 20-ounce bag. 

Storage

Transfer manioc flour to a food-grade container with a tight-sealing lid to keep it from absorbing moisture, odors, and flavors from other foods and ensure that pests can't get into it. You can store it in your pantry for at least a year. It’s a good idea to get in the habit of smelling your flour when you first buy it, and each time you use it, so you become familiar with how it’s supposed to smell so you then know when it's gone bad.

Nutrition and Benefits

Food allergy-friendly manioc flour is grain, nut, and gluten-free. It's also a source of Vitamin C, manganese, and of course, carbohydrates. Nutritionally, it has more fiber than all-purpose flour but doesn’t have as much protein compared to other readily available gluten-free flours, such as almond and chickpeas.

Myths

Some people are hesitant to cook with manioc flour, believing that it's toxic, but that's a common misconception. While the cassava root that manioc flour comes from contains naturally occurring cyanide that can be poisonous when eaten raw, soaking and cooking cassava makes it harmless and commercially available manioc flours, don't contain harmful levels of cyanide.