Squash and zucchini flour is a wonderful low-carb flour that can be used for gluten-free, paleo, and keto baking! A perfect replacement for coconut flour! This gluten-free flour can be made with any type of squash or zucchini!
Yellow squash and zucchini are prolific during the summer months, especially with the Back to Eden Gardening Method that we use. But there are only so many squash and zucchini recipes that I really want to make for the family, so I got a little creative.
We usually use coconut flour for our low-carb baking needs, with an occasional almond flour recipe tossed in the mix.
But I decided to try my hand at making zucchini flour to see how it compared. Fortunately, my rabid curiosity paid off and the squash flour was a smashing success! So now after 5 years of making and enjoying this squash flour, I'm passing on all my secrets to you!
How to Make Squash or Zucchini Flour
You might be wondering, why even make zucchini flour? Why not just make zucchini bread with shredded zucchini and regular wheat flour?
We make zucchini flour for two simple reasons.
- We strive to grow all of our own food, and wheat takes a lot of space to grow. One zucchini plant can produce the equivalent of 10 pounds of wheat flour PER DAY all summer long.
- What else are we going to do with all that zucchini?! While it's kind of funny, the truth is, a single zucchini plant produces far more zucchini than we can eat, feed the chickens, or give away. So preserving it as flour is a great way to take advantage of the bounty!
Ingredients and Equipment
For this simple recipe, you just need 1 ingredient. However, there are some crucial pieces of equipment that you also need to have on hand.
Squash or Zucchini - Any type of squash or zucchini can be used to make squash flour, including butternut squash or even pumpkin! While winter squash will need to be peeled first, the summer squash can keep their peels for added nutritional content.
Shredder - We use our food processor with a shredder attachment, but you can also use a cheese grater, or simply dice the squash/zucchini very finely. The goal is to reduce the size so that the water can be dried out more quickly.
Dehydrator or Freeze Dryer - Both pieces of drying equipment will do the job, I find that the water extraction is much more complete with a freeze dryer. However, a good dehydrator will also do fine. Grinding the dehydrated squash is a little more difficult due to the finished texture, whereas the freeze-dried squash powders with very little effort.
Blender - Again, we use our food processor for grinding the dried squash into flour, but you can also use a blender.
✅ If you need a good dehydrator, here's the dehydrator we've been using for 20 years (and love)!
Just as the ingredients for this squash flour are simplistic, so are the directions! It's a very easy process that once you try, you are sure to love! You'll need about 5 pounds of squash for each cup of finished zucchini flour.
- Clean - Wash the outside to remove dirt, and cut off both ends. For very large squash, remove the seeds for easier shredding. You can save this for planting, or enjoy them as a roasted seed snack.
- Shred - Shred the squash either with a cheese grater or a shredding attachment blade on your food processor (that's what I do).
- Dry - Lay the shredded squash on lined dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 135° until COMPLETELY dry.
- Blend - Place the completely dried squash in a clean, dry food processor or blender. Run on high speed until squash is powder fine. This usually takes about 5-8 minutes.
- Wait - Once you think the squash flour is ready, leave the lid on for another few minutes (with the machine off) to allow the flour dust to settle. Otherwise, you will end up with yellow cabinets!
- Store - Keep your finished flour in an air-tight container with a moisture absorber. Enjoy within 2 years for best results.
Freeze Drying Versus Dehydrating
Both pieces of drying equipment will do the job, however, there are pros and cons to both. Let's take a look at each method.
- Freeze Drying - This is my preferred method, as it not only removes more moisture, it also leaves the flour a very light color since no heat is used. The one downside is that it takes about 46 hours for one full batch. A full (medium) freeze-dryer will process about 5 finished cups of flour, or about 10 cakes worth!
- Dehydrating - Since I have hundreds of pounds of zucchini to process, and only 1 freeze dryer, I also use my Excalibur dehydrator at the same time. The upside is that dehydrating zucchini for flour only takes about 18 hours (depending on your humidity). However, since heat is used, the flour does change color to a darker shade. If making chocolate cake, this isn't an issue, but if you want to make a nice loaf of bread it might be something you want to avoid.
In the end, the goal is to get all the moisture out of the zucchini before grinding, so use what you have and upgrade from there as you can! We always have both machines going during the sumemr.
5 pounds of squash for 1 cup of flour?!
Yes, it is a lot of squash! But keep in mind that you aren't going to be using it in the same quantities as wheat flour.
So for a single-layer cake made with wheat flour, you'd use about 2.5-3 cups of flour. However, with zucchini or squash flour, you'll only be using 1/2 a cup for the same size cake. Meaning that for every 1/2 cup of squash flour, you have the equivalent of 1 pound of wheat!
How to Store Squash Flour
Store the squash flour in an airtight container WITH a silica packet (this is a MUST) for up to 24 months.
The squash flour will pull moisture from the air and will end up molding in the jar if you don't include a silica pack. These are the ones we use and they work really well!
How to Use Squash Flour
When first contemplating the idea of squash flour, I did a small test batch to determine the absorbency rate of this flour compared to other paleo, gluten-free flours such as almond flour and coconut flour.
I found that squash flour acted just like coconut flour, except that the squash flour didn't crumble the way coconut flour did. Instead, it had a wonderful bouncy texture to it, even though the absorption rate was the same.
So I tested it with several of my favorite GAPS recipes that used coconut flour and found that not only did the squash flour replace 1 for 1 with the coconut flour, but I much preferred the taste and texture of the squash flour!
Here are a few of our favorite recipes to make with squash or zucchini flour!
- Zucchini Flour Chocolate Cake
- Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes (use 1:1 in place of coconut flour)
- Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins (use 1:1 in place of coconut flour)
Squash Flour FAQS
Yes! You can use yellow squash, zucchini, butternut squash, acorn squash, or even pumpkins for this amazing "squash" flour! Here is the zucchini flour!
As you can see in the photo, the finished product has a very light color when fully blended. However, if you made this with zucchini (and then didn't add cacao or something to the recipe), this would give the finished food product a slight green tinge. That doesn't bother me though!
If you use an airtight container and a silica packet in every jar, it should last you about 6 months to 2 years, depending on the humidity of your climate. In all honesty, though, it's going to be gone long before that because this stuff is seriously delicious!
Squash Flour Nutrition
While there's not really a 100% accurate way to calculate the nutrition of the squash flour, each 1/2 cup is about 2.25 pounds of fresh yellow squash or zucchini.
So here are the nutrition facts for 2.25 pounds of squash! Keep in mind that you need to subtract the fiber to get the net carbs.
Also, remember that each full batch of squash flour chocolate cake only uses 1/2 cup of flour! And since it makes about 9 LARGE pieces of cake, you're looking at about 2.4 net carbs (for the flour) for a delicious piece of low-carb chocolate cake!
More Ideas for Using Squash and Zucchini
Looking for even more ways to use up your extra squash and zucchini? Here are a few ideas to keep you going!
- Strawberry Zucchini Fruit Leather
- 5 Uses for Large Zucchini
- Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies (perfect for squash flour!)
How to Make Squash Flour
- 20 pounds Yellow Squash or Zucchini
- Wash the squash and cut the ends off. De-seed if desired.
- Shred the squash either with a cheese grater or a shredding attachment blade on your food processor (that’s what I do).
- Lay the shredded squash on lined dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 135° until COMPLETELY dry.
- Take the completely dried squash and place it in a clean, dry food processor or blender. Run on high speed until squash is powder fine. This usually takes about 5-8 minutes.
- Once you think the squash flour is ready, leave the lid on for another few minutes (with the machine off) to allow the flour dust to settle. Otherwise you will end up with yellow cabinets!
- Keep your finished flour in an air-tight container with a moisture absorber. Enjoy within 2 years for best results.