What Is Yam Flour?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Also known as sweet potato flour, yam flour is powdered starch widely used in food preparation. Typically white, the flour is commonly used in African dishes, such as amala. It may be used in many other recipes if desired as well. It is prepared by grinding dried yams until they reach a powdered consistency. Dehydrated flour from yams may also be produced from sun drying.

Yam flour.
Yam flour.

Farms usually sell yam flour in the same way other types of flour is sold. One pound (.5 kilograms) of flour is the standard increment used to sell the flour. The wheat-free product can be a good choice for gluten-free recipes. Use of this flour is known to create lighter, fluffier products as well. People who do not care for dense, flat baked goods may wish to try sweet potato flour as a substitution in their favorite recipes.

Yam flour may be used for dog treats.
Yam flour may be used for dog treats.

Yam flour usually contains 100 calories per serving. High in carbohydrates, the food also contains some fat and protein. A cholesterol-free ingredient, the flour also contains a small amount of sodium and sugar.

Dried yams are ground to make flour.
Dried yams are ground to make flour.

Traditional amala is prepared with just yam flour and water. The flour is boiled until a dough is formed. The dough is then simmered in a small amount of water and kneaded before being served with a type of stew, such as one made from traditional vegetables and meats or fish.

Some people also utilize yam flour as a cheap base for dog treats or pet food. Animals with known wheat allergies may be fed with foods, such as dog cookies or biscuits, made with this type or other wheat-free flours. It's use is primarily popular in home-made pet treats.

Tasty cookies may be prepared with yam flour as well. The cookies may be prepared as any other sugar cookies, though milk is sometimes added to the recipe to prevent the flour from making the dough too dry. The flour may be substituted in other sweets recipes, too.

When purchasing yam flour, people should carefully read product labels. Various preservatives and added ingredients may be present that some eaters may be allergic or averse to. Different brands may also feature a wide variety of flavors, including nutty, sweet, or smoky in taste. Cooks can experiment with which flavors and brands they prefer, as well as which flavors best enhance their favorite recipes. When searching for this ingredient, cooks should keep in mind that specialty shops and Internet stores will be more likely to carry it than traditional supermarkets.

Yam flour may be used in gluten-free baked goods to help achieve a lighter, fluffier texture.
Yam flour may be used in gluten-free baked goods to help achieve a lighter, fluffier texture.
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments


I love the yam drink that the bubble tea drink shop makes. It is awesome and is made with a yam powder substance. Hope this is helpful, Fiona.


I haven't used yam flour but I do eat noodles made from yam flour regularly. I'm doing the caveman diet, the diet our hunter and gatherer ancestors used to follow. That's how I got introduced to these noodles.

They don't taste the same as egg or wheat noodles, but they're still good. It's also gluten-free so my daughter can eat it too. She has a gluten allergy, so she doesn't get to enjoy regular pasta at all. Yam flour noodles replaced pasta for her.

I'm not big on baking, but I would like to try yam flour in other recipes in the future. What's the best place to get yam flour from? I have not seen it in regular supermarkets.


@MikeMason-- Yam flour doesn't really have a flavor so the pastries won't taste weird. But I agree that you shouldn't make pastries with only yam flour because it's just a very dense flour. I usually mix yam flour with another flour like wheat when I want to bake with it.

You can also use yam flour as a thickener much like cornstarch or potato flour. I have used it to thicken soups, puddings and gravies. It worked really well that way.


My sister moved recently and left me some dried foods she had at her house including yam flour. I have never used yam flour before so I'm not sure what can be done with it.

I'm thinking about using it in pastries but I'm afraid it might taste weird.

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