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Is all purpose flour plain flour? Yes, all purpose flour is the same as plain flour. There are both another name for white flour. Learn about the different types of flour, whether all purpose flour is plain or self raising flour, and more. In short, you can use plain flour instead of all purpose flour in recipes. These are simply different names for the same thing in the UK, Australia, and America.

is all purpose flour plain flour

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What is all purpose flour?

All purpose flour means the flour has a moderate protein content relative to other types of flours. It’s between high protein flour (e.g., bread flour) and low protein flour (e.g., cake flour), making all purpose flour very versatile. Since the protein content falls between bread flour and cake flour, you can use this multi purpose flour for everything from yeast breads to cookies.

If the type of flour is not mentioned in a recipe, you generally want to use all purpose flour. For baking recipes, you should weigh the flour using a food scale instead of doing volume measurements (cups, tablespoons, etc.). The precision of weighing will give you the best results consistently.

All-purpose flour is made from a mixture of hard wheat and soft wheat. The wheat kernels are milled without most of the bran and germ, leaving only the endosperm. Thus, all purpose flour is highly refined, and not a whole grain flour.

Bleached Wheat Flour vs Unbleached

You can find both bleached all purpose flour and unbleached all purpose flour. Bleached flour is whiter and has a softer texture. Martha Stewart recommends using unbleached flour because it provides more texture in baked goods.

Percent Protein and Type of Wheat

Plain flour and all purpose flour generally contain 7-12% protein, depending on the brand. Here is a table listing brands of all purpose flour and their percent protein. (Source for US brands: Cook’s Illustrated)

Flour BrandProtein Percent
Lily White All Purpose Flour 7-8.5%
Martha White All Purpose Flour 9-11.25%
Hodgson Mill All Purpose Flour 9.5-10.5%
Pillsbury All Purpose Flour 10-11%
Gold Medal All Purpose Flour 10.5%
Heckers All Purpose Flour 11.4-11.8%
King Arthur All Purpose Flour 11.7%
Italian Type 0 Flour (Paolo Mariani brand) 12%
Euro 550 Flour 9-11%
French T55 Flour (Francine brand) 9.4%

Here is a table listing common types of flour and percent protein. (Source: Food Network, range for all purpose flour is from the table above.)

Types of FlourProtein Percent Range
All Purpose Flour 7-12%
Bread Flour 12-14%
Cake Flour 5-8%
Pastry Flour 8-9%
Vital Wheat Gluten 75-80%

Gluten is the main protein in wheat, which is why vital wheat gluten is so high in protein. Gluten should be thought of more as a protein group food than a grain. It is the main ingredient in the vegan meat substitute seitan.

Is all-purpose flour plain or self raising flour?

Which flour is all-purpose flour, plain or self rising flour? All purpose flour is plain flour that doesn’t have baking powder in it.

Self-rising flour in the U.S. is all purpose flour with baking powder and salt added. British self-raising flour is similar to American self-rising flour, except it doesn’t have salt in it. (Source: Epicurious)

How to Make Self Raising Flour from Plain Flour

To make self raising flour with plain flour mix 2 teaspoons baking powder with 1 cup plain flour. You can use this as a substitute for 1 cup self raising flour in recipes.

To make self rising flour with all purpose flour, mix 1.5 teaspoons baking powder, 1 cup all purpose flour, and 0.25 teaspoon kosher salt. Use as a substitute for 1 cup self rising flour in recipes.

Is all-purpose flour plain flour in Australia?

What is all purpose flour in Australia? In Australia, all-purpose flour is called plain flour.

Is all-purpose flour plain flour UK?

What is all purpose flour UK? British all purpose flour and plain flour are the same thing.

One thing to note is that American flours are high in hard red wheat while European flours use more soft wheat. American all purpose flour tends to contain a little more protein as a result. This can impact certain recipes, though the flours are largely interchangeable.

What’s another name for all purpose flour?

Here are some other names for all purpose flour:

  • White flour
  • AP flour
  • APF
  • Wheat flour
  • Enriched wheat flour
  • Maida flour
white flour

Is wheat flour the same as plain flour?

On American food labels, wheat flour is another name for plain white flour. This is not to be confused with “whole wheat flour”, which is whole grain or wholemeal bread flour. In whole grain flours, the bran, germ, and endosperm of the grain are used.

Here are some other names for wholemeal flour (which is not the same as plain flour):

  • Euro 1150 flour
  • Italian type 2 flour
  • French T150 flour

Is American all purpose flour plain flour?

As mentioned above, American all purpose flour is another name for European plain flour. There may be slight differences between the two due to type of wheat used. However, there are bigger differences in protein content between American AP flour brands than between plain flour and AP flour.

All Purpose Flour Substitute

There are many types of flour you can use as an alternative to all purpose flour. Many recipes adapt well to having up to half the AP flour substituted with another gluten-containing flour. You may need to more heavily modify the recipe if using a gluten free flour.

Here are some all purpose flour substitutes to try if you want to experiment with flavor or taste:

Can I substitute corn flour for plain flour?

Corn flour is unlike corn meal because it’s been milled to be finely ground. The fine texture of corn flour makes it a good substitute for plain flour in certain recipes. However, since corn flour is gluten free, it likely won’t work as a perfect 1:1 substitute for plain flour in baking recipes.

Is bread flour the same as plain flour?

No, plain flour and bread flour are not the same thing. Plain flour has a low protein content compared to bread flour. Plain flour contains 7-12% protein, while bread flour has 12-14% protein.

The gluten protein in bread flour helps to provide structure in bread recipes and elasticity. If you’re making something delicate like pastries, a flour with lower protein content is a better choice.

How to Make Bread Flour from All Purpose Flour

You can use all purpose flour as a 1-to-1 substitute for bread flour in recipes, and vice versa. To boost the protein in AP flour, measure a cup of flour. Stir in one teaspoon of vital wheat gluten, and use this mixture in place of 1 cup bread flour in recipes.

Is cake flour the same as plain flour?

Cake flour is not the same thing as plain flour. Cake flour is one of the lowest protein flour options, with only 5-8% protein. Plain flour typically has 10-12% protein, though some brands may be as low as 7%.

Delicate items, such as baked goods and pastries, are the best items to make with cake flour. Sturdy items, such as breads, benefit from being made with a flour with higher protein content.

What is cake flour called in the UK?

You may not find a good equivalent to American cake flour in the UK and Australia. According to Nigella, sponge flour in the UK is a self-raising cake flour, and not a good substitute for US cake flour. Your best bet may be to use a lower protein brand of plain flour.

Here are some flour types in Europe with lower protein content that may substitute for American cake flour:

How to Make All Purpose Flour from Cake Flour

According to the Joy of Baking, you can substitute 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cake flour for each cup of AP flour in recipes.

How to Make Cake Flour from All Purpose Flour

Adding cornstarch to all purpose flour helps lower the protein by volume, making it better for cakes. Simply measure out 1 cup of AP flour and remove two tablespoons. Stir two tablespoons cornstarch into the scant cup of flour, and use as a substitute for 1 cup cake flour in recipes.

Is pastry flour the same as plain flour?

Plain flour and pastry flour are not the same thing. Pastry flour is low protein compared to plain flour, but higher protein than cake flour. Pastry flour typically has 8-9% protein, while plain flour may have 10-12%.

What is cream flour?

Odlums cream plain flour is an Irish product that is a plain flour with a small amount of leavening agent. This flour works well for pastries. You must add more raising agents (e.g., baking powder or baking soda) to use it for cake or bread.

Is strong white flour the same as plain flour?

According to BBC Good Food, strong flour is a high protein flour made with hard wheat that’s great for making breads. Since you shouldn’t use strong flour for cakes, it’s not a good plain or all-purpose flour.

Is baker’s flour the same as plain flour?

Baker’s flour is often used as another name for bread flour or strong flour. Because of the high protein content and gluten content in baker’s flour, it’s not the same thing as plain flour. (That said, the term may be used in different ways, so it’s good to ask for clarification.)

Flour Nutrition Information

The nutrition information for flour can vary depending on brand and type of flour purchased. Here is nutrition info for all purpose flour (Gold Medal Brand, ¼-cup serving):

  • Calories: 100
  • Total Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Potassium: 40mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 22g
  • Fiber: less than 1g
  • Net Carbs: 22g
  • Sugars: less than 1g
  • Protein: 3g
  • Iron: 6% DV
  • Thiamin: 10% DV
  • Riboflavin: 6% DV
  • Niacin: 8% DV
  • Folic Acid: 10% DV

White flours in the United States are often enriched with iron and B vitamins lost during refinement. If you are in a country that doesn’t enrich plain flour, these nutrients will be present in smaller amounts.


Does all purpose flour have gluten?

Gluten is the primary protein in wheat flours. Thus, all flours made with wheat, including all-purpose flour, contain gluten. If you want gluten-free flour, you need to find a flour with no wheat or other gluten-containing grains.

Difference between bleached and unbleached flour in baking?

Unbleached flour may provide slightly more structure in baked goods. Bleached flour is lighter in color and softer in texture.

Difference between whole wheat and whole meal flour?

Whole wheat flour and wholemeal flour are the same thing. In the UK, whole grain or whole wheat flour is often referred to as wholemeal. In the US, we tend to say whole wheat flour.

What is the difference between 00 flour and plain flour?

Italian Caputo 00 Flour is refined further than regular flour or plain flour. It is more finely ground than plain flour, having a texture similar to baby powder. Italian 00 flour is the best flour for making pizza crust and pasta, IMVHO.

How much does flour cost?

The cost of flour depends on where you live and shop and the brands you buy. In my area, a 5-lb bag of all purpose flour costs from $3-5. Organic flour and whole grain flours usually cost more. Bulk stores, such as Costco, may have flour for a better unit price.

How long is flour good for?

According to Foodsafety.gov, white flour can be kept for 6-8 months in the pantry after opening, or 1 year in the fridge. I recommend keeping flour in mason jars in the pantry or in the freezer to keep pests out in warmer months. Whole wheat flour lasts only 3-6 months in the pantry, or 6-8 months in the fridge.

Recipes Using All Purpose Flour

What are some ideas for using AP flour? You can use all purpose flour to make a large variety of dishes! Here are some ideas to get you started:

Watch How to Make It!

is all purpose flour plain flour

Is All Purpose Flour Plain Flour? (What is all purpose flour?)

Summer Yule
Is all purpose flour plain flour? Learn about the different types of flour and flour substitutions here!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 minutes
Total Time 2 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 100 kcal


To Make Bread Flour Substitute with All Purpose Flour:

To Make Cake Flour Substitute with All Purpose Flour:

To Make Self Raising Flour Substitute with Plain Flour:

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

To Make Self Rising Flour with All Purpose Flour:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Don’t be a stranger! 😊If you love this recipe, please come back and leave a rating. This helps readers and I’d love to hear from you. Thank you ❤️


  • For each flour substitute recipe, weigh your ingredients using a food scale instead of using volume measurements. For example, if your white flour is 30 grams per ¼ cup, you need 120 grams for 1 cup. (There is minor variation between brands, so use the nutrition information on your flour packaging for the best results.)
  • Stir the ingredients together for the flour alternative you're using.
  • Each of the substitutes above can take the place of one cup of flour in baking recipes.



Nutrition information is for ¼ cup of Gold Medal Brand all-purpose flour. Nutrition info will vary depending on flour brand, type of flour, and your portion size.


nutrition info disclaimer


All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.


The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.


“To taste” means to your preferences, which may have to be visual to follow food safety rules. Please don’t eat undercooked food x


Calories: 100kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 3gPotassium: 40mgIron: 6% DV
Keywords AP flour substitutions, bread flour substitute, cake flour substitute, is all purpose flour plain flour, is all purpose flour the same as plain flour, self rising flour substitute
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