Best Pastry Flour Substitute

Pastry flour is a staple in every baker’s kitchen. But if you’re new to the world of baking or don’t bake often, you might not have this type of flour sitting in your pantry. Luckily, there are many great substitutes you can use in place of pastry flour.

If you don’t have any pastry flour on hand, you can use all-purpose flour in a 1:1 ratio. However, if you want lighter and airier results, mix the all-purpose flour with cake flour or a pinch of cornstarch.

I’m Michelle, a self-taught baker. I have over ten years of experience baking all types of treats, from cookies to cakes. I’ve used substitutions throughout my baking journey, and I’m here to share my favorite pastry flour subs.

Want to know what to swap for pastry flour? Keep reading!

What is Pastry Flour, and What Does it Do?

Many recipes, especially pie and pastry recipes, call for pastry flour. But what is this type of flour, and why is it essential for these baked goods?

Pastry flour is a type of flour with relatively low protein content, with most brands hovering between 8% and 10%.

The lower protein content ensures a light, flaky, and airy result, which is essential for a number of lighter baked goods like pies, biscuits, and even some cookies.

That said, if your recipe calls for pastry flour, you should use it. Other flours will render denser and thicker results, which may not be ideal for the baked good you’re making.

Top 3 Pastry Flour Substitutes

Yes, it’s true that you should use the flour called for in your recipe. However, if you don’t have any pastry flour on hand, don’t panic. Although actual pastry flour will render the best results, you can still get by with some crafty substitutions.

Here are the top three pastry flour substitutes that will work like a charm.

1. All-Purpose Flour + Cake Flour

The best substitute for pastry flour is a half-and-half blend of all-purpose and cake flour.

This is because cake flour has a very low protein content (some down to 5%!), while all-purpose flour contains higher protein levels, some up to 12%. Mixing the two will land you somewhere in the middle, 9% or 10%, closely matching pastry flour’s protein content.

The swap is simple. Mix ½ cup all-purpose flour with ½ cup cake flour to replace a single cup of pastry flour. Use the mixed flour as usual and enjoy beautiful baked treats.

2. All-Purpose Flour + Cornstarch

Now, let’s be honest – if you don’t have pastry flour, there’s a good chance you don’t have cake flour. But you probably have cornstarch. Right?

To use this substitution, mix two tablespoons of cornstarch with almost a cup of all-purpose flour. 

Adding cornstarch will help “dilute” some of the protein in the all-purpose flour so your baked goods don’t come out overly dense and unenjoyable.

3. All-Purpose Flour

No cornstarch, either?

You’re killin’ me!

But that’s OK. You’re not entirely out of luck. 

As long as you have all-purpose flour hanging around your pantry, you can still make your baked good.

Simply swap all-purpose flour for pastry flour in a 1:1 ratio. Yes, your baked goods will be a little denser and tougher than if you made it with pastry flour, but it’s not terrible or inedible. In fact, the change will be relatively subtle, and you’re sure to enjoy your goodie!


Compared to some other types of substitutions, substituting pastry flour is a cinch! I have added a few frequently asked questions below if you want to keep learning more about this topic. Let’s dive in!

Do I really need pastry flour?

In my opinion, if you’re making a recipe that calls for pastry flour, then yes, you really need it. That’s because it will render the finest results. However, if you don’t have any and don’t want to purchase them, there are suitable swaps, like all-purpose flour.

Can you use pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour?

Pastry and all-purpose flour can be interchangeable, but the results will differ slightly. Luckily, their protein contents are too different, so it won’t be an overwhelming difference. However, I always recommend using the flour called for in your recipe.

What is the best flour for pie crust?

The best flour to use for pie crust is pastry flour. However, all pies are different. It’s best to follow along with your recipe and use the type of flour called for, whether it’s pastry, all-purpose, or a different kind of flour.

Pastry Flour Has Many Top-Notch Substitutions!

Pastry flour is excellent for many baked goods, but if you don’t have any on hand, you can also resort to all-purpose flour. I like to use a blend of half-all-purpose and half-cake flour, but you can also add a pinch of cornstarch or simply use all-purpose flour on its own.

Do you ever substitute pastry flour? What do you use? Share below!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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