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- Early on in the coronavirus pandemic, home baking saw a surge in popularity, and flour flew off grocery store shelves and became very hard to find.
- Flour has since come back in stock at most stores, but having an online alternative to buy in bulk or stock up in the event of another strict lockdown is still a great idea.
- Buying flour online also allows you to find specialty flours like organic, spelt, or gluten-free or support a local business or artisanal mill.
- If you're looking to order other groceries or specialty food items, check out our running list of where to buy groceries online.
Pandemic lockdowns set the country on its ear in March and April, as we all scrambled to stock up on food and keep ourselves occupied while we stayed at home as much as possible. The one thing that checked both of those boxes was baking at home. The rush to stock up so we could perfect our banana bread recipes quickly made flour a hot commodity. Grocery stores and major online retailers were totally out of stock, so we sought out alternatives, leading us to put together this list. I, personally, bought two 25-pound sacks of flour because it's all I could find.
Now, seven months into the pandemic, the supply chain has caught up to the flour demand, and shelves are mostly full again. While we don't expect the same flour scarcity as we stare down the possibility of a second lockdown, being able to buy flour online is always a nice safety net.
When it comes to the sellers featured on this list, not only will you find a reliable retailer, but you'll also be able to support a small business, find specialty flours that aren't often stocked in big box stores, and, often, bake up a tastier final product made from a higher-quality flour.
Here's a running list of places to buy flour online:
Direct from the mill
Artisinal mills grind high-quality flours from the wheat they often grow themselves. You'll often pay a bit more for the luxury of farm-to-bread-basket freshly milled flour, but you'll also find flour of this ilk produces higher-quality baked goods. Plus, you'll support small businesses during a difficult time.
- Old Mill of Guilford: Founded in North Caroline in 1767, Old Mill of Guilford has been producing all-natural, stone-ground flours, grits, and cornmeal for over 250 years. It's selling white, wheat, rye, and other specialty flours in 2-lb or 5-lb bags. Shipping is calculated based on weight and delivery location. Shipping a 5-lb bag of flour to my Brooklyn apartment would be $13.
- Hayden Flour Mills: Hayden Flour Mills is run by a father-daughter duo out of Queen Creek, Arizona. In addition to flour, it also sells crackers, pancake mixes, and yeast which has also been hard to find as of late. Specialty flours like chickpea flour and semolina flour and standbys like all-purpose, bread flour, and pastry flour are readily available. Shipping is a flat $12, but free on orders over $75.
- Janie's Mill: Run by fifth-generation farmers, Janie's Mill operates in Ashkum, Illinois grinding certified organic and kosher grain crops into high-quality flours. Its flours are available in 1.5-lb, 3-lb, or 25-lb bags, and shipping is based on weight and distance. A 3-lb bag of flour would cost $10.35 to ship to my Brooklyn apartment. Shipping is free on orders over $100.
- Sunrise Flour Mill: Sunrise Flour Mill has been producing organic heritage flour in North Branch, Minnesota since 2007. Its flours come in 2.5-lb, 5-lb, 10-lb, and 25-lb bags, and there is plenty of stock available of white, wheat, pizza, and bread flours. Shipping is a flat $8.99 for orders of $50 or more.
- Castle Valley Mill: Castle Valley Mill has been grinding grain in Bucks County, Pennsylvania since 1730. It currently has 10-lb bags of hard whole wheat flour (good for bread), bolted hard whole wheat flour (good for pasta and pizza), and soft whole wheat flour (good for pancakes, muffins, and other baked goods). Shipping is free for orders over $30, but it does have an order minimum of three items.
Specialty food stores
- King Arthur Flour: King Arthur Flour is one of the only flour brands that sell direct-to-consumer. And its AP, bread flour, whole wheat flour, and self-rising flour are available for purchase. Shipping is a flat $9.95.
- Nuts.com: In addition to its namesake, Nuts.com sells tons of other dry goods including baking supplies. It currently has AP flour, bread flour, and cake flour in stock along with several other specialty and gluten-free flours. Shipping is free for orders over $59. Otherwise, shipping is $6.99.
- Italian Food Online Store: If you're looking to brush up on your pizza and pasta making skills, the Italian Food Online Store has you covered. It's currently fully stocked with 00 flour (very finely ground flour for pizza and pasta) and semolina flour. Shipping is free on orders over $69. Otherwise, shipping is calculated by weight and distance.
- Webstaurant Store: If you're looking to buy in bulk, this is the spot. Webstaurant Store — which supplies both restaurants and individual customers alike — has a large selection of flour in 25-lb and 50-lb bags at good bulk prices. Smaller bags are also available, but the value is not quite as good. Shipping is based on weight and distance. A 50-lb bag of flour would have cost $17.98 to ship to my Brooklyn apartment.
- Round Eye Supply: Round Eye Supply is another restaurant supply store that also ships to residential addresses. It sells flour by the case, so you can buy several smaller bags of flour at reduced prices — for example, this case of eight 5-lb bags of flour. Consider going in with some neighbors or friends to split an order. Just make sure to arrange a socially distant drop-off. Shipping is based on weight and distance. Shipping is free on orders over $1,500, but you probably won't need that much flour. Due to demand, shipping may be delayed five to seven days.
- Kalustyan's: Kalustyan's is a specialty market in New York City best known for its large selection of Indian and Middle Eastern spices. It's currently stocked with all-purpose flour in 1-lb bags in addition to many specialty flours. Shipping is based on weight and distance. A 1-lb bag of flour would have cost $11.87 to ship to my Brooklyn apartment. There is also a $5 handling fee.
- Baker's Authority: Baker's Authority carries all the baking supplies you could ever need, including every type of flour you could imagine. It currently has large stocks of all-purpose, cake, pastry, whole wheat, bread flour, and many more specialty flours as well. It also carries common grocery store brands like Heckers and King Arthur. Shipping is based on weight and distance. A 5-lb bag of flour would have cost $9.68 to ship to my Brooklyn apartment. Baker's Authority is currently shipping orders within 24 hours of receipt.
- Thrive Market: Thrive Market sells natural and organic products at wholesale prices. As of now, they're sold out of all-purpose flour, but they have specialty flours in stock like almond flour, oat flour, gluten-free flour, and many more. Thrive Market is membership-based and costs $9.94 a month.
- iGourmet: iGourmet sells both bulk and retail-sized gourmet foods, and it currently has corn flour, buckwheat all-purpose flour, semolina flour, and other specialty flours in stock. It also carries flour from some of the mills mentioned above. Shipping is a standard $13.99 per box.
Online grocery stores
Online grocery services may be the most difficult way to buy flour online these days since it's the first place many shoppers look. But the stock is based on zip code, and if you're putting in a large order of groceries anyway, it's definitely worth a look. These are our favorites.
- FreshDirect: Serving the greater New York metro and Washington, DC, FreshDirect is one of the best grocery delivery services we've tried in the area for its value, ease of use, and reliability. Delivery slots are currently in high demand, but I use the service and have had good luck in the last few weeks in my neighborhood. Fresh Direct's delivery fee is $5.99.
- Peapod: Peapod sends a personal shopper into your local Stop & Shop to pick up the ingredients you specify and delivery them to your door. It operates along the East Coast. If you're a Stop & Shop member, you can link your account to earn rewards through Peapod. The delivery fee ranges from $6.95 to $9.95 depending on the size of your order.
- Instacart: Instacart partners with local grocery stores — and even big box stores like Target — so you can shop at the store you usually patronize or support a local business. Delivery is $7.99, though there's an Express membership option for free delivery on orders over $35, which costs $99 a year or $9.99 per month.
- Shipt: Shipt is very similar to Instacart in that it sends a personal shopper to a local grocer of your choosing. It also membership-based, so you'll have to front the $14 a month or $99 a year to shop with Shipt.
- Boxed: Boxed offers dry goods in bulk at prices cheaper than retail. It's currently stocked with all-purpose flour as well as gluten-free and almond flour. Shipping is free on orders over $49. Otherwise, it's a flat $6.99.
- Walmart: You can shop at Walmart through its normal site or through Walmart Grocery. Both have flour in stock in my zip code. If you're shopping through Walmart Grocery, delivery fees are $9.94, but if you're shopping Walmart's regular stock, shipping is free on orders over $35.
- AmazonFresh: AmazonFresh is free for Prime members, so if you subscribe to the service, this should be your first stop. Prime members can also shop at their local Whole Foods where you might have more luck with specialty goods.
- Costco: Shopping online at Costco is open to all — not just members. Non-members are subject to some fees, though, like a $3 delivery fee for orders over $75 and up to $15 on orders under $75. There's also a 5% non-member surcharge on all orders.
- Mercato: Think of Mercato as a Seamless for independent grocers in your area. A quick search for flour yielded dozens of stores in my neighborhood with stock. It's a great way to support small businesses, but many stores have an order minimum and delivery fees vary.
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