Looking for an arrowroot starch substitute? We’ve got the answers for what works as the best alternative to this thickener. This powder is a wonderful gluten-free kitchen ingredient that finds use in several recipes. It’s popular with pies and jams but is also useful for several other dishes.
Arrowroot starch is also known as arrowroot powder or arrowroot flour. This is because the root of the arrowroot plant is a starchy vegetable. It is a versatile option and there are plenty of ingredients that can take its place.
Let’s take a look at some of the top options.
Best Substitutes For Arrowroot Starch That You Should Try
Cornstarch is a good choice to replace arrowroot starch. It’s one of the most widely used starches and finds use in countless recipes. For many recipes, cornstarch is the original and first choice of starch. If your choice of recipe called for arrowroot starch, there’s a very good chance that it was being used as a substitute for cornstarch.
But remember that recipes that originally call for arrowroot starch may not work as well with cornstarch. It has trouble with acidic dishes, doesn’t hold up all that well in the freezer, and adds a cloudy appearance to some recipes like fruit jellies. It’s still a good replacement if you’re in a pinch.
Use it as you would use arrowroot starch.
2. Instant Tapioca
Instant tapioca is often seen as the best replacement for arrowroot starch. Tapioca can handle long cooking times and stays good inside the freezer as well. Plus, it gives the food, especially pies a nice and glossy sheen. Instant tapioca is gluten-free and behaves very similarly to arrowroot starch.
Considering these properties, it’s natural to consider instant tapioca an excellent replacement for arrowroot starch.
3. Tapioca Flour
Tapioca flour is pretty much the same as instant tapioca, which is why it works as a replacement for arrowroot starch. In most cases, you can simply grind instant tapioca to have it work as tapioca flour. It holds up well with most recipes and might be more easily accessible.
4. Potato Starch
Potato starch works as a good fit, especially for baking. It has a neutral taste and won’t interfere with the flavor of the recipe. When using potato starch, keep in mind that it absorbs a fair amount of water – way more than arrowroot starch.
This quality makes potato starch an excellent choice for a thickener. However, when using it as a replacement, you’ll have to rethink the amount of water used in the recipe.
5. Cream Of Tartar
Here’s a surprising choice. Cream of Tartar can have a good use as a replacement for arrowroot flour, though only in limited cases. First, keep in mind that this has little to no use as a starch. So it won’t exactly work as a thickener.
However, it is possible to use this as a way to add some volume to custard or puddings. It could work with some cookies too, but you’ll have to keep a closer check when baking. Additionally, cream of tartar doesn’t have a neutral flavor, so expect some change in the recipe.
Overall, you can use this option if you’re in a real pinch. But the results can be a bit unpredictable (sometimes on the better side!), so keep an eye on the changes.
6. All Purpose Flour
All purpose flour is a decent option and makes for an acceptable replacement for arrowroot flour. It is a commonly used binding and thickening agent, so it can fit right into the role.
The flour works wonderfully for baking, cooking, or as a thickener.
However, it will affect the overall texture and flavor of the food. For example, sauces with all purpose flour will lose their gloss and take on a more dull look. Baked goods too will follow a similar path.
7. Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum is an interesting, keto-friendly option. It is quite similar to arrowroot powder in the sense that both work as great binding agents. Xanthan gum and arrowroot starch both work very similar to eggs where its necessary to bind things together.
This substitute works best where cooking and baking are involved, though cooking is preferable. When using xanthan gum as a replacement, it works best with soups, custard, sauces, and puddings.
8. Sweet Rice Flour
The high starch content in sweet rice flour makes it a useful replacement for arrowroot starch. It has a relatively higher starch level. Plus, it doesn’t radically affect the flavor of the recipe, though its taste isn’t neutral.
Use Sweet rice flour in cooking and baking recipes. It works like a charm with frozen dessert, so prepare yourself to enjoy the goodness! Sweet rice flour doesn’t work quite as well with sauces or jelly and adds a cloudy touch to both of these.
It’s worth noting that sweet rice flour and conventional rice flour are different items. Conventional rice flour is a better substitute to flour. On the other hand, sweet rice flour can work to replace arrowroot flour.
Even so, the best applications of this substitute are in baking.
9. Glucomannan Powder
Though not widely available, Glucomannan powder is a decent choice of substitute for arrowroot flour. This keto-friendly option has a neutral taste and offers a lot of dietary fiber. It is possible to use this as a substitute for many recipes. Glucomannan powder is especially in-demand for keto-friendly recipes.
As with most starch products, you should mix this powder in cold or cool water before adding it to the recipe – even if the recipe is a hot liquid. Using starch with a cold liquid prevents it from clumping and you get better results for the recipe.
10. Psyllium Husk
Another useful but relatively uncommon ingredient to try is Psyllium Husk. Derived from the Plantago ovata plant, this husk is keto-friendly and has low calories. The husk is all about soluble fiber, has a low amount of calories and is free of carbs. Psyllium Husk is a remarkable thickening agent, so use it without worry. You can use it the same as arrowroot starch and it works with most recipes.
FAQ On Arrowroot And Its Substitutes
What Is Arrowroot?
Archaeological evidence suggests that humans in the Americas were cultivating arrowroot as early as 7000 years ago. The popularity of the plant still continues. Conventionally, arrowroot is a starch obtained from the root of some tropical plants. Generally, this plant is Maranta arundinacea and is native to the Americas.
In a wider definition, several other plants are included as a source of arrowroot powder. However, they generally have a different approach and are usually seen as different ingredients. Some of the examples are Florida arrowroot, Polynesian arrowroot, and Japanese arrowroot (kudzu).
Arrowroot vs Cornstarch
Arrowroot and cornstarch are both popular starches often used as thickeners and sometimes, they help contain some moisture in a food. Both of these are very popular starches, but they do have their differences.
Cornstarch has a slight (though minimal) taste and creates a cloudy and sometimes opaque appearance. On the other hand, arrowroot is tasteless and gives a clear, glossy finish to the food.
When using arrowroot, it is important to make a slurry first in cold water (or another cold liquid). It’s also worth remembering that arrowroot will break down at higher temperatures. Meanwhile, cornstarch remains easy to use and can handle high cooking temperatures. Although, arrowroot can handle lower temperatures better (like in a freezer), while cornstarch risks breaking down in cold.
What Is Arrowroot Powder Used For?
Arrowroot powder is a starch that’s conventionally used as a thickening agent in many recipes. In some cases, it may also find use as a way to retain moisture in food. For many recipes, arrowroot is used to add a clean, glossy finish to the food. In some situations, arrowroot may also be used as a gluten-free replacement for wheat flour.
Where To Buy Arrowroot Powder
Arrowroot powder is easily and widely available in grocery stores, big box stores, online, and many other outlets. You’ll usually find it with the starches in the baking section, though sometimes it’s also available with the flours, or in some cases, the gluten-free section.
It’s worth noting that arrowroot powder, arrowroot flour, and arrowroot starch are all essentially the same thing with different labeling. Though they’re the same, many stores will stock them according to the name.
Arrowroot vs Tapioca
Tapioca and arrowroot are both common starches and have similar origins. Arrowroot comes from the root of the tropical plant Maranta arundinacea. Similarly, Tapioca comes from the root of a very similar tropical plant, the cassava root.
Both these flours (or rather, starches) are gluten-free and often find use in recipes trying to avoid gluten. Both these flours are practically tasteless and will leave a clean, glossy finish on the food, which is especially useful for baked goods. To avoid clumping, it’s best to first mix these powders with cold water (or a similar liquid) before adding them to a recipe.
Now, let’s move on to the differences.
Arrowroot can manage recipes with high acid content, though it cannot handle milk-based recipes or high heat. Conversely, tapioca flour can handle high heat and works well with milk-based recipes. However, tapioca doesn’t work well with high acid recipes and will lose its ability as a thickener in these situations.
Finding The Right Substitute
Using the right arrowroot starch substitute can save your recipe if you’re in a fix. Finding the right option can be difficult and we might have to make a few compromises. Some substitutes may not add the same gloss to the food, while other starches might make the recipe appear cloudy. So, choosing a substitute that works for a specific recipe should do the trick.
Instant tapioca is the best choice as a substitute for arrowroot flour. You could use cornstarch too but it doesn’t bring the same gloss and sheen. Several other substitutes are included in the list above. Take a look and see what works best for your recipe!