Best Arrowroot Powder Substitute – 8 Similar Thickeners

You have found an interesting recipe but no arrowroot powder as an ingredient. Here, it becomes necessary for you to find a good arrowroot powder substitute.

While choosing a substitute food ingredient, you must consider flavor and suitability factors.

The replacements you choose instead of arrowroot powder should agree with the flavor and consistency of the dish. The heating point of the replacement ingredient must also be taken into consideration.

We have done good research and found a few good replacements for arrowroot starch.

What is Arrowroot Powder?

The arrowroot plant is a tropical perennial herbaceous plant native to Indonesia. This plant produces a potato-like, starchy root vegetable. Arrowroot starch or arrowroot flour is a fine white powder that is extracted from its roots.

Arrowroot flour is popularly used as a food thickener. It is also used in gluten-free, paleo cooking and is an extremely versatile ingredient.

Its benefits for health and cooking include:

  • gluten-free, grain-free, and paleo-friendly,
  • its neutral flavor doesn’t upset the flavor profile of your dishes,
  • the best replacement for cornstarch,
  • can be used in roasting, baking, and frying,
  • provides multiple health benefits.

Best Substitutes for Arrowroot Flour

Arrowroot powder is a very effective gluten-free thickening agent. It works well in thickening jams, pies, jellies, soups, stews, sauces, and other dishes.

You can find several arrowroot substitutes used as thickening agents.

The most commonly used food-thickening ingredients are cornstarch and tapioca flour. Potato starch, agar-agar, chia seeds, flaxseed flour, and chicken pea flour are good natural thickening solutions.

Let us now look at a few of the best replacements for arrowroot starch that match in flavor and consistency.

1. Tapioca starch

Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava root. Nutritional elements in tapioca include pure carbs and very little protein, fiber, or nutrients.

Identical features of tapioca and arrowroot are:

  • Excellent gluten-free alternatives to wheat and other grain flours
  • Come in powder or small granule form
  • Quickly thickens the recipes
  • Have a glossy appearance
  • Odorless and neutral in taste
  • Do not alter the color and appearance of the dishes.

From the above-given characteristics, tapioca starch is the best natural replacement for arrowroot powder.

Just like arrowroot, cassava starch remains stable at low and medium-high temperatures.

Go for tapioca starch instead of arrowroot powder, especially in dishes that require freezing.

You can interchange tapioca for arrowroot powder in equal measures.

2. Cornstarch

Cornstarch, corn flour, or maize starch is derived from corn grain. It is the starch obtained from the endosperm of the kernel.

This starch is a wonderful food thickener that doesn’t alter the original flavor of the recipe.

Cornstarch is a good choice in place of arrowroot powder because:

  • It’s gluten-free and suitable for people with celiac disease
  • Has neutral taste
  • Gives a translucent shimmer to dishes
  • Great for delicate sauces and gravies
  • Suitable for dishes that require high-heat cooking

You can use cornstarch instead of arrowroot flour for thickening banana cream pie, vanilla pastry, butterscotch, and chocolate pudding.

Ensure to procure cornstarch sourced from the naturally grown maze, not the genetically modified corn.

Like tapioca starch, it is unsuitable for use in recipes involving acidic liquids.

While swapping arrowroot with cornstarch, use it in the same quantity. Mix it with water to form a slurry that you can add to your recipe to thicken it.

3. Rice flour

Sweet rice flour is made from rice. It comes in very small, angular granules.

It cooks at a higher temperature than corn but does not form a thick gel like arrowroot or cornstarch.

Rice flour is somewhat of a great substitute for arrowroot powder for reasons such as:

  • A gluten-free starch
  • Has a neutral flavor and doesn’t influence the taste and aroma of the dish.
  • A versatile thickener that goes well with most dishes
  • Suitable for use in dishes that contain acidic liquid

On a poor note, rice starch is a grain of flour that dilutes in liquid, making it appear cloudy. It does not give a clear and glossy appearance to the dishes, unlike the arrowroot powder.

While using it as a replacement for arrowroot powder, use it in two-thirds quantity. It gets cooked faster than other flours, so use it toward the end of cooking.

Other Secondary Alternatives for Arrowroot Flour

You can also use a few substitutes, though they may not be ideal. They include the following:

4. Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar is a dry, powdery, acidic byproduct of fermenting grapes into wine. Surprisingly, it is not creamy, though the name sounds so.

It isn’t a perfect alternative to arrowroot powder. But still, it works well for adding volume and body to desserts like custard, cream, or pudding.

You can’t use it in any normal application of arrowroot powder.

5. Xanthan gum

Xanthan gum is a polysaccharide with many industrial uses, including a common food additive.

Xanthan gum works as a good binding agent, like arrowroot powder. Please note it is less versatile than arrowroot flour and doesn’t go well with all recipes except a few.

The best keto substitute for arrowroot thickener in baking is xanthan gum. Bob’s Red Mill describes xanthan gum as an emulsifier that helps mix liquids of different natures. It also works as a thickener by increasing the viscosity of batter and liquid.

Like arrowroot powder, xanthan gum can provide a creamy texture to dishes.

Use them in the same quantity while substituting each other.

6. Wheat flour

Wheat flour may not be the best alternative for arrowroot powder, but it still works when other options aren’t there.

Like rice flour, it can work in dishes that contain acidic liquids.

Wheat starch works well in thickening sauces, glazes, puddings, and fruit pie fillings.

This flour can overshadow the original taste of the recipe to some extent. It also makes the dish dull-looking.

If used alone, the substitution is 1 tablespoon wheat flour equal to 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder.

7. Potato starch

Potato starch or potato flakes are extracted from potatoes.

It is somewhat similar to arrowroot in texture and is usable in the same way.

While using it as a substitute for arrowroot powder, 1 teaspoon of potato starch can replace 2 teaspoons of arrowroot flour.

8. All-purpose flour

All-purpose flour can be used as a substitute for arrowroot powder in some recipes. But it is not always a one-to-one substitution.

Ground arrowroot is a much stronger thickener than all-purpose flour. So you will typically need more flour to achieve the same thickening effect.

Use 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour for every 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder in a recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute arrowroot for baking powder?

No, arrowroot and baking powder are not interchangeable ingredients. Baking powder is a leavening agent that helps baked goods. If you’re out of baking powder and need a substitute, mix 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar to create an equivalent amount.

Can ground chia seeds be substituted for arrowroot flour?

Ground chia seeds and arrowroot flour are not always interchangeable in recipes, as they have different properties. Chia seeds can sometimes be used as an alternative to arrowroot flour in certain recipes, particularly in gluten-free baking. Chia seeds will add unique flavor and texture to the recipe, which may not be desirable in all cases.

Can I substitute almond flour for arrowroot flour? 

Almond flour and arrowroot flour are not typically interchangeable in recipes, as they have different properties. However, in gluten-free baking, almond flour can be used to replace a small amount of arrowroot flour in a recipe without significantly changing the final product’s texture. But almond flour will add its unique flavor to your dish.

Can I replace arrowroot powder with glucomannan? 

Glucomannan and arrowroot powder are not typically interchangeable in recipes, as they have different properties. Glucomannan is a naturally occurring acid commonly used as a food additive to improve the texture of products like tofu and cheese. However, in vegan cooking, Glucomannan may be used to replace arrowroot powder in certain recipes; note that glucomannan will add its unique flavor and texture to the recipe.

Can I substitute coconut flour for arrowroot powder?

Coconut flour and arrowroot powder are not interchangeable in recipes. Coconut flour is made from ground dried coconut meat, is high in fiber, and is not a food thickener. However, coconut flour can replace a small amount of arrowroot in gluten-free baking. But coconut flour will slightly change the texture and taste of the final product.

Can I substitute whole wheat flour for arrowroot flour? 

Whole-wheat flour and arrowroot flour are not typically interchangeable in recipes. Wheat flour contains gluten but does not thicken foods like the former. In some cases, such as in recipes for thickening sauces or gravies, a small amount of whole wheat flour can be used instead of arrowroot flour. However, whole wheat flour will add its unique flavor and may change the final product’s color.

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