When looking for the best potato starch substitute, you should consider if you'll use it as a thickening agent, breading, or a baked goodie ingredient. You also have to think about whether you're preparing food for individuals on a gluten-free diet. After all, the absence of gluten is the top reason chefs and home cooks use potato flour in their recipes.
So, what is a substitute for potato starch? Well, there are many options available, but I have narrowed down the list to nine. In this guide I prepared, you'll learn when and how to use each of the best potato starch substitutes, what potato starch is, and more.
What Is Potato Starch?
While the answer to, "What can I substitute for potato starch?" seems to be enough, gaining knowledge about the ingredient you use will make you a better home cook.
With this information, you can create recipes on your own, use the starch even when the recipe doesn't list it as an ingredient or substitute, and find an excellent potato starch substitute.
How It's Made
The first step in making this starch is crushing potatoes to separate the destroyed cells from the starch grains. The starch grains are then cleaned and allowed to dry completely to form a white, soft, very fine powder. The end product, potato starch, is odor-free and tasteless, making it a versatile ingredient and thickening agent.
Potato Starch vs. Potato Flour
I would like to touch on this topic because some beginner home cooks use potato starch and flour interchangeably. Yes, they come from the same root vegetable, but there is a slight difference in their tastes and nutritional profiles.
Potato flour is made from whole cooked potatoes that have been ground and dehydrated, while the starch is extracted from raw potato root tubers.
The flour has higher potassium, protein, and fiber content because it didn't undergo the washing stage like the starch. Nonetheless, potato starch has been found to help increase insulin sensitivity and reduce weight.
Compared to potato starch, it's a less versatile ingredient because of its distinct potato flavor and yellowish color.
8 Best Potato Starch Substitutes
Now that you're more familiar with potato starch, it's time to introduce you to my favorite naturally gluten free substitutes for potato starch.
1. Arrowroot Starch
Also known as arrowroot powder and arrowroot flour, this colorless potato starch substitute isn't just perfect for your gluten free recipes. It's also grain-free, so it's the ideal ingredient to use when cooking food for those following a Paleo diet.
Even better, it has three to four years of shelf life, so I stock up on arrowroot starch. It's also popular for its ability to withstand high heat, making it one of the most versatile potato starch alternatives.
Arrowroot powder is most commonly used to thicken and improve the texture of sauces, soups, and jellies. It's one of the most powerful thickeners, and I noticed it produced an unappetizing, goopy texture when I used too much of it. That's why you have to be careful and measure the ingredient accurately.
Based on my experience, when using it as a substitute potato starch for thickening purposes, you would need to add half the amount of the potato starch required in your recipe. I also found that the best time to add it is before the liquid boils or nearly the end of the cooking process.
Arrowroot powder is also an excellent ingredient in baking and making fried food batter. Simply follow a 1:1 ratio when using arrowroot powder instead of potato starch in your recipe.
Pro Tip: Add a few dashes of cornstarch to your arrowroot starch before mixing the wet ingredients when making breading and cookie batter. Trust me; your fried food and cookies will have more elasticity and body!
Best for just about anything.
2. Tapioca Starch
Also known as tapioca flour, this ingredient is obtained from a plant with a similar consistency and texture as a potato: cassava plant or yucca root vegetable.
What I love most about tapioca starch is its natural binding properties, making it one of the best thickeners you'll find today. Just replace your potato starch with an equal amount of tapioca starch.
However, unlike potato starch, it has a slightly sweet flavor, so be careful when using it as a thickening agent for your sauces and soups. What I do is add a teaspoon of tapioca flour and add a few more dashes as and when needed.
Tapioca flour or starch is also one of my go-to ingredients for my baked goods because of the moistness and fluffiness it adds to the final product. But one thing I noticed is it produces dense, chewy, and sticky baked food when I use it a little too much.
The best way to use tapioca starch in baking is to add 25% more of the required amount of potato starch. For instance, if your recipe calls for two cups of potato starch, replace it with two and one-fourth cups of tapioca starch.
I also find that reducing the amount of flour-like ingredients, specifically removing the added quantity of tapioca starch, to balance the measurement helps improve the overall quality of my baked goods. Using the example above, if your recipe lists one cup of all purpose flour, then reduce it to ¾ cup.
Best for making pancakes, bread, and pizza crusts and thickening pie fillings, puddings, and dessert soups.
3. Potato Flour
Yes, potato flour is different from potato starch, but it doesn't mean you can't use it as a gluten free flour alternative. Its earthy potato flavor makes it a perfect addition to your savory dishes. Plus, one tablespoon of potato starch is equivalent to one tablespoon of potato flour!
Potato flour is also known for its ability to withstand high heat, so you can use it to thicken soups and sauces. I also use it in whipping up my batter for fish, chicken, pork, and other seafood I plan on frying. Its natural yellow color even makes fried foods look more delicious and perfectly cooked.
Best for making pizza crusts, bread, fried food batter, and breading and thickening soups and sauces.
4. Rice Flour
If you're looking for rice flour to replace potato starch in your savory dishes and baked goodies and as a thickening agent, white rice flour is your best bet. If you don't mind the difference in color, you can also use brown rice flour as a last resort.
My issue with rice flour is that it has a gritty texture and is a bit heavier than tapioca starch and arrowroot starch.
These properties are why I dissolve it in liquid before using the flour as a thickener. The best ratio is two tablespoons of rice flour is to one cup or 237 ml of water or any liquid used in your recipe.
For the same reason, I make sure I add more liquid to my egg-based batter to produce breaded fried food with a perfectly crisp exterior.
Another rice flour property I want to share with you is that it absorbs moisture, so with the right cooking techniques, you can improve its thickening power. Add it at the first stages or the beginning of the cooking process. Doing so will let it absorb more moisture while your food is cooking.
Likewise, make sure you only use low heat when frying food coated with rice flour to prevent drying out the main ingredient.
Best for egg-based frying, baking, and thickening sauces and soups.
5. Glutinous Rice Flour
Another variety of rice flour you can use is glutinous rice flour, also known as sweet rice flour. Although it's not as versatile as brown and white rice flour, it's a great option when seeking an answer to "What is a substitute for potato starch when making sweet baked goods and desserts?"
What I love most about sweet rice flour is it adds the chewiness my baked goodies, especially brownies, need. Where's the delight of eating a brownie without the chewy experience, right?
To use sweet rice flour, you don't need to adjust the amount you should use. However, I highly suggest that you reduce the amount of the other sweet ingredients in your recipe unless you're going for a really sweet flavor.
Best for brownies and other sweet baked goods.
6. Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is probably one of the most famous types of gluten free flour today because it's also keto- and paleo-friendly.
It has a slightly sweet flavor that makes it one of the best potato starch substitutes for desserts and baked goods. However, you can also use it to thicken sauces that already contain coconut, such as curry sauces.
What I don't like about replacing potato starch with coconut flour is I have to do some maths. It's best to reduce the required amount by 15% because its consistency and texture are different from potato starch.
For instance, your recipe requires one tablespoon of potato starch, which is about 8g. In this case, you need to use 1.2g or ⅛ tablespoons of coconut flour to get the desired consistency and texture.
Best for making desserts, baking, and thickening coconut-based sauces.
7. Mochiko Flour
Also known as mochi flour and Japanese sweet rice flour, this potato starch substitute is made from glutinous short grain rice. It has a slightly milky, sweet flavor that isn't really noticeable when mixed with other ingredients.
Mochi flour is more popularly used in making pastries and sweet desserts, but I also used it successfully as a thickening agent and breading. That's all thanks to its sticky property.
Ratio-wise, one tablespoon of potato starch is equivalent to one tablespoon of mochi flour.
Best for making brownies, cakes, muffins, waffles, fried food batter, and breading and thickening sauces.
8. Instant Mashed Potato
Yes, the instant mashed potatoes you buy at the grocery to have readily available food in your home are also an excellent potato starch alternative. After all, they're made from potatoes!
When using instant mashed potatoes as a substitute potato starch in your recipes, you must first pulse it in your food processor to change the consistency. In a way, it will mimic potato starch mixed in water.
Then, simply add an equal amount of the instant mashed potatoes to your recipe requiring potato starch as a thickening agent.
When using this potato starch alternative, keep in mind that it usually has a good amount of sodium. Hence, you have to reduce the amount of salt or any salty ingredients in your recipe.
Best for thickening gravy, sauce, soup, and stew.
FAQs About Potato Starch Substitutes
1. What is the best potato starch substitute for frying foods?
While you can use either arrowroot powder, white or brown rice flour, or potato flour as a potato starch substitute for frying, my top choice is potato flour. Since it's made from the same root crop, it has the same type of starch responsible for creating crusty fried food breading.
2. Can I substitute cornstarch for potato starch?
As one of the most versatile and easily accessible ingredients, it isn't surprising to hear the question, "Can you substitute cornstarch for potato starch?"
Yes, you definitely can because it has a neutral flavor and is a fine white powder that resembles potato starch. However, it can't stand high temperatures as well as potato starch.
I suggest you only opt for it if you have no other flours or starches available for your gluten free cooking and baking needs. The amount of corn starch you should use is the same as the potato starch's indicated in the recipe.
Before using it as a thickener, you need to create a smooth paste by adding a few drops of water to your corn starch. Mix it thoroughly to avoid creating lumps and dissolve all the cornstarch.
I also don't want to miss the chance to remind you that cornstarch is made from corn kernels, so avoid using it if serving food to those with corn allergies. Likewise, not all cornstarch products are gluten free, as some have additional ingredients. Make sure you check the label!
Best for baking, thickening gravy, sauce, and soup, and making breading for fried food.
Potato Starch Substitution Made Easy!
Whether you're asking, "What can I substitute for potato starch?" or "Can you substitute corn starch for potato starch?", this list has the right answers for you. You won't run out of options, so you can bake and cook gluten free recipes without missing out on the texture and consistency potato starch brings to the table.
Homemade Potato Starch
- Large-hole grater
- Two large bowls
- Strainer (preferably one with fine mesh)
- Cheesecloth (Optional)
- Parchment Paper
- Oven (optional)
- Spice or coffee grinder
- Plastic or glass jar with a lid
- 4-6 pieces large potatoes
- warm water
- Wash your potatoes and peel them.
- Grate the potatoes and place them in a large bowl.
- Pour warm water until you cover all the grated potatoes.
- Swirl the grated potatoes while soaked in warm water.
- Place your strainer on top of another large bowl. If your strainer doesn’t have fine mesh, place cheesecloth over it.
- Pour water into your strainer.
- Using your hands, squeeze the potatoes to extract the remaining water and pour that water into the strainer.
- Repeat steps 3 to 7 until you have clear water and you see starch at the bottom of the bowl.
- Add warm water to the bowl containing the strained water and starch to release the starch from bowl’s bottom.
- Slowly scrape the potato starch using a spoon from the bowl and place it on parchment paper.
- Allow to dry overnight, or place it in your oven set at low heat.
- Once dry, place it in your coffee or spice grinder and pulse until you have a fine powder.
- Transfer to a jar and seal tightly.
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