The Best Substitutes for Cornstarch

The Best Substitutes for Cornstarch

It is also often preferred by those with gluten-related disorders, as it is derived from corn (not wheat), which makes it gluten-free.
However, cornstarch is not the only ingredient that can be used as a thickener. This article explores 11 ingredients that you can use instead.
1. Wheat flour
Wheat flour is made by grinding wheat into a fine powder.
Unlike cornstarch, wheat flour contains protein and fiber as well as starch. This means that it is possible to substitute the cornstarch for the flour, but you will need more of it to get the same effect.
In general, it is recommended to use twice the amount of cornstarch for thickening purposes. So if you need 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, use 2 tablespoons of white flour.
Wheat and wholegrain flour contain more fiber than white flour, so while it is possible to experiment with increased density with this flour, you will likely need more of it to get the same result.
To thicken recipes with wheat flour, mix it with a little cold water first to form a paste. This will prevent them from sticking together and forming clumps when added to recipes.
2. Arrowroot
Arrowroot is a starchy flour made from the roots of the Maranta plants that are found in the tropics.
To make arrowroot, the roots of the plants are dried and then ground into a fine powder that can be used as a thickener in cooking.
3. Potato starch
Potato starch is another alternative to cornstarch. It is made by crushing potatoes to release their starch content and then drying them into a powder.
Like arrowroot, it is not a grain, so it does not contain gluten. However, it is a refined starch, which means that it is high in carbohydrates and very little fat or protein.
Like tubers and other root starches, potato starch tastes very nice, so it won’t add any unwanted flavor to your recipes.
You should replace the potato starch with the cornstarch in a 1:1 ratio. This means that if your recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, replace it with 1 tablespoon of potato starch.
4. tapioca
Tapioca is a processed starch product that is extracted from the cassava plant, a root plant found throughout South America.
It is made by grinding cassava roots to a pulp and filtering the starch-rich liquid, which is then dried into tapioca flour.
However, some cassava plants contain cyanide, so cassava must be processed first to ensure its safety
5. Rice flour
Rice flour is a powder made from finely ground rice. It is often used in Asian cultures as an ingredient in desserts, rice noodles, or soups.
It’s naturally gluten-free and is popular with those with gluten-related disorders as an alternative to regular wheat flour.
Rice flour can also act as a thickener in recipes, making it an effective alternative to cornstarch.
In addition, it is colorless when mixed with water, so it can be especially useful for thickening clear liquids.
Like wheat flour, it is recommended to use rice flour twice as much cornstarch to get the same result.
6. Ground flaxseed
Ground flaxseeds are highly absorbent and form a gel when mixed with water.
However, the consistency of flax can be a bit gritty, unlike cornstarch, which is soft.
However, flaxseeds are a great source of soluble fiber, so using ground flaxseeds instead of flour can boost the fiber content of your dish.
If you are thickening a dish, you can try substituting cornstarch by mixing 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds with 4 tablespoons of water. This should replace about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
7. Glucomannan
Glucomannan is a soluble fiber powder derived from the roots of the konjac plant.
It is highly absorbent and forms a thick, colorless, odorless gel when mixed with hot water.
Because glucomannan is a pure fiber, it contains no calories or carbs, making it a popular alternative to cornstarch for people on a low-carb diet.
It’s also a probiotic, which means it feeds the beneficial bacteria in the large intestine and can help you maintain a healthy gut.
Additionally, a recent review found that taking 3 grams of glucomannan daily can reduce bad LDL cholesterol by up to 10%.
However, you are unlikely to consume much when using it as a thickener. That’s because its thickening power is much stronger than cornstarch, so you’re using a lot less.
8. Psyllium Husk
Psyllium husks are another soluble plant fiber that can be used as a thickening agent.
Like glucomannan, it is rich in soluble fiber and contains few carbohydrates.
You’ll also need a small amount of it to thicken recipes, so start with ½ teaspoon and increase.
9. Xanthan gum
Xanthan gum is a vegetable gum made by fermenting sugar with a bacterium called Xanthomonas campestris.
This results in a gel that is then dried and turned into a powder that you can use in your cooking. Very small amounts of xanthan gum can thicken the liquid by a large amount.
It is worth noting that it may cause digestive problems for some people when consumed in large quantities.
However, you are unlikely to consume much of it when using it as a thickener.
It is recommended to use a small amount of xanthan gum and add it slowly. You have to be careful not to use too much, or the liquid may get a little sticky.
10. Guar gum
Guar gum is also a vegetable gum. It is made from a type of legume called guar beans.
The outer husks of the grain are removed, and the central starchy endosperm is collected, dried and ground into a powder.
It is low in calories and rich in soluble fiber, which makes it a good thickener
11. Other Thickening Techniques
Many other techniques can also help you thicken your recipes.
These include:

  • Simmering; Cooking your meal on a lower heat for longer will help some of the liquid evaporate, resulting in a thicker sauce.
  • Mixed vegetables. Leftover vegetables can make tomato puree thicker and add more nutrients.
  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt. Adding them to the sauce can help make it creamier and thicker.