Best Cornstarch Substitutes (And How To Use Them)

serving of cornstarch

If you are making a recipe that calls for cornstarch but you are all out, there is no need to fear. There are a number of convenient substitutes you can use instead of cornstarch no matter what you are making.

And you will find all the best substitutes for cornstarch and how to use them right here.

Cornstarch is a popular ingredient used in all types of cooking and baking recipes. It is most commonly used as a thickener and can be found in everything from soups, broths, gravy, stews, and even desserts.

So what are the best cornstarch substitutes?

The top substitutes for cornstarch are arrowroot powder, potato flour, tapioca, rice flour, wheat flour, ground flaxseed, guar gum, psyllium husk, xanthan gum, glucomannan, and cassava flour.

Read on for about which cornstarch alternative is best for your recipe and how to use them in the correct ratio.

Cornstarch Alternatives

bowl of cornstarch with corn

Cornstarch is one of the most popular thickening agents used in kitchens across the world. It is produced by removing the outer layer of germ and bran from the corn kernel and grinding it to a fine powder.

It is also popular in many gluten free recipes due to being naturally gluten free. So in this article you will find all the ingredients you can use in place of cornstarch. You will find both gluten free and gluten replacements so no matter what you need for your recipe it is right here.

Related Recipe: Peach Pie Filling without Cornstarch

Arrowroot Powder

arrowroot powder in bowl

Arrowroot is a popular gluten free thickener that is an excellent substitute for cornstarch.

Produced from the root of the tropical plant Maranta arundinacea, arrowroot is grain free and high in fiber.

The roots of the Maranta arundinacea plant are dried and ground into a fine powder. Arrowroot can be added dry or wet to a recipe and will not discolor clear liquids.

Related: Arrowroot Powder Substitutes

Equivalent

2 tbs. arrowroot powder equals 1 tbs. cornstarch

Potato Flour

potato starch on table

Also referred to as potato starch, potato flour is an excellent cornstarch alternative in all types of recipes.

Produced by drying potatoes and grinding them to a fine powder, potato flour does not have a flavor making it a great thickener for all types of dishes.

Potato flour is gluten free, but it is high in carbohydrates as it is a refined starch.

Note: Potato starch should be added at the end of your recipe. It absorbs water rapidly and when heated for longer periods of time, it can break down. This will reduce potato flours thickening ability.

Related: Potato Flour Substitute

Equivalent

1 tbs. potato starch equals 1 tbs. cornstarch

Tapioca

tapioca starch in bowl

Tapioca is produced from the cassava root (similar but not the same as cassava flour) and can be found in flour form, flakes, or pearls. Tapioca flour or crushed flakes work well in any recipe that calls for cornstarch.

Tapioca is grain and gluten free and it works well as a thickener in all types of dishes.

Equivalent

2 tbs. tapioca flour equals 1 tbs. cornstarch

Rice Flour

rice flour in ceramic bowl and rice on table

Rice flour is a versatile ingredient that is an excellent substitute for cornstarch in everything from soups and dinner recipes to sweet desserts.

Rice flour is produced by crushing rice and it is gluten free. In fact, rice flour is a popular ingredient in many gluten-free recipes.

Rice flour is colorless and will not alter the flavor of your dish making it an ideal cornstarch replacement.

Related: Rice Flour Substitutes

Equivalent

2 tbs. rice flour equals 1 tbs. cornstarch

Wheat Flour

container of wheat flour on table with table cloth

If you do not need a gluten free substitute for cornstarch, then wheat flour is a great option. Wheat flour is produced by grinding wheat into a fine powder.

It contains starch, protein and fiber. And while not primarily used as a thickener, wheat flour will do the job in a pinch.

To use wheat flour as a thickening agent, add a bit of cold water and stir until it forms a paste. Then add your mixture to your other ingredients.

Equivalent

2 tbs. wheat flour equals 1 tbs. cornstarch

Flaxseed

bowl of ground flaxseed

Ground flaxseed can be mixed with water to create a cornstarch substitute. For each part ground flaxseed mix in four parts water and create a paste. Then add it to your recipe.

Flaxseed contains fiber and is naturally gluten free.

Note: Flaxseed will have a grainier texture than cornstarch but it should not noticeably alter your final recipe results enough to matter.

Equivalent

1 tbs. flaxseed equals 2 tbs. cornstarch

Guar Gum

bowl of guar gum

Guar gum is an excellent thickener that can be used in place of cornstarch in all types of recipes.

It is produced from guar beans by removing the husk and then drying and grinding the bean into a fine powder.

Guar gum is high in fiber while being low in calories making it a great option when replacing cornstarch.

Related: Guar Gum Substitutes

Equivalent

1 tbs. gaur gum equals 4 tbs. cornstarch

Psyllium Husk

scoop of psyllium husk

Another popular, gluten free cornstarch substitute, psyllium husk can be used in all types of recipes that.

Psyllium husk is one of my go to thickeners. It is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates.

Note: A little goes a long way when using psyllium husk instead of cornstarch. Start with a little and work your way up until desired thickness is achieved.

Equivalent

1 tbs. psyllium husk equals 4 tbs. cornstarch

Xanthan Gum

measuring scoop of Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum is similar to guar gum as a cornstarch substitute (but it is more expensive). It is gluten free and works well as a thickener in all types of recipes.

Xanthan gum is produced by fermenting sugar with bacteria which turns into a gel. The gel is then dried and ground into a fine powder.

Like psyllium husk, a little xanthan gum goes a long way. Start with a small amount and work your way up until the desired thickness is reached.

Related: Xanthan Gum Substitutes

Equivalent

1 tbs. xanthan gum equals 4 tbs. cornstarch

Glucomannan

bowl of Glucomannan

While not as popular as other ingredients on the list, glucomannan is none the less a great substitute for cornstarch.

It can be used in all types of dishes as a thickener. It rapidly absorbs moisture and it offers low carbs and high fiber content.

It is also colorless and flavorless so that your recipe’s final flavor will not be effected. Glucomannan is quite effective as a thickener and little is needed to achieve the same results as when using cornstarch.

Equivalent

1 tbs. glucomannan equals 8 tbs. cornstarch

Cassava Flour

scoop and bowl of Cassava Flour

While similar to tapioca flour, cassava flour is even better as a thickener and works well in any recipe that calls for cornstarch.

Cassava flour (also known as yuca flour) is naturally gluten-free and can be used in everything from soups and broths to cakes and cookies.

Cassava flour will not change the flavor of your recipe.

Related: Cassava Flour Substitutes

Equivalent

1 tbs. cassava flour equals 1 tbs. cornstarch

Cornstarch Replacement FAQ

different substitutes for cornstarch

Can you simmer to thicken a recipe if you have no cornstarch?

Yes, for many recipes you can reduce to thicken instead of using cornstarch. Simmer your liquid recipe on low heat until enough moisture has evaporated and desired thickness has been achieved.

Can I use sour cream instead of cornstarch?

In sauce recipes sour cream can be used in place of cornstarch. Simply stir in your sour cream, a little at a time, until desired thickness is achieved.

What can I substitute for 1 tablespoon of cornstarch?

To replace 1 tablespoon of cornstarch use either 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder, 1 tablespoon of potato starch, 2 tablespoons rice flour, 2 tablespoons of wheat flour, or 1 tablespoon of cassava flour.

Can I use baking powder instead of cornstarch?

No, baking powder is not a suitable substitute for cornstarch. Baking powder is not a thickener and will alter the final results of your recipe. Instead, use one of the substitutes found above such as arrowroot powder, tapioca, wheat flour, or rice flour.

Can I replace cornstarch with flour?

Yes, flour can be substituted for cornstarch. Wheat flour or all-purpose flour can be used, but I prefer to use wheat flour. Use a 2:1 ratio when substituting cornstarch with flour.

Related: Cornstarch vs Corn Flour

What is the best cornstarch substitute for frying?

The top substitute for cornstarch when frying is potato starch. It offers a similar result and potato starch will not alter your flavor.

You can also use rice flour or wheat flour when frying.

What can be used to substitute for cornstarch in baking?

When replacing cornstarch in a baked recipe use either arrowroot powder, rice flour, wheat flour, or cassava flour.

What is the best cornstarch substitute for sauce?

The best substitutes for cornstarch when making a sauce are arrowroot powder, tapioca starch, rice flour, psyllium husk, and guar gum. Read above for the ratio to use for each of these ingredients.

What is the top cornstarch substitute for tofu?

When preparing tofu without cornstarch, use potato starch, rice flour, guar gum, or regular flour. Which you use depends on what you have on hand and your particular dietary goals. See above for substitution ratios for each of these ingredients.

Written by Liv

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