How To Substitute Starches

One of the most important plant derivatives is starch. It is contained in carbohydrates and makes up a significant component of a balanced diet. It is grouped as a polysaccharide (complex sugar) and possesses a good amount of glucose.

It is used majorly in food industries for various purposes such as the thickening of food products like soups, salad dressings, puddings, sauces, etc. Starch can be gotten from various sources, which include corn, potato, and tapioca (cassava derivative). There are various substitutes for different kinds of starch sources. However, in this article, we would be expositing on the potato starch substitute and you can use it.

Potato Starch

This source is not very popular, which makes it unique. It is gotten when the potato is crushed into fine powdery particles. Its preparation process is simple and involves peeling, grinding, and finally, drying it. Its use is basically for thickening and doesn’t add any flavor to food due to its tastelessness.

Uses of Potato Starch

Due to its lack of popularity, most persons are not conversant with its uses. Let’s take a look at some of its major uses.

Used for Thickening

It is a very vital thickener and can be used in varieties of liquid food preparation. Its lack of taste gives it an edge in the preparation of stew, gravy, or soup. You can use it when you only want to thicken your food without changing its taste.

Used for Preparing Baking Dough

In preparing dough for cakes, doughnuts, or bread, you would require extra moisture. This helps to preserve the form which you desire. You can use potato starch for this purpose.

Used Instead of a Potato Flour

Do you need potato flour urgently and can’t get one? Potato starch can serve as the perfect substitute. Add the same quantity of rice flour to it and mix. This gives you homemade potato flour.

An Additive During Manufacturing of Processed Food

Most processed foods like confectioneries, noodles, processed meat, and cheese are perishable. However, manufacturers add starch from potatoes to help them maintain a fresh taste and last longer.

Potato Starch Substitutes

Below are the major substitutes for potato starch and how they are used in various cooking processes.

Sweet Rice

This rice is sticky and contains greater starch compared to regular rice. Its flour is finer than normal rice. This is one of the reasons it is very useful in baking as it does not add any gritty feel to baked food. In addition to this, it doesn’t contain gluten; therefore, it can mix ingredients better.

This alternative is advisable to use at the initial phase of your baking. You should be careful with the measurement to get a gluten-free product. Ensure you use two tablespoons of flour for each cup of water.


Cornstarch is a perfect substitute for potato starch when you want to fry. Use cornstarch to make your fried chicken crispier. It helps to prevent the development of gluten in frying thereby creating a crunchy feel.

At high temperatures, it absorbs a great amount of moisture. This helps to give your fries a unique finish. You can use it just like potato starch.

Arrowroot Powder

This is gotten from the roots of tropical plant varieties. The plant roots are collected and pounded to a pulp. It is then further processed to drain out any moisture. Next, it is made into powdery form.

This powder is very effective in thickening and is used in the preparation of baked goods. It contains only 4% fiber and no protein content. This makes it good for those on a non-gluten meal plan.

It is used in the same way as cornstarch. Add as much arrowroot powder as you would add cornstarch in your meal preparation.

Chestnut Flour

This is gotten from chestnuts. Its preparation process involves boiling the chestnut in water, peeling, and then grinding it into powdery form. This is a better substitute due to its thickening nature and its effect on fried food and baked goods.

To use this, you should first mix it with clean water. This would help in diluting it. After doing this, it is ready to be added to your cooking. You should store the flour at 65 degrees Celsius in an airtight container. This will increase the life span to over 6 months.

Almond Flour

If you want to avoid grains probably due to your diet plan, using almond flour may be the best choice for you. It contains a lot of nutrients as well as vitamins that your body requires. An ounce of this flour contains over 5 grams of protein together with 2.34 grams of fiber. It contains more nutrients than other flour which makes it very expensive.

It is used in making cookies and most brownies. However, it is important to note the nutty flavor it adds to baked goods.

Other Substitutes

Aside from those mentioned above, there are other substitutes. These do not have specific purposes and can be used for a variety of meal preparations.

Wheat Flour

This can be used when you need a thickener and have none of the above listed. It is gluten-free and finds greater application in baking. It is also applied in frying, coating, and thickening of sauce. Using this ingredient requires you to cook at a low temperature. High temperatures can result in unwanted clumps in your food.

Coconut Flour

This is a better substitute for most vegans. Care is needed when applying this ingredient because of its texture. A wrong application can cause an unpleasant appearance in food. While baking, it is advised you use a low amount, about 15%, to prevent the dough from being too tough to beat.


There are various reasons why people may need starch. However, the most popular use is for thickening. There are several sources of this food ingredient. Some of them include potatoes, corn, and wheat. We shared some alternatives to potato starch in case you run into a shortage. Some of them are coconut flour, wheat flour, almond powder, and arrowroot powder.

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