Arrowroot Flour is a flavorless starch that works perfectly well with soups, stews, and any other thick and savory dishes. It’s a total go-to ingredient for thickening dishes that you can do in an instant.
However, when arrowroot is unavailable or rare in your location, you can always use another alternative as a thickening agent like the good old cornstarch. Aside from that, you can also use tapioca starch, wheat flour, and potato starch.
Substitutes for Arrowroot Flour
Here’s how you can substitute arrowroot flour with these alternatives mentioned, plus A BONUS RECIPE you can follow on.
Cornstarch is by far the most commonly used thickening agent as long as I can remember. You’ll notice its constant presence in the kitchen. It’s totally irreplaceable and is always on top of the shelf for a quick grab-on to thicken just about any dish.
From its name, cornstarch is extracted from corn which was powdered and processed as a starch. Don’t be confused when shopping at the grocery store when you’re seeing cornstarch and cornflour all at the same time.
Although they came from the same source, it definitely has its own purpose. Just pick the exact product that says cornstarch and you should be good.
A tablespoon of Cream cornstarch can already make up for a tablespoon of arrowroot flour. Both have the same characteristics which are light, excellent thickener, and cheap. The only difference is that cornstarch has more flavor than arrowroot, you will see the difference once you taste your finished product.
2. Tapioca Starch
Tapioca, our next candidate, is also a perfect choice for substituting arrowroot flour. It has the same consistency as arrowroot which is almost tasteless and lightweight. Commonly used in Asian countries, tapioca has now gained popularity in the food scene around the world.
Tapioca is not only good as a thickening agent but can be also used for baked goods such as bread, cakes, or any kind of pastries. Just make sure that you mix it with other dense flour so it would create a nicer texture to the pastries. Just remember to not overuse since it’s packed with carbohydrates, unlike other starches.
To substitute it with arrowroot flour, it’s the same ratio which is 1:1 for thickening stews and frying dishes. If you want your batter or mixture a little bit thicker, just add in extra teaspoons to achieve your desired consistency. I usually use Bob’s Red Mill for tapioca starch.
3. Wheat Flour
If you’re into baking so much bread and you’ve got some extras in your pantry, then you are in a good state. Know that wheat flour is quite diverse and can be used with other dishes aside from baked goods. It can also be of good use as a thickening agent in place of arrowroot flour.
Just take note that it’s not as lightweight as cornstarch and arrowroot, so I don’t really recommend it as a batter for fried foods. But it’s the healthiest alternative since it’s rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals and also, gluten-free. Start experimenting with wheat flour and check out how it can do wonders in your dishes.
Since wheat flour is denser than arrowroot ½ cup of it can already substitute arrowroot flour for most dishes. Just feel free to adjust if ever you needed more for the dish. Keep in mind to be cautious when adding too much since it thickens pretty fast.
For soups and stews, I suggest that you add a teaspoon first, then start from there. I trust Bob’s Red Mill for their Wheat Flours.
4. Potato Starch
Potato starch is the last but not the least for this entry. This starch is extracted from potatoes that are dried and powdered for different uses. Potatoes are known for their starchy consistency and being highly absorbent with water. This makes a good option for substituting arrowroot flour for some dishes.
Potato starch is perfect for fried foods. It’s light and flavorful and it brings out the yummy crunchy texture on your typical fried chicken. No wonder it’s the second-best alternative next to cornstarch, based on my experience. It’s also a perfect thickening agent since a little bit of it can already thicken any sauces or soups.
Just like tapioca, potatoes are packed with carbohydrates. So remember to go easy on your consumption or your waistline will suffer later on. A teaspoon of JFC Katakuriko potato starch can already be used in lieu of arrowroot flour. The same as wheat flour, start with a teaspoon and work from there. This is to avoid a too thick consistency on your soups and stews.
Can I use plain flour to substitute arrowroot flour?
That would depend on what kind of dish you’re making. If it’s for frying, you’re safe with a 1:1 ratio. Back then and even until now, plain flour is still commonly used for making batter for frying fried dishes.
Plain flour is lighter just like arrowroot and it has the ability to crispy foods in an instant. Just be careful with heat and the type of oil you’re using. It can get burned easily if not careful.
For baked dishes, you might want to apply the 1:1.5 ratio. Just to be on the safe side. Consider also what type of baking dish you’re making. It could be different for bread, cakes, cookies, and other pastries. You can do the 1:1 ratio, but you need to adjust the number of liquids and eggs.
For stews and soups as a thickening agent, it’s ok to follow a 1:1 ratio. I suggest starting with small amounts and work from there. Then you can gauge how much you truly needed to thicken the sauce or soup.
Can you make Arrowroot from scratch?
Yes, you can, if you have plenty of time, got the right ingredients and knowledge to make it. The online realm also provides a lot of recipes and methods you can follow. Get creative and try doing it at home. Just ensure that you observe food safety.
However, I highly suggest that just purchase it at the grocery store for convenience. Arrowroot flour is one of the cheapest and readily available flours you can find in the market. Save yourself from the hassle and trouble making it from scratch.
How do you store Arrowroot Flour?
Always store perishable foods in an airtight jar or container. Don’t let the arrowroot flour be exposed to any harmful insects or dust at home. As soon as you finish using it, store the leftovers immediately. Cover it tightly so it won’t go stale very fast.
Arrowroot flour doesn’t go bad fast and you can keep it that way if stored the right way. Always label your jars with the right description to avoid confusing it with other flours. Also include the most important thing, the expiration date. Learn to monitor every food’s expiration date to avoid food poisoning.
Once it’s expired throw it out immediately at all cost. Do not be complacent just because it still looks good and smells nice.
Is Arrowroot Flour the Same as Arrowroot Starch?
Yes, it’s surprisingly the same thing. There’s actually no difference between the two just like how cornflour and cornstarch are different. I know it can be confusing, but don’t be.
It doesn’t matter which one you’ll be buying, it serves the same purpose. As long as it’s not saying a different usage instruction other than food, then you should be good to go.
I’m pretty sure there are more substitutes that are available that we have not mentioned in this article. But rest assured, that these substitutes are tested and proven for some of the dishes that can do away without the arrowroot flour. All it takes is the courage to be flexible to try something new, especially when you don’t have the luxury of time.
Arrowroot flour, unlike other starches, is not hard to replace for most dishes. Don’t panic whenever you run out of it and you feel like it would be different if you don’t use it for the dish, then always keep in mind to stock up all the time. But then again, it wouldn’t hurt to think out of the box and make something else work at the last minute like following our advice from this article.
Just like what we’ve always said, always consider the type of dish you’re making before doing the BIG SWITCH. Always study the substitute that you’re about to use and understand how it’s different from the usual ingredients that you’re using. Start from there and trust me, it does wonders.
My Personal Pick
It’s actually hard deciding on this matter when it comes to substituting arrowroot flour since I personally like using it with most dishes. But for this, I have a tie: cornstarch and potato starch.
Both are excellent substitutes for arrowroot, without compromising the taste, texture, and quality of the dish. You can always apply almost the same ratio as arrowroot and the results are almost the same. It’s safer to choose both of them as they have the same characteristics and purpose.
Especially for fried dishes, cornstarch and potato starch are both winners. Both can compete in terms of crispness, texture, and flavor. The corn and potato flavor does tingle on your tongue on every bite, which you don’t really get from tapioca and wheat flour that much.
Still, tapioca starch and wheat flour is a good choice. Just play with more seasonings and you’re sure to prepare amazing dishes right at your fingertips.
Here’s a Bonus Recipe Just For You!
“Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken Thighs”
- 7 pcs of medium-sized chicken thighs
- ⅓ cup of arrowroot starch
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1 cup of crushed potato chips
- 2 tbsp paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash your chicken thighs and pat it dry with a clean towel or paper napkins. Make sure you’ve properly dried the chicken before rubbing the seasonings.
- If the chicken is still frozen, make sure you thaw it well before cooking. The unthawed chicken will turn out raw or overcooked.
- While washing it, set your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prep your baking sheet and grease it with cooking spray or butter and set aside.
- Take out a large resealable bag and put in your arrowroot starch, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix it together by shaking until it’s well combined.
- In a small bowl, start beating the eggs then set aside. Then on a separate plate, get your potato chips and crush a good amount of it. Set aside the crushed potato chips.
- Get your chicken thighs and place it in the powdered marinade mix. Shake it inside until it’s well coated.
- With your left hand, dip each thigh in the egg mix, nicely coated. Use your right hand to coat the chicken with crushed potato chips. Repeat the steps until all the thighs are coated.
- Set the chicken thighs on the baking pan and cook it for about 35-40 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
- You can have the option to make a sauce to serve with your chicken. You can also serve with piping hot roasted potatoes or fries on the side.