Wheat Starch is a simple starch extracted from the processed endosperm of the wheat grain. It is processed through a special solution of water and starch, which involves evaporating the water and only retaining the finished product of “fine powdery starch”. During the process, proteins were removed, wheat starch no longer lends any elasticity to dough and can only be used as a thickener.
Wheat starch is commonly used in making noodles, bread, pancakes, and bread. However, it’s good to know that when wheat starch is unavailable, the best substitute is Cornstarch. You can also substitute other types of starch such as ground flaxseeds, glucomannan, psyllium husk, xanthan gum, guar gum, arrowroot, potato starch, and tapioca.
Best Wheat Starch Substitutes
Let’s discuss how these substitutes can effectively replace wheat starch in our daily cooking.
The difference from cornstarch to wheat starch is that cornstarch is a pure form of a starch powder extracted from fresh corn kernels. The corn’s outer bran and germ are all removed during the process, only leaving the starch-rich endosperm. Unlike wheat starch, cornstarch has no gluten.
This starch is quite diverse in uses. It’s very beneficial in the kitchen as it works well in absorbing water, especially when heated. Cornstarch works well as a thickening agent for gravies, stews, and soups. Dissolving its starch into the mixture is way easier compared to other starch. You may use the same measurement as to how you would use your wheat starch.
Individuals suffering from Celiac disease favored this starch a lot since it’s gluten-free. Health experts also recommend this as a good alternative for a healthy diet.
I recommend using Cream Cornstarch. It’s a trusted brand for a long time by most chefs and home cooks. I use this a lot in thickening my soups and stews.
2. Ground Flaxseeds
Ground Flaxseeds are extracted directly from flax or also known as linseed. It’s a healthy superfood rich in fiber that prevents constipation, cholesterol, heart disease, and several other conditions.
This type of starch acts as a good absorbent that forms into a jelly consistency when mixed with water. Note that the consistency of flax can be gritty and less smooth.
Flaxseeds are rich in soluble fiber, it will help boost the fiber content on any dish. Add this in your bread mixture, biscuits, soups, and stews for a healthier twist. Mix 1 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds with 4 tablespoons of water. This should replace 2 tablespoons of wheat starch.
Bob’s Red Mill has really good ground flaxseeds. I often use it for toppings on my oatmeal and soups. I even mix it in my hot drinks to add more nutritional value.
3. Psyllium Husk
This starch is another plant-based soluble fiber that can also be used as a thickening agent just like the other starches mentioned above.
It has the same nutritional value as glucomannan due to its high fiber content. It is calorie-dense with zero carbs and fat. Another healthier alternative for a gluten-free diet.
This starch can get really thick so it’s important to note the measurements when mixing. Start with a teaspoon of the solution and build from there until you reach the desired consistency.
Try out Now’s Psyllium Husk Powder and add in your diet. You may mix these in fruit juices, hot drinks, soups, and stews. Perfect for a vegan diet for a healthier lifestyle.
4. Xanthan Gum
Xanthan Gum is also a plant-based starch from a bacteria called Xanthomonas campestris. This vegetable gum is made by fermenting sugar plus the bacteria.
The first stage of its extraction process produces a gel-like form, which later on dried and turned into a powder texture. It’s effective to use in thickening liquids by just using a small amount of xanthan gum.
It’s important to note that excessive use of the product may cause digestive problems. Too much solution added in the dish can also make the texture too slimy as well.
I use Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan Gum Powder for my baked goods. I like making vegan chocolate chip cookies. I find it helpful by using this substitute for guilt-free desserts.
5. Guar Gum
Guar Gum is another vegetable gum made from a legume called guar beans. It is extracted from guar beans by removing its outer husks and collecting its endosperm. This endosperm is then dried and converted into a powder.
Apart from being a good thickener, it’s also low in calories and very high in soluble fiber. Most chefs and home cooks prefer guar gum over xanthan gum because it’s cheaper and has zero health risks.
Just like xanthan gum, guar gum is an extremely thick solution. You only need small amounts when using it as a thickening agent. A quarter teaspoon of guar gum powder must be used first and then work from there.
I still use Bob’s Red Mill for Guar Gum powder. The brand is a trusted name for their flour and starch selections. If guar gum is available, I use it over xanthan gum for my baked goods.
Arrowroot powder is a starchy flour extracted from the plant of the Maranta genus. Its roots are widely used in Tropical regions. The Arrowroots are dried and grounded into a fine powder.
This starch is best used as a thickening agent in cooking. Most people prefer this over cornstarch for its higher fiber content. Just like most starches, this also forms into a gel when mixed with water.
Another health benefit is that it’s gluten-free. You may substitute this in any dish by using twice as much arrowroot than your regular wheat starch. If you use 2 tablespoons wheat starch, replace it with 4 tablespoons of arrowroot powder for best results.
This time I recommend Badia Arrowroot. It’s cheaper compared to other products and most importantly it works the same. Give this a try in addition to your daily dishes.
7. Potato Starch
Potato Starch is another effective alternative for wheat starch. The powder is extracted from freshly crushed potatoes until the starch content is released. Then it’s dried and grinded into a powder.
Since potato is not a grain just like arrowroot, it has zero gluten. However, due to its process of refining the starch, potato starch is high in carbs and contains a bit of fat and protein. Meaning to say, this is calorie-dense.
Substitute wheat starch with potato starch in a 1:1 ratio. If the recipe requires 2 tablespoons of wheat, substitute it with 2 tablespoons of potato starch. Be careful when adding the powder as it can thicken quickly and may break down when heated for too long.
I highly recommend using Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch. I use them a lot when making doughs from scratch for dumplings, buns, and noodles. They actually taste good and chewy.
8. Tapioca Starch
Tapioca starch or powder is extracted from a very well known plant called Cassava. A root vegetable found in most parts of the world. Cassava roots are carefully grinded and filtered until a liquid consistency is achieved. It’s also dried to produce the needed starch.
Be informed that cassava contains cyanide which is harmful to the health once taken. Cassava has to be treated first to ensure that it’s safe to inject. If you’re trying to do this at home, make sure you boil the cassava for more than 20 minutes to remove the harmful chemical.
To substitute it with wheat, use 2 tablespoons of tapioca flour in place of 1 tablespoon of wheat flour when using it as a thickening agent. Don’t worry if you put too much, tapioca doesn’t thicken quickly unlike most starch.
I use Kraft’s Tapioca Powder for my soups and stews.
“Homemade Wheat Dumpling Wrappers”
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup of wheat starch
- ¼ cup tapioca starch
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- In a mixing bowl, combine wheat and tapioca starch.
- Add boiling water and stir well.
- Add oil and mix until the dough is thick.
- While hot, gather the dough and knead on an oiled surface for 3 minutes.
- Cover with a damp towel and rest for 30 minutes.
- Start making your dumpling doughs. Makes 24 pieces.