Best Arrowroot Starch Substitute

Best Arrowroot Starch Substitute

There are many substitutes that have the same traits as arrowroot starch while some differ for many reasons. A list of 9 arrowroot substitutes that can be used in the kitchen and for personal care.

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Arrowroot is a root that looks like a yam. It hails from Indonesia and is becoming world-famous for its powdered form. The other names from which it is known are powder and flour. It is used as a thickening agent or starch in various foods just like other arrowroot starch substitute. At times it happens that we don’t have arrowroot powder at home and our recipe requires some as a thickening agent. Has it happened with you as well? Well, don’t worry as there are many substitutes for arrowroot that you can easily find at your home.


What Is Arrowroot Powder?

Just like potatoes and other tubers, arrowroot is a vegetable root which is quite starchy and has a mild sweet flavor. It has high amylose content. It is used in a lot of recipes as it blends well with both sweet and piquant recipes. If you are looking for ingredients that can be added in your food to make it thicker, then arrowroot can be your best choice. It is because arrowroot is a healthier option when compared to the other arrowroot starch substitute. Arrowroot contains almost double protein levels than other tubers. It is gluten-free and has high folate content. It is also a fiber-rich vegetable that digests slowly and making us feel fuller for longer. It is good medicine to treat diarrhoea and very safe for small babies. However, when we convert the arrowroot into powder, it not only loses various nutrients but also changes into 100% carbohydrates.


Uses Of Arrowroot Powder

Arrowroot powder is used for two purposes – cooking and hygiene. Most of the time arrowroot is used as starch in cooking but it is also used in baking digestive biscuits and cookies. You can find many arrowroot starch substitute that can be used while cooking your favorite food. The primary role of the arrowroot is to thicken the sauce or gravy. You can coat your food before frying it which will aid your food to become golden and crunchy just the way you like. Talking about hygiene, it has the nature of soaking up all the oil without making the skin dry due to which it is used in many skin and hair care products. It is also used in deodorants and oral health care.

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Arrowroot Starch Substitute For Cooking

There are many arrowroot starch substitute like cornstarch, tapioca starch, potato starch, sweet rice flour, cream of tartar, and xanthan gum. Per 1 teaspoon of arrowroot starch can be replaced by 3 teaspoons of cornstarch, 1 tablespoon of tapioca starch, ½-1 teaspoon of potato starch, ½ teaspoon of sweet rice flour respectively. In the case of cream of tartar and xanthan gum, the quantity to replace the arrowroot starch depends on the recipe. Below is a detailed description of how different substitutes can be helpful. Have a look!


1. Cornstarch

Cornstarch is used primarily as an arrowroot starch substitute. If we see the other way round, then arrowroot starch is also used as a substitute for cornstarch. The difference between both the starches is that cornstarch thickens the batter faster than the arrowroot starch. Also, cornstarch is a better option when cooking at high temperature. In the case of arrowroot, it is added in the last so that high heat does not break it down. Though both of them add no flavor to the food, cornstarch can be used to create a milky look while arrowroot can be used for a glossier look.

Cornstarch is a better option when cooking at high temperature.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


2. Tapioca Flour/Starch

Tapioca Flour comes from the same tuber from which arrowroot comes. It is a gluten-free arrowroot starch substitute and works well at high temperature just like cornstarch. But you have to be very cautious while using it as excessive tapioca starch in food can make it chewy and a bit sweet. Often arrowroot starch is used to replace the eggs to bind the food. Do you know that tapioca starch is a better binding agent than the arrowroot? If you are making a creamy or dairy-based sauce, tapioca is the best option; however, if you are making acidic liquids or sauces, it might not work well. Tapioca starch, when frozen, changes into an odd texture or gets coagulate when you are batch cooking while arrowroot starch freezes very well. Other than this, tapioca starch is equally rich in nutrients.


3. Potato Starch/Flakes

If we see the potato starch as a
thickening agent, it works similarly to arrowroot starch but in terms of
nutrition, it fails. When added to the sauce, it gives a cloudy texture similar
to cornstarch. If you are trying to give a shape to your food like bread or
muffin, then, potato starch is a great arrowroot
starch substitute
. It is light and absorbs the moisture of the food in such
a way that your food’s moisture remains intact.


4. Sweet Rice Flour

Talking about the similarity between the two, sweet rice flour and arrowroot both gluten-free, however, when it comes to being who is starchier then sweet rice flour wins the race. Sweet rice flour is a good arrowroot starch substitute as just like arrowroot starch, it is a great option to prepare cool desserts or doing batch cooking. Apart from sweet rice flour, standard rice flour can also be used as a substitute for arrowroot starch but it will act like a common flour rather than starch for thickening the batter. While using sweet rice flour you have to be very careful as it should be mixed appropriately with adding equal parts of water or liquid into it before you add the sweet rice flour into the sauce. Also, make sure that lumps do not form in the batter. Just like potato starch, it gives a cloudy look to the batter.


5. Cream of Tartar

Cream of Tartar can prove to be a great arrowroot starch substitute as it is as useful as arrowroot starch to add volume and/or body to the dessert. Beware when you substitute the cream of tartar with arrowroot starch as their stabilizing power differs.

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6. Xanthan Gum

Xanthan Gum is a perfect arrowroot starch substitute when you are looking for a binding agent. It provides similar results but works variably from the arrowroot starch. If you want to replace 1 egg, then you can add 2 tablespoons of arrowroot starch or 2 tablespoons of xanthan gum. It is easier to substitute the arrowroot as starch but for binding or stabilizing, it is difficult to find a substitute, more when arrowroot starch is itself substituting egg in a batter. It is made by natural fermentation and is gluten-free and 100% vegan.


7. Arrowroot Flour

Many people use it as an arrowroot starch substitute while cooking. It is mostly used on the Paleo diet where people don’t like wheat. Though it is called as flour, however, it is used as starch in food. As a thickening agent, it works great and can be replaced for seed flours or tapioca starch in equal measurements.


8. Wheat Flour

It is one of the best arrowroot starch substitute in terms of thickening agents. But if you are cooking a gluten-free dish, you should avoid wheat flour. While using the wheat flour as a thickening agent, it is mixed with butter. To get a proper roux, it is cooked slowly for a few minutes and added later to the dish.


Wheat flour is one of the best arrowroot starch substitute in terms of thickening agents


9. Kuzu

It is Japanese arrowroot which is an extremely high thickening agent. When added to the sauce, it provides a smooth texture and gloss. It also provides the extra body to your food without damaging the flavor. Like some of the other substitutes, it does not give a starchy effect to the sauce which makes it one of the best arrowroot starch substitute. It is a great option to use in sweet food as it aids in maintaining the acidity of the food. It can be difficult to find it and comes at a very expensive price but it will be worth it once you try it.


Arrowroot Starch Substitute For Personal Care

As mentioned earlier, arrowroot starch is used for oral
health hygiene, skin and hair care, and even used in deodorants. If you can’t
use arrowroot starch for any reason, there are many arrowroot starch substitute that you can try.

Oral Care – In the mouth, arrowroot starch is used to sustain the pH balance while in teeth; it is used to mineralize them again. Very few know that just like a broken bone, teeth can be also be cured by having adequate minerals. An arrowroot starch substitute for oral hygiene is food grade diatomaceous earth. It is not fruity like arrowroot starch but it can give proper minerals to your teeth just like arrowroot starch. Apart from that, it can also guard your enamel and the gums.

Skin Care – The arrowroot starch has a good habit of absorbing all the oil on your skin that can give you breakouts or irritations. It can also be used to calm the minor irritations, maintaining the pH balance, and exfoliate the skin. It is often used to substitute the talc in cosmetics. An arrowroot starch substitute for skincare can be baking soda which works the same as arrowroot starch. The only issue is that it does not smell as good as arrowroot starch.

Deodorant – The best arrowroot starch substitute for making your deodorant is cornstarch which works in an equal way and gives a nice output. There are many other substitutes but you have to take a look at the formula to get the appropriate steadiness.

Dry Shampoo – The best arrowroot starch substitute for dry shampoo is the same as deodorant – cornstarch. Cornstarch will absorb all the oil from the scalp and give a silky smooth finish to your hair. You can use different other substitutes like food grade diatomaceous earth or baking soda but their performance will differ from arrowroot starch and you will have to do the hard work to find out the right formula which will be unique to you by doing multiple trials. If you have lice, then you can try diatomaceous earth which will kill the lice and their eggs as well without affecting the scalp.


FAQs About Arrowroot Starch Substitute

Many questions make us confuse about the arrowroot starch. A few of the most common questions being asked are discussed below:


  1. Is arrowroot starch substitute keto friendly?

    Though arrowroot starch does not contain any gluten or grain and is 100% natural, it does contain 16g of carbohydrate per cup of arrowroot starch. You won't be using that much for single serving size, so yes, and arrowroot starch is keto friendly but not carbohydrate-free.

  2. Can arrowroot starch substitute feed to babies?

    Of course, why not? Usually, arrowroot cookies are given to babies who are teething. You can use it in your baby food as a substitute for less nutritional thickeners. It will give consistency to the food and also aid your baby if s/he has any digestive issue. Newborns who suffer from diarrhea, and arrowroot starch can be very helpful. However, you should be very cautious while giving the amount of arrowroot starch to your baby as high quantity can lead to constipation in them. Consult a paediatrician before giving anything to a small child.

  3. Are arrowroot biscuits healthy?

    You should give yourself a treat by eating these crunchy and luscious arrowroot biscuits only after the dinner because they help in the digestion process. Though these delicious biscuits are rich in iron, potassium, and B vitamins, still they are a cookie and should not be substituted for healthy food.



Overall, if we see, arrowroot starch substitute is a good option to add in your favorite food as it offers various benefits from cooking to maintaining the hygiene of oral, hair, skin, etc. Talking about the arrowroot starch substitute, there are many substitutes that have the same traits as arrowroot starch while some differ for many reasons. Did you know earlier that arrowroot is useful in maintaining hygiene too? Well, now you know. Try using them and share your valuable feedback.


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