8 Best Substitute For Arrowroot Flour

Arrowroot Flour Substitute

Navigating through the culinary journey, we often stumble upon certain ingredients that are either hard to find or don’t suit our dietary requirements. Arrowroot flour, a starch extracted from the tropical arrowroot plant, is one such ingredient. While it’s a favorite among cooks for its neutral taste, gluten-free nature, and excellent thickening properties, it’s not always readily available in everyone’s pantry, and for some, it might not align with their dietary preferences.

This guide provides a detailed exploration of the best substitutes for arrowroot flour, each with their unique attributes, ready to step in when needed. Whether you’re looking for a gluten-free thickener or aiming for a specific consistency or taste, there’s a suitable substitute waiting for you. These alternatives are not mere replacements; they are impressive in their own right, with qualities that make them a standout choice in diverse recipes. So, let’s open the door to flexibility and adaptability in your cooking adventures.

What is Arrowroot Flour?

Arrowroot flour, also known as arrowroot starch, is a fine, white powder extracted from the tubers of the arrowroot plant. This tropical plant is native to South America but is now grown in other parts of the world. The flour is gluten-free, grain-free, and vegan, making it a popular choice for thickening sauces, soups, and desserts in various cuisines. Its neutral taste, clear gel-like consistency when mixed with water, and ability to freeze and thaw without breaking down make it an essential ingredient in many recipes.

Your Quick Flour Fix: Substitutes For Arrowroot Flour

  • Cornstarch
  • Tapioca Flour
  • Potato Starch
  • Rice Flour
  • All-purpose Flour
  • Kudzu Powder
  • Guar Gum
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Agar-Agar

Best Substitutes For Arrowroot Flour

Each alternative to arrowroot flour has its unique properties, making them more suitable for certain applications than others. Here, we’ll dive into the details of each substitute, understanding what makes them tick and how to best use them in your culinary endeavors.


Cornstarch is perhaps the most commonly used and readily available substitute for arrowroot flour. Derived from the endosperm of the corn kernel, cornstarch is a powerful thickener and can be used in a 1:1 ratio to replace arrowroot.

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Cornstarch’s neutral flavor ensures that it does not alter the taste of your dish, and its availability makes it a convenient alternative. However, while it shares the thickening properties with arrowroot, it does not produce the same clear, glossy finish and may result in a cloudier texture. This difference is important to note if your recipe’s presentation relies heavily on this characteristic.

Also, unlike arrowroot, cornstarch does not freeze well. The texture can become spongy after thawing, which could affect the consistency of your dish. Therefore, it’s best suited for recipes that will be served immediately and not stored in the freezer.

Tapioca Flour

Also known as tapioca starch, this substitute is extracted from the root of the cassava plant. It shares many properties with arrowroot flour, including its fine texture and excellent thickening power. Tapioca flour, like arrowroot, creates a glossy finish, making it an excellent choice for pie fillings and sauces.

Tapioca flour is also a good option for those following a gluten-free diet. But, its high carbohydrate content can be a drawback for people watching their carbohydrate intake. Furthermore, it can be a bit trickier to work with compared to arrowroot, as it can clump together if not mixed properly.

The ratio for substitution is a bit different from arrowroot. When substituting for arrowroot, use twice the amount of tapioca flour. Also, because it thickens at a lower temperature, it’s recommended to add tapioca flour towards the end of your cooking process.

Potato Starch

If you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative to arrowroot, potato starch is another excellent choice. Extracted from potatoes, this starch is flavorless and works well in recipes that require a thickening agent.

Just like arrowroot, potato starch has a neutral taste, which makes it a versatile ingredient that doesn’t alter the flavor of your dish. Plus, it yields a clear, glossy finish similar to arrowroot, making it a great option for thickening sauces and gravies.

However, remember to use potato starch only at the end of your cooking process. It doesn’t hold up well under high heat, and extended cooking can cause it to break down and lose its thickening power. When replacing arrowroot with potato starch, use the same amount.

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Rice Flour

Rice flour is made from finely ground rice. It’s a handy thickening agent for sauces, soups, and gravies, and it’s particularly well-suited for recipes that require gentle simmering.

Like arrowroot, rice flour is gluten-free, making it a safe option for those with dietary restrictions. However, it doesn’t create as smooth or glossy a texture as arrowroot. The resulting texture is somewhat grainier, which might not be desirable in some recipes.

The best way to use rice flour as a substitute is to make a slurry by mixing it with a small amount of cold water before adding it to your hot dish. This prevents lumps from forming. Use twice as much rice flour to substitute for arrowroot.

All-Purpose Flour

All-purpose flour is a pantry staple, and chances are you already have some on hand. Although it is not gluten-free, it’s a suitable alternative to arrowroot if dietary restrictions aren’t a concern.

All-purpose flour has a slightly nutty flavor, and its thickening power is less potent than arrowroot. As a result, you’ll need to use twice as much all-purpose flour to achieve the same results. Moreover, unlike arrowroot, it won’t produce a clear, shiny texture. Instead, it will yield a more opaque, somewhat creamy result.

Bear in mind that all-purpose flour needs to be cooked a little longer to get rid of its raw flavor. This means it’s best used in recipes where the dish will be simmered or baked after the flour is added.

Kudzu Powder

Kudzu powder, made from the root of the kudzu plant, is a traditional thickener in Japanese cuisine. Just like arrowroot, it’s a gluten-free option with a neutral flavor that won’t interfere with the taste of your dish.

Kudzu powder is most suitable for light, delicate dishes due to its subtle thickening power. It provides a smooth and slightly gelatinous texture, making it ideal for sauces, soups, and jellies. When using kudzu powder as a substitute for arrowroot, use it in equal amounts. However, remember to dissolve it in cold water before adding it to your dish to prevent lumps.

Guar Gum

Derived from guar beans, guar gum is a versatile thickening and stabilizing agent used in various food applications. It’s gluten-free, high in fiber, and has a very high thickening power, even more so than arrowroot.

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Its strong thickening power means that you need to use much less guar gum when substituting for arrowroot. Usually, a ratio of 1:6 (guar gum:arrowroot) is recommended. Despite its strong thickening properties, guar gum is not recommended for dishes that require freezing as it tends to become very stiff.

Guar gum is great for cold foods such as ice creams and shakes, as it prevents the formation of ice crystals. However, it can be a bit challenging to work with, as adding too much can lead to an unpleasant, gummy texture.

Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum, another powerful thickening agent, is a common ingredient in gluten-free baking. It’s derived from a strain of bacteria that produces a slimy substance, which is dried and ground into a powder.

Like guar gum, xanthan gum is used in small amounts due to its strong thickening ability. You should use half a teaspoon of xanthan gum for every tablespoon of arrowroot flour. It’s also heat stable, so it can be used in a wide range of recipes. However, as with guar gum, using too much xanthan gum can result in a slimy texture.


Agar-agar is a vegan alternative to gelatin derived from a type of seaweed. It’s another excellent gluten-free substitute for arrowroot, especially in recipes that require a gel-like consistency.

Agar-agar is flavorless and has powerful gelling abilities. When substituting for arrowroot, remember that agar-agar needs to be first dissolved in water and then brought to a boil to activate its gelling properties. Once cooled, it forms a firm, jelly-like texture. Because of this, it’s best used in desserts like jellies, custards, and puddings.

Substitutes for Arrowroot Flour: Nutritional Profile

SubstituteGlutenCalories (in ¼ cup)FatCarbsFiberProtein
Tapioca FlourNo1000g26g0g0g
Potato StarchNo1600g40g1.6g0.2g
Rice FlourNo1450.3g32g0.9g2g
All-purpose FlourYes4551.2g95g3.4g13g
Kudzu PowderNo500g13g0g0g
Guar GumNo600.5g15g15g0g
Xanthan GumNo300g7g7g0g

Final Thought

Finding the right substitute for arrowroot flour depends on many factors, including the specific needs of your recipe, dietary preferences, and what you have on hand in your pantry. This guide provides a comprehensive understanding of the available substitutes, ensuring that you’re always prepared, no matter what your recipe calls for. Happy cooking!

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