What Can You Substitute for Cornstarch? 7 Great Options to Try

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Cornstarch is a popular ingredient in many dishes. It is often used to thicken sauces or add a little crispiness to fried foods.

When you run out of cornstarch in middle of your cooking, it can be a little aggravating, but it doesn’t ruin the entire dish.

We know how important cornstarch can be for many recipes. For this reason, we wanted to find a great substitute for cornstarch that would easily take its place. 

In this article, we have created a list of 7 great substitutes that can fill in for cornstarch. All these options are ideal in most situations. They each give you a quick solution to an all too familiar unfortunate situation. 

What Is Cornstarch (aka Corn flour)?

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Corn starch, also known as corn flour, is a powdery white carbohydrate product. This ingredient is the extraction of corn kernels and is used in the baking world as a thickening agent.

It contains no proteins but a lot of carbs. These properties make it a great ingredient to use in gluten-free recipes. This product also offers little to no taste and has no effect on other flavors in a dish.

Learn more: What Does Cornstarch Taste Like?

What is it Used For?

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You can use cornstarch in many ways in the kitchen. It can take the place of eggs in baked goods, making it a vegan favorite. You can also use it to keep foods from sticking together, such as shredded cheese or dough. Or you can mix it with flour when you are running low, providing enough flour to finish the recipe.

Many people turn to cornstarch to (*):

  • Thicken sauces, gravies, stews, soups, etc.
  • Coat chicken for frying
  • Keep food from sticking to the counter and rolling pin
  • Fluff up eggs
  • Bake crispy waffles, veggies, etc.

Learn more: Does Cornstarch Go Bad or Expire?

So, you just realized you ran out of cornstarch, huh? No worries: we found seven great alternatives you can use. Each suggestion can finish up your recipe without jeopardizing the results. 

7 Cornstarch Substitutes You Have to Try

Remember: Each ingredient below is similar but not the same as cornstarch. It is important you factor in the properties, flavor, and consistency of each option. We recommend you to do this before choosing the right one for your dish is imperative. 

1. Arrowroot Starch is a Great Gluten Free Option

Arrowroot Starch comes from the roots of a tropical herbaceous plant found in West India. It is a popular ingredient used for cooking and in medicine. This fine-grain starch is good for hydration. It is also a thickening agent in the kitchen, thanks to its fiber content.

Like cornstarch, this ingredient is ideal in stews and sauces to thicken them up. It is also ideal for adding a glossy glaze finish to your food. You can also mix arrowroot with water or other clear liquids since it forms a clear gel when wet.

To substitute:

  • Use 2 Cups of arrowroot starch for 1 cup of cornstarch

Summary:

  • Arrowroot is a thickening agent and gluten-free
  • Arrowroot forms a clear gel when mixed with a clear liquid

2. Rice Flour is Great for Breading

We often use rice flour to substitute cornstarch when breading and frying foods. This option is another gluten-free one and is perfect for those with sensitivities. 

Rice flour comes from very fine ground rice with a powder consistency. Also, it has no taste and is colorless once mixed in water or clear liquids.

You can mix rice flour into cold liquid as well as hot to create a thick paste. This option is often used in Asian cuisine when making desserts or soups.

To substitute:

  • Use 2 cups of rice flour for 1 cup of cornstarch

Summary:

  • Rice flour is a good replacement for cornstarch in soups and desserts.
  • It is only ½ the thickening agent as cornstarch. so it requires double when measuring
  • It is clear when mixed in hot or cold liquids

3. Cassava Flour Is an Amazing Thickening Agent 

Cassava is a South American root vegetable, also known as yucca. To make cassava flour, the entire root is dried out and grated into a fine powder. It is a popular ingredient in many dishes throughout Asia and Africa. 

This is a healthy substitute for cornstarch, rich in vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. It is another gluten-free food and is high in fiber with anti-inflammatory properties. (*)

Cassava flour is very absorbent (more so than cornstarch.) It is an ideal option when making dough, pasta, and baked goods.

To substitute:

  • Use ½ cup of cassava flour for 1 cup of cornstarch.

Summary:

  • Cassava flour is twice as absorbent as cornstarch
  • It is good for your digestive system
  • It is popular in Asian Cuisine

4. Potato Starch Adds A lot of Texture

Potato starch is a versatile ingredient and an excellent substitute for cornstarch. While it is similar in texture, it is heavier than the latter. When dried out, potato starch is powdery and white. The popular culinary ingredient comes from the extraction of starch found in potatoes. 

Because potato starch does not come from grain, it is a gluten-free ingredient. Meaning it contains little protein and fat. (*)

We like using potato starch when running out of corn starch since it is also a bland ingredient. Because this item offers a bland taste, it won’t change the flavor profile of your dish. 

Pro Tip: It is important to add this ingredient to your recipe as late in the cooking process as possible. Cooking potato starch for too long can ruin its thickening abilities.

To substitute:

  • Add one TBSP of potato starch to 1 cup of corn starch.

Summary

  • Potato starch is heavier than corn starch.
  • It has no flavor.
  • Don’t add potato starch too early in the cooking process since heat breaks down its thickening properties. 

5. Wheat Flour Is Ideal for Baked Goods

Wheat flour is the product of ground wheat which is fine in texture. This ingredient contains a lot of protein and is not good for gluten-free diets.

Because of the gluten, wheat flour is great in recipes for baked goods such as cakes, cookies, and bread. The properties in this corn starch substitute offer thickening and binding qualities. To get a similar consistency as corn starch, you will need a lot more wheat flour, at least double.

To substitute:

  • Add 2 TBSPs of wheat flour for everyone 1 TBSP of corn starch.

Summary:

  • Wheat flour is NOT gluten-free.
  • You need double the amount of wheat flour compared to cornstarch.
  • It is best in baked goods and pasta.

6. Ground Flaxseed is a Healthy Alternative

Ground flaxseeds contain fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. It is often used to combat digestive issues. This ingredient also helps with:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity (*)
  • High Cholesterol
  • and other health problems. 

When you mix ground flaxseed with water, it creates an absorbent jelly. This thick fiber-rich product is perfect in dishes where texture isn’t important.

Ground flax seed is coarse and gritty, whereas corn starch is smooth. 

We substitute flax seed in recipes looking for binding agents like cookie dough. Keep in mind the mix offers a subtle nutty flavor that can alter the flavor of your dish.

To substitute:

  • Use 1 TBSP of flaxseed (mixed with 4 TBSP of water) for two TBSP of cornstarch. 

Summary:

  • Flaxseed is a healthy cornstarch alternative
  • It mixed with water creates a thick gel (a good binding agent)
  • It has a nutty, earthy flavor though very mild

7. All Purpose Flour is, In Fact, All-Purpose

All-purpose flour is the most common type of flour used in baking and cooking. This product is versatile and used in almost any form of baked goods. It is perfect for creating pizza dough and pasta as a coating when frying foods.

All-purpose flour comes from a starchy endosperm of wheat and provides a soft texture with no taste. This ingredient is high in protein, making it a no go for those with gluten intolerance issues.

You can use all-purpose flour in almost any recipe that calls for cornstarch. Yet, cornstarch is much thicker, meaning you must double the amount of flour used. 

To Substitute:

  • Use 2 TBSP of all-purpose flour for 1 TBSP of cornstarch.

Summary:

  • All-purpose flour is versatile and great for almost any recipe.
  • It is not gluten-free.
  • It is an excellent thickening agent.

FAQs

What Substitute is Best for Deep-Frying Foods?

The best substitute for corn starch when deep frying foods is rice flour or white flour. Both options are great for creating a breading that will thicken and crisp. 

What is the Best Substitute for Corn Starch in Pie Filling?

You can use arrowroot starch as a substitute in pie filling. You can also try potato starch or tapioca starch.

What is the Best Corn Start Substitute for Sauces?

When cooking sauces, you want a good thickening agent. All-purpose flour is an excellent cornstarch replacement for these dishes.

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Up Next: The Most Common Baking Ingredient Substitutes

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