Tapioca Flour Substitute: Top 7 Alternatives Should Use!

Did you know that there are so many different kinds of flour to choose from other than all-purpose flour?

You probably have at least one flour variety in your pantry, which has us ask this question:

Do you have tapioca flour?

This is a popular kind of flour for thickening soups, gravies, sauces, and pie fillings. Because it’s gluten-free, bakers love using this as a healthier way to give their baked goods a nice, chewy texture.

You Might Not Know: Tapioca flour is a staple ingredient in many countries worldwide, such as South America and the Caribbean!

Since tapioca flour isn’t very common in the USA (yet), you might not be able to find it in your local grocery store. (*)

But don’t fret!

We’ll help you find the best tapioca flour substitute without compromising your recipe’s flavor. Read on!

What is a Good Substitute for Tapioca Flour?

image of good tapioca flour substitute

Tapioca flour, also called tapioca starch, is made from the cassava plant’s crushed pulp.

Fun fact: Tapioca flour and tapioca starch are one and the same ingredient, which we’ll talk about in our frequently asked questions section!

Tapioca starch is made through peeling, washing, chopping, shredding, washing, spinning, then washing cassava roots until it becomes pure water and starch. This is dried and results in a fine white powder with a neutral taste.

This ingredient can add a smooth and chewy texture when baked or a crispy layer in fried foods. Furthermore, it’s considered one of the vegan, paleo-approved, and gluten-free flours!

We highly recommend using tapioca starch for those who can’t consume corn or potato products due to dietary restrictions.

If you can’t find any in your area, there are different tapioca flour substitutes you can use, such as:

1. Cassava Flour

Cassava flour and tapioca flour come from the same plant; they have different benefits. Cassava flour is made from the cassava root, which is dried and ground to produce the flour we use in baked goods.

Fun fact: Tapioca flour and cassava flour are two different ingredients. Cassava flour uses the entire root and not only the pulp.

Since it’s made from the entire cassava root, it offers more fiber than tapioca flour. Also, cassava flour is the most comparable gluten-free flour to wheat flour.

Thanks to the fact that cassava flour has more fiber, it will have more thickening capabilities. If your recipe calls for other thickening agents other than tapioca flour, you might not need them. But for recipes that still require it, we recommend lowering their amounts.

That said, this flour has a distinct flavor, making it different from some of the other flavorless and odorless starches and flours mentioned. Expect a nutty flavor in your dish, which is why we recommend this substitute for nut-based sweet or savory recipes.

You can use an equal amount of cassava flour that a recipe calls for.

2. Sweet Rice Flour

Also known as glutinous rice flour, this is one of the top tapioca starch substitutes. It’s made from short-grain glutinous rice, also called sticky rice.

This gluten-free ingredient works excellently as a thickening and binding agent. When you heat sweet rice flour, it becomes very sticky, which can bind, moisten, and sweeten ingredients from baked goods.

With the high starch content, sweet rice flour can help proteins bing together, mimicking gluten’s elasticity. Though sweet rice flour won’t replace tapioca flour perfectly, it will give the similar sticky and chewy consistency you want in your recipe.

When you use sweet rice flour, make sure it’s thoroughly cooked before eating, as you can’t eat this raw.

Also, only add half the amount a recipe calls for when using rice flour. Like cornstarch, two tablespoons of tapioca flour equals one tablespoon of rice flour!

You can also try using white rice flour, chickpea flour, chestnut flour, coconut flour, among other flours, though sweet rice flour is one of your best bets when looking for substitutes for tapioca flour.

3. Arrowroot Starch

Like tapioca flour, we also call arrowroot starch arrowroot flour or arrowroot powder. It’s a starch extracted from arrowroot plants, flavorless and odorless. Like tapioca starch, you can add this to most recipes without changing its flavors.

Arrowroot flour is a gluten-free substitute derived from plants called tropical tubers. They help thicken and add structure to most recipes.

The one difference between arrowroot starch and tapioca flour is that the former can retain its thickness even if frozen or thawed. That’s what makes it a suitable substitute for tapioca flour, especially if you plan on freezing leftovers.

That said, if you plan to add starch to recipes to bing ingredients, then tapioca flour is still the better choice. If this is why you need a substitute for tapioca flour, then we recommend mixing arrowroot with another gluten-free alternative.

It’s all-natural but check the ingredient list, as it may include potato starch.

You can use arrowroot as a thickening agent in pie fillings, puddings, and soups. You can also use it for adding structure to baked goods or sprinkled over tofu for a good crunch.

4. Corn Starch

Corn starch, also sometimes called cornflour, is a common starch you can find in many kitchens. Corn starch is a thickening agent to thicken any dish to the desired texture.

This ingredient isn’t only used for culinary purposes but also for household purposes. This is different from tapioca flour because it comes from corn, while tapioca flour comes from the cassava plant. Furthermore, tapioca flour will result in a glossy appearance, while corn starch results in a more matte finish.

But if you need a thickening liquid, corn starch is still an excellent alternative to tapioca flour. You can add corn starch anytime during the cooking process as it can withstand high temperatures.

Only add half the amount a recipe calls for when using corn starch. For example, if you need two tablespoons of tapioca flour, only add one tablespoon of corn starch to avoid over-thickening your dish.

5. Potato Starch

Potato starch offers numerous benefits and works as an excellent alternative to tapioca flour. It’s gluten-free and easy to use, making it suitable for gluten-free baking.

Furthermore, potato starch has a neutral taste so that it won’t change your recipe’s flavors. Since it can tolerate heat better than other kinds of starches, you can use it for adding moisture to baked goods or thickening salad dressing.

Note that potato starch is denser than tapioca starch, so you shouldn’t use a 1:1 ratio. Instead, we suggest mixing potato starch with another gluten-free flour like almond flour. That way, your baked goods remain light and airy.

You can also use potato starch as a thickening or binding agent or add moisture in pie crust, pizza, pancakes, cookies, custard, or flatbreads.

Also, remember that potato starch is different from potato flour. Potato flour is more absorbent, so it doesn’t result in a light and fluffy texture. Therefore, this flour is not a good ingredient to replace tapioca flour with.

6. Almond Flour

Almond flour is made from grinding blanched sweet almonds. You can make your own almond flour or purchase it from your supermarket.

This is a gluten-free ingredient that’s keto-friendly and high in protein. It’s best used for baking, especially when making cookies, brownies, puddings, or pancakes.

You can use it as a thickener in sauces, but you must make sure you use very finely-ground almond flour when doing so. This is where store-bought flour comes to play because not grinding it well enough can result in an undesirable texture to sauces or other recipes.

That said, it isn’t one of the best tapioca flour substitutes as it has a slightly different texture and will give off a somewhat nutty flavor. If you don’t have other options, this is good mainly for baking.

7. Tapioca Pearls

You’ve probably heard of tapioca pearls, which generally come with milk tea, the world’s trendy drink! These pearls are also common in baking, so this ingredient is one of the excellent tapioca flour substitutes.

That said, for every 3 tablespoons of tapioca flour required, use only 2 tablespoons. of tapioca pearls

Fun fact: Tapioca pearls are also called boba and taste delicious in sweet beverages!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you still left with questions about tapioca flour that you need answers to? We answer your burning questions below!

1. What’s the difference between tapioca starch and tapioca flour?

Tapioca starch and flour are the same thing and can be used interchangeably. There are no differences between both these ingredients!

However, do note that this doesn’t go for every starch and flour variety out there.

For instance, potato starch and potato flour are two different ingredients that undergo different processes and have unique properties.

That said, there’s also such a thing as modified tapioca starch, which gives food longer shelf lives. You do not use this to substitute tapioca flour or starch, as they have different molecular levels!

Bottom line: Use tapioca starch or flour interchangeably, as long as you don’t use the modified tapioca starch.

2. Where do we use tapioca flour?

We use tapioca flour for a variety of recipes. It’s most popularly used in baking sweets like pudding, pies, and dough. You also find it in recipes that require a thickening agent, such as gravies, sauces, and the like.

It’s suitable for gluten-free baking if you’re allergic to gluten or cutting back on it for other health reasons.

3. Is tapioca flour gluten-free?

Yes, tapioca flour is naturally gluten-free. Just make sure that you check the manufacturer and see that they produce their products in a gluten-free facility.

That’s why tapioca flour is perfect for gluten-free recipes, especially when making gluten-free baked goods!

4. Where can you get tapioca flour?

You can get tapioca flour in your local supermarket. Some stores may still have a limited variety, but today, you can find more leading supermarkets offering many types, from gluten-free flour to wheat flour!

If you can’t find it in your grocery, you can try a natural foods store that focuses on selling healthy products. If not, then you can always order tapioca flour online.

Wrapping It Up

Did you find your alternative to tapioca flour from our list? Whether you need it for gluten-free cooking or your favorite baking recipe, there’s always a substitute for you.

Let us know what you think of our list and what tapioca flour substitute worked best for you!

image of good substitute for tapioca flour

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