Tapioca Starch vs. Tapioca Flour: What is the Difference?

image of difference between tapioca starch and flour

When trying out new recipes, sometimes you’ll come across ingredients with similar names, which can be confusing.

One of these ingredients is tapioca starch and tapioca flour. So what is the difference?

Short Answer: 

Tapioca starch and tapioca flour are the same product that can be sold under either name.

It can be confusing to tell if you are buying the right ingredients when trying something new. But don’t worry, we are here to help.

In this article, we are going to get to the bottom of this question and give you the low-down on tapioca starch and flour.

Let’s dive in

What is the Difference Between Tapioca Starch and Flour?

Tapioca starch and tapioca flour are the same product but are labeled differently by different brands.

This can vary from brand to brand or market to market.

For example, the brand Bob’s Red Mill labels its product as ‘tapioca flour’ but adds ‘also known as tapioca starch’ beneath it to avoid confusion. Not all brands do this, however.

So, if you are searching the shelves and you are presented with tapioca starch and tapioca flour beside one another, both of them will work perfectly in your recipe.

What is Tapioca Starch?

So, now that we know they are the same, what exactly is tapioca starch?[*]

Tapioca starch is a powdered starch extracted from the cassava plant’s dried tuberous root.

Referring to it as starch could be to separate it from cassava flour, which is a different ingredient made from the whole dried cassava root rather than the starch alone.

This is known as one of the world’s most popular gluten-free flours.

It is so popular because of its ability to mimic the binding quality and bouncy texture of gluten.

Tapioca starch is high in carbs and low in protein, which is very similar to wheat flour.

It can be used for a number of applications, including:


Is tapioca starch gluten-free?

Yes, tapioca starch is entirely gluten-free, which is why it is such a popular wheat flour alternative.

What can I use to substitute for tapioca starch?

Tapioca starch is an unusual ingredient, so you may not have it on hand. Luckily you can use many ingredients to replace it. [*]

Keep in mind that some of these ingredients can be used in a 1:1 ratio while other quantities will vary.

To replace tapioca starch/flour, you can use:

  • Corn starch
  • Wheat flour
  • Cassava flour
  • Potato starch
  • Arrowroot
  • Rice flour

Learn more: Top 7 Tapioca Flour Substitutes (FOR ANY RECIPES)


So, after that bit of exploration, what have we learned?

  • Tapioca starch and tapioca flour are the same ingredients.
  • Certain brands use different names on their packaging.

We hope this has helped you solve this issue once and for all and encouraged you to try tapioca starch.

image of tapioca flour vs tapioca starch

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