7 of the Best Ways to Substitute Cornstarch

Cornstarch has many uses in baking and cooking. It's most commonly known for being an ingredient used as a thickening agent. Once heated, cornstarch can help thicken gravies, stews, sauces and soups. It's also great for thickening desserts like pudding and fruit pie fillings. Cornstarch is white and starchy and is a bit finer than all-purpose flour. And if you're like me, touching cornstarch makes your skin crawl! It comes from the endosperm of corn kernels, which contains all of the starch. It's best to dissolve cornstarch in a liquid before using it since it will clump up immediately. If you don't have a box of cornstarch on hand or want to try other alternatives, there are plenty of good cornstarch substitutes to use in place.

7 Great Cornstarch Substitutes  

1. Wheat Flour

All-purpose wheat flour doesn't have quite the thickening power as cornstarch but will get the job done. Use two tablespoons of flour for every tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken a roux, pie filling, or sauce. You'll first want to mix the wheat flour with a bit of water to form a paste just to avoid any flour lumps.

2. Arrowroot

Arrowroot powder is a starchy, neutral-tasting thickening agent that also happens to be gluten-free. Use one tablespoon of arrowroot flour for one tablespoon of cornstarch.

3. Potato Starch

Potato starch is another cornstarch alternative. Like arrowroot powder, potato starch is gluten-free and doesn't have much flavor. Use the same 1:1 ratio when replacing cornstarch with potato starch.

Keep in mind, though, that its thickening power won't last very long, so use it in your cooking and serve right away.

4. Rice Flour

Rice flour is made from finely ground rice and is naturally very starchy and gluten-free. If a recipe calls for one tablespoon of cornstarch, use two tablespoons of rice flour. Mix with hot water or cold water first to form a paste.

5. Tapioca Starch

Tapioca is a gluten-free starch from the cassava root. It's recommended to substitute one tablespoon of cornstarch for two tablespoons of tapioca starch.

6. Ground Flax Seeds

Ground flax seeds have a jelly-like texture when mixed with water. Flax seeds are also rich in protein and omega-3s and make a good cornstarch substitute. However, the texture of your finished product will not be as smooth as it would be with cornstarch.

To replace about two tablespoons of cornstarch, mix one tablespoon of ground flax seeds with four tablespoons of water and use as a thickening agent.

7. Guar Gum

Guar gum comes from the seeds of guar beans. It's a wonderful thickener, but super powerful and not used in large amounts. A little goes a long way. Start with a small amount, about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon and increase the amount of guar gum until you've reached the desired thickness.

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