If you’re baking or cooking and realize with horror that you don’t have any cornstarch in your cupboards, fear not. Try out one of these 8 cornstarch substitutes. Read on for all the details you need to know.
What is Cornstarch?
Cornstarch, which is sometimes referred to as corn flour, is a white powdery thickener that’s made from corn as the name suggests. To be more elaborate, it’s made by milling the endosperm of corn, resulting in the creation of a powder with a flour-like consistency.
It’s a very common ingredient that’s found in almost any supermarket and online stores and is widely used in cooking and baking to help thicken, blend and stabilize foods. However, it mostly contains starch that’s very high in carbohydrates and calories and has little nutritional content. It’s also not a good option for those who wish to lower or regulate their blood sugar or cholesterol levels.
For this reason, rice flour, wheat flour, and xanthan gum are considered better nutritional alternatives.
Learn More about Cornstarch
8 Cornstarch Alternatives
So here are some the best cornstarch substitutes that are good for your health:
The first option for cornstarch substitute is arrowroot.
Arrowroot is a starchy type of flour made from the roots of the Maranta genus of plants that are found in the tropics.
To make this flour, the roots of the plants are first dried up and then grounded into fine powder, which can also be used as a thickener in cooking.
There are some who lean on arrowroot more than cornstarch because it contains more fiber. When mixed with water, it forms a clear gel and is great for thickening clear fluids.
Experts recommend using arrowroot twice as much as cornstarch to get similar results. It’s also gluten-free, making it suitable for those who don’t eat gluten.
Wheat flour is one of our top picks for cornstarch substitutes.
It is another suitably nutritious alternative to cornstarch, with fewer carbohydrates, a higher protein content, and more dietary fiber. It also has more minerals and vitamins.
Though it may be more nutritious than cornstarch, wheat flour isn’t as starchy as cornstarch. What this means is that you should use more of it to create the same effect as cornstarch when cooking.
Similar to cornstarch, wheat flour can also makes liquid lumps if one doesn’t mix it properly. So before adding it to foods, try whisking the flour in warm water until it’s even.
Next up for cornstarch substitutes is the popular potato starch.
As the name suggests, potato starch is a powder that’s made by extracting starch from potatoes and then drying it out.
Potato starch contains a couple of nutrients, but it also contains significantly lesser calories and carbohydrates than cornstarch, which makes it a good substitute for those who are looking to thicken foods without adding extra carbs and calories.
Potato starch is relatively flavorless, which means that it won’t alter or overpower other flavors in foods. And because potatoes are naturally gluten-free, making them a great option for people who are on a gluten-free diet or those with celiac disease.
It’s best to add potato starch later in the cooking process because if the starches overheat, they could break down and lose their thickening qualities.
Rice flour, made from ground rice, contains a high level of nutrients and is used in many Asian dishes including soups, noodles, and desserts. If of course, is made from ground rice.
It also has more dietary fiber and protein than cornstarch and contains fewer carbohydrates. Rice flour is best used in cold or hot water until it’s even before adding it to food to prevent it from creating lumps.
Tapioca is a processed starch product that’s extracted from cassava, a root vegetable found all over South America. It’s made by grinding cassava roots to a pulp that filters out their starch-rich liquid and is then dried into tapioca flour.
However, some cassava plants contain cyanide, which is why it’s important to treat it first to ensure it’s safe. Tapioca can be bought as flour, flakes or pearls and is also gluten-free. Many cooks recommend replacing 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with two tablespoons of tapioca flour.
The Best Cornstarch Alternatives
Ground flaxseeds are very absorbent and when mixed with water, form a jelly. But unlike cornstarch, which is smooth, the consistency of flax can be a bit gritty.
With that being said, flaxseeds are an excellent source of soluble fiber. That’s why using ground flaxseeds instead of flour can enhance the fiber content of your dish.
For thickening a dish, you can substitute 2 tablespoons of cornstarch by mixing 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds with 4 tablespoons of water for similar results.
Xanthan gum is a vegetable gum that’s created by fermenting sugar with a bacteria known as Xanthomonas campestris. This will produce a gel that is then dried and turned into a powder that you can use in your cooking. Very tiny amounts of xanthan gum can help thicken a liquid by a large amount.
It’s worth noting, however, that xanthan gum may cause digestive issues for some people if or when consumed in large amounts. Though you’re unlikely to consume that much when using it as a thickener.
You recommended to use a small amount of xanthan gum and add it slowly. You need to be careful, however, not to use too much of it as the liquid could become a bit slimy.
Last but not least on our list of cornstarch substitutes is Glucomannan.
Glucomannan is a soluble powdered fiber that’s derived from the contents of the konjac plant. It’s very absorbent and forms a thick, odorless and colorless gel when mixed with hot water.
Because glucomannan is pure fiber, it doesn’t contain any calories or carbs, making it a popular substitute for cornstarch for those who follow a low-carb diet. It’s also a probiotic, as in, it feeds the good bacteria in your large intestine and helps you maintain a healthy gut.
Moreover, a recent review revealed that consuming 3 grams of glucomannan a day could reduce your “bad” LDL cholesterol by up to 10%. Also, you’re unlikely to consume that much of it when using it as a thickener. This is because the thickening powder is much stronger than cornstarch, allowing you to use much less.
What about Baking Powder, Cream of Tartar, or Butter Substitutes?
As fas as butter goes, if you’re looking to eat a bit healthier, you may want to consider one of these oils, applesauce, or yogurt for your cooking and baking. You can learn more here: 6 Healthy Butter Alternatives.
Have your Say about these Cornstarch Substitutes
What are your thoughts about these cornstarch alternatives? Do you have any additional ones to add to the list. Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
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