Cornstarch has Plenty of Alternatives

From Arrowroot to Tapioca

Starches are known for their ability to thicken and stabilize liquid dishes. Starches are also commonly used in baked dishes. There are many different kinds processed from various plants around the world. Here we have listed a few starch options, each with its own benefits. Try them all, discover a favorite, and find your new pantry staple!


Cornstarch is an essential ingredient in pantries and kitchens around the globe. What many don’t know is that corn starch comes from the endosperm of a corn kernel. 

It was invented in the mid-19th century by a man named Thomas Kingsford and it was used originally as a laundry aid. Cornstarch is a great thickening agent for stews, sauces, and other liquid ingredients. 

potato starch

Potato Starch

Another common starch ingredient is potato starch. The starch extracted from potatoes becomes a white powder, similar to flour. 

This is a great gluten-free substitute for recipes that require flour. It can also be used as a thickening agent and as a fried food coating. A great reason to use potato starch is that it is lighter than other starches and maintains color to a dish.

Arrowroot Flour

Native to Indonesia, arrowroot is a tuber that is similar to ginger. Extracting arrowroot flour is done by taking the plant’s rhizome and processing it into powder. 

The rhizome is the underground stem of the plant that stores the plant’s starch and energy. Arrowroot is a great choice for those who need ingredients that are easy to digest, like children or seniors.


Tapioca Flour

Tapioca Flour is a starch that has a slight sweetness to it. It is made by extracting the starches from the roots of a mature cassava plant, also known as yuca or manioc. 

This ingredient is also gluten-free and used similarly to the other starches. Bakers love this ingredient as it gives golden brown crusts to the dish. Use it in batters, as a crispy coating, and to thicken liquids.

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